American Elephants


Comparisons by The Elephant's Child

Scott Brown: Let America Be America Again! by The Elephant's Child

From Iran: A Rant or A Warning? by The Elephant's Child
May 16, 2010, 5:27 pm
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Islam, Middle East, Terrorism | Tags: , , ,

From the Associated Press, dated May 15, 2010.

TEHRAN, Iran —A radical cleric called Saturday for the creation of a “Greater Iran” that would rule over the entire Middle East and Central Asia, in an event that he said would herald the coming of Islam’s expected messiah.

Ayatollah Mohammad Bagher Kharrazi said the creation of what he calls an Islamic United States is a central aim of the political party he leads called Hezbollah, or Party of God, and that he hoped to make it a reality if they win the next presidential election.

Mr. Kharrazi’s comments reveal the thinking of a growing number of hard-liners in Iran, many of whom have become more radical during the post-election political crisis and the international standoff over the country’s nuclear program.  Mr. Kharrazi, however, isn’t highly influential in Iran’s clerical hierarchy and his views don’t represent those of the current government.

Mn hmm.  And U.S. Attorney General Erik Holder just cannot bring himself to say the words “Radical Islam.”  Just fills you with confidence.  Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano blames Americans (those violent tea party types) first, and calls 9/11 a “Man-Caused Disaster.” A disaster it was, but this kind of language — weak, pandering, politically correct, simply avoids not just clear thinking, but thought.  What it says to the rest of the world is”weak.” And that is not a good message to send.

We have an administration that cannot seem to grasp the reality of Islamic radicalism, pressing for month after month for talks with a government that has been leading their followers in shouts of “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” steadily ever  since 1979.  Even fairly obvious clues just don’t register with some people.

Still, even President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday that he expects the government which follows his to be “ten times more revolutionary.”



Criticizing Chavez is a Crime, But He’s Not a Dictator. by American Elephant
March 31, 2010, 1:25 am
Filed under: Developing Nations, Foreign Policy, Latin America, Terrorism | Tags: ,

Progressive poster-boy Sean Penn has announced that Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez is no Dictator, but a lovely person, and anyone who calls him a Dictator should be put in prison. That statement alone should have you rolling on the floor with laughter.

Said kind and noble President-for-Life Hugo Chávez has been slowly tightening the screws his political grip on Venezuela since he came to power in 1999.  Last week he tightened a bit more.

On Thursday, Venezuelan military intelligence detained the president of Globovision, the country’s last remaining independent media outlet.  According to Attorney General Luisa Ortega, President Guillermo Zuloaga is being investigated for criticizing Mr. Chávez during an Inter-American Press Association meeting  earlier this month in Aruba, for closing down independent media outlets.  Mr Zuloaga said that press freedom had been lost.

Mr. Zuolaga is being investigated for spreading false information and making comments “offensive” to the president.  He cannot leave the country until the investigation is complete.  He faces from three to five years in prison if convicted of making  false statements.

Earlier, the former governor of the state of Zulia was arrested on charges of conspiracy and making false statements.  Mr. Paz had appeared on Globovision supporting the claim of a Spanish judge that the Chávez government is allied with Columbian rebels and Basque separatists, and that Venezuela is a major thoroughfare for South American drug trafficking.

Mr. Chávez (who sounds very much like a dictator)  has stripped Venezuelans of their property rights, their right to private schools, any right to hold dollars and the right to free association.  Now free speech is the victim.  But he is really a lovely person and no one should call him a dictator.



Furious Protests Continue In All Major Cities in Iran. by The Elephant's Child
December 28, 2009, 9:08 pm
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Freedom, History, Islam | Tags: , , ,

Michael Ledeen explains what is happening in Iran right now.  Krauthammer is right.  This is one of the hinges of history.

From Deutsche Wellle:

In a strong statement to the press on Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the actions of Iran’s state security services “unacceptable.”

She called on them to “avoid any further escalation of the violence and to pursue political dialogue to peacefully settle internally disputed matters,” and also to respect their commitment to the International Pact on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees the right to peaceful protest.

At least eight people were killed in street clashes in Tehran when police and Basij militia members confronted protest marchers who were attempting to gather at a number of central squares. Sunday’s protests took place on Ashura, a Shiite Islamic holy day devoted to honoring martyrs, often through street marches.

Violent response

According to opposition sources, security forces used tear gas and live ammunition to try to get the marchers to disperse.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle criticized Iran’s tactics as “brutal,” and said that the international community “would be watching, not looking away.”

