American Elephants


I’d Just like Some Straight Talk, and Honesty For a Change! by The Elephant's Child

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Every four years, I forget just how much I dislike political conventions. Not just theirs, but our as well. I’m already tired of how wonderful our candidate is and how dreadful their is. Conventions are big parties of excess. But then I may just be getting cranky.

I am exceedingly tired of being lectured by our president. He turned up on the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal yesterday to lecture the Senate about their duty to confirm his nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. You always knew there was something not quite right about the claim that he had been a professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago. He was a lecturer in civil rights law, which he mostly used to teach Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals.

The Constitution directs the Senate to advise and consent, not to approve. The Daily Caller subjected his op-ed to a fact check, and it didn’t fare well, directly from the words of, oh, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama when he voted to filibuster Justice Alito. (Politicians still are not familiar with the fact that we can quickly look up their words from yesterday and ten years ago.)

He’s getting very predictable when he scolds us. “That’s not who we are as Americans!” “That’s who we are, and who we have the capacity to be.” Or as John Podhoretz recently put it:

As usual, Obama made strange use of the word ‘we,’ because when he says ‘we,’ he means ‘you,’ and when he means ‘you,’ he means people who aren’t as enlightened and thoughtful as he and his ideological compatriots are.

Well, clearly, we are all a great disappointment to our president. I’m not alone in noticing. David Harsanyi did, at the Federalist.

At the funeral service for five slain Dallas cops, Barack Obama delivered another one of his needlessly politicized lectures. As is customary these days, those who were critical of his rhetoric were branded racists and unthinking haters.

That’s one theory.

Another one is that people might be put off by Obama’s grating habit of turning every tragedy into a sermon about our supposed collective failings. I doubt the president is substantively more partisan than the average politician, but like most people on the Left these days, he no longer bothers to make a distinction between a policy position and a moral struggle.

The issue of gun control, for example, isn’t a good-faith disagreement between people of different persuasions, but — like civil rights or suffrage — a struggle waged by the righteous against the evil (and sometimes those poor souls tricked by the NRA).

I went on a bit a few days ago about the fallacy of the term “gun violence” which is nothing but propaganda. It’s not the gun that is violent, but the shooter. Consider the latest terrorist attacks in France. We had truck violence in Nice, and axe violence on a bus. That allows us to ignore the terrorist (we can’t call them that) who committed the act because we “don’t know what their real motives were.”

That’s what I am cranky about — the purposeful misuse of language to confuse, or hide, or misplace blame. The world is a very dangerous place right now. It is impossible to deal effectively with those dangers if we cannot even use clear language. Fuzzy language reveals fuzzy minds, and the inability to take clear action.



The Problem of Turkey Grows — Revolution or Counterrevolution? by The Elephant's Child

Turkey-Map

Europe has, in general, thought of Turkey as their bulwark against the hordes of Islamic migrants (heavily infiltrated with ISIS fighters). The democratically elected president of Turkey, Recep Tayip Erdogan, has just been the subject of a military coup (while he was absent from the country) which failed. Many believe that it was not a real coup, but Erdogan’s own plot to dispose of future military coups, and confirm his preferred position of lifetime dictator of a radical Islamist state. That seems to be the customary and approved  form of governance in the Islamist states of the Middle East. It does not bode well.

Erdogan is taking advantage of the coup crisis to justify a major crackdown on his enemies. He seems to have a prepared list, ready to go, of officers and judges who have already been arrested in the thousands, along with civic leaders, journalists, professors, and government employees. The government is calling on the people to protest in the streets, and encouraging jihadists and IS sympathizers to raid the homes of secular people beat them and kill them.

David P. Goldman, who also writes as Spengler,  is expert in matters of demography and finance. He says that Turkey has built up a bubble of debt, financing consumption with debt. Consumer debt is now almost equal to total personal income in Turkey, compared to 20% here, which horrifies conservative economists.  Turkey’s average interest rate as consumer debt, according to the central bank, is just under 17%. The birth rate for Turks is way down, while the birth rate for Kurdish Turks remains healthy—but they want to form their own country with Kurds from Syria and Iraq.

An article by Soner Cagaptay in the Wall Street Journal captures the dangerous moment in history for the Turkish nation:

In 2014, Mr. Erdogan, acceding to term limits, stepped down as prime minister and as the head of the AKP. He instead assumed the presidency—a formerly weak office that he has been steadily transforming. The coup gives Mr. Erdogan an excuse to press ahead with his plans to cobble together a parliamentary majority; he intends to amend Turkey’s Constitution and take over the posts of prime minister and AKP chairman in addition to being president.

This process, which would make Mr. Erdogan the most powerful person in Turkey since the country became a multiparty democracy in 1950, fits into his gradualist approach to consolidating power. At the same time, it presents a risk: In the two most recent elections, Mr. Erdogan’s AKP has maxed out at 49.5% support, and although the president’s popularity has risen since the coup, there is no guarantee that this bump will last until the next elections, which, depending on when Mr. Erdogan calls them, could be as late as next year.

The quickest path to power is Islamist revolution. Erdogan supporters are Islamists and jihadists and protesting in the streets. An Islamist counter-revolution would mean the loss of its NATO membership, exposing the country to neighboring enemies, including Russia. And an economic meltdown is not unlikely.

If Mr. Erdogan were to pump up religious fervor further, he could convert the religious counter-coup d’état into an Islamist counter-revolution, ending Turkey’s status as a secular democracy. Adding to the temptation is the fact that the military, divided and discredited in the public eye following the failed coup, is in no position to prevent a counterrevolution.



A Small Lesson in American Exceptionalism. by The Elephant's Child

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In Holland, a 44-year-old man  has been sentenced to 30 days in jail for intentionally insulting King Willem-Alexander, according to a court ruling. The man, from the city of Kampen, had posted a message on his Facebook page in April, 2015 calling the king a murderer, rapist, “oppressor” and thief.

“Hereby the defendant damaged the dignity of the King,” wrote judge Sylvia Taalman in her decision. “This behaviour is not acceptable in our society.”

Many Dutch consider the law “Insulting the Majesty” to be an antiquated relic that should be scrapped, but it has never featured high on the country’s political agenda.

The crime carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of 20,000 euros.

The royal family is generally popular in the Netherlands. Willem-Alexander ascended to the throne in 2013 when his mother Queen Beatrix abdicated. She had reigned for 33 years. The King is not yet as highly regarded as his mother.

It seems worthwhile reminding Americans that free speech isn’t free everywhere, and that our Constitutional rights are worth fighting for. Democrats, naturally, oppose any free speech that criticizes them, or disagrees with their ideas—which are, of course, right, and should be recognized as correct.

Just think how many people would be in prison here, if our comments on social media were monitored for “offensiveness.”esson in



Military Coup in Turkey. by The Elephant's Child

There is a military coup in Turkey. The Turkish military claims success. Erdogan has departed, but Germany refused permission for his plane to land. Anti-coup protest in Istanbul. Nothing confirmed. All iffy information from twitter and other social media.

Military coups have long been a feature of Ataturk’s secular Turkey. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has urged citizens to take to the streets to fight the coup. Turkey is a member of NATO.

The Turkish military said in a statement that it was seizing control to “reestablish Addendum:constitutional order” as it moved to take over all government responsibilities.

ADDENDUM: Erdogan has returned to Turkey, claims the coup attempt is over, and plotters will be heavily punished. At least 42 people have been killed in attacks. An Istanbul hospital is reportedly treating at least 150 wounded people. Erdogan is apparently pushing for an authoritarian Islamic regime. All will eventually become clear, or at least clearer.



More Terrorism, This Time in Nice, on Bastille Day. by The Elephant's Child

At least 80 people nave been killed in a terror attack in Nice, France, as a crowd watching Bastille Day fireworks celebration were mowed down by a truck accelerating directly into the crowd. Killing infidels supposedly gets them a free trip to paradise.

Paris, according to the Wall Street Journal, has an estimated 10,000 names on its terrorist watch-list, but fewer than 5,000 agents to monitor them. The ratio should be the other way around.

Europe too has been crippled by accusations of Islamophobia, racism, and a lack of compassion. There are no politically correct responses to terrorism. Political correctness is just another attempt by the Left to say they’re right and you are wrong. Don’t criticize their narrative.

An equal challenge will be to defeat Islamic State at its Mideast source. The Obama Administration insists that it is making steady progress in defeating ISIS in Iraq and Syria. But the slow pace of the U.S. campaign has allowed ISIS to train tens of thousands of recruits, many with European passports, while extending its territorial reach from North Africa to South Asia. The threat has expanded its reach faster than it is being contained at its core.

For Europeans, one lesson in the Administration’s failure to defeat ISIS swiftly and decisively is that they cannot count on the U.S. as they once did to provide security in their neighborhood. Europe must do more for itself. But Americans watching the horror in Nice must also know that it could as easily have happened here. All the more reason to strengthen an Atlantic alliance to protect the freedoms of 1776 and 1789 against this 21st-century barbarism.



Iran Is Violating the “Iran Deal”, The Administration Ignores Intelligence. by The Elephant's Child

Germany has passed along intelligence that Iran has accelerated its efforts to buy nuclear materials that would allow it to build a nuclear bomb, but also is trying to purchase  parts that will assist in its missile program, according to the Washington Free Beacon. The Obama administration has declined to comment and told the Free Beacon that it continues to view Iran as complying with the nuclear accord.

Germany’s internal intelligence agency concluded in a recent report that sources have witnessed “extensive Iranian attempts” to procure illicit materials, “especially goods that can be used in the field of nuclear technology,” according to the report. The report appears to show that Iran is not upholding its most critical commitments under the nuclear deal.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel made it clear this week that the intelligence shows “Iran continued unabated to develop its rocket program in conflict with the relevant provisions of the UN Security Council,” particularly one Security Council resolution that bars Iran from pursuing ballistic missile technology.

Reuters reports that “Iran’s ballistic missile launches ‘are not consistent with the constructive spirit’ of a nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, but it is up to the United Nations Security Council to decide if they violated a resolution,” according to UN Chief Ban Ki-moon.

Bret Stephens writes at the Wall Street Journal that :

The administration is now weighing whether to support Iran’s membership in the World Trade Organization. That would neutralize a future president’s ability to impose sanctions on Iran, since WTO rules would allow Tehran to sue Washington for interfering with trade. The administration has also pushed the Financial Action Task Force, an international body that enforces anti-money-laundering standards, to ease pressure on Iran, which FATF did last month by suspending some restrictions for the next year.

And then there’s the Boeing deal to sell $17.6 billion worth of jets to Iran, which congressional Republicans led by Illinois’s Pete Roskam are trying to stop. Iran uses its civilian fleet to ferry weapons and fighters to its terrorist clients in Syria and Lebanon.

“The administration is trying to lock in the Iran deal and prevent a future president from doing anything, including pushing back on Iran’s malign behavior,” says the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Mark Dubowitz, who knows more about Iran sanctions than anyone in Washington. “Instead of curbing Iran’s worst behavior, the administration effectively facilitates it.”

Mr. Obama continues to regard his Iran Deal as a great triumph, and says that Iran is honoring the nuclear deal, but German intelligence tells  us that Tehran is violating the deal aggressively. Obama promised “unprecedented” inspections, but we’re not allowed to inspect. Obama promised an eight-year ban on Iran’s testing of ballistic missiles, but Tehran immediately and repeatedly violated that ban. but we only mildly protested.

The Obama administration has agreed to buy 32 tons of Iran’s heavy water, a key component in atomic-weapons development. This is supposed to encourage them to stick to the nuclear agreement. We’re also trying to help their international trade. The possibility that their intentions are not pure and peaceful is apparently not part of the “narrative”.

Iran has been waging war with us since 1979, overtly and covertly. Obama just wants to turn over the management of the querulous Middle East to the more enlightened and better educated Persians. The Ayatollah Khomeinei keeps leading chants of Death to Israel, Death to America, but Obama assumes that to be just public relations. Odd kind of PR.



How to Get your People to the Polls — Community Organizing 101 by The Elephant's Child

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The Democratic Party is concerned about the upcoming election. The Millennials seemed to be enthusiastic about Bernie, but didn’t like Hillary.  And in general, many Democrats thought that Hillary was inclined to have trouble with the truth. Not a good sign. It is not surprising that the radical socialist/Marxist group Black Lives Matter appeared on campus last fall, with claims of campus racism. Oddly enough, whenever Democrats are worried about an election, the accusations of racism boil up to get Black Americans to the polls to vote Democrat.

Egged on by Black Lives Matter agitators, racial tension on the campus erupted in September after the black student body president and other activists lodged a vague complaint of an unspecified racial slur shouted at a single black student allegedly by a passing motorist. The activists weren’t even sure if the offending person was a student there.

Then there was a report of a tiny swastika drawn on the wall of a dormitory bathroom in a dormitory. No one’s sure if it was intended to insult Jews or blacks.

No matter, students of color insisted the two incidents symbolized the “systematic oppression” experienced by them at the university. And so they demanded President Tim Wolfe step down. And he did, followed by the chancellor. Both of them are white

The Hoover Institution had a December article on “The Real Cause of Campus Racism.”

At Harvard, a group of law students launched a campaign to remove the school’s seal because it contains the coat of arms of a slave owner. At Dartmouth, students and faculty marched in solidarity with black students at the University of Missouri in what was called a “black out” (the marchers all wore black). After days of protests at Yale, the university president announced plans for more academic study of race and ethnicity and for improvements in the experiences of people of color.

Most of the campus ‘incidents’ were just as ephemeral, and there were hoaxes galore. It was not a spontaneous uprising, but a well funded communist/socialist web of organizations that have been agitating against America for decades.

Obama spoke Sunday when he as taking questions from reporters as he wrapped up meetings with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in Madrid. He said that while protesters will sometimes say things that are “stupid'”or ‘imprudent” and associated Black Lives Matter with the abolition movement, and women’s battle to get the right to vote, and the union movement — called them all part of a great tradition of protest. Oh Please! It was Barack Obama who said that if he had a son, he might have looked just like Trayvon Martin. It was Barack Obama who sent the Justice Department in to establish that the death of  “gentle giant” — who had just robbed a convenience store and was trying to get the police officer’s gun was not indeed a violation of Civil Rights Law.

Obama is still struggling to discover the motive for Micah Johnson’s killing spree. Johnson spelled it out quite clearly. He just wanted to kill white policemen. DHS head Jeh Johnson said “it’s still relatively early” to conclude that Micah Johnson’s shooting was a hate crime.

According to all reports, Dallas has an admirable police department. The officers who were shot were killed as they were trying to protect protesters from what seemed to be random shots from an unknown assailant.

Barack Obama believes that he was elected, or so he says, to end the war in Iraq and empty Guantanamo. That is not true. He was elected to be the first Black President of the United States in the hope that he would bring racial healing to the country. He has been a complete failure at that as well.




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