American Elephants


But Appearances! What Might People Think? What If They Blamed Us? by The Elephant's Child

San-Bernadino-Shooting-AerialTashfeen Malik, who with her husband carried out the massacre in San Bernardino, CA, passed three background checks by U.S. immigration officials as she moved from Pakistan to the United States. She had made many posts on social media about her support for violent jihad. She said she wanted to be part of it. So why…?

It seems, according to a whistleblower’s comments to ABC News that once again, political correctness  has trumped common sense.

Fearing a civil liberties backlash and “bad public relations” for the Obama administration, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson refused in early 2014 to end the secret U.S. policy that prohibited immigration officials from reviewing the social media messages of all foreign citizens applying for U.S. visas, according to a former senior department official.

“During that time period immigration officials were not allowed to use or review social media as part of the screening process,” John Cohen, a former acting under-secretary at DHS for intelligence and analysis. Cohen is now a national security consultant for ABC News.

One current and one former senior counter-terrorism official confirmed Cohen’s account about the refusal of DHS to change its policy about the public social media posts of all foreign applicants.

A DHS spokesman said that a review of the broader policy is underway.

A former senior counter-terrorism official, who participated in the 2014 discussion, said, “Why the State Department and Homeland Security Department have not leveraged the power of social media is beyond me.”

“They felt looking at public postings [of foreign U.S. visa applicants] was an invasion of their privacy,” the official told ABC News. “The arguments being made were, and are still, in bad faith.”

The whistleblower said “It was primarily a question of optics. There were concerns from a privacy and civil liberties perspective that while this was not illegal, that it would be viewed negatively if it was disclosed publicly.”

The obsession with political correctness, social justice, appearances rather than doing the right thing is breathtaking. There is no such thing as “social justice.” There is only one kind of justice which is enumerated in the laws of the United States, the Constitution, the actions of the courts and the laws of the states. How anyone feels about the laws is irrelevant.

Political correctness deals with what other people think. Also irrelevant. The Left is awash in political correctness, and as we have recently seen, so are our colleges and universities. Appearances again refers to how something looks to others. What is missing here is truth, legality, accuracy, dependability, honor, reliability, honesty — that sort of thing.

Conservatives often complain the those on the Left are concerned only with feelings. If you feel that it’s not fair that someone can say things that you disagree with, that someone earning more money than you do just isn’t fair, or that it’s not fair that someone earns only the minimum wage, you’re probably a Leftie. The missing factors, truth, or dependability play out in the Left’s lack of concern for graft, self-enrichment with public money, casual treatment of national secrets, lying to the public, which are common on the Left.  That sort of stuff is not a big deal, or it’s just what everybody does.

I’m pretty big on  the truth, legal and reliable bit. There is a moral dimension to truth and lying which involves the intent to mislead. We act on the information we receive, and the consequences of being misled can be dire indeed. When the president misleads the nation, it is a very big deal. When the Democrats’ anointed nominee is under investigation by the FBI, for putting top-secret documents on her own computer, exposed to any hacker,  is known to be a compulsive liar, and not only lied to the parents of the Americans killed in Benghazi, but then denied the lies she told them — we are deep into the weeds. There’s a reason why the economies of Democrat-run states are in the toilet. Yet such things are not supposed to matter.

If our country is being run on the basis of appearances and political correctness, and we are being misled about it all, we are in very deep trouble indeed.



Impressions From Last Night’s Debate by The Elephant's Child

20151219_blp903I mostly listened to the debate last night on the radio. My CNN connection kept going haywire, so I only saw a small bit on CNN. Apparently that makes a difference. Whatever their political viewpoint, viewers could not help but be impressed with the quality of the Republican field. The discussion was serious, well-informed and lengthy. The candidates were well informed on national security, and on how to deal with ISIS, Syria, Russia, Iran and domestic terrorism with real differences of opinion, which is as it should be.

Several pundits declared Donald Trump the debate winner, but I thought it was clear that he was just not prepared to go beyond his usual bombast. He did manage to tell the audience innumerable times that he was leading the polls, he had the highest approval, he was winning. He just doesn’t understand the very complicated situation, and has no strategy at all.   “I have 41% in the polls” is a brag, not a qualification.

Lindsey Graham was terrific in the earlier debate. He had just been to Iraq again, and spoke to the situation on the ground informed by the troops on the ground.

Carly Fiorina is clearly one of the best informed, and gives the most responsive and responsible answers to questions — yet has not really managed to break through to the top, where she belongs. Her tenure at HP was impressive. She handled some really difficult circumstances with courage, put the company on a path to success, and frankly has a better record of experience than most of the other candidates. I have wondered if , since Republicans are uniformly unimpressed with the “first woman to” idea, and invested in merit and qualifications just can’t get past the fact that candidates for President of the United States have always been men.

Chris Christie excels at tough-talking campaigning. He can be very assertive and very believable. John Kasich corrected from his angry, grumpy appearance at the last debate. Jeb Bush was better, but not breakthrough better.

I am far from picking a candidate, and in spite of the media’s insistence on making this all a horse race and proclaiming winners and losers, most Americans are just getting acquainted with the candidates. I was really enthusiastic at the beginning with so many governors who had real accomplishments in the running — but Scott Walker, Rick Perry and  Bobby Jindal have all dropped out. I am not enthusiastic about one-term senators. Been there, done that. And it didn’t work out well.

 




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