American Elephants


There are more important things in the news! by The Elephant's Child

Another small addition to the idea that we may have way too many aspiring newsmen. It is the first week of April, and we have one announced candidate for the office of President of the United States. Yet the news daily is filled with commentary on the presidential campaign. Most viable potential candidates have already had attacks of one sort or another as reporters strive to be the first one to find a real flaw to knock someone out of the race.

April 1, from The New York Times (not an April Fools Joke): “Scott Walker, Allergic to Dogs, May Run Against Political History:”

The attention to Mr. Walker’s likely candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination has focused on weighty matters such as his battles with the left, faltering forays into foreign policy and conservative stances on social issues including abortion and gun rights. But little notice has been given to an area in which he faces a different sort of constitutional challenge: overcoming his aversion to man’s best friend.

Jeb Bush can lament how he lost a Labrador (named for his brother Marvin) to cancer. Marco Rubio has a Shih Tzu, with a name like a gift from heaven: Manna. Ted Cruz goes one better: His rescue mutt is called Snowflake. (“Dear Jesus, please, please, PLEASE bring us a puppy,” his daughters prayed, according to Mr. Cruz’s Facebook page.) And if Mr. Walker makes it to November, he could face Hillary Rodham Clinton and her toy poodle, Tally.

Mr. Walker, who gives a gloomy stump speech filled with “worry,” perhaps could use a four-legged image softener of his own. But he is allergic to dog dander, an aide confirmed.

Well, says the Times, in that he’s running against the long sweep of American political history. If there was a handbook for candidates, “must love dogs” would be right up front.



Obama’s “Good Deal” is a Self-Serving Fantasy by The Elephant's Child

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Reported: Obama ordered Secretary Kerry to continue talking in Lausanne even though deadline had passed.

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — (Washington Post) “Negotiators from Iran and major world powers reached agreement Thursday on a framework for a final agreement to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from international sanctions an accord that President Obama hailed as a “good deal” that would make the world a safer place.”

Obama appeared in the Rose Garden to say that the U.S. and its partners “reached a historic understanding with Iran which if fully implemented, will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

Poor Obama, He is so desperate for “a deal” that he has turned over everything the Iranians could possibly want, in return for some vague promises that will be meaningless. Close observers have said that he expects this ‘accomplishment’ to equal Nixon’s opening up China. Instead he may have signed America’s death warrant, and Israel’s.

America is an open society, we hang most of our secrets out on a clothesline for all the world to see — and hackers get a good percentage of the rest. Hardening off our electric grid? EMP attacks? Just yesterday some Russian expert suggested that the best way to end America would be to drop a nuclear bomb on Yellowstone. Not defeat — destroy. When is the last time that The United States of America ever suggested destroying another country?

Obama’s speech in the Rose Garden was so full of straw men that it was embarrassing. He even claimed the authority of a push poll yesterday that asked such a mushy-soft question that both Hitler and Mother Teresa would have signed on. UN Officials have said that Iran is already blocking their efforts to track what is going on in their nuclear program. We not only don’t know how advanced their program is, we don’t know for sure how many facilities they have.

Thomas Sowell wrote today:

The Soviet Union was never suicidal, so the fact that we could annihilate their cities if they attacked ours was a sufficient deterrent to a nuclear attack from them. But will that deter fanatics with an apocalyptic vision? Should we bet the lives of millions of Americans on our ability to deter nuclear war with Iran?

It is now nearly 70 years since nuclear bombs were used in war. Long periods of safety in that respect have apparently led many to feel as if the danger is not real. But the dangers are even greater now and the nuclear bombs more devastating.

Clearing the way for Iran to get nuclear bombs may — probably will — be the most catastrophic decision in human history. And it can certainly change human history, irrevocably, for the worse.

The Iraqi Prime Minister said “We will continue enriching. We won’t close facilities and all sanctions will be terminated.” Obama seems to believe that they are just developing nuclear energy for peaceful domestic purposes. If so, why the intercontinental ballistic missiles? And why, when they are a major oil-producing country, do they need nuclear energy? We don’t even know how close or far their development of a bomb is — Obama is claiming 10 years, too far away to be blamed on him, but other sources say as little as 45 days.

We had a powerful restraint in place. Iran supposedly requires a $130 per barrel price for oil to break even, and the price has dropped below $50. Obama compared himself to Richard Nixon and to John Kennedy negotiating nuclear deals with the Soviet Union, but both of them submitted their agreements to Congress for approval.



It’s Not About American Safety, It’s About a “Legacy” For Obama by The Elephant's Child

CAVSZGZU0AAe8F1The key to understanding current events seems to be President Barack Obama. Who is this man, and what does he stand for? He has been our president for over six years and we don’t even know him at all.

Richard Epstein who knew him at the University of Chicago and through his next door neighbor who was a close friend of Obama, said he has the most perfect disposition for a politician. He is in complete control of himself, and wants to be in control of his situation, which, for example, is why he always uses a teleprompter. He keeps all of his thoughts to himself. In the Senate he was the farthest left of all.

Epstein said he has a good mind, but it is a clever means-ends mind. He is very dogmatic in his essential positions, and does not change his mind. Yet he does not have the skill set to deal with the complex problems he wants to address.

Bret Stephens writing for the Wall Street Journal today, called him “The Capitulationist,” with the subhead “The Obama administration refuses to negotiate openly, lest the extent of its diplomatic surrender to Iran be prematurely and fatally exposed.”

Victor Davis Hanson called it a “Chicago Presidency” and said “Malice is a valuable political tool for Barack Obama” The point is not that all this is outrageous, but rather that it is deliberately outrageous, again begging the question, “So what are you going to do about it?” …

“What then is the full Obama presidency? It is the quest for extralegal power not just by ignoring the law, tradition, or custom, but by doing so flagrantly and without concern, to the point of rendering critics impotent — and thereby accruing even more power to enrage and embarrass them.”

Seth Mandel at Commentary “The Obama administration’s official perspective on the Middle East currently engulfed in brutal sectarian conflict, civil war, and the collapse of state authority is: Let it burn. Nothing matters but a piece of paper affirming a partnership with the region’s key source of instability and terror in the name of a presidential legacy.”…

Obviously the president wants a deal, and he’s willing to do just about anything for it. The Obama administration long ago abandoned the idea that a bad deal is worse than no deal, and only recently began hinting at this shift in public. Officials have no interest in even talking about Yemen while they’re negotiating the Iran deal. It’s a singleminded pursuit; obsessive, irrational, ideologically extreme.

Yukia Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency: “Without Iranian disclosure of past illicit activities, including nuclear enrichment and weaponization research, it’s hard to see how the Obama Administration can honor its core pledge to strike a deal that would give the West a one-year warning if Iran decides to build a bomb. As Olli Heinonen, the former Deputy Director-General for Safeguards at the IAEA, told us, “you need to have that baseline. You want to understand what they were doing.” An Iran that has the know-how to rapidly weaponize highly enriched uranium or plutonium may need only months to assemble a bomb.” …

The U.S. may also accept a verification plan that would grant the IAEA access to “some” of the sites that Iran has so far closed to the IAEA. But any verification program that doesn’t give inspectors unfettered and immediate access to any place they want to see does little more than create the illusion of inspections while giving Iran the opportunity to cheat.”

IBD: “At the eleventh hour before the Tuesday deadline, Tehran negotiators predictably changed positions and demanded new concessions. Unfortunately, unlike Ronald Reagan, President Obama won’t be walking away. …Americans should think back nearly three decades ago to a low-key former British Embassy in northern Reykjavik in Iceland.

Americans should think back nearly three decades ago to a low-key former British Embassy in northern Reykjavik in Iceland. It was there, in October 1986, that Ronald Reagan picked up his papers and walked out on a U.S.-Soviet summit, not caring a whit what the media or the Washington establishment would say.

He had won the Cold War by standing his ground that day, as many ex-Soviets confirmed. Striking a note familiar today, Gorbachev adviser Anatoly Chernyaev’s notes show that the Russian ruler believed “Reagan needs” a deal at Reykjavik “as a matter of personal ambition, so as to go down in history as a ‘peace president.'”

But Reagan needed nothing of the sort. He knew his job was to protect the nation and the Free World and that those seated across from him were representatives of what he wasn’t afraid to call an Evil Empire.



Some Days the “Information Age” Is Really Troubling by The Elephant's Child

Do we have too many aspiring reporters chasing too little real news? To much news and they can’t sort out the important from the trivial? Or only that the loons are now in charge? The “deal” that was supposed to emerge from the negotiations in Lausanne by today isn’t going to emerge so they were going to put it off for one more day, but then somebody in the White House said Eeew, tomorrow is April Fools Day. Very bad political PR, and so they decided to put the deadline off till June.

The Governor of Connecticut, Dan Malloy, responded promptly to the Religious Freedom kerfuffle in Indiana by banning any travel to Indiana, apparently unaware that his own state of Connecticut has long had a similar RFRA law. And nobody has bothered to read the law, but only act on others’ talking points.

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, who is gay, declared religious liberty protections that exist in 30 states as “dangerous” and the sure path to a semblance of “days of segregation and discrimination marked by ‘Whites Only’ signs on shop doors, water fountains and restrooms.” RFRA simply established the balancing test that courts must apply in religious freedom cases. Which indicates only that Mr. Cook has no idea what the laws actually say, and yet Apple happily sells their products in countries where homosexuality is illegal, and is punishable with the death penalty. ISIS throws gays off the roofs of tall buildings, but they may be too busy killing people to buy iPhones.

One of Hillary’s campaign supporters came up with a list of words that may not be used in reference to Hillary because they are ‘sexist’ and got a day’s worth of attention, but Hillary is running to be the “first woman president” while emphasizing that her particular qualifications are her work for women’s rights and for girls.  Seems as if there is some disconnection here, but nevermind, she has wiped her server of anything that might be incriminating.

The Washington Post reports that by a 2 to 1 margin, Americans support the notion of striking a deal with Iran that restricts the nation’s nuclear program in exchange for loosening sanctions, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds.   Huh? What was the question?

Q: Thinking now about the situation with Iran – would you support or oppose an agreement in which the United States and other countries would lift major economic sanctions against Iran, in exchange for Iran restricting its nuclear program in a way that makes it harder for it to produce nuclear weapons?

Apparently unmentioned was the notion that the “best deal” would be to extend to one year the time it would take for Iran to perfect a nuclear bomb.

Mohammad Reva Naqdi, head of the Basij militia unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards turned up to reassure the world that “erasing Israel off the Map” is very much on the table on the eve of the P+5 nuclear talks, and will never be negotiated away as part of any nuclear deal with President Obama.

John Kerry, Energy Sec. Moniz and Wendy Sherman did not rise from their chairs and say, well we’ll just have to put some extremely severe sanctions back on and walk out, but offered to continue talking till June, and what else could we give up to get a deal—any deal?

Breitbart is reporting that an Iran deal has been reached after a long night session, and details are to come, or it’s not a final accord, or?

Iran under the Mullahs believes that Armageddon is much to be desired because it will ring about the return of the Mahdi, the Messiah, which will be followed by total bliss, or paradise. Yet that remains unmentioned in the ‘news’ at all.

One story contradicts the other. What is Real?

Strange Day



It Isn’t Really About Religious Liberty, That’s Just an Excuse! by The Elephant's Child

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Today’s big Kerfuffle is about the Religious Freedom law that Indiana’s Governor Mike Pence just signed into law. It is simply a state-level version of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) which imposes a “strict scrutiny” legal standard when state or local governments pass laws that interfere with the free exercise of religion. Governor Pence and Indiana’s legislators have been denounced as gay-hating bigots, a claim never made when President Bill Clinton signed the federal RFRA, or even about the people and officials of the 20 states with a RFRA. There are another dozen or so states that also have constitutional provisions that are similar.

Ssssh!  It’s not about religious freedom. It about Mike Pence who has been a successful and accomplished governor, is nice looking, very likeable, and who is one of a number of outstanding governors who might well run for the office of the President of the United States. This is what today’s far-left progressives do. The issue is never the issue. And this one is about an attempt to attack Mike Pence and disqualify him as a potential Republican candidate.

If you remember, Rick Perry was disqualified as a potential Republican candidate because of the way he melted down in the debates last time. Melted down? Well, not exactly. He went blank on a third agency he wanted to mention and couldn’t think of it. Something that has happened to lots of us. But the actual small blank moment has been boosted into a “complete disqualification.” Who says? Well, all those news people.

Then there was Chris Christie. It was the bridge thing. He was accused of deliberately blocking a bridge in order to influence votes by making commuters angry. He was absolved of the accusation, but the issue has been boosted into a “complete disqualification.”

Then there was Governor Scott Walker. A New York Times writer accused him of slashing the funds for schools and laying off teachers. Ooops! The writer was Gail Collins, and the slashing of funds, such as it was, happened in the previous administration before Scott Walker took office.

Ted Cruz, who just announced his candidacy, has already been accused as being even more unprepared for office than former state senate backbencher who kept voting present, and was a community organizer. He has been tarred with the McCarthy label, and many more drastic accusations will be forthcoming. What could scare the hard left more? He is conservative, has a link to the immigrant community, speaks Spanish, is an accomplished attorney who has argued for the State of Texas before the Supreme Court many times and often successfully, and is admittedly brilliant.

This is the pattern for the Left. Republican candidates will be portrayed as waging war on women and minorities, favoring only the rich, inflicting pain on working families to benefit the wealthy few, not caring about the poor and vulnerable, while Republicans say the left is using class warfare tactics, or being divisive. Democrats go for the throat, Republicans are too polite to do so, and try to explain how lower taxes for everyone will benefit the economy.

