American Elephants


The Racial Protests Aren’t About What You Think They Are! by The Elephant's Child

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In a recent CBS News Special, correspondent Lee Cowan asked the president if, in spite of his promises to be the great uniter, the degree of anger and disagreement was a reflection on his tenure in the White House.  President Obama responded:

The one thing that gnaws on me is the degree of continued polarization. This has gotten worse over the last several years. And I think that in those early months, my expectation was that we could pull the parties together a little more effectively.

“Cowan then asked the president,’Do you wish in hindsight that maybe campaigning on that notion of changing the tone in Washington, do you wish you hadn’t campaigned as hard on that promise?'”

“That’s what the American people believe, and that’s what I still believe,” Obama said, jumping right back into his old ways.” (In other words, don’t blame me)

Ah yes, that is why Obama is governing by executive order so he doesn’t have to engage with Congress, and endure their disagreement. An election is coming up, and black voters might not come out since Obama is no longer on the ballot. It’s necessary for the community organizer-in-chief to stir things up a little. Starting with Ferguson, Missouri, we were told that George Soros was funding organizers to enliven the riots. Organizers from Ferguson went on to Baltimore to make sure there actually were riots.

The reason Mizzou students did not want the media taking pictures was because there were Ferguson and Occupy activists there giving them counsel. The issue is never the issue — the issue is always the revolution. Obama promised us that he intended to fundamentally change the United States of America — we just didn’t understand what he meant.

Breitbart News examined  Twitter accounts in Columbia, Missouri, and found individuals from #Black Lives Matter, who traveled from Ferguson to Baltimore, and Charleston. SC and published photos of them meeting with Student Body President Payton Head.

Paul Sperry explains how Obama is bankrolling a nonstop protest against “invented outrage,” and he’s doing it through Organizing for Action, (formerly Obama’s campaign organization Obama for America) He claims that OFA has trained more than 10,000 leftist organizers, who in turn are training more than 2 million youth in Alinsky street action. “The leftist group, which recently registered as a 501c4 nonprofit eligible for unlimited contributions, holds regular ‘organizing summits’ on college campuses.” And there’s ACORN as well.

Through social media, they mobilize flash mobs against “biased cops,” “climate-change deniers,” “Wall Street predators” and “gun extremists.” They hold rallies against conservative foes of gay marriage, LGBT rights, abortion and amnesty for illegal immigrants.

The president has egged on the #Black Lives Matter protesters and invited the founder to the White House, he assured the Occupy Wall Street protesters that he was on their side. But there is much less racism today, and there are fewer and fewer real targets. “Even professors, deans and chancellors who worship at the altar of diversity and multiculturalism are enduring their wrath, poetically suffering intolerances in the name of tolerance.”

But actions have consequences. The violent protests against the police have meant that police are more reluctant to go into poor black neighborhoods. Police across the country are having trouble finding recruits. Obama is releasing thousands of “non-violent” drug dealers from prison, numbers of them  who were armed when arrested — but they are “non-violent.”

At the Hoover Institution, James Huffman explores “The Real Cause of Campus Racism.” Colleges and Universities have made race and racial differences central to almost everything they do. And to make matters worse, those who accredit our universities make attention to race in admissions and programming a condition of accreditation. (This is an important and challenging essay, do read the whole thing.)

The University of Missouri, where the campus follies started, believed it could win the hearts and minds of black students by throwing its president to the racial protesters. But actions do indeed have consequences. Freshman applications are down 5% from the previous year and graduate student applications have plunged 19%. Pandering would seem to be a failure.

Even Victor Davis Hanson has noticed that polls confirm that Obama is the most polarizing president in recent memory — in a column titled “Still Polarizing After All These Years.” Dr. Hanson summarized the president’s divisiveness over his long seven years in office.  It is an ugly picture.

Obama has lost his party the Congress and most of the state legislatures. He has destroyed the centrist wing of the Democratic Party, and made his media apologists into caricatures of ministry of information megaphones. Obama ushered in an unprecedented any-means-necessary government amorality. Lois Lerner, a politicized IRS and a defunct ICE are its dividends. The secretary of Defense—four so far—is now a cabinet post designed to spawn after-office tell-all indictments of Obama. Scandals are normal now at the VA, IRS, NSA, ATF, EPA, and GSA, and from the AP surveillance and Solyndra to the Benghazi video-did-it talking points. The administration has reduced once-cherished departments such as the Secret Service, State Department, Justice Department and NASA into caricatures of incompetency.



Be Grateful for Income Inequality. It’s a Precursor Of The American Dream. by The Elephant's Child

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The United States government spends over a trillion dollars a year that it doesn’t have. To make that number go away, you either have to reduce spending or increase revenue.

Our wealthiest citizens, the top 20% of the economic pie, pay 70% of all taxes. The poorest 20% pay 3/5ths of one percent of all taxes. So we have to raise taxes on the wealthiest citizens to be “fair” or “balanced.”

There is, however, a problem. If you confiscate the entire wealth of the richest citizens — every penny the  Forbes 400 have — it would cover one year’s federal deficit.

Raising tax rates on everyone in the top 2% of the wealthiest citizens would not cover one year’s federal deficit.

Washington borrows $188 million every hour.

I wrote this down a while back, I’m not sure just how long ago, but I can assure you that nothing has improved.  Food for thought.

—  How You, I, and Everyone Got the Top 1 percent All Wrong by Derek Thompson, The Atlantic

—”Greedy’ Rich Actually The Most Generous Among Us” by Kerry Jackson, Investors Business Daily

— Obama orchestrated a massive transfer of wealth to the 1 percent,” by Matthew Gray, New York Post

There is, of course, an answer. Wealth is created by the free market and capitalism. Free people are endlessly inventive, and the hope of improving your financial situation, making a new idea the next big thing, becomes in a free market the opportunity to succeed. Where did Uber come from? Or telephones unconnected to phone lines that are actually tiny computers keeping track of everything and entertaining you as well?

Getting rich or richer, improving your situation, or changing your life is commonplace in America, yet in many parts of the world it is impossible to move beyond the status into which you were born. I cannot understand why the Left cannot think beyond “income inequality.” They are still stuck back in the French revolution railing against the opulence of the King and all his court. “It’s not fair” they whine.

Some people simply want to get rich —  that probably accounts for all the Powerball tickets sold. Some want to accomplish something worthwhile. Some want to move to a better neighborhood. Some want to build something important, others want to discover something new. If you know or are convinced that you can never move beyond where you are — I guess envy is all you have left.



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

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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.



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

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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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