American Elephants

The Fourth Day. Twenty-eight Year Old Man Pulled From Rubble Alive After 80 Desperate Hours by The Elephant's Child
April 29, 2015, 11:28 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , ,


A Nepali-French search and rescue team pulled a 28 year-old man. Rishi Khanal, from a collapsed apartment block in Kathmandu on Tuesday. He had spent around 80 hours in a room with three dead bodies. He had no access to food or water since midday on Saturday when a 7.9 earthquake hit.

Authorities expect the death toll may reach 10,000 in the region.  Some small villages outside Kathmandu have simply vanished.

Rishi Khanal had been on the second floor of a seven-story building when the quake struck. The rescue team drilled down to him when they heard him shouting for help.The rescue took five hours. Doctors say he may have a broken leg.

The possibility of more survivors grows more remote as time passes.

Decidedly Deficient in the Diplomacy Department! by The Elephant's Child
April 29, 2015, 10:33 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , ,

From the American Enterprise Institute:

President Obama has stated firmly that if Iran does not comply with the inspections and other nuclear commitments, sanctions will simply snap back in place. Unfortunately he was a bit on the optimistic side. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov quoted in the Kremlin-backed RIA Novosti (and provided by the Open Source Center):

“We have a whole series of our own priorities and objectives that are important to us, and we will be working on those. We are proceeding on the basis that if one of the partners in the talks raises the possibility of sanctions being reintroduced against Iran, in the hypothetical situation that Iran should fail to honour its commitments, then this process should not in any way be automatic,” he [Ryabkov] said.”Decisions on this matter should be taken in accordance with the procedures of the UN Security Council, through voting in the council, and through the adoption of the appropriate resolutions,” Ryabkov noted.

Russia’s English-language propaganda arm “Sputnik News” left out the key preamble, there, but why burden American policymakers with embarrassing facts about Russia’s position.

Regardless, the Iranian government understands just where it stands. Speaking on the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network Television (IRINN) in Persian earlier today, President Hassan Rouhani bragged about the collapsing sanctions, in a translation provided by the Open Source Center:

“Those who brokered the sanctions had better think of another job for themselves from now on. We will continue moving along the path of constructive interaction with the world with the help of God, with the guidance of the Supreme Leader and with the support of the Iranian nation. Nobody can continue with the sanctions and pressure on Iran in the coming months and years. The sanctions scheme is completely collapsing. The P5+1 group should know well that the government and nation [of Iran] are standing close to each other and are supporting each other, especially in the year of understanding and unity.”

President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry were warned by knowledgeable experts that Iran could not be trusted, that relying on Iran to negotiate honestly and to mean what they said was a pipe dream. We have a long history with Iran, including the hostages imprisoned for a year, and it is clear that trust is not part of their dealings. The Koran gives full permission to adherents to lie in negotiations, and even has a word for it — taqiyya.

I don’t know quite what to make of Obama’s mindset. I assume that Kerry is merely doing what he is told. Is Obama completely unfamiliar with the country? Is he depending too much on Valerie Jarrett’s childhood memories? Does he believe this will be a crowning achievement for his “legacy?”

They bargained from weakness and cowardice. At best they could assume they were leaving a catastrophic legacy for our country. This is a complete diplomatic collapse that does nothing to resolve the problem, but merely assures a nuclear race in the Middle East. It’s plain surrender. But will our brilliant negotiators continue to remove the sanctions? Turn confiscated funds back? The funds Obama gave back have rescued their economy and after two years of recession, they announced a positive rate of progress for the Iranian year corresponding to March 2014 − March 2015.

Nice going. Iran pirated an American flagged Marshall Islands cargo ship in the international waters of the Hormuz strait today, claimed it was in Iranian waters, fired a shot over its bow, and escorted it to an Iranian port. Some said we have a treaty obligation to protect Marshall Islands ships, the president denied that, who knows? Iran is flexing their muscles because they can.

James Madison, 4th President of the United States, Architect of the Constitution. by The Elephant's Child
April 29, 2015, 9:19 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , ,

Madison-main-2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 51

This policy of supplying by opposite and rival interests, the defect of better motives, might be traced through the whole system of human affairs, private as well as public. In private affairs, arranging for ambition to counteract ambition would conduce to prosperity, as the emerging discipline of political economy was arguing. In public affairs it would give mankind a better chance than ever before to overcome the great political difficulty: to “first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself”

In Federalist No. 55, Madison after taking up and attempting to refute hypothetical questions about how the Constitution’s checks and balances might prove too weak to prevent this or that abuse Madison finally throws up his hands. Yes, the “auxiliary precautions’ that make ambition counteract ambition will help sustain a republic But, no, a nation of devils will not form a successful republic, no matter how intelligent they are or how well their state is organized. “As there is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust” Madison wrote, “so there are other qualities in human nature which justify a certain portion of esteem and confidence. Republican government presupposes the existence  of these qualities in a higher degree than any other form.

Did we assume too much, presupposing the existence of qualities in human nature that justify esteem and confidence? And they are missing? What then?

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