American Elephants

Protesters Call for Free College – 0. Jihadists Death Toll – 153. by The Elephant's Child

Well, give a young man a  bullhorn, some friends in all matching black lives matter tee shirts, and a cause — and he may start feeling quite powerful. Add on some professional protesters from Ferguson, Baltimore and  New York to urge him on, and first thing you know he’s got headlines all over the country.

The cause? The student government president, Payton Head, who is black, claimed that he had been called the n-word by some men in a pickup decorated with Confederate flags. There was no police report, and nobody else seemed to have seen it. He also claimed that the KKK had been seen on campus as well, but he had to retract that. The black hunger-striker claimed that the president of the university , Tim Wolfe, allowed his driver to hit Johnathan Butler with his car during an attempted shutdown of the homecoming parade. Unfortunately, a video shows that Butler rushed directly toward the car, hitting it, rather than the other way round. This seems to be the total of the frightening acts the protesters are calling “terrorism.”

Give a young man a Kalashnikov, some friends with their weapons, and a big dose of martyring one’s self to get all those virgins in Paradise, and they start feeling quite powerful. Nothing quite so powerful as executing over a hundred innocent people attending a rock concert.  The latter, of course, made the headlines all over the world, and the former protesters who had done nothing much except a lot of shouting and raising their clenched fists, but succeeded in getting faculty and a university president to resign. The impetus for that was apparently not the raised fists, but the threat of cancelling a football game — a forfeit that would have cost them a million dollars.

But here’s the disgusting part. The spoiled brats on America’s campuses were outraged that a bunch of Muslim terrorists had deprived them of their media attention.


(h/t:The Right Scoop)

The Progressive Gitmo Myth. by The Elephant's Child

guantanamo_protest_cc_img5When I had just finished the last post on Guantanamo Bay, I ran across a post last year, from Hoover fellow Bruce Thornton, entitled “The Progressive Gitmo Myth.” He added several points that are especially pertinent. Do read the whole thing.

For Obama’s liberal base, Gitmo has been part of a larger narrative of American tyranny, particularly George Bush’s alleged lawlessness in waging an “illegal” and “unnecessary” war in Iraq. Once Howard Dean’s anti-war presidential primary insurgency took off after the war began in 2003, mainstream Democrats began endorsing the far-left “Bush lied” analysis of the war that John Edwards, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton had voted for based on the same intelligence that led to the Bush administration’s decision. With the anti-war movement providing the visuals for television news, the left’s distorted history of Vietnam was resurrected to provide the template for the war in Iraq, particularly the charge that the Bush administration had lied about Hussein’s WMDs, just as Lyndon Johnson had allegedly fabricated the Gulf of Tonkin incident to justify escalating U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Soon the whole litany of American militarist evils was applied to Iraq and the war against terrorists and their enablers. Torture, illegal detention, and abuse of prisoners were staples of that catalogue, and for leftists Gitmo fit the bill.

Soon we were hearing that Gitmo was a “gulag,” “the Bermuda Triangle of human rights,” a “shocking affront to democracy,” and a “national disgrace.” The New York Times, paying heed to charges by detainees trained to lie, said Guantanamo exemplified “harsh, indefinite detention without formal charges or legal recourse” and recalled “the Soviet Union’s sprawling network of Stalinist penal colonies.” Such hysteria, of course, has no basis in fact.

In 2004, a report by Albert T. Church III concluded, “We can confidentially state that based upon our investigation, we found nothing that would in any way substantiate detainees’ allegations of torture or violent physical abuse at GTMO.” Almost all the interrogations at Gitmo were conducted according to the Army Field Manual approved by Obama himself. Conditions for the prisoners at Gitmo far outstrip those in most prisons, including in the United States. Jihadists involved in planning, aiding, and participating in the murders of Americans can play sports, work out on gym equipment, hang out with their comrades, learn English, take art lessons, peruse a library of 14,000 Arab-language books, and view satellite television, including Al Jazeera. They get first-class health care and nutrition, and their food is prepared according to halal standards of ritual purity––all that good grub has led to the “Gitmo gut.” Islamic holidays are respected, Korans handled by guards with delicate care, magazines censored to remove images disturbing to pious Muslims, and arrows painted on the floors pointing to Mecca to guide the prisoners in their daily prayers. Rush Limbaugh is justified in calling Guantánamo “Club Gitmo.”

Yet despite these facts, the myth has arisen that the existence of Gitmo, as the Wall Street Journal summarized liberal thinking, “symbolizes prisoner abuse, serving as a propaganda tool for extremists and complicating counterterrorism efforts with allies.” The incoherence of this argument points to the larger problems of American foreign policy in dealing with jihadism.

Goodness, if everybody doesn’t love us, there must be something really terrible about America. We really don’t need to give a bunch of terrorists the constitutional rights enjoyed by American citizens, nor the pro bono legal counsel. They will be back to beheading their enemies directly.

Republican Candidates – 10, CNBC – 0 by The Elephant's Child

A most interesting debate last night. The mainstream partisan media disgraced itself. Feisty Republicans would have none of it, and told them they were a disgrace. ‘Gotcha’ questions are unprofessional but expected. Stupid questions that indicate that the panel of moderators did not understand the real issues are a little more depressing.

Listeners  would have been surprised to learn that the debate was supposed to be about the economy. The economy is a shambles, largely due to Democrat mismanagement, and there are a lot people hurting, The American people want to know who can fix it.

Democrats do not want the Republicans to talk about how they are going to jump-start the economy, because their own candidates are talking about free college tuition and other pie-in-the-sky offers to buy votes, but it is not going to happen. You can’t take enough money away from the rich to make it unnecessary for the vast majority of people to provide for themselves, with their work, their thrift and their savings.

Ted Cruz efficiently scolded the media and racked up the biggest applause ever in any debate. Ted, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina and Chris Christie were all winners.

Ben Carson is as always, soft-spoken and brilliant. Mike Huckabee speaks well, had a great analogy comparing the blimp on the loose over Pennsylvania to an escaped gas bag of a Democratic party.

I thought Donald Trump was a big loser, but apparently his inability to come up with any significant policy discussion as opposed to just saying ‘I can do that’ and talking about his great big wall continues to attract supporters. I am unimpressed with his wealth, and as several economic types have mentioned, he would have been far richer if he had just put his father’s $100 million in a mutual fund.

John Kasich seemed angry, apparently at having to share a stage with people who didn’t have his accomplishments on offer.  Rand Paul did not advance his cause, nor hurt it either. Jeb Bush did badly. Whoever advised him to attack Marco Rubio on the basis of Rubio’s missing some votes in Congress made a major mistake. Jeb Bush is a good man, and was a good governor of Florida. He would probably be a good president. But he is a really lousy campaigner.

So what do I want in a president? Someone who can communicate well with the American people. The president works for us. I expect a good understanding of world affairs — not a knowledge of every president of every nation — but sufficient knowledge to understand the major threats, and to know who would be the strongest advisers to help devise good policy. Obama has made some really dreadful appointments.

I want someone who respects Congress and wants to work with them to get the economy growing once again. And I want someone who is an avid learner. It’s a big office, and none of the aspirants know anywhere near as much as you need to face the problems we face in reality. You need some excellent choices of advisors and cabinet members. And I really don’t want anyone who believes that the Constitutions is an old tired document that needs updating and revising. Nor anyone who believes that the clear history of the absolute failure of socialism everywhere it has been tried is because the right people haven’t done it yet, or that this time it will be different. Other than that, I haven’t made my mind up yet.

ADDENDUM: Smarting from criticism,CNBC put out a statement defending the moderators performance: “People who want to be president of the United States should be able to answer tough questions.”

