American Elephants

Finally — Proof of Death! by The Elephant's Child

Finally — Proof of Death

There is finally conclusive evidence that Osama bin Laden and Muammar Gaddafi are dead.

Yesterday, they both registered as Democrats to vote in Chicago.

Borrowed shamelessly from Doug Ross@Journal who borrowed it from Papa B

Political Correctness Gone Rogue by The Elephant's Child

Three years after a man with ties to Islamic radical groups killed twelve people while screaming “Allahu Akbar” over and over at the Fort Hood Army Base, the incident is classified as “workplace violence.” You might classify this one as a cover-up as well; it is at the very least, political correctness gone amok.

Major Nidal Hassan was a U.S. Army psychiatrist scheduled to be deployed. He was a loner, and increasingly under the influence of al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki. His superiors were increasingly aware of his odd behavior and Muslim radicalism. But no one did anything about it. The Obama administration has been reluctant to call any incident “terrorism.” Homeland Security has played around with other designations — “violent extremist” seems to be the most popular at the moment. That is a term they are still using for events at Benghazi.

The failure to recognize Islamic terrorism is rooted in a desire to avoid saying anything that would alienate Moslems. Islam, everyone keeps repeating, is a religion of peace. But there are Islamic terrorists and they do have an agenda. Refusing to call it by its correct name is simply a failure to recognize the agenda of those “violent extremists.”

The inaccurate designation of the incident as “workplace violence” is meant to suggest that it is just an ordinary “going postal” situation that could happen anywhere, and don’t even think of blaming Hassan’s superiors for not noticing that he was a danger to everyone around him.

The “workplace violence” designation also deprives Staff Sergeant Shawn Manning, who was shot six times during the attack, of the disability compensation that other wounded service members receive, and eligibility for Purple Hearts or medals for valor. And the twelve dead soldiers are deprived of the recognition they deserve.

Some members of Congress are fighting the classification, but it has not yet been enough. The constant avoidance of not just the designation, but the reality of terrorism, is just wrong and distorts Americans’ understanding of their own nation’s foreign policy.

Heritage’s James Carafano wrote earlier this month:

Clearly, acknowledging that terrorism is alive and well looks bad for the Obama Administration’s rhetoric, which has portrayed Obama as having vanquished Osama bin Laden and thus ending the “war on terrorism.

Playing politics with terrorist incidents and indulging in cover-ups to prevent public knowledge is more than unbecoming, it is dishonest, and unworthy of the office.

I’ve Got a Bunch of Drunk Robins In The Yard by American Elephant
October 23, 2012, 10:48 pm
Filed under: Environment, Fun n Games, Science/Technology | Tags: , ,

Dozens of robins are in the midst of a three-day, fermented-berry-bender in my yard. They spend the whole day eating berries, getting plastered, cackling, flying about drunkenly, smashing into windows and pooping on everything in sight. It’s quite amusing.

The trees are mountain ashes. There are two at my house. The picture undoubtedly comes from a gardening book because it is quite perfect. Mine are scraggly and yellowed, having dropped half their leaves, partly because it is October, but more because the berries have now reached a stage of desirable fermentation. The robins are having a blast.

I’ve no idea why robins are such notable alcoholics, there are lots of other kinds of birds here who don’t seem to succumb, but these birds are partying like they’re out to prove something.

I’ve been told that the robins in the Bay Area go after Pyracantha berries, also red,  as well, get stinking drunk and poop all over everybody’s cars. Lots of Pyracantha in California. The people who plant them have no idea what they’re getting into!

The World’s Dictators Support Obama by The Elephant's Child

When Governor Romney criticized President Obama’s “Apology Tour,” and quoted Obama’s apology for “dictating to other countries,” he gave one of the most memorable lines of the debate: “America does not dictate to other nations.  America has freed other nations from dictators.”

Oddly enough, in spite of all the apologies, from Moscow to Caracas to Havana, real dictators with long records of enmity towards the United States are endorsing Barack Obama for president.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, after his own rigged re-election declared “If I were American, I would Vote for Obama. He is my candidate.” This was his second endorsement in a week, and then he went off  on his plans to increase Venezuelan socialism.

Mariela Castro, daughter of Cuba’s ruling chief Raul Castro, Fidel’s brother, told CNN “As a citizen of the world I would like for Obama to win. Obama deserves a second chance and he needs greater support to move forward with his projects which I believe come from the heart.”

Vladimir Putin, once and still president of Russia said “Obama is a genuine person who really wants to change much for the better,” in what the Moscow Times said was widely viewed as his most direct endorsement of Obama. He’s apparently waiting till after the election when Mr. Obama “can be more flexible.”

That prominent gathering of dictators, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights warned Americans that a vote for Mitt Romney was “a vote for torture,” an “indirect” endorsement of Obama.

The Gulf Times, a newspaper closely allied with the autocratic rulers of Dubai endorsed Obama, significant because the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is a part, was found to be financing “Promised Land,” a Hollywood film starring Matt Damon with the mission to discourage fracking in the U.S. which would cut back on U.S. consumption of Gulf oil.

Chinese cash has been illegally flowing into Obama’s campaign coffers through the Chinese website

There was a sudden declaration reported by Iran’s mullahs last weekend of “peace talks” soon to be held if Americans vote for Obama — which Obama denied.

Nations that regard America as an enemy prefer a weak America that they can manipulate. That’s just the way the world works.

Here Are A Few of the Apologies From the “Apology Tour” by The Elephant's Child

In last night’s debate, President Obama took angry exception to Governor Romney’s characterization of his “apology tour.” Barack Obama came to office with the idea that the United States must atone for its past policies, whether it is for America’s response to Islamist terrorism or for its overall foreign policy. Obama said during his campaign that he wanted to “fundamentally transform America,” but many thought it was a message about ending the dissent in Washington, not that America is a flawed nation that must seek redemption by apologizing for its past “sins.”

On a number of occasions, the president has sought to apologize for the actions of his own country when addressing a foreign audience. He has already apologized for his country to nearly 3 billion people across Europe, the Muslim world and the Americas.

The strategy of the Obama Administration to combine apology with constant engagement — more talks — is a recipe for failure, and the effect has been a perception of America as weak, self-centered, and a doormat. Obama has misunderstood international popularity as a valid foreign policy. Countries that are not free and do not have the liberties that we take for granted look to America for strong and principled leadership.

The Heritage Foundation has listed ten of the most significant apologies by the President of the United States in his first four months of office. Here are the apologies, excerpts from the speeches and the location and the dates.

  1. Apology to France and Europe (“America Has Shown Arrogance”)
  2. Apology to the Muslim World (“We Have Not Been Perfect”)
  3. Apology to the Summit of the Americas (“At Times We Sought to Dictate Our Terms”)
  4. Apology to the G-20 World Summit (“Some Restoration of America’s Standing in the World”)
  5. Apology for the War on Terror (“We Went off Course”)
  6. Apology in France for Guantanamo (“Sacrificing Your Values”)
  7. Apology to Turkish Parliament (“Our Own Darker Periods in Our History”)
  8. Apology for US Policy to the Americas (“The United States Has Not Pursued and Sustained Engagement With Our Neighbors”)
  9. Apology for Mistakes of the CIA (“Potentially We’ve Made Some Mistakes”)
  10. Apology in Washington for Guantanamo (“A Rallying Cry for Our Enemies”)

Do read the whole thing, you have to get the context. This is a man who took all the nasty things the Left said about the Bush Administration to heart, thought they were true, and something on which to base his presidency.  Big Mistake.

A Strong America Makes the World Safer. by The Elephant's Child

Last night Bob Schieffer did a fine job of moderating and keeping the focus on the candidates.  Governor Romney came to the debate, opting for a strategy that demonstrated his familiarity with the problems of the world, his ability to focus on what is important, and remaining cool and confident.

Many of his supporters, incensed by the scandal of the administration’s bungling of the Benghazi attack, expected the governor to take him on, and were disappointed. Romney was absolutely clear on what it was all about. A successful foreign policy depends on a strong America, and a strong America depends on a strong economy.

The Obama campaign had made a great effort to portray Mitt Romney as an out-of-touch rich businessman who got rich by nefarious means, attempting to describe Bain Capital as some kind of corporate raider, and Romney as callous and uncaring. It’s true, he is rich. But the first debate where Obama seemed unprepared, contemptuous and snarky revealed a Mitt Romney who was completely different from the Obama team’s portrayal. Here was a businessman who believed his success at reviving and growing businesses, rescuing the Salt Lake Winter Olympics from scandal and financial crisis, and as a successful governor gave him the tools to successfully tackle an economy far too long in recession.

1. Obama has done a bad job of being president. The economy he inherited was indeed in deep trouble, but the recession he “inherited” from George W. Bush ended (officially) in June 2009. He simply did not have the skill set to address it, and had the wrong ideas about what to do. He also inherited a dangerous world, and failed to understand how to make it safe. The country is far from better off after four years. A president who cannot say the word “terrorism” does not clearly understand today’s world.

