American Elephants

Politics and Human Nature Are Often at Cross Purposes by The Elephant's Child

Think back to the birth of our nation, the 1770s, revolutionary times. News traveled on horseback, and was disseminated in the larger cities by town criers, or fliers from the printing press – if there was one. For seaside towns, maybe by boat (sailing ship). Motorized anything was far in the future. People probably didn’t find out what happened until many days later. The famed Pony Express didn’t begin until 1860.

People who had never met George Washington had no idea what he looked like until they saw a reproduction of a painting or a bad sketch. What must it have been like to know only the name of the president of the United States?  Or was it not really important in those days?

Did you watch the Democrat Debates at all? How many of the faces at the little podiums were you able to identify? We are clearly entering a time when you can just enter a name and get a picture of the person, without their being well-known or important. China apparently has everybody’s face documented, so they can be tracked.

We have, not all that much noticed, entered into a new age. Many, if not most, people have cell phones in their pockets or purse. And can instantly take pictures. Not everybody is at the stage of recognizing the importance of getting a shot, but it’s coming. Immediate case: AOC after her accusations of “concentration camps for children” didn’t go over too well, apparently flew down to the border to prove it, and was photographed weeping while she clung to a chain link fence, the concentration camp barrier. Except somebody had their cell phone. The concentration camp fence that brought on the tears, surrounded an empty parking lot that her careful picture didn’t include.

There’s a lot of that going on these days, and those who publish pictures are completely aware of the possibilities of propaganda, and of subtly arranging what you will see to promote what they want you to think. Or perhaps you remember the Greek columns on the stage when Obama was running for office, or in the Democrats’ first presidential debates, the “impression” of the front of the White House in the background (incorrect because it’s illegal to use a real one) The Presidential seal (altered because it’s illegal to use a real one) will appear, podiums will attempt to look like those actually used by the president. All intended to give you the subtle idea that the candidates belong.

The “founding fathers” (a term from McKinley’s speechwriter) had no idea of the inventions to come that would alter our perceptions of our government and those who were chosen for high office., but they were thoughtful men and recognized the imperfections of human nature. That once you put a bunch of people in charge and let them collect taxes to do stuff, you are setting up great opportunity for the impure of heart. We read reports often of teachers who have sexually abused students. The Catholic Church’s celibate priests aren’t always. Large sums of money convince some that some of it will never be missed. Whatever you can think of in the way of cheating, abuse, stealing, appropriating, propagandizing, lying, whatever, will take place because we are all members of the human race.

We form governments to make laws, and we don’t assign any one person to the job but lots and lots chosen by all the people. And out of that we get some winners and some vast disappointments, and we probably don’t know the half of it. That’s why we have locks on our doors in spite of all the laws and regulations. And why we have an Electoral College for our votes, and why we try to keep those who chose to come here illegally, and not by the legal way, who never took the oath of citizenship from voting in our elections. And why those who would have their chances of winning improved by having a lot of illegals voting, want to do away with the Electoral College. Or in a different field, why when you buy a plastic carton of strawberries at the store, the pretty ones are at the top and the unripe ones at the bottom with only the red part visible.

Be aware of human nature, and do notice that Elizabeth Warren is promising to take your health insurance away and replace it with an enormous bureaucracy to tell you what care you can have and what medicines and what doctors and what treatment, and when you can’t have any because it costs too much.

No, This Isn’t a Particularly Scary Thriller — It’s Quite Real! by The Elephant's Child

Investors is reporting today on Islamist militias seizure of eleven airliners at the Tripoli airport in Libya last month, so it is apparently true, although the State Dept. has “no confirmation.” So we have eleven airliners in the hands of terrorists, and should they not need them immediately, they can take advanced courses in flight in the United States, and maintenance too. We’re just a wide open welcoming country.

We may not have a strategy for dealing with militant Islam, but they have plans for dealing with us. It includes recruiting those who live here, or have passports to get here, or who have enough funds to pay a coyote to escort them across the border.

ISIS has posted photos on social media of its flag and a hand-written message in Arabic taken in front of the White House and in front of Chicago’s Old Republic Building on Michigan Avenue with the warning:

“We are in your state, we are in your cities, and we are in your streets.”

Foreign Policy reported on a laptop captured near the Turkish border in a fight with ISIS.

The laptop’s contents turn out to be a treasure trove of documents that provide ideological justifications for jihadi organizations — and practical training on how to carry out the Islamic State’s deadly campaigns. They include videos of Osama bin Laden, manuals on how to make bombs, instructions for stealing cars, and lessons on how to use disguises in order to avoid getting arrested while traveling from one jihadi hot spot to another.

The owner was a Tunisian national who joined ISIS in Syria and who studied chemistry and physics at two Tunisian universities. Among others was a 19 page document in Arabic on how to develop biological weapons and how to weaponize bubonic plague from infected animals. And how to deliver them to the West.

Use small grenades with the virus, and throw them in closed areas like metros, soccer stadiums, or entertainment centers,” the 19-page document on biological weapons advises. “Best to do it next to the air-conditioning. It also can be used during suicide operations.”

May 2, 2011 — the raid on the Abbottabad compound of Osama bin Laden resulted not just in the death of bin Laden, but in a secondary mission of gathering up as much intelligence as possible. The haul, according to the Weekly Standard, was immense: 10 hard drives, 100 thumb drives, a dozen cell phones, data cards, DVDs, audiotapes, paper files, magazines and newspapers. A senior official described it as material that could fill a small college library. Another called it the single largest collection of senior terrorist materials ever more than a million documents “detailing al Qaeda’s funding, training, personnel, and future plans.” all of great intelligence value for an “understanding of the enemy we have fought for over a decade at the cost of trillions of dollars and thousands of  American lives.”

What has the government done with this treasure trove? Not much. Not anything close to a full exploitation — maybe 10 percent. The CIA was in charge and blocked access by other agencies. The narrative was simple: “Al Qaeda is on the path to defeat.” And al Qaeda has been decimated” and “al Qaeda is on the run.”

“The administration chose to portray short-term tactical successes as long-term strategic victories.” And it gets worse. The administration planned a release of handpicked documents on the anniversary of the raid. One which detailed the close relations between al Qaeda and the Taliban was withheld because the administration had started secret negotiations with the Taliban, and the release might have complicated the negotiations.

This is a long article — “special from the forthcoming issue of the Weekly Standard.” but not one you want to miss by Stephen F. Hayes, who is an outstanding reporter.

This is an administration focused more on their own public persona than on any actual facts. They had a lot riding on the claim that al Qaeda was dead along with bin Laden (Obama’s triumph), and would not rise again, and not only that,  but had no connection to other terrorist groups that might pop up. As Investors said:

A former Pentagon official told Fox News that Obama received specific intelligence in daily briefings about the Islamic State’s rise. The information was said to be “granular” in detail, laying out IS’ intentions and capabilities for at least a year before it seized big chunks of Iraqi territory and started beheading Americans.

Obama’s indifference to the briefings was an issue during the 2012 campaign, when former George W. Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen observed that Obama personally attended only 44% of them. Obama’s perceived lack of interest in a terror war, which he claimed was won prior to the Benghazi attack, mirrors his reported lack of interest in the rise of the Islamic State.

How to Do Political Propaganda for Your Low-Information Voters by The Elephant's Child

Sheep Flock

Powerline posted a piece by John Hinderaker entitled: “Washington Post Falls for Left-Wing Fraud, Embarrasses Itself,” about the Koch Brothers being “the biggest lease holder in Canada”s oil sands.”

The Left is heavily invested in smearing the Koch brothers, and it’s important to understand why this is so. Gallup polls on political self-identification. Their 2014 poll shows the percentage of Democrats who self-identify as “liberal” has reached a new high of 23%.  Thirty four percent self-identify as moderate, and 38% identify as “conservative.” That’s “conservative Democrats,” not Conservatives.  It would be interesting to see what the difference is between conservative Democrats and Conservative Republicans, but that isn’t on offer.

Politically, the Left is heavily invested in the claim that the hated Republicans are “the party of the rich.” They deeply believe in class divisions and class warfare. Since they see themselves as the superior class, entitled to run the country, and see themselves in helping the poor by making them dependent on government. You only start hearing a lot about classes when the Democrats are in power.

If you need a shining example of “the rich” — who better than the Koch brothers who donate to Republicans, are billionaires, and make their money in petroleum that is destroying the planet because of global warming.  If you doubt the effect upon the ‘sheeple’ of this example, see any article about the Koch brothers or even just prominent mention of them and in the comments you will find pure rage and hatred of the rich and capitalism personified by the Koch brothers, because they are rich.

If you look up Koch Industries in Wikipedia, you will find that it a multi-national corporation that is involved in many different things, and petroleum refining is only one part. Should you look a little deeper, you would find that they are Libertarians, not Republicans, and donate generously to all sorts of charities that benefit ordinary people.

Should you not focus on the Koch brothers, you might notice the vast number of billionaires who donate to Democrats, and the numbers of millionaires in Congress who have never done anything but politics, and if you noticed that — it might make it hard to call the Republicans “the party of the rich.”

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