American Elephants


These Are Interesting Times Indeed! by The Elephant's Child

I think the ancient Chinese curse is “May you live in interesting times.” I may be mistaken because I didn’t look it up but depended on my memory. Well, they are interesting indeed. President Trump acted on an opportunity to get one the world’s worst terrorist leaders, and our national media erupted in horror, completely forgetting that our embassy in Iraq had been attacked, or ignoring this inconvenient bit. The information was correct, we were able to hit Quassam Soleimani and eliminate a terrorist dedicated to attempts to harm the United States and our military at every opportunity.

Democrats in Congress were incensed that they were not consulted for their formal consent and approval, neglecting to consider that in such situations the President does not need to consult Congress, nor does he need their approval. He is the Commander in Chief. He gets to protect our Embassy, it’s staff, our military.

The Embassy is sovereign American territory, which was attacked. Soleimani has been a formally designated terrorist and terrorist leader since 2007. That this comes in the midst of an attempt to impeach the President with a Democratic Party that is consumed with their desire to get rid of the terrible Trump, leaves the Democrats in a sticky position. They cannot approve of anything Trump does at the moment, yet taking the opposing position puts them on the wrong side as well.

Some have pointed out the example of Benghazi and our embassy there, and the failure of our State Department to provide them with the needed security to prevent the death of the Ambassador, his aide and two former Seals working as government contractors. It was inexcusable.

What is disheartening is the response of the media who can’t put aside their partisan outlook long enough to report events as if they are journalists rather than just partisan Democrats.



The Immediacy of The Latest News of the Day by The Elephant's Child

Got up a little late today, and perusing all my usual websites in search of what is news in the wake of the elimination of top Iranian terrorist Quassem Soleimani, the Democrats impeachment debacle, and what Hollywood celebrities had to say about Trump, what appeared at the top of the front page of almost every website was “If You Have Toenail Fungus, Do This Immediately!”

Some days are just like that!



And a Happy New Year to You All ! by The Elephant's Child

I am not an enthusiast for New Years celebrations, nor do I really think of a new year being a big deal. Don’t like all the efforts to predict what the new year will bring, but the efforts to sum up what transpired during the past year can be useful.

The impeachment thing drags on, but is going nowhere. Abuse of Power is silly, there was no crime whatsoever, and Obstruction of Congress is way beyond silly. The President’s job is to keep the reins on Congress and keep them from doing stupid things. That’s why the founders gave him veto power, and Congress the right to override a veto if they can. The founders were well aware of the failings of the human race, and thought long and hard about writing a Constitution.

The Wall Street Journal was having fits about the “trade war” Trump was initiating with China, but as Joseph Sternberg said today:

A new year brings new optimism that the U.S.-China trade war might not blow up the global economy after all. The two sides are on track to sign a “phase one” deal within weeks. Oddly, no one has stopped to ask if America is ready for what will happen if President Trump “wins” the trade war. …

China’s current-account surplus—the amount by which its exports of goods and services and income from overseas investments exceeds imports—has shrunk for years. It’s likely to tip into a deficit early this decade, meaning China will import more goods and services (and receive less profit from overseas) than it exports.

The scale of this potential deficit, likely under 1% of gross domestic product to start, pales in comparison with the enormous current-account surpluses of nearly 10% of GDP each year China racked up in the first decade of the century. And the deficits will be here to stay.

He adds that their population is aging, the much vaunted Belt and Road deal is mostly pouring money into corrupt public-works, and China’s overseas investments tend to be bad ones. And the U.S. tends to be the world’s premier destination for investment capital. China’s Communism has used industrial policy to suppress domestic demand.

It seems that despite the skeptics, Capitalism seems to work quite nicely. Unemployment is at record lows, the stock market at record highs.

In Baghdad, the crowd that attacked the U.S. Embassy in Iraq seems to have been more pro-Iran militia than unhappy citizens. A  country’s embassy is considered a part of their own territory and attacking it is a big deal. The president promptly sent in the Marines to reinforce and protect, and demonstrate that attacks were not acceptable. The Washington Post, of course, tried to score points against President Trump. The top Iranian Commander, Quassem Soleimani, leader of Iran’s Quds Force, was apparently killed Friday in airstrikes on Baghdad International Airport. The Pentagon confirmed that President Donald Trump ordered the airstrike. Iran’s Quds Force has been designated as a terrorist organization for some time.

Seems to me that President Trump is letting our friends and enemies know that he has no intention of being a pushover, in case they were under some misapprehension.