2. Mitt Romney, in person, was obviously not the scary fellow portrayed by the Obama campaign. He was a successful businessman who had learned a lot of lessons in 25 years of growing companies and creating jobs, and has sound ideas about how to restore the economy and create jobs. America has enormous wealth in energy, and out abundant supplies of cheap natural gas can fuel a resurgent economy. People saw a Romney that was not only what he appeared to be, but clearly someone who could do the job.

Obama clearly failed the first debate. Even the most ardent Obama supporters were dismayed. So in the second debate, the unfortunate Townhall format, Obama came back ready for battle, angry, snarky, aggressive, belligerent, with an attack still based on Democrat campaign ads that portray that out-of-touch rich fellow. Romney seemed presidential, focused, in command of facts and figures.

Last night, if Governor Romney seemed restrained, controlled and presidential, Obama seemed like the desperate challenger. He gazed steadily at Romney with what twitterers called “the death stare” and was snarky and condescending. The exchange about the Navy was telling. Obama tried to claim that the military doesn’t want or need the men and equipment that he is trying to eliminate. This is a flat-out lie. The Military is screaming bloody murder to the extent they can while still respecting the authority of the Commander in Chief.

Romney responded that Obama’s cuts to the Navy would take the Navy back to its state in 1916. Obama responded that the nature of the military had changed and we now had ships with flat surfaces that planes land on, and other kinds of ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines, and furthermore perhaps Romney didn’t realize that the military didn’t depend on horses and bayonets any more. Um, the Navy doesn’t call them ships, they call them boats, and the military in Afghanistan has depended on horses, and every Marine gets extensive training in bayonet use, because they are still needed in close combat. This was supposedly a good line for Obama according to his supporters who are a little fuzzy on things military, but it infuriated members of the military and veterans who were appalled by presidential misinformation.

Romney did tackle Obama on his “Apology Tour,” to which Obama responded that reporters would tell him that there was no apology. Well, yes the compliant media perhaps would. Obama’s apology for “dictating to other nations” drew the response from Governor Romney that “America does not dictate to other nations; America has freed other nations from dictators.”

Romney may not have been aggressive in the final debate, but he was presidential, clear and absolutely focused. He passed the Commander in Chief test.

About the Debate Last Night— Not that One—The One Between Michelle and Ann: by The Elephant's Child

Jimmy Kimmel sent out someone to ask ordinary voters what their reactions were to the First Lady Debate last night between Michelle Obama and Ann Romney. Their reactions may be just about what you expected.

Can We Cut Government Waste and Overspending? by The Elephant's Child
October 21, 2012, 9:09 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Progressivism, Statism | Tags: , ,

The Obama campaign has tried valiantly tried to arouse the nation’s young mothers of toddlers and small children to fury with accusations that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to kill off Big Bird. Well, no they don’t. They want to deprive PBS of the small amount of government funding that was granted back when there were three TV channels and one Public Broadcasting Station, and it was thought that Public broadcasting needed protection from the rapacious advertising industry.

PBS is flush with cash, well-funded, and hasn’t needed government funding for years, nor has Sesame Street. Licensing uses of Sesame Street characters is a huge and profitable business.

President Obama asserted on national T.V. at Hofstra University that women “rely on ” Planned Parenthood for mammograms, a nice defense of Planned Parenthood, but unfortunately Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms anywhere.  Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion provider, but its supporters refuse to admit that they don’t supply mammograms.

So a pro-life group called Live Action organized a “Call Planned Parenthood to Schedule Your Imaginary Mammogram Day.” Over 2,000 people claimed they were participating on the organization’s Facebook page.

Well, my goodness. So all that “women’s health care” is just about abortion and contraceptives? But they don’t need the government support either. It just goes to show you how very difficult it is to get liberals to agree to cutting any government expenditures.

Fifty federally funded job training programs are officially certified to fail to work, and impossible to get rid of. Same kind of thing exists in most departments. Inspectors General expose these things, and the results get filed, or so it seems. It may be a case of eternal life, or will we come up with the necessary real determination to cut back the size and reach of government?

How come it’s always Progressives who cling desperately to the way things have always been done, and reject any change for a more prosperous future?

Fox News’ Authoritative Timeline of Events in Benghazi by The Elephant's Child

Politics, statecraft, avoidance, security, cover-ups, falsehoods and the word that must never be uttered — terrorism. The raid that killed bin Laden was to be the great accomplishment of Obama’s first term. With bin Laden’s death and the president’s “kill list” for drone strikes, the administration has assumed that al Qaeda was greatly diminished and no longer a major concern.

