American Elephants


Today’s Must Read Essays. Matters of Strength and Weakness. by The Elephant's Child

Michael Doran, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington D.C. He specializes in Middle East security issues. “I Don’t Bluff..”

President Obama has repeatedly promised to do whatever it takes to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear bomb. If there is no other choice, he says, he will resort to force. In a March 2012 interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, the president famously rejected the alternative policy, namely, allowing Iran to go nuclear and then trying to contain it. He emphasized the point dramatically: “[A]s president of the United States,” he said, “I don’t bluff.”

Really? Suppose this statement was just a show of toughness, timed to keep supporters of Israel on his side during the 2012 campaign season. Suppose that, when it came to Iran, in his heart of hearts, the president actually preferred a strategy of containment to a strategy of prevention. Suppose that was actually his policy aim from the outset—but, for obvious reasons, he couldn’t say so. How would he proceed?

He would proceed exactly as he has been proceeding—trumpeting his intention to roll back the Iranian nuclear program while actually avoiding confrontation at all costs.
Read the whole thing:

Victor Davis Hanson, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution: “What are the Metaphysics of Islamic Denial?”

After six years, it is no surprise that the Obama administration does not see the Taliban as “terrorists” or that it will not associate “violent extremism” with radical Islam or just Islam.

After all, when Maj. Hasan murdered U.S. soldiers it was nothing more than “workplace violence,” as if he were a disgruntled post office employee of the 1970s. Our two top intelligence chiefs assured us that the Muslim Brotherhood was “largely secular” and that jihad “was a legitimate tenet of Islam.” Add in “workplace violence” and the old “overseas contingency operations.” Do we remember that Ms. Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security warned us about right-wing returning veterans as the most likely to terrorize us? When someone blows up people at the Boston Marathon, beheads a woman in Oklahoma, or puts a hatchet in a NYPD officer’s head, he is not a terrorist or proselytizer fueled by Islamic hatred of non-Muslims as much as mentally confused. (I suppose in a way that a Hitler or Stalin was not.)      Read the whole thing:

Again, Victor Davis Hanson, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution: “Obama Does Have a Strategy

The Wise People of American foreign policy — Madeleine Albright, General Jack Keane, Henry Kissinger, General James Mattis, George Shultz, and others — recently testified before Congress. Their candid and insightful collective message dovetailed with the worries of many former Obama-administration officials, such as one-time defense secretaries Robert Gates and Leon Panetta, as well as a former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn. Their consensus is that the U.S. is drifting, and with it the world at large: The Obama administration has not formulated a consistent strategy to cope with the advance of second-generation Islamic terrorism. It is confused by the state upheavals in the Middle East. It is surprised by the aggression of Putin’s Russia and the ascendance of an autocratic China. Our allies in Europe, much of democratic Asia, and Israel all worry that the U.S. is rudderless, as it slashes its military budget and withdraws from prior commitments.

While I think the symptomology of an ailing, herky-jerky United States is correct, the cause of such malaise is left unspoken. The Obama team — with its foreign policy formulated by President Obama himself, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, White House consigliere Valerie Jarrett, Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and present Secretary of State John Kerry — is not in fact befuddled by the existing world. Instead, it is intent on changing it into something quite different from what it is.

So far from being chaotic, current U.S. foreign policy is consistent, logical, and based on four pillars of belief.
Read the Whole Thing



The Machines Are Taking Over, Doing Things On Their Own! by The Elephant's Child

Bwa ha ha ha. I just started to go to whitehouse.gov to get the text of the speech, entered the website, and this is what I got:

Capture



No Access, No Posts. Disconnected. by The Elephant's Child
October 27, 2014, 8:28 pm
Filed under: Blogging, Domestic Policy, Environment | Tags: , ,

We have been without internet access all day. Water-main break a few blocks away where they are widening and redoing a major street. Just got access back. They must have cut a buried cable.

Big windstorm Saturday night, major branches down and enough fir cones to set up a Christmas store.  Drumming and crashing on the roof all night.



There They Go Again! Democrats Try to Shut You Up! by The Elephant's Child

shutterstock_105467189-630x286

Friday night news dump. As the media went home for the weekend, the Democrats sneaked in a last minute proposal that the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) be allowed to heavily regulate political content on the internet. They have in mind sites like YouTube, blogs, and the Drudge Report. Why? You can go to YouTube and watch campaign commercials, and even worse, find things that President Obama and other politicians said in the past, and demonstrate their constant overweening hypocrisy.  There’s no telling what awful things you will find on blogs, and the Drudge Report is simply an aggregator of news from — the media.

The problem, of course, is the First Amendment to the Constitution, which protects freedom of speech, most especially political speech. We cannot be a free people without free political speech. First thing you know, they will put you in jail for criticizing the president, or shut your business down, or subject you to an IRS audit.

Obama FEC Commissioner Ann M. Ravel announced that the FED was preparing new regulations to give itself control over videos, Internet-based political campaigns and other content on the web. She insisted that “A reexamination of the commission’s approach to the internet and other emerging technologies is long overdue.”

Well, not exactly. The First Amendment was made permanent back in December of 1791, and has served us very well indeed, although the totalitarian sector of the Democratic Party keeps trying to get rid of it.

Democrats really don’t like criticism or being disagreed with. They have trouble defending their ideas, because they just say things, and have never, never done their homework. Rather than studying up on a policy and its inevitable consequences, they just want to pass it into law, and think that if there are problems, they’ll just add some regulations or make more laws. Evidence for that statement? I give you ObamaCare.

The vision of the left is not just a vision of the world. For many, it is also a vision of themselves — a very flattering vision of people trying to save the planet, rescue the exploited, create “social justice” and otherwise be on the side of the angels. This is an exalted vision that few are ready to give up, or to risk on a roll of the dice, which is what submitting it to the test of factual evidence amounts to. Maybe that is why there are so many fact-free arguments on the left, whether on gun control, minimum wages, or innumerable other issues — and why they react so visceraly to those who challenge their vision. ………………………………………….Tom Sowell 1/22/2014

FEC Chairman Lee E. Goodman, a Republican, said that if regulation extends that far, then anybody who writes a political blog, runs a politically active news site or even chat room could be regulated. “I have been warning that my Democratic colleagues were moving to regulate media generally and the Internet specifically for almost a year now,” Goodman told FoxNews.com. “And today’s statement from Vice Chair Ravel confirms my warnings.”

FEC Vice Chair Ravel said:

Since its inception, this effort to protect individual bloggers and online commentators has been stretched to cover slickly-produced ads aired solely on the Internet but paid for by the same organizations and the same large contributors as the actual ads aired on TV,” she said. Ravel vowed to “bring together” people from “across the spectrum” next year to look at the issue.

This set off alarm bells, as it should.

“The FEC’s approach to free speech on the Internet should be hands-off,” Goodman said, urging the public to go to the FEC website to comment on the issue.



What Was Missing In Obama’s Foreign Policy by The Elephant's Child

From Defense analyst Nadia Schadlow writing at warontherocks.com — via the WSJ’s Notable & Quotable column Sept. 7, 2014:

President Obama’s commitment to reducing America’s reliance on the military instrument of power is well-known. It has been a constant theme of his presidency—from his first presidential campaign through his major speech on foreign policy at West Point earlier this year. It is therefore paradoxical that the administration’s foreign policy outlook and operational style have made use of the military instrument almost unavoidable. By failing to understand that the space between war and peace is not an empty one—but a landscape churning with political, economic, and security competitions that require constant attention—American foreign policy risks being reduced to a reactive and tactical emphasis on the military instrument by default. . . .

The tactical mindset that dominates national security decision-making prioritizes military means over political ends and confuses activity (such as the bombing of enemy positions) with progress. Because the use of military force is not connected to operational plans for subsequent political consolidation, the United States vacates the space between war and peace. And because they cannot match American military power directly, it is in this space—battlegrounds of perception, coercion, mass atrocity—that America’s enemies and adversaries prefer to operate.

“the space between war and peace is not an empty one—but a landscape churning with political, economic, and security competitions that require constant attention.” I love it when someone calls to our attention something seemingly obvious to which we pay little attention, and changes the pattern of our thought.

Excellent website. Add warontherocks to your  choice website list!



August 30: Bumbershoot Weekend in Seattle by The Elephant's Child

promoted-media-optimized_53efb9e6c3ea7

Sorry about the light blogging. Labor Day weekend here is the time of Bumbershoot, a festival of umbrellas? It is, not surprisingly, raining. This is the greater Seattle area, and that’s what it does here. But, music, entertainment, food, vast crowds, and all the hippies come out of the woodwork — great fun for festival lovers.

Blogging is light because I went out yesterday to refill the suet feeder upon which all my woodpeckers, pilieated and flickers, depend. The clay soil was wet and slippery as all hell, and I went flying. No broken bones, but a remarkably sore backside. Standing is fine, sitting is fine, and sleeping is fine. It’s getting from one position to another that is troublesome.



A Must-See Collection of Historical Photographs. by The Elephant's Child

Here is a fascinating display of historical black and white photographs — colorized for modern eyes. Up until the 1970s color photography was somewhat rare and the color prints did not always age well anyway. Admitting my vast age, I was far more familiar with black and white photos than color, and as far as that goes, the color was not always accurate, so I can’t quite understand the idea that “colorizing” old photos “gives us our only chance at seeing what the world really looked like back then.” But it is a theme I have heard often, so it must be true for those for whom black and white photos are — weird.

The colorizing is beautifully done. You will enjoy these 53 historical photos.




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,962 other followers

%d bloggers like this: