American Elephants


Rewarding Bad Behavior Just Gets You Way More Bad Behavior by The Elephant's Child

Homeless in Seattle
Local Seattle radio, “Eyes on Washington” — conversation with a Seattle policeman. It seems like the city is getting a lot dirtier, more trash, shopping carts, what’s going on?

Policeman — The  homeless population is up by about 400 percent. They’ve come here for the pot. 

(Marijuana is now legal in Washington State.) If you are thinking of voting for it in your state, you might want to reconsider.



Tom Cotton “Mr. Obama, Here’s why closing Guantanamo is a big mistake” by The Elephant's Child

Tom-Cotton
Here’s Senator Tom Cotton, who has had the unpleasant task of actually fighting jihadists. He has also gone to Guantanamo to find out for himself what the prison is like.

In his final State of the Union speech President Obama promised to “Keep working to shut down the prison at Guantanamo.” He said “it’s expensive, it’s unnecessary, and it only serves as a recruitment brochure for our enemies.”

MEMRI, the Middle East Research Institute, keeps track of the propaganda coming from al Qaeda, ISIS, and all the affiliates throughout the Middle East, and although Gitmo was used once as a recruiting tool, it didn’t work and they dropped that effort. Sending committed fighters back to the battlefield is not a joke. These are not prisoners of war, but terrorists who do ot obey the laws of war, and who are not entitled to prisoner of war status.  Tom Cotton wrote:

Early last year, I visited Guantanamo Bay and witnessed prisoner operations. I saw firsthand that it is not the barebones prison camp President Obama purports it to be. In fact, it couldn’t be further from the picture he’s painted for the public.

Guantanamo Bay can be and has been visited repeatedly by the International Red Cross and other human-rights groups for observation in an open, regular, and transparent manner. Detainees receive the same medical care as the guard force and are able to participate in their daily prayer sessions.

Guantanamo Bay is also a critical tool in our counterterrorism efforts. It is secure from attack and allows us to concentrate trained experts in interrogation in one place, to extract intelligence of paramount importance in uncovering and stopping plots against Americans.

Information obtained from detainees at Guantanamo has been described by the CIA as “the lead information” that enabled the agency to recognize the importance of a courier for Usama bin Laden, a crucial understanding that lead to Bin Laden’s secret hideout in Pakistan and the U.S. raid that killed him. It is this kind of information that we are losing by not making greater use of Guantanamo.

It is hard to deal effectively with terrorists when those who decide how they will be detained have no understanding of why they are terrorists, what they want, and why they are committed to killing Westerners.

I believe President Obama’s Iran Deal is a ghastly mistake, and we will pay a heavy cost for his ideological errors.

Do read the whole thing.



Will Obama Get Away With Closing Gitmo? And Should He? by The Elephant's Child

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As the lamest of ducks, President Obama is trying to shore up his legacy, turning to executive orders and going around Congress in any way that he can. He is turning to executive orders and regulation to accomplish that which he couldn’t get through Congress, specifically his original campaign promises.

But Obama  was not elected on his campaign promises, but on “Hope and Change” and the promise to improve race relations — and yet he has been the most divisive president in history. He said:

There is not a liberal America and a conservative America—there is the United States of America. There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America—there’s the United States of America.

People thought he meant that. Unfortunately he didn’t.

He is attempting to empty the detention facility at Guantanamo, force a two-state solution on Israel and Palestine, end the embargo on Cuba, and get us out of the Middle East and turn it over to Iran to manage. He believes that the world hates us because we torture people at Gitmo, and that it is a recruitment tool for terrorists. He believes that only Israel’s intransigence prevents a two-state solution, and that Israel is the source of all the trouble in the Middle East, and that Cuba will be a good neighbor if we just end the embargo and welcome them into the family of nations. Not one of these things is true, so how did we get here?

Back in 2009, Richard Epstein, Professor of Law at University of Chicago and New York University described Obama as he knew him in Chicago, and through his own next door neighbor who was Obama’s best friend. Among other things, Epstein said that Obama was very dogmatic, and once he believed something, it was set in concrete. He does not change his mind. And that has often proved to be a telling observation.

The president seems to have a very small group of trusted advisors He speaks of getting a daily intelligence briefing, but we were told he prefers a written couple of paragraphs with 2 or 3 choices on actions to take. He doesn’t like disagreement, and has said that he can do his adviser’s jobs better than they can. All those Czars and he apparently doesn’t listen to them anyway.

Nobody gets tortured at Gitmo, the detainees get better treatment than their guards. Gitmo plays no part in terrorist recruitment. Israel would be happy to have a two-state solution with Palestine if they recognize the State of Israel and stop firing missiles into Israel and sending in jihadists to stab Israelis. Palestine has no interest in a two state solution. Cuba is delighted to have American money, but has no intention of dropping Communism, releasing dissidents, nor changing their dismal nation in any way.

Obama is releasing 17 detainees, most if not all of them al Qaeda associated jihadists, who can be expected to return to killing Americans. This is part of the plan to shutter Guantanamo, and leaves about 90 detainees who cannot be transferred to another country.  President Obama wants to transfer them to this country, but Congress has passed a law forbidding such a transfer,  I believe. The president is trying to find a way around Congress.  He wants the facility closed, many think he wants to return Guantanamo to Cuba.

I am constantly fascinated by those who protest the “inhuman treatment” at Gitmo, the “torture,” the “illegality” without ever bothering to find out anything about the reality there. Can’t be bothered, protesting is fun.

The cost to Obama’s legacy may be severe, and counted out in killings.

—”Source: ‘Al Qaeda followers’ among 17 being transferred from Gitmoby Catherine Herridge, Fox News

The Terrorists Freed by Obamaby Thomas Joscelyn, Stephen F. Hayes, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Ten detainees leaving Gitmo in bulk transfer Thursday, defense officials sayby Lucas Tomlinson. Fox News

—”High risk’ Guantanamo detainee transferred to Kuwait by Thomas Joscelyn. Long War Journal

Ghana falsely claims 2 former Guantanamo detainees were ‘cleared of any involvement’ in terrorism by Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal

Why Obama will get away with closing Gitmoby Eli Lake and Josh Rogin, New York Post



Obama’s Very Bad, No Good, Terrible Week. by The Elephant's Child

A federal judge ruled Tuesday the Obama administration may not use executive privilege to keep requested documents regarding Operation Fast and Furious from Congress, and ordered the administration to turn them over. Makes you wonder how many attorneys are professionally involved in Freedom of Information Act  (FOIA)  litigation full time.

Since he lost his congressional majority, unlike most previous presidents, Mr. Obama has attempted to govern entirely by executive authority, just ignoring any laws or regulations or constitutional requirements might get in his way. He may get his way on some issues, but he is enraging the country.

“The Department of Justice (DOJ) has already revealed the sum and substance of the very material it is now seeking to withhold,” District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson wrote. “Since any harm that would flow from the disclosures sought here would be merely incremental, the records must be produced.”

The administration has been fighting over records related to the operation that ended up killing a Border Patrol officer for years. The House voted in 2012 to hold former Attorney General Eric Holder in Contempt of Congress for withholding the records. A federal judge ordered the DOJ to turn over the documents sought by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in August, 2014, and rejected claims of executive privilege, and they turned over some 60,000 pages then, but still attempted to shield more.



Obama’s Embarrassing Reasons for Blocking the Keystone XL Pipeline by The Elephant's Child

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We wrote a couple of weeks ago about Trans Canada’s two lawsuits against the Obama Administration over the administration’s blocking of the Keystone XL Pipeline. One is a legal challenge that President Obama exceeded his authority when he blocked the pipeline’s construction. The other is an international petition under NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) seeking to recover the $15 billion in costs and damages incurred when Obama blocked the cross border pipeline.

Someone dredged up the President’s statement back in November, from the Roosevelt Room, when he announced that he was blocking the pipeline, and it’s really quite delicious, if you’re inclined to root for the Canadians. Several whoppers on jobs, the economy, our energy security, but the main reason for rejecting the pipeline was: it might screw up his pitch in Paris for a unenforceable climate agreement that many nations would reject anyway, because it might set a poor example.

America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change.  And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.  And that’s the biggest risk we face — not acting.

Today, we’re continuing to lead by example.  Because ultimately, 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.

Do read the whole thing. Democrats have a habit of just accepting Progressive talking points and never, never looking into the facts behind the conventional wisdom. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, it is not the source of what global warming there has been, and it presents not the slightest concern about making the Earth uninhabitable in our lifetimes. I suspect that Canada is going to win this one.



Is America Still Racist? by The Elephant's Child

A question that seems appropriate for Martin Luther King Day. Here’s Larry Elder, appearing for Praeger University. President Obama, was elected as the first Black President of the United States, with expectations that he would do much to improve the situation of blacks in the country. Instead his economy has been more devastating to the black community than anyone else.