So the issue (religious freedom) is not the issue. The real issue is getting rid of Republican candidates who might be attractive to voters. Attacking religious fundamentalists (the anti-religion crowd has never gotten over Hobby Lobby). Distracting national attention from the poisonous Iran deal negotiations. And finding someone to replace Hillary who is building up a huge scandal with her email evasion before she even declares as a candidate.



American History Lives On In Lexington, Massachusetts by The Elephant's Child

Battle_of_Lexington_DetailApril 19, 1775, some 700 British troops arrived in Lexington and came upon 77 militiamen gathered on the town green. A British major yelled “Throw down your arms! Ye villains,ye rebels!” The vastly outnumbered militiamen had been ordered by their commander to disperse when a shot rang out. No one knows which side fired first, but several British volleys were unleashed before order could be restored. When the smoke cleared, eight militiamen lay dead and nine were wounded, while only one Redcoat was injured. The British troops marched on to Concord to search for rebel arms.

The “shot heard round the world” was fired at Concord Bridge, and nearly 2,000 militiamen harassed the British from behind trees, walls and houses as they returned to Boston, 18 miles away.

Students at Lexington High School are presumably conscious of local history, so the dance committee picked “American Pride” as the theme for their upcoming dance.

Students said the administration canceled an “American Pride” dance because it excluded other nationalities, despite the theme getting the most votes from the dance committee.

School officials defended their decision and added they are willing to tweak the theme in order for everyone to be included.

Well, there you go. Is anyone surprised that a public school would feel that “national pride” would be “more inclusive.” Blah, blah, diverse demography of our community. The idea of America is that people from many nations and many different origins can come to America and become Americans. Supposedly, that is why they are here — to become Americans.

The results were predictable, a little publicity and the school caved, the “National Pride” Dance was rescheduled for late April and students can even wear red, white and blue if they so choose.

This needs more than a sigh, and a “there they go again” response. It is ubiquitous in our school systems. “Diversity” and “social justice” and “inclusiveness” are just a few of the words that indicate a mindset that inflicts the establishment that is supposed to be teaching our children reading with understanding, writing with clarity, mastering mathematics, understanding the basic sciences of biology, chemistry and physics, learning about history and government.

We know from international comparisons that our schools are doing a lousy job of that, and graduating kids who cannot master the basics, but they’re well up on the Left’s touchy-feely pap. We are losing our country, and losing the future because we are not alarmed enough. Most of us can’t yank our kids out of school and afford a private school, or quit our jobs and homeschool. Are you ready to attend some school board meetings and raise hell? Did you actually know anything about the school board members you voted for? Do you read your kids’ textbooks and talk to them about their assignments?

You will notice the little militiaman on the school sign. The kids get it, but the staff doesn’t.

“People consider America to be a melting pot, so the fact that it was even considered offensive is what people are a little surprised about,” said student Sneha Rao.

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Today is National Freedom of Information Day by The Elephant's Child

9271_1280x800As the highlight of Sunshine Week, the White House celebrates by removing the federal regulation that subjects the Office of the Administration to FOIA requests. Actually many agencies within the federal government won’t respond to FOIA requests until they are successfully sued. ‘Others play the waiting game, the “we can’t find it” game, and the “fine, but it’ ll cost you” game, and now the Office of the Administration will play the “We don’t have to”game.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration set a record again for censoring government files or outright denying access to them last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, according to a new analysis of federal data by The Associated Press.

The government took longer to turn over files when it provided any, said more regularly that it couldn’t find documents and refused a record number of times to turn over files quickly that might be especially newsworthy.

It also acknowledged in nearly 1 in 3 cases that its initial decisions to withhold or censor records were improper under the law — but only when it was challenged.

The administration’s backlog of unanswered requests has grown to more than 200,000, growing by 55 percent just this last year. it also cut by 375 people the number of full time employees paid to look for the records requested. The Freedom of Information Law is heralded globally as a model for transparent government. Much celebrated, but  fitfully complied with. More than ever, it censored materials that it turned over, or fully denied access to them — in 250,581 cases.

The American Civil Liberties Union received a 15 page response to a request for information on the Justice Department’s policy of intercepting text messages on cellphones — every single page was blacked out from top to bottom.

Heavy redactions are a common government trick, and agencies are adept at exploiting any ambiguity in the law to prevent the release of requested records. The Washington Examiner has a list of some of the outrageous avoidance techniques that demonstrate just how far an agency will go. It’s not clear if they are actually trying to hide something or if they are just exercising what they believe to be their prerogatives, as important government agencies.

Remember the protective nature of bureaucracy and their reluctance to release anything that might reflect badly upon them. Transparency and truth-telling are dangerous steps. Who knows just how they might use that information? They might try to eliminate an agency, or cut its funding. Better to hunker down and stall.




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