American Elephants


Here’s Why President Trump Was Right About Draining the Swamp. by The Elephant's Child

Following up on Kim Strassel’s impassioned call for a “root and branch overhaul of government itself— Operation Drain the Swamp:”the Wall Street Journal Reports that:

The House Intelligence Committee has set a deadline of Wednesday for the Department of Justice and FBI to turn over documents related to the Christopher Steele dossier purporting to investigate ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. If they fail to comply, Speaker Paul Ryan will need to back up Congress’s institutional prerogatives and hold the individuals responsible to contempt proceedings and possible impeachment.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray have had the subpoenas since Aug. 24, but they have responded with excuses, delays and misdirection. The Justice Department has refused to provide Congress with the most basic documents demanded under the subpoenas. These include reports detailing the FBI’s interactions with sources such as Mr. Steele, who was hired by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which was funded by associates of the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Justice also refuses to make available crucial witnesses, including FBI agent Peter Strzok (a lead investigator in the Trump-Russia probe), former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr (whose wife worked for Fusion GPS) and FBI attorney James Baker (former FBI Director Jim Comey’s right-hand man). Justice is also still sitting on months of anti-Trump text messages between Mr. Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page.

As the Journal’s Editorial Board says: “This isn’t acceptable.” They have offered no valid reason for their resistance. Congress has the constitutional authority to oversee the executive branch whose offices it funds. Secretary Sessions offered the excuse such a request interferes with a Justice Department Inspector General probe, but that won’t work.

This is not going to be pretty. Too many offices of government have been flush with funds and empowered with new regulations to enforce. Remember all the talk about government offices arming themselves? Remember the EPA thugs going after innocent landowners for bogus environmental crimes? And because they don’t get to have that kind of fun anymore with Scott Pruitt in charge, they’re resigning in droves from the EPA. No more yellow rivers. No more blaming  the climate for spurious cases of childhood asthma. Maybe even pointing out that forest fires and hurricanes are not caused by climate. But it appears that other departments are similarly infected.

Susan Rice and Samantha Power have chimed in, saying that the executive branch really should not be talking about Iran. They should be utterly quiet and allow events to play out as they will. Certainly the present despicable occupant of the oval office should not be encouraging Iranians who are demonstrating. Someone might get hurt! We are faced with an old administration that is not going to go away.

The problems with sanctuary cities and ICE are obvious and will have to be dealt with in the courts. Secretary Ryan Zinke is cleaning up at Interior, not only cutting back on the Obama Administration’s massive land grab in Utah, but removing unnecessary regulations that are a complicated burden for energy producers. He’s also fired four senior managers for inappropriate conduct including sexual harassment. The Department of Agriculture under Secretary Sonny Perdue is looking for solutions to the Food Stamp program. There’s a lot of fraud in the program, and most people believe there should be some kind of work requirement for those who are perfectly able to work.

Secretary of State Tillerson has his work cut out for him. He has vast experience as head of a giant corporation, but the U.S. State Department is deeply involved in partisan politics. Betsy DeVos has her plate full at Education. The huge teachers union is determined not to lose power and her support for charter schools is anethma to the union. Many blacks have been convinced that charter schools are bad for blacks instead of the avenue for success that they are. Mindsets have to be changed. Alex Acosta, Secretary of Labor and the first Latino Member of the Cabinet was confirmed in April, and Bill Moyers screeched that the Trump Administration’s plans to decimate workers’ rights begins in earnest. Acosta has attacked occupational license law, like the silly insistence that hair braiders go to beauty school, as one of our worst job killers, so he has his work cut out. So far, the other members of the Cabinet are quietly solving their problems and have escaped the full fury of “the resistance.”

The New York Times has published a full list of President Trump’s cabinet, which they updated last May, and only got a couple completely wrong. General John Kelly has moved from Secretary of Homeland Security, where he was confirmed, to White House Chief of Staff. Kirstjen Nielsen replaced him as Secretary of Homeland Security and was confirmed in early December. But that’s better than the list at Wikipedia which hasn’t been updated in months.

The New York Times, full of their own importance, added that President Trump’s cabinet is more white and male than any cabinet since Ronald Reagan’s. Dear New York Times: skin color and gender have nothing whatsoever to do with how a cabinet official performs the duties asked of him or her. The obvious fact that you never learned that is telling. They have pictures of each official, which is helpful.

Following that are eight cabinet level offices that are not official members of the cabinet. CIA, UN, EPA, Small Business, O.M.B., DNI, Trade Representative, and the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. Stop reading at that point. What follows is mostly wrong anyway. They follow that with a list of the Cabinet, explaining how each member is very bad, no good, and set on destroying all of Obama’s marvelous accomplishment. Read only if you want to understand the Leftist worldview. You would think that the once-renowned newspaper would keep lists like this updated to demonstrate how on top of things they are, unfortunately it does demonstrate how on top of things they are.

