American Elephants


Rising Threats: Shrinking Military. Three Former Secretaries of Defense Speak Out. by The Elephant's Child


“Bret Baier talks with Mr. Obama’s three former defense secretaries, who all agree: inexperienced paranoid Obama staffers tried to micromanage the war on terror from the White House, believing that the military had it in for Obama, and shade their views to please the president. Taken together, it’s quite a damning portrait of a president deeply in over his head, and a world out of control as a result:”

In an interview with the New Yorker in 2008, the new President Obama said confidently:

I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.

That’s a quote that will continue to haunt him. But he hasn’t done a very good job of hiring aides and advisors. He has ignored the advice of the most capable, and paid too much attention to the sycophants. It’s all to easy to lap up the flattery from those who want to please, but  when capable advisors tell you that you’re making a mistake — you’d better listen.



Obama’s Disastrous Iran Deal and Its Reverberations by The Elephant's Child

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Obama’s bizarre love affair with Iran continues: so writes Roger L. Simon at PJ Media. “In the last week or so, Obama has decided to ignore the putatively sanctioned Iranian missile tests—the ones with the “charming” admonitions for Israel to be wiped off the Earth emblasoned on the fuselage in Hebrew and Farsi—and seemingly agreed to the ayatollah’s demand that Iran should be allowed into our dollar system. A hundred and fifty billion evidently wasn’t enough.”

Iran clearly is continuing to do just as they choose, ignoring any sanctions, as if there was no ‘deal’. Congress has not agreed to any deal. Yet when Obama lightly criticizes Iran it comes across as absolutely bizarre — as advice to Iran on their business climate. “When they launch ballistic missiles with slogans calling for the destruction of Israel, that makes businesses nervous.” It makes six million Israelis nervous too.

Congress  has not lifted U.S. sanctions on Iran. Keep that in mind. The President and the Secretary of State cannot make treaties on their own. The U.S. Constitution requires congressional approval for any such agreement.

European governments and industries are heading for Tehran to get a cut of the massive windfall that the end of international sanctions. Americans are largely sidelined. However, Obama has given Boeing special permission to do business with Iran. The administration hs been cutting back on defense spending. A new market would mean jobs and decreasing the trade deficit.

Obama believes that new business will improve the Iranian economy and benefit Iran’s people who had been suffering under sanctions. The Supreme Leader has no concern for Iran’s people but is only interested in destroying Israel and the United States. He says so, regularly. Obama believes, ignoring long years of evidence, that Iran would never use a nuclear weapon, that they are people just like us who care about their people and their families.

Yousef Al Otaiba, the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the U.S. writes in the Wall Street Journal:

If the carrots of engagement aren’t working, we must not be afraid to bring back the sticks. Recent half measures against Iran’s violations of the ballistic-missile ban are not enough. If the aggression continues, the U.S. and the global community should make clear that Iran will face the full range of sanctions and other steps still available under U.N. resolutions and in the nuclear deal itself.

Iran’s destabilizing behavior in the region must stop. Until it does, our hope for a new Iran should not cloud the reality that the old Iran is very much still with us—as dangerous and as disruptive as ever.

“Congress is investigating whether the Obama administration misled lawmakers last summer about the extent of concessions granted to Iran under the nuclear deal, as well as if administration officials have been quietly rewriting the deal’s terms in the aftermath of the agreement, according to sources and a formal notice sent to the State Department. ”

“The concerns come after statements from top officials last week suggesting that Iran is set to receive greater weapons and sanctions relief, moves that the administration had promised Congress would never take place as White House officials promoted the deal last summer.”

The other wild card in the deal is the price of oil, which is running currently at about $37 a barrel — far below Iran’s break-even price. Obama will not give permission to bomb any oil field because of the environment.



Good Reads for a Spring Day by The Elephant's Child

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Sorry about the light blogging, we have had 3 sunny days in a row, a great burst of Spring after weeks of rain and wind and  gloom. The yard demands attention or the yard police will come after me.

Here are some special articles I’ve run across that are worth your attention. This one attempts to explain American anger and frustration from Muncie, Indiana — once called “Middletown,” by 20th century sociologists— in the middle of the country and average and representative. Ron Fournier is a good writer, if a little too dramatically gloomy. Note the date of the story.

How Americans Lost Trust in Our greatest Institutions
It’s not just Washington. Across the country, citizens’ faith in their city halls, newspapers, and churches is fading. by Ron Fournier and Sophie Quinton, The Atlantic, Apr. 20 2012″

Trump’s Ponzi Scheme “The real-estate mogul is running on his business record—but it shows the same flaws as his campaign itself. Ron Fournier, The Atlantic, March 24. 2016″

Europe at the Edge of the Abyss “America can still avoid sharing Europe’s fate. But only if we take action. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, March 28, 2016″

Blue Contradictions Coming to the Fore $15 Minimum wage, The American Interest March 31, 2016

Here’s Why It’s All But Impossible to Fire A Fed:  “Federal workers are far more likely to be audited by the IRS or get arrested for drunk driving than they are to be fired from the civil service payroll for poor performance or misconduct.”

Donald Trump is dead wrong. America is a fabulously rich and great nation. “America isn’t broke. Nor is it on the verge of a government debt crisis (whatever ‘crisis’ even means for a nation whose debt is printed in a currency that is both its own and the world;s reserve). America is not in decay, and the last thing the U.S. should do is rashly withdraw from a dangerous world because of those mistaken beliefs.” James Pethokoukis, The Week, March 23, 2016



The American Idea, Honored and Celebrated. by The Elephant's Child

Here’s Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) speaking at CPAC 2016, on March 3 2016 talking about classical conservatism, and how you rank the order between American, Conservative, and Republican. Good speech and real food  for thought.



Step by Step, American Universities Are Making Themselves Irrelevant. by The Elephant's Child

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The University of Missouri is still suffering from student protests last fall. They have caved in this week to student diversity demands, hired a chief diversity officer (the current campus fashion) and announced that undergraduates will now be required to complete three credit hours of “diversity intensive” courses in order to graduate. The courses will focus on “understanding different social groups” and “will explore at least one form of social inequality, broadly defined.” Just how the relevant inequality will be defined and by whom is not mentioned.

This is of course blatant nonsense. Students have been ‘organized’ by activists from Black Lives Matter and activists from Ferguson and Baltimore, with a few cases of racist hoaxes. The only diversity that matters on a college campus is a diversity of ideas. If students are not exposed to a wide variety of ideas and philosophies, there is no education taking place. Universities make great claims about teaching “critical thinking,” but they teach student activism and social justice instead.

There is no such thing as “social justice”— there is only one kind of justice, embodied in the U.S. Constitution and the laws of the nation. The American Constitution is the envy of the world, students would do well to discover just why this is so.

The debacle last fall when student protests shut down the University of Missouri  led ultimately to the resignation of the university president and the chancellor of the entire UM system. But the aftershocks are still being felt.

Surrendering to campus bullies cost the University 1500 students who did not enroll and a significant $32 million budget shortfall. Parents decided that enrolling their children elsewhere would be for the best. Other universities considering capitulating to childish demands, might consider that acting like adults and sending the cry bullies on home might well be more profitable for everyone concerned.

Diversity of ideas has become increasingly unpopular — today it is students at Emory who were traumatized by graffiti like “Trump” and “Trump 2016” chalked on stairs and walls around campus. They are receiving counseling.

The list of those engaged for graduation speeches who have subsequently been disinvited is long and embarrassing: Condoleeza Rice, who is not only distinguished, accomplished, conservative and black; Ayaan Hirsi Ali; Janet Napolitano; IMF managing director Christine Lagarde; George W. Bush; David Horowitz, and Dr, Ben Carson are just a few. Students are taught, apparently, that they don’t need to hear ideas with which they might disagree. “Critical thinking” indeed.

University students across the country are engaged in another new fad, an attempt to rename campus buildings and streets, remove statues and change athletic team names in the name of changing past history into something more politically correct. Some people in the past who may have founded a university or contributed to it should be removed from history because long ago they did something that is not approved of today.

What all this tells future employers is that they might look elsewhere for workers. Students who have learned nothing in college but activism and mindless protest don’t really have much to offer an employer. There is, I understand, a critical shortage of welders,who are offered well over $50 an hour.



Sometimes, In His Rush to Scold Us, President Obama Becomes Oblivious to His Own Contributions by The Elephant's Child

Do not read the following if you have just taken a swig of coffee or another beverage:  From David Bernstein at the Volokh Conspiracy at the Washington PostPresident Obama:

“I understand that we’re in the middle of an especially noisy and volatile political season. But at a time when our politics are so polarized; when norms and customs of our political rhetoric seem to be corroding – this is precisely the time we should treat the appointment of a Supreme Court justice with the seriousness it deserves. Because our Supreme Court is supposed to be above politics, not an extension of politics. And it should stay that way.”

David Bernstein wondered if Obama is oblivious to his own contributions to this corrosion particularly with regard to the Supreme Court:

To take one prominent example, President Obama famously attacked the Citizens United case in his State of the Union address in 2010. Many observers were troubled by the president’s lack of decorum in not just taking such a harsh swipe at the Supreme Court—something that no president had done with such vigor for over seventy years—but in doing so with the justices sitting in front of him. The justices were barred by protocol from objecting in any way, and had to sit there quietly like children while the president scolded them. That’s no way, many critics argued, to treat a coequal branch of government. Not only that, but the president claimed that Citizens United “will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections.” Justice Samuel Alito, agitated that the president inaccurately suggested that the case allowed foreign corporations to spend money on American elections, mouthed “not true.” Later that year, Obama senior adviser David Axelrod declared outright, and in an outright lie, that beneficiaries of Citizens United such as the “benign-sounding Americans for Prosperity, the American Crossroads Fund” are “front groups for foreign-controlled companies.”

As Josh Blackman points out in an extensive survey:

Very few Presidents have spoken about pending Supreme Court cases after arguments were submitted. Even fewer discussed the merits of the cases. Only a handful could be seen as preemptively faulting the Justices for ruling against the government. President Obama, however, stands alone in his pointed and directed arguments to the Supreme Court [while cases are pending]. He has compared the Court invalidating the individual mandate to Lochnerism. He has chastised the Justices for only being able to invalidate the IRS rule [on subsidies to federal Obamacare exchanges] based on a “contorted reading of the statute.” To the President, the Court “shouldn’t even have” granted certiorari. Striking down the mandate would have been “unprecedented” and invalidating the IRS Rule would “unravel what’s now been woven into the fabric of America.” While we can debate the propriety of these comments, and ponder whether or not they have an effect on the Court, the 44th President has set a new precedent for ex parte arguments.

Bernstein adds : Remember. what ever you do, don’t politicize the Supreme Court.



Are You a Climate “Denier?” The Left Wants to Send You To Jail For Disagreeing. by The Elephant's Child

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Attorney General Loretta Lynch testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that the Justice Department has “discussed” taking civil legal action against the fossil fuel industry for “denying” the threat of carbon emissions regarding climate change. The Justice Department has sent the case on to the FBI for determination.

During Lynch’s testimony, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) said that he believes there are similarities between the tobacco industry’s denial of scientific studies showing the dangers of using tobacco, and companies in the fossil fuel industry denying studies that are alleged to show the threat to the world from carbon emissions. Well, we can’t have people disagreeing with us. We’ll just have to sic the law on them. What is the matter with these people?

Whitehouse, who resides in the far distant realms of Leftism, pointed out that under President Bill Clinton the Justice Department brought and won a civil case against the tobacco industry—but the Obama administration has done nothing to stop the climate change “deniers” from their obnoxious denying.  Good luck with that one.

You expect to prove in a court of law that those computer programs with all their assumptions and guesses about how the climate of the earth actually works are going to overrule the proven science with crony capitalism and genuine fraud? Not going to happen. Their case is very weak, and Mother Nature is not on their side. All the fraud and dishonest behavior has been committed by the climate alarmists, because they see it as their path to a one world government, or something like that—more complete power in any case.

The Left doesn’t like disagreement. You can see someone pop up every so often demanding that something be done. They don’t like free speech, they don’t like the Constitution, they are against anyone owning a gun, and they are against anyone who does not think the Earth is being destroyed in a blaze of heat created by excess carbon dioxide, the benign gas that we exhale with every breath, which acts as a fertilizer for plants and is greening the world, and helping to feed a hungry planet. Generous government grants trump scientific accuracy all too often.

President Obama just gave $500 million of taxpayer’s money to the UN Green Fund—the first chunk of a $3 billion commitment that President Obama personally made at the Paris climate talks, defying Republican objections to the president’s environmental plan. Congress has not authorized any commitment to the United Nation’s “Green Climate Fund,”and President Obama knows that they wouldn’t. But never mind, he’s quite sure that the lawyers can find a way around that tired old constitution, so he can have his way.

State Dept defiant on $500M to UN climate fund: ‘Did Congress authorize the Green Climate Fund? No.’

Asked by Senator Cory Gardner if Congress approved the US State Department to divert $500 million to the United Nation’s Green Climate Fund, Deputy Secretary Heather Higgenbottom says: “Did Congress authorize the Green Climate Fund? No. […] We’ve reviewed the authority and the process under which we can do it, and our lawyers and we have determined that we have the ability to do it, and I pledge to you and to other members we’d be happy to provide that legal analysis and the additional details.”

There’s another federal department that needs swamping out. Under the administration of Barack Obama, federal departments are engaged in figuring out how they can subvert the Constitution, do exactly what they want, and find some legal justification for it — after they’ve followed the directions from the Oval Office. This is not the way our government is supposed to work. Yet in case after case, that’s what is happening.

And for some inexplicable reason, many ordinary folks are furious with “the establishment” (which apparently means anyone who has worked in government) and Republicans for being unable to stop such behavior, and want to elect an “outsider” (someone who has no understanding of how the government is supposed to work) to be in charge rather than someone who is familiar with the problems.

And by the way, there are no climate “deniers.” Most everyone has noticed that there is a constantly changing climate. The true believers simply accept that the cause of climate change is carbon dioxide in the atmosphere because that’s what they have been told, or because that’s what pays their salary, or because that’s what gets them big taxpayer subsidies from the government. Not because they are actually familiar with the science in question.




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