American Elephants


A “Deal” But Not The Slightest Understanding by The Elephant's Child

Supreme-Leader-of-the-Islamic-Revolution-Ayatollah-Seyed-Ali-KhameneiObama seems to be feeling victorious. He has got the number of Democrats necessary to cancel Congress’ ability to override his veto of their efforts to derail his Iran deal. He envisions a triumphant trip to Tehran to shake the hand of the Supreme Leader and essentially turn  the Middle East over to the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s tender mercies. Some triumph!

The Ayatollah Ali Khamenei probably cannot bring himself to sign any agreement anyway, and he certainly would not shake the hated hand of an American. He said on Friday that there would be no deal unless the U.S. lifts sanctions immediately.

“If the sanctions are not going to be removed, then there will be no deal,” the “Supreme Leader” told Iran’s Assembly of Experts, in remarks broadcast on state-television.

“We insisted (since the beginning of the negotiations) that sanctions ought to be lifted, not suspended,” Iran’s dictator added, before threatening to triple uranium enrichment if the United States did not succumb to his demands.

Two thirds of the Senate oppose the Iran Deal. The American people oppose the ‘agreement by a 2–1 margin. This absurd situation is possible because the president refused to submit the Iran deal as a treaty for the Senate to ratify, as the Constitution requires. Ratification would have required a two-thirds vote, and Mr. Obama has not persuaded much of anyone that this agreement is in the national security interests of the United States. Sixty-four percent believe that President Obama and Secretary Kerry have misled the American people.

President Obama has insisted on bowing to the Iranian dictator, for unknown reasons, despite the fact that Iran is in a very difficult spot. The sanctions are pressing heavily. Iran’s break-even price for oil is $151. per barrel, and Brent crude is well under $50 — which I think means that they can’t sell their oil. And we politely become a doormat.

Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who also served as head of the CIA, said on Friday that “the Iran deal provides the United States with an opportunity to define a policy of strength, not ambivalence, in the Middle East.” He added “Let’s face it, given the situation in the Middle East, empowering Iran in any way seems like a dangerous gamble.” The deal, he says, is motivated by a fear of war, not sound strategy.

Panetta advocated several steps: •The deal should be enforced harshly. •The U.S. must keep a strong military presence in the region. •The U .S. should expand its intelligence capabilities. •The U.S. should build ties with regional allies.  Obama is opposed to all of these. The arguments are for someone with a spine.

From the American Enterprise Institute: “Iran’s interpretation of the nuclear deal is not an easy sell.”   Read the whole thing.



About Fences and Priorities. by The Elephant's Child

mexico-wall-pedestrian-image1According to the Washington Examiner, only 36 miles of effective double-layer fencing has been erected along the U.S.– Mexico border.

Sixty-six percent or 1,300 miles have no fencing. This is despite repeated congressional demands, and a congressional bank account of $2,5 billion. Congress has asked for 700 miles of fencing.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says that different types of fencing has been put up along the border, the cost so far is  $7.1 million per mile.

— 1,300 miles have no fencing (66.5%)

— 299.8 miles have vehicle fence (15.3%)

— 316.6 miles of pedestrian fence (16.2%)

— 36.3 miles of double-layer fencing (.02%)

— The current total for primary fencing to be 352.9 miles. 316.6 single layer plus 36.3 miles of double layer = 352.9 miles of primary fencing.

What’s more, no fencing is currently being erected on the empty 1,300 miles.

A Senate official said that the 2006 Secure Fence Act required 700 miles of double-layer fencing because Border Patrol members said double layer works best. Reports indicated that illegal immigrants can easily scale single fences.

Donald Trump is not going to build a great big wall, and Mexico is certainly not going to pay for it. That’s just braggadocio. But an accurate count of what we have, how much it costs and what is being done may be useful. Checking in with what other countries are doing may be more useful as would details of what works and what doesn’t.



Nothing is What it Seems to Be, All is Illusion. Crying Out for Reality. by The Elephant's Child

The story behind the dead small child, as so much from the Middle East, is not what it seems. I don’t know that it matters. The picture has served its purpose, as did the photo of the naked little girl running from napalm down a road in Vietnam. Iconic.

The hordes of Syrian refugees also seem to be other than were presumed. The Associated Press reports discarded documents from Pakistan, Iraq, Bangladesh. They claim to be escaping the horrors of the Syrian civil war, but they don’t have documents, or they have new Syrian documents and they claim their birthdays are all January 1st. Trafficking in fake Syrian passports has increased. Are they really refugees or simply fleeing poverty and looking for a better life, on the European welfare state. If it is only that, their asylum will be rejected, which is why so many are discarding their real identity cards.

