American Elephants

Intelligence Sources Say that 4 Out of 5 Syrian Refugees Are Not From Syria. by The Elephant's Child

Syria2_442696bPresident Obama is set on his plan for admitting 10,000 “Syrian refugees” next year, and his press conference yesterday is not going over well even with the Democrats. Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, typically an Obama ally, said that “at times he was patronizing, at other times he seemed annoyed and almost dismissive.”

“That’s not the tone you want to strike to the public, that’s not the tone you want to send to our allies and enemies,” said Democratic strategist Brad Bannon.

Obama saved his harshest criticism for Republicans, but focused most of his time fending off critics who say the Paris attacks show his counterterrorism strategy has been a failure. ISIS has continued to hold on to large swaths of territory — but its newly demonstrated ability to pull off a coordinated terror attack in a major European city should elicit from Obama some broader reevaluation of his strategy.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Monday that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) isn’t contained to its territory in the Middle East, presenting a sharp contrast with President Obama’s remarks on his strategy to combat the group.

“I have never been more concerned,” Feinstein said during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” calling for additional U.S. troops on the ground to combat the militants.

The media is, as usual, muddying up the situation. The “refugees, migrants, immigrants” usually described as “the Syrian refugees”are not all from Syria. Some intelligence sources say that 4 out of 5 refugees are not from Syria. They have apparently been told that they are welcome in Europe and will receive welfare and schooling and all sorts of benefits they can’t obtain at home. And once there, they are demanding, and particular, and ungrateful.

Who can possibly not have sympathy for those trying desperately to escape Bashar Assad’s barrel bombs and poison gas? FBI Director James Comey has said that it is impossible to vet the refugees, since there is no government in Syria to vet them with, as has Michael Rogers, NSA Director.  Attorney General Loretta Lynch claims they will screen them, how, she didn’t say.

Here are the top 15 countries of origin for refugees admitted to the U.S. in fiscal year 2015: Myanmar, Iraq, Somalia, Dem.Rep. of Congo, Bhutan, Iran, Syria, Eritrea, Sudan, Cuba, Ukraine, Burundi, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and Colombia.

The New York Times has a map that shows where Syrian Refugees have so far been placed, and it includes states whose  governors have refused to accept refugees. It is an extremely difficult situation, and Mr. Obama seems unable to understand that it is not a matter of empathy — but of attempting to keep Americans safe from a massive attack, which is clearly coming.

Strangely, in this very strange time, the loose-knit online hacker group Anonymous “declared war‘ on ISIS this weekend, and reports that over 5,500 ISIS-affiliated accounts on Twitter have been exposed and taken down.

If you have not read The Atlantic article on “What ISIS Really Wants,” I would urge you to do so.  As the subhead says: “The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy — and for how to stop it.”

Trying to Make Sense in a Disordered World by The Elephant's Child

francejetPresident Francois Hollande pledged to wage “pitiless war”against ISIS in the wake of the multi-pronged military-style assault on civilians in Paris. This is not the last major attack on a western capital we will see. Within a few short days, ISIS has apparently brought down a civilian Russian airliner killing 224 people,and suicide bombings that killed at least 41 people in Beirut and 19 in Baghdad, and attacked the people of Paris. France still has a warrior tradition, and a military.

French fighter jets dropped 20 bombs on a command and control center, jihadi recruitment center, munitions depot and ISIS training camp in the Syrian city of Raqqa, ISIS headquarters.

At Commentary, Jonathan Tobin captured the moment:

In the last 36 hours, the world reeled from the horror and shock of the terror attacks that took the lives of at least 129 persons and wounded hundreds more. In response a lot of Americans responded to it in the way they instinctively react to everything these days. They changed their profile picture on Facebook.

Mark Steyn headlined his piece on Europe “The Barbarians are Inside, And There Are No Gates.” That was on Friday. He said on the radio apropos the latest campus ‘safe space’ nonsense: “This is what we”re going to be talking about when the mullahs nuke us.” And added:

When the Allahu Akbar boys opened fire, Paris was talking about the climate-change conference due to start later this month, when the world’s leaders will fly in to “solve” a “problem” that doesn’t exist rather than to address the one that does. But don’t worry: we already have a hashtag (#PrayForParis) and doubtless there’ll be another candlelight vigil of weepy tilty-headed wankers. Because as long as we all advertise how sad and sorrowful we are, who needs to do anything?

Weasel Zippers reports that the Federal Bureau of Investigations has nearly 1,000 active probes connected to the Islamic State terrorist group inside the United States, law enforcement officials claimed in a letter to President Obama. The letter was from a group of elected sheriffs in Colorado blasting the president’s plan to transfer known terrorists held at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to a mainland facility. There would seem to be something to the idea that we really don’t need more terrorists in the country.

Herb Meyer wrote last month that:

For seven years now, President Obama has been conducting what may well be one of history’s greatest political experiments. His revolutionary theory — which this Copernicus-from-Chicago articulates with such supreme confidence that he’s persuaded American voters to elect him twice to the presidency — is that the world would be a safer, less violent place if the United States played a smaller role on the global stage. At the core of this theory lies his hypothesis that American military power is more the problem than the solution; that our over-reliance on guns rather than brains had de-stabilized key parts of the world, such as the Mideast, that would otherwise have been more peaceful and prosperous.

We have an endless flow of statistics and polls, gossip, policies, campaign speeches and public relations which results in a bad case of information overload. How do we sort out the important from what is trivial? College students are demonstrating and screaming about racial slurs that may never have happened, and are outraged that the news media has turned its attention from Yale and the University of Missouri to Paris.

In Turkey, President Obama walked in late to a solemn moment of silence by heads of state there for a G7 conference. In reference to the Syrian refugee crisis, he remarked:  “Society has not passed this exam with good grades.”

Oh well, of course, “Society.” I really don’t think that Barack O’Blameless has any idea just what he has precipitated with his ideology. There are ideological experiments and there is the real world, where real human beings have a hard time getting along, but try to recognize reality when it strikes, right in front of us, and try to react with measured firmness.  If, as Smoky Bear says, you drown your campfire, turn it over and drown it again — maybe you won’t have the whole forest in flames.


The EPA Is Not Now, And Never Has Been, In Any Situation — Transparent! by The Elephant's Child

AR-150829613.jpg&maxw=725&maxh=575I have wondered about the progress of the spill from the Gold King Mine as it proceeds down the Colorado River System through Lake Powell and the Grand Canyon. As the spill approached Lake Powell, news about the spill precipitously dropped from the news. Not an accident. Environmental Protection Agency officials have required their contractors to sign non-disclosure agreements, or secrecy pledges.

“The statement of work includes a standard requirement that the contractor shall not publish or otherwise release, distribute, or disclose any work product generated under the contract without obtaining EPA’s express advance written approval,” an EPA spokeswoman told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “This does not require either an NDA or confidentiality agreement be signed by individual employees.”

Non-disclosure agreements are often used to protect important government secrets, they are not supposed to obstruct official accountability at critical times. The EPA was clearly at fault here for a massive spill of 3 million gallons of highly toxic mine waste, not only rife with materials such as cadmium, lead and arsenic. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the cadmium turned the river a bright mustard yellow, so it couldn’t exactly be kept secret. The picture above is of the narrow-gauge railroad that runs from Durango to Silverton, and is very popular with tourists. I have ridden it, and it’s a beautiful trip, but not with a yellow river.

The initial reporting was plentiful as it flowed through small Colorado towns and as it reached the Navajo Reservation where the river flows right through the center of the reservation near Shiprock and Teec Nos Pos. This is water essential to the reservation, for tribal animals and water, and for irrigation, and just for drinking water. There were some sloppy attempts to truck water in to the reservation, with dirty tanks, and the tribal leaders said they would sue. This is public business, and lawsuits will be paid with taxpayer  money.

The EPA has said that there are 28 separate contracts with Environmental Restoration and it would take until the 22nd of December to review them all to determine just which contract would pertain to the Animas and Colorado Rivers. Uh huh. Even looking through Google’s array of pictures, they don’t seem to include Lake Powell nor the Grand Canyon National Park. Interesting.

The EPA is forestalling transparency in a spill that affects the regional supply of drinking water across the American Southwest. Timely? Nah.

But it is a bit of a pattern for agencies of the Obama administration. The IRS? Don’t ask. The VA? Congress is working on transparency, but it seems that it is difficult to impossible to fire government officials. This was going to be the most transparent administration in history. That’s turning out well.


(click to enlarge)

Can We Have a Little Straight Talk, Please? by The Elephant's Child

Men College Leaving Safe Space

President Obama is slowly working up towards saying something more or less serious about ISIS. A few hours before the attack in Paris, Obama announced that ISIS was now “contained” and they were not “gaining strength,”which was supposed to reassure everyone. A little stronger than the dismissive “Jayvee team” a while back. But when it gets serious, he hauls out the grand terminology which has been so helpful for him. This was “an attack, not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share.” But that’s the problem. Humanity does not share universal values at all.  Mark Steyn put it well yesterday:

But that’s not true, is it? He’s right that it’s an attack not just on Paris or France. What it is is an attack on the west, on the civilization that built the modern world – an attack on one portion of “humanity” by those who claim to speak for another portion of “humanity”. And these are not “universal values” but values that spring from a relatively narrow segment of humanity. They were kinda sorta “universal” when the great powers were willing to enforce them around the world and the colonial subjects of ramshackle backwaters such as Aden, Sudan and the North-West Frontier Province were at least obliged to pay lip service to them. But the European empires retreated from the world, and those “universal values” are utterly alien to large parts of the map today.

And then Europe decided to invite millions of Muslims to settle in their countries.

Well, not to worry, the big Climate Conference in Paris will go on as scheduled, at the end of the month. The world will still be saved.

Organizers of a march to press for climate action planned for Paris on Nov. 29, the eve of the summit, said they would meet on Monday “to discuss ways forward”, said Alice Jay, director of the citizens’ campaign group Avaaz and one of the organizers. Organizers have been hoping to imitate a “People’s Climate March” in New York last year that attracted hundreds of thousands of people, the largest protest against global warming in history.

That’s the ticket, a march.

More Syrian refugees arrived in New Orleans almost two weeks ago eliciting a warning from the House Homeland Security Committee about the lack of current intelligence regarding the refugees who are in the U.S. and those who will arrive in the future.

The Obama administration is looking to increase the number of Syrian refugees who may be admitted into the U.S. as well as speed up the process. The administration plans to do this, Reuters reports, by opening new screening outposts in Iraq and Lebanon. As of now, the administration promised to accept as many as 100,000 refugees each year by the end of 2017. The present annual cap is at 70,000.

ISIS told us earlier that there would be jihadists in the flow of “Syrian refugees” to Europe. They have also said that jihadists have been inserted into America. We are stuck, however, with an administration that will not talk straight about the problem, or act straight. All is pretense. We cannot utter the words ‘Islamic terrorism’ for fear of ‘offending,’ and then we wonder why the kids on campus blather on about “safe spaces.” We claim that global warming is a more dramatic security threat than ISIS or al Qaeda. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said “if you go up to anybody in the military who’s been paying attention,” they would say climate change is a major national security threat. Really?

So there you go. Over the last century, the globe has warmed almost a degree C. The only worrisome warming exists exclusively in the computer programs of the IPCC with which they have tried to predict the future — an impossibility. The Paris climate pact will reduce the temperature increase by the end of the century by a whopping 0.05° C.

Further Reading:

  • “Waging the War on ‘Terror,” Vichy-style” Victor Davis Hanson
  • War is Interested in You” Noah Rothman
  • How France Became an Inviting Target of the Jihad” Andrew C. McCarthy
  • “Syria refugee crisis: U.S. opens centres to speed vetting” CBC, Canada

Is This the Start of Something Big? by The Elephant's Child

—Knoxville, Iowa:  The town had placed a temporary memorial to fallen soldiers in their city park. It was a silhouette display of a kneeling soldier with a white cross, meant to help the town raise the soldier-memorial-knoxville-IA-WHO-HD-640x480money for a permanent memorial. A citizen, an atheist citizen, complained demanding that it be removed because of the Christian cross, claiming that it violated the separation of church and state. The city council promptly folded in fear of a court fight. In response some 2,000 small white crosses were planted in front yards all over town. The voters promptly voted out the town council.

—In the three states where the proportion of residents without health insurance declined the most, Arkansas, Kentucky and West Virginia, all elected Republican Senate candidates who oppose the Affordable Care Act. Control of the West Virginia House of Delegates flipped from Democrats to Republicans. Arkansas elected Republican supermajorities to both house and senate along with a Republican governor.

— Croatia’s conservative opposition won the country’s first election since it joined the European Union in 2013 in response to the migrant issue, seeking stricter border controls to manage the flow of people crossing the small Adriatic state of 4.4 million. This follows a landmark victory by opposition conservatives in Poland last month. The Polish Law and Justice party pledges to oppose mandatory quotas for relocation of migrants in the EU.

—Violence erupted in the streets of Berlin as thousands of 2E343CFA00000578-0-image-a-88_1446926053681anti-immigration protesters took to the streets to protest against Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door refugee policy. Refugees have turned out to be quite demanding, rejecting food not to their taste, and expecting full welfare benefits.

— Washington State voters have approved an initiative to cut the state sales tax if lawmakers don’t allow a vote on a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds majority for a tax increase. Voters in this left coast state have made it clear that they want the authority to amend their state constitution to require a supermajority to approve a tax increase. Voters have repeatedly approved ballot measures requiring a two-thirds majority for any tax hike.  The initiative specifies it will lower the state sales tax from 6.5% to 5.5% if the legislature does not follow through.

—Last November, President Obama expanded eligibility for a program the president set up in 2012 to allow immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally as children to get “deferred action” status and be eligible to work legally. The new effort also included a new initiative to grant the same status to illegal immigrants who are the parents of U.S. citizens or green card holders. Up to 5 million people were estimated to be eligible. Republicans objected, claiming the president was exceeding his authority under the Constitution.  Judge Andrew Hanen blocked the effort nationwide, saying that the changes to immigration were so significant that the administration needed to put them out for official notice and comment before moving forward. Obama appealed. The 5th Circuit praised Hanen’s ruling, calling it “impressive and thorough.” The Appeals court said — you can’t do that. The Fifth Circuit asserted that the separation of powers remains the law of the land, and the president must follow the rule of law, just like everybody else.

—Perhaps this is just a hungering for people to stand up and say, as the Court did to President Obama — You can’t do that! Europeans are beginning to stand up to the EU and to their governments who have gone too far. College administrators seem frightened by students behaving badly, and at a loss to know what to do. I’ve been nattering on about one example or another for quite a while. Are these examples signs of something or other, or is it just wishful thinking?

Obama Kills the Keystone Pipeline Again, to Preserve America’s “Global Leadership” on Climate Change. by The Elephant's Child

Obama announced on Friday that “the State Department would not permit the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, saying that the project’s completion would rob  the U.S . of the moral authority to pressure other countries toward action on climate change.”

“If we’re going to prevent large parts of this earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky,”

Oh please! What a load of what we used to call, politely, road apples. Of course Obama would blame it on the State Department, which had previously approved the Keystone twice, once under Hillary and once under Kerry. Even the State of Nebraska has approved it.

Imagine, we have denied oil market access to our ally Canada, along with access to our refineries, but granted it to Iran.

The Canadian oil will go to market. It is going to market now, by rail. I heard there was a derailment today, but no spill this time. It is safer, considerably safer, by pipeline. It’s not as if we didn’t have all sorts of pipelines already, quite safely. Moving oil through a pipeline does not release CO2 to the atmosphere, and if it did, it would be a good thing. CO2 is not a pollutant. It is plant food, and makes plants grow. More food to feed a hungry world.

The oil refineries in the Gulf have tripled their processing supplies of Canadian crude since 2010 to more than 300,000 barrels a day. The urgent need for the pipeline is down because of the decline in oil prices from $100 a barrel to $45, which puts a damper on future growth.

Canadian and US Crude Oil Pipeline Proposals(click to enlarge)

The Seaway Crude Pipeline System (SCPS), commonly called the Seaway Pipeline transports crude oil between Cushing, Oklahoma and Freeport, Texas  to the Texas City, Texas Terminal and Distribution System on the Gulf Coast.

For many years the Seaway shipped oil north to Cushing, but in June 2012, the flow was reversed to ship oil south out of Cushing instead. President Obama flew to Cushing a while back, for a photo-op in front of a bunch of big oil pipes.

And America’s ‘Global Leadership’ is becoming more and more of a joke. ” And frankly,” Obama said, “approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.” More likely Tom Steyer’s money.

House speaker Paul Ryan described Obama’s decision as “sickening” in a brief statement. “By rejecting this pipeline, the president is rejecting tens of thousands of good-paying jobs. He is rejecting our largest trading partner and energy supplier,” Ryan said. “He is rejecting the will of the American people and a bipartisan majority of the Congress. If the president wants to spend the rest of his time in office catering to special interests, that’s his choice to make. But it’s just wrong.”

Terry O’Sullivan, general president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America said “The president nay be celebrated by environmental extremists, but with this act, President Obama has also solidified a legacy as a pompous, pandering job killer.” Ouch!

Heather MacDonald Testifies That it is Crime, Not Incarceration, That is Ending Opportunity by The Elephant's Child

Here is the brilliant Heather MacDonald testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday. She is truly an expert on the subject of crime and punishment. Her testimony is only about six minutes long, but fact-filled, and deeply informed. She is a Manhattan Institute Research Fellow and City Journal Contributing Editor. I hope the Senators pay attention.


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