American Elephants

$500 Million. 5 Fighters. Obama Says It’s Not His Fault! by The Elephant's Child

damaged-buildings-syrian-civil-war1  When you draw a ‘red line,’ or ‘a line in the sand’ publicly in international terms, it is a very serious threat.  When you back down your reputation is permanently damaged. That is usually a lesson that one learns on the playground.

In a 2012 press conference in Stockholm, Obama said:

I have, at this point, not ordered military engagement in the situation. But the point that you made about chemical and biological weapons is critical. That’s an issue that doesn’t just concern Syria; it concerns our close allies in the region, including Israel. It concerns us. We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people.

We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.

Assad unleashed a sarin gas attack on Syrians in Ghouta just outside of Damascus. Obama avoided any action in Syria in order to help with the Iran negotiations. The image above is a neighborhood in Syria.

The answer was supposed to be investing $500 million in training some of the Syrian rebels to fight Assad’s army, but it actually yielded just four or five fighters.

So now President Obama and his foreign policy team are confused.Why is Vladimir Putin pouring troops and weapons into Syria? Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov that it really isn’t helpful, and is making things worse. Russia has deployed a small number of tactical jets in Syria for the first time. Moscow is clearly preparing to help Assad cling to power. American pilots regularly fly surveillance flights and airstrike missions, the direct involvement of Russian forces could mean trouble.

Russia has been an ally of Syria since Sadat kicked the Soviets out of Egypt in 1972. Look at a map. Putin has re-claimed the Crimea and is simply asserting their influence in the Middle East. Putin’s ambition is always to avenge and reverse Russia’s humiliating loss of superpower status over 25 years ago.

Obama’s efforts to train an opposition army to fight the ISIS has been an abysmal failure. And an expensive failure. But the White House is not to blame. The finger, the White House says, should be pointed not at Mr. Obama, but at those who pressed him to attempt training Syrian rebels in the first place. The New York Times says:

In effect, Mr. Obama is arguing that he reluctantly went along with those who said it was the way to combat the Islamic State, but that he never wanted to do it and has now has been vindicated in his original judgment.

Mr. Trump simply says “Syria’s a mess, Why are we fighting ISIS in Syria? Let them fight each other and pick up the remnants.” A comment much in line with his simplistic answers to everything else.

Ryan C. Crocker who was ambassador to Afghanistan under Mr. Obama and ambassador to Iraq under George W. Bush said the president was right to think that a train-and-arm program would not work, but he either should have continued to resist or taken ownership rather than blame others.

How un-presidential that sounds — ‘We didn’t want to do it, we thought it was unsound but you made us do it,’ ” said Mr. Crocker. “It’s just indicative of their whole approach to Syria, which is not to have a policy. This is the worst thing they could say.”

Now refugees are flooding Europe. We don’t know who are refugees, who are migrants, and who are members of ISIS. What we are learning is that EU estimates are that four out of five migrants are not from Syria but from Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq and even states farther removed. Mr. Obama’s response seems to be welcoming a hundred thousand or so refugees every year into the indefinite future.

Talking Tough! by The Elephant's Child

obama-angry-8-560x350Chinese President Xi Jinping is due for a visit to the United States shortly to be honored at a State Dinner.

Chinese government hackers have reportedly stolen commercial data from many U.S. companies, and personal data about many American government employees — including those with security clearances, plus private data from Americans’ health-care companies. Obama has done little or nothing to stop this coast-to-coast raiding of Americans’ property, but has instead worked elsewhere to boost the Democratic party’s political power.

In the Pacific, China’s government is building new island-bases in internationally disputed waters, while Obama focuses his foreign-policy efforts on completing his nukes-and-cash sellout to the deepening alliance of Iran and Russia.

Surely by now, we must have teams working in each government department to harden off their computer files to prevent hacking?The State Department’s lack of control (or concern) over the Secretary of State’s use of a personal computer might argue that there is something more to be desired.

The Daily Mail (UK) just published ( July 15) this “secret”  NSA map of cyber attacks from Chinese hackers  over the past five years. (Click to enlarge). Did the Daily Mail hack NSA to get their “secret map?”


Silicon Valley is the most attacked. Seattle has Boeing and Microsoft, but I can’t imagine what that one lonely dot on the NW coast is. Iron Springs Resort? The Office of Personnel Management hack got 22.1 million people’s Social Security records, everyone who has ever applied for a government job, and their personal references. The IRS hack in May gave them over 100,000 tax records.

President Obama is not taking this lying down. He refused to stay at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel during the U.N. General Assembly this month. (A Chinese conglomerate now owns the hotel.) And he’s really talking tough in a visit to Ft. Meade, speaking about Chinese cyber attacks.

We’ve made very clear to the Chinese that there are certain practices that they’re engaging in that we know are emanating from China and are not acceptable,” Obama said in an appearance at Ft. Meade. “And we can choose to make this an area of competition – which I guarantee you we’ll win if we have to – or, alternatively, we can come to an agreement in which we say, this isn’t helping anybody. Let’s instead try to have some basic rules of the road in terms of how we operate.”

China is really getting the ultimate threat in the Obama arsenal:  “These practices are not acceptable.” That should get their attention.

China responded:

“We hope that the U.S. stops its groundless attacks against China, start dialogue based on a foundation of mutual respect, and jointly build a cyberspace that is peaceful, secure, open and cooperative,” said a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman.  “Maintaining cybersecurity should be a point of cooperation rather than a source of friction between both China and the United States.”

ADDENDUM: During the President’s trip to Alaska, Chinese warships which had been exercising with the Russians in the Arctic traveled 3,000 miles out of their way to broach the 12 mile territorial limits just, by coincidence, when the President was on a 3 day visit to Alaska, and of course they knew his schedule because they had hacked the White House computers.
Violating another nation’s territorial limits just isn’t done, unless it is meant as a provocation. The U.S, brushed it off as unimportant.

A “Deal” But Not The Slightest Understanding by The Elephant's Child

Supreme-Leader-of-the-Islamic-Revolution-Ayatollah-Seyed-Ali-KhameneiObama seems to be feeling victorious. He has got the number of Democrats necessary to cancel Congress’ ability to override his veto of their efforts to derail his Iran deal. He envisions a triumphant trip to Tehran to shake the hand of the Supreme Leader and essentially turn  the Middle East over to the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s tender mercies. Some triumph!

The Ayatollah Ali Khamenei probably cannot bring himself to sign any agreement anyway, and he certainly would not shake the hated hand of an American. He said on Friday that there would be no deal unless the U.S. lifts sanctions immediately.

“If the sanctions are not going to be removed, then there will be no deal,” the “Supreme Leader” told Iran’s Assembly of Experts, in remarks broadcast on state-television.

“We insisted (since the beginning of the negotiations) that sanctions ought to be lifted, not suspended,” Iran’s dictator added, before threatening to triple uranium enrichment if the United States did not succumb to his demands.

Two thirds of the Senate oppose the Iran Deal. The American people oppose the ‘agreement by a 2–1 margin. This absurd situation is possible because the president refused to submit the Iran deal as a treaty for the Senate to ratify, as the Constitution requires. Ratification would have required a two-thirds vote, and Mr. Obama has not persuaded much of anyone that this agreement is in the national security interests of the United States. Sixty-four percent believe that President Obama and Secretary Kerry have misled the American people.

President Obama has insisted on bowing to the Iranian dictator, for unknown reasons, despite the fact that Iran is in a very difficult spot. The sanctions are pressing heavily. Iran’s break-even price for oil is $151. per barrel, and Brent crude is well under $50 — which I think means that they can’t sell their oil. And we politely become a doormat.

Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who also served as head of the CIA, said on Friday that “the Iran deal provides the United States with an opportunity to define a policy of strength, not ambivalence, in the Middle East.” He added “Let’s face it, given the situation in the Middle East, empowering Iran in any way seems like a dangerous gamble.” The deal, he says, is motivated by a fear of war, not sound strategy.

Panetta advocated several steps: •The deal should be enforced harshly. •The U.S. must keep a strong military presence in the region. •The U .S. should expand its intelligence capabilities. •The U.S. should build ties with regional allies.  Obama is opposed to all of these. The arguments are for someone with a spine.

From the American Enterprise Institute: “Iran’s interpretation of the nuclear deal is not an easy sell.”   Read the whole thing.

Are We Thinking Clearly About the Iran Deal? Or Fooling Ourselves? by The Elephant's Child

On August 4 — David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the “Breakout Timelines Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action? (JCPOA) suggested that the likely breakout for a nuclear weapon for Iran is seven months.

Senator Menendez responded: ” [Six-to-seven months] would be concerning to me, because I already am a little concerned that what we bought here was a very expensive alarm system … [S]ix or seven months is not going to be helpful if they decide to break out, because by the time we re-impose sanctions … it [wouldn’t] be meaningful. The next president of the United States … will only have one choice: to accept Iran as a nuclear weapons state or to have a military strike.

