American Elephants


The Most Important Video You Will Watch This Year. by The Elephant's Child

This beautifully made and powerful video from the SpecialOps and Intelligence (ret.) community is important to let people know the extent to which this administration has betrayed America’s national intelligence, endangered lives, and destroyed relations, just for pure personal political gain. Selling out America and Americans. If enough people watch this, the election is over.



Everything You Wanted to Know About Immigration and the Border Wars by The Elephant's Child

The argument about legal and illegal immigration is usually heated and extremely confused. A very large percentage of Americans simply want immigration laws that are obeyed and enforced, and they don’t want drug suppliers or terrorists from Latin America entering the country illegally. We want people here on temporary visas to go home when their time is up. That doesn’t seem either too complicated or in any way unfair.

We prize the text on the Statue of Liberty — “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” in recognition of the fact that America is a nation of immigrants, and a lot of tired, poor immigrants have contributed greatly to our country. On the other hand, we want to welcome those who come with big brains  and  big bank accounts who want the freedom to create wonders. We are troubled when foreign students come to our universities to get advanced degrees in engineering and physics and then we send them home, even if they want to stay. And those who overstay their visas need to go home.

Any child born in the United States is a citizen, yet we have “tourists”who come here specifically to give birth to an American citizen. We are troubled by the idea that all of a citizen’s relatives may get a spot in line before others.  The whole immigration thing is impossibly complicated, and enormously political.

Then add in cries of racism, prejudice and ethnic profiling directed at those who want legal limitations on immigration. Many feel empathy for illegal immigrants who have avoided questions about their legal status, settled here and paid taxes, and think they should be offered amnesty. Others see no end to the amnesty because there is a constant influx of illegal immigrants who settle and establish themselves. There are somewhere between 9 million and 11 million illegals here.

Democrats usually favor amnesty and even open borders because they believe that Hispanic immigrants are reliable Democrat voters, and obtaining power is always on the mind of a Democrat politician. Memos from the Department of Homeland Security’s highest ranks show that the Obama administration has tried to form a strategy to achieve amnesty for the illegal  population without input from Congress.

The course decided upon seems to be “prosecutorial discretion” in an ICE memo of June 2011, that prevents the enforcement of immigration law, and is effectively worker authorization for much of the current illegal population. Federal lawyers are escalating their crackdown on tough immigration laws, and challenge state laws in court. The Justice Department has sued Arizona and Alabama, and gone after Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  In January, the administration proposed new hardship rules to make it easier for illegals to apply for legal status if they have a spouse or parent already living here. The Washington Post says “Immigrant-rights groups call the move a “tremendous victory.” Others, who obeyed the rules and came to the country legally are deeply offended.

There are 20.7 million acres of federal land along the U.S.–Mexico border. There are also over 1,000 miles of federal land along the U.S.–Canada border. The number of illegals detained at the border has fallen in recent years— the promise of jobs is down, but there  is an  increase in violent criminals, drug smugglers and human traffickers. Reports of Iran-sponsored activity in Mexico are increasing.

You’ve got the Coronado National Forest, the Sonoran Desert National Monument, The Organ Pipe National Monument and the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge which is directly adjacent to the border. Oversight of one sort  or another is provided by the U.S. Forest Service (Dept. of Agriculture) the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Park Service (NPS) — all Department of Interior Agencies. Then you have the Department of Homeland Security, which supervises customs, immigration and naturalization, transportation security, and — the U.S Border Patrol.

The previous paragraph exposes the problems. Who is in charge of what? Add to that the Sierra Club, Wilderness Society, Greenpeace, Earthjustice, World Wildlife Fund and the Center for Biological Diversity. There are also ranchers who own private land and lease public lands along the border. There’s the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

For  environmental groups, activities that assist in securing the border may do damage to healthy ecosystems. In other words, ecosystems trump security and American safety. DHS has given university researchers a grant of $771,000 to track jaguar wanderings. Since 1996, there have been confirmed sightings of five jaguars in Arizona and New Mexico. Whether these endangered animals are native to Arizona or only visiting from Mexico is unknown. This is a portion of the $6.8 million grant to Interior for environmental projects—to compensate for environmental damage done by illegals and border protection activities including the border fence.

H.R. 1505:  The National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act was introduced last April by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) to protect federal lands from being despoiled and to secure the borders. It would “prohibit the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture from taking action which would impede border security.” In other words, it gives the Border Patrol instead of federal land managers operational control over U.S. borders on public lands. It gives DHS authority over federal lands within 100 miles of the border, and authorization to waive any environmental policies that impede border security.

Turf battle. Enraged Greenies. A serious problem in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, for all the agencies, and for local law enforcement. Obama has directed that only those convicted of serious crimes will be deported. He pushed for the DREAM Act again in the SOTU speech. He has pressured staff to speed up and approve immigrant visa applications, even when fraud is suspected. He has cut back on Border Patrol personnel, and now there’s a new Illegal Alien Czar to make nice with illegals, Latino organizations, the “stakeholder community,” and to fail to remove those who might be potential voters. Andrew Lorenz-Strait is the nation’s first “public advocate” for the U.S. Customs and Enforcement Agency. Obama wants the Latino vote.  And he intends to devise any way he can to get around Congress and do what he pleases.

The drug wars in Mexico are spilling over into Arizona. A woman shopping on a downtown street in El Paso a few days ago, was shot by bullets flying across the border from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Bullets have struck a local high school, City Hall and the University of Texas at El Paso. El Paso is generally safe, but Juarez is one of the most dangerous cities in the hemisphere.

Representative Bishop and his committee seem to have drawn up a sensible bill that tries to address the most urgent problems. The current situation is untenable, and the administration attempt to use it as a way to buy votes is shameful. When we do not control the border, that is just the beginning of the problems that result.



We Are Less Free and Less Safe by The Elephant's Child

The Heritage Foundation has just released the 18th annual Index of Economic Freedom, released with The Wall Street Journal.

Economic freedom — the ability of individuals to control the fruits of their labor and pursue their dreams — is central to prosperity around the world. Heritage and The Wall Street Journal measure economic freedom by studying its pillars: the rule of law, limited government, regulatory efficiency, and open markets. Things like property rights, freedom from corruption, government spending, free trade, labor policies, and one’s ability to invest in and create businesses all factor in to a country’s economic freedom.

In 2011 economic freedom declined worldwide as many governments attempted to spend their way our of recession, which has never worked.  Rapid expansion of government appears to be responsible . Government spending not only failed to halt the economic crisis, but may well be prolonging the trouble. The U.S. economic freedom score has dropped from 81.2 in 2007 to 76.3 in 2012, on a scale of 1-100.

And we are not only less free, but we are less safe as well. The administration has, for three years, followed what they claim to be a strategy of ‘retrenchment.‘ We have withdrawn from Iraq, set a deadline for Afghanistan, called off further expansion of NATO, signed arms-control treaties and now decimated the Pentagon budget.

What they have presented as a strategic vision is seen by the rest of the world as plain old weakness. Osama bin Laden was not the source of all danger in the world, and eliminating him doesn’t mean that “the tide of war is receding.” Our allies have reason to question the strength of our commitments.

Our financial difficulties are not a function of spending on the military, for the cost of being perceived as weak and indecisive can be astronomical. Americans have long believed that the last war was the last one, and that peace is the natural state of the world. Politicians, eager to have more money to spend, believe in peace dividends — money they are entitled to spend now that war is a thing of the past.

The U.S. is the only country in the world without a substantial nuclear modernization program. After Russia signed the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which unilaterally reduced U.S. forces, Moscow announced the largest nuclear modernization program since the end of the Cold War. America, meanwhile, continues on a path of unilateral disarmament now under the guise of budget constraints.

Section 1227 of the 2012 defense authorization bill prohibits spending any funds that would be used to give Russian officials access to sensitive missile-defense technology as part of a cooperation agreement without first reporting to Congress identifying the specific secrets, how they’d be used and what steps will be taken to protect data from compromise.  Obama is required to certify that any technology shared will not be passed on to countries such as China, North Korea or Iran, and that Russia will not use transferred secrets to develop countermeasures and that the Russians are reciprocating in sharing.

President Obama issued a signing statement, something he had previously opposed. He said in the statement that:

he would treat these legal restrictions as “non-binding” and that “my administration will also interpret and implement section 1244  (sic) in a manner that does not interfere with the president’s constitutional authority to conduct foreign affairs and avoids the undue disclosure of sensitive diplomatic communications.

