American Elephants

Guantanamo: Myths, Propaganda, and The Consequences of Progressive Politics. by The Elephant's Child

BN-LD124_2gitmo_M_20151105184452Under the Obama administration, the Democrats have lost 900 state legislature seats, 12 more states are now governed by Republicans, Congress now has 69 more Republican House seats, and 13 more Republican Senate seats. That’s Obama’s legacy. Normally, when Congress has turned against the president’s programs, the president will seek to cooperate more, or at least consult, with the other party in recognition of the intent of the people.

Obama, on the other hand, has determined that he’s going to show the people just who’s the boss and govern by executive orders and memos. When Obama released Taliban who were being held at Gitmo in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl, he sent them to Qatar, for the Qataris to manage. He said:

We will be keeping eyes on them. Is there the possibility of some of them trying to return to activities that are detrimental to us? Absolutely. That’s been true of all the prisoners that were released from Guantanamo. There is a certain rate that takes place.

I wouldn’t be doing it if I thought it was contrary to the American national security and we have confidence that we will be in a position to go after them if, in fact, they are engaging in activities that threaten our defenses. But this is what happens at the end of wars. That was true for George Washington, that was true for Abraham Lincoln, that was true for FDR. That has true for every combat situation, that at some point you make sure that you try to get your folks back, and that’s the right thing to do.

The Editorial Board at Bloomberg remarked that “It may come as a surprise to Barack Obama that the commander in chief of the U.S. armed forces does not necessarily get to decide when a war is over.”

He also does not understand that the detainees in Guantanamo are not prisoners of war, to be sent home when the war ends,  but terrorists — armed enemy combatants who do not qualify under the Geneva Conventions  as prisoners of war. They have nevertheless been treated as humanely as if they were.

Democrat political propaganda has attempted to portray the detainees at Gitmo as if they were subject to daily torture. Innumerable inspections from every human rights group have determined that they are being well treated, with respect for the Muslim religion. Yet articles about Gitmo are usually 640x392_50143_187015accompanied by this image of the first arrivals, as if this was the daily state of affairs there. It is not. If you look up pictures of Guantanamo, the list of queries includes wanting to see pictures of torture, or of waterboarding.

Democrats always believe their own propaganda, probably because they don’t read anything else. The Geneva Conventions of 1949 were formed because of the way Allied prisoners of war were treated by the Japanese and the Nazis. Today ISIS chops off heads and burns their prisoners alive, or ask John McCain about the Vietnamese, long after the Conventions were accepted as international law. Nazis during WWII were detained in prison camps here, and were well treated. Yet the myth persists. Democrats are always sure detainees are being mistreated, because to so believe fits their political agenda.

Normally, six national security agencies and the Defense Secretary must sign off on letting a detainee go. Obama has ignored them and had his own special committee appointed, composed largely of compliant minions, to make the decision. Announced just as the Pope was arriving, Abdul Shalabi, suspected of being an Osama bin Laden bodyguard, was released back to Saudi Arabia. Shalabi has agreed to take a ‘rehabilitation class’ in Saudi Arabia.

Out of 647 detainees who have been released from Guantanamo Bay, 116 have gone right back to “re-engaging” in terrorism according to a report from the DNI James Clapper.

In August, Muktar Yahya Najee al Warafi  sued for release on the grounds that the war is over and the law authorizing it (and his detention) has expired. (Yes the detainees have full access to attorneys).  Warafi, a Yemeni, served as a medic for the Taliban in 2001. He cited claims by White House officials and Obama’s declaration last January that “America’s longest war has come to a responsible end.”

U.S District Court Judge Royce Lamberth was not persuaded. As long as hostilities continue, so does the war’s legal basis, and Obama’s rhetoric does not overturn Congress’ intention.

President Obama is about to send Congress a plan to close the terrorist prison at Guantanamo Bay. It is doomed from the start, but then he can shut down Gitmo by executive order. As Josh Earnest said, we “work with Congress where we can, but if Congress continues to refuse, I wouldn’t rule out the President using every element of his authority to make progress.” The Wall Street Journal added:

Another day at the office for a progressive President intent on reducing the legislative branch to a nullity. For the record, the National Defense Authorization Act this year contains an explicit congressional ban on transferring detainees to the U.S. through 2016.

The White House wants to transfer the prisoners to the U.S. Naval Consolidated Brig in South Carolina; at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, or the federal supermax prison in Colorado. The WSJ again:

Mr. Obama’s inability to negotiate honestly with the legislature is a hallmark of his Presidency. More damaging is the precedent he is setting by making major policy changes with no more than a wave of his executive hand. Press reports note that Administration lawyers are working on legal justifications for the Gitmo order. Decision first, the law later.

The press is still invested in Obama’s success, or at least in quieting outrage. Any other president who, while prosecuting an unpopular war, credited with 3 out of 4 deaths in Afghanistan under his watch, saw a series of critical national security advisors resign might get some unfavorable coverage. On Sept. 22, General John Allen announced his intention to resign, Within a week, Evelyn Farkas, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, handed in her resignation. The report from Commentary with the details is a devastating account of a president paralyzed with indecision. He is being tested by the world’s bad actors and has little resolve to act early and decisively.

Gina McCarthy Attempts to Prove the Value of the EPA. Big Job. by The Elephant's Child

epa04236753 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Gina McCarthy signs US President Barack Obama's new carbon pollution emission guideline plan at EPA headquarters in Washington, DC, USA, 02 June 2014. The plan, which bypasses Congress, calls for a 30 percent cut in carbon emissions by 2030.  EPA/JIM LO SCALZO (Newscom TagID: epalive211077.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]

There is some evidence that  the consistent mention of the “Pause,” that obvious fact, is beginning to bother some of the climate consensus crowd. To wit, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. Of course the EPA has had some really bad press lately, as the world watched a great spill of noxious yellow mine tailings, that we were told is extremely toxic to life on Earth, into a tributary of the great Colorado River that serves most of the American Southwest. The Navajo Tribe said they would be instituting a massive lawsuit, but we have heard nothing further about that, nor has the spread of the yellow mess made the major news, or perhaps I just missed it. Gina McCarthy stated, in the pages of The Hill, that:

America has come a long way in protecting public health and the environment over the past 45 years. Since 1970, we’ve cut air pollution by nearly 70 percent, while our economy has tripled in size. America’s environmental laws have provided a solid foundation for success, but they’re only part of the equation. Without resources to work hand in hand with state, local and tribal partners to enforce these laws, progress isn’t possible. Laws talk the talk, but enforcement walks the walk.

When rules under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and other laws are not followed, people suffer. Neighborhoods become polluted, livelihoods become threatened and the health of kids and families are put at risk.

Enforcement programs keep dangerous illegal activity in check. They hold violators accountable and deter bad actors. They level the playing field for businesses that play by the rules. And most of all, they provide security and protection to people across America, who depend on clean air, water and land to live healthy, productive lives.

This is probably what McCarthy believes. She is all for enforcement, big enforcement. Strong standards are a key step, and holding everyone accountable allows the EPA to protect American lives and especially the children (it’s always asthma). But I take it as a bit of self-justification from an agency under fire.

The problem is that the EPA has taken the original mandate of the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, which Congress didn’t bother to define, as their authority to grab for power and control of ever more of America. They have been slapped down by the courts over and over, but it doesn’t seem to bother them at all. They issue immense fines, preferably in the billions, because the threat of enormous fines makes people and businesses surrender quickly. Not content with just cleaning up smog, they have turned to fine particulates, going so far as attempting to regulate farm dust, which may seem possible for city apartment dwellers, but for anyone who had ever been near a farm—is an absurdity.

The EPA attempt to grab control of the drip from your downspouts as a part of the “navigable waters of the United States” has been halted by the courts, but ‘overreach’ is in their blood. The pictures that accompany the news from the agency usually feature smokestacks which are belching (probably water vapor) but give the impression of noxious pollutants.

Carbon Dioxide remains a pollutant to the EPA, but for the rest of us (excluding Barack Obama and John Kerry) it remains plant food, one of the basic necessities for almost all life on Earth. Increasing levels of CO2 have increased crop yields by at least 10–15 percent, and are good for humankind as well as the natural world, for an acre of land that is not used for crops is left for nature. Between 1990 and 2011 – 13, although population increased by 31% to 7.1 billion, available food supplies have increased by 44%. This is good news that your probably didn’t hear.

I don’t believe that the EPA has saved a single life from pollution, nor kept a single child from contracting asthma (doctors don’t know the cause). Their overreach is not only excessive,  but damaging to the people and the economy. I don’t believe that the agency needs a swat team of their very own. They need to produce the science that they use to promulgate their rules and regulations, and establish that they are actually a needed bureaucracy, rather than an agency out for self-serving power grabs. And they need to prove that there is some reason why they should continue to exist.

If You Missed the Debate, Here Are the Important Parts in Just 2 Minutes by The Elephant's Child


(h/t: Free Beacon)

Republican Candidates – 10, CNBC – 0 by The Elephant's Child

A most interesting debate last night. The mainstream partisan media disgraced itself. Feisty Republicans would have none of it, and told them they were a disgrace. ‘Gotcha’ questions are unprofessional but expected. Stupid questions that indicate that the panel of moderators did not understand the real issues are a little more depressing.

Listeners  would have been surprised to learn that the debate was supposed to be about the economy. The economy is a shambles, largely due to Democrat mismanagement, and there are a lot people hurting, The American people want to know who can fix it.

Democrats do not want the Republicans to talk about how they are going to jump-start the economy, because their own candidates are talking about free college tuition and other pie-in-the-sky offers to buy votes, but it is not going to happen. You can’t take enough money away from the rich to make it unnecessary for the vast majority of people to provide for themselves, with their work, their thrift and their savings.

Ted Cruz efficiently scolded the media and racked up the biggest applause ever in any debate. Ted, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina and Chris Christie were all winners.

Ben Carson is as always, soft-spoken and brilliant. Mike Huckabee speaks well, had a great analogy comparing the blimp on the loose over Pennsylvania to an escaped gas bag of a Democratic party.

I thought Donald Trump was a big loser, but apparently his inability to come up with any significant policy discussion as opposed to just saying ‘I can do that’ and talking about his great big wall continues to attract supporters. I am unimpressed with his wealth, and as several economic types have mentioned, he would have been far richer if he had just put his father’s $100 million in a mutual fund.

John Kasich seemed angry, apparently at having to share a stage with people who didn’t have his accomplishments on offer.  Rand Paul did not advance his cause, nor hurt it either. Jeb Bush did badly. Whoever advised him to attack Marco Rubio on the basis of Rubio’s missing some votes in Congress made a major mistake. Jeb Bush is a good man, and was a good governor of Florida. He would probably be a good president. But he is a really lousy campaigner.

So what do I want in a president? Someone who can communicate well with the American people. The president works for us. I expect a good understanding of world affairs — not a knowledge of every president of every nation — but sufficient knowledge to understand the major threats, and to know who would be the strongest advisers to help devise good policy. Obama has made some really dreadful appointments.

I want someone who respects Congress and wants to work with them to get the economy growing once again. And I want someone who is an avid learner. It’s a big office, and none of the aspirants know anywhere near as much as you need to face the problems we face in reality. You need some excellent choices of advisors and cabinet members. And I really don’t want anyone who believes that the Constitutions is an old tired document that needs updating and revising. Nor anyone who believes that the clear history of the absolute failure of socialism everywhere it has been tried is because the right people haven’t done it yet, or that this time it will be different. Other than that, I haven’t made my mind up yet.

ADDENDUM: Smarting from criticism,CNBC put out a statement defending the moderators performance: “People who want to be president of the United States should be able to answer tough questions.”

That was the problem. They didn’t ask “tough questions” they asked dumb questions. The troublesome thing is that they don’t seem to know the difference. That’s what happens when you live in a world of approved talking points and approved sound bites — you don’t even recognize reality when you encounter it.

Four Years of FOIA Requests, Four Years of Benghazi Hearings by The Elephant's Child


The WordPress wayback machine reminded me of three posts about Benghazi: From December 19, 2012 concerning the Accountability Review Board study of the Benghazi affair. “The Report on Benghazi Came In, All Over, Nothing to See Here, Just Move Along

May 8, 2012: “The Benghazi Hearings. It Matters a Lot

May 18, 2013: Spin, Spin, Spin

Not just a reminder of how long Congress has been trying to find out why four Americans were killed in Benghazi, but why the administration lied to the American people about it, and why they have tried so hard to cover up. “Most transparent administration in history” indeed!

Perhaps you have noticed that the Republicans in Congress are arguing about their goals and what they can accomplish in the face of an administration that is firmly set against their accomplishing anything. This is portrayed by the media as ‘chaos’ and ‘weakness’ and ‘disorganization’ but it is not any such thing. It’s the way things are supposed to work.

When the Founders were first setting up a new, independent, country they were determined to set us free from an over-controlling government. They sought power, not for themselves, but for the American people. All kinds of battles have been fought over the centuries by people trying to win some privilege from their government. The Founders skipped all that and gave the government to the people.

That was and remains the most daring act in the history of government, and it makes all the difference. They did everything they could think of to slow government down, to provide for fighting and disagreement over what laws to pass. We are supposed to argue and fight, and discuss and eventually reach a satisfactory compromise.

Progressives, the certified smart people, have never really understood that. They basically believe that they should be running things, that the American people are stupid or they would be supporting the right of Progressives to rule. That’s why they march in lockstep, use the same words to describe their ideas, promise to give the people extravagant gifts like free college tuition, free healthcare (that’s working out well), equality for all, and let the rich pay for everything. Trouble is that all the billions of the billionaires is not enough. Or as Margaret Thatcher famously remarked “Sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.”

That’s why Progressives hate free speech, want to confiscate your guns, nationalize education, eliminate state’s rights, and eliminate the Republican Party which has the gall to oppose their ideas. That’s why they can’t win elections without vote fraud, why they import illegal aliens to skew population numbers, register them to vote, convince minorities that voter ID is a Republican trick to keep them from voting. And now, why they want to release large numbers of criminals from prison. It’s the Fox Butterfield Fallacy.

Progressives do not play fair, though they talk about “fairness” a lot. They are zealots on a grand mission, they are going to legislate social justice and social equality. They believe that if they can accumulate enough money and enough power, they can make the glorious future work. That it has been tried many times before and failed doesn’t phase them, for when they do it it will be different. I don’t think your ordinary run-of-the-mill Democrats are actually aware of all that. They know that the  Democrat Party cares about them, and Republicans are mean, which is presently proved by their partisan attack on Hillary.

The Benghazi Hearings by The Elephant's Child

151023112135-hillary-clinton-benghazi-hand-large-169Democrats are crowing today, apparently because Hillary escaped the inquisition from the “vast right-wing conspiracy” without any major gaffes or self-indictment. She’s off the hook, we’re back in the game? But Hillary’s testimony requires a little more thought than the lap-dog media is accustomed to giving to much of anything. It is perhaps too soon to be crowing.

Smoking gun? The presence of a server in her home, the attempts to hide it, to prevent anyone seeing any email at all, speak volumes. In the absence of recorded or filmed conversations, emails are the most solid evidence we can have. Why was she not conducting business on State Department security approved computers and devices? Federal law requires official communications to be preserved. The object is a clean and transparent government responsive to the citizens they serve. At one point Barack Obama promised the most transparent administration in history—but that was then and this is now.

We do have a problem with the federal bureaucracy. Individuals of varied degrees of competency and experience are appointed by the President and approved by Congress to head one of the departments of the administration, which means they are walking into an organization that is humming along in some fashion, and take over. Be in charge, direct its operations, and be responsible for its actions.

The State Department has its own peculiarities. We do have Ambassadors in most countries, but apparently the boss is supposed to spend their time visiting lots of countries, particularly the more difficult ones and make progress in some fashion. The culture of the State Department emphasizes diplomacy (which seems to be defined as “keep talking”) above anything else. State has long been accused of being weak on security — going back to when they had the Soviets build their new embassy in Moscow, and the KGB built listening devices right into the walls of every room. So it is indeed possible that when Hillary got her instructions on how the department works, security was not emphasized. But—as we are constantly reminded, she was FLOTUS, and one of the two senators from New York (safe Democrat seat) and in the White House and in the Senate, security is a constant concern. That she was unaware of any need for careful security is beyond belief. And why did she have her own private server in her home anyway?

But here is Hillary’s problem. She was Secretary of State, not just a title to advance one’s career, but the executive officer of a large organization, in charge. The successes or failures of the department are her responsibility, and go to her credit or her dismissal in disgrace.

And there’s the rub. The entire investigation into Benghazi is not, as the lapdog press claims, a political attack on Hillary. Our Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens; his Information Officer Sean Smith; and two brave CIA contractors, former Seals, who were trying to save the Americans under attack were all killed by the attacking jihadists. Ambassador Stevens had written 600 requests for more security. In the hearing, Clinton was asked about an email from Stevens written in early September.

Clinton claimed to believe that Chris Stevens was joking when he asked about security at the Benghazi compound. It was certainly the hearing’s most bizarre moment: “Well, Congresswoman, one of the great attributes that Chris Stevens had was a really good sense of humor and I just see him smiling as he’s typing this because it’s clearly in response to the e-mail down below talking about picking up a few ‘fire sale items from the Brits’,” she told Brooks.

The “fire sale items” were barricades left behind by the British, who were leaving Benghazi because it was unsafe.

Clinton claimed that she never saw Stevens’ requests for more security as such things were passed on to the “security professionals.” Excuse me. As head of the department, it is her job to know about such things and if subordinates did not inform her, they should be promptly fired.

Contrary to her claims of having done “everything’ possible, the gentle manner of Rep. Lynn Westmoreland was disarming. He forced Clinton to admit that she decided not to send the FES (Foreign Emergency Support) team to rescue the Americans in Benghazi.

The night of the attack, September 11, 2012, Hillary knew the compound was under attack, knew that the two CIA contractors were pinned down under attack and calling for backup and help. She brushed that off as something for “the security professionals”and went home and went to bed.

She emailed Chelsea that night and told her that the ambassador was under terrorist attack, but by the next morning, the attack was the spontaneous result of a poorly-made video criticizing Islam. When the bodies were brought home, Hillary told the parents that they would make the video-maker pay for his crime. She had called the prime minister of Egypt on September 12, to tell him that the video was not responsible. Susan Rice went on the rounds of the Sunday shows to blame an ugly video that criticized the Prophet.

To be very clear, the administration lied to the shocked American people, lied to the victim’s parents, but knew from the very first that it was an attack by approximately 100 –150 supporters of Ansar al Sharia — al Qaeda affiliates. The president was campaigning for reelection, claiming that al Qaeda was dead and General Motors was alive. (He’d taken care of the terrorists, and revived the economy)

The story about Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty  is still not clear. The account in Wikipedia does not jibe with what I remember hearing at the time. The backup that they requested was ready to embark, and was told to stand down. The general who prepared to rescue them was subsequently removed, but who did or said what is still a mystery to perhaps be discovered by more Freedom of Information requests. They have been filed constantly ever since 2012.

The reason it has dragged on so long is the refusal of the State Department to provide the emails that have begun to clarify what actually happened and why. Can’t find them. Must be lost. Haven’t found any yet. Then a few trickle out. A great flood of several thousand emails from Ambassador Stevens was delivered just two days before the hearings. That’s how the game is played in our nation’s capitol.

Hillary was forced to make several damning revelations during hours of sworn testimony. Here are nine of them.
The hearing was about politics, Hillary’s politics.. How her politics trumped competence in office.
There were 8 major warnings before the Benghazi terror attacks.
She Knew All Along” from the Wall Street Journal.
— “Still Waiting for the Truth,” The Weekly Standard
Obama administration officials, with the awareness of the Sec. of State, were involved in violating a ban on arming Syrian rebels. The news media is aiding them in covering up the Benghazi to Syria arms transfers.
— “Hillary Owns the War in Libya (And Its Horrible Aftermath)

Don’t forget, Hillary is an old hand at this kind of thing, lots of hearings with tough questions over the years.

Secretary of State John Kerry (Sigh!) Tackles Climate Change by The Elephant's Child

John-Kerry-84pngSecretary of State John Kerry spoke yesterday at the opening session of the Climate and Clean Energy Investment Forum. He said:

There is no doubt in my mind that how we confront climate change will certainly be one of two of the defining issues of our generation and perhaps the defining issue of our generation because of the stakes — the other being the rise of radical extremism, sectarianism and the failure of states simultaneously surrounding it, and vast populations of young people needing jobs instead of mind-bending theories of false assumptions about Islam and other things.

Both are gigantic challenges. But thankfully, the solution to this particular challenge, climate change, is actually just as simple as the realization that it is the challenge that it is. … It is, put quite simply, energy policy—clean energy choices. …

So it’s becoming even more clear with every record-breaking drought, every record-breaking flood, every hottest month ever announcement, or every year – hottest year that we live through, with every peer-reviewed study that details the catastrophe that climate change could unleash and, frankly, that we’re seeing already in certain places. The canary in the gold mine – in the coal mine indicators, which are many in various parts of the world, particularly the Arctic, Antarctic, and in some other places – they all begin to detail the catastrophe that climate change has the potential to unleash.  …

Now, decades of science tell us that unless we make that transition, we are facing irreversible impacts to infrastructure, food production, water supply, sea level, ecosystems, and potentially to human life itself on this planet. And the wakeup call is not new. Year after year, the science has been screaming at us. And as time goes on, we are seeing the warning cries of climate change, frankly, rising all over the world. The past decade was the hottest on record; the one before that, the second-hottest on record; the one before that, the third-hottest on record. Nineteen of the 20 hottest years in history have occurred in the past two decades.

I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but that is a total load of leftist propaganda. There’s not a word of truth in his entire speech.

The Clean Power Plan is one of the most controversial mandates ever to be attempted. The issue of “Climate Change” is intended to destroy capitalism. The American power sector’s CO2 emissions are now at their lowest level since 1998. The Arctic and Antarctic sea ice melts in the summer and grows in the winter, and is growing more extensive rather than receding. The expected reductions in CO2 emissions from the Clean Power Plan would reduce global temperatures by about 0.03 degrees Celsius by 2100.

Theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson is now retired, but he was a professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton — and one of the world’s great minds. “Climate change,” he says,” is not a scientific mystery but a human mystery. How does it happen that a whole generation of scientific experts is blind to obvious facts?”

I’m 100 per cent Democrat myself, and I like Obama. But he took the wrong side on this issue, and the Republicans took the right side,

What has happened in the past 10 years is that the discrepancies between what’s observed and what’s predicted have become much stronger,” he said. “It’s clear now the models are wrong, but it wasn’t so clear 10 years ago.

To any unprejudiced person reading this account, the facts should be obvious: that the non-climatic effects of carbon dioxide as a sustainer of wildlife and crop plants are enormously beneficial, that the possibly harmful climatic effects of carbon dioxide have been greatly exaggerated, and that the benefits clearly outweigh the possible damage.”

Nobel laureate Ivar Glaever also said that President Obama’s statements on global warming are”dead wrong.” “I think Obama is a clever person, but he gets bad advice. Global warming is all wet” he said in a speech to scientists from 90 countries on July 1 at the 85th annual Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau, Germany.

Kerry added “I mean, it’s incomprehensible that a grownup who has been to high school and college in the United States of America disqualifies themselves because they’re not a scientist when they’ve learned that the Earth rotates on its axis but they’re not a scientist, where they’ve learned that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west and it does so 24 hours a day, and you can run the list of things that we know science tells us happens, and we accept it every single day.”

That makes it pretty clear that John Kerry has never investigated the science of climate change at all, but just accepted Democrat talking points as gospel.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,498 other followers

%d bloggers like this: