American Elephants


Now It’s The IRS Again, With 334,000 Stolen Identities. If They Haven’t Got You Yet, They Soon Will. by The Elephant's Child

The news about our favorite bureaucracies just keeps coming. In this case it is the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS reported a wee break-in to its computer systems back in May. Now they have admitted that an additional 220,000 taxpayer accounts have been compromised.

So if the ObamaCare Hospital required computer breach didn’t get you, you have another chance to get your identity hacked by the IRS — that trusted organization that deals so efficiently with your taxes. There were also 170,000 instances of “suspected attempts that failed to clear the authentication processes.” whatever that means.

So the number of stolen identities now adds up to 334,000 , nearly three tunes the IRS original estimate of 114,000.

Why, it was only about a month ago that it was the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that admitted that Chinese-origin cyber attacks on its computer networks compromised the personal data of 22.1 million Americans who had been employed by the government.

And earlier this month defense officials said that Russia had launched a “sophisticated cyber attack” on the Pentagon’s unclassified email system used by the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the end of July. That breach affected approximately 4,000 military and civilian employees, including Chairman General Martin Dempsey.

The IRS break-in occurred in an online service called “Get Transcript” an application that helps taxpayers get their prior year return information. It has been shut down. The IRS will notify taxpayers who were potentially affected as soon as possible and provide them with support — such as free credit protection.

It would be reassuring to hear a strong voice from Washington, telling us that tech experts are already hard at work hardening off or rendering government computer systems impregnable from enemy attack. Instead, we hear the Democratic candidate for president insisting that she never received, saw, or heard of a classified document, and certainly never sent one. That server of hers was all yoga exercises and wedding plans and baby showers and messages to Bill, who has never sent an email message in his life.

Can we expect Cyber-Security from the folks who gave us ObamaCare?



When Is a Treaty Not a Treaty? Democrats Like to Re-Name Things. Can They Get Away With It? by The Elephant's Child

It seems to me that the Iran Deal is the most urgent, most important issue before the American people. The administration says that Congress must pass it, and if they don’t, Obama will sign it anyway. Orde Kittrie, writing in the Wall Street Journal says that Congress can Rewrite the Iran Deal. Secretary of State John Kerry has said that the Deal is not a treaty because they couldn’t get a treaty through Congress, so it isn’t a treaty.

This is a nonstarter for the administration. Mr. Obama warns that failure to approve the deal as is means that America will lose its “credibility as a leader of diplomacy,” indeed “as the anchor of the international system.” Mr. Kerry asserts that refusing to approve the deal would be inconsistent with “the traditional relationship” that has existed “between the executive and Congress.”
Does just calling it an “executive agreement” make it not a treaty? You can call a pig a dog, but that doesn’t make it a dog, nor make it any less disreputable.

In an interview published Aug. 5  with Atlantic writer Jeffrey Goldberg, John Kerry said of the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, that “the ayatollah constantly believed that we were untrustworthy, that you can’t negotiate with us, that we will screw them.” And we believed that Iran was trustworthy and that we could negotiate with him? Please! Clearly, we didn’t care that Iran was not trustworthy, so we gave in to them on every issue.

Kerry said that “Congressional rejection of the deal “will be the ultimate screwing,” he added, noting that “the United States Congress will prove the ayatollah’s suspicion, and there’s no way he’s ever coming back. He will not come back to negotiate. Out of dignity, out of a suspicion that you can’t trust America. America is not going to negotiate in good faith. It didn’t negotiate in good faith now, would be his point.”

During two years of negotiations, Obama and his international partners agreed to keep discussions of ballistic missiles out of the nuclear talks after Tehran refused to continue the talks if the issue was not excluded. Did nobody ask why they needed intercontinental ballistic missiles if their nuclear efforts were simply for peaceful energy? Unless they are worried about Venezuela, we are the only folks on a different continent.

Obama clearly did not expect the negative reaction to the Iran Deal.According to Gallup, only one in three Americans approve of Obama’s handling of Iran. Unsurprisingly, even leftist Jewish organizations are lining up to oppose the deal.

In an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Obama was asked if he thought it was “appropriate of a foreign head of government to inject himself into an American affair.”That one is laughable. Obama has an extensive history of injecting himself into the affairs and elections of other countries, both by word and deed. He sent his campaign advisors to Israel, and to Britain to help the opposition party, and has injected himself into the affairs of Australia and Canada, without invitation.

America has long had a list of countries designated by us as state sponsors of terrorism. It has been a fairly exclusive club, with states like North Korea and Syria. The Obama administration has, for political reasons, shown remarkable solicitude toward two countries that were on the list when he became president: Cuba and Iran.”Cuba meets the statutory criteria for rescission,”  was the explanation of the State Department. John Kerry has trekked off to Cuba to raise the flag over a reopened U.S. Embassy there. Nothing has changed. The Castros state firmly that nothing will change, and Cuba hasn’t lost its taste for terrorism and spying.

Iran is a different deal. The Ayatollahs have long had their fingers in every terrorist effort from Iraq to Syria, to Yemen, Georgia,Thailand and India, not to mention a number of other countries around the world.  Unacknowledged is the fact the throughout the negotiations, Iran has continued its work toward a weapon. The Europeans want Iran’s oil, and trade with Iran. Obama wants their good graces and is engaged in the worst kind of wishful thinking. To assume that Havana and Tehran can be reformed by kindness and respectful talk is an unbelievably foolish and dangerous error. Obama is desperately searching for a “legacy,” it will not be found in millions of dead Americans.



The Great Unlearning: How Our Society Became So Stupid. by The Elephant's Child

Bill Whittle takes on the big problem.

Parents? The Schools? Television? Social Media? The Press? Hollywood? Absence of knowledge of history, math, economics, in favor of gender, sexism, racism, inability to read? What is most important and what should we tackle first?



So What Do You Think Of Your Government? by The Elephant's Child

350px-State-dining-room-polk-cabinetI have been fascinated with the animus directed at the Environmental Protection Agency. I’ve long thought of them as a rogue agency, interested only in their power grab, and their environmental efforts as mostly futile and misdirected. Their enormous fines and riding roughshod over businesses and private citizens, trampling the law and ruining lives suggested to me that the agency should be abolished.  But it appears that large numbers of Americans agree with me. I didn’t expect that.

That got me thinking about other governmental departments. So I looked up the Cabinet, and what are referred to as “Cabinet Rank” officials who are not part of the Cabinet. I looked them up in Wikipedia. You have to scroll down for the list, but you should see the picture of James K. Polk and his cabinet in 1946— all five of them. Lincoln had seven, and in September 2009, Obama had 21. But scroll down to the Cabinet. It’s hard to attribute the correct agencies belonging to each cabinet office.

Which federal agencies do you admire and trust? Or the reverse, which do you believe are incompetent and failing to do what they should? The IRS? The VA? Interior? Agriculture? Education? If Monica Crowley is correct, Obama exercises incredibly tight control, and nothing goes forward in his administration without his approval.

Just a thought experiment.

PolkADDENDUM: [The picture is of of James K. Polk and his cabinet in 1846, The first cabinet to be photographed.] From left to right, front row. John Y, Mason, Attorney General; William L. Marcy, Secretary of War; President Polk; Robert J. Walker, Secretary of the Treasury; Back Row Cave Johnson, Postmaster General; George Bancroft, Secretary of the Navy. Secretary of State James Buchanan is absent. Polk was 49, He served 1845-1849. He pledged to reestablish the independent Treasury System, Reduce tariffs, Acquire some or all of Oregon Country, and acquire California and New Mexico. Accomplished all. He was a Democrat.

 



The Iran Nuclear Deal by The Elephant's Child

Is the nuclear agreement between the United States and Iran a good or bad deal? Would it be harder or easier for Iran to develop nuclear weapons? Would it make Iran and its terror proxies stronger or weaker? Should the U.S. Congress support or defeat the deal? Dennis Prager answers these questions and more.

The deal releases $150 billion in funds which had been sanctioned to prevent Iran from developing the nuclear weapons they are so intent on developing, along with the intercontinental ballistic missiles they want. To put that in understandable terms, the Marshall Plan for Europe only cost $120 billion in today’s dollars. And just why do they want “intercontinental” missiles anyway? Neither Israel nor Europe are on different continents. Is that what Qasem Soleimani, head of the Iraq Revolutionary Guard Corps, was doing in Moscow?



Compromise and Capitulation by The Elephant's Child

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Obama’s Humiliating Capitulation to Iran’s Mullahs. by The Elephant's Child

a1900mknPresident Obama is furious about the criticism of his Iran Deal. I don’t think he expected opposition, and now he is afraid that Congress may actually attempt to defeat him.

Barack Obama came to office with a head full of cheering audiences, pre-presidential seals, roman columns, adoring songs and media excitement. Nobody paid much attention to his imitation of the Lincoln trip to the nation’s capital, and taking the oath of office on the Lincoln Bible, but it indicated the height of his self-expectation.