But that isn’t true. The widely heralded “Arab Spring” was not a matter of the Arab states of North Africa suddenly deciding that they wanted to be peaceful democracies. That delusion has done incalculable damage. Governments make mistakes, misread events, and fail to understand movements, History bears witness to error.

But real lives are at stake, international  perceptions of weakness or strength. Hauling the maker of the video that nobody watched in on a “parole violation,” and sticking him in solitary confinement where he remains a month and a half later, is not just a” coincidence.” Somebody managed to get a drone over Benghazi quickly enough to monitor at least part of the attack.This was not a “bump in the road” nor can the death of an American ambassador in thirty years, his aide and two former SEALS be described callously as “not optimum.”

I rely a lot on the DiploMad 2.0 whom I have been following since the Indonesian earthquake and tsunami on the day after Christmas in 2004.  He reported from Banda Aceh as the rescue efforts began, with a clear voice that we didn’t get from the media. He is since retired, but writes about these things from long experience in some of the world’s tougher spots —”hard countries,” he calls them. His comments are an important addition to the video.

Fox News has consistently and accurately covered this scandal.

Is the White House a “Hostile Workplace?” by The Elephant's Child

There is much confusion about the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. It would be better titled the More Pay for Lawyers Act. Lily Ledbetter woke up one day and complained that her male counterparts were being paid more for the very same work.

Ms. Ledbetter decided to sue for redress for this presumed grievance. She was told that she had missed the statutory deadline, but her case made it to the Supreme Court, who told her too bad, you missed the deadline.

So Congress in their wisdom  passed the Fair Pay Act which extends the statute of limitations for pay-discrimination lawsuits from 180 days from the violation to 180 days after the last paycheck issued that was affected by that discrimination.

All other things being equal, it was already illegal to pay another more money for the same work.

When Katherine Fenton asked Obama what he intended to do about “women making only 72% of what their male counterparts earn,” her question was based on a false premise, and an incorrect statistic. That statistic was calculated by comparing all male with all female workers, regardless of experience, productivity, number of hours worked, or length of service. When like was compared to like, there was little difference.

The question and Obama’s response were designed to emphasize the Democrat campaign theme that Republicans are waging a war on women since they don’t think that taxpayers should have to provide free contraceptives to Georgetown coeds, when they can buy them for only $9 a month. File under unnecessary government expense.

The issue calls attention to several reports indicating that female White House staffers are paid 18% less than male staffers. $$60,000 to $71,000. During the 2008 campaign, Deroy Murdock wrote that from Senate salary records, Obama’s average male employee earned $54,397, while the thirty female employees earned $45,152 on average. Can you say hypocrisy?

The Problem of Regulation: The USDA Lays An Egg. by The Elephant's Child

The Obama Administration is absolutely opposed to requiring photo ID to cast a ballot. But the administration’s  latest bright idea comes down as a rule from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) requiring the nation’s farmers to prove the identity of every chicken that is transported across state lines. What? This is Ethel, Genevieve and Mabel — Henrietta is the red one.

A flock that is hatched, fatted and butchered as a single unit may be transported from state to state with a “group identification,” but chickens of varying ages and sources may be mingled. In that case, under the law, they will have to attach sealed and numbered leg bands to every bird they transport.

The feds say the regulation is needed to improve the “traceability” of livestock in order to control animal disease. However the Regulatory Impact Analysis that comes with the proposed rule lacks “any quantification of benefits of the very real costs. Nearly 9 billion chickens went to market last year, moving from hatcheries to farms to slaughter houses. Life expectancy for broilers is only five to eight weeks. In that time  their IDs would have to be changed several times  — with documentation — to accommodate leg growth. The USDA wants all such records to be maintained for five  years.

I wonder who owns the factory that produces the “sealed and numbered leg bands” and accompanying documentation forms. As they always say: “Follow the money.”

A few years back, I thought the ultimate bureaucratic boneheadedness had been achieved when the EU required farmers to write the name of the chicken and the farm on each egg sent to market. I never read of the results of that one, or if it endures. This would seem to equal the stupidity.

Benefits? Non-existent.  Any evidence of disease  typically results in the destruction of the flock. Only healthy birds are eligible for slaughter and resale. But keeping records on previously deceased chickens for five years is absurd.

This regulation clearly demonstrates that there are way too many federal employees who don’t have enough to do, and departments can be slashed or eliminated with a clear conscience. Way to go, Secretary Vilsack. You’ve just proved something many of us have been claiming for years, and demonstrated the regulatory burden that government places on small business.

These Are, They Tell Us, Obama Voters. by The Elephant's Child

%d bloggers like this: