American Elephants

It Was Not a “Tragedy” — It was an Evil Act. by The Elephant's Child


In the Navy Yard shooting, 12 people were killed, 8 were injured. The shooter, Aaron Alexis, bought an uncontroversial shotgun from a licensed dealer,  a background check was done according to the rules. Our laws do not really have any way to identify those who have mental illness.

Government officials are sure that evil acts can be prevented by making a law to prompt government action. Background checks do not weed out the mentally ill. Police response time in the case of the Newtown shooting was 20 minutes, and can vary up to an hour or more depending on traffic. Making laws to ban guns makes politicians feel good, but accomplishes nothing at all. Banning guns does not reduce murder and suicide. Chicago, where guns are banned, is the murder capital of the world.

In 1993, one of President Bill Clinton’s first acts upon taking office, was to ban guns at all military installations — like the Navy Yard, and Fort Hood. Merely a coincidence of course.

Best Photoshop Ever? by The Elephant's Child


Negotiate With The Enemy, But Not With Congress by The Elephant's Child

Was there a point in Mr. Obama’s life when he decided that his experience was sufficient, that he no longer had to change his opinions or revise his convictions? Or is it that he misconceives the nature of the office of the presidency? Has there ever before been a president who reminds us quite so often that he is President of the United States? The underlying assertion is that he is the most important man in the world, and we really have to stop disagreeing with him.

Dan Henninger, in today’s Wall Street Journal, takes up the same point:

We should admit the obvious: Barack Obama is the most anti-political president the United States has had in the post-war era. Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter (even), Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush. All practiced politics inside the tensions between Congress and the presidency that were designed into the system by the Founding Fathers. Not Barack Obama. He told us he was different. He is. …

Some things remain in his mind, like the economic benefits of public infrastructure spending, which appeared one more time in Monday’s post-Navy Yard speech on the lessons of the financial crisis and Congress’s obligations to agree with him. Some things enter his mind and then depart, like red lines in the Syrian sand.

From where he sits, it is the job of the political world outside to adjust and conform to the course of the president’s mental orbit. Those who won’t adjust are dealt with by the president himself. They are attacked publicly until they are too weak politically to oppose what is on his mind.

In the course of things, the president drew a red line in the sand, then he surprised Washington by announcing that he would seek congressional support for taking action against Assad in Syria.  After meeting with the president the Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader, John Boehner and Eric Cantor expressed public support for such action. Public opinion was against it, so the Republican’s support was a big deal.

Then Mr. Obama changed course again, and decided he could negotiate a chemical-arms reduction agreement with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. Since Russia has enthusiastically sold weapons of all sorts to Syria, and still has their own stocks of chemical weapons left over from the Cold War, President Putin seemed fairly unlikely as a benign go-between.

ABC’s Johnathan Karl reported that neither Mr. Boehner nor Mr. Cantor got a heads up from the White House on the U-turn toward Russia. Not exactly good political manners or good sense just before heading into negotiations with that speaker on funding the government, extending the debt ceiling, or the future of your pet legacy achievement — ObamaCare.

On Monday, Mr. Obama spoke on the fifth anniversary of the financial crisis, but the majority of the speech was concerned with ripping into the Republicans in Congress.

“The problem is at the moment, Republicans in Congress don’t seem to be focused on how to grow the economy and build the middle class. I say ‘at the moment’ because I’m still hoping that a light bulb goes off here.”

“The last time the same crew threatened this course of action . . . .” The same crew? As a bonus, we’re getting a post-modern presidential vocabulary. “. . . they’re willing to tank the entire economy.”

“Are they really willing to hurt people just to score political points?”

Let me repeat. Vladimir Putin has been selling weapons to Syria and supporting Bashar Assad for some time. Russia has never abandoned, demolished or discarded their own stock of chemical weapons remaining from the Cold War and earlier. He is not really likely to be delivering a chemical-arms reduction treaty, nor could anyone believe it if he did. Obama is being played in a major way on the international stage by President Putin with headlines in the New York Times, demonstrating the weakness of the American foreign policy and American determination.

Nevertheless, Obama will negotiate with Mr. Putin. It’s Congress with whom he refuses to negotiate. He will not stand for any attempt to reduce his spending. He will not stand for any attempt to reduce his spending. Don’t even attempt it. Even those who mistrust him say that he is an accomplished politician. This is not true. Politics is the art of negotiating, trying to bring opposing views to a consensus that both sides can tolerate in an effort to do the right thing for a divided country. For Obama it’s his way or the highway — there are other names for that.

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