He already betrayed Poland and the Czech Republic who were to host ground-based interceptors (Poland) and missile-tracking radar (Czech Republic).  Moscow objected so Obama obediently pulled the plug. Obama claimed we had a better approach that called for using three versions of the Navy’s Standard SM-3 interceptor missile that forms the backbone of its Aegis missile-defense system. The fourth phase is a missile scheduled for 2020, still on the drawing board, that would intercept hostile missiles in the “early intercept” phase.  The Russians want the SM-3 secrets and Obama appears to be willing to share.

In spite of Obama’s wishful thinking and desire for nuclear disarmament, Russia continues to rearm. Russia just announced the deployment of the new RSM-56 Bluava submarine launched ballistic missile.  The administration’s engagement with Russia has been well-represented with Hillary Clinton’s “reset” button.  More to the point were Ronald Reagan’s words:  “Trust, but Verify.”



“Turning the Page On A Decade of War”And Gutting the Military! by The Elephant's Child

Oh Gawd, it’s “peace dividend” time again!  Obama made a rare trip to the Pentagon, flanked by his four service chiefs and his Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and saying that:

The United States of America is the greatest force for freedom and security that the world has ever known. And in no small measure, that’s because we’ve built the best-trained, best-led, best-equipped military in history — and as Commander-in-Chief, I’m going to keep it that way.

Uh huh, and then he proceeded with a lot of how wonderful our military is, and all the historic investments we’ve made in the military, the usual lovely baritone meaningless words, at which point he bragged on his administration:

And thanks to their extraordinary service, we’ve ended our war in Iraq. We’ve decimated al Qaeda’s leadership. We’ve delivered justice to Osama bin Laden, and we’ve put that terrorist network on the path to defeat. We’ve made important progress in Afghanistan, and we’ve begun to transition so Afghans can assume more responsibility for their own security. We joined allies and partners to protect the Libyan people as they ended the regime of Muammar Qaddafi.

And having congratulated himself, he said “Now we’re turning the page on a decade of war:” His words paint a pretty picture of how our splendid military has done a wonderful job and now we need to slash defense, gut the military, eliminate weapons. The White House settled on $450 billion in cuts in the military budget last year with Congress through 2021, on top of $350 billion in weapons programs killed earlier.  Defense spending will fall by 1% next year, and another $500 billion in possible cuts starting next January unless Congress steps in first.

It was left to Defense Secretary Leon Pannetta to deal with “the savings we have been mandated to achieve.” Panetta said in an earlier statement that the ordered cuts would lead to a “hollow” military. The Navy will shrink from today’s 300 vessels to 238 and would lose two carrier battle groups. Strategic bombers will fall from 153 to 101. Air Force fighters would drop by more than half from 3,602 aircraft to 1,512 planes. And apparently our nuclear arsenal will be cut as well.

The military is a huge bureaucracy and of course there are savings that can be made.  This is not about that, but about politics. The budget is out of control, and the president refuses to rein in entitlements, the really big problem. He won’t  rein in either the energy department or the EPA, not cut back on his subsidies for his clean energy fantasy. He still wants to do infrastructure. Every effort to cut back on spending is met with fierce resistance from the White House, but the Left does not like the military, and does not really grasp the need for one.

Obama has apologized to the world for American power and success, and succeeded only  in convincing the world that America is a hollow giant with a weak indecisive leader. The entire Mediterranean is a tinder keg, taken over by the Muslim Brotherhood. Iran is close to developing a nuclear weapon, yet with an increasingly restive population. Syria is aflame and Assad continues slaughtering his people.  China is developing a carrier force, and growing its military apace. Obama is surrendering to the Taliban in Afghanistan, and his pullout of troops from Afghanistan and Iraq may well destroy all our accomplishments there. Iran is threatening to close the Straits of Hormuz, and working hard in South America and Mexico to create trouble.

We have a long history of “Peace Dividends,” always disastrous and leaving more young lives destroyed. A weak country invites aggression.



I’ll Show You Mine, If You Will Show Me Yours. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama’s goal is to show a friendlier face to other countries, and to coax Russia into doing the same.  This is intended to be a confidence-building initiative begun last fall when Obama abandoned the U.S. missile-defense system being installed in Eastern Europe that had so upset the Russians.

Even though the system was designed to protect against future missiles from Iran, Obama mistakenly hoped that such a unilateral U.S. forfeiture would encourage Russia to put pressure on Iran to halt its nuclear weapons development.

That didn’t work, and the new START Treaty allows Russia to sell missiles to Iran at will.  So to indulge further in such confidence-building, a confidential U.S. note was sent to 128 other countries two weeks ago, according to George Jahn of A.P.

The United States … will provide pre-launch notification of commercial and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) space launches as well as the majority of intercontinental ballistic and submarine-launched ballistic missile launches.

There is something here that I am not quite grasping. This is a “confidential” note from the President to 128 of his closest friends, designed to build confidence because we will tell you whenever we are going to have a secret launch of our secret weapons?  And this builds “confidence” in what?

If we so readily blab our own military secrets, then others are going to tell us their secrets?  This sounds like grade school — “You tell me your secret and I’ll tell you mine.”

The 129 countries are members of the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation.  Four of the world’s nuclear-armed nations belong to the convention —The U.S., Russia, France and Britain.  I was really worried about France and Britain’s missiles.  Russia has not often told the truth in living memory.  And China, North Korea, Pakistan and India and Iran do not belong, and do not provide notice. So as N. Korea and S. Korea are close to war, this effort has helped…?

I have long believed in a tiny, infectious worm that enters the ear canal.  When it reaches the brain, it expels a thick, cloud-like substance that gradually surrounds the brain, making thought slow and ineffective.  It seems to be especially attracted to urban liberals, and is often contracted in crowded classrooms of Ivy-League colleges and universities.



So What Do We Do With a Terrorist? by The Elephant's Child
February 1, 2010, 1:33 pm
Filed under: Islam, Law, Military, Terrorism | Tags: , ,

The problem of treating a terrorist as a common criminal to be tried in open federal court is poorly understood, and confusing.

Andy McCarthy, author of Willful Blindness — an account of the trial of the first World Trade Center bombing in which he was a prosecutor, highly recommends this article by General Mike Hayden, former CIA Director, in Sunday’s Washington Post.  General Hayden gets a lot into a short essay.



There is a Splendid Venue for the KSM Trial, on Beautiful Guantanamo Bay. Cheaper Too. by The Elephant's Child

Friday News Dump:  The White House asked Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department to find an alternative site to hold the federal trial of  9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-conspirators.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the NYC Police Commissioner are opposed to a New York trial.  The estimated cost for providing security alone is $200 million a year, and the trials may last for years.  It would paint a large bullseye on the city, any large noise could terrify citizens, the media circus would be hugely disruptive, as well as revealing matters of national security to the world.

Senators from both parties sent a letter to the president asking him to strongly reconsider the decision to try KSM in a Federal Court.  Yesterday Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence publicly withdrew her support.

The administration has absurdly tried to avoid seeing acts of terrorism against the United States as acts of war.  Thomas Sowell points out the mindset of the left as exposed in an editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the professed mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, will be tried the right way — the American way, in a federal courtroom where the world will see both his guilt and the nation’s adherence to the rule of law.

Terrorists are not entitled to the protections of the Geneva Conventions, much less the Constitution of the United States.

The Conventions are designed to protect civilians and soldiers who observe the rules. The pious notion that KSM or Abdulmutallab “deserve their day in court” is nonsense as a matter of law or tradition.

A.G. Holder, when asked pointedly by Sen. Lindsey Graham, when in history terrorists had ever been tried in Federal Court or offered the protections of the Constitution, could not answer.  It appears that when he announced New York City as the trial venue,  he didn’t consult with anyone.

The Justice Department has been asked to “find another venue.” The American people were outraged at the inept treatment of Umar Abdulmutallab, the Christmas Day panty bomber, who was questioned for only 50 minutes before he got his Miranda rights and an attorney who told him not to talk.  That was too much for Congress as well.  If the administration does not do the right thing, Congress may force their hand by denying funding.

It’s time for the administration to acknowledge the folly of deciding to try KSM in federal court and refer him back to a military commission where he belongs.




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