Other than that, the media seemed fascinated with the leftover theme from the 1920’s – trying to stick on “the Roaring Twenties” in some way, I guess because that’s all they could think of.  Didn’t work.

Hollywood has-beens keep trying to come up with insults to the President that will get them some media notice, for you cannot remain a celebrity if you cannot get the attention of the press, Nobody seems to have noticed that a lot of Americans are finding other ways to amuse themselves, and movies aren’t doing all that well.



The State of the Union Speech by The Elephant's Child

Oh excellent, excellent and most excellent. President Trump gave his best speech yet. Democrats were all prepared to go on and on about his lying and bragging. Not going to work. He explained his accomplishments for the country, why they needed to be done, and how they are working. He explained his hopes for the country and for the world, and asked for their help in getting it done.

I saw Nancy Pelosi all in white, but it took a while to realize that all the Democrat women were in white, symbolizing something or other. I apparently missed the explanation. I thought they were imitating Cuba’s Women in White, with their usual lack of comprehension of Communism, but I understand that they were thinking of themselves as “suffragettes” who nobody remembers and have nothing to do with white clothes as far as I can remember. I’m female, but definitely not a feminist, and find them  embarrassing. They seemed to have lot of trouble figuring out when to stand and when to sit, when to smile and when to scowl. Speaker Pelosi seemed to have big chunk of lemon in her cheek which she bit down on in the more stressful moments. (The cheering, the shouts of USA, USA!)

Chuck Schumer said that Stacey Abrams was a wonderful speaker, so I was interested but completely unfamiliar with her. I guess nobody checked on what she was going to say. Yea Unions! Boo depriving the people of their votes? Huh? Nice family stories, but utterly ill-informed about what is happening in the United States, except for Democrat propaganda. Little children in cages and all that. Seems like a nice lady. She tried to make a big deal out of the government shutdown, which was an inconvenience, but ruined no one’s life. I’m afraid that she was chosen as the first African-American woman to give the response to a State of the Union speech. Democrats think like that. The actuality of what is said isn’t that important.

Really funny to listen to the media’s comments pre-speech. Senator Schumer’s anticipatory comments were an absolute disgrace. He should be ashamed. There is really no place for that. Schumer has been in Congress since 1981. The venom of the Left knows no bounds.



A Study Reveals That 72 Terrorists Came From the Countries In Trump’s Travel Ban by The Elephant's Child

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On January 27, 2017, President Trump issued Executive Order 13769 which banned travel from seven countries, largely Muslim in population, that supported terrorism. Well! Huge Liberal outcry. He Can’t Do That! Lawsuits,! Liberal judges said no. Trump accused of racism, cruelty, etc., etc. Ninth Circuit judges said there is no evidence showing a risk to the United States in allowing aliens from these seven terror-associated countries to come in. Case went to Supreme Court.  June 26, Supreme Court upholds ban. You probably remember all of this. It was very noisy. But eventually we find out what it was all about.

Jessica Vaughn from the Center for Immigration Studies (cis.org) reported on a review of information compiled by a Senate committee in 2016 reveals that 72 individuals from the seven countries covered in President Trump’s vetting order have been convicted in terror cases since the 9/11 attacks. These facts stand is stark contrast to the assertions by the Ninth circuit judges who blocked the president’s order on the basis that there was no evidence.

In June 2016 the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, then chaired by now Attorney General Jeff Sessions, released a report on individuals convicted in terror cases since 9/11. The Obama administration refused to provide government records, so this came from open sources. The report found that 380 our of 500 people convicted in terror cases were foreign born.

The CIS center has obtained a copy of the information compiled by the Senate subcommittee. The report contains names of offenders, dates of conviction, terror group affiliation, federal criminal charges, sentence imposed, state of residence and immigration history.  72 of the individuals named in the Senate report, country of origin was one of the seven countries included in the vetting order.
• Somalia: 20  • Yemen: 18  • Iraq: 19  • Syria: 7 • Iran: 4  • Libya: 2  • Sudan 1

•Total 72

These immigrant terrorists lived in at least 16 different states, with the largest number from the terror-associated countries living in New York (10), Minnesota (8), California (8), and Michigan (6). Ironically, Minnesota was one of the states suing to block Trump’s order to pause entries from the terror-associated countries, claiming it harmed the state. At least two of the terrorists were living in Washington, which joined with Minnesota in the lawsuit to block the order.

Thirty-three of the 72 individuals from the seven terror-associated countries were convicted of very serious terror-related crimes, and were sentenced to at least three years imprisonment. The crimes included use of a weapon of mass destruction, conspiracy to commit a terror act, material support of a terrorist or terror group, international money laundering conspiracy, possession of explosives or missiles, and unlawful possession of a machine gun.

It’s the usual story. Big outcry from the Left. Liberals don’t know what they are talking about, they just object. When they are proven wrong, or make big mistakes, it just all vanishes down the memory hole.



Why Are Liberals So Angry? by The Elephant's Child

pic_giant_042314_SM_The-Adolescent-President-Barack-Obama_0

Here is a post from just 8 years ago, under the same title, posted on August 8, 2010.  Obama was in  the second year of his presidency. Apparently nothing has changed. They’re progressives now, but they’re still angry.

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Liberals control the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives.  Their efforts are extolled and celebrated by the national media.  Hollywood churns out movies and TV shows that portray the liberal view of the world.  Congress can pass whatever bills they want, confident that the president will sign them.  They have the power to do whatever they want, and since they are there —our elected representatives — one can assume that they have the approval and good wishes of the people of the United States.

So why are Liberals so angry?  If the recent revelations from JournoList, the e-mail list of about 100 liberal/left journalists mean anything, the most notable fact is the depth of their hatred for conservatives.  And not just conservatives in general, they hate conservative individuals.

There is plenty of evidence of this.  Those of us on the right have seen it — frothing at the mouth, red-in-the-face, not just disagreement, but hatred.  Back in the 1980s when Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union “an evil empire,” liberals were enraged.

A  JournoList participant, a public-radio reporter, expressed her personal wish to see Rush Limbaugh die a slow painful death — and nobody objected.  A Daily Kos editor dreams of liquidating opponents like “Steven Milloy and his buddies” with a Soylent Green assisted suicide, because they commit the crime of opposing global warming alarmism.  Howard Dean, never shy about expressing his hatred for Republicans, said “In contradistinction to the Republicans, Democrats don’t believe kids ought to go to bed hungry at night.”  Representative Alan Grayson (D-FL) said “I want to say a few words about what it means to be a Democrat.  It’s very simple: We have a conscience.” Oh please!

When you comb through the evidence, it becomes apparent that Conservatives are hated specifically because — they disagree. Liberals life-long dream of government controlled health care has been realized.  And the Republicans had the colossal nerve to oppose it.  It was, liberals are sure, the right thing to do, to make health care more affordable and everybody healthier, and the Republicans started in with their studies and evidence and history and convinced the poor ordinary folk out there to oppose it too.

Progressivism is a bit of a religious experience — everything is politics and politics is everything.  And when they got to be in charge, to control the levers and the power of government, liberals would show everyone just what “hope and change”really meant. Equality, social justice.  Things would be fixed.  The rich would be brought down, business would be forced to stop preying on poor people just to make a profit.  Profit would no longer be allowed. Life would be fair.

Of course they have tripled the deficit that Obama claims daily was left to him by George W. Bush.  They have really, really tried to fix the economy. They have paid people to buy cars, purchase homes, pay off their mortgages, weatherize their homes and put solar panels on their roofs. And it didn’t work. And the liberals are furious because the conservatives — disagreed.

Life is not fair. It just isn’t.  And you cannot make it fair.  Bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people. Human nature is imperfect, unchangeable, and unfixable.  We make mistakes, and that is how we learn.  Sometimes we make horrible mistakes, and we try to fix them.  But if we do not learn from our mistakes, then we cannot grow. The greatest impetus for growth has always been liberty. Milton Friedman once put it rather well:

A society that puts equality— in the sense of equality of outcome — ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom.  The use of force to achieve equality will destroy freedom, and the force, introduced for good purposes, will end up in the hands of people who use it to promote their own interests.



ISIS Has Lost 98 Percent of The Territory It Once Held by The Elephant's Child

ISIS has lost 98 percent of the territory is once held. The so-called Caliphate has been dramatically reduced. The big gains come after years of micromanaging of the war, and the rejection of a more aggressive strategy that could have shortened the conflict. Obama was very concerned that he might be blamed  for civilian deaths, and his rules of engagement were onerous. Individual target determination was being done in the White House, which added weeks and weeks of time. The limitations actually resulted in greater civilian casualties according to retired Air Force Lt. General David Deptula, the former head of U.S. Air Force Intelligence.

The latest American intelligence assessment says there are fewer than 1,000 ISIS fighters remaining in Iraq and Syria—down from a peak of nearly 45,000 just two years ago.

U.S. officials credit nearly 30,000 U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and regional partners on the ground for killing more than 70,000 jihadists. Meanwhile, only a few thousand have returned home.

The remaining ISIS strongholds are concentrated in a small area along the border of Syria and Iraq. ISIS, at one point, controlled an area the size of Ohio.

While ISIS has been largely defeated, it continues to call on followers around the world to conduct terror attacks during the holidays with a new message sprouting up on Tuesday, and a suicide attack in Kabul on Christmas with ISIS claiming responsibility. It’s part of the terror group’s effort to expand influence into Africa and Afghanistan. The U.S. envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition warned late last week not to expect a complete defeat anytime soon.

The remaining ISIS strongholds are concentrated on the border between Iraq and Syria. ISIS once controlled an area the size of Ohio. They are continuing to call on followers around the world to conduct terror attacks during the holidays. Deptula said the fight with ISIS could have ended much sooner if President Obama had given his commanders in the field more authority. “He micromanaged the war.” Deptula said. “We could have accomplished our objectives through overwhelming air poser in three months, not in three years.”

Al- Qaeda has apparently reappeared in Syria according to Joshua Geltzer , a visiting professor at Georgetown Law School, and author of  “U.S. Counter-Terrorism Strategy and al-Qaeda: Signalling and the Terrorist World-View.” The center for al-Qaeda now seems to be in Syria, not Afghanistan. There is progress, but the threat of terrorism is still intact.

ADDENDUM: John Hinderaker reports at Powerline that Radio Farda is reporting that demonstrations have broken out across Iran, “against high unemployment, a stagnant economy with inflationary prices and expensive overseas military interventions are spreading unpredictably fast in several cities.”

On Friday, protests spread to Kermanshah in the west, Tehran, Esfahan in central Iran, Rasht in the north, Ahvaz in the southwest and even Qom, the religious capital of Shiite clergy in Iran.

Some of the protesters, at least, chanted for a return of “Reza Shah,” the dynasty that was overthrown by the mullahs in 1979.



The Supreme Court Stays Enforcement of Travel Ban Orders by The Elephant's Child

The Supreme Court gave the Trump administration a major victory today. They stayed the orders of two lower courts that blocked enforcement of the president’s revised travel ban. This means that travel from the affected countries can be banned or limited, while the courts continue to process appeals in the two cases.

When a court requests preliminary relief like those at issue here, a key part is the court’s assessment of which party is likely to ultimately prevail. The Court’s two orders today suggest that a solid majority of the Court thinks the travel ban will be valid and enforceable.

Remember that the ban was only on those nations that have produced a significant number of jihadists or terrorists. It was not a ban, as has been claimed by the left a blanket ban on all Muslim nations and an attack on a religion.



Defense Secretary James Mattis: 95% of ISIS Eradicated Under Trump. by The Elephant's Child

Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced this last week that 95% of ISIS bases and hideouts have been eradicated. Good News indeed. Deciding that you actually do intend to defeat them makes a difference. Obama seemed concerned that he might be blamed for something. ISIS fighters have been surrendering saying they haven’t been paid and haven’t been fed, and little things like that seem to matter.

Good for our coalition. Hope they all got a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner, and the gratitude of a nation giving thanks.



Hungry and Demoralized, ISIS Surrenders in Hawija by The Elephant's Child

Yesterday, off in corners of the internet which was all a-flame with the latest accusers of Harvey Weinstein, there was brief mention of the defeat of of ISIS in the northern Iraqi town of Hawija — one of its last strongholds in Iraq. Around 1,000 militants surrendered among signs that the terrorist group is falling apart and unable to defend its territory.

“They’re giving up,” said Lt. Gen. Paul Funk, who commands the coalition task force fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. “Their leaders are abandoning them.”

The fall of Hawija in northern Iraq, after two weeks of fighting, is the latest in a string of defeats for the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, and suggests the rank-and-file fighters are demoralized as the group struggles to defend what remains of the territory it seized in 2014.

Hawija had been held by about 1,000 militants. As long as they held Hawija they could threaten Kirkuk, a major city east of the town. Coalition airstrikes have been ramping up attacks on the strongholds left in Iraq. Iraqi forces have been built up with help of U.S. arms and equipment, but the decision on when to launch ground operations is made by the Iraqi government.

In July, Iraq announced that Mosul, the country’s second-largest city, was retaken from ISIS after about nine months of intense fighting. Since that decisive battle, the pace of the Islamic State’s decline seems to have quickened.

