American Elephants

A Debate on Obama’s Potential Nuclear Deal With Iran by The Elephant's Child
May 31, 2015, 6:01 pm
Filed under: Iran | Tags: , ,

Last Tuesday evening, Lauri Regan attended a debate in New York City, sponsored by “Intelligence Squared U.S”.focused on whether or not Obama’s Iran deal is good for the country. For the pro-Obama’s Iran Deal is Good for America, Philip Gordon, a former White House Coordinator for the Middle East, N. Africa and Gulf Region. and Thomas Pickering, a former Under Secretary of State;

Arguing against the Nuclear Deal with Iran were Michael Doran, a Senior fellow with the Hudson Institute and Former Senior Director of the National Security Council and Mark Dubowitz, Executive Director if the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and Director of the Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance. The Debate was moderated by John Donvan.

A podcast is available here.Lauri Regan was surprised to find what a partisan issue this was. The pro side, she said, used lies, straw men, personal attacks and the usual tactics from the hard Left. If you are interested, read Regan’s article first, then listen to the podcast. She found the audience remarkably uninformed, considering the length of time the situation has been in the news. She said her view is that Americans are uninformed about the realities of the deal and what it means, but people were willing to come out and spend two hours listening and learning, but half of them didn’t understand what they heard.

How anyone could leave without understanding that Obama is “putting the whole world in mortal danger for the sake of an imaginary legacy” she did not understand, nor do I.

I heard on the radio a statement that most people now get their news from Facebook. I have no idea if it is true. The New York Times, I have also heard, plans to publish on Facebook. I’ve also heard that many get their news from the late night comedy shows. I think we need some major coursework in high school and colleges on how to find information and establish its reliability. Too many people know far too much that just isn’t so.

Micromanaging the Middle East Isn’t Working. Neither is Appeasement! by The Elephant's Child
May 31, 2015, 5:05 pm
Filed under: Middle East | Tags: , ,

The United States knew that ISIS was planning an offensive strike on Ramadi, the strategic city in Iraq’s Anbar Province. Bloomberg’s Eli Lake reported that the U.S. had significant intelligence about the offensive, even as it was happening. The U.S. watched ISIS fighters, vehicles and heavy equipment gather on the outskirts of Ramadi before the group retook the city in mid May.

Bloomberg quoted Ari Force Lt. General David Deptula (ret,) who planned and executed major operations in Iraq and Afghanistan that restrictive rules of engagement for American pilots was part of the problem.

Pilots flying sorties in Iraq “have to call back and ask, ‘mother may I’ before they can engage,” said the retired general, who was the first deputy chief of staff for the Air Force for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

“The current rules of engagement are intentionally designed to restrict the effectiveness of air power to prevent potential collateral damage,” he later added. “That results in ISIS getting the freedom of action so they can commit genocide against civilians. Does this make any sense?”

Genieve David, a spokeswoman for U.S. Central Command, acknowledged that the U.S. employs a “dynamic targeting process” in Iraq and Syria, with a focus on limiting civilian casualties and collateral damage.

According to Lt. Gen. Deptula, the restrictive rules of engagement are benefiting the enemy.

Another major setback in the battle for Ramadi was the Iraqi military abandoning their positions, and not having enough weapons and ammunition. As well, U.S Special Operation forces were not authorized to accompany Iraqi troops in battle.

Toby Harnden, Washington Bureau Chief of the Sunday Times, writes of the Mad Max, post Apocalyptic scenes as a “hulking bulldozer emerged through a swirling sandstorm, with a suicide bomber at the wheel and armored plates welded to its chassis, the vehicle crashed through concrete blast barriers surrounding the Iraqi police headquarters.” Then its explosive load was detonated. Waves of fortified dump trucks and souped-up Humvees followed as ISIS fighters fanned out across Ramadi.

There were estimated to be about 30 vehicle-borne suicide bombs that ripped through Ramadi. About 10 of them were estimated to be the size of the Oklahoma City Bomb which killed 168 Americans twenty years ago.

“Senior US military officers and intelligence officials agree that Obama’s counter-ISIS strategy of limited airstrikes, a handful of special forces raids and the small-scale training of Iraqi forces needs to be overhauled.”

President Obama has apparently given up on the Iraqi military because they ran away. If they won’t stand up and fight, Obama won’t support them. It takes a lot of training and good equipment to stand up to 30 suicide bombers driving dump trucks loaded with explosives and ISIS fighters swarming through the city killing everyone on sight. Obama has had major problems before with restrictive rules of engagement that get American troops killed.

