American Elephants


A Question of Character. by The Elephant's Child

hillary clintonHillary’s greatest problem is that though she has a profound interest in politics, she has really lousy political instincts. That is a sense of the right thing to do and a sense for how one’s actions will appear to others. The Clinton administration was full of controversy, the travel office scandal erupted early, as did Hillary’s expectation of being Bill’s co-president.

What she learned instead was a defensiveness and self-protective attitude that led to lies and concealment. Bill had pretty good political instincts, and a good-old-boy, aw-shucks grin that served him pretty well. You would think that observing Lois Lerner and her e-mail scandal would have alerted Hillary to potential troubles, but instead it led her to have her own private server installed in her home. Secretiveness replaced openness. When you try to pretend openness as a protective pose — nobody believes you anyway. It’s too late.

Good political instincts would have prevented the whole catastrophe of Benghazi. Deposing Muammar Gaddafi, refusing security to the ambassadorial mission, denial of the nature of the terrorist attackers, refusing help to the embattled American contractors, and then the absurd attempt to blame it all on a short, dumb video, and then Hillary met the plane with the bodies returning to the United States, and assured mourning parents that they would get the guy who made the video.

Any careful read of Hillary’s history should prevent her from ever being considered as “the first woman president” which seems to be her aim. I don’t accept the idea of first of this sex, first of this ethnicity, first of this color. That is not what is important about a person’s qualifications, but rather their accomplishments and their character. Can we trust them with high office? Do they have a good understanding of American history and character? Do they have a good mind? Do they have good political instincts?  Trust it to the Left to always put the emphasis on the wrong things.



Iran Proceeds Resolutely On It’s Way, Ignoring the Talks. by The Elephant's Child

AP080923010567 Iran on Sunday unveiled their new cruise missile that it claimed would extend the Islamic Republic’s potential range to 2,500 kilometers, placing cities like Budapest, Warsaw and Athens within striking difference. Their intercontinental ballistic missiles are not part of the nuclear talks with Iran, we are told. Tehran has refused to include their growing missile-development program as part of the negotiations. It is not any part of the deal, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reminded us last week in his speech to Congress.

The Soumar missile, as it is known in Iran, is a copy of the Soviet Kh-55 which was stolen from the Ukraine in 2001 and apparently reverse engineered in Iran. It flies at low altitude and is thus hard for radar to detect. The payload is reportedly in the 200-kilogram range, not yet capable of delivering a nuclear device. It does, however raise the question of U.S. plans to station missile defense systems in Europe. Russia has long contended that Iranian missiles threaten neither Europe nor the U.S.. This is an interesting development, if it was taken without Russian consent.

Back when he as a mere candidate, Barack Obama said that diplomacy with rogue regimes was an important issue “The notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them… is ridiculous,’ he declared in 2007. “If countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us,” he told Al-Arabiya. He has been so determined on a deal that he hasn’t let anything stand in the way — not Congress, not our allies, and especially not the facts.

Unfortunately, the State Department does not conduct after-action reports, forcing participants to confront their mistakes, like the Army does. The State Department has no clear metrics for such measurement. Michael Rubin notes that:

Too many American diplomats dismiss the need to consider mistakes. Instead, many are committed to the belief that talking is a cost-free, risk-free strategy. Testifying before the Senate in support of Obama’s outreach to Iran, Nicholas Burns, the second undersecretary of state for foreign affairs under George W. Bush, promised, “We will be no worse off if we try diplomacy and fail.”

We project our American understandings onto other countries with different cultures — who see entering into discussions as a weak response, and lifting the sanctions as complete surrender. Ignorance of an adversary’s true intentions can kill. Obama seems to believe that Iranians are reasonable people who really want the same things we do. Obama’s foolish rush into a deal with Iran would be disastrous.

Every U.S. administration has attempted to bring Iran into the family of nations in spite of its rhetoric and in spite of its actions. It’s hard for nations who yearn for peace to understand those that yearn for the apocalypse. In the  year before Obama agreed to talks with Iran, the Iranian economy had shrunk by 5.4 percent. To bring them to the table, Obama has released more than $11 billion to Iran. The only two times Iran has reversed course after swearing to a course of no compromises have been when Iran was close to collapse. Michael Rubin says — Only one thing will deter Iran: “forcing the regime to choose between its nuclear ambition and its survival.” Pretending to delay them for ten years is pathetic.

Does Obama think his deal will deter Iran? Does he believe that ten years will let him off the hook? Or does he simply have no understanding of the consequences of his actions nor consider the possibility that he might indeed be wrong.



But We Were Sure It Would Save Money! by The Elephant's Child

obama-signs-obamacare

One of Obama’s big promises about ObamaCare was that once people had the wonderful new “Affordable Care”insurance,  emergency room use would sharply decline and the country would save all sorts of money on medical care. Conservatives knew that was bunk, but the Affordable Care Act passed without a single Republican vote — for good reason, and really, not because we hate the president. We just hate his health care bill.

A peculiarity of Progressives is that they decide a policy would be another step on the path to a ‘better world,’ but they don’t spend much effort on analyzing how it would actually work. They have enrolled lots more people who were uninsured in Medicaid. They feel wonderful about that — all ‘Lady Bountiful’. That they have at the same time, in order to make it affordable, cut back so far on what they will pay doctors, that nobody in need of health care can find a doctor who will accept Medicaid’s low payment. Voila! Increased use of emergency rooms.

ABC reports that Bakersfield Memorial Hospital broke records and now serve 300 people daily in the ER. A Registered Nurse, Jenny Wilson, with Memorial Hospital explains that they have developed a fast track system that categorizes the patients based on illness and directs the less serious cases with sprains, cold or cough to get quick treatment and then releases them.

A Los Angeles Times article confirmed that according to state records, Los Angeles County’s 74 emergency rooms, 11 treated an additional 2,000 patients or more in the first six months of 2014 compared with the same time in 2013.

The VA scandal arose when veterans died before they could finally get an appointment to be seen. Higher-ups demanded that hospitals see more patients in less time in order to save money, but hospitals could not meet the demand, so in order to save their jobs, they parked people on hidden wait lists. Apparently nobody asked if it was possible to do what was requested. It wasn’t. But veterans inconveniently died when forced to wait too long.

ObamaCare was going to save all sorts of money by computerizing everybody’s records, so everybody could share them, and the federal government would have national records of the nation’s health that they could study and find even more ways to save money. Hospitals and clinics, at great expense and trouble have indeed computerized.

My local hospital and all the associated clinics are getting used to the system, though it means that in most cases the doctor spends his time interacting with the computer instead of the patient. That’s a problem. An even larger problem is that hospitals can’t talk to each other. Their systems were separately designed, and the programming cannot and will not connect unless re-done. Affordable Care isn’t affordable.

Rules create incentives, regulations have consequences— often unintended. That is true in all of life. Progressives eyes are so fixed on the warm feelings to be engendered by their action that they just don’t expect any untoward consequences. Need proof? These are the people who think they can run up the national debt to $18 trillion, without understanding that they have to pay it back.



Is There No End To Obama’s Drive to Control Everything With “Executive Orders?” by The Elephant's Child

ferguson-riots-burning-car
President Barack Obama seems to be indignant that we had a wave election, putting the Republicans in charge of Congress and has determined to just go ahead and do what he wants to anyway.  And he has apparently instructed Democrats in Congress to do the same. Democrats are convinced that their vision of moral and social progress is the pathway to a “better world.” “Their belief in a redeemed future accounts for their political passion and for their furious personal assaults on those who stand in their way.” Slipping into full tyrant mode is not a problem. Republicans are the enemies of the just and the good, and defeating them at every opportunity is a step forward.

So Monday, President Barack Obama introduced his plan for a progressive takeover of state and local policing.

We have a great opportunity… to really transform how we think about community law enforcement relations,” he said Monday.

“We need to seize that opportunity… this is something that I’m going to stay very focused on in the months to come,” Obama said, as he touted a new interim report from his Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

Obama also instructed his media allies to help federalize policing, and to sideline the critics of centralized policing rules. “I expect our friends in the media to really focus on what’s in this report and pay attention to it,” he instructed.

This is, of course, derived from Ferguson, and the police shooting of “the unarmed young black man” that was endlessly played up by Mr. Obama, his deputies, Al Sharpton, and the Justice Department. Timing, however, is everything.

The Justice Department today announced that it will not charge former Ferguson MO police office Darren Wilson with any civil rights violations in the “racially charged” shooting death of Michael Brown. Encouraged by the administration, the St. Louis County grand jury’s decision not to charge Wilson in the shooting set off massive protests, rioting and looting in the area and around the country. I have never quite grasped just why looting is a viable response to angry feelings.

In order to clean up the record, outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder admitted that the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” slogan used by Democrat activists endlessly since August 2014 was a complete falsehood. He acknowledged the fake story as he released the results of the Justice Department’s investigation of the Ferguson shooting.

Instead, Holder suggested the media and Americans recognize the fakery. “It remains not only valid – but essential – to question how such a strong alternative version of events was able to take hold so swiftly, and be accepted so readily,” he said.

The town had a “highly toxic environment, defined by mistrust and resentment, stoked by years of bad feelings, and spurred by illegal and misguided [police] practices – [so] it is not difficult to imagine how a single tragic incident set off the city of Ferguson like a powder keg,” he said.

Those claims of police abuse are being used by Holder to promote President Barack Obama’s new effort to federalize police practices in states and localities.

The report also admitted that Police Officer Darren Wilson’s description of the incident was completely accurate and confirmed by witnesses.

An incident hyped up by the lapdog media and the administration was an attempt to bring out a big black vote in the 2014 election, but the issue was not only the issue, but part of Obama’s plan to federalize the police force.



The Propaganda Wars: Unfamiliar Strategy by The Elephant's Child

ISIS is depending on their videos to appeal to young Muslims who may be convinced to join the fight. The violence portrayed in many of them has encouraged hundreds to make their way to Syria to join ISIS. The Islamic State’s best recruiting tool is youth boredom. ISIS is offering excitement, a chance for young Muslims in the West to get back at the prejudice against Muslims that they may feel, and they find the extreme violence portrayed on the video thrilling and exciting. Just as we find movie portrayals of special effects exciting. But the reality is something else.

There are currently 3 young women, teenagers, from Britain currently making their way to Turkey and Syria to become brides of ISIS. There are at lest 8 impressionable schoolgirls that were attracted by websites recruiting brides, who have disappeared. A couple of them are already widows. Hundreds are proposing to ISIS fighters.

Have you ever been a member of the military, and gone through basic training? If so you will enjoy this newest ISIS recruiting video meant to strike fear into the hearts of the West. I can’t embed the video, so you will have to follow the link. The music is annoying, but the camouflage is priceless.

We need some evidence and videos of the setbacks being inflicted on ISIS and al Qaeda to counter their propaganda. But that may be another part of the Obama strategy that isn’t understood.



What Did Obama Mean By “Fundamentally Transform”? by The Elephant's Child

Obama lecturing

Most of us are apt to divide the world up into the good guys and the bad guys. Opposites.  Simplistic thinking, of course. No nuance. (when did that word slip into the daily vocabulary?) Winners and losers. Short and tall, rich and poor, hard-working and lazy, handsome and ugly, cruel and kind, smart and stupid. It helps us to understand those things we encounter in the world, we can modify our judgment later.

World War II was clear — Allies and Axis, and the Cold War — Communists and the Free World. Things began to get confused with the War in Vietnam. Protesters couldn’t decide who were the good guys and who were the bad guys. Jane Fonda has never been forgiven for her stupidity, but she was not alone among the far left. It was a confusing time, and when the Draft was ended, surprisingly so were the protests.

Questions today on the internet ask “Is Obama a Christian?” and “Is Obama a Muslim?” But those are the wrong questions. Obama has given every indication of signing up with the bad guys, the Axis, the Communists, and those who oppose our country. His dislike for the Israeli prime minister is obvious; his distaste for the United Kingdom is clear; his support for a deal with Iran; his support for the Muslim Brotherhood; for the deposed president of Egypt; inability to reach a status of forces agreement with Iraq; Benghazi; refusal to help the dissidents in Iran, and in Syria; and the silly outreach to Cuba; and the support for most anti-American governments in South America.

There is a pattern.  A pattern which is behind Rudy Giuliani’s asking if the president loves America. One would think that the media would be somewhat aware of the direction of the entire Obama administration, instead of dissolving in wrath when someone actually notices. (Or is that why the media boiled over —they’re beginning to notice?)

I think he is just doing exactly what he said he would do: attempt to “fundamentally transform the United States of America.” Everybody was so excited with the idea of the first black president, the mellow baritone voice, the moving phraseology “Yes We Can!,” “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for!,” that they didn’t really pay any attention to what he actually said that he wanted to do. I don’t think he is trying to destroy the country, he just wants to “fix” it.

We are paying the price for our inattention. And it’s up to us to find out exactly what he meant by “fundamentally transform.” It matters. It matters a lot.



They Celebrate Themselves and Sing Themselves… by The Elephant's Child

awards-2015-background-full

In spite of the theme that the most important thing happening in the world yesterday was—the Oscars— viewership was way down. The awards went to movies that no one had seen, and pointedly ignored the really big hits. It was the most political Oscar party in years. But the glitterati of Hollywood can never get enough of  red carpets, being photographed and getting awards—which they do with ever increasing frequency.

  • The 72nd Golden Globes Awards
  • The 25th Screen Actor Guild (SAG) Awards
  • The 57th GRAMMIES
  • The 87th Academy Awards (Oscars)
  • The 69th Tonys
  • The People’s Choice Awards
  • The Kid’s Choice Awards
  • The Webbys
  • MTV Movie Awards
  • Teen Choice Awards
  • MTV Video Music Awards
  • The 67th Emmy Awards

Beyond that, there are at least 50 major film festivals, the most notable being Cannes, Sundance, Toronto, Venice and Berlin, but most other major cities have one as well.

Can you spell n-a-r-c-i-s-s-i-s-m?

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. …
—just a random few lines from Walt Whitman



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