American Elephants


The Pursuit of a Foreign Policy Legacy Is Not Going Well by The Elephant's Child

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Back at the beginning of his first term, President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton announced a foreign policy “pivot” to Asia. The road of good intentions chose another direction, and the big events continued to happen in the Middle East. Civil war in Syria, the rise of ISIS with accompanying terrorism and brutality, regime change in Egypt and Libya, and the continuing Iranian quest for nuclear weapons and regional dominance are the problems that have dominated the news and Obama’s response to those events has comprised his foreign policy record, and it is not a record that makes much of a legacy.

Obama dismissed ISIS as a “JV team,” was angered by the coup in Egypt, made a botch of Libya with the help of his Secretary of State who dismissed the whole thing with “We came, We saw, He died” and a round of laughter, when reporters told her he was dead. It is slowly becoming clear Obama has lied extensively to the American people about his “Iran Deal.”

The Mullahs in Iran really had no interest in a deal. They are interested in destroying Israel and in destroying America, and do not intend to be delayed or restrained. Obama believes that they care about their people and will use the funds returned to make life better for Iranian families. He believes he can turn the Middle East over to the Persians to run, and remove all American interference in that part of the world, which will mean peace. He apparently believes that all the problems in that part of the world are Bush’s fault for invading Iraq, and he has no interest in being disabused of his fanciful notions.

You can’t build a foreign policy legacy out of trying to avoid any confrontation at all. Obama’s playing his last hand and betting on the  Paris Climate Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, by pretending they are not treaties, but some kind of deal that does not require the consent of Congress. But that has been his operating plan for some time.

So far on this trip, Obama has insulted Teresa May, Britain’s new Prime Minister, telling her that Britain would have to go the the back of the line for any trade deals since they didn’t pay attention when he told them to vote BREXIT down. Face-conscious China insulted President Obama by failing to provide the red-carpet stairway provided to all heads of state, forcing him to descend from the belly of Air Force One, a clear snub. Irwin Stelzer reported in the Weekly Standard:

When Obama raised the issue of China’s militarization of the islands it has constructed in the South China Sea, President Xi Jinping told him China would “unswervingly safeguard” its claims in the area. When the American president raised the issue of human rights, Xi told him not to interfere in China’s internal affairs. Perhaps the unkindest cut of all came when Xi praised the Paris agreement to limit carbon emissions, the issue on which Obama had come to take a victory lap, “It was under Chinese leadership that much of this progress was made.”

Xi was wrong on both of these counts: the Paris accord will not limit emissions, and China was a reluctant signatory to the agreement forged in Paris, largely by Obama, and whereas America agreed to drastic cuts in emissions, China made no such promise. All it agreed to do, at some date in the distant future—perhaps 2030 if that proves convenient—is to begin slowing the rate of increase of its emissions relative to the growth in the country’s GDP. Not a word about ending China’s financing coal plants in other countries—92 in 27 countries is the current count of the San Francisco-based Climate Policy Initiative, enough new coal-fired capacity to offset all the plant closures and emissions reductions planned in the United States for the next decade. No surprise that Xie Zhenhua, China’s senior climate change negotiator in Paris, says the deal struck there is “fair and just, comprehensive and balanced.”

The Senate will not ratify the treaty. Even if all the nations who have signed actually implemented their plans, it would reduce the growth of emissions only about half as much as the claimed 3.6º Fahrenheit which some scientists claim would reduce drought, floods, and other catastrophes which are not caused by increases in temperature. The Coalition of the Least Developed Nations agreed to go along because the rich nations agreed to give them at least $100 billion, but no one has started raising any money yet anyway. The panic about climate occurs only in the computer programs of the climate scientists who depend on climate panic for their jobs, their grants, and their reputations.

Obama  apparently insulted the new Philippine president who then called President Obama the ‘son of a whore,’ so in general the big G-7 meeting didn’t go too well. Obama is off to Laos as the first U.S. President to visit that country.

ADDENDUM: Reports in from Laos, and snippets of President Obama’s speech, suggest that he’s up to his old tricks of apologizing for his country  with little understanding of what actually went on in Laos, which was not as he suggests indiscriminate bombing. He actually said:

Over nine years — from 1964 to 1973 — the United States dropped more than two million tons of bombs here in Laos — more than we dropped on Germany and Japan combined during all of World War II.  It made Laos, per person, the most heavily bombed country in history.  As one Laotian said, the “bombs fell like rain.”  Villages and entire valleys were obliterated.  The ancient Plain of Jars was devastated.  Countless civilians were killed.  And that conflict was another reminder that, whatever the cause, whatever our intentions, war inflicts a terrible toll, especially on innocent men, women and children.

Our planes were bombing the Ho Chi Minh Trail to prevent supplies coming down that trail to kill American troops from reaching Vietnam. It was a  purposeful effort to save American lives, not indiscriminate and trying very hard not to kill civilians. Ask anyone who was there.



The Mind of the Left and Nebulous Nitwittery. by The Elephant's Child

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There are some pieces that pop up in the country’s leftist media that simply leave you shaking your head. This one hits all the necessary notes — feminism, climate concern, gender , research, health, the professoriate, vegetarianism, Dietary Guidelines, and a smidgen of male bashing. The essay, by one Danielle Paquette, (she should be ashamed of herself ) appeared in The Washington Post’s wonkblog under the title “Your manliness could be hurting the planet.” It begins:

Researchers have known for decades that women tend to beat men on environmental metrics. They generally use less fuel and energy. They eat less meat. They’re more concerned about climate change.

James Wilkie, a business professor at the University of Notre Dame, wanted to understand what drives this gender eco-friendliness gap. After years of exploring psychological bias, he and his colleagues developed a theory.

“Men’s resistance may stem in part from a prevalent association between the concepts of greenness and femininity and a corresponding stereotype (held by both men and women) that green consumers are feminine,” they assert this month in the Journal of Consumer Research. “As a result of this stereotype, men may be motivated to avoid or even oppose green behaviors in order to safeguard their gender identity.”

If you are eager to learn more about the thinking of the Left, or if you totally agree that environmentalism is a feminine concern and men are all blockheads, you may enjoy the article. If you actually read it to the end, you will find more articles from Wonkblog linked, which all sound equally —  nevermind.



ISIS Has Exposed the True Reason Why They Hate the West. by The Elephant's Child

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ISIS publishes a glossy magazine to spread their propaganda called Dabiq. Issue 15 is entitled BREAK THE CROSS.

The debate about the fault lines in American and Western politics has concerned whether jihadist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS are motivated by their religion or by politics, more specifically, by grievances against Western Foreign policy. Some insist that Islamic doctrine is the basis of their violence, others insist that such groups are not truly Islamic, but are instead using the guise of religion to lash out against Western influence and intervention. A recent issue of Dabiq settles the question.

American scholar Raymond Ibrahim has “sought to translate and publish al-Qaeda’s internal communiqués to fellow Muslims side by side with al-Qaeda’s communiqués to the West to show the stark differences in tone and purpose. The volume is The Al Qaeda Reader, in which he proves that radical Islam’s war with the West is not finite and limited to political grievances, but is existential, transcending time and space and deeply rooted in faith.”

In a recent article from Dabiq titled “Why We Hate You & Why We Fight You” the Islamic State offers six reasons, but Reason number one says it all:

We hate you, first and foremost, because you are disbelievers; you reject the oneness of Allah – whether you realize it or not – by making partners for Him in worship, you blaspheme against Him, claiming that He has a son [Christ], you fabricate lies against His prophets and messengers, and you indulge in all manner of devilish practices. It is for this reason that we were commanded to openly declare our hatred for you and our enmity towards you. “There has already been for you an excellent example in Abraham and those with him, when they said to their people, ‘Indeed, we are disassociated from you and from whatever you worship other than Allah. We have rejected you, and there has arisen, between us and you, enmity and hatred forever until you believe in Allah alone'” (Al-Mumtahanah 4 [i.e., Quran 60:4]). Furthermore, just as your disbelief is the primary reason we hate you, your disbelief is the primary reason we fight you, as we have been commanded to fight the disbelievers until they submit to the authority of Islam, either by becoming Muslims, or by paying jizyah – for those afforded this option [“People of the Book”] – and living in humiliation under the rule of the Muslims [per Quran 9:29].

This is completely plain, and grounded in Islam’s traditional worldview. Unrelenting hatred fuels their jihad — not grievances. Islam commands Muslims to hate non-Muslims. Hard for Westerners to comprehend.” In Osama bin Laden’s communiqués to the West he stressed the idea that al-Qaeda’s war was entirely based on Western foreign policies detrimental to Islam; cease those and terrorism would cease.” A great many Western leaders accepted al-Qaeda’s lies and “it became the default answer to the tired question “why do they hate us?”

So, plain and simple — there it is.

Last November, Hillary Clinton tweeted that Muslims “have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.”



The Progressive Left’s Ideas on Diversity Are Sheer Bunk by The Elephant's Child


The Progressive Far Left aims to change American culture by changing our language. You’ve heard the buzz-words — over and over and over. One of the big ones is “diversity.” Sounds like a good thing, doesn’t it? The Progressive Left chooses their words carefully to sound good, but what do they mean by “diversity”?

What is meant is skin color and/or race. This includes mostly Blacks, Hispanics or Latinos, occasionally Native Americans, Hawaiians, and seldom Asians. It has mostly been pursued through the education system. The failure of schools in minority districts was attempted to be remedied, not by better teachers and better programs, but by busing.

Awkwardly, Hispanics or Latinos are not a race, but speak either Spanish or Portuguese. Some, descended from South America’s Native Americans do have brown skin, and some are descended from black slaves from Africa imported to work in the cane fields. In any case, we are supposed to divvy everything up to conform to numbers in the total population.

So there are advantages to being “diverse,” and numbers of prominent Lefties have attempted to become “diverse” in order to take advantage of available goodies — Elizabeth Warren, Rachel Dolezal and Ward Churchill.  It’s quite popular to claim Cherokee or Comanche ancestry, other tribes not so much. The fact that Native Americans owned slaves is never ever mentioned.

The American Melting Pot has been marvelously successful in blending in folks from all over the world. The first generation often huddles together with others who speak their language, but they become Americans.  That is the purpose of our Americanization process for those applying for citizenship. Obama has attempted to reduce the requirements significantly, because he isn’t much interested in their becoming Americans, only in whether they vote Democrat.

The importance of buzz-words is indicated by the extent to which Colleges and Universities now emphasize “diversity” of race. Diversity of ideas is not considered either important or necessary. There have even been many instances of professors demanding conformity and urging dissenters to drop the class. Oddly, students inspired by Black Lives Matter are demanding more classes in race, more Black professors, more separate dorms. Diversity indeed. Racially segregated “safe spaces” are fixtures on college campuses. Enormously important in advertising.

How much of this political correctness exists because people fear the disapproval that might descend upon them if they do not follow the correct line? Think about that one.

Here is an excellent column by Victor Davis Hanson titled “History’s Pathway to Chaos.”

Bruce Thornton writes about Progressive “Thought Blockers:”Diversity: The grim antithesis to liberal education.

I believe that human beings are by nature tribal. In the modern age, the old notion of tribes is long gone, except in the Middle East, but we still self-select organizations and clubs to form the modern tribe of people we want to be with and who share our ideas and tastes. Nobody bellyaches when we join bridge clubs, churches, poker clubs, bird-watching clubs. charitable organizations, neighborhood communities, Boy Scouts (well, we have had some objections to the Boy part), same goes for Campfire girls, and these organizations may be extremely diverse or not. So what? The Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations are popular. Just total up some of the organizations that you and your friends have joined. That’s just the modern version of Tribe. Who is more tribal than a bunch of Progressive Democrats, and who is at war with Freedom of Speech?



They’re Dragging Out Ocean Acidification Again by The Elephant's Child

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James Delingpole, British writer, rants regularly at Breitbart about the utter goofiness of the world’s climate true believers.  He wrote today about a  climate “science” scam  that keeps on rearing its ugly head, in spite of being debunked thoroughly over and over.

Aside from the need to debunk once more, it’s a classic example of the workings of climate science. In this case, one of Delingpole’s articles was supposedly debunked in The Marine Biologist (the magazine of the marine biologist community). He wrote:

There was a time when I would have just ignored it: the guy who wrote it – one Phil Williamson – is the embodiment of Upton Sinclair’s dictum that “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

Not only is Williamson based at the “University” of East Anglia – aka Climate Alarmism Central, heavily featured in the Climategate scandal – but since 2010 he has been paid as Science Coordinator of the UK Ocean Acidification research programme. This project has received around £12.5 million of UK government funding, most is provided by the Natural Environment Research Council (for which conveniently Williamson also works).

Dr. Robert (Bob) Carter, the late Australian Marine Geologist, laughed once and said “As long as there are rocks in the ocean, it will never be acid.” (that may not be an exact quote, but close),  the sensible message stuck with me.

Many climate scientists who are based at one university or another  find the drive do battle with “global warming” has financed a new and important department, the needed equipment, and the advocacy keeps drawing taxpayer funding to support it.  It’s all a very incestuous scheme that should be considered scandalous, were they not so serious about it all.

Climate Change, says Delingpole “represents a global industry worth around $1.5 trillion — all of this predicated on the notion that man-made carbon dioxide is a problem because it causes catastrophic global warming. Now clearly if — as seems to be increasingly likely — CO2 turns out to be just a harmless trace gas whose influence on climate is marginal, than an awful lot of vested interests are going to be heavily out of pocket. Hence the appeal to the vast climate alarmist conspiracy of Ocean Acidification; the handy theory which ensures that even if global warming doesn’t happen, there will still be plenty of snout-space at the trough for all those rent-seekers, crooks, green-heads, scamsters and shills involved in the “decarbonisation” industry.”

Do read Mr. Delingpole’s whole piece. They are always great fun, but full of good information as well. I think he really relishes the role of “debunker.”



A Devastating Flood in Louisiana Does Not Mean that Global Warming Caused It! by The Elephant's Child

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Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. is a Professor in the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Colorado, and a Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) slammed the idea of linking the recent dreadful floods in Louisiana to Global Warming.  It is always tempting to attribute catastrophe to those things that can be linked to a current political theme, but extreme weather is NOT getting worse.

‘Flood disasters are sharply down. U.S. floods not increasing either.’

‘Is U.S. drought getting worse? No.’

‘U.S. hurricane landfalls (& their strength) down by ~20% since 1900.’

‘Recent years have seen record low tornadoes.’

Climate Depot (add this site to your list) has an excellent article quoting Dr. Pielke which includes graphs of what is really happening and show the decline in disaster. Useful to keep in mind when confronted with the alarmists. Hurricanes are down by approximately 20% since 1900. Tornadoes are at a record low. Drought is not worse, though California’s government mismanagement has nearly caused disaster.

The hacked documents from George Soros Open Society Institute published by DC Leaks has revealed that the Liberal billionaire gave former Vice President Al Gore’s environmental group millions of dollars over three years to create a “political space for aggressive U.S. action” on global warming. “That included budgeting $10 million in annual support to Gore’s climate group over three years.”

So a little corruption here and there is just the normal way that government works these days? Don’t you hate the feeling that they are attempting to manipulate you and your ideas?



Will Obama Get His 16-Year Era Of Progressive Rule to Fundamentally Transform America? by The Elephant's Child

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I received my copy of The Claremont Review of Books summer edition in the mail today, and a paragraph in the editorial statement caught my eye. Charles Kesler reflected on the campaign season.

For President Obama , the stakes are clear. As he told Politico recently; he wants his legacy to include “a 16-year era of progressive rule” that would upend the Reagan Revolution and fulfill his promise in 2008 to transform the country “fundamentally.” Obama’s own achievement, in other words, depends on eight years of a Hillary Clinton Administration, its agenda shoved further left by Bernie Sanders’s “political revolution.”Whether Obama likes it or not, if Change doesn’t continue, Hope will die, above all his hope of being the progressive Reagan.

I am continually amazed at the ignorance of the benefits of free market capitalism that is necessary to believe in a glorious Progressive future. But then, Christiana Figueres, Secretary General of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, cheerfully admitted that they weren’t really interested in saving the Earth from a forthcoming climate disaster, but that it was their best chance of ridding the world of Capitalism.

How do they continually banish the clear evidence before their eyes of the results of progressive governance? People are voting with their feet to leave the states where the administrative state reigns. Companies cannot make a go of it under confiscatory taxes and ever-increasing regulation. 9,000 businesses have packed up and left California for less regulation and lower taxes. The Cities that have been run by Democrats the longest, are the cities with the highest murder rates, the most dysfunction. There is a long and ugly history of socialism, but they just didn’t do it right? Obama has tried to open up Cuba with a visit and promises of closer relations, and the Castros simply said fine, but we’re not changing anything.

Venezuela is a classic example—an oil rich country that cannot feed their people who are breaking into the zoo to kill the starving animals for food. The absence of toilet paper has been the most celebrated, but there is little food in the stores, and long lines when the slightest truck loads come in. Nicholas Maduro has tried to confiscate all weapons — as he has some idea of his future.

Steven Hayward captured the essence of the administrative state in one paragraph.

Here’s Richard Epstein on “The Perils of Executive Power.

David Harsanyi  writes about “California: The Ultimate Nanny State.”

 




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