Obama believed that the problems of the Middle East, Bush’s unnecessary and evil war in Iraq, the problems of Afghanistan, the fighting between Sunni and Shiia, were all due to the problem of Israel’s intransigence. Obama intended to force Israel and Palestine to make peace, he would bring about a two-state solution, and we would withdraw from the Middle East, he would become the greatest president in U.S history, the United States would end its bullying interference in the world and we could just settle down to be one happy socialist nation among the nations of the earth — no more exceptional than any other.

Obama has consistently misled us about the concessions he as making to Iran. MEMRI (The Middle East Research Institute) has revealed that according to Iranian officials the secret negotiations with Iran began in 2011 when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the hardline “Death to America” official, was still Iran’s president. Claims that the election of Rouhani marked a moderate turn for Iran were bunk.

When the White House emerged from very prolonged nuclear negotiations in Europe with a tentative nuclear deal, President Barack Obama was enthusiastic. The deal he presented to Congress was essentially a settled deal. His administration had already submitted the terms to the United Nations for ratification and Obama was certain that made it a done deal. Then he assumed that the objections were all due to the evil Republicans, but no less a figure than Charles Schumer came out forcefully against the deal, and nine prominent House Democrats representing major constituencies also said they would vote against the deal. Virginia Senator Jim Webb has come out against it.

Barack Obama contends that those  who oppose him are making common cause with the Islamic Republic’s theocratic regime hardliners. That, or they are putting the interests of Israel above those of the United States. No president in history has ever made such outrageous claims about the opposition party.

He claims that” This is the strongest nonproliferation agreement ever negotiated.” It actually rewards decades of covert and illegal nuclear activities by Iran.

He says this deal “permanently prohibits Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”   Yet that agreement is only on paper, and Iran has a long, long record of cheating on every ‘agreement,’ including  during the long period of negotiations, when there was clear evidence of their cheating.

Obama says the deal contains the most comprehensive inspection and verification regime ever negotiated to monitor a nuclear program. In reality the entire agreement is based on the assumption  that Iran will comply with the deal, which is highly unlikely.

“If Iran cheats, we can catch them, and we will.” said the president.  Iran says we will have no access to any military site, that inspections will have to give a lengthy advance notice, and they may just not allow any inspections anyway. We didn’t catch the Pakistanis, nor the North Koreans, nor the Libyans (though they voluntarily gave theirs up), we have always misjudged others efforts.

Even worse, we have pledged, in the agreement, to  help them develop their “peaceful” nuclear energy, visiting our nuclear plants, and protecting them from sabotage.

President Obama’s speech on the Deal at the American University was mean spirited and downright ugly. His idea, repeated, that the only choice was his deal or war, is nonsense. Iran declared war on America in 1979 and has been waging war ever since.

This president has never seriously attempted to work with Republicans in Congress at any time. He discarded any notion of working with his opponents with respect or showing a willingness to working with them a long time ago.

Monica Crowley, who is a keen observer of the scene in Washington DC. remarked last week that this White House is the most tightly-controlled in history, that Obama is the ultimate control-freak, and that nothing goes forward in his administration without his approval. No investigation is performed without his say-so.

This all seems to be based on a fantasy that Obama can turn the Middle East and all of its problems over to Iran, who will bring peace and order to the region, enabling America to leave the region in their capable hands. He denies the meaning of the “Death to America” cries, has extolled the ancient Persian dynasty, and ignores the extensive descriptions of the dangers of an EMP attack on the United States that are found in IRGC official papers. They just might go for that one, it’s estimated to kill 90% of all Americans. Qasem Soleimani, the head of the IRGC,  was just discovered visiting Moscow to see Vladimir Putin in complete defiance of Iran Deal prohibitions. Obama has gone into partnership with him.

The Ayatollah Khamenei has written a 426 page guide on how to rid Israel of the Jews. It’s his own version of Mein Kampf, Hitler’s 1925 tract against the Jews. He uses words like “nabudi” which means annihilation. It’s all based, he says, on “well-established Islamic principles.”

So we are giving them the Middle East, all of their sanctioned funds returned, the Ayatollah’s personal slush fund of $900 billion. The mullahs are already scooping up billions in unfrozen assets. Obama has accepted their offer to provide their own nuclear-site samples for examination. They’re back in business with European countries anxious to trade. Nobody is shouting “Death to Germany” or “Death to France.” The IAEA admits that it cannot answer even the most basic questions about Iran’s programs and progress.




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