Worrying about the black vote has meant more welfare and fewer jobs. The Keystone XL pipeline promised 13,000 high paying construction jobs, but that was trumped by Tom Steyer’s promised $100 million to the Democrats for rejecting it. Obama’s excuse was that construction jobs are only ‘temporary.’ Of course they are, but successful work on one construction job means a leg up on the next construction job. The unemployment rate for blacks has been nearly twice the rate for whites.

The Left does not understand the effect of incentives. A study from the University of Chicago concludes that “in response to the recession, several U.S. safety-net programs changed in ways that discouraged employment. Unemployment insurance, for example, was made more generous in multiple ways. Eligibility rules for food stamps were reduced, waivers from work requirements were granted, and the monthly benefit amount was increased.”

People are not apt to look hard for work, or even accept a job offer that is not quite as good as hoped, when remaining unemployed is made more comfortable. Sounds ‘mean,’ perhaps, but what people need and what the country needs is not the comfortable unemployed, but the happy and independent  worker.

The most surprising of Obama’s initiatives was his failure to support the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. He has worked hard to get rid of it, yet it has benefited so many black children. Inexplicable. But the teacher’s unions don’t like the scholarship program.

The Left has long believed in, essentially, buying votes. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are busily engaged in trying to compete in benefits they will give to those who vote for them. Free college tuition (where does the money come from?), and a false assumption that every child must go to college. Higher taxes on the rich (exceedingly modest benefit) and “the rich” are often those who create jobs. Raising the minimum wage has been clearly shown to be a job destroyer. Universal pre-school may be welcome baby-sitting, but any educational benefits have disappeared by 3rd grade.

What we need is a healthier economy that is creating jobs for everyone. The Obama administration has hampered growth with raised taxes on productivity, and a huge burden of regulation.



The Story Behind the Official Stories Is a Lot More Plausibile by The Elephant's Child

Mideast-Iran-U_Horo1-635x357
Everybody who saw this picture thought it was — odd. Something fishy here. Clearly the official U.S. story did not make sense. American Thinker thought so too. Here are their explanations:

“Barry and the Pirates” by William Levinson.

It is particularly telling that Barack Obama spent part of his State of the Union speech telling us that the state of our Union is strong while Iranian pirates seized two U.S. Navy vessels and then, as pointed out by Rick Moran, violated the Geneva Conventions by publishing a photo of the captured sailors on their knees with their hands on their heads.

The Iranian action was both piracy and an intentional act of war against the United States.  If the boats strayed into Iranian waters due to navigational or mechanical problems, Iran was obliged under international law to render them assistance.  “Accidents in international air or sea traffic, even those involving military vessels, generally require nations to assist the victims and keep hands off the stricken planes or ships, the experts said.”  Note also that “Iranian officials searched [the boats] for advanced technology and sensitive communications.” …

“The most plausible explanation for the 10 riverine sailors captured by Iran” by Thomas H. Lipscomb

No, they are part of a Rivierine Squadron based in San Diego. Further they are support crews for SEAL missions from the US Navy and highly trained. The Iranians probably mistook “Riverine” for “Marine” in doing the story.

So that explains several things. Why the captured sailors were so much more fit than the average sailor these days, and how a woman could be among them. While not special ops personnel directly engaged, they have to be extraordinarily fit and well-trained, as indeed these sailors appear to be. …

“Calling BS on the official story of the Iranian capture of two US riverine boats” by Thomas H. Lifson

Flash! A former Navy SEAL, Matt Bracken, just blew up what I have been calling “a pack of lies from the US and Iran” on what the hell happened that got our boats captured and taken to the Farsi Islands.

Remember: the single most dangerous area in all the Persian Gulf is a small group of Islands in almost the middle of the heavily traveled shipping lanes that is a major naval base for Iran and the HQ of the radical IRG for special operations of their own against all the countries abutting the Gulf. A top Marine told me our two boats were special ops boats with crews that delivered our own SEALS… the direct rivals of the IRG on Farsi. …

“10 US sailors held by Iran confirmed freed” by Rick Moran

The U.S. claims one of the small Riverine Command Boats experienced mechanical difficulties, strayed off course, and then disappeared from radar.  The Iranian Revolutionary Guards captured the boats and took the sailors prisoner, accusing them of “snooping” and demanding an apology from the U.S. government.

Initially, the Iranians said they would release the sailors and their boats at dawn Iran time.  But after an “investigation” that confirmed the navigational problems, the sailors were let go mid-afternoon Iran time. …

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