American Elephants

Nationwide Police Response Time by The Elephant's Child
March 19, 2013, 8:21 pm
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Freedom, Law, Politics | Tags: , ,

OK. You’re home alone, and somebody is trying to break into the house downstairs, so you call 911. How long will it take the police to get there?  At Newtown, it took the police twenty minutes to reach the school.

Dianne Feinstein’s assault weapons ban gathered almost no votes and is DOA. The Democrats didn’t like her bill, but will continue to pursue more gun control legislation.

Iraq: Ten Years Ago Today by The Elephant's Child

Today is the tenth anniversary of the beginning of the War on Iraq. Fouad Ajami, a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution and the author, most recently of The Syrian Rebellion is an authority on the Middle East.

Nowadays, few people step forth to speak well of the Iraq War, to own up to the support they gave that American campaign in the Arab world. Yet Operation Iraqi Freedom, launched 10 years ago this week, was once a popular war. We had struck into Afghanistan in 2001 to rout al Qaeda and the terrorists’ Taliban hosts—but the 9/11 killers who brought ruin onto American soil were not Afghan. They were young Arabs, forged in the crucible of Arab society, in the dictators’ prisons and torture chambers. Arab financiers and preachers gave them the means and the warrant for their horrific deeds. …

On the eve of Operation Iraqi Freedom—the first bombs fell on March 19—well over 70% of the American public supported upending the Saddam regime. The temptation to depict the war as George W. Bush’s and Dick Cheney’s is convenient but utterly false. This was a war waged with congressional authorization, with the endorsement of popular acceptance, and with the sanction of more than a dozen United Nations Security Council resolutions calling for Iraq’s disarmament.

On March 19, 2003, President Bush addressed the nation from the Oval Office. He said U.S. forces launched a strike against targets of military opportunity in Iraq, describing the action as the opening salvo in an operation to disarm Iraq and free its people.

From the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, signed into law by President Bill Clinton, Oct. 31, 1998

Since March 1996, Iraq has systematically sought to deny weapons inspectors from the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) access to key facilities and documents, has on several occasions endangered the safe operation of UNSCOM helicopters transporting UNSCOM personnel in Iraq, and has persisted in a pattern of deception and concealment regarding the history of its weapons of mass destruction programs. . . .

On August 14, 1998, President Clinton signed Public Law 105-235, which declared that ‘the Government of Iraq is in material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations’ and urged the President ‘to take appropriate action, in accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws of the United States, to bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations.’ . . .

It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime.

Fouad Ajami’s account goes on to recall:

The rationale for the war sustained a devastating blow in the autumn of 2004 when Charles Duelfer, the chief U.S. arms inspector for Iraq, issued a definitive report confirming that Saddam had possessed no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. The war now stood on its own—and many of its former supporters claimed that this wasn’t what they had signed up for.

The mainstream media, of course, turned sharply against the war, not that they were ever really for it, but they became really vicious.

Here, you might find some of the articles by Douglas Hanson at American Thinker at the time, of interest. Hanson was a US Army reconnaissance officer for 20 years and a veteran of the Gulf War I. He has a background in radiation biology and physiology and was an Atomic Demolitions Munitions Security Officer, and a Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defense Officer. He was assigned as the Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Science and Technology.

•March 2, 2004: “Case Not Closed: Iraq’s WMD Stockpiles”
•May 20,  2004: “Pesticides, Precursors, and Petulance Revisited”
•August 10, 2004: “WMDs in Iraq – the real story begins to emerge”
•April 27, 2006: “The Yellowcake Connection”
•June 28, 2006: Saddam’s WMD: Discovery and Denial

Fouad Ajami continued:

A skilled politician, Mr. Obama made the Iraqi government an offer meant to be turned down—a residual American force that could hardly defend itself, let alone provide meaningful protection for the fledgling new order in Baghdad. Predictably, Iraq’s rulers decided to go it alone as 2011 drew to a close. They had been navigating a difficult course between Iran and the U.S. The choice was made easy for them, the Iranian supreme leader was next door, the liberal superpower was in retreat.

Heading for the exits, Mr. Obama praised Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as “the elected leader of a sovereign, self-reliant and democratic Iraq.” The praise came even as Mr. Maliki was beginning to erect a dictatorship bent on marginalizing the country’s Kurds and Sunni Arabs and even those among the Shiites who questioned his writ.

The historians will deal with the Iraq War in time, when the emotions have died down.

According to CBO numbers, August 2010, the cost of Operation Iraqi Freedom was $709 billion for military and related activities, including training of Iraqi forces and diplomatic operations. The cost of Obama’s failed stimulus, which passed in February 2009, was $862 billion.


Ahhh — Morning Coffee, Around the World: by The Elephant's Child


Few people anywhere begin the day without a hot drink. Coffee, chocolate and tea. Yerba maté, (Argentinian). Creative blends of apple cider vinegar, herbs and honey (really?) But worldwide, coffee dominates. And as with all things popular, they’ve been trying to find something wrong with it for years, with little success. Yes, it can keep you awake at night, so don’t drink it at night.

Here’s a great roundup of how coffee is served around the world from Smithsonian magazine. There are two main species of coffee that are grown in nearly every tropical region. Brazil and Vietnam lead production. And coffee is now the second most in demand commodity after oil. Black, with cream, cream and sugar, iced, flavored, and think of the vast array of coffee makers and coffee pots.

I grew up with a percolator, Folgers, and fresh spring water. My dad liked good coffee, cream and sugar. My mother liked HOT coffee. I swear, the woman had an asbestos tongue.  I have a vast collection of demitasse cups, and never use them. Then there’s Starbucks: double shot caramel macchiato with extra foam and sprinkles.

Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, And Give Them Food Stamps, and Full Welfare Benefits. by The Elephant's Child

We must all celebrate the fact that after four long years, chided constantly by Republicans, the Senate Democrats finally, finally, produced a budget. Yes, there is not much to celebrate in the bill itself— it’s pathetic. First of all, they want to raise your taxes by $1.5 trillion. The bill increases spending by 62% over ten years, and adds $7 trillion to the national debt. You can probably assume that this is closely coordinated with the president’s budget which he will get around to sometime in April.

One thing in Chairman Patty Murray’s budget that has not received much attention is welfare, which has become one of the biggest items in the budget. In the mark-up process in the Senate Budget Committee, Republican senators offered several amendments to address out-of-control spending. The Democrats responded with their usual unanimous No’s. One of these was more than ridiculous than others. Senator Jeff Sessions  described the amendment.

Contrary to sound policy, the United States is spending money advertising food stamp benefits in foreign consulates. This amendment would prohibit any funds from being spent on this controversial promotion campaign.

Federal law has long prohibited immigration to the U.S. by anyone who is likely to become a public charge. The Obama administration is not only ignoring this law, but encouraging immigration to the United States by Mexicans and others specifically because they will become public charges and contribute to the expansion of the welfare system, and guaranteeing more dependents who will vote for Democrats. The administration’s advertising of the food stamp program is pointedly contributing to this effort.The decision to promote the food stamp program is part of the effort to increase dependents and Democrat votes.

Could there be an easier way to cut back on federal spending than to stop advertising the promotion of food stamps to foreign nationals in foreign consulates.

This is the elephant in the room when immigration reform is being discussed. Democrats want a major inflow of poor Mexicans who will come for the generous benefits offered by United States’ Welfare Programs, because they believe they will become dependent on government largesse and be reliable Democratic voters, insuring Democrat dominance in future elections.

This underhanded effort is poisoning efforts to reform our immigration laws, and the problems with immigration continue to multiply.

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