That was the problem. They didn’t ask “tough questions” they asked dumb questions. The troublesome thing is that they don’t seem to know the difference. That’s what happens when you live in a world of approved talking points and approved sound bites — you don’t even recognize reality when you encounter it.

Obama Intends To Bring European Chaos to America by The Elephant's Child


The news stories about the flood of refugees invading Europe are bewildering. They are “refugees.” “migrants,” “immigrants,” Syrian refugees, four out of five are not from Syria. What is one to make of it all. The stories are contradictory.

In August, German chancellor Angela Merkel made a mistake. Refugees who had hoped to wait out the Syrian war in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey were losing patience and began trickling into Europe. By this summer traffickers had built a profitable streamlined route that could efficiently accommodate millions of ‘clients.’ Merkel announced in August that Germany could probably accept 800,000 Syrians. Poison gas, barrel bombs, ISIS, who could not be sympathetic? Anyone who could pass as a Syrian took Merkel’s statement as an invitation.

We’ve seen the pictures of flimsy boats, overloaded, coming from Africa, sinking, with huge loss of life. The little Syrian toddler washed up on the beach, whose photograph circled the globe, and the story became something quite different than was first alleged. Stories of rape and assaults in the refugee camps. The refugees are demanding, not pleading. Some are actually suing because governments are too slow in offering their benefits. What is one to make of all this?

Hungary is putting up border fences of razor wire. Slovakian police are escorting the long columns of refugee men, pictured above, young men, who have left their families behind till they get settled, through the country. Denmark is advertising in the Middle East to tell everyone not to try to come to Denmark. Swedish homes may be confiscated to accommodate Asylum Seekers. Sweden is also now the rape capital of the world. Bits of information from all over. Many Europeans are unconcerned. ISIS fighters posing as migrants? Who knows? Refugees in these numbers cannot help but transform the continent. When they become aware, Europeans may react with fury. Volunteers distribute food and clothing. It’s late fall and getting cold.

The European Union’s grand idea of open borders isn’t working any better than their grand idea of a single monetary system. What they’ve got is a rupture between government and the people. Under the EU’s so-called Dublin regulations, passed in stages starting in 1997, refugees must apply for asylum in the first EU country they enter. Germany is almost landlocked, and Middle Easterners need visas to fly into it.  Merkel got the reputation for generosity, but it was Germany’s EU neighbors who got the flood of refugees.  Christopher Caldwell writes:

There is something in this that reminds one of the financial crisis of 2008. Like a too-big-to-fail bank, Merkel has made a bet that will allow her to pocket the credit if she succeeds and spread the baleful consequences to others if she fails. It appears now that she is going to fail. Her defenders exult that she is showing a different face of Germany than the one the world knows from the last century of its history. It is premature to say so. Merkel is showing the face of a Germany that is acting unilaterally, claiming superior moral authority, and answering those who object by saying they’ll thank her for this someday. As such, she is dragging the whole European continent towards unrest. No German role is older.

Obama has apparently decided to set a target of more than 100,000 ‘Syrian’ refugees a year by 2017, and will seek ways to increase that number in subsequent years.

President Obama said in a video aimed at convincing migrants to pursue American citizenship that they don’t have to change their attitudes or beliefs.

“It’s not about changing who you are, it’s about adding a new chapter to your journey… and to our journey as a nation of immigrants,” Obama narrates in his two-minute video urging almost 9 million resident migrants to sign up for citizenship so they can vote in 2016.

Obama’s deputies will award citizenship to 36,000 over the next few days.

But federal law — and reality — contradicts Obama’s progressive-style denial of Americans’ sophisticated, evolved and unique society, and contradicts his support for a chaotically diverse “nation of immigrants” devoid of any unique and shared loyalties and obligations.

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen,” says the first sentence of the citizenship oath.

Drunk with power, Obama is going way too far. This one is about changing the electorate into a permanently Leftist mass who will preserve his attempt to “Fundamentally transform the United States of America.” That’s what he promised, and he’s determined to keep his campaign promises.

Hillary: Not to Worry, the VA Scandal Is Not a “Widespread” Problem. Only 40 Vets Died. by The Elephant's Child

2016_Split_Campaign_-06aa5Hillary is at it again. She said on Rachel Maddow’s show on Friday, that the problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs are real, but not nearly as widespread as the coverage would indicate.

She blamed Republicans for using the issue as part of an “ideological agenda” and said “they want the VA to fail.”

“Now nobody would believe that from the coverage you see, and the constant berating of the VA that comes from the Republicans, in – in part in pursuit of this ideological agenda that they have,” Clinton said.

“They try to create a downward spiral, don’t fund it to the extent that it needs to be funded, because they want it to fail, so then we can argue for privatization.”

Veterans, she said, often report having a positive experience with the VA when they get treatment through the agency. “I don’t understand why we have such a problem, because there have been a number of surveys of veterans, and overall, veterans who do get treated are satisfied with their treatment.”

Translation: Those nasty Republicans are just on a partisan witch-hunt, and don’t care about the veterans. And that’s why they are having these partisan hearings about Benghazi, trying to blame me for my dear friend Chris Stevens death, and saying nasty things about me, when I worked so hard as Secretary of State and I was so proud of what I had accomplished. And when he died, I couldn’t sleep for weeks and weeks. It’s all because Republicans are such evil people.

The embarrassing facts: Extended wait times at VA hospitals have aroused public outrage. A VA Inspector General’s report last year found that veterans in Phoenix waited an average 115 days for an initial doctor’s appointment—while VA officials claimed the average wait time was only 24 days. The report also found that 1,700 veterans were intentionally kept off patient rolls and 40 veterans died while waiting for treatment at the Phoenix facility.

Senate Democrats blocked a  Republican bill to fund the VA earlier this month because Democrats wanted more funding for a bigger budget deal that would include more funding for things like climate change.

Hillary is a remarkably callous person. No problem using veterans problems with the VA to  pitch her own victim status. But then she never had much problem with the unnecessary death of four Americans at Benghazi, nor with lying to their parents about why they died. The VA taking vets off the wait list to make the VA official record of efficiency in treating patients look better, is not really a “widespread” problem — only 40 vets died because they couldn’t get treatment.

And it is still not fixed. Although General Shinseki was fired, the people responsible for the scandal were not. It’s a government agency. They don’t fire people.

Four Years of FOIA Requests, Four Years of Benghazi Hearings by The Elephant's Child


The WordPress wayback machine reminded me of three posts about Benghazi: From December 19, 2012 concerning the Accountability Review Board study of the Benghazi affair. “The Report on Benghazi Came In, All Over, Nothing to See Here, Just Move Along

May 8, 2012: “The Benghazi Hearings. It Matters a Lot

May 18, 2013: Spin, Spin, Spin

Not just a reminder of how long Congress has been trying to find out why four Americans were killed in Benghazi, but why the administration lied to the American people about it, and why they have tried so hard to cover up. “Most transparent administration in history” indeed!

Perhaps you have noticed that the Republicans in Congress are arguing about their goals and what they can accomplish in the face of an administration that is firmly set against their accomplishing anything. This is portrayed by the media as ‘chaos’ and ‘weakness’ and ‘disorganization’ but it is not any such thing. It’s the way things are supposed to work.

When the Founders were first setting up a new, independent, country they were determined to set us free from an over-controlling government. They sought power, not for themselves, but for the American people. All kinds of battles have been fought over the centuries by people trying to win some privilege from their government. The Founders skipped all that and gave the government to the people.

That was and remains the most daring act in the history of government, and it makes all the difference. They did everything they could think of to slow government down, to provide for fighting and disagreement over what laws to pass. We are supposed to argue and fight, and discuss and eventually reach a satisfactory compromise.

Progressives, the certified smart people, have never really understood that. They basically believe that they should be running things, that the American people are stupid or they would be supporting the right of Progressives to rule. That’s why they march in lockstep, use the same words to describe their ideas, promise to give the people extravagant gifts like free college tuition, free healthcare (that’s working out well), equality for all, and let the rich pay for everything. Trouble is that all the billions of the billionaires is not enough. Or as Margaret Thatcher famously remarked “Sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.”

That’s why Progressives hate free speech, want to confiscate your guns, nationalize education, eliminate state’s rights, and eliminate the Republican Party which has the gall to oppose their ideas. That’s why they can’t win elections without vote fraud, why they import illegal aliens to skew population numbers, register them to vote, convince minorities that voter ID is a Republican trick to keep them from voting. And now, why they want to release large numbers of criminals from prison. It’s the Fox Butterfield Fallacy.

Progressives do not play fair, though they talk about “fairness” a lot. They are zealots on a grand mission, they are going to legislate social justice and social equality. They believe that if they can accumulate enough money and enough power, they can make the glorious future work. That it has been tried many times before and failed doesn’t phase them, for when they do it it will be different. I don’t think your ordinary run-of-the-mill Democrats are actually aware of all that. They know that the  Democrat Party cares about them, and Republicans are mean, which is presently proved by their partisan attack on Hillary.

Whatever Bad Thing is Happening is Caused by Climate Change! by The Elephant's Child

In the Democrat Debate in Las Vegas, the candidates were asked what is the greatest crisis facing America? A little Middle East, and more of income inequality, but for Bernie Sanders  it was Climate Change. I’m becoming convinced that Progressives, or Socialists in Bernie’s case, get all of their information from Progressive talking points.

Our colleges and universities have insisted that they are teaching our children “critical thinking” which seems to mean the progressive line. This has widely been called “the Information Age” — which refers more to volume than quality. But where is the help in managing the flow?

There was a time when we had 3 major networks, but not only has that expanded, but the sources of information have exploded. Newspapers may be dying, but they are moving online, and with a few keystrokes I can access any newspaper in the world, most in English. There is social media, and Twitter for instantaneous information, far more than anyone has the time to pursue — yet we are told that a significant number of people get their news from late night comedy shows.

It seems to me to be essential to teach our kids how to manage information. How do you determine which websites are honest and reliable? The ‘fact checkers’ have not been either reliable or helpful. When you have a debate among candidates for the presidency of the United States and one of those candidates announces that the greatest crisis facing Americans is climate change, and that we must act because our grandchildren will face an uninhabitable world, what are you supposed to think?

Susan Rice, President Obama’s national security adviser, just announced that the mess in Syria is caused by Climate Change.

The president himself scoffed at Vladimir Putin’s adventures in Syria and said his own efforts on climate change were more important leadership for the world.

Where does this panic about the climate come from? I haven’t noticed anything out of the ordinary actually occurring. California has a drought, as they have had many times in the past. South Carolina just got a lot of rain and floods, but it’s not even a 100 year event. Hurricanes are down in number and severity.

According to the satellite data, we have had no warming in the past 18 years and 8 months. Dangerous climate change exists only in computer programs that attempt to model the climate and predict the future. But we don’t know enough about our present climate to be predicting the future. We are just learning that the surface of the ocean has effects on clouds that we don’t understand, and for that matter we don’t have any understanding of just how clouds affect climate. The ocean is rising by millimeters, not inches or feet, and those with waterfront lots don’t need to worry for a century or two.

Progressives ignore science completely in their fear of genetically modified crops (GMOs). According to the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association and countless other well qualified international bodies there is no peer-reviewed scientific evidence that GMO crops are unfit for human consumption in any way.

Are we doomed to simply get dumber each year as our sources of information increase? To know less and less about how to separate fact and fiction? Scary indeed.


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