American Elephants


He Has a Phone and a Pen, And Congress Should Just Not Interfere! by The Elephant's Child

Obama-McDonough
Dennis McD0nough, President Obama’s Chief of Staff, confirmed the intent of the Administration to pursue “audacious” executive actions. He stated that the Obama administration’s desire was that its actions “not be subject to undoing through [Congress] or otherwise.” Many presidents have used “executive orders” to move an issue forward when Congress was stalling, but McDonough’s comment was something quite different. The end goal here is policy decisions that cannot be undone by Congress “or otherwise” which would seem to be the courts. Obama wants what he wants and he doesn’t want any  ignorant interference.

This is the man who regularly claims to have been a ‘Professor of Constitutional Law,’ when he apparently was only a lecturer in civil rights law at the University of Chicago, so his casual treatment of the law is not surprising.

The Founders created a governing system with three branches that was meant to act slowly, with deliberation. The Federalist explained the idea of what James Madison called “checks and balances” in The Federalist No. 51:

If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.

The Progressives in our country have somehow come to believe that whatever it is, is better done by government. Philanthropy should not be granted by rich men, but done by government. What to eat? The government will tell you what you should eat. Health care? The government will decide what medical care you may have and from what physicians or hospitals, and what they will pay for. You taxes will support useless wind turbines and solar arrays, and put the nation’s corn crop in your gas tank. You cannot buy raw milk from a dairy, and you must buy organic food. You are required to use less water when you take a shower, and the government will tell you what kind of light bulbs to use in your house. I could go on and on, but you will find the exercise more informative if you do it yourself.

Over the centuries since the founding, the shallow inclinations of politicians have been limited by respect for the restraint on their authority as a part of the guarantee of American freedom, so essential to who we are and what we believe. Many have commented on the anger of the American people in this campaign season. That is the root of the fury—an administration that ignores the rules and customs and traditions of our history—because this President, like a spoiled child, wants his own way.

He does not like Congress, because they disagree. He does not want to deal with them, and he ‘s not going to argue or try to convince them. He has a pen and a phone, and just try to stop him. And believe it or not, Hillary wants to appoint him to the Supreme Court, when his term is finally over.

Donald Trump said he would use a lot of executive actions as well, but he’d do good ones. And who decides that?



A Bill to Repeal ObamaCare Has Been Sent to the Oval Office. by The Elephant's Child

obama-has-re-taken-the-lead-in-an-average-of-national-pollsThe U.S. Congress has, for the first time sent legislation to the president that repeals large portions of ObamaCare. The House of Representatives has passed bills repealing ObamaCare in every Congress since the bill was first enacted, but was unable to get them past the Harry-Reid-controlled Senate. The Senate continually blocked the bills from reaching President Obama’s desk. That he will veto the bill is certain, but the ObamaCare repeal Vote counts.

The House voted 241 to 181 to pass the “Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act” which followed a Senate vote for passage of 53 to 47.

ADDENDUM: Many will ask why, when Obama is sure to veto the bill, it’s such a big deal. Most of us don’t really grasp the slow and difficult pace of getting a bill passed in both Houses of Congress. Each member has his or her own constituents to please, and important businesses and organizations within their state or district. And each of them is a cantankerous fallible human being as well. This puts Congress on record as opponents of ObamaCare, which is failing, as we said it would. And it puts the President on record with his veto.

It is worth noting that Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) is facing a major financial crisis. The NHS trusts have run up a deficit of almost £1 billion in just the first three months of the fiscal year. Over 9,000 people die each year needlessly because of NHS. Britain is far from being a model  for ObamaCare or the single payer plan beloved by the Democrats. In Canada wait times have increased even more, and they were already bad.



Keeping Track of the Terrorists Is More Important than Keeping Track of the Guns. by The Elephant's Child

obama-days-without-terrorist-attack-copy

After the attack in Paris, and before the attack in San Bernardino, Hillary Clinton offered up the Leftist Bluebook formula: “Let’s be clear: Islam in not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.”

A few days back, President Obama jetted to Paris spewing clouds of CO2 which he believes to be destroying the planet and uttered the undying words “a declaration that for all the challenges we face, the growing threat of climate change could define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other. What should give us hope  that this is a turning point that this is the moment when we finally determined we could save our planet, is the fact that our nations share a sense of urgency about this challenge and a growing realization that it is within our power to do something about it.”

The New York Times felt so strongly about “weapons of war” that they put their editorial right on the front page. “End the Gun Epidemic in America It is a moral outrage and national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency.” They should be embarrassed. They hauled out all their best adjectives and strong words — Moral outrage, national disgrace,  “America’s elected leaders offer prayers for gun victims and then callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing.” Barbara Boxer offered her testimony on the efficacy of California’s strong gun laws.

If the terrorist couple in San Bernardino had managed to get away, they had already produced an armory of 12 pipe bombs. They were made from Christmas tree lights, toy cars and other ingredients that anyone can buy anywhere. quite effective at killing and maiming. France has very strict gun laws, which essentially eliminate the possibility of guns in the hands of anyone but police. So does Britain, there even the police are unarmed. A young unarmed soldier was attacked and brutally killed on a public street with machetes.

The Times’ fatuous comment was — “at least they ‘re trying. The United States is not.” Pompous editorial, petty conclusions. A lot of killings have been prevented by civilians who are licensed to carry. The  rate of gun crime has been going down steadily since the mid 1990s. With Obama releasing big numbers of people sentenced for non-violent crimes, it may well start  back up again. There is a reason why the number of crimes has gone down, most likely, more people serving time for crime.

The Wall Street Journal summed it up nicely

President Obama entered the White House believing that the “war on terror” was a misguided overreaction driven by political fear, and his government even stopped using the term. Seven years later Mr. Obama is presiding over a global jihadist revival that now threatens the American homeland more than at any time since the attacks of September 11, 2001. …

The FBI director said more than once that the investigation is in the early stages, but he deserves support for speaking frankly about the evidence and dangers. Every instinct of this Administration, starting with the President, has been to minimize the terror risk on U.S. soil—perhaps because it contradicts Mr. Obama’s political belief that all we have to fear is fear of terrorism itself.



What is Vladimir Putin Doing in Syria? by The Elephant's Child

Putin formalThe great mystery in the Middle East is what is Vladimir Putin doing? Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state from 2005 to 2009, and Robert M. Gates, defense secretary from 2006 to 2011, join to write an op-ed at Fox News

One can hear the disbelief in capitals from Washington to London to Berlin to Ankara and beyond. How can Vladimir Putin, with a sinking economy and a second-rate military, continually dictate the course of geopolitical events? Whether it’s in Ukraine or Syria, the Russian president seems always to have the upper hand.

Obama claimed it is a sign of Russian weakness. Europe is alarmed — they have quite enough on their plates with refugees from the Middle East, not all of them by any means from Syria. They are demanding, expecting far more than the Europeans are willing to give, and the people of Europe are beginning to act in opposition.

The fact is that Putin is playing a weak hand extraordinarily well because he knows exactly what he wants to do. He is not stabilizing the situation according to our definition of stability. He is defending Russia’s interests by keeping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power. This is not about the Islamic State. Any insurgent group that opposes Russian interests is a terrorist organization to Moscow. We saw this behavior in Ukraine, and now we’re seeing it even more aggressively — with bombing runs and cruise missile strikes — in Syria.

Putin is not a sentimental man, and if Assad becomes a liability, Putin will gladly move on to a substitute acceptable to Moscow. But for now, the Russians believe that they (and the Iranians) can save Assad. President Obama and Secretary of State John F. Kerry say that there is no military solution to the Syrian crisis. That is true, but Moscow understands that diplomacy follows the facts on the ground, not the other way around. Russia and Iran are creating favorable facts. Once this military intervention has run its course, expect a peace proposal from Moscow that reflects its interests, including securing the Russian military base at Tartus.

Russians don’t regret their foreign adventures. The last time was Afghanistan, and that didn’t happen until Ronald Reagan armed the Afghan mujahideen with stinger missiles. Putin is not responding to world disorder nor does he have any concern for the Syrian people or for Syria as a state.  He’s not trying to hold the Middle East together.

Vladimir Putin is reacting to circumstances in the Middle East and sees an opening created by American disinclination to fully engage.  He’s playing power politics. There will continue to be refugees until people are safe. Significant support for the Kurds, Sunni tribes and and Iraqi special forces is not, as Mr. Obama claimed, “mumbo jumbo.” It might save our current lack of strategy. We must do what we can to prevent an incident with Russian military activities — but we should never have gotten to a place where Russia is warning us to stay our of their way. The Russians intend to secure their interests in the Middle East.

Richard Cohen: The high cost of avoiding war in Syria

David Ignatius: The U.S. cannot pass Syria on to Putin

Charles Krauthammer: President Obama’s Syria Debacle

Peter Baker: Wary of Escalation in Syria, U.S. Is Waiting Out Putin’s Moves

 



How Come We’re Always Surprised by Events? by The Elephant's Child

article-2343392-1A5EE249000005DC-338_634x479Once again the administration is being taken by surprise. Moscow has established a new airbase in Syria to go with its existing naval base. and they are determined to keep Bashar Assad’s regime in power. The U.S. no longer has any influence in Baghdad, and ever since the U.S. forces pulled out in 2011, Iran has become the dominant player in Iraq.

When Russia sent in flights to create a new Russian military base in Syria, our protests were ignored. President Obama’s failure to act on his red line in Syria has consequences. When he could not even act against Assad’s use of chemical weapons on his own people or Iran’s development of a nuclear program, it ‘s pretty clear that he’s not going to do anything.

Humiliated, Obama is now trying to pretend that Putin will “help”take care of ISIS, but he has been attacking the rebels fighting the Assad regime instead. This is a pure power play by the Russian President. Leon Aron, who is the director of Russian Studies at AEI, looks at why:

  • To establish a sustained, open-ended Russian military presence in the Middle East for the first time since President Sadat sent Soviet personnel home in 1972, thus recovering a key Soviet geopolitical asset as postulated by the Putin Doctrine.
  • To establish the Russia-Iran-Syria (and possibly Iraq) de facto alliance as the dominant military and thus political actor in the Middle East.
  • To boost patriotic mobilization in Russia, which increasingly is the Putin regime’s sole claim to legitimacy. With the economy tanking fast, the ruble down 57% from this time last year, inflation at around 15%, and the seemingly stalemated war on Ukraine no longer generating enough heat to keep the patriotic fervor a-boil, Putin needs another “short, victorious war” (as the Minister of Internal Affairs Vyacheslav Plehve hailed the ultimately disastrous Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05).

The question becomes how far will Putin go? Both Aron and Ralph Peters suggest that we should be prepared for an “accidental” shoot down of a U.S. or British or French plane? That Putin delights in humiliating the United States is not a surprise. That the Obama administration seems regularly to be surprised is more worrying.



There’s a Time for Politics, and There’s a Time to Just Shut up. by The Elephant's Child

America is shocked and horrified at the massacre in the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. People reacted with sorrow and shame that such a thing should happen at a peaceful prayer meeting.

It’s hard to find the right words to express sorrow and offer comfort for there is no comfort. Republican candidates on the campaign trail quickly cancelled their scheduled events, Senator Lindsey Graham flew back to South Carolina.

President Barack Obama quickly politicized the event. “We don’t have all the facts, but we do know that, once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun,” Obama said, adding “At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.” Um, tell that to Charlie Hebdo. Or perhaps the 2011 massacre at a summer camp for the youth division of the ruling Norwegian Labour Party. Anders Brevik massacred 69 young people. Just before that he had packed  a van with an explosive mixture of fertilizer and fuel oil. The explosion killed eight people. Germany has had more attacks on schools than we have. But don’t miss a chance to make a political point.

