American Elephants


Saudi Arabia Threatens to Sever Diplomatic Ties With U.S. by The Elephant's Child

And on the Foreign Policy front, all is not well either. So how is that vow to “repair America’s frayed alliances” supposedly frayed and battered by the Bush administration working out?

The Kingdom is not keeping secret any longer its disgust with the administration’s policy drift in the Middle East. Prince Turki al Faisal, the former Saudi ambassador in Washington explained his view of the deal Washington struck with Moscow over Syria’s chemical weapons.

“The current charade of international control over Bashar’s chemical arsenal,” the Prince told a London audience, “would be funny if it were not so blatantly perfidious, and designed not only to give Mr. Obama an opportunity to back down, but also to help Assad butcher his people.” It’s a rare occasion when a Saudi royal has the moral standing to lecture an American President, but this was one of them.

The Saudis asked the U.S. to beef up our naval presence in the Persian Gulf against a potential Iranian counter-strike, only to be told that we didn’t have the ships. Mr. Obama was nonchalant about our shrinking Navy. But there are consequences for our actions on the international scene.

If you look at foreign newspapers, it is surprising how much of their “news” is devoted to America and what we’re doing, whether it’s fads or politics or policy. Americans, on the other hand, probably because we live in a big country with major cities across the U.S., don’t really pay much attention to what is going on elsewhere. Part of that is simply language. Most other countries learn English as their second language, Most Americans take a language course in high school, but never learn to speak one.

Mr. Obama has been quite clear that he wants the U.S. to be just another nation among other nations, not a superpower. He opposed the Iraq War as a “dumb war” with no understanding of why we were there, and assumed that the only reason for being in Afghanistan was to “get” bin Laden, which he couldn’t quite bring himself to order when it came to it, until forced into it. We had won the Iraq war, but V.P. Biden could not arrange a status-of-forces agreement, and when al Qaeda in Iraq returned and started killing Iraqis, their foreign minister begged for us to return, but too late. The War in Afghanistan was to be conducted “nicely,” with our troops training Afghan recruits with unloaded weapons to show our niceness, which got a lot of our troops killed. I would be willing to bet that Mr. Obama has never seen a military movie, nor read either any military history, nor any of the great military novels. I may be wrong.

The troubles with Saudi Arabia have been developing for some time. David Ignatius wrote that “Saudi officials in Riyadh that they told him that they increasingly regarded the U.S. as unreliable and would look elsewhere for their security. in 2011.” They were dismayed when we deposed Mubarak and even more so when we backed the Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi. They are afraid of the Iran/Syria nuclear adventurism, as are many other countries in the Middle East, with reason. The Syrian rebels have learned that there really aren’t any red lines, and any adversary can call our bluff. Obama is more eager to court enemies than reassure friends, as the Poles and Czechs have learned, when we withdrew ballistic-missile defense as a way to appease the Russians.

Fouad Ajami explains the problems of the Obama foreign policy cogently in a piece at the Wall Street Journal today, which may be behind a subscription barrier, but read it if you can.

We must not underestimate the tenacity of this regime and its will to rule. We should see through the rosy Twitter messages of President Hasan Rouhani, and the PowerPoint presentations of his foreign minister, Mohammed Jawad Zarif. These men carry out the writ of the supreme leader and can only go as far as the limit drawn by the Revolutionary Guard. …

The gullibility of Mr. Obama’s pursuit of an opening with Iran has unsettled America’s allies in the region. In Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates there is a powerful feeling of abandonment. In Israel, there is the bitter realization that America’s strongest ally in region is now made to look like the final holdout against a blissful era of compromise that will calm a turbulent region. A sound U.S. diplomatic course with Iran would never have run so far ahead of Israel’s interests and of the region’s moderate anti-Iranian Arab coalition.



Day 23: ObamaCare Roundup by The Elephant's Child

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ObamaCare remains the prime subject of conversation as people finally really focus on the law, the rollout, the problems and the flashing red lights for the future. Here are some of the most informative:

From the Washington Examiner: “Obamacare launch spawn 700+cyber-squatters capitalizing on Healthcare.gov state exchanges.”

More than 700 websites have been created with names playing off of Obamacare or Healthcare.gov, making it likely that some Americans will mistakenly hand over private information to unknown third-parties. …  by visiting a website, you’re revealing your interest in a given product — or by identity thieves.

From the American Enterprise Institute: “Obamacare’s next shoe to drop: People buying coverage on the exchanges may owe more money that they’re being told.”

People will undoubtedly find that subsidies that they received were miscalculated, and that they owe more money than they were told.
The current IT problems are a sideshow to these looming harms. The next wave of troubles will be hard to fix. The president will need to seek relief from Congress.

From Ricochet: Peter Robinson recounts “A Brief Conversation About Obamacare”
With two economists — angry, shocked, appalled.

Item:  ObamaCare imposes a marriage penalty—the most severe marriage penalty, as one of them put it, “that exists anywhere in the entire American welfare state, Better to get divorced.
Item:  ObamaCare has nothing whatever to do with improving medical care or indeed with holding down medical costs. “It’s nothing but a massive redistribution program.”
Item: Although it imposes vast new costs on the federal government, there is nothing anywhere in the budget that even begins to address these new costs. As one of my friends put it, “Obamacare is completely and utterly unfunded.”

From the Gateway Pundit: “Former Xerox Engineer; Obamacare Website Won’t Be Fixed Anytime Soon:”

A retired 44-year veteran of Xerox Corp. tells FOX Business that the problems with the health exchanges “won’t be fixed anytime soon,” that it appears the Administration didn’t do “the most rudimentary Beta tests” to catch problems ahead of time, and that the software architecture clearly is “very outdated.”
A former computer engineer adds: I had a 54 year career in technology. Obamacare will never be implemented. This is an integrated system involving many players with different systems, hardware and programming language. … It appears that the potential users of the system have not been involved in addition every time a law is changed, they will have to open up the system and make program addition and/changes.

Also from the Gateway Pundit: “Team Obama Blew Enough Cash on O-Care Website to Pay Developer $200 an Hour for 5,000 Years

Computer engineers are shocked at the cost of the Obamacare website.

From The American, AEI’s magazine: “Obamacare’s Next Bout:  More Legal Challenges”

Four Legal Challenges to Health Care Exchanges: The cases are another reminder that much of Obamacare was constructed haphazardly out of political fables, budgetary gimmicks, legal contortions, and procedural shortcuts. Its troubled past keeps catching up with its unworkable future.



ObamaCare: The Timeline by The Elephant's Child

I have believed from the beginning that ObamaCare was an unworkable mess that would deeply damage the country, and events have only heightened my apprehension. With every leftist working to demonize the Tea Party as ignorant backwoods radicals who are to be feared, it’s worth mentioning that the Tea Party had it’s birth in opposition to the passage of ObamaCare.

I read just the other day that the real origin was a casual mention in an Obama campaign speech when he was first running, that didn’t mean anything, because most of what Obama said in campaign speeches didn’t mean anything — but Team Obama liked it, and thought it might be a good idea to pursue.  No documentation, don’t know if it’s true. But it’s interesting.

Megyn Kelly revisits the timeline of ObamaCare at the Kelly File on Fox News. I can’t embed the video, but follow the link and do watch it. Not long, but we forget ( or at least I forget) just how these things came about.  Valuable.




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