A spokesman for the French foreign ministry, Bernard Valero, said his country again expressed “deep concern,” and “condemns the arbitrary arrests and violence carried out against ordinary protesters.”

He added that intensification of repression “would lead nowhere.”

The Italian foreign ministry, meanwhile, warned the Islamic republic that “safeguarding human lives is a fundamental value which must be defended everywhere and in every circumstance.”

National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer made a statement on violence in Iran:

We strongly condemn the violent and unjust suppression of civilians in Iran seeking to exercise their universal rights. Hope and history are on the side of those who peacefully seek their universal rights, and so is the United States. Governing through fear and violence is never just, and, as President Obama said in Oslo, it is telling when governments fear the aspirations of their own people more than the power of any other nation.

An article by Nile Gardner, Washington-based foreign affairs analyst for the U.K. Telegraph, was headlined “Iranian protesters are dying for freedom — where is Barack Obama?

Here is a video from Iran. It’s hard to watch, but it has a happy ending. The death toll has risen to 15 18.


(h/t: Ace of Spades)



A Speech Before the Corps of Cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point. by The Elephant's Child
December 2, 2009, 3:30 am
Filed under: Islam, Military, National Security, Terrorism | Tags: , ,

President Obama’s speech announcing his strategy on Afghanistan at The United States Military Academy at West Point was an odd speech.  He announced a surge of 30,000 troops, partly in the hope that NATO would make up the rest of the 40,000 that General Stanley McChrystal requested.  His strong words about the necessity for success were belied by his defensiveness about doing so.

To be fair, the President is stuck between a rock and a hard place.  He clearly doesn’t want to be involved in Afghanistan, and is much more comfortable with his hard left base who oppose all war on general principles.  He made sure to mention that he “opposed the War in Iraq which left our unity on national security issues in tatters, and created a highly polarized and partisan backdrop for this effort.”

Obama seems unable to recognize that his constant attempts to blame everything on Bush, denigrate everything that the Bush administration did, is not only classless, but exactly what has created a “highly polarized and partisan background.”  When politics permeates everything, it doesn’t stop at the water’s edge, as our tradition demands.

The Left opposed the War in Iraq by claiming that the “right war” was instead in Afghanistan — going after al Qaeda.  That allowed the Left to avoid being characterized as anti-war;  but now, faced with Afghanistan, they have no excuses and are united in opposition.  And they really don’t want to spend any money on the war.  The money is needed for their dream of socialized medicine, and that is going to be very expensive indeed.  Spending the rest of the stimulus money on the war or scaling back health care is, of course, not an option.  They’ll tax “the rich” some more.

Obama is trying to have it both ways.  He doesn’t like the war, and wants “to end the era of war and suffering,” but it had better be cost-effective and cost-effective within 18 months.

The Left got onto this “exit strategy” thing with Iraq, demanding to know what Bush’s “exit strategy” was.  Those a little more familiar with war find the question foolish.  The exit strategy is when you win, when you accomplish your objective, but not a date which the enemy can just wait for.

We want President Obama and his strategy to succeed in Afghanistan.  We want success on the battlefield.  There is a lot of talk about “nation building”, but our aim is to protect the citizens and to train the Afghan army to protect the citizens.  The people fear the Taliban, and will not help unless and until they feel secure.

My sense of this is that President Obama is completely uncomfortable with war.  He has little knowledge of combat or battle, and little understanding of the military or how it works.  “Victory” was never mentioned.  He said “As President, I refuse to set goals that go beyond our responsibility, our means, or our interests.  And I must weigh all of the challenges that our nation faces.  I don’t have the luxury of committing to just one.”

I suspect that he never watches war movies, nor has read accounts of battles.  It’s just unfamiliar, uncomfortable territory.  Which is why he thinks an exit strategy is important, and a goal of eliminating nuclear weapons is plausible. And why he dithered for three months about simply making a choice.

And why he brags about his small efforts to recognize the military like “signing a letter of condolence to each family, reading letters from parents and spouses, and traveling to Dover to meet flag-draped coffins.” The commitment and pride with which Americans volunteer to serve in the military must be near incomprehensible.

“Ive spent this year renewing our alliances and forging new partnerships,” he said.  “And we have forged a new beginning between America and the Muslim world — one that recognizes our mutual interest in breaking a cycle of conflict, and that promises a future in which those who kill innocents are isolated by those who stand up for peace and prosperity and human dignity.” Soaring words, but with little relation to the real world. An odd speech, very odd.

I will support the effort in Afghanistan unreservedly.  I hope the President does as well. The men and women who serve deserve our full support.



The United States of America’s Bad Neighbor Policy. by The Elephant's Child
August 31, 2009, 12:25 am
Filed under: Developing Nations, Foreign Policy, Latin America, Socialism | Tags: , ,

Honduran Flag

The U.S. State Department staff have recommended that the ouster of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya be determined to be a “military coup.”  Last week the Obama-style Good Neighbor Policy announced that visa services for Honduran are suspended indefinitely, and that some $135 million in bilateral aid might be rescinded.

To recap a little recent history, Honduras has been quite aware of the tendency in Latin America for Presidents to suddenly get the ambition to convert their tenure into a more rewarding lifelong term.  Observing this, the Honduran people wrote into their Constitution, Article 249, which states that any president who tries for a second term automatically loses the privilege of his office.  Mr. Zelaya did attempt to secure a longer term with the help of his buddy Hugo Chavez (who has already declared himself Dictator for life), and the Supreme Court of Honduras ordered the Army to evict Mr. Zelaya from the country.

Back home, things have not been going well for President Obama. His approval ratings are tanking—according To Rasmussen, 42 percent strongly disapprove of his job performance, while only 32 percent strongly approve.  His SEIU thugs, ordered to be approving attendees at ObamaCare town halls, have been a little thuggish and exceeded their instructions.

The British released the Lockerbie bomber in return for an oil agreement with Libya, ignoring American concerns. Obama’s budget management has proved to be ephemeral, and the Congressional Budget Office says spending will reach 23 percent of GDP without the health care plan or the Waxman-Markey climate bill.

So with things going so badly, Mr. Obama doesn’t need another loss, particularly from a small Central American country that dares to defy  imperial orders from Washington.  Behind the scenes, the State Department has been putting intense pressure on Honduras to return Mr. Zelaya to power.  Mary O’Grady of the Wall Street Journal says:

Mr. Obama apparently wants in on this leftie-fest.  He ran for president, in essence, against George W. Bush. Mr Bush was unpopular in socialist circles.  This administration wants to show that it can be cool with Mr. Chavez and friends.

There have been reports that U.S. officials have been calling Latin governments to demand that they support the U.S. position.  Prominent Hondurans complain that a State Department official has been pressuring the interim government to accept the return of Mr. Zelaya to power.  So in effect they are demanding that Honduras ignore their constitution and follow U.S. orders.  Threatening to use all U.S. power against a small, poor Latin Democracy is not exactly a way to be “cool.”

But then promoting Democracy doesn’t seem to be on President Obama’s agenda.



A Letter from General John Kelly, from Iraq. by The Elephant's Child

Michael Ledeen posted a letter, at National Review, from Marine General John Kelly which was sent to Blackfive after the recent Iraqi elections.

This is what everyone should see, and what President Obama should be celebrating — the incredible American victory in Iraq.  Kelly writes of Anbar Province, as Michael Ledeen says, “once the most dangerous province in the country, and now the most peaceful, thanks to the Marine Corps, the Army, and a lot of brave Iraqis.”General Kelly said:

I don’t suppose this will get much coverage in the States as the news is so good.  No, the news is unbelievable.

Something didn’t happen in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, today.  Once the most violent and most dangerous places on earth, no suicide vest bomber detonated killing dozens of voters.  No suicide truck bomber drove into a polling place collapsing the building and killing and injuring over 100.  No Marine was in a firefight engaging an Al Qaida terrorist trying to disrupt democracy.

What did happen was the Anbar Sunnis came out in their tens of thousands to vote in the first free election of their lives.

Read the rest of the letter here.  It’s not long, but oh my, it is heartwarming.



A Much-Needed Reminder. by The Elephant's Child
February 9, 2009, 2:55 am
Filed under: Economy, Socialism | Tags: , ,

(h/t: PowerLine)



It’s Election Time Again in Iraq, and We Wish Them Well. by The Elephant's Child
January 28, 2009, 8:28 pm
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Freedom, Heartwarming | Tags: , ,

Saturday is the main polling day for Iraqi Provincial elections, but around 600,000 police, soldiers, hospital patients and prisoners were eligible to cast early ballots today, to help avoid logistical and security problems which troubled the parliamentary  election of January 2005 when the vote was held on a single day.

The chairman of the Independent High Electoral Commission told reporters that “Turnout was huge,” after the polls closed at 5 pm.  He said that there were no violations or irregularities.  Security was very tight.

Iraq is holding the elections in 14 of its 18 provinces on Saturday.  About 15 million citizens  are eligible to vote.  Prime Minister Nuri as-Maliki is hopeful of a turnout between 70-80 percent.  They will choose from among 14,000 candidates for 440 seats.

In 2005 many Sunni Arabs boycotted the elections, but this time around they are expected to vote in large numbers to reverse the political imbalance that resulted from their failure to vote last time.   That rejection allowed Shiite and Kurdish parties to take control of parliament which bred resentment among Sunnis and was at least partly to blame for the violent insurgency that took so many lives.

A story from an American soldier told of a very pregnant Iraqi woman standing in line to vote in the last election.  She went into labor, and with the help of an American medic, delivered the baby right there.  She thrust the baby into the arms of the soldier, and went in to vote.

Many doubt that change can really come to the Middle East, but when millions of women proudly vote for the first time, it cannot help but create something of an earthquake throughout the region.

General Petraeus, when questioned about the potential for Democracy in Iraq, said that he called it “Iraqracy.”  Not quite like our Republic, but they seem to be on the right track.



A few words about greed on Wall Street. by The Elephant's Child

One word that has been popping up in the campaign with frequency is GREED.  They talk about “greed” on Wall Street, and the “greed” of investment bankers.  Did you ever notice that no one speaks of the “greed of Congress?  I didn’t think so.

What is it that money managers do on Wall Street, and investment bankers and ordinary bankers? They try to earn money for their clients and for themselves, just like Earl and Betty do in their little appliance repair store down on Main Street.  Or Joe the plumber does when he hopes to save up and buy a business.  That’s what business is, working to earn a profit so that lives are nurtured and improved with the gain.  No profit, no business, at least not for long.  Frankly, it is fairly hard to earn a profit consistently.

But this should be of concern only if you work for a business, own a business or buy things from a business. But isn’t “greed” something different?  You mean that if you or I earn a profit or make money on something, it is just an exchange, but if someone on Wall Street earns a profit or makes money it is greed?

Then there must be  dividing line, but we don’t know where it is.  Is it $10,000, $100,000, or $1,000,000? Below the line, it’s O.K. and if you earn more than that, it’s greed?  Do you see how silly this is? This is “class warfare”.  Politicians want to point to that fellow over there, and say — envy him, look upon him with rage and contempt, hate him — because he is greedy — for making a profit.

That’s not how America works. Capitalism works. If people have the opportunity to work hard and try to reach the goals that they dream of, they can do it, if they are not burdened with fees and taxes and regulations imposed on them by a (greedy) Congress that didn’t do one thing to earn that money except demand that you give it to them.

So when politicians start talking about “greed”, at least recognize just what is going on.  And set your internal monitor so a little alarm goes off.



Happy Fourth of July…….. by The Elephant's Child

WE hold these Truths to be self evident, that all Men
are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator
with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty,
and the Pursuit of Happiness —
That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men,
deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed,
that whenever any Form of Government becomes
destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People
to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,
laying its Foundation on such Principles,
and organizing its Powers in such Form,
as to them shall seem most likely to effect
their Safety and Happiness.

~ Action of the Second Continental Congress, July 4, 1776

________________________________________________

“He ran two start-ups, the army and the presidency, and chaired the most important committee meeting in history, the Constitutional Convention. His agribusiness and real estate portfolio made him into America’s richest man….Men followed him into battle; women longed to dance with him; famous men, almost as great as he was, some of them smarter, did what he told them to do. He was the Founding CEO.”

~Richard Brookhiser on George Washington

________________________________________________

“I have a deep-seated belief that America is unique, strong, great because of a commitment to personal freedom — in our economic system and our politics. We are a free people who consented to be governed. Not vice-versa.”

~Senator John Sununu

________________________________________________

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

~Ronald Reagan

_________________________________________________

“The clear lesson of history is that individual liberty, the basic underpinning of American society, requires constant defense against the encroachment of the state”

~Walter Wriston

__________________________________________________

“A society that puts equality — in the sense of equality of outcome — ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom. The use of force to achieve equality will destroy freedom, and the force, introduced for good purposes, will end up in the hands of people who use it to promote their own interests.”

~Milton Friedman

____________________________________________________

“About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.”

~Calvin Coolidge, July 4, 1926

__________________________________________________

“For it has been said so truthfully that it is
the soldier, not the reporter, who
has given us the freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the agitator,
who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag,
whose coffin is draped by the flag,
who gives that protester
the freedom to abuse and burn that flag.”

~Zell Miller




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