Hillary also called for gun control, while heading for a bunch of fundraisers. Obama, having made his point, headed out to California  for a $16,700 per person fundraiser in Pacific Palisades. Later he has another one in Beverly Hills. On Friday he has an interview with Marc Maron, then flies up to San Francisco for the U.S. Conference of Mayors followed by another couple of fundraisers. Obama frequently tells us how important empathy is to him.



President Obama, Iraq, ISIS, and An Interview With President Bush by The Elephant's Child
June 12, 2015, 8:43 pm
Filed under: Iraq, National Security, The United States | Tags: , ,

Two days after admitting that he did not yet have “a complete strategy” for dealing with the ISIS terrorists estimated as an army of 30,000, President Obama has dispatched another 450 U.S. advisers to train Iraqis troops to do the fighting. It appears that trainers will outnumber trainees. There will be a total of 3,500 American trainers, about 950 more than Iraqi troops.

Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser, said the modest troop increase came as a result of “a very regular process of evaluation” not from any perceived public pressure to do something, after a long string of ISIS advances.

We are told by military sources that what is needed are Special Forces to provide intelligence and spotters to direct American aircraft. The lack of on-the-ground information and a restrained target approval process related to White House rules of engagement, 75% of all allied air attacks now return without dropping their ordnance.

Seventeen months ago Obama described ISIS as a JV team. Ten months ago he said he had no strategy. After the hideous beheading of an American, Obama announced the current ‘strategy’ of no combat forces, bombings or troop training. You have to remember that he told military academy graduates that global warming, not terrorism, was the most serious threat to America. Here’s the history, do watch till the end (Funniest mashup ever!)

Israel Hayom caught up with former President George W. Bush for an exclusive interview — on Friday. He said “There is only one thing that I really miss about being president, and that’s being the commander-in-chief. I admire our military a lot,” he told Israel Hayom, his eyes twinkling. “When you are the commander-in-chief at a time when I was, when you put them into a lot of combat situations, you develop a special bond, not only with the military but with their families.”

The war snuck up on then-President Bush with the al-Qaida attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In his book he says that the week of the attacks was the key to understanding his entire presidency. He writes that he poured his heart and soul into defending the country, “by any means necessary.”

To us he says that no one prepared him for becoming a “two-war president” but reality supplied him with a lot of challenges in the White House. He says he had to make very difficult decisions — sending boys to defend the homeland with the knowledge that not all of them would return.

President Bush was asked “Is the war on terror currently being waged in the proper way? He responded:

“I made a decision, as you know, not to criticize my successors, with an s. I am going to be around a little bit longer — there is going to be more than one successor. The temptation is to try to rewrite history or to make yourself look good by criticizing someone else. I think that is a mistake. I don’t think that is what leadership is all about. I know how hard the job is. I didn’t like it when former leaders criticized me when I was president. Some did, so I decided not to do the same.”

Q: You mentioned ISIS, you spoke about defeating terror. Is it possible to defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq without boots on the ground?

“The president will have to make that determination. My position was that you need to have boots on the ground. As you know, I made a very difficult decision. A fair number of people in our country were saying that it was impossible to defeat al-Qaida — which is ISIS as far as I am concerned. They said I must get out of Iraq. But I chose the opposite — I sent 30,000 more troops as opposed to 30,000 fewer. I think history will show that al-Qaida in Iraq was defeated. And so I chose the path of boots on the ground. We will see whether or not our government adjusts to the realities on the ground.”

This has already translated into the idea that Mr. Bush said we needed boots on the ground. He said that was up to the president. When it was his job to decide his position was that you needed boots on the ground.

It is a long and very interesting interview, do read the whole thing. He steadfastly resisted any comments or criticism of his successor, but talked about what he himself did and why. He said:

In my post-presidency I have written a book, and that has helped a lot. I wrote another book. It is brand new. It is about an extraordinary man — my father. It will be a very historical document because never has a son of a president written about the president. So the paintings are along these lines.

“I read Winston Churchill’s essay ‘Painting as a Pastime,’ and it is a really interesting essay. I started looking at Churchill’s paintings and I said ‘wow, I can do this.’

There is so much in the interview that is charmingly Bush, that I wanted to include it all. You will have to read it for yourself.




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