American Elephants


The Obama Doctrine, Revisited by The Elephant's Child

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One of the most important articles to appear lately comes from the April issue of The Atlantic magazine called “The Obama Doctrine” in which Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg interviews President Barack Obama  about “his hardest decisions about America’s role in the world.”

It is an extraordinarily revealing article, and has been widely discussed. If you have a concern for your country and for its future, this is one you need to read and think about.

A significant group of columnists have chosen to respond to the Obama interview, or at least to the opinions expressed.

Here’s Danielle Pletka, scholar at the American Enterprise Institute on “Confessions of Barack Obama , confidence man.”:

The Obama that emerges from the Atlantic interview is preternaturally icy, contemptuous of both his adversaries and his own staff, thin-skinned, angry, and oddly self-satisfied. That character portrait aside, it would have been nice if the article had shed light on the worldview that governs Obama’s decisions. Rather, it illuminated the fact that he doesn’t have a worldview.

Hisham Melhem is a columnist for Al Arabia at Washington DC, and a correspondent for the Lebanese newspaper Annahar. “The Middle East is Unraveling—and Obama Offers Words:”

In these speeches, as in Goldberg’s article, Obama comes across as a scholar who oscillates between providing compelling analysis of the problems and trends he is confronting or anticipating, and a tireless sophist and procrastinator weaving elaborate excuses and justifications for dithering and hand-wringing.

William A. Galston writes at the Wall Street Journal, about “The All-Spock-No- Kirk President — revealing that he misunderstands the office he occupies.”

Consistent with his progressivist understanding of history, the president offers a strong defense of what we have come to call soft power: “Diplomacy and technocrats and bureaucrats . . . are helping to keep America safe.” He is right, but he carries the point much too far. “Real power,” he asserts, means that “you can get what you want without having to exert violence.” Not so; military power is just as real as diplomatic and economic power, and sometimes it is the only thing than can work. Unlike Vladimir Putin, Mr. Obama has consistently ignored the ways in which the military balance on the ground shapes what is diplomatically possible.

Victor Davis Hanson at The Jewish World Review points out that “The Buck Never Stops Here”

This blame-gaming is old and tired. After Obama established a “red line” with Syrian President Bashar Assad on the use of chemical weapons, only to see Assad ignore the warning with impunity, Obama denied that he had ever set a red line in the first place. Instead, he claimed the United Nations and Congress had set one. Obama has blamed the Syrian fiasco on Congress and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for pressing for the training of Syrian rebels.

Bret Stephens, columnist at The Wall Street Journal says “Barack Obama Checks Out.”

Barack Obama—do you remember him?—will remain in office for another 311 days. But not really. The president has left the presidency. The commander in chief is on sabbatical. …
In his place, an exact look-alike of Mr. Obama is giving interviews to Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic, interviews that are so gratuitously damaging to long-standing U.S. alliances, international security and Mr. Obama’s reputation as a serious steward of the American interest that the words could not possibly have sprung from the lips of the president himself.

 



USS Hartford Surfaces at the Arctic Circle for Ice Exercise 2016 by The Elephant's Child

Published on Mar 18, 2016

ARCTIC CIRCLE (March 10, 2016) USS Hartford (SSN 768) surfaces in the Arctic Circle near Ice Camp Sargo during Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2016. Servicemembers and civilians assigned to Arctic Submarine Lab clear ice from the hatches to allow for surface access. ICEX is a five-week exercise designed to research, test, and evaluate operational capabilities in the region. (U.S. Navy video by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tyler Thompson and Staff Sgt. Edward Eagerton)



Is America Racist? Black Lives Matter Certainly Seems To Think So by The Elephant's Child

“Is America Racist? Is it as President Barack Obama said — part of our DNA? Author and Talk Show Host Larry Elder examines America’s legacy of racism, whether it’s one we can ever escape, and in the process, he offers a different way of looking at things like Ferguson, crime, police and racial profiling.”

A 2016 video from Praeger University.



Deal, What Deal? Iran’s Up To Its Old Tricks. by The Elephant's Child

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I’m not sure that many Americans understand the nature of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Certainly President Obama does not. He has stated that the people of Iran are just like us, love their families, want to live in peace. Uh huh.

The Islamic Republic has arrested two leaders of an Iranian heavy metal band named “Confess” on charges of “blasphemy,” writing “satanic” lyrics, and meeting with forbidden foreign radio stations. They were seized in November by the intelligence wing of the IRG (Iranian Revolutionary Guard) and have been held in the infamous Evin prison in solitary confinement until they were released on February 5. Nikan Siyanor Khosravi 23 and Khosravi Arash Ilkhani 21 are currently free on a $30,000 bond, a fortune in Iran. They face the prospect of  execution if convicted of the most serious offense, which is probably “blasphemy.”

This is part of a major crack down on orders of Iran’s religious authorities. At least 170 people were arrested in November. Arrests were made without warrants, and those arrested never saw a judge. In January Iran executed Hashem Shaabani, a poet, for “waging war on God.” The execution was with the approval of President Hassan Rouhani, who our administration described as “a moderate” and “a reformer.” The religious authorities are not fooling around. Last year 700 Iranians were executed by authorities in just a 6 month period on charges such as “insulting the Prophet” and “spreading corruption on earth.”

Iran is working hard to advance their ballistic missile program in complete defiance of UN Security Council resolutions.

Iran is also in the process of signing deals with both China and Russia for the purchase of advanced aircraft and tanks in violation U.N. Resolution 2231. That resolution specifically forbids Iran from purchasing, “battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, [and] warships…” without prior approval from the U.N.

Moreover, recent satellite imagery reveals that while Iran was negotiating with the West to lift sanctions, they were more than likely conducting secret nuclear experiments with military dimensions at their top secret Parchin military facility. New research and support centers were constructed, tunnels were dug and reinforced and wide swaths were paved over with concrete in an effort to hide illicit activity. The Obama administration inexplicably continues to remain silent in the face of Iran’s maleficence.

No criticism from the White House or State Department. Obama’s great accomplishment is the Iran Deal.



February 22 is George Washington’s Real Birthday, Not Some Ginned Up “President’s Day” by The Elephant's Child

Imagine, you just turned 43 years old, and suddenly you find yourself Commander in Chief of a ragtag American army, such as it was. The battles of Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill had already been fought when Washington arrived in Massachusetts, and had established that the British  could not break out of Boston. Once Washington placed the captured British cannon on Dorchester Heights, the British evacuated by sea. p1070056

Washington had been named Commander in Chief by the Second Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia in June 1775. He was forty-three years old. There was not yet any American army for him to command, only the militias ringing Boston, but the delegates of the increasingly rebellious colonies were seized by  fury for action and for war. “Oh that I was a soldier,” wrote John Adams, a radical lawyer from Massachusetts. “I will be. I am reading military books.  Everybody must and will, and shall be a soldier.”

Adams never became a soldier, but Washington had already been one.  He had served in the Virginia militia during the French and Indian War twenty years earlier, rising to the rank of colonel.  In his old age, Adams would describe Washington’s selection as a political compromise—a southern commander, to lead what would at first be a mostly New England force—engineered by congressional wise-men, including Adams. But Congress did not have many other officers to choose from, Israel Putnam, of the Connecticut militia, was, at 57, too old.  Artemas Ward, the commander of the Massachusetts militia, was incompetent and suffering from the stone.

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The state begins in violence.  However lofty the ideals of a new country or a new regime, it encounters opposition, as most new regimes and countries do, it must fight. If it loses, its ideals join the long catalogue of unfulfilled aspirations.

At six o’clock on the evening of July 9, 1776, the soldiers of the main American army, stationed in New York, were paraded and read the Declaration of Independence. General George Washington, Commander in Chief, hoped this “important event” would inspire them, though when some soldiers joined a mob in pulling down a statue of George III, he deplored their “want of order.” Over the next two months the American army and its commander, orderly or not, were unable to offer much in defense of the Declaration’s sentiments. …

During the summer, the British assembled, on Staten Island and in the harbor, the largest expeditionary force of the eighteenth century: ten ships of the line, twenty frigates, and 32,000 regular troops.  On August 22, most of those troops began moving to Gravesend Bay on Long Island, in what is now southwest Brooklyn.  Anticipating a possible landing there, Washington had posted more than a third of his own force of 19,000 men on Brooklyn Heights, and on a line of hills to the  south.  But he expected the British to attack him on the harbor side of his position, where they could bring the guns of their ships into play. On the morning of the 27th, the British slipped a force through the hills five miles away in the opposite direction and hit the American front line from before and behind.

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These are excerpts from Richard Brookheiser’s  Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington, which he calls a moral biography, which has two purposes: to explain its subject, and to shape the minds and hearts of those who read it—by showing how a great man navigated politics and a life as a public figure.  Brookheiser says “If Washington’s contemporaries were too willing to be awed, we are not willing enough. …We have lost the conviction that ideas require men to bring them to earth, and that great statesmen must be great men. Great statesmen are rare enough in their world. We believe they are mythical, like unicorns.” They are not.

According to recent studies, our kids don’t know anything about George Washington, nor do most adults. There is some speculation that the problem is big fat books. People are more apt to read thin books that don’t scare them about the time involved. Answering that need is a new short biography by the great British historian Paul Johnson. The paperback is only $8.71, and a hardback is available.

ADDENDUM: The picture above is a forensic reconstruction of Washington as a General, and Commander in Chief. Getting a likeness is hard. You get one thing just a little off, and you have lost the resemblance. Washington’s skin was pale, we are told, and he burned in the sun. I don’t think the tricorn hat gives even as much protection as a baseball cap, so I’m sure he appeared much more weathered, with squint lines (no sunglasses). His real hair was reddish. But nasty Stuart Gilbert did him real dirt down through the ages by overemphasizing the distortions of false teeth, and getting a poor likeness. Remember that, every time you look at a one dollar bill. It was deliberate.



What’s Wrong With Diversity? More Than You Ever Knew. by The Elephant's Child

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Yesterday I received the alumni magazine from my alma mater in the mail, and among other changes, they announced the appointment of a new chief diversity officer.  Which seems to put them right in line with the norm in colleges and universities today, when every gathering or crowd is scanned for the correct mixture of skin color and ethnic identity. That doesn’t seem quite right.

It seems to me that diversity, in the case of higher education, should be a diversity of ideas — not a diversity of skin color and  ethnic origins, nor sexual diversity—there’s a lot of that going around — but diversity of ideas is pretty hard to find. Consider the speakers invited to campuses who are not just disagreed with, their divergent opinions are excoriated, their very presence is protested, loudly and violently, and security must be called to protect the person — who has improper ideas! Students need “safe spaces” to protect them from ideas with which they disagree.

Sometimes, I seem to be a little slow. I really hadn’t put together the innocuous idea of “diversity” which always seemed a little silly, with Saul Alinsky’s famous phrase “Rub raw the sores of discontent, galvanize them for radical social change.” Barack Obama was a student of Alinsky’s methods, and he’s been busily organizing us for over seven years. Hillary too, was a student of Alinsky.

The problem with the Alinsky method is that the end game is amorphous; the end game is the acquisition of power but little is said of what to do with that power once acquired. The core of Alinsky’s method is destruction, destruction of the “system” that allows a disparity of wealth. There is no discussion of what is to replace this system once it is brought down. However, there is little doubt that Alinsky’s idea of a better “system” is one that brings forced equivalence or Marxism. Fundamentally, the struggle to get power is the essence of Alinsky, what to do with the power once acquired is another matter altogether.

“The Obama administration is the embodiment of the failure of politics because it is not about politics—politics involves concession and compromise—it is about victory at any cost. The American people expected hope and change, as that is what they voted for, but what they really wanted was stability and prosperity.”

Well, no wonder the people are so angry with their government— and looking for someone, anyone, who can fix it. Their government has been furiously busy trying “to rub raw the sores of discontent.” They not only didn’t get “hope and change” — they didn’t get stability and prosperity either. “Diversity” has been a false promise. The people know and like people of all different races and ethnic backgrounds, and we like the ideas and the foods they have brought with them as well.

The race riots in Ferguson and Baltimore were urged on by imported community organizers. The campus protests and demands for more racial equality and more racial segregation at the same time, the banishing of statues or buildings named for anyone who once owned slaves, the racial hoaxes, were all stirred up by organizers from Black Lives Matter, Acorn, Occupy, and Organizing for America. Did you wonder why race relations seemed to get worse rather than better? Did you wonder why Black Lives Matter seemed to be stirring up animus against the police instead of improving relations? Why more policemen were being attacked or killed? That was deliberate community organizing.

Michelle Obama at the Democratic Convention:

“Barack stood up that day,” talking about a visit to Chicago neighborhoods, “and spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. He talked about “The world as it is” and “The world as it should be…”
“All of us are driven by a simple belief that the world as it is just won’t do – that we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be.”
“There is no utopia; those who have strived to make the impossible real, to implement their grand visions of life have been the agents of death and destruction on a scale surpassed only perhaps by Islam. Alinsky, like the Koran, Sira, and Hadith, represents morality turned upside down or abandoned entirely in favor of cold pragmatism. …It is no surprise that they have been deeply involved in voter fraud and other nefarious practices. “

Here’s David Horowitz:

This is something that conservatives generally have a hard time understanding. As a former radical, I am constantly asked how radicals could hate America and why they would want to destroy a society that compared to others is tolerant, inclusive and open, and treats all people with a dignity and respect that is the envy of the world. The answer to the this question is that radicals are not comparing America to other real world societies. They are comparing America to the heaven on earth — the kingdom of social justice and freedom — they think they are building. And compared to this heaven even America is hell.

Freedom is important to Americans, but it is sometimes hard to recognize where and why and how it is being taken away. We hate the EPA for its dumb overregulation, are shocked when Condoleeza Rice is invited to speak at an American university, and turned away because students protest. Environmentalists suggest prison terms for people who claim that global warming is natural. People are laid off, but will not get severance pay unless they train the foreign workers who will replace them. Scandals erupt throughout the government, but no one is ever fired. Veterans are denied medical care, but the promised changes never take place. Government workers who break the law are placed on paid leave, instead of being dismissed.

Detainees are released from Gitmo, and turn up as spokesmen for al-Qaeda. Relations are resumed with a nasty little Communist dictatorship just south of Florida, who continue to abuse their people and emphasize that they will change nothing at all — in return for a resumption of trade. Immigration laws are ignored, the borders are ignored as well, and illegals flow into the country to be distributed to every state. Obama makes speeches about the importance of constitutional law regarding appointment of a judge to replace the distinguished Antonio Scalia, but notes that he has a phone and a pen, and he cannot be bothered to attend the distinguished jurist’s funeral.

The American people are indeed angry. But their anger is somewhat misplaced. It is not “the establishment” that is turning loose drug pushers to go back to the streets in the name of “prison reform.” It’s not “the establishment” that is letting convicted criminal illegal aliens back into the country to commit more crimes. It’s not “the establishment” that made an impossible deal with Iran that practically assures that we will be attacked with nuclear weapons. It is not “the establishment” that has so weakened our national security that we are warned to expect a direct attack from ISIS this summer. And it’s not the establishment that stuck us with ObamaCare, nor “the establishment” that has reduced our army to the smallest since 1940 and the Navy the smallest since 1915. Nor is it “the establishment”  that has given us the worst economic recovery in the last 70 years.

I think we need to do some serious reassessing.

ADDENDUM: “White college students are undergoing a weekly “deconstructing whiteness” program at Northwestern University. The ‘6-part’ workshop series for undergraduate students who self-identify as white” launched in January and runs through March according to the university’s website.” The program is voluntary, but comes under the rubric of “Social Justice Education.” Forgive me, but there is no such thing as “social justice”— we have one kind of justice in the United States of America which involves the Constitution, the body of laws, the courts, the judicial system and the officers of the law. Northwestern University declined to give any details.

F.I.R.E. reports that 33 “public colleges have elected to ignore a deadline to respond to the House Judiciary Committee’s request to adopt new speech codes on campus. Bob Goodlatte, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, asked 160 schools to change at least one of their existing policies after a FIRE report showed that these schools substantially restricted their students’ free speech rights.”



Good Shot! Twenty-One Terrorists With a Single Bullet. by The Elephant's Child

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An ISIS leader in Syria was teaching a class of new recruits how to behead a prisoner. A sniper from the elite British Special Air Service (S.A.S.) armed with a large-caliber rifle took off his head with a single head shot from over 3,000 feet away, according to The Daily Caller.

“One minute he was standing there and the next his head had exploded. The commander remained standing upright for a couple of seconds before collapsing and that’s when panic set in. We later heard most of the recruits deserted. We got rid of 21 terrorists with one bullet,” said a military official who witnessed the event.

S.A.S. is Britain’s most elite and most secretive combat force. S.A.S. members are the fictional heroes of many a thriller. A mystery sniper had been eliminating ISIS leaders in Libya, and it has been rumored that it may be a former S.A.S. sniper, but there is no confirmation.




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