American Elephants


Impressions From Last Night’s Debate by The Elephant's Child

20151219_blp903I mostly listened to the debate last night on the radio. My CNN connection kept going haywire, so I only saw a small bit on CNN. Apparently that makes a difference. Whatever their political viewpoint, viewers could not help but be impressed with the quality of the Republican field. The discussion was serious, well-informed and lengthy. The candidates were well informed on national security, and on how to deal with ISIS, Syria, Russia, Iran and domestic terrorism with real differences of opinion, which is as it should be.

Several pundits declared Donald Trump the debate winner, but I thought it was clear that he was just not prepared to go beyond his usual bombast. He did manage to tell the audience innumerable times that he was leading the polls, he had the highest approval, he was winning. He just doesn’t understand the very complicated situation, and has no strategy at all.   “I have 41% in the polls” is a brag, not a qualification.

Lindsey Graham was terrific in the earlier debate. He had just been to Iraq again, and spoke to the situation on the ground informed by the troops on the ground.

Carly Fiorina is clearly one of the best informed, and gives the most responsive and responsible answers to questions — yet has not really managed to break through to the top, where she belongs. Her tenure at HP was impressive. She handled some really difficult circumstances with courage, put the company on a path to success, and frankly has a better record of experience than most of the other candidates. I have wondered if , since Republicans are uniformly unimpressed with the “first woman to” idea, and invested in merit and qualifications just can’t get past the fact that candidates for President of the United States have always been men.

Chris Christie excels at tough-talking campaigning. He can be very assertive and very believable. John Kasich corrected from his angry, grumpy appearance at the last debate. Jeb Bush was better, but not breakthrough better.

I am far from picking a candidate, and in spite of the media’s insistence on making this all a horse race and proclaiming winners and losers, most Americans are just getting acquainted with the candidates. I was really enthusiastic at the beginning with so many governors who had real accomplishments in the running — but Scott Walker, Rick Perry and  Bobby Jindal have all dropped out. I am not enthusiastic about one-term senators. Been there, done that. And it didn’t work out well.

 



A Heartfelt Plea to the Media… Shush! by The Elephant's Child

I keep wondering if there isn’t some other way to do this political campaign business. Can’t we find a way to let the media have their horserace, off somewhere else, while the rest of us struggle to get informed in reasonable peace and quiet.

I don’t need nor welcome constant polls, turning casually awkward phrasing into a career-ending crisis. Could we offer some kind of academy award for those who are the most compulsively fair and non-partisan?

The media is playing a different game, and it gets in the way. It’s like they went to journalism school with some weird idea of changing the world to suit their own preferences rather than to be the very best at straightforward honest information. Oh wait…



Paris Agreement, American Leadership, and Pure Fantasy. by The Elephant's Child

The report of the President’s response to the jihadist attack in San Bernardino should give you pause. As soon as he realized that some would classify the killing in San Bernardino as a terrorist attack, he called together his National Security Council and the heads of federal law enforcement agencies to discuss a public relations strategy. A designation of the killing as a terrorist attack would threaten to upset his “strategy” in Syria.

The President of the United States has declared publicly, 22 times, that climate change is a greater threat by far than Islamic terrorism: Jan. 15, 2008; Jan 26, 2000; May 2010; Sept.6, 2012; Jan 23, 2013; Feb. 16, 2014; June, 2014; Sept. 2014; Sept 24, 2014; Oct. 29, 2014; 2015 State of the Union address; Feb. 2015; Feb. 09, 2015, Feb. 10, 2015, April 18, 2015; May, 2015; May 20 2015; July 13, 2015; Defense Dept report, July 29, 2015; Aug 28, 2015; September UN 2015; Sept.28, 2015 at the United Nations, he said “No country can escape the ravages of climate change.”

The Big Climate Meeting: COP 21, has concluded. The negotiators have thrashed out their final details. The agreement will make no difference whatsoever to “climate change,” and the total effects will be another very expensive meeting to be held in Marrakesh, Morocco  next year.

As James Delingpole, who is always correct, said, “All that stuff you’ve read and heard about “time running out,”  “deadlock,” “last minute deals,” — it’s all a charade, everything was pre-ordained. COP is not really about saving the planet, it’s a massive jobs fair for activists, shyster politicians, bureaucrats, and people with otherwise worthless degrees in “sustainability,” “conservation biology,” and “ecology.”

He adds that “No serious person in the world believes in man-made climate change any more. They just don’t. Only people like Secretary of State John Kerry — who has staked the reputation of the Obama presidency on how well it deals with this non-existent problem.” Delingpole adds “If you live by fairies you will die by fairies.”

We said in the beginning that China and India aren’t about to sign on to any plan eliminating or reducing their efforts to industrialize and their need for cheap energy. China is building one new coal-fired power plant every 7 to 10 days, while Japan plans to build 43 coal-fired power projects to replace its Fukushima nuclear plant, which killed 19,000 people and destroyed 150,000 buildings. India has some 500 coal-fired power plants planned.

