American Elephants

As The World Turns, Altering and Illuminating the Affairs of Men: by The Elephant's Child
May 20, 2015, 7:53 pm
Filed under: Coast Guard, Middle East, Nuclear Talks, World News | Tags: , ,

TEHRAN — Iran’s supreme leader, The Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed on Wednesday that he will not allow international inspection of Iran’s military sites or any access to Iranian scientists under any nuclear agreement with world powers. He told military commanders that Iran will resist “coercion and excessive demands” from America and other world powers.

The negotiators from Iran and representatives of the six-nation group —the U.S, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — have launched a new round of talks in Vienna focused on reaching a final deal that halts Iran’s nuclear program in return for the lifting of economic sanctions. “The two sides,” the AP says, “reached a framework agreement in March and hope to work out a final deal by June 30.” It’s just that President Obama’s description of the ‘framework agreement’ and Iranian officials’ description of the “framework agreement” didn’t seem to have much of anything in common.

The White House called the collapse of Ramadi, the largest city in Anbar province in Iraq, a “minor setback” and claimed that we are still succeeding in Iraq.The Pentagon reported that ISIS seized large amounts of American weapons including tanks, artillery pieces and Humvees when the Iraqi troops abandoned Ramadi. ISIS is reported to be now operating in Malaysia.

A Russian spy plane was photographed in British airspace over Lancashire, not far from a NATO monitoring station and a factory that makes military planes. As tensions rise  between Moscow and the West, American planes are patrolling the borders between the Latvian countries and Russia.

President Obama spoke to the graduates at the Coast Guard Academy at New London, Connecticut. He said:.

And this brings me to the challenge I want to focus on today — one where our Coast Guardsmen are already on the front lines, and that, perhaps more than any other, will shape your entire careers — and that’s the urgent need to combat and adapt to climate change.

As a nation, we face many challenges, including the grave threat of terrorism.  And as Americans, we will always do everything in our power to protect our country.  Yet even as we meet threats like terrorism, we cannot, and we must not, ignore a peril that can affect generations. …

Perhaps we need to take a harder look at our intelligence operations. There are too many people telling the president just what he wants to hear. Or perhaps the problem is even more serious.

ISIS Has Occupied Palmayra, And Draws Closer to Damascus. by The Elephant's Child
May 20, 2015, 6:15 pm
Filed under: ISIS, Middle East, Syria, Wanton Destruction | Tags: , , ,


The saga of Palmyra has not ended. ISIS militants have reportedly captured the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra on Wednesday as Syrian officials evacuated civilians and scrambled to keep priceless antiquities from falling into barbarian hands. Syrian activists said that Syrian soldiers were seen fleeing the area.

Authorities have rushed to remove hundreds of statues to safe locations, Syria’s antiquities chief said. But Palmyra has a museum and large monuments that cannot be moved. The city dates back to the Neolithic, it was first noticed as a caravan stop for travelers crossing the Syrian Desert. It is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and in the annals of the Assyrian kings, and eventually the Roman Empire. Given ISIS path of mindless destruction authorities are fearful for the Temple of Ba’al, an ancient theater and its famous colonnade. ISIS counts complete destruction of sites of of historic and religious importance. But there have been 50,000 people there who are being evacuated.

Experts have also warned that militants have smuggled priceless artifacts out of the country for sale on the black market to fund the terrorists’ army. ISIS blew up and bulldozed Nimrud.

Interesting that they revel in the destruction, yet recognize the value of the artifacts on the black market. It’s all right if others possess the evidence of past civilizations, they just don’t want any in their territory.

Familiar (or not) Quotations — Worth Repeating! by The Elephant's Child
May 19, 2015, 1:44 pm
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Freedom, Politics | Tags: , , ,


This Robert Heinlein quote may be familiar, or not, but it is certainly worth repeating:

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.”.

President Barack Obama’s Poverty Program by The Elephant's Child
May 19, 2015, 6:22 am
Filed under: Politics, The Left, The Poor | Tags: , , ,


President Obama took part last week in a conference at Georgetown University on Poverty, and appeared on a panel with Harvard social scientist Robert Putnam and AEI president Arthur Brooks, which was billed as a ‘conversation’ on poverty, moderated by the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne. The president and the moderator managed some quick remarks on how it would take a “miracle” to get GOP leaders to care about the poor.

The problem is that “care” or empathy is defined as spending other people’s money. Yet if the problem is bad schools, more money is the answer only if the problem is caused by a shortage of funds, not if it is caused by poor teachers, or teacher’s unions refusal to get rid of bad teachers.

Mr. Obama felt that financiers, and conservatives were too apt to send their own children to exclusive schools and refuse to give more funding to regular schools. Nobody brought up the fact that both Mr, and Mrs Obama went to exclusive private schools as children and their children attended Sidwell Friends School, the most exclusive in Washington D.C.And President Obama has consistently fought the small amount of money that goes to the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program which has been a lifeline to many poor children to get into exclusive private schools.

If you equate “caring” only with greater spending, you may not be addressing causation at all. Michael Ramirez, with his usual genius for the visual metaphor, manages to capture the essence.

Wading Through The Political Swamp. Put On Your Hip Boots! by The Elephant's Child
May 18, 2015, 10:50 pm
Filed under: Campaign 2016, CEO Pay, Income Inequality, Political Ploys | Tags: , ,


Income inequality is the key theme of the Democrats’ 2016 re-election strategy, and the main target is the nation’s chief executive officers. Hardly surprising — Democrats hate corporations.

Much has been made of the gap between the average corporate worker and the CEO. Business News Daily says the average annual compensation for a CEO of a public company in the U.S. in 2012 was $9.6 million. The average U.S. worker, in contrast made a little more than $44,000 in 2012.

I don’t get the issue. What is “the average U.S. worker?” That includes the janitor, the receptionist and people with a vast variety of skills from practically none to a whole bunch. How do we compare ourselves to an average worker and why is it a useful comparison? This is purely a political ploy, designed to promote envy and attract those who think that the politician who promises to reduce income inequality “cares about me” David Horowitz explains about that theme in his book Take No Prisoners:

At election time, “caring” is not one issue among many. It is the central one. Most issues are complex and require more information than the public can readily acquire. Consequently, voters care less about policy details than about the candidates who are going to shape them Voters don’t get to decide the policies. They elect their representatives to do that for them. They want to know whom they can rely on to sort out the complexities and vote in their best interests. Above everything else, they want to know whom they can trust to make those decisions. They want to know who cares about them.

Forgive me, but politicians care only about your vote. They don’t give a damn about you. And why is it only CEOs whose pay we are supposed to be concerned about? Lebron James makes $72.3 million. Kobe Bryant makes $61.5 million. Phil Mickelson makes $53.2 million. Matt Ryan makes $43,8 million. Did you have a personal manager or attorney to bargain for your compensation? If you work for a corporation, you have probably been told that you will be fired if you discuss your salary with any of your co-workers.

Hillary Clinton spent 8 years as First Lady in the White House, attempting to be a co-president. Then she was a Senator from a safe Democrat open seat, and ran for the presidency and was defeated by Barack Obama, and became Secretary of State, in which office she racked up a record in air miles, and not much else. One would think that after all that time in the nation’s capitol, she would have some clear observations of what our nation needs to do differently, or what’s wrong with the direction of the country. But she has already made it clear that her campaign will be about “income inequality.” Hillary Clinton demands $300,000 for giving a speech. Surely that gets some hypocrisy award.

How is CEO compensation determined? First of all, CEO compensation is public knowledge, which lets them know what the others are getting. They have lawyers to bargain for them. Their base pay for the core role and responsibilities of running the organization accounts for just 20 percent of their compensation. The other 80 percent is based on incentives. There are annual bonuses for meeting performance objectives. There are long term incentive payments for a two to five year period. Restricted stock awards to make sure the executive’s interests are aligned with stockholders’ interests. Stock options for increasing share price and shareholder’s returns. Retirement package, insurance separation pay. Average tenure for a CEO is currently 9.7 years which the highest it’s been in years. Largely, I assume, because stock prices are high because the best return you can get on your money is in dividend-paying stocks.

Possibly a major reason for the Left’s envy of CEO pay is because the highest paid professors make only $212,000 (Columbia), $203,000 (Harvard), or $179,000 (Cal Tech). Those professors have PhDs, and CEOs don’t. The AFL-CIO has an Executive Paywatch website which laments that “corporate CEOs have been taking a greater share of the economic pie.”

Pure politics again. There is no “economic pie” but an economy that grows or shrinks with the success or failure of the free market. When there is growth or new business or new ideas, or new products or services, money is created and the economy grows.

We’re already deep into the political season, though not everyone who is going to run has declared. The media are already asking silly “gotcha” questions like “If you knew then what you know now would you have …?” But we are encouraged to think that way. We are supposed to judge past wars with what we know now, not what we knew at the time. We are supposed to judge slavery by today’s sensibilities, not what was customary at the time. We are supposed to judge past presidents by how their actions have turned out many years later. Hindsight can be very, very comfortable.

Hello Young People, I’m Hillary Clinton by The Elephant's Child
May 18, 2015, 3:29 pm
Filed under: Campaign 2016, Democrat Corruption, Hillary Clinton | Tags: , ,

JennaMarbles@youtube is very funny.

“You’re an AfricanAmericanMiddleClassHomosexual? I care about you!”

(h/t: American Digest)

Once You’ve Reduced it to Rubble, You Can’t Put It Back Together Again by The Elephant's Child
May 17, 2015, 8:09 pm
Filed under: Iran, Iraq | Tags: , , ,

051615KhorsabadThe Assyrians rose around 2,500 B.C. and at one time their realm stretched from the Mediterranean coast to present day Iran. They left behind palaces and temples decorated with huge reliefs depicting their king’s military campaigns and conquests and his great hunting prowess, killing lions and other dangerous animals. The city of Nimrud was founded in the 13th century B.C.during the reign of King Ashurnasirpal II, and served as the second capital of the Assyrian empire. Another capital was Ninevah. These colossal winged man-headed lions or bulls were protective deities put at the entrances of palaces and temples weighing about 10–30 tons each.

ISIS is raging throughout Iraq and Syria, attempting to obliterate history..The ancient city of Nimrud is across the Euphrates from Mosul —or was. After looting anything movable for sale, they attacked the city with sledgehammers, drills, saws, barrel bombs and bulldozers to destroy the 4,000 year-old treasures. Now it is just rubble.2778684F00000578-3035534-image-a-8_1428835740011K.T. MacFarland, national security adviser for Fox said “it’s like brainwashing. They want to eliminate the past, remove all signs of idolatry and spread monotheism.” “There is no past, there is only us.” “God has honored us in the Islamic State to remove all of these idols and statutes worshiped instead of Allah in the past days.”

They destroy museums, and break up priceless artifacts. They destroyed the Mosul Library and burned thousands of its rare books and manuscripts. UNESCO called the burning of books and manuscripts “one of the most devastating acts of destruction of library collections in human history.”

the Washington Examiner lists the destruction, with an ISIS video bragging of their destruction and listing the other historical sites lost to the world because of ISIS wanton destruction, which seems remarkably pointless. The Crac des Chevaliers, an 11th Century Crusader castle, the Saint Simeon Church in Aleppo and the Aleppo Citadel. Jonah’s tomb, 173 priceless artifacts with statues from Hasra in the Mosul Museum. The Mosul Library, The ancient city of Nimrud, the Khorsabad Palace built between 717 and 706 B.C. and Hasra, a circular fortified city with double walls that became the capital of an early Arab kingdom.


It was reported that ISIS had taken Palmyra, in Syria (above) but a later post says they have been forced out and Palmyra is safe.

Some of the finest artifacts reside in Western museums. Everybody has criticized the British archeologists who snapped up so many treasures for depriving other nations of their heritage. Nobody really expected barbarians.



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