American Elephants


Here’s Why This Man is Laughing. The Iran Deal explained. by The Elephant's Child

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Here’s an explanation of the Iran Deal reduced to basics. We would all prefer to think that Obama meant what he promised about a deal  two years ago, or last year, or even a month or two ago. But he didn’t. And he lied about it.

Here’s What we get:

•Iran reduces by about half the number of centrifuges actively enriching uranium.

•Iran reduces its stockpile of enriched uranium from about five tons to 300 kilograms.

•Iran repurposes its heavy water reactor in Arak so it does not produce plutonium.

•An unspecified increase in inspections by the IAEA

Here’s What Iran Gets:
Sanctions relief:

•Almost every type of U.S. EU and UN sanctions are lifted.

•Repeal of six UN Security Council resolutions declaring the Iranian nuclear program illegal.

•Top IROC and Quds Force terrorists removed from the sanctions list, including Qassem Suleimani, leader of Iran’s campaign against US. Soldiers in Iraq, and Ahmad Vahidi, mastermind of the 1994 Jewish community center bombing in Argentina that killed 85 people.

•Removal from the sanctions list of approximately 800 people and legal entities, including 23 out of 24 Iranian banks.

•$100 to $$150 billion to be  unfrozen and given to Iran with no restrictions on its use to purchase arms and fund terrorism, including funding for Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Assad regime in Syria.

Nuclear Program:

•Iran keeps every one of its nuclear centrifuges.

•Iran keeps its entire physical nuclear infrastructure, including the enrichment facilities at Fordow, Nantaz, and the enrichment facilities at Bushehr.

•Iran permitted to continue research and development on all of its advanced centrifuge designs, reducing nuclear breakout time at the end of the deal to weeks.

•Iran permitted to transition its allowed enrichment of uranium from older centrifuge designs to advanced designs.

•No “anywhere, anytime” inspections. Iran can delay inspection of any site for at least 24 days.

•No requirement that Iran fully disclose past nuclear weapons research and development (PDM issue).

•The P5+1 western powers pledge to collaborate with Iran on nuclear technology.

•Restrictions on enrichment—part of the “sunset” of the deal—are lifted after eight years.

• If Iran is thought to have violated the deal, in order to “snap back” sanctions a dispute resolution process must be undertaken that can last two and a half months, after which the matter can be referred to the UN Security Council. At the UNSC, the re-imposition of sanctions can be vetoed by Russia, which stands to earn billions of dollars from arms sales to a non-sanctioned Iran.

Concessions unrelated to nuclear program:

•Ballistic missile embargo lifted after eight years.

•Conventional arms embargo lifted after five years.

•Iran keeps U.S. hostages.

(h/t: Noah Pollak, The Weekly Standard)

After his team, on his instructions, has given away the store, Obama had a “press conference” that was really just a reprise of White House talking points designed to fool the public. This was a catastrophic failure of understanding, of backbone, and of the real dangers involved.

Iran is not a normal country, but a radical theocratic regime whose goal is to develop nuclear weapons in order to destroy the State of Israel and the United States of America. Obama does not believe they would ever use a nuclear weapon. He is mistaken.



Obama Is Creating A Massive Database of Personal Information for the Purpose of Racial and Economic Justice by The Elephant's Child

A key part of President Obama’s legacy will, according to the New York Post, be the unprecedented massive collection by the federal government of sensitive data on the American people by race. It’s personal information at the most local levels, all for the purpose of “racial and economic justice.”

Unbeknown to most Americans, Obama’s racial bean counters are furiously mining data on their health, home loans, credit cards, places of work, neighborhoods, even how their kids are disciplined in school — all to document “inequalities” between minorities and whites.

This Orwellian-style stockpile of statistics includes a vast and permanent network of discrimination databases, which Obama already is using to make “disparate impact” cases against: banks that don’t make enough prime loans to minorities; schools that suspend too many blacks; cities that don’t offer enough Section 8 and other low-income housing for minorities; and employers who turn down African-Americans for jobs due to criminal backgrounds.

The Housing Database

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) will attempt to racially balance the nation, ZIP code by ZIP code, and will include distance to supermarkets, good schools, public transportation, parks. HUD’s maps will be used to select affordable-housing sites. Civil rights groups will have access to the agency’s sophisticated mapping software and will participate in city plans to re-engineer neighborhoods under new “community outreach requirements.”

The Mortgage Database

The FHA will build a database for racially balancing home loans, including 16 years of lending data by race, all credit lines, credit cards, student loans, car loans, anything reported to credit bureaus. Personal assets, debts, any bankruptcy. Square footage and lot size of your home as well as your interest rates. This will all be shared with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for “research” and “policy-making”. CFPB Director Richard Cordray said “We will be better able to identify possible discriminatory lending patterns.

The Credit Database

CFPB will monitor all citizens credit-card transactions — some 900 million of them — looking for “disparities” in interest rates, collections.

The Employment Database

CFPB rule requires all regulated banks to report on minority hiring to an office of Minority and Women inclusion. Policing diversity on Wall Street will be another fishing expedition.

The School Database

The Education Dept is gathering information on student suspensions and expulsions by race from every public school district in the country. Districts that show disparities will be targeted for reform. See how silly this gets? There are no badly behaved kids, it is only about race. They also want to know how many blacks are enrolled in gifted-and-talented and advanced placement classes.

There need be no claims of discrimination, it’s all based on the numbers which will prove “disparity.”

Sound a little more like North Korea than America? Well, yes it does.

Based on the theory that it is self-evident that high black incarceration rates result from discrimination, President Obama has commuted the sentences of 46 “non-violent drug offenders.” Obama is doing his bit to lead and otherwise contribute to the race-based assault on law enforcement, which seems to be based on the idea that less law enforcement will somehow improve lives in the inner city. But then the assumption is that if troublemakers cannot be expelled, then school outcomes for all will improve.

See Heather MacDonald: “Is the Criminal-Justice System Racist?



Liberal Delusions and Other Odd Phenomenons by The Elephant's Child

John Hinderaker remarked the other day that a common Liberal delusion was “a child-like faith in paper.” That stuck in my mind when we had the announcement of the dreadful shooting in Chattanooga, and the revelation that Marine recruiting offices were “Gun-Free Zones,” and I realized that was another liberal delusion. They are deathly afraid of guns, the physical objects, but do not focus particularly on the shooter, at least until we learn his personal story (‘a nice American boy’).

Slightly more attuned to this sort of thing, I’m reading Bret Stephens’ new book (excellent) America In RetreatHe was in Northern Pakistan in 2005, with a U.S Army MASH unit responding to a terrible earthquake, on a mission of mercy that saved thousands of Pakistani lives. It turned out to be a $200 million humanitarian operation. Stephens said it seemed to him at the time — a textbook example of how the combination of American power and American goodness could  yield tangible results when it came to Muslim hearts and minds. He came to realize it was a naive assumption.

In 2006 the Pew Global Attitudes Survey found that 27 percent of Pakistanis had a positive view of the United States, a post 9-11 high. The figure has dropped every year since to 11 percent in 2013. Just 8 percent of Pakistanis see the United States as a partner, against 64 percent of Pakistanis who see the United States as their enemy. And only 8 percent of Pakistanis think the impact of U.S. economic aid is “mostly positive.” When Pakistan was struck by another humanitarian disaster in 2010 — this time in the form of floods — a conspiracy theory that made the rounds in the  Pakistani media held that it was the doing of a weather-controlling device based in Alaska.

Stephens went on to quote Aristotle in the Nicomachean Ethics: “Benefactors seem to love their beneficiaries more than the beneficiaries love those who have benefitted from them. As this seems unreasonable, it should be investigated.”

This phenomenon is thoroughly investigated by William Voegeli whose The Pity Party is a “mean-spirited diatribe” against the Liberals’ celebration of themselves as the party of ‘Compassion.’

Sanctuary Cities would seem to fall into the same category, a sop to Liberals’ view of themselves as benefactors full of compassion in complete denial of reality. But I’m sure you can add to the list.

Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), during a report on the debate over sanctuary cities after the murder of Kate Steinle, said “Every time a little thing like this happens, they use the most extreme example to say it must be eliminated.”

ADDENDUM: How could I forget to mention “Climate”, and “endangered species,” and, of course, “clean power.” The Left charges straight ahead with no regard for facts, science, or obvious proof. Obama is still going to save us from rising seas, in spite of the facts that the rise is calculated in millimeters, solar factories go bankrupt, other countries are getting rid of their windmills and solar farms, and expert wildlife zoologists specializing in Arctic animals assure us that the polar bears have been just fine for a hundred thousand years and the walrus do haulouts all the time.



The Disastrous Deal of the Century by The Elephant's Child

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Let’s go back to the time when Obama was newly inaugurated. Richard Epstein, noted Law Professor, fellow at the Hoover Institution, who teaches at NYU and University of Chicago, knew Obama at the University of Chicago and through his own next-door neighbor, who is one of Obama’s closest friends. He said that Obama does not change his mind. Once he has accepted an idea, it is fixed in concrete. He does not change his mind.

It was clear, early on, that Obama believes that all of the difficulties in the Middle East arise out of the Israeli/Palestinian animosity, and he believed that obtaining a two-state peace agreement between the two would end the problems in the Middle East, and he had set that as his goal. Palestine has not the slightest interest in a two-state solution, they want Israel gone and continue daily missile attacks.  Obama’s dream of bringing peace about went a-glimmering. A little long-winded, but it helps to explain this irresponsible and dreadful “deal.”

In the present, Obama and his advisors believe that if Iran gets nuclear weapons, they would never use a bomb. They cannot fathom the idea that they would. It is the same mistake all too often made by our diplomats and national security apparatus — that the Iranians are really people just like us who care about their families, and yearn for peace, and want the best things for their people. They do not.

Iran is a tyrannical theocracy, a fanatical end-times theocracy. They have told us that although we worship life, they worship death. They were and are the chief sponsors of terrorism in the world. They really mean it when they call for “Death to Israel” and “Death to America.” They believe in Armageddon and the return of the Mahdi.

Iran has never stopped its nuclear work, including during the dealmaking. The deal means Iran keeps its nuclear arms, and we get to remove all sanctions and give them billions with which to accomplish their aims. Iran has cheated on every inspection and every agreement. Their aims are the destruction of Israel and America. The question is whether they rush it to complete before Khomeinei dies, (he has terminal cancer) or wait till they can manage an EMP attack which will purportedly kill 90% of Americans. The deal even signs off on Iran getting the intercontinental ballistic missiles they need for the purpose.

Please watch the talk by Daniel Pipes, explaining the Middle East. It is truly worth your time.

Here is President Obama’s speech this morning. Full of exaggeration, self-congratulation and hooey. Can he possibly not understand what he is doing?

Here’s the White House take on the deal with graphs and color and hooplah.  The idea that they will actually admit inspectors is unlikely. We don’t even know what other facilities they have.

Here’s Claudia Rosett, who has been following this closely.

Here is Israel’s Ambassador Ron Dermer, speaking at the CUFI Summit on the negotiations. Do read the whole thing. The Israelis,understandably, take this much more seriously than Obama does. He’s just looking for a “legacy.” And if there’s anything that doesn’t work out well, it will fall to his successor. He did a deal to protect the American people, if it doesn’t work out — it’s not his fault.

Here is Daniel Pipes today:”Could the Iran Deal Be the Worst International Accord of All Time”

The Saudis and Egypt will quickly buy nukes, and this will presage a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

There will be plenty of commentary on this mess. Congress must hear often and loudly just what the American people think of this mistake.
The thing to remember is that Obama believes that Iran would never use a nuclear weapon. There is no evidence to believe that to be true.

ADDENDUM:  Daniel Pipes’ today’s piece was added after publication.



Puncturing the Pretensions of the Progressives by The Elephant's Child

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I wrote earlier about the problem of “Diversity”— that progressive catch-word — around which they attempt to arrange all their bright ideas. “Diversity,” they believe, is a positive good. Wealthy neighborhoods, or for that matter any neighborhoods that do not house the correct numbers of varying races and ethnicities need to be “fixed.”

And, on the other side,  we have the victims of progressive diversity demands (affirmative action) such as National Merit scholars who can’t get into elite universities like Harvard because the category of Asian students already matches the percentage of Asians in the economy, so students of different race and ethnicity must be admitted instead despite lower SAT scores. So we are trading brighter doctors and scientists and businessmen for the precious idea of diversity. And that makes sense just how?

The real problem is that “diversity” doesn’t produce the desired effect. The more diverse or integrated a neighborhood becomes, the less socially cohesive it becomes, and the more homogenous or segregated, the more socially cohesive. Simple. A mom and dad prefer their children to other children. Having a child does not produce liking for all children. People prefer their compatriots to strangers from another country. This is not prejudice, but a natural affinity for those with whom you have something in common. It’s what humans do.

Progressives believe “diversity” is a necessity in the quest for social justice which is the shining goal of the left. The pursuit of social justice is the reason for empathy, for welfare, for caring for others. The pursuit of that goal renders philanthropy harmful. William Voegeli notes:

The alliance of experts and victims will progress toward its goals more slowly and with greater difficulty if amateurs, hobbyists, and dilettantes are mucking about, trying to alleviate a victim’s suffering. They don’t know what they’re doing, and should keep out of the way of people who do. Furthermore, caring for others by any other means than supporting with votes and taxes, welfare state programs to enact and adequately fund those programs postpones rather than hastens the realization of social justice.

“I gave at the office” should mean just one thing: the taxes withheld from my paycheck are funding government programs, the only path to social justice. If it means, instead, charitable contributions are activities that endorse the efficacy and virtue of extragovernmental efforts to ameliorate suffering situations, the pursuit of social justice is thwarted. The more government takes over welfare — the weaker the fellow feeling of the other ties.

The famous American skeptic H.L Mencken once wrote, “The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it. Power is what all messiahs really seek: not the chance to serve.” Or to put it a little differently — Social Justice doesn’t mean that at last everybody is finally equal. It means that you are all equal, and we are in charge.



Obama Doesn’t Think Your Neighborhood is “Diverse” Enough. by The Elephant's Child

Today, HUD Secretary Julian Castro  announced the finalization of the Obama Administration’s “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” rule.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has released a final rule to equip communities that receive HUD funding with the data and tools that will help them to meet long-standing fair housing obligations in their use of HUD funds. HUD will provide publicly open data for grantees to use to assess the state of fair housing within their communities and to set locally-determined priorities and goals.

Translation: Just preventing anyone from refusing to rent or sell homes to those of different color, sex, ethnicity etc. etc. has not succeeded in ending ghettos or neighborhoods with bad schools and high incidence of crime and drugs, and that’s just not fair. We need to integrate wealthy neighborhoods.

HUD will determine what the proper ethnic makeup of a given neighborhood should be, and communities must build fair housing goals into their existing community development and housing planning. It is called “a balanced approach to fair housing.”

Observing neighborhoods in lots of different cities, you notice that people of a particular ethnic heritage are often likely to group together. Seattle has a Norwegian founded neighborhood, and an International District that is mostly Asian, for example.

HUD says “no child’s ZIP code should determine her opportunity to achieve.” Typical Leftist bullshit. A child’s opportunity to achieve is determined by whether their mother is married, graduated from high school, and cares about how her child turns out, not whether their neighborhood has the correct distribution of blacks and Hispanics.

“Diversity”remains the shining goal of most Leftist programs, and like all such programs, nobody ever checks up to see if the goal has achieved anything beyond a correct mixture of ethnicities, sexual preferences, or races. Are the people involved happier, more successful, better educated?

No leftist program ever is judged by whether its results are successful. Head Start, for example, has been shown by study after study to have no benefits as its participants proceed through their school years. According to HHS, Head Start “positively influenced children’s school readiness” — but only if you tested them after they finished Head Start but before they started Kindergarten. Leftist programs make their proponents feel good because they have done something. They never die because they don’t work. “Diversity” is one of those sacred words.

You will no longer get to buy a home in a highly desired school district, or near a desirable park, or even where there are lots of people who speak your language and celebrate the same holidays.  Because diversity.



There are Always Consequences, You Just Have to Learn to Recognize Them. by The Elephant's Child
June 26, 2015, 6:54 pm
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Freedom, Politics, Progressivism | Tags: ,

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The Supreme Court has declared the Constitution meaningless, or at least the separation of powers. They are busy making law from the bench, which is not their function. Their job is to decide if a law in question agrees with the Constitution, not make up new and different emanations. In Australia, Canada and Britain, you can go to prison for expressing objectionable speech. Think about that.

The Left has long been at war with free speech. They often have really bad ideas, but they don’t like to be disagreed with, and they really and truly want you prevented from so doing. Hillary has said that when she becomes president, she will have a litmus test for Supreme Court candidates. They have to promise to repeal the Court’s Citizens United decision. Well, of course she would, it was a campaign piece critical of Hillary, but it was about free speech.

The Court has firmly said that corporate money spent on a campaign according to the election laws is free speech. The McCain-Finegold law  that limited spending on political advocacy by corporations and unions was unconstitutional. Lively political debate is supposed to benefit everyone. The Left was sure that Union spending was fine, but not corporate money. It all depends on whose Ox is getting gored.

Our Universities have become hotbeds of liberal thought, and they are teaching the current generation of students that they are little snowflakes who must not be offended. This falls under the “inside every liberal is a tyrant trying to get out” department. Nobody likes to be insulted or enjoys being offended, but suck it up kids.

Tyranny is a lot worse than merely being offended. Eventually that gets around to disposing of those who disagree. Today, it is the attempt to rename any campus buildings that were named for anyone who was a racist, that designation to be supplied by the “offended” kids. Be very careful what you wish for.

That said, the professors and administrators who allow and encourage such things as “microaggressions” and “triggering” should be fired.  You are not engaging in critical thinking (supposedly a goal of higher ed) but destroying clear thought. “Life is hard” our parents or grandparents tried to explain to us. Life gets a lot harder if you cannot distinguish between truth and falsehood, right and wrong, or reality and fantasy.




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