American Elephants


Francine’s Interview — France by The Elephant's Child

Born in August, 1933, Francine Christophe was deported with her mother to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1944. Released the following year, she continues to share her experience and memories with the younger generation.

(h/t: Maggie’s Farm)



Trying to Make Sense in a Disordered World by The Elephant's Child

francejetPresident Francois Hollande pledged to wage “pitiless war”against ISIS in the wake of the multi-pronged military-style assault on civilians in Paris. This is not the last major attack on a western capital we will see. Within a few short days, ISIS has apparently brought down a civilian Russian airliner killing 224 people,and suicide bombings that killed at least 41 people in Beirut and 19 in Baghdad, and attacked the people of Paris. France still has a warrior tradition, and a military.

French fighter jets dropped 20 bombs on a command and control center, jihadi recruitment center, munitions depot and ISIS training camp in the Syrian city of Raqqa, ISIS headquarters.

At Commentary, Jonathan Tobin captured the moment:

In the last 36 hours, the world reeled from the horror and shock of the terror attacks that took the lives of at least 129 persons and wounded hundreds more. In response a lot of Americans responded to it in the way they instinctively react to everything these days. They changed their profile picture on Facebook.

Mark Steyn headlined his piece on Europe “The Barbarians are Inside, And There Are No Gates.” That was on Friday. He said on the radio apropos the latest campus ‘safe space’ nonsense: “This is what we”re going to be talking about when the mullahs nuke us.” And added:

When the Allahu Akbar boys opened fire, Paris was talking about the climate-change conference due to start later this month, when the world’s leaders will fly in to “solve” a “problem” that doesn’t exist rather than to address the one that does. But don’t worry: we already have a hashtag (#PrayForParis) and doubtless there’ll be another candlelight vigil of weepy tilty-headed wankers. Because as long as we all advertise how sad and sorrowful we are, who needs to do anything?

Weasel Zippers reports that the Federal Bureau of Investigations has nearly 1,000 active probes connected to the Islamic State terrorist group inside the United States, law enforcement officials claimed in a letter to President Obama. The letter was from a group of elected sheriffs in Colorado blasting the president’s plan to transfer known terrorists held at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to a mainland facility. There would seem to be something to the idea that we really don’t need more terrorists in the country.

Herb Meyer wrote last month that:

For seven years now, President Obama has been conducting what may well be one of history’s greatest political experiments. His revolutionary theory — which this Copernicus-from-Chicago articulates with such supreme confidence that he’s persuaded American voters to elect him twice to the presidency — is that the world would be a safer, less violent place if the United States played a smaller role on the global stage. At the core of this theory lies his hypothesis that American military power is more the problem than the solution; that our over-reliance on guns rather than brains had de-stabilized key parts of the world, such as the Mideast, that would otherwise have been more peaceful and prosperous.

We have an endless flow of statistics and polls, gossip, policies, campaign speeches and public relations which results in a bad case of information overload. How do we sort out the important from what is trivial? College students are demonstrating and screaming about racial slurs that may never have happened, and are outraged that the news media has turned its attention from Yale and the University of Missouri to Paris.

In Turkey, President Obama walked in late to a solemn moment of silence by heads of state there for a G7 conference. In reference to the Syrian refugee crisis, he remarked:  “Society has not passed this exam with good grades.”

Oh well, of course, “Society.” I really don’t think that Barack O’Blameless has any idea just what he has precipitated with his ideology. There are ideological experiments and there is the real world, where real human beings have a hard time getting along, but try to recognize reality when it strikes, right in front of us, and try to react with measured firmness.  If, as Smoky Bear says, you drown your campfire, turn it over and drown it again — maybe you won’t have the whole forest in flames.

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The EPA Is Not Now, And Never Has Been, In Any Situation — Transparent! by The Elephant's Child

AR-150829613.jpg&maxw=725&maxh=575I have wondered about the progress of the spill from the Gold King Mine as it proceeds down the Colorado River System through Lake Powell and the Grand Canyon. As the spill approached Lake Powell, news about the spill precipitously dropped from the news. Not an accident. Environmental Protection Agency officials have required their contractors to sign non-disclosure agreements, or secrecy pledges.

“The statement of work includes a standard requirement that the contractor shall not publish or otherwise release, distribute, or disclose any work product generated under the contract without obtaining EPA’s express advance written approval,” an EPA spokeswoman told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “This does not require either an NDA or confidentiality agreement be signed by individual employees.”

Non-disclosure agreements are often used to protect important government secrets, they are not supposed to obstruct official accountability at critical times. The EPA was clearly at fault here for a massive spill of 3 million gallons of highly toxic mine waste, not only rife with materials such as cadmium, lead and arsenic. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the cadmium turned the river a bright mustard yellow, so it couldn’t exactly be kept secret. The picture above is of the narrow-gauge railroad that runs from Durango to Silverton, and is very popular with tourists. I have ridden it, and it’s a beautiful trip, but not with a yellow river.

The initial reporting was plentiful as it flowed through small Colorado towns and as it reached the Navajo Reservation where the river flows right through the center of the reservation near Shiprock and Teec Nos Pos. This is water essential to the reservation, for tribal animals and water, and for irrigation, and just for drinking water. There were some sloppy attempts to truck water in to the reservation, with dirty tanks, and the tribal leaders said they would sue. This is public business, and lawsuits will be paid with taxpayer  money.

The EPA has said that there are 28 separate contracts with Environmental Restoration and it would take until the 22nd of December to review them all to determine just which contract would pertain to the Animas and Colorado Rivers. Uh huh. Even looking through Google’s array of pictures, they don’t seem to include Lake Powell nor the Grand Canyon National Park. Interesting.

The EPA is forestalling transparency in a spill that affects the regional supply of drinking water across the American Southwest. Timely? Nah.

But it is a bit of a pattern for agencies of the Obama administration. The IRS? Don’t ask. The VA? Congress is working on transparency, but it seems that it is difficult to impossible to fire government officials. This was going to be the most transparent administration in history. That’s turning out well.

animas-map

(click to enlarge)




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