American Elephants


The Mind of the President, Still a Mystery After All These Years by The Elephant's Child

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The American people have been trying for eight years to understand Barack Obama and to grasp just what his aims are. Why is he doing what he is doing? Here are the pieces I have saved that I find somewhat enlightening. No, I don’t think Obama was born in Kenya, nor does he hate America, nor is he trying to destroy America. He just has some odd beliefs that guide his actions.

Richard Epstein, Professor of Law, fellow at the Hoover Institution had a conversation about Obama on Uncommon Knowledge, with Peter Robinson. Epstein knew Obama at the University of Chicago, and through his next door neighbor who was Obama’s best friend at the time. Posted in 2012. The insight that Obama does not change his mind, that his ideas are fixed in concrete is important.

Fast forward to the present and Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes as he explains the Iran Deal, and how they pushed it through by lying to the American people.

Michael Doran, in a widely praised article in Mosaic Magazine took on the task of explaining  “Obama’s Secret Iran Strategy.

And Elliott Abrams followed that up by explaining “What the President Thinks He’s Doing,” also in Mosaic Magazine, February 2015.

At ricochet, Herbert E. Meyer writes about “Obama’s Failed Experiment,” October 2, 2015.

Here’s Jeffrey Goldberg in a widely praised interview with President Obama on Syria and American Foreign Policy from The Atlantic, on June 12, 2016

And today, David Hazony, Editor of The Tower wrote about “The Mind of the President

Obama  is clearly a  leftist radical who thinks that most of the problems of the world would be much less troublesome if the United States were not so involved with the world. We are the problem, in his mind. He emphasized that once again today. “We are to Blame, not Islamic terrorism, for the massacre,” by John Podhoretz. Podhoretz  says we, once again, have an unmistakable indication that Obama finds it astonishingly easy to divorce himself from a reality he doesn’t like — the reality of the Islamist terror war against the  United States and how it is moving to our shores in the form of lone-wolf attacks.

He called it “terror,” which it is. But using the word “terror” without a limiting and defining adjective is like a doctor calling a disease “cancer” without making note of the affected area of the body — because if he doesn’t know where the cancer is and what form it takes, he cannot attack it effectively and seek to extirpate it.

So determined is the president to avoid the subject of Islamist, ISIS-inspired or ISIS-directed terrorism that he concluded his remarks with an astonishing insistence that “we need the strength and courage to change” our attitudes toward the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

Some of these pieces are long, but all are deeply informative. Their intent is not to attack the President, but to explore his mind. We are told that he is the most brilliant of all of our presidents, which I seriously doubt. But how can this man, who has taken an oath to protect and defend the American people and the Constitution of the United States possibly view the bloody, senseless massacre in an Orlando night club and announce primly that “We are to blame, not Islamic terrorism, for the massacre.” He has no understanding of the office he holds, none at all.



The Left Speaks With a Single Voice: Don’t Fight Back, It’s Exactly What ISIS Wants! by The Elephant's Child

It’s comforting to know that America’s newsrooms and television studios are flooded with experts who know ISIS better than ISIS itself:

People might come to blame the Left for their attack on the Second Amendment. Or they might conceivably blame President Obama for his excruciatingly wrong-headed pandering to the Islamic radicals in Iran and the Middle East. He has encouraged the caliphate, handing the Middle East over to Iran to manage, so he can pursue his aim of getting America out of the Middle East, and bring peace to that unhappy tribal area.

Obama reportedly believes that he was elected to get the U.S. out of the Middle East, which isn’t even remotely true. He was elected to be the first Black President of the  United States in the mistaken belief that he would take on the job of better relations between the races. Instead he has made every effort to stir up hatred in the interest of getting more blacks and Hispanics to the polls.

He has been the most divisive president in history, sending #Black Lives Matter activists to stir up dissension on our college campuses. And with his Iran Deal, he has made sure that the mullahs get the necessary funding to perfect their nuclear weapons with which they intend to strike Israel and the United States. Or is there some other target they want to hit with an intercontinental ballistic missile?



“Why is the World So Dangerous?” by The Elephant's Child

“Herbert  E. Meyer (Herb) served as vice chairman of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council under President Reagan. He was one of the few people in the 1980’s to perceive that the U.S. and its allies might have turned the corner and were on the way to winning the Cold War.”

You may not have noticed, but the media seldom talks about facts. It’s almost all opinion. Herb Meyer talks facts, and gives you the evidence on which the facts are based.  That original paper: “Why Is The World So Dangerous?” from 1983 has long since been declassified, and is available to be downloaded here. Most of his speeches are different versions of “Why is the World So Dangerous”— because that’s what we need to hear. This one was delivered to the Northwest Business Club on March 9th this year. He gives us his version of history, and explains what we need to know to cope. The address is a little over an hour and worth every minute, so try for some time this weekend. You’ll be glad you did, and you’ll think a little differently about the world today. He is a great speaker, funny, charming, and utterly fascinating.

ADDENDUM: If you go to You Tube, there are lots of Herb Meyer’s speeches, many with the same name. I picked this one as one of the most recent. and they are similar because Mr. Meyer has to put you in the right historical frame of mind to grasp the changing nature of the trends. His basic argument does not change, because, well, he’s clearly right, and a little repetition merely reinforces the point.



“The Iran Deal” How Does it Fare After Nearly a Year? by The Elephant's Child

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Much has been written after Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes had a lengthy interview with the New York Times about his part in The Iran Deal, his ‘mind-meld’ with the president, and how they fooled the public into believing that the deal came about only when Iran elected a new “more moderate” administration, rather than admit that the Iran Deal was Obama’s intent from the first days of his presidency. It was all hooey, of course.

Obama undoubtedly turned against the Iraq War when the rest of the progressives did— three months into the war — when it began to look as if George W. Bush might have a great success on his hands. At any rate, Obama believed that he was elected based on his opposition to the Iraq War. Progressives are deeply opposed to wars, unless it’s one of theirs. Though if you asked any number of Americans why Obama was elected, I doubt if any would say it was because of Obama’s opposition to the Iraq War. If you recall, during the campaign in 2007 Obama refused to wear one of those little American flag pins in his buttonhole and to put his hand over his heart during the national anthem, at least until someone told him to cool it, he was offending people.

His interest at some point became getting America out of the Middle East, and turning the whole messy area over to Iran, where the Persians were the more educated and refined nation and better qualified to manage the rest of them. In this, he was apparently urged on by his senior counselor, Valerie Jarrett, who shared his vast experience of living abroad — Obama until he turned 10 in Indonesia, and Jarrett in her first 5 years, in Iran.  Seems a rather odd and ephemeral experience on which to base world-shaping agreements.

We are now nearly a year into the July 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to limit Iranian nuclear proliferation, so how is it going?

Last week, a senior advisor to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards elite al-Quds Force said if the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei gave to order to destroy Israel, the Iranian military had the ability to “raze the Zionist regime in less than eight minutes.” Their armed forces had successfully tested a precision-guided, medium-range ballistic missile, with zero error. They even wrote the words “Israel must be wiped off the earth” on the missiles.

The Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei “underlined that the U.S. hues and cries will by no means influence the development of the country’s missile development program.”

They have engaged in a lot of hue and cry over Iran’s missile capabilities, but they should know that this ballyhoo does not have any influence and they cannot do a damn thing,” Ayatollah Khamenei said, addressing graduation ceremony of Imam Hossein University cadets in Tehran on Monday.

The Obama administration remained unconcerned about the Ayatollah’s bloviations, perhaps as they thought a previous peroration was simply intended as “public relations.”

The Supreme Leader reiterated that we are at an asymmetrical war with global arrogance, and said, “In this war, willpowers are fighting. The stronger willpower will win.”

Just yesterday, the Free Beacon reported that the Obama administration was considering permitting advanced Russian arms sales to Iran. The administration has the power to sanction key Russian arms sales to Iran, but has so far abstained from exercising that right. Russia is apparently transferring their S300 surface-to-air missile systems, an advanced long-range weapon that would boost Iran’s military ability. It is one of the most advanced anti-aircraft missile systems in the world.

