American Elephants

The American People Don’t Think the White House is Tough Enough on Iran by The Elephant's Child


‘The State Department now says that the United States has “shared interests” with Iran  — in Iraq, and talks are ongoing between the two countries about the rapidly deteriorating security situation in that country.”

Well, just a little cooperation. The Obama Administration leaks when Israel strikes Iranian missile convoys to Hezbollah, and negotiates with Iran about its nuclear weapons program. The Crisis in Iraq has made it clear that Iran is now the central player in Obama’s Middle East strategy.  Obama wants a U.S. alliance with Iran. He is set on building a new regional framework that includes not just our closest friends, but everyone — a geopolitical equilibrium  that includes the security needs of Iranians, Saudis, Israelis, Russians and Americans. a balance between  Sunni or predominantly Sunni, Gulf states and Shiia Iran.

Perhaps it’s a worm in the brain. Consumed by the necessity of being the opposite of the hated Bush, something has been gnawing away at reality. When the Mullahs scream “Death to America”, “Death to Israel,” and “Death to the Great Satan,” “Death to the Little Satan,” what did he think they meant? Iran clearly has no intention of abandoning its nuclear ambitions. Has Obama dreamed himself into the idea that they just want nuclear power? What did he think  Iraq wants those long-range missiles for?

On Tuesday Marine General James Mattis (ret), former head of U.S.Central Command told the Senate Armed Services Committee of his unhappiness at the current conduct of U.S. foreign policy.  He said the  U .S. is not adapting to changed circumstances in the Middle East” and the U.S. needs a “refreshed national strategy.” Army four star General Jack Keane, (ret.) a former vice chief of staff, also in the hearing, said al Qaeda has “grown fourfold in the last five years” and is “beginning to dominate multiple countries.” He called radical Islam”the major security challenge of our generation” and said we are failing to meet it.

The same day it was reported that Lt. Gen Michael Flynn, (ret.) former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, had told a Washington conference “You cannot defeat an enemy you do not admit exists.” His audience of military and intelligence professionals applauded. Officials, he continued, are paralyzed by the complexity of the problems of militant Islam, and do little, reasoning that “passivity is less likely to provoke our enemies.” Robert Gates, Former Sec. of Defense, wrote in Duty that it seemed Mr. Obama “doesn’t trust” the military, “doesn’t believe in his own strategy, and doesn’t consider the war to be his.”

Republicans may disagree with their opponents policies or strategies, and they often do. Today’s Democrats are different. They are in politics to change society and “solve” its  problems, and are convinced that their policies are way stations on the path to a “better world.” Those who oppose them are seen as standing in the way of their “noble dream” and viscerally hated.They are the enemy in every sense of the word.

Bill Kristol believes that Obama’s dream was that he would be the American president who “would preside at, and take credit for the founding of a Palestinian state, as Harry Truman was to Israel.” That’s not going to work, but his policies have not lessened the crisis in Islam nor the discord between Islam and the West, but made it worse.

Whether this is accurate or not remains to be seen, but Obama’s reaction to Speaker Boehner’s invitation to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to the House about Iran, was remarkably over the top. Mr. Obama seemed to believe that such an invitation must be cleared with the White House and the State Department, though such is not the case.

Republicans in the House are clearly troubled by Mr. Obama’s threat to veto any sanctions on Iran, which would take effect only if Iran was continuing with their effort to get nuclear weapons. It was only sanctions that brought Iran to the bargaining table, and the administration has been removing sanctions, and returning to Iran their funds that had been frozen as part of the sanctions. The administration assumes that Iran is bargaining honestly, the Republicans are more familiar with Iran’s history, and strongly suspect that truth cannot be expected from the mullahs.

Israel is more aware of Iran’s intentions, and watches much more closely. Small wonder that Republicans want to hear from Bibi Netanyahu.

Now we learn than members of Obama’s own campaign team have sent an army of operatives to Israel to help oust Mr. Netanyahu in the upcoming Israeli elections. This time he has used an organization that receives taxpayer funds from the State Department to oust a long time ally of the United States. This is not just way beyond the rules of propriety, but may well be illegal. Obama has felt free to send his political operatives to influence elections in Canada and Australia. This time he has gone even farther.

When you are pursuing a dream of a noble and “better” world — “fundamentally transforming the United States of America” — the niceties aren’t important . The only thing that is important is winning. Why they never notice that collectivism and social justice and the “better world” never work, is because they didn’t do it, and didn’t do it here. This time it will be different.

The 2014 Employment Miracle: Due to The Cut In Benefits by The Elephant's Child

hiringLets assume that your company has a big layoff, and you get a pink slip.. Your job is gone. What do you do? Some people go on vacation, They need time to reassess, get their heads on straight, think things through. Others go right down to file for unemployment benefits. Most  people will be looking for another comparable job, or one that’s even a little better, and the weeks and months go by….

Obama has been saying for the past couple of months  that 2014 has seen impressive improvement in the labor market— the best year in job creation since 1999, he points out proudly. He has naturally credited his policies, but any justification or rationale is missing. Unfortunately, the improvement in job creation seems to be due to the expiration of a program that the Democrats were fighting to renew.

It seems that it is not a result of Obama’s “Middle Class Economics,” an undefined and unexplained version of economics, dreamed up by Obama himself. The problem is the usual one when dealing with the Left — they don’t understand incentives.

A new  paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research contends that the ending of federally extended unemployment benefits across the country at the end of 2013 explains much of the labor-market boom of 2014.

When you’ve been looking for a job for some time, you settle in to a discouraged passivity. You are required by law to prove that you are looking, but you have half given up hope. Politicians on the Left always want to be helpful and encourage the unemployed to rely on the government. The “better world” they envision as a result of their policies is a grand vision where the needs of the people are fulfilled entirely by the benevolent  government which leaves the people free to create and paint, invent, compose. (Surely you remember Nancy Pelosi not long ago, advancing just that plan).

Sometimes people need a kick in the pants to get them moving, and an end to extended unemployment benefits does it. You may have to take the job you can find, rather than the job of your dreams. (See Mike Rowe) And that is what explains the labor-market boom in 2014 —1.8 million jobs can be attributed to the end of the extended-benefits program. It suggests that long-term unemployment benefits could have played a big role in the ongoing procrastination-passivity of the labor markets. Adults who are quite familiar with the technique when dealing with their children — tough love— may still be opposed to it for adults.

Congress repeatedly authorized federal extensions that allowed people to draw benefits much longer. The Obama administration was predicting that the drop-off in stimulative spending (the government gives money to the unemployed, they spend the money, that money circulates in the economy, magically multiplying as it goes) would cost 240,000 jobs. The NBER paper finds that it created 1.8 million jobs. The economics of the Slowest Recovery has been not Obama’s Middle Class economics, but discredited Keynesian economics which has never worked.

Is The White House Trying to Hide Bowe Bergdahl Charges? by The Elephant's Child


Yesterday, Both Fox News and NBC News have reported that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will be charged with desertion.

“I have been told and confirmed by two other sources that his attorney has been given what we call a charge sheet,” retired Army Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, a respected military analyst, told Fox’s Bill O’Reilly on Monday. NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski quoted senior defense officials on Tuesday as saying charges could be referred within a week.

“A charge sheet is the results of investigation listing out the articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice that have been violated,” Shaffer explained. “The key violation is desertion.”

According to Shaffer, an analyst with the London Center for Policy Research, White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, who played a key role in the cover-up of administration malfeasance in the Benghazi terrorist attack that killed four Americans, has been laboring to keep this information under wraps as long as possible. …

Same day, New York Post headline: “Army denies that Bowe Bergdahl is set to be charged with desertion.”

