American Elephants


Monday: Three More Big Decisions From The Supreme Court by The Elephant's Child

Supreme-Court-Justices-2

After finding something or other somewhere in the Constitution that recognized a national right to same-sex marriage and rewriting the Affordable Care Act to fix the actual language that Congress wrote into the law, there are still three more big decisions, which we will hear on Monday.

1. Execution Methods

Glossip v. Gross

At issue is whether the sedative midazolam presents an unconstitutional risk of severe pain in executions of condemned criminals. Three men on Oklahoma’s death row claim that midazolam, the anesthetic the state plans to administer before introducing paralytic and heart-stopping drugs to their bloodstreams, is unreliable, exposing them to an unconstitutional risk of severe pain as they are put to death.

2. Power-Plant Emissions

Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA et.al.

Issue: Whether the EPA unreasonably disregarded costs when it decided to regulate power plant emissions of mercury and other air toxins. The regulations would cost $9.6 billion annually, according to EPA estimates. But the agency said it was appropriate to consider only public health risks—not industry costs—when it decided to regulate coal- and oil-fired generation plants.

3. Congressional Redistricting

Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission

Issue: Whether a state may transfer redistricting authority from the legislature to a nonpartisan independent commission. Arizona voters in 2000 passed a ballot initiative that shifted responsibility for drawing congressional districts from the state legislature to an independent redistricting commission made up of two Democrats, two Republicans and an independent.



The First Half of 2015 Has Been the Most Intense Period of Terrorist Plotting Since 9/11 by The Elephant's Child

JP-TERROR-master675

(The Imam Sadiq Mosque in Kuwait City after a suicide
bomber killed at least 25 Shiite worshipers at prayer)

Peter Brooks, senior fellow for national security affairs at the Heritage Foundation wrote today that: We have had nine terrorist plots this year in the United States. So far all of the plots in 2015 have had ties to ISIS off in Iraq and Syria, whether the plotters were direct (recruited by ISIS) or indirect (inspired by ISIS). FBI Director James Comey said in February, that his agency is investigating Islamic State-related cases in all 50 states.

They heavily use social media, using publicly available encryption found on the internet to chat in complete privacy. They can hide their computer IP addresses, and are moving over to the so-called “dark web” where a lot of very bad actors reside. Their technology is pretty good, their propaganda is increasingly capable of reaching and radicalizing those here who would do us harm.

In Britain, Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, the former Chief of the Defense Staff, has warned that Muslim extremism is a “real threat” to the world, and he condemned dithering politicians who are too reluctant to lead the way. He warned that a “hell of a lot of damage” is going to be wreaked by ISIS in coming years, and leaders are failing to plan properly. “I think the problem is that we have not seen that we need to approach the issue of Muslim extremism  as we might approach World War Two back in the Thirties.

He said “Right now, in the ranks of the armed forces, and the army in particular, are the most experienced, battle hardened people since the end of the Second World War.

Jihadists like anniversaries, so their three terror attacks took place on the eve of ISIS declaration of a caliphate last June 29. They only took  credit for one of the atrocities — a suicide bombing at a Shiite mosque in Kuwait, where 27 people were killed, but all going off at the same time.Ramadan began last week, and an ISIS spokesman called on “mujahadeen everywhere” to make it “a month of disasters for the infidels.”

In Tunisia, a gunman posing as a tourist  killed at least 37 people, most European vacationers at a beach resort. In France, a car-bombing attempt at an American-owned chemical plant near Lyon failed to cause major damage, but not before the attacker planted the decapitated head of his boss on the plant’s gate, along with an Islamic flag.

President Obama recently deployed 450 additional trainers to help the Iraqi army fight, but they aren’t getting enough Iraqi volunteers, which in the wake of ISIS drowning captives, removing heads, burning in cages is not really surprising when the Americans have such restrictive Rules of Engagement, and have demonstrated that they are undependable allies. ISIS is a direct threat to the West as well as to the region in general, and it needs to be dealt with that way.

Obama’s view of the Middle East and ISIS isn’t a policy for dealing with this problem. As he explained, he doesn’t have a complete strategy yet.  Little late in the game for developing one.



We are not their subjects. They work for us. by The Elephant's Child

A House Republican has introduced the SCOTUSScare Act which would make all nine justices and their employees join the Affordable Care Act’s healthcare law exchanges. It would only allow the federal government to provide healthcare through the exchanges.

Not going to go anywhere, but the policy of not applying laws inflicted on the rest of society, but not our representatives in the federal government, is problematic. Our elected representatives, including the president and all his appointees work for us. We are not their subjects. Ours is a government “of the people and by the people,” and when  you vote — keep that in mind.

Hillary’s refusal to answer questions, and rude telling one of the people to “just go to the end of the line” should give you pause.

Any law passed by Congress and signed by the president should apply equally to those in the government.



About the Racism Inherent in the Stars and Bars of the Confederate Battle Flag. by The Elephant's Child
June 24, 2015, 7:47 pm
Filed under: Freedom, History, Media Bias, The United States | Tags: , , ,

After the dreadful racist murders of nine black members of Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, some member of the media called attention to the Confederate battle flag on the South Carolina Capitol grounds, and the media was off and running. Unable to adequately express their dismay, which I assume — they went for the flag.

The flag did not fly over the capitol, but over the Confederate memorial on the Capitol grounds. The conversation quickly moved from the nine murdered church members to the flag as a ‘symbol of racism.’ Governor Nikki Haley promptly said they would take down the flag to end any offense from its presence. It had been placed over the Confederate memorial by a Democrat governor and a Democrat legislature at the time of the Civil War Centennial and would take a 2/3 vote of the legislature to remove.

That wasn’t enough for some members of the media, who began advocating for the removal of Confederate flags everywhere. Retailers said they would no longer sell the flag. Then they went for the statues of Confederate heroes.  Monuments were defaced, names of streets and towns named after Confederate heroes should be changed, and some nitwit from CNN even suggested that the Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C. should be torn down because Jefferson owned slaves.  Congratulations! You have managed to match the tactics of ISIS and the Taliban.

The Civil War is over. The South lost and surrendered unconditionally. History is a record of the past, things that actually happened. The Civil War, (The War Between the States), was a dreadful war, the most deadly ( 620,000 dead) in our history. It was a war over the Union and the South’s right to secede. It was a war over the institution of slavery — but to the South it was a war over their entire economy which depended on producing cotton for English textile mills. Sixty percent of American exports at the time were cotton for the mills of Britain — and some 440,000 workers in Britain were employed in the textile industry.

Slavery was a great evil, but it was the norm all over the world, and most people just accepted it as the way things were. The British killed the slave trade between Africa and the new world, and we followed suit. It is estimated that about 88 percent of the transatlantic slave trade went to the sugar islands and South America, and only about 12 percent came to America (per Wikipedia) Am I apologizing for slavery? Certainly not. It has taken a long time to get over the Civil War, a long time for the Southern economy to recover. and a long time for blacks to become full and valued participants in every segment of society. It’s all just a lot more complicated than those who are squawking about the symbolic racism inherent in any display of the Stars and Bars. Read some history. Please!



Lockheed Martin’s Hybrid Airship — the Next Revolution. by The Elephant's Child

You learn something new every day. I had no idea they were working on this. I’ve long been familiar with dirigibles.  Used to drive by the hangar near the freeway just north of San Jose, fairly frequently. The working model pictured is 1/3 scale, so Lockheed Martin’s Hybrid Airships — the real ones — would be huge.  Able to go to areas with little transportation and no highways or runways.  The possibilities seem endless. Fascinating.



President Obama, Iraq, ISIS, and An Interview With President Bush by The Elephant's Child
June 12, 2015, 8:43 pm
Filed under: Iraq, National Security, The United States | Tags: , ,

Two days after admitting that he did not yet have “a complete strategy” for dealing with the ISIS terrorists estimated as an army of 30,000, President Obama has dispatched another 450 U.S. advisers to train Iraqis troops to do the fighting. It appears that trainers will outnumber trainees. There will be a total of 3,500 American trainers, about 950 more than Iraqi troops.

Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser, said the modest troop increase came as a result of “a very regular process of evaluation” not from any perceived public pressure to do something, after a long string of ISIS advances.

We are told by military sources that what is needed are Special Forces to provide intelligence and spotters to direct American aircraft. The lack of on-the-ground information and a restrained target approval process related to White House rules of engagement, 75% of all allied air attacks now return without dropping their ordnance.

Seventeen months ago Obama described ISIS as a JV team. Ten months ago he said he had no strategy. After the hideous beheading of an American, Obama announced the current ‘strategy’ of no combat forces, bombings or troop training. You have to remember that he told military academy graduates that global warming, not terrorism, was the most serious threat to America. Here’s the history, do watch till the end (Funniest mashup ever!)

Israel Hayom caught up with former President George W. Bush for an exclusive interview — on Friday. He said “There is only one thing that I really miss about being president, and that’s being the commander-in-chief. I admire our military a lot,” he told Israel Hayom, his eyes twinkling. “When you are the commander-in-chief at a time when I was, when you put them into a lot of combat situations, you develop a special bond, not only with the military but with their families.”

The war snuck up on then-President Bush with the al-Qaida attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In his book he says that the week of the attacks was the key to understanding his entire presidency. He writes that he poured his heart and soul into defending the country, “by any means necessary.”

To us he says that no one prepared him for becoming a “two-war president” but reality supplied him with a lot of challenges in the White House. He says he had to make very difficult decisions — sending boys to defend the homeland with the knowledge that not all of them would return.

President Bush was asked “Is the war on terror currently being waged in the proper way? He responded:

“I made a decision, as you know, not to criticize my successors, with an s. I am going to be around a little bit longer — there is going to be more than one successor. The temptation is to try to rewrite history or to make yourself look good by criticizing someone else. I think that is a mistake. I don’t think that is what leadership is all about. I know how hard the job is. I didn’t like it when former leaders criticized me when I was president. Some did, so I decided not to do the same.”

Q: You mentioned ISIS, you spoke about defeating terror. Is it possible to defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq without boots on the ground?

“The president will have to make that determination. My position was that you need to have boots on the ground. As you know, I made a very difficult decision. A fair number of people in our country were saying that it was impossible to defeat al-Qaida — which is ISIS as far as I am concerned. They said I must get out of Iraq. But I chose the opposite — I sent 30,000 more troops as opposed to 30,000 fewer. I think history will show that al-Qaida in Iraq was defeated. And so I chose the path of boots on the ground. We will see whether or not our government adjusts to the realities on the ground.”

This has already translated into the idea that Mr. Bush said we needed boots on the ground. He said that was up to the president. When it was his job to decide his position was that you needed boots on the ground.

It is a long and very interesting interview, do read the whole thing. He steadfastly resisted any comments or criticism of his successor, but talked about what he himself did and why. He said:

In my post-presidency I have written a book, and that has helped a lot. I wrote another book. It is brand new. It is about an extraordinary man — my father. It will be a very historical document because never has a son of a president written about the president. So the paintings are along these lines.

“I read Winston Churchill’s essay ‘Painting as a Pastime,’ and it is a really interesting essay. I started looking at Churchill’s paintings and I said ‘wow, I can do this.’

There is so much in the interview that is charmingly Bush, that I wanted to include it all. You will have to read it for yourself.



Remember the Men of D-Day, June 6, 1944 by The Elephant's Child
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Reposted from 2013 ……..…………………………….(click to enlarge)
Major Werner Pluskat in his bunker overlooking Omaha Beach had heard nothing from his superiors. He was cold, tired and exasperated. He felt isolated. He couldn’t understand why there had been no reports from either regimental or division headquarters. …Once more he swung the artillery glasses over to the left, picked up the dark mass of the Cherbourg peninsula and began another slow sweep of the horizon. The same low banks of mist came into view, the same patches of shimmering moonlight, the same restless white flecked sea.Behind him in the bunker his dog Harras, was stretched out asleep. Nearby,  Captain Ludz Wilkening and Lieutenant Fritz Theen were talking quietly. Pluskat joined them. “Still nothing out there,” he told them.” I’m about to give it up. But he walked back to the aperture and stood looking out as the first streaks of light began to lighten the sky. He decided to make another routine sweep.

Wearily, he swung the glasses over to the left again. Slowly he tracked across the horizon. He reached the dead center of the bay. The glasses stopped moving. Pluskat tensed, stared hard.

Through the scattering thinning mist the horizon was filling with ships — ships of every size and description, ships that casually maneuvered back and forth as though they had been there for hours. There appeared to be thousands of them. Pluskat stared in frozen disbelief, speechless, moved as he had never been before in his life. At that moment the world of the good soldier Pluskat began falling apart. He says that in those first few moments he knew, calmly and surely, that “this was the end for Germany.”      Cornelius Ryan: The Longest Day

ADDENDUM:  The Greatest Generation is passing into history. The youngest who turned 18 in 1943 will be 90 years old in 2015,(not including those who lied about their age). Honor them, for they saved the world at enormous cost.  Think too, of those on the home front who built the ships and planes and made the materials that won the war. They built the arsenal of Democracy.




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