It is believed that Obama’s overriding goal in the Middle East is to secure a nuclear deal with Iran so that he can reopen diplomatic relations with Tehran as a major achievement for his legacy. It is such a denial of basic facts that I can barely grasp his aims, and keep referring to Daniel Pipes’ explanation:

As a man of the Left, Obama sees the United States historically as having exerted a malign influence on the outside world. Greedy corporations, an overly powerful military-industrial complex, a yahoo nationalism, engrained racism, and cultural imperialism combined to render America, on balance, a force for evil.

The Obama Doctrine is simple and universal: Warm relations with adversaries and cool them with friends.

Several assumptions underlie this approach: The U.S. government morally must compensate for its prior errors. Smiling at hostile states will inspire them to reciprocate. Using force creates more problems than it solves.

Sorry, I don’t believe that  smiling at Iran will change its aims in any way. When they chant “Death to America,” I believe they not only mean it, but expect to carry it out.

ISIS has captured the ancient city of Palmyra, and has put the 2,000 year old Roman Amphitheater back into use as a site for executions as entertainment .Barbarians.

Freeman Dyson on the Global Warming Hysteria by The Elephant's Child
May 31, 2015, 2:27 pm
Filed under: Global Warming | Tags: , ,

Renowned Princeton physicist Freeman Dyson of the Institute for Advanced Studies is interviewed by Stuart McNish for “Conversations that Matter.”

Bothered by Heights? It’s no problem for a Mountain Goat! by The Elephant's Child
May 30, 2015, 6:48 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

goats-sheer-mountainHere are some astounding pictures of the heights to which these animals go. I will observe from a distance, thank you.

More from all over the world.

The State Department Has Taken Cuba Off the Terror List by The Elephant's Child
May 30, 2015, 6:27 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,


Cuba has been removed from the list of terrorist sponsoring nations, where it has resided for 33 years. Raul Castro demanded removal from the terror list as a condition for resumption of diplomatic relations. Have they done anything to warrant removal from the list? Not that you might notice.

While the United States has significant concerns and disagreements with a wide range of Cuba’s policies and actions, these fall outside the criteria relevant to the rescission of a state sponsor of terrorism designation,” the State Department said in a statement.

The list, which also includes Syria, Iran and Sudan, is reserved for nations that repeatedly provide support for international acts of premeditated, politically motivated violence against non-combatants.

The problem seems to be that Cuba is too broke to afford to support terrorism around Latin America as they once did. Resumed tourism will bolster Cuba’s ability to spread their influence. Investors reports that a Chinese-flagged ship called the Da Dan Xia is moored off Cartagena, Colombia after being detained by Colombian authorities in late February, They found 3,000 artillery shells, about 100 tons of explosives, 99 projectiles and 2.6 million detonators bound for Cuba on the vessel.

Raul Castro said that Cuba has no intention of changing its actions. It remains a Communist dictatorship, and its people get to live on $20 a month plus food rations. Liberals,according to Twitter, are excited about going to Cuba to see the charming crumbling buildings and ancient cars. That the people have been essentially prisoners for 33 years doesn’t penetrate the liberal mind. They are concerned about getting there before the charm is ruined by McDonalds and Starbucks. That people have died trying to escape doesn’t penetrate the liberal mind either.

The mysterious death of Ladies In White dissident Laura Pollan in a Havana hospital a week after she was attacked by a Castroite mob with some sort of poison handkerchief is highly suspicious. Even more suspicious is the mysterious car crash that took the life of Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya.

A former Cuban bodyguard of Fidel Castro who published an expose this month identifying Castro as a drug dealer suddenly died from a “pulmonary ailment.” Is it wrong to think an investigation is warranted before Cuba is cleared of being a terror state?

Obama is lifting the terror designation for political reasons, not for reasons of security. What he thinks he is gaining remains a mystery. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said the United States has done nothing except grant concessions to Cuba, making no demands on the Castro Regime. I guess Obama thinks this is an accomplishment.

Daniel Pipes explained:

As a man of the Left, Obama sees the United States historically as having exerted a malign influence on the outside world. Greedy corporations, an overly powerful military-industrial complex, a yahoo nationalism, engrained racism, and cultural imperialism combined to render America, on balance, a force for evil.

The Obama Doctrine is simple and universal: Warm relations with adversaries and cool them with friends.

Several assumptions underlie this approach: The U.S. government morally must compensate for its prior errors. Smiling at hostile states will inspire them to reciprocate. Using force creates more problems than it solves.