Discontented people often pick up and move. Americans are perhaps more sympathetic than most because that is part of our national heritage. We are a nation of people who have picked up and moved here, as the “native” Americans came from Siberia, and some from Spain and England, and all the rest.

Since we have always been more aware than others of our origins, we have made becoming an American a more formal and final undertaking than most other nations do. You  apply for a visa, and wait an in terminally long time, and eventually you are allowed to take citizenship classes and learn how to become an American. Oddly enough, part of the citizenship oath was promising to serve your new nation in the military, if called upon. Obama has used an executive order to remove that part of the oath. Once you become a citizen — that’s it. You are as much American as those whose ancestors arrived in the Winthrop fleet.

But that didn’t end it. We moved across the Appalachians and then on west, up the wide Missouri and on across the Rockies.  The Okies fled the Dust Bowl and went to California. Now Californians are fleeing high taxes and overregulation and heading back the other way.

What is clear is that Europe’s attempt to become something other than a continent of quarreling nations by creating a European constitution of sorts and a central European government isn’t working out. Countries have identities and histories and languages. Those that have had distinctly separate identities have split apart in acts of what you might call tribalism. Czechoslovakia is not a single country anymore. The map of Europe has constantly shifted through the ages. Aside from conquest, we seem to be tribal peoples. We like to be with our own kind, however we define that.

Yet that is a human characteristic that the Left is trying mightily to strike out. “Diversity” has become a major aim. Colleges and universities have diversity departments, and directives. Corporations have diversity officers in their human resource departments. Unfortunately they are diversifying color, ethnic origin, gender and sexual orientation by the numbers. Any group of people is scanned for visible diversity and urged to correct improper numbers, yet that really isn’t the kind of diversity that is important.

The Obama administration, having screwed up everything else they have attempted, now believe that if they can just put enough poor people into rich neighborhoods, then the poor will learn how not to be poor by sharing the same schools and retail establishments  as their wealthier neighbors.  They are sure that once everybody is equal…

And they never, never learn.



Migrants Desperately Seeking Asylum in a Europe That Is Unprepared to Cope by The Elephant's Child

Europe in enduring a massive flow of migrants, fleeing in terror from Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, North Africa, Egypt and Libya, from the Islamic countries in Asia and the Middle East to Turkey, the Greek Islands, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary Austria and Germany. They are coming by the thousands, and it is not clear why the sudden exodus. Europe is unprepared. Their economies are not healthy, there is unemployment, yet heartbreaking images such as this strike at the core of compassion in the West.

Certainly many are fleeing ISIS —the terrorist Islamic State — who have made it clear that anyone in their sway who does not pledge allegiance to their cause is in mortal peril. The barbarity of their executions is meant to strike terror in the minds of those who see it.  Look what we do to these people, and what will we do to you? That is the meaning of terrorism, and the purpose.

On the other hand, the preponderance of migrants seem to be young men. Fewer women, no old people; ISIS claims, supposedly, that 4,000 ISIS fighters are among the migrants.The migrants seem to be aiming for those countries with the most elaborate welfare systems. But mostly young men.

The EU has been living in a dreamworld of sorts — formerly warring nations now in agreement on perpetual peace and open borders, one big happy continent. Except that has always been so in the halls of the Union, but not so much in reality. Countries had identities and languages and histories precisely because they shared those particular things. Tribalism is not so far distant. It is, perhaps, the nature of man, and not so easily made over into something else. There has been a lot of pretense there.

The free world has been shaken by the heartbreaking image of a very small Syrian boy, drowned, washed up on a Turkish beach. We are mostly protected from unpleasant sights. Our media is sure that we are not up to facing reality. The horrors that ISIS has dreamed up for mass distribution are blurred or digitized out of recognition. Sorry, you barbarians, your horrors don’t frighten us because we’re not allowed to see them. I suspect that this is a mistake, and it’s better to face reality.

Pictures, however, are often more influential that words. As European nations struggle to decide what they will do about the influx of migrants, that little boy will be there to remind all of empathy and compassion. Some 800,000 newcomers are expected in Germany — about 1% of their population. Even Germany doesn’t have robust economic growth and will have trouble absorbing so many.

Denmark is announcing that they can’t admit any. The Hungarians are building fences. There is talk of using military power to establish safe zones in Syria to contain the exodus. The borders and the fences will return. Europe’s openness has rested on America’s strength. As Bret Stephens says, you can’t have one without the other.

If you are offended by the image, I’m sorry, but I believe our media err in their attempt to “protect” us. It’s not “protective” but just another political lie.




%d bloggers like this: