American Elephants


We Apparently Paid A Really Big Ransom To Iran For Our Hostages. by The Elephant's Child

The truth will out, as Shakespeare said. It doesn’t always become clear when it should, but sooner or later it does. Back in September, AEI’s Michael Rubin “testified before the House Financial Services Committee on the allegation that the Obama administration had paid Iran a ransom—at the time it was believed to be $400 million but it was later revealed that the figure was more than three times that amount—in cash for the release of American hostages held by Iran.”

At the hearing, it is now clear that State Department officials lied outright to the committee. But, lest there be any question about how the Iranian government perceived the payment received from the United States, Hossein Nejat, deputy Intelligence Director of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps yesterday bragged that Iran forced the United States to pay $1.4 billion ransom to win the release of imprisoned Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian.

What does this mean for the United States? Unfortunately, the damage is already done. The cash the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps received (for they were the entity which took possession of the ransom) will fuel greater terror as well as Iran’s campaigns in Syria, Yemen, and perhaps Bahrain as well. In 2010, the United States busted the Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington because the US intelligence community was monitoring bank accounts known to be operated by the Qods Force. Cash makes it far easier for Iran to move money without risk of detection.

There is a reason why the United States customarily does not pay ransom for Americans taken as hostages. Giving in puts the life of anyone else in reach of terrorist forces at risk, leaves the impression that the United States is weak, and puts our allies at risk as well. Michael Rubin says the hostage agreement should be published. Obama promised he would preside over the most transparent administration in history. Well, yes. Promises, promises. “It is now clear that State Department officials lied outright to the committee,” Rubin added. And you wonder why President Trump speaks of draining the swamp.



The “Mainstream Media” Are Lying Again. There Is No Ban On Muslims. by The Elephant's Child

160118_protest_004

Progressives seem to have slipped their moorings once again. Donald Trump announced executive orders to fulfill his campaign promises about restricting immigration from dangerous countries until the immigrants could be effectively vetted.

In war-torn Syria, there is no effective government that can reliably say who people applying for immigration are. Reliable sources say that forged Syrian papers are widely available to anyone who has the cash. We have already lost too many of our own citizens to terrorist attack. We need to be sure that we are not admitting ISIS fighters or al Qaeda who mean to attack Americans. This is about trying to save American lives.

The ensuing uproar and protests at the airports are sponsored by George Soros who wants open borders. Other than the paid protesters, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth — “but they’re refugeeeees” — even Hillary chimed in to say  (echoing Obama) “that’s not who we are.” It is becoming really irritating to be told “who we are,” when Washington elites clearly have no idea.

The problem is precisely that we don’t know if they are refugees. The executive order also included an order to favor Christian sanctuary seekers. How dare he favor Christians over Muslims!! Religious prejudice! Constitution! Christians are far more apt to be killed by jihadists than other Muslims are, in the case if ISIS, rather spectacularly, and their wives and female children turned into sex slaves.

I ran across a quotation I saved from a piece in Forbes magazine in 2013 that seems appropriate:

None of this should surprise anyone. Contrary to what they tell you (and tell you and tell you) progressives don’t have principles. Rather they have faddish opinions that are highly unstable and often contradictory.                           Kathryn Shaidle

That makes more sense than anything else I have read lately.

The airport protesters (The Soros bunch) want open borders. In other words, we are to leave the door of our house open to anyone who might choose to wander in. We don’t have to be concerned because all people, and all refugees, are good people, just needy? Even vetted, some will slip through. Some of our terrorists were citizens, born in this country but radicalized in American Mosques or by trips abroad.

The Democrat media’s narrative is that President Trump is banning entry to possible terrorist populations Muslims because he is prejudiced against Muslims, and facts are not allowed to intrude. As Tom Lifson pointed out “Why is the United States supposed to admit Syrian refugees when oil-rich and piously Islamic Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and the U.A.E. have not admitted a single Syrian? Their stated reason is the risk of terrorism.” So much for that faddish and unstable opinion.

From Sohrab Ahmari, writing from London, in the Wall Street Journal:

The irony is that freedom of movement is unraveling because liberals won central debates—about Islamism, social cohesion and nationalism. Rather than give any ground, they accused opponents of being phobic and reactionary. Now liberals are reaping the rewards of those underhanded victories.

Liberals refused to acknowledge the link between Islamist ideology and terrorism. For eight years under President Obama, the U.S. government refused even to say “Islamism,” claiming ludicrously that U.S. service members were going to war against “violent extremism.” Voters could read and hear about jihadists offering up their actions to Allah before opening automatic fire on shoppers and blasphemous cartoonists.

It’s strange to remember now how Europeans were welcoming “Migrants” from Syria with open arms, flowers, food, clothing and songs. It has been a long slow learning process and illusions of empathy and generosity have gone a glimmering. They refuse to admit what they have done, and what is happening on a daily basis, and their governments try to hush the minor things up, but they have “no-go” areas where it is unsafe for even police to intrude.

Democrats depend on people who don’t pay much attention to the news, cannot distinguish between “fake news” and real events. They come up with “talking points” to give their version of whatever it is that Republicans have done. President Trump has placed an immigration ban on immigrants from 7 nations that have been singled out as exceptional security risks in the Terrorist Prevention Act of 2015 and its 2016 extension. There is no ban on Muslims.

Do you remember the media howling when President Obama banned any processing of visas for Iraqi refugees in 2011? The 2009 discovery of two al Qaeda-Iraq terrorists living as refugees in Bowling Green Kentucky prompted a six month ban on immigrants from Iraq. Or when President Carter suspended any issuance of visas to Iranians in 1980.

Hollywood celebrities can always be counted on to rush to the nearest  reporter to express their deep understanding of current events. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo dramatically proclaimed himself a Muslim,   then included a Jew, a Gay, Black, Christian, transgendered  or a woman to make it clear that he was really inclusive. California wants to secede. Our own Gov. Inslee is filing a lawsuit—anything to distract attention from his budget request for another $11 billion in taxes because he can find no way to cut any expenditure. The Leftist media are improperly remaining in the fake news area, calling President Trump’s executive order religious bigotry, a “Muslim Ban.”

The Wall Street Journal had bet that it would take only 30 days for former president Barack Obama to start criticizing his presidential successor. But then he has never had George W. Bush’s grace. It only took 10 days. He couldn’t even wait until he finished his post-inaugural vacation. He had a spokesman issue a statement Monday afternoon reporting that the former president “is heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country” against President Trump’s refugee order.

“Citizens exercising their Constitutional right to assemble, organize and have their voices heard by their elected officials is exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake,” added spokesman Kevin Lewis. “With regard to comparisons to President Obama’s foreign policy decisions, as we’ve heard before, the President fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion.”

No one doubts that, but then Syrian refugees became a global crisis in large part because Mr. Obama did almost nothing for five years as President to stop the civil war, much less help refugees. Here are the number of Syrians his Administration admitted: fiscal year 2011, 29; 2012, 31; 2013: 36; 2014, 105; 2015, 1,682. Only in 2016 did he increase the target to 13,000, though actual admissions haven’t been disclosed. Mr. Obama also barely lifted a hand to help resettle translators who worked with GIs in Iraq or Afghanistan.

This executive order is not illegal, not unconstitutional, and not unusual. They’re just still protesting losing the election, because they can’t get over it. Pathetic.



Uncommon Knowledge with Charles Hill and James Mattis by The Elephant's Child

Charles Hill and General James Mattis on Uncommon Knowledge, July 28, 2015, discussing the Iran Deal and the state of the world with Uncommon Knowledge host Peter Robinson.They believe that the United States has handed its leading role to Iran, and essentially provided a dowry along with it. As the U.S. pulls back and the sanctions are lifted—Iran will start making oil money again. At this point the sanctions are gone.

They suggest that if we want better deals and and a stronger international presence we need to listen to other points of view, especially from the three branches of government. If we engage more with the world and use solid strategies to protect and encourage democracy and freedom at home and abroad, then we will have fewer military interventions abroad. That will put us in a better position to handle problems like ISIS. This conversation took place a year and a half ago, but remains illuminating.



Donald Trump’s Generals: The Most Renowned Wartime Commanders of Their Generation by The Elephant's Child

A blog called “Breaking Defense” has written well on Trump’s Generals. The Left, constantly looking for something horrible in Trump’s plans, finds the naming of so many retired military men to top positions will possibly undermine the principal of civilian control—as if Constitutional niceties are of enormous concern to the  Left—who have been ignoring that ancient document at their convenience for the last eight years. I’m getting really tired of the Left and their antics.

Donald Trump’s decision to lean heavily on generals in building his national security team has been received with sighs of relief by many foreign policy and national security experts. By the nature of their profession, senior military leaders tend to be pragmatic internationalists who know how to run large organizations. They understand from experience how the world works. They are generally disciplined and well-read. Having come of age on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq, these generals are also intimately familiar with the horrors of war, and the second- and third-order consequences of firing the first shot. …

Indeed, the generals likely to form the top ranks of a Trump administration are among the most renowned wartime commanders of their generation. As the presumptive Secretary of Defense, retired Marine Corps General Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis will have as his chief military adviser Marine Corps General Joseph “Fighting Joe” Dunford, appointed by Obama as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Both flag officers earned their nicknames the old fashioned way during multiple combat tours. They are also close to retired Marine Corps General John Kelly, another combat veteran and the former commander of US Southern Command, who will reportedly serve as Trump’s Secretary of Homeland Security. According to a knowledgeable source, it was Mattis who took upon himself the heartbreaking task of telling John Kelly that his son, 1st Lieutenant Robert Michael Kelly, had been killed in Afghanistan in 2010.

Trump’s Generals, Part 2: Jim Mattis vs. Iran

Trump’s Generals, Part 3: Mike Flynn vs. Al Qaeda

Trump’s Generals, Part4: John Kelly vs. The Narco-Terrorists

Like many Republicans, when President Elect Trump announced his first nominees for cabinet positions, I was reassured that Mr. Trump knew what he was doing and was getting excellent advice. After 8 years of an administration that assured us that they were completely in control of foreign policy, but could not manage to call the enemy by name or even admit that it was an enemy (junior varsity?) I was delighted. It’s a pretty impressive national security lineup. Get acquainted.



Getting Straight Talk Out of Our “Elites” Has Become an Impossible Task. by The Elephant's Child

obama-lecturing
Bombs in New York and New Jersey, stabbings in a mall in Saint Cloud, Michigan. President Obama urged us not to go assuming it was terrorism and getting ahead of the police, but to allow them to search for answers. The American people, on the other hand, do not assume that bombs that injure 29 people in an upscale part of Manhattan and a railroad station in Elizabeth, New Jersey are just a curious event that could be anything — a birthday party joke, some new computer game with loud bangs.

New York Governor Andrew Como said on Sunday morning that it was “obviously an act of terrorism,” though so far there was no evidence of an international terrorist connection. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio got as far as calling it an “intentional act.” ISIS promptly claimed credit. Hillary got into accusing Trump of being provacative for saying “bombing,” though she’d just said it herself.

Only 2 days later, while the police are still efficiently figuring it all out,  arresting the bomber, and the slasher has been killed, Obama will lead a special summit on the need to take in more Syrian refugees. The FBI has politely said that it cannot vet every single refugee, which rephrased slightly, says they cannot vet any. To clear everything up, President Obama’s spokesman, Josh Earnest, earnestly explained that the U.S. is in a fight with the Islamic State, but it is a fight of words — not arms. “When it comes to ISIL, we are in a fight — a narrative fight with them.” A narrative battle, so the problem is just getting the correct words? No wonder nobody can say “terrorism” except ISIS.

If you wonder why Americans are so totally fed up, so angry, you just have to reread that narrative. The people call it ISIS, but the president insists on “ISIL.” Under the headline “The Mulish Stupidity of Clinton-Obama Counterterrorism” Andy McCarthy wrote:

Perhaps the only thing more sadly hilarious than watching the political class tie itself in knots over whether a bomb should be called a “bomb” and whether a terrorist attack should be called a “terrorist attack” is Clinton’s claim that ISIS is rooting for Trump to be elected president. Newsflash: Jihadists don’t give a flying fatwa who wins American elections, or even whether there are American elections.

Islamic supremacists and their jihadist front lines are in the business of killing Americans and supplanting our constitutional republic with sharia. To claim that they care about our elections is to exhibit ignorance about who they are, who they think we are, and what they seek to achieve.

ISIS has told us quite clearly why they hate us and why they fight us. Do you suppose Mr. Obama missed the message? Do they think they are fooling us with their careful language? Mulish Stupidity indeed.

The Department of Homeland Security admits “mistakenly” granting citizenship to 858 immigrants from countries of concern to National Security.” These are our “elites,” who find it amusing when their champion, Hillary Clinton, calls us “the deplorables.” The same woman who in a commercial I hear several times daily says “We want an America where everyone is treated with respect.” The deplorables?  She also says that “Donald Trump is running a campaign based on insults.”  “The deplorables” — there you go.

What our President fails to understand is that his legacy, which he is working so hard to enhance, will be composed of the death-count of American lives lost as a direct result of his policies. As of October 2015, an estimated 75 percent of all the military deaths and about 90 percent of the injuries linked to the ongoing war in Afghanistan have occurred under President Obama’s watch. Refusing to recognize acts of terrorism, and engaging in a battle of  “narratives” instead, has consequences.  That will be his legacy.



Look What I Found in Today’s News! by The Elephant's Child

iran-and-world-powers-strike-initial-nuclear-deal
From today’s international news:

Iran threatened to shoot down two US Navy surveillance aircraft flying close to Iranian territory in the Persian Gulf over the weekend, the latest in a series of recent provocations between Iran and the US military in the region, three US defense officials with knowledge of the incident told Fox News.

On Sept. 10, a Navy P-8 Poseidon with a crew of nine and an EP-3 Eries with a crew of roughly 24, were flying a reconnaissance mission 13 miles off the coast of Iran, through the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman, according to officials who call the boundary Iran’s “black line.”Iran’s territorial waters—like all nations–extend 12 miles into the sea, according to international maritime law.

At some point during the flight, the Iranian military warned the two aircraft to change course or risk getting shot down.

From The Associated Pres via Popular Mechanics:

“Iran is Building a New Nuclear Power Plant”
It’s the country’s first new construction of this kind since signing the nuclear deal last year.

Iran began building its second nuclear power plant with Russian help on Saturday, the first such project since last year’s landmark nuclear deal with world powers.

The project in the southern port city of Bushehr will eventually include two power plants expected to go online in 10 years. Construction on the second plant is set to begin in 2018. The entire project will cost more than $8.5 billion, with each plant producing 1,057 megawatts of electricity.

So apparently Obama’s Iran Deal is just going swimmingly.

At American Thinker, Daniel John Sobieski reported on the fact:

Almost as soon as he took office, President Obama began a military purge not dissimilar to those routinely conducted by third-world despots, with the goal of eliminating voices that might oppose his withdrawing America from the world stage.  As Investor’s Business Daily editorialized:

We recognize President Obama is the commander-in-chief and that throughout history presidents from Lincoln to Truman have seen fit to remove military commanders they view as inadequate or insubordinate. Turnover in the military ranks is normal, and in these times of sequestration and budget cuts the numbers are expected to tick up as force levels shrink and missions change.

Yet what has happened to our officer corps since President Obama took office is viewed in many quarters as unprecedented, baffling and even harmful to our national security posture. We have commented on some of the higher profile cases, such as Gen. Carter Ham. He was relieved as head of U.S. Africa Command after only a year and a half because he disagreed with orders not to mount a rescue mission in response to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi.

The list goes on of outstanding officers asked to leave before what would normally be their expected tenure.

I have no current connections in the military, so I can’t speak to the clear meaning of all this, but I do remember my history, and Iran has been at war with us since 1979. And I have never been able to understand the Iran Deal and what Obama thinks it will accomplish.

Unrelated? From the Daily Caller: “John Kerry’s State Department Funneled MILLIONS To His Daughter’s Nonprofit.”

More than $9 million of Department of State money has been funneled through the Peace Corps to a nonprofit foundation started and run by Secretary of State John Kerry’s daughter, documents obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation show.

The Department of State funded a Peace Corps program created by Dr. Vanessa Kerry and officials from both agencies, records show. The Peace Corps then awarded the money without competition to a nonprofit Kerry created for the program.

Investors Business Daily had a few words to offer on that one.



Immigration Is A Lot Bigger Problem Than We Realize! by The Elephant's Child

Refugees
We are all aware of the problem of illegal immigration at our own Southern border, and of the various euphemisms used to disguise the term “illegal alien” which is not a slander, but accurate terminology as defined by the dictionary, in this case — Merriam Webster:

illegal, il•le•gal, adjective:  not allowed by law.
not according to or authorized by law.

alien, noun:  a person who was born in a different country and is not  a citizen of the county in which he now lives. A foreign born resident who has not been naturalized and is still a subject or citizen of a foreign country.

Straightforward and accurately descriptive. Let’s dispense with the meaningless politically correct euphemisms.

Europe is suffering from our same problems, but a lot more so. Angela Merkel has finally admitted that Germany and the EU have bungled the refugee crisis. German intelligence has acknowledged that ISIS “sleeper cells” have infiltrated the country disguised as refugees. But that’s only the beginning.

The American Interest notes that  “As Migrant Deal Falters,Strains on EU’s Underbelly Grow.” On average, the number of people landing on Greek islands has risen to about 100 a day in August, up from fewer than 50 a day in May and June. About 460 people landed on Greek islands on Monday, a number Greece hasn’t experienced since early April.

The traffic is still far below daily peaks of 6,800 in October last year. But the rising numbers are making Greek and EU officials worried that the fragile deal with Turkey—aimed at returning almost all who land on Greek shores—could break down. Mr. Erdogan is not currently in a getting along with the West mood.

German asylum seekers refuse to work insisting “we are Merkel’s GUESTS.” While asylum seekers are not allowed to work under immigration rules within the EU, they are allowed to do voluntary work.

However officials in the district of Zwickau came up with a plan to help encourage those without employment to get back to work and to help them become more accepted within the local community.

Girls are disappearing from school as Germany has logged over 1,000 child marriages to older men, and there may be many more unreported marriages. Some as young as 11. And that ‘s just some of the reported problems.

An excellent article from Ted R. Bromund at the Hoover Institution: How Should Europe Respond to Islamism?” He points out that the standard of border control is effectively that of its least capable member i.e. Greece.

If Islamism’s first challenge to Europe is to its uncontrolled borders, the second, and far more serious, is to its society and culture once those borders have been crossed. Over the coming years, we can expect to see all manner of pleas for a unified European approach to combating Islamism. What we will not see is any serious effort to deprive Islamism of a measure of its ideological legitimacy by defeating it on the ground in the Middle East.

Barack Obama’s hard left ideology has kept him from dealing effectively with the problems facing the United States and with Europe. Obama is striving for a borderless world. He expects the flood of immigrants to become future Democrat voters, grateful for free education and welfare. The problems in the Middle East were caused by Bush’s invasion of Iraq, and if he just turns the entire Middle East over to Iran, it will all settle down. And he seems to continue to believe that ISIS is just some kind of J.V. team. The West cannot seem to agree on the aims of the jihadists, or Iran, or ISIS —nor what to do about it. See the post below.

European countries are getting an up-front and real lesson in the aims and customs of their Muslim migrants, but they haven’t quite put aside the hopes of peacefully assimilating them, nor of facing up to the immense problems involved.  Assimilating single families or small groups was one thing, but the mass of millions of young Muslim men, with ISIS fighters as “sleeper cells” disguised among them is something quite different entirely.

It is all a huge problem, and we are called upon to pay attention and try to think clearly. Obama is intent upon importing as vast numbers of “Syrian refugees” as he can get away with, as future Democrat voters — so we may soon be facing the same problems as Europe.

Obama has been asked to consider specifying Christian refugees who, can expect to be killed brutally if they are captured by ISIS. Refugees fleeing religious persecution are supposed to get special consideration under our laws about refugees, but Obama is not interested.




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