American Elephants

Trying to Make Sense in a Disordered World by The Elephant's Child

francejetPresident Francois Hollande pledged to wage “pitiless war”against ISIS in the wake of the multi-pronged military-style assault on civilians in Paris. This is not the last major attack on a western capital we will see. Within a few short days, ISIS has apparently brought down a civilian Russian airliner killing 224 people,and suicide bombings that killed at least 41 people in Beirut and 19 in Baghdad, and attacked the people of Paris. France still has a warrior tradition, and a military.

French fighter jets dropped 20 bombs on a command and control center, jihadi recruitment center, munitions depot and ISIS training camp in the Syrian city of Raqqa, ISIS headquarters.

At Commentary, Jonathan Tobin captured the moment:

In the last 36 hours, the world reeled from the horror and shock of the terror attacks that took the lives of at least 129 persons and wounded hundreds more. In response a lot of Americans responded to it in the way they instinctively react to everything these days. They changed their profile picture on Facebook.

Mark Steyn headlined his piece on Europe “The Barbarians are Inside, And There Are No Gates.” That was on Friday. He said on the radio apropos the latest campus ‘safe space’ nonsense: “This is what we”re going to be talking about when the mullahs nuke us.” And added:

When the Allahu Akbar boys opened fire, Paris was talking about the climate-change conference due to start later this month, when the world’s leaders will fly in to “solve” a “problem” that doesn’t exist rather than to address the one that does. But don’t worry: we already have a hashtag (#PrayForParis) and doubtless there’ll be another candlelight vigil of weepy tilty-headed wankers. Because as long as we all advertise how sad and sorrowful we are, who needs to do anything?

Weasel Zippers reports that the Federal Bureau of Investigations has nearly 1,000 active probes connected to the Islamic State terrorist group inside the United States, law enforcement officials claimed in a letter to President Obama. The letter was from a group of elected sheriffs in Colorado blasting the president’s plan to transfer known terrorists held at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to a mainland facility. There would seem to be something to the idea that we really don’t need more terrorists in the country.

Herb Meyer wrote last month that:

For seven years now, President Obama has been conducting what may well be one of history’s greatest political experiments. His revolutionary theory — which this Copernicus-from-Chicago articulates with such supreme confidence that he’s persuaded American voters to elect him twice to the presidency — is that the world would be a safer, less violent place if the United States played a smaller role on the global stage. At the core of this theory lies his hypothesis that American military power is more the problem than the solution; that our over-reliance on guns rather than brains had de-stabilized key parts of the world, such as the Mideast, that would otherwise have been more peaceful and prosperous.

We have an endless flow of statistics and polls, gossip, policies, campaign speeches and public relations which results in a bad case of information overload. How do we sort out the important from what is trivial? College students are demonstrating and screaming about racial slurs that may never have happened, and are outraged that the news media has turned its attention from Yale and the University of Missouri to Paris.

In Turkey, President Obama walked in late to a solemn moment of silence by heads of state there for a G7 conference. In reference to the Syrian refugee crisis, he remarked:  “Society has not passed this exam with good grades.”

Oh well, of course, “Society.” I really don’t think that Barack O’Blameless has any idea just what he has precipitated with his ideology. There are ideological experiments and there is the real world, where real human beings have a hard time getting along, but try to recognize reality when it strikes, right in front of us, and try to react with measured firmness.  If, as Smoky Bear says, you drown your campfire, turn it over and drown it again — maybe you won’t have the whole forest in flames.


The EPA Is Not Now, And Never Has Been, In Any Situation — Transparent! by The Elephant's Child

AR-150829613.jpg&maxw=725&maxh=575I have wondered about the progress of the spill from the Gold King Mine as it proceeds down the Colorado River System through Lake Powell and the Grand Canyon. As the spill approached Lake Powell, news about the spill precipitously dropped from the news. Not an accident. Environmental Protection Agency officials have required their contractors to sign non-disclosure agreements, or secrecy pledges.

“The statement of work includes a standard requirement that the contractor shall not publish or otherwise release, distribute, or disclose any work product generated under the contract without obtaining EPA’s express advance written approval,” an EPA spokeswoman told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “This does not require either an NDA or confidentiality agreement be signed by individual employees.”

Non-disclosure agreements are often used to protect important government secrets, they are not supposed to obstruct official accountability at critical times. The EPA was clearly at fault here for a massive spill of 3 million gallons of highly toxic mine waste, not only rife with materials such as cadmium, lead and arsenic. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the cadmium turned the river a bright mustard yellow, so it couldn’t exactly be kept secret. The picture above is of the narrow-gauge railroad that runs from Durango to Silverton, and is very popular with tourists. I have ridden it, and it’s a beautiful trip, but not with a yellow river.

The initial reporting was plentiful as it flowed through small Colorado towns and as it reached the Navajo Reservation where the river flows right through the center of the reservation near Shiprock and Teec Nos Pos. This is water essential to the reservation, for tribal animals and water, and for irrigation, and just for drinking water. There were some sloppy attempts to truck water in to the reservation, with dirty tanks, and the tribal leaders said they would sue. This is public business, and lawsuits will be paid with taxpayer  money.

The EPA has said that there are 28 separate contracts with Environmental Restoration and it would take until the 22nd of December to review them all to determine just which contract would pertain to the Animas and Colorado Rivers. Uh huh. Even looking through Google’s array of pictures, they don’t seem to include Lake Powell nor the Grand Canyon National Park. Interesting.

The EPA is forestalling transparency in a spill that affects the regional supply of drinking water across the American Southwest. Timely? Nah.

But it is a bit of a pattern for agencies of the Obama administration. The IRS? Don’t ask. The VA? Congress is working on transparency, but it seems that it is difficult to impossible to fire government officials. This was going to be the most transparent administration in history. That’s turning out well.


(click to enlarge)

Protesters Call for Free College – 0. Jihadists Death Toll – 153. by The Elephant's Child

Well, give a young man a  bullhorn, some friends in all matching black lives matter tee shirts, and a cause — and he may start feeling quite powerful. Add on some professional protesters from Ferguson, Baltimore and  New York to urge him on, and first thing you know he’s got headlines all over the country.

The cause? The student government president, Payton Head, who is black, claimed that he had been called the n-word by some men in a pickup decorated with Confederate flags. There was no police report, and nobody else seemed to have seen it. He also claimed that the KKK had been seen on campus as well, but he had to retract that. The black hunger-striker claimed that the president of the university , Tim Wolfe, allowed his driver to hit Johnathan Butler with his car during an attempted shutdown of the homecoming parade. Unfortunately, a video shows that Butler rushed directly toward the car, hitting it, rather than the other way round. This seems to be the total of the frightening acts the protesters are calling “terrorism.”

Give a young man a Kalashnikov, some friends with their weapons, and a big dose of martyring one’s self to get all those virgins in Paradise, and they start feeling quite powerful. Nothing quite so powerful as executing over a hundred innocent people attending a rock concert.  The latter, of course, made the headlines all over the world, and the former protesters who had done nothing much except a lot of shouting and raising their clenched fists, but succeeded in getting faculty and a university president to resign. The impetus for that was apparently not the raised fists, but the threat of cancelling a football game — a forfeit that would have cost them a million dollars.

But here’s the disgusting part. The spoiled brats on America’s campuses were outraged that a bunch of Muslim terrorists had deprived them of their media attention.


(h/t:The Right Scoop)

153 or More Dead in Paris Terrorist Attacks. Numbers May Grow. by The Elephant's Child

RefugeesFor a Friday the 13th, this was a particularly bad day. In Paris, seven attacks, 140  153 dead, hostages, and the numbers may be higher. Clearly pure terrorist or ISIS attacks — Kalashnikovs, just killing as many people at random as they could. France has closed its border, a little too late, and is cracking down. President Obama said appropriate words about our oldest ally, but without understanding.

The invasion of Europe began at the end of August, when Angela Merkel spoke welcoming Syrian refugees to Germany. What Europe got was not a modest number escaping Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons and the terror of ISIS, but refugees/migrants from all over, Russia, Somalia, Ghana, ISIS, traffickers seized on the opportunity to make money, and boats of all sorts transported hundreds of people across the Mediterranean, many drowning in the process. Refugees broke out of a camp near Serbia and started walking toward Germany and Sweden.

The initial impetus seemed to be misplaced guilt — Germans atoning for World War II.  Others guilty for their comfortable lives, who knows, but they welcomed the ‘refugees’ with food and bottled water, clothing. The refugees turned out to be mostly young men who claim to have left their families behind until they get settled and can send for them.

Hungary put up a razor-wire fence to keep the migrants out, Austria sneered at Hungary, then soon opted for razor wire fences themselves. They may be migrating to Europe, but they don’t seem to be refugees fleeing in terror, grateful for any help — but demanding, expecting generous welfare, food that meets their taste, suitable entertainment, and nice housing. They leave incredible messes behind them, the camps are cesspools of rape, even small children are being raped.

In some quarters the U.S. is being blamed because of the War in Iraq, others recognize that ISIS arose when Obama pulled our troops out. The European Union is being petitioned to boycott goods produced in Israel. This makes sense just how?

One bright spot, Jihadi John, the British ISIS adherent who specialized in chopping off heads, was killed in an American drone strike.

As President Obama said when he pulled the American troops out of Iraq; “We are leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq.” Now, a year before his term ends, he has sent in 50 special forces as advisors. The Ayatollah Khomeinei has said that he has no intention of signing a deal with the Americans, and events seem to indicate that he meant it.

Obama appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” this morning, to downplay the threat of ISIS.  Nice timing, Mr. President. He said:

I don’t think they’re gaining strength,” Obama responded. “What is true is that from the start, our goal has been first to contain and we have contained them. They have not gained ground in Iraq, and in Syria they’ll come in, they’ll leave, but you don’t see this systemic march by ISIL across the terrain.”

“What we have not yet been able to do is to completely decapitate their command and control structures,” he admitted. “We’ve made some progress in trying to reduce the flow of foreign fighters and part our goal has to be to recruit more effective Sunni partners in Iraq to really go on offense rather than simply engage in defense.”

There have been accusations that the administration is not allowing accurate reports of ISIS advances, Oh well, never mind. Climate Change is a much greater threat, and the White House is preparing for the climate talks. John Kerry argues that the U.N. Global Warming Treaty will be legally binding, but won’t need such mundane things as Senate approval, so here we go again.

Here is a video summarizing the migrant invasion of Europe, which has gone viral. It is clearly an Anti-Immigrant video, 20 minutes long, and so intended, so you need to view it with a critical eye.  I can’t embed it here, it is available from Breitbart. We can expect this here. Obama wants to welcome 70,000 ‘Syrian Refugees,” and some religious organizations are plumping for 100,000. Scary.

The Million Student March by The Elephant's Child

This is just priceless! Neil Cavuto had as his guest Keely Mullen, the national organizer for the optimistically titled  “Million Student March” — to discuss her movement’s plans for making public colleges tuition free.

MULLEN: The Million Student March is a movement for a more equitable and fair system of education as opposed to the really corporate model that we have right now. So the three core demands of the national day of action are free public college, a cancellation of student debt and a $15 an hour minimum wage for people who work on campus.

CAVUTO: How’s that going to be paid?

MULLEN: Ummm, great question. I’m not sure if you’re talking about on a national level or at particular schools, but I can touch on both —

CAVUTO: Well, you want all that stuff. Someone has to pick up the tab. Who would that be?

MULLEN: Ummm, the one-percent of people in society that are hoarding the wealth and kind of causing the catastrophe students are facing… 


Obama Kills the Keystone Pipeline Again, to Preserve America’s “Global Leadership” on Climate Change. by The Elephant's Child

Obama announced on Friday that “the State Department would not permit the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, saying that the project’s completion would rob  the U.S . of the moral authority to pressure other countries toward action on climate change.”

“If we’re going to prevent large parts of this earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky,”

Oh please! What a load of what we used to call, politely, road apples. Of course Obama would blame it on the State Department, which had previously approved the Keystone twice, once under Hillary and once under Kerry. Even the State of Nebraska has approved it.

Imagine, we have denied oil market access to our ally Canada, along with access to our refineries, but granted it to Iran.

The Canadian oil will go to market. It is going to market now, by rail. I heard there was a derailment today, but no spill this time. It is safer, considerably safer, by pipeline. It’s not as if we didn’t have all sorts of pipelines already, quite safely. Moving oil through a pipeline does not release CO2 to the atmosphere, and if it did, it would be a good thing. CO2 is not a pollutant. It is plant food, and makes plants grow. More food to feed a hungry world.

The oil refineries in the Gulf have tripled their processing supplies of Canadian crude since 2010 to more than 300,000 barrels a day. The urgent need for the pipeline is down because of the decline in oil prices from $100 a barrel to $45, which puts a damper on future growth.

Canadian and US Crude Oil Pipeline Proposals(click to enlarge)

The Seaway Crude Pipeline System (SCPS), commonly called the Seaway Pipeline transports crude oil between Cushing, Oklahoma and Freeport, Texas  to the Texas City, Texas Terminal and Distribution System on the Gulf Coast.

For many years the Seaway shipped oil north to Cushing, but in June 2012, the flow was reversed to ship oil south out of Cushing instead. President Obama flew to Cushing a while back, for a photo-op in front of a bunch of big oil pipes.

And America’s ‘Global Leadership’ is becoming more and more of a joke. ” And frankly,” Obama said, “approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.” More likely Tom Steyer’s money.

House speaker Paul Ryan described Obama’s decision as “sickening” in a brief statement. “By rejecting this pipeline, the president is rejecting tens of thousands of good-paying jobs. He is rejecting our largest trading partner and energy supplier,” Ryan said. “He is rejecting the will of the American people and a bipartisan majority of the Congress. If the president wants to spend the rest of his time in office catering to special interests, that’s his choice to make. But it’s just wrong.”

Terry O’Sullivan, general president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America said “The president nay be celebrated by environmental extremists, but with this act, President Obama has also solidified a legacy as a pompous, pandering job killer.” Ouch!

The Progressive Gitmo Myth. by The Elephant's Child

guantanamo_protest_cc_img5When I had just finished the last post on Guantanamo Bay, I ran across a post last year, from Hoover fellow Bruce Thornton, entitled “The Progressive Gitmo Myth.” He added several points that are especially pertinent. Do read the whole thing.

For Obama’s liberal base, Gitmo has been part of a larger narrative of American tyranny, particularly George Bush’s alleged lawlessness in waging an “illegal” and “unnecessary” war in Iraq. Once Howard Dean’s anti-war presidential primary insurgency took off after the war began in 2003, mainstream Democrats began endorsing the far-left “Bush lied” analysis of the war that John Edwards, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton had voted for based on the same intelligence that led to the Bush administration’s decision. With the anti-war movement providing the visuals for television news, the left’s distorted history of Vietnam was resurrected to provide the template for the war in Iraq, particularly the charge that the Bush administration had lied about Hussein’s WMDs, just as Lyndon Johnson had allegedly fabricated the Gulf of Tonkin incident to justify escalating U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Soon the whole litany of American militarist evils was applied to Iraq and the war against terrorists and their enablers. Torture, illegal detention, and abuse of prisoners were staples of that catalogue, and for leftists Gitmo fit the bill.

Soon we were hearing that Gitmo was a “gulag,” “the Bermuda Triangle of human rights,” a “shocking affront to democracy,” and a “national disgrace.” The New York Times, paying heed to charges by detainees trained to lie, said Guantanamo exemplified “harsh, indefinite detention without formal charges or legal recourse” and recalled “the Soviet Union’s sprawling network of Stalinist penal colonies.” Such hysteria, of course, has no basis in fact.

In 2004, a report by Albert T. Church III concluded, “We can confidentially state that based upon our investigation, we found nothing that would in any way substantiate detainees’ allegations of torture or violent physical abuse at GTMO.” Almost all the interrogations at Gitmo were conducted according to the Army Field Manual approved by Obama himself. Conditions for the prisoners at Gitmo far outstrip those in most prisons, including in the United States. Jihadists involved in planning, aiding, and participating in the murders of Americans can play sports, work out on gym equipment, hang out with their comrades, learn English, take art lessons, peruse a library of 14,000 Arab-language books, and view satellite television, including Al Jazeera. They get first-class health care and nutrition, and their food is prepared according to halal standards of ritual purity––all that good grub has led to the “Gitmo gut.” Islamic holidays are respected, Korans handled by guards with delicate care, magazines censored to remove images disturbing to pious Muslims, and arrows painted on the floors pointing to Mecca to guide the prisoners in their daily prayers. Rush Limbaugh is justified in calling Guantánamo “Club Gitmo.”

Yet despite these facts, the myth has arisen that the existence of Gitmo, as the Wall Street Journal summarized liberal thinking, “symbolizes prisoner abuse, serving as a propaganda tool for extremists and complicating counterterrorism efforts with allies.” The incoherence of this argument points to the larger problems of American foreign policy in dealing with jihadism.

Goodness, if everybody doesn’t love us, there must be something really terrible about America. We really don’t need to give a bunch of terrorists the constitutional rights enjoyed by American citizens, nor the pro bono legal counsel. They will be back to beheading their enemies directly.


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