American Elephants


The Eastern United States As Seen From Space by The Elephant's Child

nasa-modis-02-20-15-record-cold-snowNASA took a picture of the Eastern United States from their Terra satellite. (click to enlarge) If you look closely, you can see the lines of the states superimposed over the picture. Makes  you cold just to look at it. Yes, that is the Great Lakes, faintly seen and all frozen over. Arctic and Siberian air masses have settled in over the Eastern U.S. bringing record low temperatures in many states.

Temperatures from Maine to Florida were up to 40° lower than normal. Twenty-six Americans have died from weather-related issues, 18 in Tennessee alone. Nine died from hypothermia, others from traffic accidents on icy roads. One died of kidney failure when he could not get to a dialysis appointment, and a married couple died in a house fire. Cold weather kills. Be grateful for Fracking and the declining price of oil.



Barack Obama’s Preposterous Foreign Policy Ideas. by The Elephant's Child

Americans are puzzled by President Obama’s refusal to put the words “Islamic” and “terrorism” even close to each other in a sentence. Violent extremism is as close as it gets, and it is clear that the entire administration has been instructed in language control. If you’re good at it (Jen Psaki) you get promoted, if not, not.

But we hear the news, we remember 9/11, Charlie Hebdo, attacks in Australia, Canada, London, Denmark, Fort Hood, the Boston Massacre, and daily reports of the “violent extremism” of ISIS, beheading, crucifying, burning alive. The inability to say ‘Islamic terrorism’ seems preposterous. It is no wonder that so many think that perhaps Obama is a Muslim, or has extreme Muslim sympathies.

I don’t think so, but he probably has, as he has said, pleasant memories of the Islamic call to prayer, and of his time in Indonesia, where he lived from 1967 to 1971. He was taught to admire his absent father, and his father’s history. After 1971, he grew up in Hawaii. What brought him to national attention was “the Speech,” the keynote speech at the Democratic convention in 2004. Chicago Magazine gives a long and admiring story of how it came about and what went into it.

When Barack Obama launched into his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, he was still an obscure state senator from Illinois. By the time he finished 17 minutes later, he had captured the nation’s attention and opened the way for a run at the presidency.

Barack Obama has always been fascinated by his own story. It sets him apart from other men as something truly special. It not only dominated his convention speech, but his autobiography Dreams From My Father, was published the following year, though it must have been already written. Who writes their autobiography at age 44?

Obama believed that he could bring about peace between Israel and the Palestinians. He told us that was his ambition. It just needed his magic touch. He was good friends with Rashid Khalidi, the American-Palestinian firebrand, who is now Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University. His views of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are that everything is Israel’s fault, and Palestinians are the abused party. If you read Victor Davis Hanson’s  explanation of Obama’s strategy, it becomes clear:

Leaders caricatured and demonized as a Cuban Stalinist, an Iranian theocrat, a Russian former KGB agent, and a plutocratic Chinese apparatchik in fact think no differently from us. But they have too often not been accorded a voice because the U.S. sought to bully them rather than reason with them. Polarizing and out-of-date labeling such as calling ISIS or the Taliban “terrorists” or “Islamists,” or reducing Bowe Bergdahl to a “traitor,” serve no purpose other than to simplify complex issues in ways that caricature those with whom we differ.

Instead, if we reduce our military profile and show other nations that what we are really interested in is fundamentally transforming U.S. society into a more equitable and fair place, our erstwhile enemies will begin to appreciate that we too are human and thus share their common aspirations. Ideals, persuasion, feelings, and intent are now the stuff of foreign policy, not archaic and polarizing rules of deterrence, balance of power, military readiness, and alliances.

It all makes sense to Obama. I’m not sure how much of the Democratic Party has moved sharply left. Certainly their spokesmen have, and the administration, but would the rank and file Democrats all sign on to this idea of a strategy for America in today’s world?  For me, it’s an increasingly dangerous world out there, with an administration unfamiliar with history and no understanding of strategy, or national security—conducting foreign policy with lightweights.

The mullahs of Iran have long demonstrated that they are not to be trusted at any time, on any subject. Vladimir Putin seems determined to reconstitute the Soviet Empire, without Communism, just tyranny. ISIS is growing and growing more vicious. The Defense Department is intent on getting rid of the A-10 Warthog, because they have a hot new toy for future wars, if it actually works. China is expanding in the South China Sea, and flexing its muscles. Showing other nations that we too are human and share their common aspirations just doesn’t cut it.

We tried to show Cuba our humanity, and Raul thanked us for surrendering to them and demanded that we return Guantanamo. So of course Nancy Pelosi took a delegation of Democrats to Cuba this last week. The message from Cuba is that Raul Castro has no intention of doing anything differently. He expects Washington to lift the embargo, and end any amnesty for Cuban doctors seeking asylum. Their top demand is that they be taken off the U.S. list of state-sponsors of terrorism.



“Once You see what he is trying to accomplish, it all makes sense.” by The Elephant's Child

Victor Davis Hanson, National Review Online:

“The Wise People of American foreign policy — Madeleine Albright, General Jack Keane, Henry Kissinger, General James Mattis, George Shultz, and others — recently testified before Congress. Their candid and insightful collective message dovetailed with the worries of many former Obama-administration officials, such as one-time defense secretaries Robert Gates and Leon Panetta, as well as a former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn. Their consensus is that the U.S. is drifting, and with it the world at large: The Obama administration has not formulated a consistent strategy to cope with the advance of second-generation Islamic terrorism. It is confused by the state upheavals in the Middle East. It is surprised by the aggression of Putin’s Russia and the ascendance of an autocratic China. Our allies in Europe, much of democratic Asia, and Israel all worry that the U.S. is rudderless, as it slashes its military budget and withdraws from prior commitments.

While I think the symptomology of an ailing, herky-jerky United States is correct, the cause of such malaise is left unspoken. The Obama team — with its foreign policy formulated by President Obama himself, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, White House consigliere Valerie Jarrett, Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and present Secretary of State John Kerry — is not in fact befuddled by the existing world. Instead, it is intent on changing it into something quite different from what it is.”

“So far,” Hanson says,” from being chaotic, current U.S. foreign policy is consistent, logical, and based on four pillars of belief.”

Do read the whole thing, Victor Hanson spells out why, in Obama’s mind, we are doing what we are doing. Obama does have a strategy. It’s just mistaken.



You Can’t Say That! The Democratic Party Has A Hissy-Fit! by The Elephant's Child

Rudy Giuliani said:I do not believe — and I know this is a horrible thing to say — but I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”

The Washington Post said: “Let’s be clear: NO politician with any sort of national ambition — or any sort of ambition at all, really — would say what Giuliani reportedly said about Obama. Not one. Questioning patriotism is a line that simply is not crossed at that level of politics.

Senator Barack Obama speaking about George W. Bush:“We now have 9 trillion dollars of debt that we are going to have to pay back. That’s 30 thousand dollars for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible, it’s unpatriotic.” Today’s National Debt ($18,000,000,000,000+. $56.602+ for every man, woman and child. Irresponsible? Unpatriotic?)

Barack Obama said: “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” October 30,2008 (Loves it, but wants to fundamentally transform it?)

“The Democratic party is no longer the party of John F. Kennedy, whose politics were identical to Ronald Reagan’s (militant anti-Communist, military hawk, in favor of a capital gains tax cut and a balanced budget)…The Democratic Party has moved steadily leftward since the 1972 presidential campaign of George McGovern until it is now a party of the Left, led by progressives who are convinced that their policies are way stations on the path to a “better world.”…

The Democrats made Obamacare their priority because they are social missionaries whose goal is to “fundamentally transform” the United States of America, as Obama warned five days before the 2008 election. Creating a massive new government program that would absorb one-sixth of the economy and make every American dependent on government for his health needs was the first item on the Democrats’ missionary agenda. They saw it as a milestone on the way to a brave new future. That is the way progressives think, and their opponents had better understand what that means. Progressives are not in politics to tinker with the existing system, although they understand that tinkering and fixing problems along the way will gain them votes. They are in politics to transform the way Americans live. …

The very grandeur of their ambition turns progressives into zealots, they dream of using the power of the state to make everyone equal and to take are of everyone’s needs. They are going to legislate—and dictate—social equality and social justice. How intoxicating is that idea? It explains why progressives  approach politics differently from conservatives. It doesn’t matter to progressives that the massive entitlement programs they created—Social Security and Medicare—are already bankrupt. They can take care of that by making wealthy people pay their “fair share.”Progressives believe that if they can appropriate enough money and accumulate enough power, they can make their glorious future work. Everything Democrats do and every campaign they conduct is about mobilizing their political resources to bring about this result. It is about social transformation—one program and one candidate at a time. No Republican in his right mind thinks like this.”
David Horowitz: Take No Prisoners: The Battle Plan for Defeating the Left.

Obamacare has already become unaffordable. Not only does it not meet Obama’s boasting statements, it’s simply not going to work. You will have insurance that you cannot afford, that does not serve your health care needs, that you are forced to buy. The zealots on the Left want the good feelings of moving toward social equality and social justice far more than they care about anything actually working or improving anyone’s life. The future they are promoting has already failed elsewhere, but they can see only the promise, not the actuality. History is something to transcend, not evidence from which they are supposed to learn. Besides they weren’t the ones to do it. The future is an idea that has not yet been tried.

Progressives may have grand ideas about social equality and social justice, but they are sorely lacking in a most important attribute—self awareness.

ADDENDUM:  Democrat hissy-fits go like this. Giuliani’s comments were following in Obama’s own footsteps. The president has never hesitated to call someone who disagrees with him unpatriotic. 1) Immediate outrage. 2) Try to get other Republicans on the record about it, to make it part of the 2016 conversation and 3) Play the race card! “Whenever the president’s own behavior is indefensible, they can always find someone to call a racist.”

(Typo in 3rd Paragraph corrected)




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