The American Economy Shrank by 0.7 Percent in The First Quarter. by The Elephant's Child
May 29, 2015, 10:49 pm
Filed under: Economy | Tags: , , ,

The revised figures for the first quarter show that the American economy shrank by 0.7 percent — January through March. The administration did not, however try to blame it on Bush, they blamed it on the harsh winter. It was a brutal winter on the east coast and in the Midwest. It is the third quarter in which the economy has actually contracted (the other two were the first quarters of 2011 and 2014).

This has been the slowest, most sluggish recovery since World War II. The strong dollar has meant that American exports are down. but other economies are not healthy either, including China’s. The Obama administration’s big-government, big-deficit, big waste and big-regulation policies are not a recipe for growth or recovery.

A new study finds that overhead costs are exploding under ObamaCare. Another promise up in smoke. The Health Affairs Blog published a study based on numbers from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency that runs ObamaCare and found that ObamaCare increased health care costs by $17 billion last year, and by 2020 will add a total of more than $270 billion.Twenty-two percent of all new spending is going to overhead, paperwork, not patient care.

The United States spends more on regulation than ever before. The amount spent has increased significantly as has the number of people who are employed to write and enforce the increasing number of government regulations. In 1990, total spending on regulatory activity was $20.6 billion. This year it will clock in at $60.1 billion, a 192% increase. The National Association of Manufacturers estimates that in 2012 the total cost of federal regulations was just over $2 trillion — 13 5 of that year’s GDP.

Is this unruly Americans who need more careful control? Not likely. It is an administration that sees power and control as a goal. Not a climate in which free enterprise can prosper.

Myth, Lies And Capitalism by The Elephant's Child
May 29, 2015, 6:24 am
Filed under: Capitalism, Freedom | Tags: , ,

Arthur Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute, economist, and french horn player, gives a short class in Capitalism, always a worthy endeavor. Free enterprise works to lift people all over the world out of poverty.

Just a Bundle of Laughs by The Elephant's Child
May 28, 2015, 6:38 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

It’s just Hillary.

2010: Perpetuum Jazzile — “Africa” by The Elephant's Child
May 28, 2015, 6:17 am
Filed under: Africa | Tags: , ,

The Slovenian a Capella Jazz Choir with their 2010 hit  “Africa”

Should America Be the World’s Policeman? by The Elephant's Child
May 27, 2015, 5:57 pm
Filed under: Foreign Policy, National Security | Tags: , ,

Bret Stephens is the foreign-affairs columnist for the Wall Street Journal where he is also deputy editorial page editor, responsible for the editorial pages of the Journal’s European and Asian editions. From 2002 to 2004, he was editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post. I recommend his 2014 book America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder unreservedly. Here he is for Praeger University:

Secretary of State John Kerry Has Promoted Marie Harf to Work On Nuclear Negotiations Strategy by The Elephant's Child
May 27, 2015, 4:45 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

What can one say? This is not a joke.

In a communication from the State Department Press Corps,via JWF Jammie Wearing Fools

“Starting June 1, Marie Harf will be beginning in a new role as Senior Advisor for Strategic Communications for Secretary John Kerry. In this position, she will continue her work leading on the Iran Negotiations communications strategy and other priorities.

Mark Toner will be assuming the role of Deputy Spokesperson, a position he held previously when Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland was Spokesperson. Mark returns to the Spokesperson’s Office from the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, where he has been serving as a Deputy Assistant Secretary.”

The inmates are running the asylum, and we’re all doomed.

The Choices Available At The End of the Civil Rights Era by The Elephant's Child
May 27, 2015, 6:12 am
Filed under: Education | Tags: , ,

From William Voegeli’s The Pity Party:

The question of self-reliance affects the relationship between emphathizers and empathizees in a further way. If compassion rules out expecting much from those who suffer, then the moral and political leverage that empathizees wield against those who feel sorry for them will come to depend on their own incapacity. This correlation of moral forces operates with particular strength when empathizers and empathizees unite in the belief that the historic grievances of those who suffer preclude anyone else from calling on them to be self-reliant.

The basic choice open to blacks after the landmark legislation and court decisions of the civil rights era, according to the Hoover Institution’s Shelby Steele,* was between advancing “through education, skill development, and entrepreneuralism,” or  “pressuring the society that had wronged us into taking the lion’s share of the responsibility for resurrecting us.” The second course became all but inevitable when the post-civil rights narrative of white guilt and black victimhood decreed “that no black problem— whether high crime rates, poor academic performance, or high illegitimacy rates—could be defined as largely a black responsibility, because it was an injustice to make victims responsible for their own problems.”

*Shelby Steele, White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era (New York: HarperCollins, 2006)

%d bloggers like this: