American Elephants


Two Down, Fourteen to Go. by The Elephant's Child

I’m really troubled. The two most accomplished governors in the country have both suspended their campaigns for the Republican nomination. Rick Perry administered a state that created most of the new jobs in the country. Liberals predicted that Texas would go bust along with oil prices when they started to drop, but 2014 was the year that oil prices fell to $53 a barrel in December from more than $107 in June.

But Austin has little exposure to the energy industry, and business other than government is booming. Texas has no personal or corporate income tax, and job growth continues to soar. Texas is in the business of wealth creation, not redistribution.

Scott Walker shifted power from unions to workers, where it belongs. Wisconsin has outdone the nation on most economic indicators. The unemployment rate is lower than the national average, and improving. After four years of Gov. Walker, more Wisconsinites are employed and his policies are clearly working. Add in an attempt to recall him, death threats to his family, protests at his parent’s home, and the use of law enforcement as a political instrument in an attempt to undo election results. Above all, he clearly has a steel spine, something we have all been wishing for.

Well, sour grapes. Walker, perhaps rose to the top too soon,too fast, and the vast number of candidates, hostile unions determined to destroy him,  a liberal media that regarded him as the most dangerous man in the bunch — liberals will do anything to silence those who disagree, and someone who is successful in overturning everything in the original progressive state is very dangerous to the liberal agenda.

I expected some to drop out, but not my two favorites while the less deserving, hang on. It’s politics, and the unexpected usually happens.

ADDENDUM: I’ve read dozens of other commentary on Scott Walkers suspension of his campaign. The only satisfying answer, setting aside the snark, is that he entered the race on a vast wave of enthusiasm, and the campaign spent way too much money in the first weeks, and as yet people are just getting acquainted with the candidates, and not really ready to settle on a single favorite. The too much money spent too early wasn’t getting replenished that fast. He just ran out of money and poll numbers.



$500 Million. 5 Fighters. Obama Says It’s Not His Fault! by The Elephant's Child

damaged-buildings-syrian-civil-war1  When you draw a ‘red line,’ or ‘a line in the sand’ publicly in international terms, it is a very serious threat.  When you back down your reputation is permanently damaged. That is usually a lesson that one learns on the playground.

In a 2012 press conference in Stockholm, Obama said:

I have, at this point, not ordered military engagement in the situation. But the point that you made about chemical and biological weapons is critical. That’s an issue that doesn’t just concern Syria; it concerns our close allies in the region, including Israel. It concerns us. We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people.

We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.

Assad unleashed a sarin gas attack on Syrians in Ghouta just outside of Damascus. Obama avoided any action in Syria in order to help with the Iran negotiations. The image above is a neighborhood in Syria.

The answer was supposed to be investing $500 million in training some of the Syrian rebels to fight Assad’s army, but it actually yielded just four or five fighters.

So now President Obama and his foreign policy team are confused.Why is Vladimir Putin pouring troops and weapons into Syria? Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov that it really isn’t helpful, and is making things worse. Russia has deployed a small number of tactical jets in Syria for the first time. Moscow is clearly preparing to help Assad cling to power. American pilots regularly fly surveillance flights and airstrike missions, the direct involvement of Russian forces could mean trouble.

Russia has been an ally of Syria since Sadat kicked the Soviets out of Egypt in 1972. Look at a map. Putin has re-claimed the Crimea and is simply asserting their influence in the Middle East. Putin’s ambition is always to avenge and reverse Russia’s humiliating loss of superpower status over 25 years ago.

Obama’s efforts to train an opposition army to fight the ISIS has been an abysmal failure. And an expensive failure. But the White House is not to blame. The finger, the White House says, should be pointed not at Mr. Obama, but at those who pressed him to attempt training Syrian rebels in the first place. The New York Times says:

In effect, Mr. Obama is arguing that he reluctantly went along with those who said it was the way to combat the Islamic State, but that he never wanted to do it and has now has been vindicated in his original judgment.

Mr. Trump simply says “Syria’s a mess, Why are we fighting ISIS in Syria? Let them fight each other and pick up the remnants.” A comment much in line with his simplistic answers to everything else.

Ryan C. Crocker who was ambassador to Afghanistan under Mr. Obama and ambassador to Iraq under George W. Bush said the president was right to think that a train-and-arm program would not work, but he either should have continued to resist or taken ownership rather than blame others.

How un-presidential that sounds — ‘We didn’t want to do it, we thought it was unsound but you made us do it,’ ” said Mr. Crocker. “It’s just indicative of their whole approach to Syria, which is not to have a policy. This is the worst thing they could say.”

Now refugees are flooding Europe. We don’t know who are refugees, who are migrants, and who are members of ISIS. What we are learning is that EU estimates are that four out of five migrants are not from Syria but from Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq and even states farther removed. Mr. Obama’s response seems to be welcoming a hundred thousand or so refugees every year into the indefinite future.



“I’m Mad as Hell And I’m Not Going To Take This Anymore! by The Elephant's Child
September 21, 2015, 12:54 am
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Crime, Democrat Corruption, Iran, Politics, Regulation

im-as-mad-as-hell-howard-bealeDan Henninger’s column in the Wall Street Journal last Thursday was about Wednesday’s debate but he made use of Howard Beale’s now famous line in “Network” when he started shouting on his broadcast one evening, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

Beale’s last-straw rant is a compendium of political crises and petty annoyances that added up to a society running off the rails. Driven mad, Beale yells: “I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first, you’ve got to get mad!”

Henninger adds “That was 1976. This is 2015. It’s back. What happened?”

The political crises are not the same, but the frustration is. I wrote last month about the VA being caught shredding mail from veterans related to vets’ disability claims. That scandal has been going on for ages, and no one has been fired. It is apparently impossible to fire government employees who game the system or commit infractions of one kind or another. If they do something really bad, they get placed on an extended leave at full pay.

The cyber crimes are piling up. The IRS had 334,000 taxpayer identities stolen. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) had 22 million identities stolen of everybody who had ever worked for the government, and any references they gave at the time they were hired.
Medical identities, 2.3 million of your medical records have been stolen.The IRS and OPM cases have been blamed on Chinese hackers. President Obama took care of that by refusing to stay at the Waldorf Astoria (Chinese owned) while in New York for a UN something or other. That’ll fix that! Is anybody actually doing something about preventing these incursions? Got me. The medical identity theft can be very expensive for the victim, something like $15,000 to fix. You didn’t think ObamaCare would do anything for you, did you?

Last week, Investors reported that for President Obama there is “no greater threat” than global warming. All his efforts to reduce CO2 will amount to a 0.3 possible drop of CO2 by the year 2100. In the meantime, the real threat comes from solar storms or worse, an electromagnetic pulse attack (EMP) from an enemy like Iran. They are reported to have directions for how to conduct an EMP attack in their military manuals. The US has 99 nuclear stations and 31 research facilities which could face simultaneous meltdown of these facilities in as little as 30 minutes. Defending against an EMP attack would cost something like $2 billion, less than we send to Pakistan each year. Is Washington doing anything? Who knows? But apparently not.

That doesn’t even touch the Planned Parenthood mess, or Obama’s disastrous Iran Deal, or his planned admission of 100,000 refugees a year.  Howard Beale may just have had it right. But he didn’t offer any solutions.




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