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U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley Is Taking Names. by The Elephant's Child

Nikki Haley, our UN Ambassador, is doing a marvelous job. The UN, by an utterly meaningless vote, said they mostly disapprove of the Americans saying we will move our embassy to Jerusalem. The UN doesn’t get to decide where we or anyone else will open our embassy. Then, the Israelis say that Jerusalem is their capitol city, so it is. We can say that we are moving our embassy in Canada to Calgary and that would just make it awkward to travel back and forth to the capitol of Canada all the time. However a lot of nations who are quite dependent on American aid and good feeling chose to vote to condemn our move, or abstain, and that doesn’t go over so well. Ambassador Haley is taking names.

The U.S. Congress voted to move the embassy to Jerusalem unanimously in 1995. But it never happened because—cold feet—about the Peace Process. But there is no peace process. The Palestinians have no interest in peace, they just want the nation of Israel to disappear, and all the Israelis to be thrown into the sea. There is some tenet in Islamic doctrine that says that any territory once controlled or invaded by Islam is forever Islamic, never mind if someone else is living there now. History doesn’t matter. So everybody is expecting a big Islamic arousal of some sort, and they are nervous about it. That goes for nations of Europe who due to their own idiocy have chosen to accept all sorts of Muslim ‘refugees’ or ‘migrants’. They are having enough trouble with their refugees already, they don’t need more because America is being difficult. Sweden is becoming anti-Semitic  because they have so many violent Muslims, and France has problems with anti-Semitism as well.

Nikki Haley’s performance is so impressive that Republicans are suggesting that she would be a splendid presidential candidate. At which point Democrats erupt in outrage. Having the first woman president was their idea and  they go on from there, insulting everyone as is their wont. Politics is just so complicated.

ADDENDUM: Nikki Haley is giving a reception for those who voted with the U.S. on this obnoxious resolution. Not dropping anyone’s foreign aid, nor any other drastic modes. But we do a lot of foreign aid, because it is mostly in our own interest as well. A lot of nations resent the fact that we are big and powerful and may I add—free— which does make a difference. It is a bit startling to read foreign newspapers and see how much of their news covers what is happening here, with all the fake news the leftist media can produce. They do get an odd idea of what is going on here.



A Fascinating Conversation With a Real Journalist by The Elephant's Child

The state of journalism today seems dire. Too many would-be journalists chasing too little real news. If you are scanning through the days news, there’s way too much ‘he said’, ‘she said’. It’s as if reporters are sitting at home scanning Twitter and trying to find something provacative that someone said. That is neither news, nor useful.

There are a few real journalists around, and one of them is Claudia Rosett. She was a staff writer for the Wall Street Journal for 17 years, and today writes a foreign affairs column for Forbes, and blogs for PJ Media. Her recent work has focused on North Korea, Iran, and the United Nations, but her interests roam worldwide.

Today The Daily Caller News Foundation features a video of an extensive conversation between Claudia Rosett and Ginny Thomas. She pointed out that the 2016 election had nothing to do with Russia, but everything to do with shrinking paychecks, vanishing jobs and over-regulation.

The Democrats’ rhetoric about Trump’s supposed Russian collusion does not match the degree of enthusiasm and flexibility that former President Barack Obama actually displayed to Russia for his entire two terms, Rosett says in this video interview.

She cites: when Obama was caught on a hot mic promising flexibility to Vladimir Putin, shelving missile defense for Europe in a phony “reset” with our dangerous adversary, inadequate pursuit of Edward Snowden who is still hiding in Russia, the imaginary “red line” with Syria that opened the door to Russia being emboldened in the Middle East, the Iran deal that advantaged Russia and their allies on the world scene and the weak response of the U.S. when Russia annexed Crimea, which belonged to Ukraine.

It’s a fascinating conversation, and well worth your time. Get comfortable, put your feet up and enjoy. You’ll feel more confident about your views of the world, and more knowledgeable.



The Iran Deal: What it Is and What it Isn’t by The Elephant's Child

Confusion reigns over every mention of the “Iran Deal.” And it is back in the news and at a moment in time when confusion over every tiny thing about the Trump administration, not to mention the large things, seems to set off what might be called a panic attack in the Democrats. Any ability to talk about such things calmly and seriously has gone by the wayside. It’s some kind of contagious dementia.

Iran is not a friendly Middle Eastern country. They support most of the worlds terrorism and terrorists, are attempting to become a nuclear power, are making trouble wherever they can in the Middle East and elsewhere, and generally fall in the category of bad guys. Very bad guys.

The Obama administration signed a nuclear deal with Iran. It is not a treaty, but just an informal deal to relieve sanctions on Iran if they stop trying to get nuclear weapons. They are supposed to get inspections to see if they are doing what they claim, but that isn’t happening, and everybody’s worried about what will happen, what the Trump administration will do, what can be done or not done. All is confusion.

Frederick W. Kagan, a scholar at AEI on Foreign and Defense Policy, the Middle East and Terrorism in general, has spelled out the facts of the deal and attempted to alleviate the confusion so we have some understanding among the reports from the media, most of whom don’t seem to understand any more than we do.

Do read the whole thing, or better yet print it out or save it. This is going to be a major bone of contention for some time yet, and the Democrats are off the tracks, partly because it was an Obama effort, partly because they are quite sure that Trump is starting a new war, or is too irrational to do the right thing, or is anxious to start something or who knows what catastrophe the evil Trump will devise.  In other words, we need to know what they are talking about. Knowing what they are talking about is the best defense.



U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley by The Elephant's Child

Dan Senor, interviews the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference. The former governor of South Carolina has only been in her new job for two months, but she is making a real difference. This is a very impressive lady. Do watch. Another remarkable appointment by President Donald Trump.



The Middle East Problem by The Elephant's Child

Here’s Dennis Prager with a brief video from Prager University, explaining the Middle East Problem, and why the much vaunted “Two-State Solution” doesn’t work, why Obama’s effort to abstain from voting for the Security Council  resolution is so foolish and so remarkably damaging.

Back before Barack Obama was nominated, Richard Epstein, who knew him at the University of Chicago, wrote that Obama had absolutely fixed ideas that were set in concrete. Once he made up his mind, Epstein said, that was it—set in stone, and unchangeable. The rockets fired into Israel, the attempts at mass murder, the refusal of the so-called Palestinians to consider recognizing the Jewish state  have made no impression. They don’t care that the Jews were there first, and continually.

Nor does the fact that it is quite clear that the Palestinian people want Israel destroyed, make an impression on Obama. The Israelis regularly are trusted by Palestinian parents to perform complicated and life-saving operations on their children. Arabs living in Israel participate fully in Israeli life, serve in government and are the freest Arabs in the Middle East. Curious.



Iran Is Violating the “Iran Deal”, The Administration Ignores Intelligence. by The Elephant's Child

Germany has passed along intelligence that Iran has accelerated its efforts to buy nuclear materials that would allow it to build a nuclear bomb, but also is trying to purchase  parts that will assist in its missile program, according to the Washington Free Beacon. The Obama administration has declined to comment and told the Free Beacon that it continues to view Iran as complying with the nuclear accord.

Germany’s internal intelligence agency concluded in a recent report that sources have witnessed “extensive Iranian attempts” to procure illicit materials, “especially goods that can be used in the field of nuclear technology,” according to the report. The report appears to show that Iran is not upholding its most critical commitments under the nuclear deal.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel made it clear this week that the intelligence shows “Iran continued unabated to develop its rocket program in conflict with the relevant provisions of the UN Security Council,” particularly one Security Council resolution that bars Iran from pursuing ballistic missile technology.

Reuters reports that “Iran’s ballistic missile launches ‘are not consistent with the constructive spirit’ of a nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, but it is up to the United Nations Security Council to decide if they violated a resolution,” according to UN Chief Ban Ki-moon.

Bret Stephens writes at the Wall Street Journal that :

The administration is now weighing whether to support Iran’s membership in the World Trade Organization. That would neutralize a future president’s ability to impose sanctions on Iran, since WTO rules would allow Tehran to sue Washington for interfering with trade. The administration has also pushed the Financial Action Task Force, an international body that enforces anti-money-laundering standards, to ease pressure on Iran, which FATF did last month by suspending some restrictions for the next year.

And then there’s the Boeing deal to sell $17.6 billion worth of jets to Iran, which congressional Republicans led by Illinois’s Pete Roskam are trying to stop. Iran uses its civilian fleet to ferry weapons and fighters to its terrorist clients in Syria and Lebanon.

“The administration is trying to lock in the Iran deal and prevent a future president from doing anything, including pushing back on Iran’s malign behavior,” says the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Mark Dubowitz, who knows more about Iran sanctions than anyone in Washington. “Instead of curbing Iran’s worst behavior, the administration effectively facilitates it.”

Mr. Obama continues to regard his Iran Deal as a great triumph, and says that Iran is honoring the nuclear deal, but German intelligence tells  us that Tehran is violating the deal aggressively. Obama promised “unprecedented” inspections, but we’re not allowed to inspect. Obama promised an eight-year ban on Iran’s testing of ballistic missiles, but Tehran immediately and repeatedly violated that ban. but we only mildly protested.

The Obama administration has agreed to buy 32 tons of Iran’s heavy water, a key component in atomic-weapons development. This is supposed to encourage them to stick to the nuclear agreement. We’re also trying to help their international trade. The possibility that their intentions are not pure and peaceful is apparently not part of the “narrative”.

Iran has been waging war with us since 1979, overtly and covertly. Obama just wants to turn over the management of the querulous Middle East to the more enlightened and better educated Persians. The Ayatollah Khomeinei keeps leading chants of Death to Israel, Death to America, but Obama assumes that to be just public relations. Odd kind of PR.




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