American Elephants

“I’m Mad as Hell And I’m Not Going To Take This Anymore! by The Elephant's Child
September 21, 2015, 12:54 am
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Crime, Democrat Corruption, Iran, Politics, Regulation

im-as-mad-as-hell-howard-bealeDan Henninger’s column in the Wall Street Journal last Thursday was about Wednesday’s debate but he made use of Howard Beale’s now famous line in “Network” when he started shouting on his broadcast one evening, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

Beale’s last-straw rant is a compendium of political crises and petty annoyances that added up to a society running off the rails. Driven mad, Beale yells: “I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first, you’ve got to get mad!”

Henninger adds “That was 1976. This is 2015. It’s back. What happened?”

The political crises are not the same, but the frustration is. I wrote last month about the VA being caught shredding mail from veterans related to vets’ disability claims. That scandal has been going on for ages, and no one has been fired. It is apparently impossible to fire government employees who game the system or commit infractions of one kind or another. If they do something really bad, they get placed on an extended leave at full pay.

The cyber crimes are piling up. The IRS had 334,000 taxpayer identities stolen. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) had 22 million identities stolen of everybody who had ever worked for the government, and any references they gave at the time they were hired.
Medical identities, 2.3 million of your medical records have been stolen.The IRS and OPM cases have been blamed on Chinese hackers. President Obama took care of that by refusing to stay at the Waldorf Astoria (Chinese owned) while in New York for a UN something or other. That’ll fix that! Is anybody actually doing something about preventing these incursions? Got me. The medical identity theft can be very expensive for the victim, something like $15,000 to fix. You didn’t think ObamaCare would do anything for you, did you?

Last week, Investors reported that for President Obama there is “no greater threat” than global warming. All his efforts to reduce CO2 will amount to a 0.3 possible drop of CO2 by the year 2100. In the meantime, the real threat comes from solar storms or worse, an electromagnetic pulse attack (EMP) from an enemy like Iran. They are reported to have directions for how to conduct an EMP attack in their military manuals. The US has 99 nuclear stations and 31 research facilities which could face simultaneous meltdown of these facilities in as little as 30 minutes. Defending against an EMP attack would cost something like $2 billion, less than we send to Pakistan each year. Is Washington doing anything? Who knows? But apparently not.

That doesn’t even touch the Planned Parenthood mess, or Obama’s disastrous Iran Deal, or his planned admission of 100,000 refugees a year.  Howard Beale may just have had it right. But he didn’t offer any solutions.

Is Barack Obama the Most Poisonously Partisan President in American History? by The Elephant's Child


Poisonously partisan. That is probably the shortest and clearest description of the eight years of the Obama administration. Every department, agency and bureau has been politicized. Barack Obama is fiercely competitive, but he apparently never learned that to make things work — you need cooperation.

It’s far harder and more intellectually challenging to work together with people with whom you generally disagree for the good of the nation — a nation with over 300 million different opinions and desires. Obama has his own peculiar vision, and he is going to impose it on us all. Don’t even think of trying to stop him.

Surely you have noticed that the Obama administration is increasingly intolerant of those who disagree with them on any subject. The remarkable letter from 20 scientists to request that those who disagree with them about the science of climate change should be prosecuted is only one of the most recent examples.

Another is the exclusion of Hillsdale College, a 1,500 student liberal arts college in Michigan, ranked as the 67th best liberal arts college in the country, from the Obama extolled new “College Scorecard”, because it “Isn’t a real two-to four year college.” A lot of their graduates would be astonished at that one. The problem is that Hillsdale (founded in 1844) does not accept any federal funding (including federal student loans) in order to be free of federal regulatory control. Do not look for lot of gender studies courses, nor much emphasis on “triggering” and hate speech. They don’t embarrass themselves by banning speakers with unconventional ideas, but instead print up excerpts for their free speech digest which goes (free) to some 3 million subscribers. (I am one)

Leftist professors are systematically indoctrinating their students into believing that 9/11 was all our fault. A freshman-level English class taught at several major universities across the country called “the Literature of 9/11” focuses entirely on the writings from the perspective if the Islamic terrorists rather than the 3,000 Americans killed in the attack. Terrorists are portrayed as “freedom fighters” driven by oppressive U.S. foreign policies.

How’s this for partisanship? There are 8.8 million legal US immigrants eligible for citizenship. Obama wants to get them all through the citizenship process before the 2016 election. He will allow credit card payments instead of cash for the fees, and he is waiving qualifications, such as the requirement that new citizens agree to be called upon for military service if they are needed. He wants them registered to vote before the election.

The war on religion is serious and intense. Many Leftists have expressed a desire to get rid of the first amendment. They oppose freedom of speech — because those on the right disagree. Those on the right also are far better informed about the real importance of the Bill of Rights and what it means. The Left hates freedom of religion and the people who oppose abortion because of their religious views. Catholics like Nancy Pelosi pander a bit by insisting it’s all about women’s health. Opposition to gay marriage is considered a hate crime.

On the eve of Pope Francis’s arrival in the United States, the Vatican has taken offense at the Obama administration’s decision to invite to the pope’s welcoming ceremony transgender activists, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop and an activist nun who leads a group criticized by the Vatican for its silence on abortion and euthanasia. This is purposeful, and unbelievably ill-mannered. Obama’s latest pettiness seeks to embarrass his guest in order to make a domestic political point about “tolerance” and “diversity.” As Rick Moran said: “The Catholic Church is not a democracy. The pope can’t “change his mind” about gay marriage like so many Democrats do.”

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has advocated for women in combat, the Marine Corps intends to prohibit women in several front line combat roles. It has to do with some simple things like 68 pound packs and sharpshooting ability. Obama’s female nominee for  Under Secretary of the Navy, wants women in combat. She says “this is not just using the military for social engineering.” Of course it is. There’s a bit of difference between piloting an airplane as she did,  and carrying a 68 lb. pack, carrying a fellow soldier out of the line of fire. Men and women are different,  and remain so in spite of social engineering.

The Obama administration’s efforts to unconstitutionally bypass Congress with executive orders, arbitrary suspension of laws or simple non-enforcement, and exempting party loyalists from legal accountability is a disgrace. Obama is often called a professor of Constitutional Law, but he was only a part-time instructor of civil rights law. He does not take the Constitution seriously, which means that he doesn’t understand just what the United States Constitution, the world’s oldest and most revered, really means to the freedom of man. No cities on shining hills for Obama.

Do the folks objecting so vociferously to “birthright babies” ever stop to think about just why those mothers are so determined to get their children American citizenship?

The More Things Change, The More they Stay the Same by The Elephant's Child
September 19, 2015, 6:54 am
Filed under: Africa, Europe, History, Islam, Middle East | Tags: , ,


plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

In the early years of the seventh century, when the Prophet Muhammad began his mission in Arabia, the whole of the Mediterranean world was still part of Christendom. On the European, Asian and African shores alike, almost all the inhabitants were Christians of various denomination. Of the other religions of the Greco-Roman world, only two, Judaism and Manichaeism, had survived and were professed by minorities in these lands. In the eastern Mediterranean, the East Roman Empire, known to scholarship as the Byzantine Empire, continued to flourish and with Constantinople as its capital ruled over Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and part of North Africa as well as Asia Minor and southeastern Europe. In the western Mediterranean, the Roman state had fallen, but the barbarian peoples, and the kingdoms they raised on the ruins of Rome, had adopted the Christian religion and tried with intermittent success to maintain at least the forms of the Roman state and the Christian church. Nor was the realm of Christendom limited to the Mediterranean lands. Beyond the eastern border of Byzantium, Mesopotamia, the metropolitan and western-most province of the Persian Empire, was by the early seventh century predominately Christian and thus part of the Christian though not the Roman world. Even in Arabia, beyond the imperial frontiers of both Rome and Persia. Christian and Jewish minorities lived among the pagan majority.

Within a few decades of the death of Muhammad in 632, his Arab followers had burst out of the Arabia Peninsula, attacked Byzantium and Persia, the two great empires that had divided the Middle East between them, and wrested vast territories from both. The Empire of Persia was conquered and absorbed in its entirety. From the Roman world the Arabs took Syria  Palestine, Egypt, and the rest of North Africa which, in turn, became their springboard for the invasion of Africa which, in turn, became their springboard for the invasion of Spain and the Mediterranean islands, notably Sicily. Defeating both the Byzantine and the barbarian armies, they were able to incorporate these countries in the new Islamic Empire and to threaten Christendom from both ends. In the east, Arab armies from Syria and Iraq pressing against Anatolia, then a Greek and Christian land and the heartland of the Byzantine Empire, while other Arab and  Berber armies in the west swept from conquered Spain across the Pyrenees and threatened to engulf all of Western Europe. For a while, Muslim armies occupied Sicily, parts of southern Italy, and seemed to menace even Rome itself.

The opening paragraphs from The Muslim Discovery of Europe by Bernard Lewis, New York, 1982  Highly recommended.

Are Americans Really Angry? Or Is It Something Else Entirely? by The Elephant's Child

Obama-Libya-Remains_Horo-635x357If you read a lot of headlines, it would seem the Americans are really angry. But what are they angry about? If man-on-the-street interviews are to be believed (Obviously six or eight participants are not a meaningful sample) they don’t know what they are talking about. Or do they?

Matthew Continetti summed it up nicely in one paragraph in the Weekly Standard.

What is happening in the world? When one looks at recent news, one can’t help feeling a sense of bewilderment. A storied Olympian announces his new gender on the cover of Vanity Fair, the Supreme Court declares same-sex marriage a constitutional right, racial violence returns to St. Louis and Baltimore, police are ambushed and murdered in New York City and Houston, murder is on the rise, Democratic candidates apologize for saying all lives matter, “trigger warnings” precede the teaching of Ovid at university, the president unilaterally amnesties millions of illegal immigrants, politically correct mobs use social media to silence dissent and intimidate heretics, hundreds of thousands of migrants flood into Europe, a slowing Chinese economy causes volatility in the U.S. stock market, more than 70 percent of Americans say they are unhappy with the direction of the country, and the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination is a billionaire television star who promises to deport illegal aliens, oppose free trade, raise taxes on hedge funds, and establish a national health plan where “you can get everything in Obamacare, but much more.”

And it’s all true. I could, however have written an entirely different paragraph with different worries that would be equally true. People have been shocked by the sheer barbarism of ISIS, and nobody does anything to stop it. Or is it the regulations that are imposed on us by executive order rather than by the people we elected to Congress. We thought that people of other races were melding ever more completely into American society, and instead we have riots and killings and a breakdown of law enforcement relations with American blacks. China is building a military base in the middle of the South China Sea on islands they are building on some reefs. Russia is invading the Ukraine, threatening the Baltic States, claiming the North Pole as its own territory. And the president is urging the EPA on in its quest to shut down he coal-fired power plants providing 40 percent of our electricity in favor of wind farms and solar arrays that produce very little energy at enormous expense in taxpayer subsidies. That’s just a few of mine, and I’m sure you could each come up with your own list.

Here are four important voices explaining why we are where we are:

Victor Davis Hanson: Is Obama Correctable? Here and abroad, the Obama administration damages whatever it touches.

Richard A. Epstein: The Consequences of Obama’s Weakness
Bad consequences follow when a United States President thinks that he an counter forces of terrorism and world disorder on the cheap without the use or threat of ground forces.

Noah Rothman: The Culmination of Obama’s Indulgent Foreign Policy Much ink has been wasted over the course of this presidency attempting to identify (or to invent) something that could be reasonably considered an Obama doctrine.

Walter Russell Mead: Fecklessness 101: The endgame in Syria: Apparently the Obama administration turned down a Russian offer to dump Assad…because the Administration was sure he was going to fall on his own.

Carly Fiorina Can Take Care of Herself! by The Elephant's Child

Among  his many intemperate remarks, Donald Trump chose to insult Carly Fiorina. Why not, he’s turned his insults on everybody else. He said something to the effect of “Look at that face. Could you vote for somebody with a face like that for president?” This may not be completely correct as I’m not looking it up. But never mind, Carly can take care of herself.

Smart commercial, and really puts the Donald in his place. Can you imagine having Trump as president, insulting our allies around the world, and remarking on how stupid other world leaders are?

Australia Changes Prime Ministers by The Elephant's Child

150914-turnbullAustralia’s Liberal party has given the Prime Minister’s job to Malcolm Turnbull today, a mere two years after Prime Minister Tony Abbott won a strong election mandate. Their Liberal Party is the conservative one in Australia, opposed by the Labor  Party.

Mr. Turnbull, who won the vote among Liberal MPs 54-44, was also exacting some political revenge. The 60-year-old former barrister and venture capitalist had been the Liberal leader in opposition until late 2009, when Mr. Abbott challenged him and won by one vote. Mr. Turnbull had made the mistake of endorsing the expensive and unpopular carbon tax pushed by the Labor Party government.

Mr. Abbott’s opposition to the carbon tax helped bring the center-right Liberals back to power, and Mr. Turnbull now says he’ll keep the Abbott government’s climate policy. But his earlier support for faddish climate-change regulation illustrates the doubts about his convictions among the Liberal rank and file. He is more socially liberal than Mr. Abbott, which will help among young people on same-sex marriage, but he is also seen as someone without firm convictions.

Mr. Turnbull is closer to the business community than is Mr. Abbott, and he’ll need its help because his main challenge is reviving economic growth. Australia hasn’t had a recession in 24 years as it rode the global commodity boom, but growth slowed to 0.2% in the second quarter thanks to falling Chinese demand and the world-wide commodity bust.

When the world is in turmoil, the people get restless. Australia has been very dependent on commodities and more competitive in a range of global goods and services. Mr. Abbott made policy on the fly, and made decisions to cut spending on areas that he had promised to protect and to raise taxes without preparing the public.

Mr. Turnbull will have to make the case that Australia needs to become less dependent on commodities and more competitive across a whole range of global goods and services. He is a little more left than his predecessor. He says he will keep the Abbott government’s climate policy, though he’s earlier supported climate change regulation. The Aussie’s distaste for a carbon tax is what won the election for Mr. Abbott.

Australia’s ruling party has given the job of Prime Minister to Malcolm Turnbull turning out Tony Abbott a mere two years after Mr. Abbott won the job with a strong election mandate.

Mr. Turnbull, who won the vote among Liberal MPs 54-44, was also exacting some political revenge. The 60-year-old former barrister and venture capitalist had been the Liberal leader in opposition until late 2009, when Mr. Abbott challenged him and won by one vote. Mr. Turnbull had made the mistake of endorsing the expensive and unpopular carbon tax pushed by the Labor Party government.

Mr. Abbott’s opposition to the carbon tax helped bring the center-right Liberals back to power, and Mr. Turnbull now says he’ll keep the Abbott government’s climate policy. But his earlier support for faddish climate-change regulation illustrates the doubts about his convictions among the Liberal rank and file. He is more socially liberal than Mr. Abbott, which will help among young people on same-sex marriage, but he is also seen as someone without firm convictions.

The Iran Deal and the Information Age. by The Elephant's Child


I’m not sure just how much we can take away from these “man on the street ” quick interviews, but it’s not very encouraging. Makes one long for the days before the information revolution, when there weren’t quite so many sources of information — comedy shows, reality shows,or am I misremembering a time that never was? I’ve read that large numbers of people get their news from Colbert, Jon Stewart and Conan O’Brien — really?

Colbert is currently wearing bracelets celebrating “Black Lives Matter”, apparently wanting to show his empathy for police lives who don’t matter, or something or other. Is he unaware of the climbing murder rate, recruits dropping out of police academies because it’s not worth it. The worst thing anyone could do for the black community is to make the police department reluctant to protect those black lives because they are afraid of being attacked.

But here you go, an interview on the upper west side of Manhattan, a liberal enclave, and they are unanimously approving ov Obama’s Iran Deal.  Except…


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