American Elephants


The State Department Has Taken Cuba Off the Terror List by The Elephant's Child
May 30, 2015, 6:27 am
Filed under: Obama Doctrine, Politics, State Department | Tags: , ,

The-Malecon-Havana-Cuba

Cuba has been removed from the list of terrorist sponsoring nations, where it has resided for 33 years. Raul Castro demanded removal from the terror list as a condition for resumption of diplomatic relations. Have they done anything to warrant removal from the list? Not that you might notice.

While the United States has significant concerns and disagreements with a wide range of Cuba’s policies and actions, these fall outside the criteria relevant to the rescission of a state sponsor of terrorism designation,” the State Department said in a statement.

The list, which also includes Syria, Iran and Sudan, is reserved for nations that repeatedly provide support for international acts of premeditated, politically motivated violence against non-combatants.

The problem seems to be that Cuba is too broke to afford to support terrorism around Latin America as they once did. Resumed tourism will bolster Cuba’s ability to spread their influence. Investors reports that a Chinese-flagged ship called the Da Dan Xia is moored off Cartagena, Colombia after being detained by Colombian authorities in late February, They found 3,000 artillery shells, about 100 tons of explosives, 99 projectiles and 2.6 million detonators bound for Cuba on the vessel.

Raul Castro said that Cuba has no intention of changing its actions. It remains a Communist dictatorship, and its people get to live on $20 a month plus food rations. Liberals,according to Twitter, are excited about going to Cuba to see the charming crumbling buildings and ancient cars. That the people have been essentially prisoners for 33 years doesn’t penetrate the liberal mind. They are concerned about getting there before the charm is ruined by McDonalds and Starbucks. That people have died trying to escape doesn’t penetrate the liberal mind either.

The mysterious death of Ladies In White dissident Laura Pollan in a Havana hospital a week after she was attacked by a Castroite mob with some sort of poison handkerchief is highly suspicious. Even more suspicious is the mysterious car crash that took the life of Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya.

A former Cuban bodyguard of Fidel Castro who published an expose this month identifying Castro as a drug dealer suddenly died from a “pulmonary ailment.” Is it wrong to think an investigation is warranted before Cuba is cleared of being a terror state?

Obama is lifting the terror designation for political reasons, not for reasons of security. What he thinks he is gaining remains a mystery. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said the United States has done nothing except grant concessions to Cuba, making no demands on the Castro Regime. I guess Obama thinks this is an accomplishment.

Daniel Pipes explained:

As a man of the Left, Obama sees the United States historically as having exerted a align influence on the outside world. Greedy corporations, an overly powerful military-industrial complex, a yahoo nationalism, engrained racism, and cultural imperialism combined to render America, on balance, a force for evil.

The Obama Doctrine is simple and universal: Warm relations with adversaries and cool them with friends.

Several assumptions underlie this approach: The U.S. government morally must compensate for its prior errors. Smiling at hostile states will inspire them to reciprocate. Using force creates more problems than it solves.



Just a Bundle of Laughs by The Elephant's Child
May 28, 2015, 6:38 am
Filed under: Campaign 2016, Politics | Tags: , ,

It’s just Hillary.



It ‘s Going to Be a Long Hard Summer: The Police and the People by The Elephant's Child
May 26, 2015, 10:21 pm
Filed under: Empathy, Good Luck, Merit, Politics | Tags: , , ,

EE1baltimore.jpg.cms

Memorial Day weekend. In Baltimore, 29 were shot, 9 dead. In Chicago, 43 were wounded and 12 were killed. This has been the deadliest month Baltimore has seen in more than 15 years. That makes well over 100 murders this year, compared with 71 at this time last year, and it’s only (almost) June.

Any time Baltimore police officers respond to calls on the city’s west side, scene of the Freddie Gray Riots, as many as 50 people threaten them. Police Chief Anthony Batts (who is black) says “We have to send out multiple units just to do basic police work” he said. “It makes it very difficult to follow up on violence that takes place there.”

Police officers have just been gunned down in Omaha, New Orleans, Rio Rancho N.M. Victims can blame the crime surge on politicians who give criminals “space” to break the law. Who order cops to stop “stop and frisk.” Officers are called “racist,” their morale is low. Cops fear for their own safety and worry about being unfairly accused of using excessive force against Black criminals. Obama’s police reform task fore urges police to “de-escalate and retreat” when trying to arrest violent offenders, and Obama has unilaterally disarmed local police by banning military-style anti-riot gear.

Those who had the unmerited good fortune to grow up in stable, loving families, attend good schools, and belong to nurturing communities have the inside track to the acquisition of habits and dispositions that will serve them well throughout their lives, not least by eliciting the admiration of others. Conversely, no one deserves  to grow up in a dysfunctional or abusive family, attend crappy schools, and be raised on mean streets. The shortcomings we discern in the products of these environments reflect forces that have work on them from the outside in, rather than facets of character that manifest themselves from the inside out.
But exempting the poor from otherwise widely applicable standards of conduct, like sparing them the strain of personal initiative and responsibility, calls into question how there van be moral agents in the pews capable of being inspired or abashed by liberals’ sermons.
Liberalism presupposes, then, that people are capable of responding to compassionate appeals, and can be justly blamed and criticized if they fail to heed them….If it is possible to induce and expect people to be more compassionate in order to alleviate the suffering of others, it should also be possible to induce and expect people to be more disciplined, responsible and provident to prevent and alleviate their own suffering.*

Economist Walter Williams writes that “Hustlers and people with little understanding want us to believe that today’s black problems are the continuing result of a legacy of slavery, poverty and racial discrimination. The fact is that most of the social pathology seen in poor black neighborhoods is entirely new in black history.”

Today’s black illegitimacy rate of nearly 75% is also entirely new. In 1940, black illegitimacy stood at 14%. It had risen to 25% by 1965, when Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action” and was widely condemned as a racist.

By 1980, the black illegitimacy rate had more than doubled, to 56%, and it has been growing since. Both during slavery and as late as 1920, a teenage girl raising a child without a man present was rare among blacks.

Much of today’s pathology seen among many blacks is an outgrowth of the welfare state that has made self-destructive behavior less costly for the individual. Having children without the benefit of marriage is less burdensome if the mother receives housing subsidies, welfare payments and food stamps….

The bulk of today’s problems for many blacks are a result of politicians and civil rights organizations using government in the name of helping blacks when in fact they are serving the purposes of powerful interest groups.

*William Voegeli: The Pity Party, New York 2014


The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by The Elephant's Child
May 25, 2015, 6:10 am
Filed under: Politics

May 30, 2011, 6:27 am | Edit this   Reprinted from 2011

tomb

seal

1. How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the Tomb of the Unknowns and why?
21 steps. It alludes to the twenty-one gun salute, which is the highest honor given any military or foreign dignitary.

2. How long does he hesitate after his about face to begin his return walk and why?
21 seconds for the same reason as answer number one.

3. Why are his gloves wet?
His gloves are moistened to prevent his losing his grip on the rifle.

4. Does he carry his rifle on the same shoulder all the time and if not, why not?
He carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb.  After his march across the path, he executes an about face and moves the rifle to the outside shoulder.

5.  How often are the guards changed?
Guards are changed every thirty minutes, twenty-four hours a day, and 365 days a year.

6. What are the physical traits of the guard limited to?
A person who applies for guard duty at the tomb must be between 5′ 10″ and 6′ 2″ tall and his waist size cannot exceed 30″.

Other requirements of the Guard: they must commit 2 years of life to guard the tomb, live in a barracks under the tomb, and cannot drink any alcohol on or off duty for the rest of their lives. They cannot swear in public for the rest of their lives and cannot disgrace the uniform (by fighting) or the tomb in any way.  After two years, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on their lapel signifying they served as guard of the tomb.  There are only 400 presently worn.

The guard must obey these rules for the rest of their lives or give up the wreath pin.

The shoes are specially made with very thick soles to keep the heat and cold from their feet.  There are metal heel plates that extend to the top of the shoe in order to make the loud click as they come to a halt.  There are no wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform.  Guards dress for duty in front of a full-length mirror.

During the first six months of duty a guard may not talk to anyone, nor watch TV. Off duty time is spent studying the 175 notable people laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.  A guard must memorize who they are and where they are interred.  Among the notables are: President Taft, Joe E. Lewis (the boxer) and Medal of Honor winner Audie Murphy, (the most decorated soldier of WWII) of Hollywood fame.  Every guard spends five hours a day getting his uniforms ready for guard duty.

ETERNAL REST GRANT THEM O LORD,
AND LET PERPETUAL LIGHT SHINE UPON THEM.

In 2003 as Hurricane Isabelle was approaching Washington D.C., our U.S. Senate and House took 2 days off in anticipation of the storm.  On the ABC evening news, it was reported that because of the dangers from the hurricane, the military members assigned the duty of guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were given permission to suspend their assignment.   They respectfully declined the offer, “No way, Sir!”  Soaked to the skin, marching in the pelting rain of a tropical storm, they said that guarding the Tomb was not just an assignment; it was the highest honor that can be afforded to a service person.

The tomb has been patrolled continuously, 24/7, since 1930.

One tomb is empty: the Vietnam Tomb. It was later discovered who was in the tomb.  The family had the remains removed and buried with military honors. Congress decided to leave the tomb empty. Fox News carried the full live service at the tombs. The other channels passed it by. All who have served understand the bond. Freedom is never free.

R. Harper



You Can’t Fool Mother Nature With Your Cries Of “Sustainable” and “Renewable.” She Has Her Own Natural Cycles. by The Elephant's Child

If you are seeing a few more articles about wind energy, it’s because there was a big Windpower 2015 Conference last week. We know, from Obama’s graduation speech to the Coast Guard Cadets, that our greatest national security threat is the dangers of global warming climate change. ISIS, Iran’s Nukes, Russia’s growing expansionist interests, China’s domination of the South China Sea all pale into insignificance when compared to the threat of a warming climate. “Renewable energy” is a major part of Obama’s defense posture.

It has long been observed that wind farms and solar arrays exist because there are government subsidies which support the risks of a new business. Remove the subsidies and wind and solar stop. So the question seems to be more about whose pocket is getting lined, rather than about saving the country.

The Obama administration’s solution for expanding wind power nationwide — is to construct taller, more technologically advanced wind turbines that will be more expensive and difficult to build. This is the 21st Century, and whatever isn’t working — technology will fix. The trouble is the nature of wind itself. Even in the windiest spots, wind is intermittent. It blows in occasional gusts, stops, wafts, gentle breezes. What a turbine needs is a consistent stream of wind at a consistent power. That doesn’t happen in nature. We solve that problem with a 24/7 backup power plant switching on whenever the wind fails. Please explain how it makes sense to shut down all coal-fired power plants to get our energy from the wind, which has to have a conventional power plant running all the time to make your belief in wind energy work? Consistency is not a hallmark of the Left.

The American Wind Energy Association says scaling up wind from conventional 80 meter towers to bigger 100-130 meter towers enables something or other that couldn’t be achieved with standard towers. A 130 meter tower is about 426 feet or 120 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty.

The Energy Department reports that the cost of wind turbine towers increases rapidly with increasing height creating a trade-off between tower cost and the value of added energy production. There are “wildlife considerations” about the “interaction” between taller turbines and eagles. The American Bird Conservancy issued new research showing how wind turbines are threatening many species.

vortex-1024x576A Spanish Company is proposing a radical new way to  generate wind energy with a bladeless wind turbine called a Vortex that looks like a giant rolled joint shooting into the sky. It takes advantage of what’s known as vorticity, an aerodynamic effect that produces a patter of spinning vortices. With enough wind, vorticity can lead to an oscillating motion in structures — which, to bring it closer to home — caused the spectacular collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

The Germans had converted almost 30 percent of their electric grid to solar and wind energy in 15 years from near zero. Tom Friedman gushed that “it has been a great contribution to the stability of our planet and its climate… a world-saving achievement.” One that has come at the expense of sky-high electricity rates and  a yearly bill of $1,700 per person for a median household income of $33,000.  For the poor, a brutal cost to stay warm in a cooling world. Fearful of Fukushima, Germans are shutting down their 20 GW capacity of nuclear power. And to avoid energy blackmail from Russia, they are turning back to coal. Climate change is not caused by too much CO² in the atmosphere.

We have had over 18 years of no warming at all — a fact that escapes those deeply, emotionally invested in “natural” and “free” and “renewable.” Winters are getting colder. And cold kills.



The Unintended Consequences of the War on the Police by The Elephant's Child
May 22, 2015, 6:22 am
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Policing, The Epidemic | Tags: , , ,

Jonathan Tobin has an essential essay at Commentary magazine’ Contentions blog, on “The Real Victims of the War on Police.”

From last summer’s disturbances in Ferguson, Missouri to the more recent riots in Baltimore, the country has been engaged in a debate about police violence that has hinged on accusations of systematic racism. Regardless of the findings about the shooting in Ferguson or the racial identity of the Baltimore officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, a narrative about police racism has become entrenched in our popular culture that has remained impervious to reason or the facts. One of the consequences of this war on police that has been encouraged by statements coming from the very top of our government, including the president and the attorney general, have been incidents of violence against police. When officers go down that generates some attention, yet less discussed is the way the lives of people in poverty-stricken minority neighborhoods are affected by this attempt to blame the nation’s ills on white racism. But as the Wall Street Journal reports today, it is precisely they who are suffering as arrests have gone down in Baltimore in the last month while violent crime has increased dramatically.

In the weeks after Gray’s death as scrutiny and criticism of the Baltimore police has intensified, arrests have gone down by a rate of 40 percent when compared to the same period of time in 2013 and 2014. What makes this figure so startling is that it includes the hundreds that were arrested during the riots that rocked portions of the city. At the same time, violence in the Western district of the city where the riots occurred has gone up in a way far outpacing the increase in the rest of the city.

What’s happened here is obvious. Nothing can or should excuse alleged police misbehavior and if the six officers — three white and three African-Americans — are convicted of responsibility for Gray’s death while in their custody, they will deserve to be harshly punished. But the willingness of so many people, both on the streets and on the airwaves, to take it as a given that the cops are alien invaders who must be resisted has made it difficult if not impossible for them to do their jobs. The whole essay is here.

What is clear is that there is no “epidemic” of black men dying at the hands of police. The epidemic, Jason Riley says, is of “Young black men dying at the hands of other black men.” But nobody wants to talk about that. Nor do they want to talk about the news that the protesters in Ferguson were bussed in from groups like New Black Panthers, ANSWER and the US Human Rights Network, Now they are complaining that they never got paid. MORE owed the protesters money.

There are always unintended consequences. When the administration makes claims of police brutality, the police are afraid to make arrests. That means that more crime is ignored or excused. Democrats really don’t get incentives nor think about unintended consequences. They are concerned with empathy, and they care about poor black people. They will happily vote for more funds for the schools though. That’s why Baltimore has some of the highest expenditure on students in the country. And nothing will change, nothing at all.



Awash In an Ocean of Politically Contrived Nonsense! by The Elephant's Child
May 20, 2015, 9:46 pm
Filed under: Politics

obama-underwater

In his speech to the graduating Coast Guard Cadets today. the president expressed his belief that the most serious national security threat to our nation is climate change. This time he went on at some length to explain his views. He apparently sees the Coast Guard as having a special concern with climate change because of rising seas.

His speech tells us that he is surrounded by people who tell him what he wants to hear. “Our analysts in the intelligence community know that climate change is happening.” (well, yes the climate is always changing. No one denies that.) But if our analysts in the intelligence community think that our greatest national security challenge is climate change — we need a new intelligence community.

The science is indisputable. The fossil fuels we burn release carbon dioxide, which traps heat. And the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are now higher than they have been in 800,000 years.  The planet is getting warmer. Fourteen of the 15 hottest years on record have been in the past 15 years. Last year was the planet’s warmest year ever recorded.

Our scientists at NASA just reported that some of the sea ice around Antarctica is breaking up even faster than expected. The world’s glaciers are melting, pouring new water into the ocean. Over the past century, the world sea level rose by about eight inches. That was in the last century; by the end of this century, it’s projected to rise another one to four feet.

If this is what is being taught to the cadets, we’re in trouble. If our president understands so little about the threat of Iran’s nuclear program, emphasized by Saudi Arabia’s announcement that they are purchasing nukes off the Pakistani shelves means a nuclear arms race in the Middle East is on. He calls ISIS a JV team, Seems ready to turn the Middle East over to Iran to manage, but he’s worried that many of our military installations are on the coast.

Do read the whole speech, which is here. Almost everything in the speech is just plain false, and it doesn’t take much of a search to prove it. The climate refugees of whom he speaks may be those hardy souls who are likely to be evacuated from Antarctic bases because the sea ice is so thick that supply ships cannot reach them, and they are having to be supplied by helicopter. The warming and cooling of the earth is determined by the sun, not the carbon dioxide we exhale.

Climate Depot takes on the job of rebutting the president’s farcical speech. Scientific studies, data and history, and simply the daily news refute his claims. I borrowed Climate Depot’s photoshop above. The real problem is far larger than the multitude of errors in his speech, but what it says about the current administration that the president can be so poorly informed and be so sure that the whole apparatus of the government not only agrees with him about the problems, but backs his assessment of the dangers to our national security.

If so, that is really scary!




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