In a statement, Maj. Gen. Ronald F. Lewis, chief of public affairs for the Army, denied the reports, insisting that no decision has been made about Bergdahl.

“The reporting from Fox News and NBC on Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is patently false. To be clear there have been no actions or decisions on the Sgt. Bergdahl investigation. The investigation is still with the Commanding General of U.S. Army Forces Command who will determine appropriate action — which ranges from no further action to convening a court martial. We understand the public interest in this case and once a decision has been made, the Army will be open and transparent in this matter.”

The White House does not want Bergdahl to be charged with desertion. There was the big Rose Garden scene with the Bergdahl parents, President Obama actually traded five top Taliban commanders who had been held at Guantanamo Bay to the Taliban for then private Bergdahl.

Bergdahl walked away from his combat post in 2009 in a time of war, leaving behind his weapon, his gear and his fellow soldiers. At least six soldiers were reported to have been killed in operations looking for him.

A statement attributed to Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader, called the release of the commanders from Gitmo as a “great victory.”

The trade told the world that America was now willing to deal with terrorists. It also broke a law that requires congressional notification of such a trade, and a longstanding pledge that America would never negotiate with terrorists. There is also a federal statute which makes it a felony to provide material assistance to any terrorist organization. It makes no exception for who and under what circumstances.

Col. Schaffer spoke of a “titanic struggle behind the scenes” with the Army trying to do the right thing while the White House worried about the images of a president welcoming the parents of someone now charged with desertion and an ugly terrorist trade-for-deserter narrative coming out.

At the time, several of the men from Bergdahl’s unit came forward to say that he was a deserter. President Obama was taken aback, for he thought that Americans would cheer one of our boys being rescued after five years as a hostage of the Taliban.

It will come out. Too much has already been made public. Obama, as far as I know, has never accepted blame for a mistake or an error in judgment. He may claim credit for someone else’s accomplishments, but he is never, never to blame. It’s going to be interesting.

Dang! Taxing the Rich Is Harder Than Obama Thought! by The Elephant's Child

Oops! President Obama’s scheme for redistributing wealth by taxing 529 Plan distributions when they were actually withdrawn to pay the tuition bill, was just cancelled. Somebody told him that really rich people don’t save their money in a 529, they pay the tuition for their kids out of petty cash. It’s the middle class who have to save up, and it was a struggle.  This wealth redistribution bit is more complicated than one might assume.

When you want to garner votes by giving people stuff, it has to be paid for — somehow. If the support for your political party depends on giving voters free stuff, then you have to take the cost out of someone else’s pocket. As the Wall Street Journal pointed out:

The move is a setback for the president. He sought in the run-up to last week’s State of the Union address to reframe a long-running debate over the tax system by issuing a set of proposals to address middle-class anxiety over wage and income stagnation. …

But the blowback over his call to scale back the tax advantages of 529 plans showed the political difficulty of making such changes.

A White House official said the 529 proposal was “a very small component of the president’s overall plan to deliver $50 billion in education tax cuts for middle-class families. We proposed it because we thought it was a sensible approach, part of consolidating six programs to two and expanding and better targeting education tax relief for the middle class.”

The main reason why college costs are so high is that the federal government keeps upping the amount that students can borrow. That frees up the universities to raise tuition and hire more administrative staff, add some more amenities like climbing walls or improving the landscaping. And professors expect to be better paid. After all they have PhDs and look how much those corporate CEOs and government bureaucrats make!

There comes a point when people would rather be free than have their votes purchased with free stuff that only costs them more in the long run. But it takes a while to learn that. Liberals never learn that lowering taxes brings in more money, that less regulation sparks creativity, or that the free market does a better job of figuring out what works and what doesn’t.  Pity.

You really can’t get more money by increasing taxes on “the rich.” Wealthy people have lots of options, and lots of legal ways to shelter their money, and they can hire the best accountants and lawyers to help them do it. Works better to let them keep more of their own money — they will invest it in growing businesses, building things and hiring workers. And that makes the economy grow.

Our Self-Infatuated President Speaks About Himself by The Elephant's Child

Barack Obama

It has frequently been noticed that President Obama’s speeches most often focus on himself. No matter what the location, no matter what the topic, the words will mostly be about him.

Earlier today, Obama delivered  a short speech in New Delhi, wrapping up his visit. John Hinderaker over at Powerline noted that “the speech was only 33 minutes long, yet…Barack managed to work in references to himself no fewer than 118 times. The folks at Grabien write:”

Today in New Delhi, the president of the United States delivered an address to the people of India. Topics ranged from Obama’s pride in being the first U.S. president to visit India twice, to the historic nature of his attendance at India’s Republic Day Parade, to his grandfather’s occupation as a chef, to his graying hair, to his daughters … to his struggles against political critics back home. If this is starting to sound like the president spoke quite a bit about himself, that’s because he did. Somehow in the span of just 33 minutes, Obama referenced himself 118 times. (For those keeping score at home, that’s 3.5 Obama references per minute.)

We have often noticed that he seems to live in a fantasy world that excludes any opponents or any disagreement. It’s true!

Handwriting, Printing, Cursive or Keyboard? by The Elephant's Child


The late Richard Mitchell, the ‘underground grammarian’ wrote that “the business of writing is to stay put on the page, so you can look at it later and see where you have been stupid.”

I learned in college that handwritten notes help you to learn. The act of writing helps to fix things in your mind. Now comes a study from researchers at Princeton and UCLA that shows that taking notes on the computer is detrimental to learning. Handwritten notes are dramatically more effective at helping students retain information. Laptop use can negatively affect performance on educational assessments, even when the computer is used for its intended function of easier notetaking.

The majority of students would tell you just the opposite. Yet the study shows that students who take direct notes retain significantly less information. In recent years, the public schools have decided that children will do all their writing on a computer and they need only learn keyboarding. Cursive is out. Children not only don’t learn to write, they don’t learn to read handwriting.

Most adults who have learned cursive as children abandon it as adults for a mixture. The fastest, clearest handwriters join only some letters, making the easiest joins, skipping others, using print-like forms of letters whose cursive and printed forms disagree. I switched to a mixture in sixth grade—I remember distinctly because I got in trouble for it with a teacher who was a Palmer-method purist. I was lucky to have a father and an aunt with impossible handwriting, which I mastered, and I have seldom been stymied by anyone’s handwriting.

The benefits of handwriting, learning cursive, is shown to improve brain development in the areas of thinking, language and working memory. The physical act of writing leads to increased comprehension and participation. The College Board found a few  years ago that students who wrote the essay portion of the SAT in cursive scored slightly higher than those who printed, which experts believe is because the speed and efficiency of writing allows students to focus on the content of their essays.

If you are an opponent of Common Core, cursive is no longer included in the Common Core State Standards, which I believe to be an important mistake.

Increased Communication: Blessing or Burden? by The Elephant's Child

4986d76bc1365c018aa601e6a4ed1a52 It was just 100 years ago Sunday that the first commercial transcontinental phone line opened on January 25, 1915. Alexander Graham Bell made the call to his assistant Thomas Watson.

Only 39 years earlier, Bell had spoken to Watson in the first phone call ever, in Boston — just after Bell had  patented the telephone.

By 1915, the American Telephone and Telegraph Co. network crossed the continent with a single copper circuit 6,800 miles long. It could only carry one call at a time — but hearing another person’s voice from the other side of the continent was truly astonishing. There were already 8.6 million phones served by AT&T, but the first intercontinental call was a major public event. The call went from New York to San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition., where they were celebrating the completion of the Panama Canal.

We are inclined to forget that, for example, our founding fathers if they wanted to communicate with someone at a distance, had to send a rider carrying a message. Their days were uninterrupted by such things as the telephone, a radio, TV, computer, cell phones that we take with us so we don’t spend a moment unconnected.

We are so accustomed to multi-tasking and a constant flow of voices and opinion, sales and entertainment, that we don’t recognize the loss of silence, uninterrupted contemplation, time to think deeply. That blessing greatly contributed to the care that went into the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution itself, and that clear thought, perhaps impossible today, may well be why it has lasted so well.

The current presumption is that all our equipment will go away and we will have wearable technology or implants so that we are never, never disconnected.

That must be contrasted with what seems to me our increasing inability to deal with the information age. What has come along with the increased flow of information is too much choice, and way too much stuff for which the word “information” does not really apply. Our educational system is not yet directly addressing information management, how to select that which is important, how to tell truth from falsehood, sense from nonsense, and how to form, from that flow, a life-enriching body of knowledge.

The Dark Ages? They Really Weren’t That Dark! by The Elephant's Child

Professor Anthony Esolen for Prager University. We’ve been told that the Middle Ages, also known as the Dark Ages, were characterized by oppression ignorance and backwardness in areas like human rights, science, health and the arts? We have been misled.

“Middle Class Economics” Also Known as Income Redistribution by The Elephant's Child

Obama is in the sixth year of his presidency, and he has just discovered that the middle class is not doing so well. So he wants to take up what he calls Middle Class Economics. He seems to describe his economic programs based on their origin, so middle class economics begins with the middle class and expands outward to benefit everyone. Just how this works is unclear.

The number of food stamp beneficiaries exceeds 46,000,000 for the 38th straight months. Republicans consider this a shocking comment on the continued slow recovery. Democrats consider it to be a remarkable accomplishment. It ‘s worthwhile to keep that difference in mind.

Another problem afflicting the middle class is stagnant wages. We are just not seeing the growth in wages that we should  six years after the official end of the Great Recession. Some would attribute that fact to a plentiful supply of workers looking for jobs, but the Obama administration wants to go directly to the cause. They will just force employers to pay workers more.

Hence Obama plans a massive expansion of overtime, raising the cut-off for overtime from the current $23,600 to $50,000, a significant jump— time-and-a-half for anything over 42 hours, and of course he’s got the employers over a barrel on the other side with ObamaCare penalties.

Have you been saving money for the kids’ college education? The money (already taxed) that you put into a  529 plan might have had the audacity to grow, so it’s only fair that you tax the growth — Right? And just in case they have missed anything, they want to raise taxes on capital gains. And he ‘s still plumping for an increase in the minimum wage.

Republicans would consider any request to raise taxes dead in the water, but just what Mr. Obama might attempt to do by executive order remains an unknown.

Nobody thought he’d try to do the things he already has done by executive order or executive memo which is the same thing and carries the same force of law.

Nobody is quite sure what to do with a president who deliberately ignores the constitutional separation of powers. He’s supposed to see that the laws are carried out, and the Congress is supposed to make the laws. The Judicial branch is not supposed to be making laws either, but that’s a separate story.

Advanced Technology vs. Sixth Century Barbarism by The Elephant's Child

A-10 Thunderbolt II "Warthog"

Our military is facing some big problems that they don’t acknowledge publicly. The Pentagon is supposed to prepare for the next war so that we will never again be as unprepared as we were on December 7, 1941. And as unprepared as we were when North Korea invaded the South, and — but we are never really prepared, and that is a problem that the military has to wrestle with. DARPA is doing fantastic things with robots and drones, and all sorts of things we don’t know about, in the assumption that future wars will be technologically far more advanced and we must be ready. Do you go with technological magic, or inexpensive drones?

Yet at the same time we are confronted with a Middle East aflame and threats of terrorism all over the world. One threat is the Islamic State, a 6th Century ideology attacking a 21st Century world with 6th century barbarity and captured modern weapons. They advance by massacring everyone who does not submit, in the most brutal way possible.

The Pentagon seems to be more interested in fighting the next war than the current one, which is not surprising since the Obama administration clearly does not want to fight the current war, nor does it want to directly address the potential of a 6th Century ideology with nuclear weapons. So there we are. We have an administration that does not understand foreign policy, opposes war in any form, misidentifies our allies and enemies, and wants an America that is just an ordinary nation, no more exceptional than any other — in other words, he has never thought much about it except to hate everything George W. Bush.

The Pentagon wants to get rid of the A-10 Thunderbolt, pictured above. It is beloved by U.S. ground troops because it is designed specifically for close air support. It is nicknamed the Warthog because it is ugly. It has been in the Air Force since the 1970s and flown combat missions since the 1990s. It is not designed for dogfights with fighter jets, but to go low and slow over a battlefield eliminating enemy troops and their equipment. It has a titanium armored belly to protect pilots from ground fire, and carries a 30mm Gatling gun cannon and a variety of bombs, missiles and rockets, and terrifies ISIS fighters.

Unfortunately, the easiest place to chop the budget, according to the accountants, is the military budget. Desk-bound bureaucrats decide the fate of American troops, and rules of engagement are devised by bureaucrats with no understanding of war, the military or battle, and are anxious to prevent any criticism from the world’s ill-informed talkers. Force requirements should be dictated by battlefield requirements, not budget restraints.

The Pentagon is in love, but also deeply committed to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Its the most expensive military weapons program in history, but that may just be the new normal. The plane is supposed to fulfill the needs of the Marines, the Navy and the Air Force for an unknown number of years,  It may have passed the point of no return because the DOD has spent so much time and money on cost overruns and the increasing price tag.

A March report from the Government Accountability Office said “If F-35 procurement plans remain unchanged and developmental testing continues into 2018, the cost risks will increase and DOD expects to have invested $83.4 billion in 459 aircraft by that point in time. That works out to around $180 million per plane. Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer, says it can get the cost down to about $85 million per plane by 2019 as it fills more orders from our allies. Here is a long and more technical article about the tests ahead for the Navy and Marine Corps F-35 variants.

Other countries are building air forces composed of low-cost robots. Spending on military robots is expected to reach $7.5 billion by 2018, but their capabilities are less proven than existing systems and could end up on the budget chopping block. Here is a lengthy article on “What We Could Buy Instead,” though that’s not really a fair discussion. There are always things you could do instead.

Experts are raising doubts about nearly all of the F-35’s key features: it’s stealthiness, it’s agility in dogfights, its speed, maximum payload, and specifically its ability to fly close air support —the feature most needed in today’s battles with ISIS. There are grave doubts that it can fulfill that

A NSA briefing slide labeled “Top Secret” and headlined “Chinese Exfiltrate Sensitive Military Data” was made public by Der Spiegel which indicated that the Chinese were able to obtain digital design information , F-35 engine schematics, methods and treatments that they were able to include in the design and technology in Beijing’s new stealth jet, the J-20. “The NSA estimated in the briefing slide that the Chinese had conducted more than 30,000 cyber attacks as part of the massive defense industrial espionage, and that more than 500 attacks were significant intrusions into DoD systems.

Photo comparisons of the F-35 and the J-20 revealed remarkable similarities in appearance. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said “the so-called evidence that has been used to launch groundless accusations against China is completely unjustified,” on January 19.

Fortunately we have new members of Congress who have military experience in Iraq and Afghanistan and understand the problems we face. Martha McSally was even an A-10 Warthog pilot.

Here We Go Again! Obama Attempts A Vast Landgrab: 12 Million Acres Of Alaska. by The Elephant's Child

The Obama administration will propose setting aside more than twelve million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) as wilderness, including 1.5 million miles of coastal plain, and a chunk of the Arctic Ocean, the White House announced today. Dumb idea. We have been all through this before.

The wildlife of ANWR are currently protected, and flourishing. The polar bears are just fine. The administration will undoubtedly have endless videos featuring the beauty of the land and the extensive wildlife with sob-stories about the need to protect them from — the ravages of anyone that might want to drill for oil in the coastal plain. That is what this is all about — another attempt to prevent anyone from successfully drilling for petroleum.

The goal of the greenest of the greens has always been to make most of America into ‘wilderness,’ and force the population into dense cities, with narrow links between cities. Presumably high speed rail.

The federal government does few things well, and most things very badly. There are some things that only a federal government can do, like a military, and they do that poorly too. The federal government is not a  good steward of the public lands.

When drilling was allowed on the North Slope, the claims of the damage that would be done to the land and to the wildlife, to ‘critical habitat,’ to the migrating birds went on and on. Turned out the footprint of the drilling operation was quite small, and the wildlife loved the pipeline which provided warmth, shelter, and the occasional scratching post.

Naturally, President Obama is attempting to do this  by executive order. He says his “Department of the Interior has put forward a comprehensive plan to make sure we’re protecting the refuge, and that we’re designating new areas, including coastal plains, for preservation,” he said from his seat aboard Air Force One.

He also wants to block off a good chunk of the Arctic Ocean from drilling. Which clears up any mystery about why he is announcing this right now. He’s attempting to boost the price of oil as a present for the Saudis, hoping  to rescue his relationship with the desert kingdom.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe said the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge “faces growing challenges that require a thoughtful and comprehensive management strategy” in a statement today. “The incorporation of large portions of the refuge into the National Wilderness Preservation System will ensure we protect this outstanding landscape and its inhabitants for our children and generations that follow.” Now there is a carefully worded statement that says nothing— nothing at all. Changing a designation to “wilderness” does not “ensure” anything, not the survival of wildlife nor the preservation of anything at all.

Preventing Americans from using out own natural resources will not enable us to rely instead on wind and/or solar — which are not free, and cannot even work at all without full time backup from conventional power sources — no matter how much taxpayer money is handed off to Obama’s cronies. A modern industrial society depends on plentiful  low cost energy, something Obama doesn’t seem to understand at all.

A Visit to Saudi Arabia by The Elephant's Child

96379-004-BADCACC3President Obama will pass up on the planned side trip to take Michelle to see the Taj Mahal during his three-day visit to India, in order to visit Saudi Arabia, where he will ‘pay respects’ to the family of the late King Abdullah, and meet with the new King Salman.

The Taj Mahal has been virtually ‘locked down’ this week as U.S. security teams prepared the fabled mausoleum for the president’s visit, now cancelled. Vice President Biden had been scheduled to make the trip to Saudi Arabia, but it  was cancelled when it was realized that Biden and Obama would cross paths as the president left the region and the vice president arrived.

It has been widely reported in the press that King Abdullah detested President Obama, and his successors follow his priorities. King Salman is not in good health, and Crown Prince Migrin may stand in when needed, and the younger generation Mohammed has been named Deputy Crown Prince so the line of succession is clear. King Abdullah had an excellent relationship with George W. Bush, and he visited the Bushes at  the Crawford Ranch.

Mr. Obama is reported to be taking a “gift” to the Saudis with a plan to close off 12 million acres of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge to any potential drilling by declaring it to be “Wilderness.” That is based on the assumption, popular in the press, that the reason the Saudis have continued to pump oil in the wake of the declining price of oil, is their attempt to force frackers out of the market.

Looking clearly at the state of the Middle East, it seems far more likely that they are hoping to cause problems for the Iranian economy which needs a higher price for oil to break even. It does not help that Obama is releasing Iran’s assets held in this country to Iran in the supposition that  will be more persuasive in stopping Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons than busting their economy. Strategy is not exactly one of the strong points of the Obama administration. And there doesn’t seem to be anybody there with a clear understanding of the Middle East.

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