American Elephants


The Story Behind the Official Stories Is a Lot More Plausibile by The Elephant's Child

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Everybody who saw this picture thought it was — odd. Something fishy here. Clearly the official U.S. story did not make sense. American Thinker thought so too. Here are their explanations:

“Barry and the Pirates” by William Levinson.

It is particularly telling that Barack Obama spent part of his State of the Union speech telling us that the state of our Union is strong while Iranian pirates seized two U.S. Navy vessels and then, as pointed out by Rick Moran, violated the Geneva Conventions by publishing a photo of the captured sailors on their knees with their hands on their heads.

The Iranian action was both piracy and an intentional act of war against the United States.  If the boats strayed into Iranian waters due to navigational or mechanical problems, Iran was obliged under international law to render them assistance.  “Accidents in international air or sea traffic, even those involving military vessels, generally require nations to assist the victims and keep hands off the stricken planes or ships, the experts said.”  Note also that “Iranian officials searched [the boats] for advanced technology and sensitive communications.” …

“The most plausible explanation for the 10 riverine sailors captured by Iran” by Thomas H. Lipscomb

No, they are part of a Rivierine Squadron based in San Diego. Further they are support crews for SEAL missions from the US Navy and highly trained. The Iranians probably mistook “Riverine” for “Marine” in doing the story.

So that explains several things. Why the captured sailors were so much more fit than the average sailor these days, and how a woman could be among them. While not special ops personnel directly engaged, they have to be extraordinarily fit and well-trained, as indeed these sailors appear to be. …

“Calling BS on the official story of the Iranian capture of two US riverine boats” by Thomas H. Lifson

Flash! A former Navy SEAL, Matt Bracken, just blew up what I have been calling “a pack of lies from the US and Iran” on what the hell happened that got our boats captured and taken to the Farsi Islands.

Remember: the single most dangerous area in all the Persian Gulf is a small group of Islands in almost the middle of the heavily traveled shipping lanes that is a major naval base for Iran and the HQ of the radical IRG for special operations of their own against all the countries abutting the Gulf. A top Marine told me our two boats were special ops boats with crews that delivered our own SEALS… the direct rivals of the IRG on Farsi. …

“10 US sailors held by Iran confirmed freed” by Rick Moran

The U.S. claims one of the small Riverine Command Boats experienced mechanical difficulties, strayed off course, and then disappeared from radar.  The Iranian Revolutionary Guards captured the boats and took the sailors prisoner, accusing them of “snooping” and demanding an apology from the U.S. government.

Initially, the Iranians said they would release the sailors and their boats at dawn Iran time.  But after an “investigation” that confirmed the navigational problems, the sailors were let go mid-afternoon Iran time. …

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Not All Cyber Attacks Are Committed By Chinese Hackers by The Elephant's Child

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You have heard about Cyber War, I’m sure. Not all of the cyber attacks on our power infrastructure are caused by hackers in the People’s Republic of China or Russia or even ISIS. At least that’s what the former Deputy Director of the National Security Agency claims.

“I don’t think paralysis [of the electrical grid] is more likely by cyberattack than by natural disaster. And frankly the number-one threat experienced to date by the US electrical grid is squirrels.” – John C. Inglis, Former Deputy Director, National Security Agency 2015.07.09

The website cybersquirrel1.com is all about the declassified cyber attacks they have been able to document up to the present time. They have listed 623 successful attacks by squirrels, 214 by birds, 52 by raccoons, 47 by snakes, 25 by rats, and 9 by beavers.  They offer an interactive map showing the locations of confirmed strikes, a cybersquirrel 1 unit sticker, and a record of mentions in the press. I suspect this is only a small  part of the larger war against squirrels and other varmints by bird lovers who have major trouble with squirrels stealing the bird seed. All in fun, of course. There are books delineating methods for dealing with the bandits. Consult Amazon.

Real Hacking and Cyber attacks are no joke. We have had serious probes of our infrastructure, power plants, power grid, and military installations. There are worries about solar flares and severe solar storms that can cause damage naturally. Everything electric stops.

A real EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack has been estimated to kill 90 percent of the American population. It can be accomplished by detonating a nuclear missile at high altitude, and also by severe solar flares. Here’s a summary of research from the Heritage Foundation, and a survey of EMP preparedness, also from the Heritage Foundation. Or simply Google EMP Attacks, and you will get information, scoffing, how to prepare, and survival equipment and tips.

The federal government is apparently concerned with squirrels, and hardening off the grid will be a state problem. You might want to see if your state is doing anything.



Can You Trust the Polls? Probably Not. Here’s Why. by The Elephant's Child

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Gallup, the most well-known brand in public opinion voting, announced on October 7, 2015 that they would no longer poll Americans on who they would vote for if the election were held today. Let others focus on predicting  voter behavior, Gallup would dig deeper into what the public thinks about current events. Reason magazine reported:

Still, Gallup’s move, which followed an embarrassingly inaccurate performance by the company in the 2012 elections, reinforces the perception that something has gone badly wrong in polling and that even the most experienced players are at a loss about how to fix it. Heading into the 2016 primary season, news consumers are facing an onslaught of polls paired with a nagging suspicion that their findings can’t be trusted. Over the last four years, pollsters’ ability to make good predictions about Election Day has seemingly deteriorated before our eyes.

The day before the 2014 midterms, all the major forecasts declared Republicans likely to take back the Senate. The Princeton Election Consortium put the odds at 64 percent; The Washington Post, most bullish of all, put them at 98 percent. But the Cook Political Report considered all nine “competitive” seats to be tossups—too close to call. And very few thought it likely that Republicans would win in a landslide.

It seems that voters told the pollsters one thing, and when they voted, they did something else. After the 2012 election there was the Israeli election, and a virtual tie was predicted, yet Netanyahu’s Likud party  won a plurality and picked up 12 more seats. Then there was the British election which they got completely wrong as well.

How much are people affected by the polls? In the midst of this campaign, polls are being reported daily, and if you don’t hear the results, Donald Trump will tell you how he is winning. We have been told (I forget the source) that for reporters campaigns are really boring, because they have to listen to the same stump speech over and over, and Mr. Trump provides real interest because you never know what he will say or do.

Is that the reason for the excessive Trump coverage and neglect of other candidates? The Reason article explores some of the obstacles to good research, and some of the ways pollsters are changing, including the use of social media, and ambient noise.  Are they including vote fraud in their calculations? There is clearly a lot more fraud than is admitted.

We can’t ignore the polls, but it’s probably wise to look at them with a somewhat jaundiced eye, and look more carefully for solid information about your candidate, so you are a more informed voter, and fare better in the arguments with your neighbor.



Here’s The Preliminary Debate Tonight Which You Probably Didn’t See by The Elephant's Child

I watched the debates tonight, and though they were extremely well handled by the Fox Business channel, I was distressed again by the “undercard,” “kiddie table,” treatment of those who weren’t measuring up in the polls. We have too many outstanding candidates. But where they rank in the polls is largely determined by the attention of the media.When the media speaks of no one but Trump, it is not surprising that he leads in the polls.

I’m not ready to choose a candidate, and I’m not at all convinced that early caucuses in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina are helpful. It’s not so bad when there are just a couple of candidates, but when there are still ten, some of the better ones may be forced to drop out, and we’re left with temporary crushes that we don’t really know enough about.

I’ve seen a number of campaigns, but I have never seen anything like the excess and adulation for Barack Obama in 2007. Anyone would have to admit that the Nobel Peace Prize for campaign speeches was wretched excess. It was a skillful campaign that revealed nothing real about the candidate at all. But the love affair has grown stale, and the promises didn’t work out. I fear that we may be facing that again.

I read a lot of news, and from the last debate to this, Carly Fiorina simply disappeared from the news. The progressive media didn’t want another woman in the news, when all Hillary had to run on was her gender. I don’t know what it is Hillary is supposed to have done for women, though she did make some speeches abroad about educating their girls. Nikki Haley, successful governor of South Carolina, gave an excellent response to the State of the Union, and the Progressive media turned it into a hit piece on Donald Trump (it wasn’t) and a hit piece on all the Republican candidates.(it wasn’t)

Carly Fiorina is a government outsider who actually has real applicable experience. (But she was fired?) Her tenure at HP was the same length as the average major corporate CEO — six years during a very difficult time for the industry, and she managed to leave the company far better off than when she took over. She essentially saved the company. She’s done really hard things — having to lay off large numbers of employees is very very hard.  I suspect she may be another Margaret Thatcher, but will we be allowed to find out?



The Alternate Reality of The Obama Administration by The Elephant's Child

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Perhaps no post-World War II president (and maybe none before) has justified his executive overreach by openly contending he was working around the lawmaking branch of government because it had refused to do what he desired. Whether a court finds his actions constitutional or not, it’s an argument that stands, at the very least, against the spirit of American governance. Today many liberals call this leadership.”
…………………………………….     —David Harsanyi at Reason

President Obama’s final ‘State of the Union’ speech is coming up on Tuesday. He has reportedly sent members of his cabinet out about the country to create enthusiasm. Tidbits are being released off and on to tantalize. There will be an empty chair in Michelle’s box to symbolize all the missing victims of mass shootings. According to Gallup, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has a 58 percent favorability rating, while only 35 percent hold an unfavorable opinion. Obama’s approval rate, also from Gallup, is only 47 percent, but it ticked up a little while he was on vacation. Congress has acted on gun control, just not in the way Obama wanted. The Senate rejected legislation in 2013 to expand background checks for gun purchases and to ban certain weapons and ammunition.

Perhaps the most destructive legacy of the Obama administration may be the idea that if Congress fails to act the President must do something himself. Obama has never quite understood the separation of powers nor the fact that Congress more fully represents all of the people that he, as president, does. Our democracy, run solely by the president, is deeply approved by the Left — until there is a Republican president.

Obama has had his team working on the State of the Union speech for two months. He wants no legislative agenda to set himself up for failure in front of a GOP Congress. He wants to talk once again about “Who we are as Americans,” something he has never managed to figure out and which he inserts interminably into every speech.

Mr. Obama has a marvelous ability to see in his history only that which he finds positive. He adds up the numbers of jobs created each month, without considering how many are part-time or second jobs, how many jobs were lost, and completely neglects the 94,446,000 Americans of working age who have given up looking for work. He does not understand that in flooding the job market with foreign competition he has done great damage to the hopes of American workers. Now he plans to award work permits to 100,000 foreigners to work here to compete with Americans for jobs. How is it that he can add all that up and see a positive result for the people?

He sees the non-binding agreement in Paris on Climate Change as a great accomplishment, but it will accomplish nothing, nothing at all. It will not reduce global temperatures more than 1.2º C. or 2.2º F— roughly the difference between 10:00 a.m. and noon on an ordinary spring day. The Iran Deal that he has worked so hard to accomplish, while giving in to Iran on every point, assures that we will be attacked with nuclear weapons here at home. It is the most unbelievable betrayal of American security in history.

Michael Grunwald, a senior staff writer for Politico Magazine, has written a long slobbering paean to the wonderfulness and success and accomplishments of the Obama administration over the past 7 years. If you can bear it, do read the whole thing. It is hard to believe that one man, completely unprepared for the presidency, could make such a mess of things, or that one reporter could possibly have such a rosy view of catastrophe.

Well, America the bad. A reactionary force standing in the way of the noble leftist aspiration. Social Justice. Income inequality. Black Lives Matter.

Here’s a remarkable example. In Philadelphia, a convert to Islam, appeared in Muslim garb, Proclaimed he was doing the shooting of a policeman in the name of Allah. said he had pledged  his allegiance the the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). During a press conference Friday afternoon, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney stated that he believes the shooting of a Philadelphia police officer has “nothing to do with being a Muslim,” despite the suspect saying that he did it in the name of Islam.  So you get headlines like this: “Police probe man’s claim of shooting cop in Islam’s name.”

The pressure to deny reality must be really extreme. Goes right along with Obama calling the shooting at Fort Hood “workplace violence.” They are living in an alternate reality.

Matthew Continetti summed it up a bit in a piece called “The Lamest Duck:”

We have entered a most dangerous period of the Obama presidency. It’s not just that every rogue actor from Kim and Putin and Castro to Maduro and Khamenei and Xi knows he has one last year to behave badly without fear of reprisal. It’s that the president and his team are isolated, aloof, detached from reality.

They think a climate deal is a rebuke to terrorism. They think the response to jihad in San Bernardino is to ‘close the gun-show loophole.’ They think a new communications strategy will convince the public that the war against ISIS is going well. I don’t question Obama’s sincerity. I question his sanity.

What actually results from a given policy seems no longer to matter to him. Take guns—he’d sure like to. His executive order does little more than reiterate current law. It wouldn’t have stopped the killing at Sandy Hook elementary or in San Bernardino. Indeed, the most important consequence of Obama’s fight with the NRA has been record gun sales and a windfall for gun manufacturer shareholders. At least when Hillary Clinton takes on an industry, its stock goes down. Obama can’t even get that right.

From an essay at Commentary by Abe Greenwald:

But Obama has not been blindsided; he has chosen policies that have emboldened ISIS and has rejected other options at every turn. In fact, his words in Turkey were patently false. Obama doesn’t need an introduction to those who would have done things differently; he knows them well. They include two of his secretaries of defense, his former under secretary of defense, his former secretary of state, his former head of the CIA, his former Army chief of staff, the last commanding general of forces in Iraq, his former ambassador to Syria, his former deputy national-security adviser, and, yes, even his former joint chiefs chairman—among others.

The Nation He Built,” by Michael Grunewald

Hating the West, Inc.” by Victor Davis Hanson

Iran’s Ballistic Missiles Are Actually a Huge Problem,” by Emily Landau, Shimon Stein

On His Watch,” by Abe Greenwald



Sexual Assault, Rape, Islam, And Nothing To See Here, Just Move Along. by The Elephant's Child

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The reactions in Europe to the coordinated sexual assaults and rapes on hundreds of women in Cologne, Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Berlin and a few other German towns, in Salzburg, and in Finland — deserves our close attention. The media covered it up. The police and town officials made excuses, or simply tried to ignore it. The Cologne police chief got fired, but the mayor has not yet resigned as she should. The cathedral square in Cologne, filled with nightclubs, bars and coffee shops is where locals have seen in the New Year for hundreds of years.

Britain’s Daily Mail reported:

The men, speaking Arabic and seemingly either drunk or high on drugs, moved around in large groups among a gathering of around 1,000 male migrants and deliberately targeted women. The men easily outnumbered the 190 police officers on duty, who were quickly overwhelmed.

In Cologne, 120 women reported assault, 50 women in Hamburg complained to police, in Berlin a tourist was assaulted by 5 men right in front of the Brandenburg Gate. Just a coincidence? Let’s not be totally gullible. The common thread is that the attackers were Mediterranean men of Arabic appearance and an immigrant background.

In Britain, Quadrant magazine reported in October, of Muslim sex gangs described by authorities as “Asian” in Banbury, Birmingham, Blackburn, Bristol, Burnley, Cambridge, Carlisle, Derby, Leeds, London, Manchester, Oldham, Oxford, Peterborough, Preston, Rochdale, Rotherham. Sheffield and Telford. The victims are under-age English girls, and the gangs are Muslim and traffickers. The press and broadcasters go out of their way to avoid any connection between the acts and the central practices of the religion of the malefactors, or even to name that religion. Referring to them as “Asian” is insulting, for Sikh and Hindu Punjabis in Britain do not commit rapes or assault children, but Muslim Punjabis do. The attacks are characteristic only of Muslims.

The Press and police and social workers have mostly been unwilling to to investigate, take action, or disturb ‘community harmony.’ The only common characteristic is the Muslim religion throughout Britain, Australia, Germany, and Scandinavia. In the Muslim communities, the victims did not matter because they were not Muslims.

The real problem is that Muslims believe in their own superiority and supremacy over others. They hate Israel and India because these are lands that they believe are —theirs by right of conquest. Over a millennium ago conquering Muslim armies detached Palestine along with the rest of the Middle East from the Christian world. Likewise the Muslims invaded India, subjugated the Hindus and forcibly converted many of them. Now the Jews have returned to their ancestral land and the Hindus are masters of their own country and “impudent” enough to want to reclaim their own history. According to Muslim doctrine no country that was once under Muslim rule can ever finally escape from it. What is happening in Britain is that the Muslims are fighting out their foreign conflicts on our territory against our Hindus and our Jews, two groups who have made an unparalleled contribution to the prosperity and intellectual life of our society. We have an overriding duty to defend them.

People in public office have a deep resistance to being accused of Islamophobia, or racism or any other offense against the reigning political correctness in our current society. They might be called unpleasant names, lose their jobs, be demoted, have a black mark against their names — or lose an election. How did we get here? I don’t think ordinary Americans care at all about being politically correct, yet our schools and our governments at all levels are obsessed. Is it the finger-pointing of the press?  As far as that goes, why does the press seem to have less and less understanding of events in the world?  Just asking.

ADDENDUM: Breitbart reports that a peaceful protest in Cologne by the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of Europe (PEGIDA) today turned violent as German police turned water cannon against the demonstrators. 143 police officers had been turned out to stop the migrant rape of the previous night, 1500 officers were turned out to stop the anti-rape protest. Elsewhere, protesters were accused by some officials as “racists.” Protecting the establishment by accusing those who protest establishment inaction of being at fault— in other words blaming the victims.

 



Bret Stephens on The Coming Global Disorder by The Elephant's Child

Bret Stephens has been the foreign affairs columnist for The Wall Street Journal for nine years. This is a speech he delivered to the David Horowitz Freedom Center Texas Retreat, last June. A very thoughtful speech. It reflects much of the thinking expressed in his 2014 book America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder.

It’s perhaps a little long for a Wednesday night when tomorrow is a work day, but do save it to watch when you have time. You will be glad you did.




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