U.S.-backed forces in Syria have recaptured about three-quarters of Raqqa, the ISIS headquarters, after about four months of fighting in the city.

ISIS reputation for the willingness to fight to the last man and never surrender seems to be gone. Surrendering forces came out with their hands up, saying their leaders have abandoned them. They haven’t been fed and haven’t been paid. Last week the ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi released an audio demanding his fighters to continue the battle, but they don’t seem to be paying attention.

The fall of Harvey Weinstein may be just as important as the fall of Hawija, but was anyone surprised? Hollywood has long been known as a cesspool. His disgusting trail of victims may be long, but ISIS has been trying to terrorize the world into submission. Beheadings and placing victims in iron cages to drown or burn to death didn’t seem to be a way to entice people to accept Islam. But that is in the far away Middle East, and Weinstein and kneeling football millionaires are here and local.

I don’t know that anyone, at this point, expects the media to act responsibly.



We Mostly Do Not Understand How Differently Other People Think by The Elephant's Child

Perceptions. We’re mostly inclined to believe that other people think pretty much as we do, and are surprised to find out that there are true believers in something radically different. And even when we grasp that they really do believe, and don’t believe that they are wrong, but that you are—it’s still a little hard to get your mind around it. Aside from Maxine Waters, who has now announced that Vice President Pence should also be impeached—(do you think she is just grandstanding for attention, or does she really believe her nonsense?)

Many Americans believe that Europe is well on the way to becoming Islamic. Only 45% of Europeans believe that the massive influx of asylum seekers is a cause for alarm, but 71 percent of Germans listed climate change as their greatest cause of personal concern. Looming less important than fluctuations in the Earth’s climate are things like new wars, the threat of terror attacks, or crime (which 63% fear). Apparently they do not associate the massive influx of asylum seekers, with the rapes and sexual attacks, and terror attacks. Must be a very strong societal emphasis on compassion or empathy going on. Birth rates in Europe are very low as well, and far below a replacement rate.

The results of the study come at a time when Germany is facing an unprecedented Islamist terror threat, with a new report showing that more than half (54 per cent) of plots in the nation have involved asylum seekers and refugees since 2014, and the onset of the migrant crisis.

And on Wednesday it was revealed that the influx of a million migrants in 2015  — who arrived after Chancellor Angela Merkel opened Europe’s borders — has already left a huge mark on Germany’s demographics.

Chancellor Angela Merkel stood out as a credible environmentalist when she attacked Donald Trump for his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement, which scientists largely agreed would have little or no effect on the climate by 2100. A boost for the coming elections.

The study comes at a time when Germany is facing what would seem to be a major terrorist threat. The report shows 54 percent of attacks in the country have involved asylum seekers and refugees, ever since 2014 and the onset of the migrant crisis. Yet they are more frightened by the threat that the climate might get a degree or two warmer. Terror attacks like Manchester or the cases in Sweden don’t seem to bother them, and they are not influenced by the Eastern European countries like Poland and Hungary who are defying the EU demand that they accept asylum seekers. It would seem to us like a major case of denial. It’s hard to understand how differently others can see the world around them.



As We Celebrate Independence Day, Give Some Thought to Those Who are Fighting on Our Behalf by The Elephant's Child

The Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al Abadi said that ISIS is close to defeat in Mosul and close to being driven out of Iraq, after Iraq’s military seized a mosque in the city were the extremist group’s leader first proclaimed a caliphate. Col. Ryan Dillon, the Baghdad-based spokesman for the U.S. led coalition said that the fighting should be over in a matter of days, and then it would take time to clear the area of Islamic State holdouts. Progress has been steady, but there is still tough fighting ahead.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford told reporters that the flow of foreign fighters to the Islamic State that had peaked at about 1,500 volunteers per month has declined to fewer than 100.

More than 60 countries have been contributing to an INTERPOL database information about citizens known to have fought for ISIS. McGurk said the list is up to 14,000 names “and continues to grow.”

Defense Secretary James Mattis said the U.S. is going to focus on killing remaining foreign fighters in the Islamic State. “Because the foreign fighters are the strategic threat should they return home to Tunis, to Kuala Lumpur, to Paris, to Detroit, wherever. Those foreign fighters are a threat,” he said. “So by taking the time to deconflict, to surround and then attack, we carry out the annihilation campaign so we don’t simply transplant this problem from one location to another.”

More can be found here.

As we turn our attention to the Fourth of July and fireworks, picnics and barbecues, we do need to remember that some Americans under arms are still fighting to free us from ISIS and it’s terrorism.




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