The administration considers the Iran Deal the most important of Obama’s achievements, and will go to great lengths to preserve the “nuclear deal.” I have read that Obama just doesn’t believe that Iran would ever actually use a nuclear weapon. I’ve always believed that when your enemy makes threats, you should pay attention.

Here is Victor Davis Hanson writing in the Hoover Institution’s Strategika, “A Year After the Iranian Deal.”

And here is Dr. Hanson’s essay on “How Barack Obama’s Foreign Policy De-Stabilized the World.”

Whether the Obama administration is just terminally naive, or simply hopes that any repudiation of the Iran Deal will fall on his successors’ administration rather than in the last days of his own is an unknown. but as Victor Hanson says:” the next few months may prove the most dangerous since World War II.”



Obama’s Disastrous Iran Deal and Its Reverberations by The Elephant's Child

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Obama’s bizarre love affair with Iran continues: so writes Roger L. Simon at PJ Media. “In the last week or so, Obama has decided to ignore the putatively sanctioned Iranian missile tests—the ones with the “charming” admonitions for Israel to be wiped off the Earth emblasoned on the fuselage in Hebrew and Farsi—and seemingly agreed to the ayatollah’s demand that Iran should be allowed into our dollar system. A hundred and fifty billion evidently wasn’t enough.”

Iran clearly is continuing to do just as they choose, ignoring any sanctions, as if there was no ‘deal’. Congress has not agreed to any deal. Yet when Obama lightly criticizes Iran it comes across as absolutely bizarre — as advice to Iran on their business climate. “When they launch ballistic missiles with slogans calling for the destruction of Israel, that makes businesses nervous.” It makes six million Israelis nervous too.

Congress  has not lifted U.S. sanctions on Iran. Keep that in mind. The President and the Secretary of State cannot make treaties on their own. The U.S. Constitution requires congressional approval for any such agreement.

European governments and industries are heading for Tehran to get a cut of the massive windfall that the end of international sanctions. Americans are largely sidelined. However, Obama has given Boeing special permission to do business with Iran. The administration hs been cutting back on defense spending. A new market would mean jobs and decreasing the trade deficit.

Obama believes that new business will improve the Iranian economy and benefit Iran’s people who had been suffering under sanctions. The Supreme Leader has no concern for Iran’s people but is only interested in destroying Israel and the United States. He says so, regularly. Obama believes, ignoring long years of evidence, that Iran would never use a nuclear weapon, that they are people just like us who care about their people and their families.

Yousef Al Otaiba, the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the U.S. writes in the Wall Street Journal:

If the carrots of engagement aren’t working, we must not be afraid to bring back the sticks. Recent half measures against Iran’s violations of the ballistic-missile ban are not enough. If the aggression continues, the U.S. and the global community should make clear that Iran will face the full range of sanctions and other steps still available under U.N. resolutions and in the nuclear deal itself.

Iran’s destabilizing behavior in the region must stop. Until it does, our hope for a new Iran should not cloud the reality that the old Iran is very much still with us—as dangerous and as disruptive as ever.

“Congress is investigating whether the Obama administration misled lawmakers last summer about the extent of concessions granted to Iran under the nuclear deal, as well as if administration officials have been quietly rewriting the deal’s terms in the aftermath of the agreement, according to sources and a formal notice sent to the State Department. ”

“The concerns come after statements from top officials last week suggesting that Iran is set to receive greater weapons and sanctions relief, moves that the administration had promised Congress would never take place as White House officials promoted the deal last summer.”

The other wild card in the deal is the price of oil, which is running currently at about $37 a barrel — far below Iran’s break-even price. Obama will not give permission to bomb any oil field because of the environment.



What do College Students Know? by The Elephant's Child

I’m passionate about history. I think it’s imperative for our young people to get a thorough grounding in our history. If we are granting them the privilege of voting, they should know something about our nation and the world. That said, I think most of my own knowledge of history came after I’d graduated from college.

Of course we read reports of kids who can’t find Florida on a map, or who simply have never been taught anything about history. So I shouldn’t be too ready to cast aspersions on ignorant college kids now. If they don’t know anything, it’s not their fault. They have never been taught.

But this video made me cry. If young people know nothing else, they should know what World War II was about, and why it matters. This woman is the daughter of a Holocaust survivor. and she is deeply concerned that students are ill-equipped to understand that there is genocide going on  right now. I’m not even Jewish, though I don’t know what that has to do with anything. Five states require specific education about the Holocaust. There should be more. Unfortunately kids are more apt to be taught about “social justice.” A favorite phrase of the Left — meaningless.

There aren’t all that many survivors left, nor many of those who witnessed it. How can you understand the story of the “Force of the Sun Ladies” in the last post if you do not understand the depths to which humans can descend when radicalized by politics, or religion, or simple greed.

We have a presidential election campaign going on, and so far, voters seem determined to nominate those least equipped to deal with the current problems of the world. It’s a very scary world out there, and the current president has, through his own ignorance of history, weakened America, weakened our military, destroyed relations with our most dependable allies, and increased the chances that we will be attacked here at home with great loss of life.

Edmund Burke said “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it” back in the 1700s, and it has been repeated over and over. Think of it as a plea to learn from history. Teach your kids at home. If you don’t know your own history — study up.



How About Some Really Good News That Is NOT Political? by The Elephant's Child

A California robotics company called suitX has presented it’s Phoenix exoskeleton to the public. It makes it possible for paraplegics and those with mobility disorders to regain their ability to walk, which is a priceless blessing. It is not the first exoskeleton, which was developed in Israel, but it is the most affordable so far, at about the price of a new Cadillac.

SuitX is led by Dr. Homayoon Kazerooni, who is director of the Berkley Robotics and Human Engineering Laboratory and co-founder and chief scientist of Ekso Bionics. Dr. Kazerooni and his team are driven by a dream of developing low-cost consumer bionic products to improve the quality of life for the disabled. To achieve their goal of keeping the robotics as affordable as possible the team worked with biomechanics instead of the bulky robotics used in the other exoskeletons available so far. One of their prime goals is to help children affected by neurological conditions like cerebral palsy and spina bifida, during the brief time in development when they perfect their walking skills.

The current Phoenix totals around 28 pounds. It consists of modules made for a person’s hips, knees and feet — each can be independently removed and adjusted to the individual’s exact size. A back-mounted battery pack provides power for eight hours of intermittent use or  four hours of continuous use.The Phoenix can move a paralyzed person at a speed of 1.1 miles an hour, the company said.

Steven Sanchez was a former BMX dirt bike rider who became mostly paralyzed by a sports injury. He’s now one of the biggest proponents of the Phoenix. “It feels like you’re actually walking,”

The exoskeleton has silent carbon-fiber orthotics capable of being customized to its wearer. Attached to the orthotics are small motors that provide mobility to the hips and legs. Crutches provide upper body support and are integrated into the orthotics, allowing the wearer to control the movement of each leg with the touch of a button. A built-in back-mounted battery pack provides the wearer with 8 hours of intermittent or 4 hours of continual use.

Weighing around 27 pounds, the Phoenix is not the lightest exoskeleton on the market, but it is comparatively lighter than competing suits such as the more cumbersome 50 pound ReWalk.

While still costlier than a motorized wheelchair, the minimal design translates into a lower-cost exoskeleton; the Phoenix costs just $40,000 in a market where prices range from $70,000 to $100,000.

Dr. Kazerooni is more interested in cleverness. He says you can buy a motorcycle with all sorts of technology for $10,000, so he’s hoping to reduce the cost even more within two or three years— something robust and simple that walks, stops. sits and stands — hugely enabling.

Steven Sanchez tests the product monthly and demonstrates the product all over the world. He wore the Phoenix on a trip to the Vatican, and stood in line like anyone else — “wearing an “awesome robotic suit” and “no one cared.” For those who can only dream of walking, that is a very big deal indeed.




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