American Elephants


We Don’t Understand What is Happening. Are We Deliberately Ignorant? by The Elephant's Child

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Michael Ledeen, writing in Forbes, April 1: :The Whole World Is In Turmoil Not Just Us”

The fierce conflicts we are witnessing in the primaries are not just an American phenomenon, indeed it’s hard to find a country that isn’t fighting internally as we are.   Most of the world is intensely divided, and our own domestic debates are part of a global disruption.

The many divisions should not surprise us, as we are in the midst of a transition from the post-World War II bipolar world to something else, something as yet unclear.  In part, it is a return to historic normalcy, although few who grew up during the Cold War would recognize it as such.  The post-war world, for roughly a half-century after the defeat of Germany and Japan, was unusually peaceful compared with past centuries.  From 1945 until very recently, there was no major war, and “stability” was considered a fundamental objective of sensible strategy.  Three or four generations have grown up in that world, and are surprised at open conflict and instability.

Yesterday, Dr. Ledeen again, this time at PJ Media:

“Terrible Things Are Happening”

Americans just can’t take the Iranian tyrants seriously. If you ask us what Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei means when he leads his weekend crowds in a chant of “Death to America,” most Americans will not say “he wants to destroy us all.” Yet that is precisely what he means, and if we had leaders worthy of the name, they would be designing a strategy to bring down the Tehran regime before Khamenei and his evil henchmen do terrible things to us. Here.

Instead, the president and the secretary of state keep showering largesse on the ayatollahs, who respond by telling us they are preparing our destruction.

Just last week, for example, Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said Iran is preparing for all-out war with the U.S. and its allies, and has vowed Iran will continue advancing and testing its ballistic missile program.

Bret Stephens: The Wall Street Journal, 4/11/2016

Islam and the Radical West, The political orthodoxy of the left is the gateway drug to jihad.”

We’ve become lazy in our thinking about Islam and the West. Whether the Islam practiced by al Qaeda or ISIS is “radical” or merely traditional isn’t the question. It’s whether the West can recognize that the moral nihilism of today’s Jihadi Johns is the logical outgrowth of the moral relativism that is the default religion of today’s West.

Daniel Hannan: Washington Examiner, 4/11/2016

“The terrorist threat is getting serious, but we mustn’t panic”

Do you remember the footage of last month’s subway bomb in Brussels? You know, with the frightened passengers choking their way along a smoke-filled tunnel while children cried? Well, the man who shot that video was a friend of mine, a Brussels-based American freelance reporter who happened to be on the train, and who helped carry some people to safety.

Here’s the odd thing, though: I wasn’t especially surprised that he had been there. Knowing someone who has been caught up in a terrorist attack no longer feels strange. We are becoming habituated to jihad, blase about bombs.

And in contrast, a voice from the Left: Andrew J. Bacevich, Politico, 4/4/2016

“Let’s end America’s hopeless war for the Middle East”

A hundred years ago, the armies of World War I fought to a bloody stalemate on the Western Front and desperately searched for ways to break it and gain an edge. They field-tested tanks and poison gas, rolling barrages and storm-trooper tactics. Today, the United States is stuck in an analogous stalemate in the Middle East and Islamic world in general. And we are field-testing all manner of novelties, much like the great armies of Europe mired in the trenches: the so-called Revolution in Military Affairs and counterinsurgency, precision-guided munitions and unmanned aerial vehicles, not to mention such passing fancies as “overwhelming force,” “shock and awe,” and “air occupation.”

Yet as was the case a century ago, the introduction of some new battlefield technique does not necessarily signify progress. On the contrary, it only deepens the stalemate.



The Fake and the Real, Playing With Your Emotions and Your Mind. by The Elephant's Child

This is one of those posts that leaves you scratching your head and wondering if it is real — or just a giant hoax. It sounds authentic, but I’ll leave it to you to decide. It’s about crowd sourcing — as a business. It comes in The California Sunday Magazine, which I guess we will assume is real. I mean these days how can you tell?

The story is about a company called Crowds on Demand. The author signs on as a recruit, doesn’t know what he’ll be doing, really, but it pays $15 an hour.  The 24-year-old CEO started the company as a 21 year-old UCLA undergrad after he had volunteered with Jerry Brown’s gubernatorial campaign and found that it could be challenging to attract large crowds to speeches. He believed that there was an opportunity for a service to turn out—well— fake crowds. Plenty of bodies to give the impression of enthusiasm. Once he got started he found there was a demand not only for crowds to support a candidate, but for crowds to protest a candidate.

I just wrote about the increasing unreality as it becomes more and more difficult to discern what is real and what is not. In the age of Photoshop, with skilled artists, it’s impossible to tell. The young CEO is getting very rich, very fast, and drives a silver Tesla.

When people inquire about a potential event, Adam guides them through the possibilities and the approximate costs: $600 for fake paparazzi at a birthday dinner; $3,000 for a flash mob dancing, chanting, and handing out fliers as a PR stunt; $10,000 for a weeklong political demonstration; $25,000 to $50,000 for a prolonged campaign of protests. According to Adam, protests have become the company’s growth sector, and just as with advertising, repeat impressions are key. “When the targets of our actions see that we’re going to be back, day after day, they get really scared,” he says. “We’re in it for the long haul, and the problem’s not going to go away on its own.”

Fascinating article, excellent illustrations, and really quite scary. We are not doing well as a nation at managing the flow from the Information Age. As the information becomes more and more unreal, or more questionable, all the checks and balances are disappearing, and we need to pay more and closer attention — but are we up for it?



Finally, A College President Does the Right Thing by The Elephant's Child

Steven Hayward, who keeps a close eye on the absurdities of academe, reports on the rare sighting of a university president who actually has a backbone. I have been critical, mostly of the students, who although young, should know better. University presidents, however, have the assigned job of keeping order in their establishment.

Students are there theoretically to learn something, but because they are young and stupid, they are apt to engage in outbreaks of goofiness. Once long ago, it was a rage for swallowing goldfish that spread from campus to campus, then there were panty raids. It got far more serious and caused far more trouble in the Vietnam War era, because kids were afraid of being drafted. Today we’re back to the ridiculous.

The current brouhaha is at Ohio State University, and the hero is president Michael V. Drake. Students who attempted to occupy the area outside president Drake’s office got a taste of the real world “when a senior administrator  advised them that they would be arrested and expelled  if they didn’t retreat from their ‘occupied space’.”

Here are some of their demands:

We demand complete, comprehensive and detailed access to the Ohio State budget and investments immediately, as well as personnel to aid students in understanding this information.

OSU Divest: Divest fromCaterpillar Inc., Hewlett Packard and G4S due to their involvement in well-documented human rights abuses in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and across the globe. . .

Real Food OSU: Sign the Real Food Campus Commitment. Ensure the administration work with Real Food OSU through the entire implementation of the Real Food Campus Commitment, in place of, or as a means of attaining, the university sustainability goal of increased “production and purchase of locally and sustainably sourced food to 40% by 2025.”

Steven Hayward added: “Memo to all college presidents: This is how you do it. Why is this so hard?”



United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Team by The Elephant's Child

Halftime of the Houston Texans and Cleveland Browns game at Reliant Stadium in Houston, TX. The Marines Corps silent drill platoon performs. I had never heard of this group before. They are impressive.



Never Fear, DHS Is Keeping Us Safe! by The Elephant's Child

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In March, Fox News reported that dozens of airport employees across the country have potential ties to terrorists, and now officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) admit that only three American airports require workers to go through security checks. This startling admission was delivered this week before a Senate Commerce Committee hearing. It  comes in the wake of a number of cases involving gun and drug-smuggling schemes conducted by airline employees at major American airports including those in Atlanta, New York and San Francisco.

Airport workers in each of the cases used their security badges to access secured areas without going through any checkpoints. Only three of the nation’s 300 airports, Miami, Orlando and Atlanta, actually require employees to pass security checks before starting to work. There is evidence of much illicit activity among airport workers. Government records obtained by the media found that 73 employees at nearly 40 airports across the country were found to have ties to terror organizations in a June 2015 report from the Inspector General’s office.Those files identified two at Logan International in Boston, four at Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta and six at Sea-Tac in Seattle.

There is an Aviation Security Advisory Committee, which meets four times a year to advise TSA.  Members include representatives from the trade unions involved like the Cargo Airline Association, and United Brotherhood of Carpenters. for example. They reported that most airports can’t afford daily screenings, and it wouldn’t “appreciably increase the overall system-wide protection” and added that “no single measure can provide broad-spectrum protection against risks or adversaries.” They concluded the screening of airport workers “is incapable of determining a person’s motivations, attitudes and capabilities to cause harm, among other limitations..” So, you see, screening isn’t really necessary at all. Not to worry.



A Little Straight Talk About Where we Are by The Elephant's Child

Constitution
Here’s some straight talk about our current problems. Unfortunately, straight talk is somewhat rare, but knowledge of what is true and what is not is a good first step.

Leon Aron, resident scholar and Director of Russian Studies at AEI.

—”The clash of philosophies

From Alabama to Denmark, Nevada to the Netherlands, and from Arizona to Sweden and Germany, Hungary and Poland, voters are flocking to right/left populist, nationalist, isolationist, and nativist demagogues, parties, and movements.

The trend sweeping Europe and the United States is broader and deeper than politics. …This chasm is not merely ideological. It is ethical, linguistic — almost anthropological

Victor Davis Hanson senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

How America Lost Its Groove

Deterrence is lost through lax foreign policy, an erosion of military readiness, and failed supreme command — often insidiously, over time, rather than dramatically, at once. The following random events over the seven years that Barack Obama has been in office have led to the idea abroad that the U.S. is no longer the world’s leader and that regional hegemonies have a golden opportunity to redraw regional maps and spheres of influence — to the disadvantage of the West — in the ten months remaining before the next president is inaugurated.

A Nation of Laws—Sort Of

Any fair reading of State Department and general federal government laws regarding the use of classified information by federal employees makes it is clear that Hillary Clinton violated the law—both by improperly setting up her own private server, and then by sending information through it that was classified. …

If she is not indicted by the Obama administration for violations of federal laws or conspiracy to obstruct justice, in the future it will be almost impossible to prosecute successfully any federal employee for violating government protocols about the handling of classified information.

Hold Colleges Accountable to the Real World

The public is steadily losing confidence in undergraduate education, given that we hear constantly about how poorly educated are today’s graduates and how few well-paying jobs await them.

The cost of college is a national scandal. Collective student-loan debt in America is about $1.2 trillion. Campus political correctness is now daily news.

How could higher education be held accountable and thereby be reformed?

These latest linguistic contortions to advance ideological agendas follow an established pattern of the Obama administration and the departments beneath it.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper described Egypt’s radical Muslim Brotherhood as “largely secular.” CIA Director John Brennan has called jihad “a legitimate tenet of Islam,” a mere effort “to purify oneself.

Bill Gertz national security columnist for The Washington Times

Cybercom sounds alarm on infrastructure attacks

The commander of the U.S. Cyber Command warned Congress this week that Russia and China now can launch crippling cyberattacks on the electric grid and other critical infrastructures. …

Most military operations involve the use of commercial infrastructure and thus their vulnerabilities to cyberattacks are a major concern.

“If you were able to take that away or materially impact the ability to manage an air traffic control system, to manage the overhead [satellite] structure and the flow of communications or data, for example, that would materially impact [the Defense Department’s] ability to execute its mission — let alone the broader economic impact for us as a nation. …



It’s all Falling Apart, Or Is It Just Us? by The Elephant's Child

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Everybody’s angry, we are told. The comments on most websites that discuss the news or politics have turned dark and mean and accusative.  It is a strange political year. Very accomplished Republican governors have dropped out, the people with real qualifications have given up, apparently because the public wants an ‘outsider’, because they no longer trust the ‘insiders’. So we are in the process of choosing a new president. The Democrats’ bench is thin. There are no particularly successful governors, and Democrat run states are basket cases. They have turned to an elderly socialist and an elderly former first lady with many titles and few accomplishments.

I think we misunderstand the “anger” and misplace the blame. We have entered a new age of instant, incomplete, biased, false and true information that we don’t know how to sort or how to manage. Our schools claim to be teaching “critical thinking” but mostly teach “social justice” instead —unfortunately there is no such thing.

Newspapers are dying, but proliferating online. Added to the formal gleanings from the journalism profession, ordinary people are adding their thoughts and opinions on blogs. But who can you trust, and how do you find real information?

Fact-checking websites like Politifact and Snopes have multiplied, but they don’t always get their facts right. Photographs have always been able to deceive, which is why you hate some photographs of yourself, but with Photoshop to alter them, a photograph no longer represents reliable truth. And now there is Twitter for instant connection to the latest in — what? Smart remarks or the latest in real insight? And there’s Facebook for selfies and what you had for dinner last night. And many, many more social media websites, and of course, the Kardashians.

The general impression is that everything is falling apart. America is in retreat internationally as the threats grow. We recognize the threats, but they cannot be called by name. As the terror and attacks increase, we reduce the size and capability of the world’s finest military to its state before World War II. The administration lies. The Media lies. The Constitution is deliberately ignored.

Police are attacked as they attempt to protect the people, cities declare themselves “sanctuary cities” and refuse to obey federal law.  The president releases convicted criminals because convicting people for selling dangerous addictive drugs that ruin lives is racist. Landlords cannot refuse to rent to convicted criminals.

The feminist drive to eliminate gender proceeds and there is no longer sanctuary even in the bathroom. Political correctness is judged more important than accuracy and government is more the problem than any solution. The administration expects to fix human nature by more closely regulating the people, and giving themselves more power.  We know that’s not going to work, but what will?



Rising Threats: Shrinking Military. Three Former Secretaries of Defense Speak Out. by The Elephant's Child


“Bret Baier talks with Mr. Obama’s three former defense secretaries, who all agree: inexperienced paranoid Obama staffers tried to micromanage the war on terror from the White House, believing that the military had it in for Obama, and shade their views to please the president. Taken together, it’s quite a damning portrait of a president deeply in over his head, and a world out of control as a result:”

In an interview with the New Yorker in 2008, the new President Obama said confidently:

I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.

That’s a quote that will continue to haunt him. But he hasn’t done a very good job of hiring aides and advisors. He has ignored the advice of the most capable, and paid too much attention to the sycophants. It’s all to easy to lap up the flattery from those who want to please, but  when capable advisors tell you that you’re making a mistake — you’d better listen.



Scare Tactics From the White House! by The Elephant's Child
April 7, 2016, 5:56 pm
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Domestic Policy

Hoh rainforest
From The Guardian (U.K.) “Climate change threat to public health worse than polio, White House warns”Obama administration report details the diversity of risks and claims global warming is a far more challenging danger than polio virus in some cases.” My goodness. That 0.05% by the end of the century is certainly responsible for an amazing reign of terror. I usually turn the furnace down a lot more than that each night.

“Every American is vulnerable to the health impacts associated with climate change,” John Holdren, the White House science adviser, told reporters on Monday. “Some are more vulnerable than others,” he went on.

These included pregnant women, children, the elderly, outdoor workers, low-income people, immigrants, communities of color and those with disabilities or pre-existing medical conditions.

The diversity of risks – and vulnerable populations – made climate change a far more challenging threat to public health than even the polio epidemics in the past in some regards, said Vivek Murthy, the surgeon general.

Dr. Murthy added that polio was eradicated with a specific vaccine, but “Climate change is not like that. There is not one single source we can target.” Well, yes there is—it’s called the sun.

Governments will gather at the U.N on April 22 to formally sign on to Obama’s Paris Climate pact — which if everybody faithfully agreed in every aspect till the beginning of the next century would reduce world temperatures by approximately 0.05%. Congress is not about to sign on to any such treaty, but Obama is hoping to scare people into pushing Congress to agree with him.

Earlier researchers have called attention to the risks of heatwaves, air pollution and illnesses borne by insects such as mosquitoes under climate change as well as the declining nutritional value of food staples such as wheat and rice. Last year, scientists warned that extreme heat could make outdoor work perilous and parts of the Middle East uninhabitable.

Gina McCarthy,head of the EPA, says greenhouse gasses are a threat to the public so severe that the agency has a responsibility to regulate climate change-causing emissions.  The greenhouse gasses are what makes possible life on earth. The major greenhouse gas is water vapor. or clouds. CO2 is a tiny part of the atmosphere, and the slight increase is greening the globe. If you remember your high school biology, we breathe in the air, use the oxygen, and breathe out carbon dioxide. The plants use the CO2 as a natural fertilizer, and exhale the oxygen. It wouldn’t hurt a bit if we doubled the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. A greening world helps to feed a growing world.

The EPA is anxious to control our power supplies, bring down anything using fossil fuel (you must all buy electric cars) (oops, electric cars run on electricity mostly produced by fossil fuels) grab control of the nation’s water supplies right up to the drips from your downspouts. The diseases they claim are caused by global warming are asthma (doctors do not know the cause of asthma) and they blame mosquitos for malaria, especially in Africa, where they ban the use of DDT on the doorposts of huts—which would greatly reduce the prevalence of mosquitos. Ms. McCarthy, by the way, is not a scientist.

Fortunately, every now and then, some right-thinking idealist manages to tell the truth about what they’re really up to.

Climate Change affects not just hears and lungs, but also brains! That’s from a New Zealand paper. Visit Climate Depot for more: “Study: Heat kills 9,000 in USA and Cold Kills 144,000″



The Crusade Of Democrat Attorneys General To Stifle Dissent by The Elephant's Child

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You have perhaps noticed that Democrats (Liberals, Progressives) don’t like disagreement, and increasingly, they wish to impose their right-thinking convictions on the rest of us, by force of law if necessary.

A coalition of Democratic attorneys general in 16 states announced Tuesday an unprecedented campaign to pursue companies that challenge the catastrophic climate change narrative, raising concerns over free speech and the use of state authority to punish political foes.

Standing beside former Vice President Al Gore, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said the state officials are committed to “working together on key climate-related initiatives,” including queries into whether fossil fuel companies like ExxonMobil have committed fraud by deceiving the public and shareholders about the impact of man-made carbon dioxide emissions. …

“The bottom line is simple: Climate change is real; it is a threat to all the people we represent,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “If there are companies, whether they’re utilities, whether they’re fossil fuel companies, committing fraud in an effort to maximize their short-term profits at the expense of the people we represent, we want to find out about it. We want to expose it and want to pursue them to the fullest extent of the law.”

Did you assume that it is merely a coincidence that the snowflakes in our colleges and universities need “safe spaces” to protect them from hearing anyone disagree with their right-thinking opinions. That’s why #Black Lives Matter, and activists from Ferguson and Baltimore are on campuses stirring up trouble. And that’s why they can’t bring themselves to tolerate speakers who do not hold correct opinions.

Climate Change is of course — real— the climate is always changing. We have hot summers and cool summers, hard winters and mild winters. We have had ice ages and warm periods like the Dark Ages from 600 to 900, followed by the Medieval Warming from 900 to 1300, which was followed by the Little Ice Age from 1300 to about 1850. From 1850 to 1940 there was a warming trend, and from 1940 till 1975 there was a cooling trend.

From 1976 to 1978 there was a warming spurt and from 1979 till the present it has been confusing because the surface thermometers indicated warming, but it was found that many were situated where concrete walls reflected heat, air-conditioner vents blew hot air, but  accurate satellite measurements have given us better datasets.

New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (pictured at top) is another right-thinking true believer who wants to use the force of law against those who hold incorrect ideas. Unfortunately Washington State’s Democrat Attorney General Bob Ferguson has signed on to the leftist crusade to use RICO laws ( meant for organized crime) to go after energy companies like Exxon Mobil for holding incorrect opinions. Embarrassing.

There has been no warming at all for 18 years and 10 months. None. The sun has gone quiet. If the Paris Climate Pact was fully implemented by all—it would reduce the temperature by 0.05º by the end of the century. We’ve survived the difference in temperature from a chilly rainy spring day till the next, when the sun breaks out. I suspect our descendants can handle it.



Catastrophic Global Warming? Don’t Make Me Laugh! by The Elephant's Child

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From Investors: Another Climate Alarmist Admits Real Motive Behind Warming Scare

“Fraud: While the global warming alarmists have done a good job of spreading fright, they haven’t been so good at hiding their real motivation. Yet another one has slipped up and revealed the catalyst driving the climate scare. …

Have doubts? then listen to the words of former United Nations climate official Ottmar Edenhofer:”

“One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with the environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole,” said Edenhofer, who co-chaired the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change working group on Mitigation of Climate Change from 2008 to 2015.

So what is the goal of environmental policy?

“We redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy,” said Edenhofer.

If you remember, I have several times quoted Christiana Figureres, executive secretary of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change who said last year:

This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” she said in anticipation of last year’s Paris climate summit.

“This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model for the first time in human history.”

These are people who do not feel that they are making anything other than natural statements about the correct and true goals of all right-thinking people. We’ve run into those people before. It never ends well.



Actual Climate Change Pronouncements by The Elephant's Child

Climate-Change-Resized

(Click to enlarge)




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