The Institute analyzed the imprudent assumption on which the Obama administration bases its one-year contention:

The bare-boned limits on Iran’s centrifuge program provide for at least a 12-month breakout period. However, based on ISIS analyses the agreed limits do not guarantee a 12-month breakout timeline during the first ten years of the agreement, if Iran can relatively quickly re-deploy its already manufactured IR-2m centrifuges. The administration has taken the position that Iran will not deploy these IR-2m centrifuges, because they have assessed that they will not work well enough. However, this assessment depends on an assumption about Iran’s manufactured IR-2m centrifuges that may not hold. Moreover, available data indicate that the breakage rate of the IR-2m centrifuges are no worse than those for the IR-1 centrifuges. Uncertainties about the quality of the existing IR-2m centrifuges make a definitive resolution of this issue difficult. Nonetheless, straightforward prudence would argue to include these centrifuges in a breakout, since their redeployment would have a major impact compared to IR-1 centrifuges and the United States lacks high assurance that the IR-2m centrifuges will not work adequately if deployed. In this case, the 12-month breakout criterion does not hold during the first ten years of the agreement. At a minimum, it is arguable whether the breakout criterion holds. [Emphasis added].

Another witness was Gary Samore, executive director for research in Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.  He said:

Senator, I don’t think re-imposition of sanctions is an effective response to breakout. I think the only effective response to breakout is military force. I mean, if the Iranians have decided to run the risk of openly dashing for a nuclear weapon, I don’t think sanctions are going to deter them or stop them.

Senator Menendez responded: So it seems to me that if Iran makes a political decision to move forward because it believes it’s the preservation of the regime, the revolution, or its place in the region, then ultimately … we are just kicking the ball down the road, but we will have a stronger, resurgent Iran with more money and greater defense capabilities than it has today.

There seems to be a basic assumption here that Iran wants to become an nuclear power to be — what?  merely a powerful nation among the powerful nations of the world. Not that Iran’s urgent desire is to destroy the United States of America, which the Ayatollah loathes, and the nation of Israel, — which he also loathes. In spite of all the evidence do we fail to understand Iran’s real aims? And prepare for that? They talk about increases in terrorism. They talk about Iraq and ISIS, and the other Gulf States. They even mention the possibility of Iran becoming a nuclear state, as if that just places Iran in the world’s grouping of states that have nuclear weapons to insure that nobody attacks them.

One would think that observing the actions of ISIS, the beheadings, the immolations, the crucifixions, the destruction of the monuments of history and the behavior of al-Qaeda, there would be some recognition of the fact that these people don’t really observe the same standards nor conventions. We have been told that we worship life, while they worship death — but that makes no sense to the Western mind, so we ignore it.

Obama’s Humiliating Capitulation to Iran’s Mullahs. by The Elephant's Child

a1900mknPresident Obama is furious about the criticism of his Iran Deal. I don’t think he expected opposition, and now he is afraid that Congress may actually attempt to defeat him.

Barack Obama came to office with a head full of cheering audiences, pre-presidential seals, roman columns, adoring songs and media excitement. Nobody paid much attention to his imitation of the Lincoln trip to the nation’s capital, and taking the oath of office on the Lincoln Bible, but it indicated the height of his self-expectation.

Obama believed that the problems of the Middle East, Bush’s unnecessary and evil war in Iraq, the problems of Afghanistan, the fighting between Sunni and Shiia, were all due to the problem of Israel’s intransigence. Obama intended to force Israel and Palestine to make peace, he would bring about a two-state solution, and we would withdraw from the Middle East, he would become the greatest president in U.S history, the United States would end its bullying interference in the world and we could just settle down to be one happy socialist nation among the nations of the earth — no more exceptional than any other.

Obama has consistently misled us about the concessions he as making to Iran. MEMRI (The Middle East Research Institute) has revealed that according to Iranian officials the secret negotiations with Iran began in 2011 when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the hardline “Death to America” official, was still Iran’s president. Claims that the election of Rouhani marked a moderate turn for Iran were bunk.

When the White House emerged from very prolonged nuclear negotiations in Europe with a tentative nuclear deal, President Barack Obama was enthusiastic. The deal he presented to Congress was essentially a settled deal. His administration had already submitted the terms to the United Nations for ratification and Obama was certain that made it a done deal. Then he assumed that the objections were all due to the evil Republicans, but no less a figure than Charles Schumer came out forcefully against the deal, and nine prominent House Democrats representing major constituencies also said they would vote against the deal. Virginia Senator Jim Webb has come out against it.

Barack Obama contends that those  who oppose him are making common cause with the Islamic Republic’s theocratic regime hardliners. That, or they are putting the interests of Israel above those of the United States. No president in history has ever made such outrageous claims about the opposition party.

He claims that” This is the strongest nonproliferation agreement ever negotiated.” It actually rewards decades of covert and illegal nuclear activities by Iran.

He says this deal “permanently prohibits Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”   Yet that agreement is only on paper, and Iran has a long, long record of cheating on every ‘agreement,’ including  during the long period of negotiations, when there was clear evidence of their cheating.

Obama says the deal contains the most comprehensive inspection and verification regime ever negotiated to monitor a nuclear program. In reality the entire agreement is based on the assumption  that Iran will comply with the deal, which is highly unlikely.

“If Iran cheats, we can catch them, and we will.” said the president.  Iran says we will have no access to any military site, that inspections will have to give a lengthy advance notice, and they may just not allow any inspections anyway. We didn’t catch the Pakistanis, nor the North Koreans, nor the Libyans (though they voluntarily gave theirs up), we have always misjudged others efforts.

Even worse, we have pledged, in the agreement, to  help them develop their “peaceful” nuclear energy, visiting our nuclear plants, and protecting them from sabotage.

President Obama’s speech on the Deal at the American University was mean spirited and downright ugly. His idea, repeated, that the only choice was his deal or war, is nonsense. Iran declared war on America in 1979 and has been waging war ever since.

This president has never seriously attempted to work with Republicans in Congress at any time. He discarded any notion of working with his opponents with respect or showing a willingness to working with them a long time ago.

Monica Crowley, who is a keen observer of the scene in Washington DC. remarked last week that this White House is the most tightly-controlled in history, that Obama is the ultimate control-freak, and that nothing goes forward in his administration without his approval. No investigation is performed without his say-so.

This all seems to be based on a fantasy that Obama can turn the Middle East and all of its problems over to Iran, who will bring peace and order to the region, enabling America to leave the region in their capable hands. He denies the meaning of the “Death to America” cries, has extolled the ancient Persian dynasty, and ignores the extensive descriptions of the dangers of an EMP attack on the United States that are found in IRGC official papers. They just might go for that one, it’s estimated to kill 90% of all Americans. Qasem Soleimani, the head of the IRGC,  was just discovered visiting Moscow to see Vladimir Putin in complete defiance of Iran Deal prohibitions. Obama has gone into partnership with him.

The Ayatollah Khamenei has written a 426 page guide on how to rid Israel of the Jews. It’s his own version of Mein Kampf, Hitler’s 1925 tract against the Jews. He uses words like “nabudi” which means annihilation. It’s all based, he says, on “well-established Islamic principles.”

So we are giving them the Middle East, all of their sanctioned funds returned, the Ayatollah’s personal slush fund of $900 billion. The mullahs are already scooping up billions in unfrozen assets. Obama has accepted their offer to provide their own nuclear-site samples for examination. They’re back in business with European countries anxious to trade. Nobody is shouting “Death to Germany” or “Death to France.” The IAEA admits that it cannot answer even the most basic questions about Iran’s programs and progress.

It’s Seafair Weekend! by The Elephant's Child


This is Seafair Weekend in Seattle. Means Blue Angels, Hydro Races, a  parade, and usually a visit from the Navy with a tour of their ship. Went to the hydro races once, but found it was crowded, you couldn’t see anything, and parking was impossible and expensive.

I do love the Blue Angels, they usually fly right over my house at least once, often several times. The usual grouches complain about the noise. This year the Marxists, Code Pink and Socialists are out insisting that we “don’t want any weapons of war in Seattle.” This is the north west corner of the left coast, and somewhat predictable.

They cancelled the Blue Angels last year. Wasn’t in the budget, sequestration, and Obama wanted everyone to feel the pain.

Carly Fiorina’s Speech at the Reagan Library by The Elephant's Child

Carly Fiorina is marvelously articulate. She doesn’t just say things well, but she says things that need saying. Great Speech. Do watch the whole thing.

The contrast with Hillary could not be more extreme. Hillary has been in government for over 20 years, and when it comes time for her to fulfill her longstanding goal of being the first woman president, she seems to have learned nothing from those 20 years beyond how to game the system.


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