The stated aim of the meeting was to prevent the earth’s temperature from rising more than 2º C. above pre-industrial levels. If all the world’s leading nations stick to the carbon-reduction commitments they will make (which are totally not binding) then they will stave off ‘global warming’ by the end of this century by 17 one hundredths of one degree C. (0.170º C.) That is the “optimistic scenario,” assuming that nobody’s lying.

The annual cost to the global economy is approximately $1.5 trillion. As Ebeneezer Scrooge said, Bah Humbug!

“We met the moment,” Obama said. “We may not live to see the full realization of our achievement but that’s OK,: he said. “What matters is that today we can be more confident this planet will be in better shape for the next generation.”

So there you go. Nothing binding. Opt-outs written in. Totally fake agreement. What more could you ask for, if you are trying to decorate your legacy? But they will have another big meeting next year, and the year after…

Nevertheless, the press, totally invested in saving the earth, as you hear from them constantly, erupted with delight:

(h/t: T. Becket Adams)



President Obama Spoke to the Nation From the Oval Office. by The Elephant's Child

obamacarePresident Obama spoke to the nation from the Oval Office, intending to assure the public that he is absolutely correct in his strategy for, um, fighting ISIS; great tragedy in San Bernardino, killing a diverse group of Americans, which proves we need more gun laws, and though these two killers may have been radicalized by false notions of Islam, we mustn’t blame any Muslims because Islam is a religion of peace. Blaming Muslims would be a denial of our true American values,

His strategy, which is absolutely correct, is bombing ISIS ISIL with such strict rules of engagement that most flights never release their bombs. We cannot risk killing any civilians, so don’t go bombing any trucks that might be driven by a civilian. That would be a denial of our true American values. Remember that he killed Osama bin Laden. He has sent in Special Forces, all 50 of them, to train someone there how to fight ISIS ISIL We tried that before, but it ended up costing about a million dollars per fighter, and there ended up being only five of them left, anyway.

Above all, Obama promised that we weren’t going to have any war boots on the ground, because he wasn’t going to be George W. Bush and do any stupid stuff.  Our present policy of admitting large numbers of Syrian refugees from an assortment of Middle Eastern countries will not change because Islam is a religion of peace, and Muslims mostly vote Democrat.

Here is an actual transcript of the speech. Obama said that we will defeat the real threat of terrorism, but didn’t explain how the “real threat” differs from the present threat, and we will “destroy” ISIS ISIL or any other organization that threatens the country. He just didn’t say how.

The President spoke at a podium in the Oval Office, not from his chair with his feet on the desk, as pictured above.  It was a formal speech to the nation,  only the third time he has addressed the nation from the Oval Office. He apparently thought it was important to say the same old things once again.  I may not have been entirely fair here.



This Kinda Says it All! by The Elephant's Child

islam-and-liberal



“This Just Doesn’t Happen in Other Countries” by The Elephant's Child

leadBig-0b16e62c331a5b2030f4f0923a17994bAt a press conference today in Paris, President Obama responded to questions about the shooting in Colorado Springs this weekend:

“With respect to Planned Parenthood, obviously, my heart goes out to those families impacted. I mean, I say this every time we go one of these mass shootings, this just doesn’t happen in other countries,”

This was in Paris, a city which had just experienced a real, coordinated terrorist attack by ISIS, that left over 130 dead — but some disturbed person shooting 3 people in a Planned Parenthood establishment just doesn’t happen in other countries. Embarrassing.

The president criticized the lack of gun control in the United States and pledged to remain focused on using executive action to enact new controls where possible.

The Pew Research Center pointed out today that the gun homicide rate was down 49% since 1993, but the public is unaware of that fact. The president isn’t either, or else he is uninterested.

Is there any other head of state who goes to a big foreign meeting and pops off about his personal troubles with his opposing party? Was David Cameron expressing his concerns about the newly elected Labour leader? Was Vladimir Putin discussing his problems in Ukraine? It seems rather ill-mannered, to say the least.

I think there’s something going on here. Obama has made no bones about his intent to “fundamentally transform America” into something that he finds more agreeable. I think he was outraged, in his opposition to the Iraq War, by what he assumed was the negative opinion of the nations of the world towards George W. Bush and the fighting in Iraq. I think his rush to get out of Iraq, leaving a disastrous mess behind him — was because of the opinion of world lefties about Iraq.

I think his drive to get rid of all the detainees in the detention facility at  Guantanamo Bay was because he believed, and he thought the world believed, that it was an evil place where detainees were tortured and abused. I think his releasing thousands of drug dealers and “non-violent” criminals in American prisons, is because he thinks world opinion is appalled by the numbers of prisoners we have in Americas prisons.

He is a confirmed leftist, more attuned to world leftism and their opinions, which are more important than our own views of American exceptionalism which he finds repugnant, and he’s told us so. If you remember, when he first became a candidate, he was quite determined not to wear any little flag pin in his buttonhole as the rest of the candidates did, and he wasn’t going to do the hand over the heart thing for the Star Spangled Banner either, until someone told him to cool it.

That ‘s my take.



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.




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,544 other followers

%d bloggers like this: