American Elephants

Who Me Worry? Congress Is Worried Too! by The Elephant's Child

obama-uh-oh-apThings are going very badly for America around the world. Iran moves steadily toward acquiring nuclear weapons, and the Obama administration seems not to mind. Iraq, where Obama declared ending the war as one of his greatest successes, is now largely occupied by ISIS. Syria continues to be a bloodbath. The government in Yemen, a key ally in the war against Islamic terror, has fallen. Boko Haram continues to slaughter thousands of people and now controls much of the richest country in Africa.

Russian soldiers have invaded Ukraine and are fighting beside separatist rebels. Russia seems to be concentrating their efforts on the eastern half of Ukraine, perhaps only to grab a land bridge to the Crimean seaports, perhaps to annex the whole of Ukraine. Nobody seems to know, and Obama does not seem to be particularly concerned.

Congress is concerned about Iran, and House Speaker Boehner has invited Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu to address Congress. President Obama is furious that he did not consult the White House first, but the president forgets that the Speaker heads an equal branch of government. What Mr. Obama should be worried about is that members of Congress in both parties have a remarkable lack of confidence in his diplomatic efforts with Iran.

That’s what is behind the invitation to Bibi Netanyahu. Most Republicans and plenty of Democrats want to hear what Mr Netanyahu thinks about the Iran nuclear negotiations. Obama seems to be desperate to strike a deal with Tehran, and they are worried he will give up far too much in order to claim a meaningless victory.

In his State of the Union speech, Obama claimed that his interim agreements with Iran have “halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material.” Nobody believes that.

The Obama administration on Wednesday paid $490 million in cash assets to Iran and by the time nuclear talks are scheduled to end in June, will have released a total of $11.9 billion to the Islamic Republic, according to figures provided by the State Department.

These are unfrozen cash assets, accompanied by no restrictions on how Iran can spend the money. They can keep enriching uranium, continue construction of the heavy water plant in Arak, which could function as a factory for plutonium bombs, the interim agreement prohibits only firing the reactor itself, and work continues on Iran’s ballistic missile program.

The media has made much of Saudi Arabia’s continuing to pump oil as an attempt to drive frackers in this country out of business. It seems more likely an attempt by the Saudis to put the brakes on Iran’s economy and its rush to build nuclear weapons. Iran has announced its intention to build two more reactors. Congress has protested the recently announced sale by Russia of an advanced missile defense system to Iran, citing concerns that it would embolden Tehran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Congress is considering a bill to trigger increased sanctions if negotiators miss the June 30 deadline the administration set for securing an agreement. It contains a series of criteria that Iran must meet in a nuclear agreement to avoid sanctions. Obama said he would veto, and he wants to “keep all options on the table to prevent a nuclear Iran.” This makes no sense, for the bill would simply increase the pressure on Iran to reach an agreement.

Hoover Institution scholar Richard Epstein wrote last August:

The President suffers from two fundamental flaws. The first is that he is unwilling to make decisions. He much prefers to play the role of a disinterested observer who comments on a set of adverse events that he regards himself as powerless to shape… The second is that he fundamentally misunderstands the use of force in international affairs. He handicaps himself fatally by imposing unwise limitations on the use of American force, such as his repeated declarations that he will not send ground troops back into Iraq. …

The President wrings his hands over how difficult it has become to find credible allies in the world to address these problems without ever asking why no one trusts him. So he resolves to hold back on the use of American force overseas. Armed with that certainty, every tin pot dictator and terrorist group thinks it has an open field in which to run.

There is  strong impression that this president would not mind if Iran gets nuclear weapons, since some other countries already have them. Iran has frequently stated objectives, however. They intend to get rid of “the Great Satan” and the “little Satan.” I hope Congress understands the issues more clearly than this president and his advisors.

It’s a Farce, But They Want to Express Their Concern About Economic Inequality by The Elephant's Child


The World Hypocrisy Forum of the ultra rich will enter its final day in Davos, Switzerland on Saturday. Volunteers created an array of 193  three foot high snowmen complete with carrot noses and coal eyes, each draped in a scarf representing one of the 193 countries recognized by the United Nations.

When the world’s wealthiest citizens, heads of state, businessmen, and movie stars fly into a Swiss ski resort on their 1,700 private jets to see and be seen for the purpose of creating a better world by expressing concern about the problems of climate change, poverty and economic inequality while taking helicopter rides, a few ski runs and relaxing in the spas, and noshing on $43 hot dogs at the Steigenberger Grandhotel Belvédère — you simply have to laugh. Can they possibly not recognize — but of course they can’t.

Jamie Dimon, JP Morgan CEO. said “Family first, country second , and JP Morgan—it ‘s the best I can do for the world. You don’t want a weak JP Morgan-or else”according to Twitter.

Billionaire Jeff Green who amassed a multibillion dollar fortune betting against subprime mortgage securities, said the U.S. faces a jobs crisis that will cause social unrest and radical politics.

“America’s lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence,” Greene said in an interview. “We need to reinvent our whole system of life.”

The pretentious, pompous, World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland. Everybody took selfies with the cute snowmen.

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