American Elephants


Is There No End To Obama’s Drive to Control Everything With “Executive Orders?” by The Elephant's Child

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President Barack Obama seems to be indignant that we had a wave election, putting the Republicans in charge of Congress and has determined to just go ahead and do what he wants to anyway.  And he has apparently instructed Democrats in Congress to do the same. Democrats are convinced that their vision of moral and social progress is the pathway to a “better world.” “Their belief in a redeemed future accounts for their political passion and for their furious personal assaults on those who stand in their way.” Slipping into full tyrant mode is not a problem. Republicans are the enemies of the just and the good, and defeating them at every opportunity is a step forward.

So Monday, President Barack Obama introduced his plan for a progressive takeover of state and local policing.

We have a great opportunity… to really transform how we think about community law enforcement relations,” he said Monday.

“We need to seize that opportunity… this is something that I’m going to stay very focused on in the months to come,” Obama said, as he touted a new interim report from his Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

Obama also instructed his media allies to help federalize policing, and to sideline the critics of centralized policing rules. “I expect our friends in the media to really focus on what’s in this report and pay attention to it,” he instructed.

This is, of course, derived from Ferguson, and the police shooting of “the unarmed young black man” that was endlessly played up by Mr. Obama, his deputies, Al Sharpton, and the Justice Department. Timing, however, is everything.

The Justice Department today announced that it will not charge former Ferguson MO police office Darren Wilson with any civil rights violations in the “racially charged” shooting death of Michael Brown. Encouraged by the administration, the St. Louis County grand jury’s decision not to charge Wilson in the shooting set off massive protests, rioting and looting in the area and around the country. I have never quite grasped just why looting is a viable response to angry feelings.

In order to clean up the record, outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder admitted that the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” slogan used by Democrat activists endlessly since August 2014 was a complete falsehood. He acknowledged the fake story as he released the results of the Justice Department’s investigation of the Ferguson shooting.

Instead, Holder suggested the media and Americans recognize the fakery. “It remains not only valid – but essential – to question how such a strong alternative version of events was able to take hold so swiftly, and be accepted so readily,” he said.

The town had a “highly toxic environment, defined by mistrust and resentment, stoked by years of bad feelings, and spurred by illegal and misguided [police] practices – [so] it is not difficult to imagine how a single tragic incident set off the city of Ferguson like a powder keg,” he said.

Those claims of police abuse are being used by Holder to promote President Barack Obama’s new effort to federalize police practices in states and localities.

The report also admitted that Police Officer Darren Wilson’s description of the incident was completely accurate and confirmed by witnesses.

An incident hyped up by the lapdog media and the administration was an attempt to bring out a big black vote in the 2014 election, but the issue was not only the issue, but part of Obama’s plan to federalize the police force.



Why the Netanyahu Speech Matters by The Elephant's Child

Matthew Continetti has written an excellent column at the Free Beacon on why Bibi’s speech matters. “It exposes the Iran deal as indefensible—and Obama’s politics as bankrupt.”

The emerging nuclear deal with Iran is indefensible. The White House knows it. That is why President Obama does not want to subject an agreement to congressional approval, why critics of the deal are dismissed as warmongers, and why the president, his secretary of state, and his national security adviser have spent several weeks demonizing the prime minister of Israel for having the temerity to accept an invitation by the U.S. Congress to deliver a speech on a subject of existential import for his small country. These tactics distract public attention. They turn a subject of enormous significance to American foreign policy into a petty personal drama. They prevent us from discussing what America is about to give away.

And America is about to give away a lot. This week the AP reported on what an agreement with Iran might look like: sanctions relief in exchange for promises to slow down Iranian centrifuges for 10 years. At which point the Iranians could manufacture a bomb—assuming they hadn’t produced one in secret. Iran would get international legitimacy, assurance that military intervention was not an option, and no limitations on its ICBM programs, its support for international terrorism, its enrichment of plutonium, its widespread human rights violations, and its campaign to subvert or co-opt Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, and Syria. Then it can announce itself as the first Shiite nuclear power.

Do read the whole thing:  Matthew Continetti zeroes in on the specific points on why the Obama administration is trying to do such an impossible deal, why Obama wants it, and why he’s deeply mistaken. The greatest danger is that the world perceives Obama as a weak president who cannot be depended on at any. Urgently  needed weapons may or may not be delivered, rescue may or may not happen, decisions may or may not be made, or may endlessly be postponed.

Obama believes he was elected to get us out of Iraq and Afghanistan. He was not. He was elected to be the first black president. He is terrified of being a ‘war’ president, and wants to avoid confrontation at all costs. Which results in the Ukraine, Cuba, Chinese adventurism, ISIS and Libya, Syria, and the potential return of Afghanistan to Taliban control.



Lessons For Obama, From 1793: George Washington Wrote: by The Elephant's Child

George Washington’ fifth Annual Message to Congress, was delivered on December 5, 1793, in written form. Speeches in those days had to be shouted, if there was a crowd — no microphones, no teleprompters — so President Washington’s Messages to Congress, even including his famous Farewell Address, were written, not spoken.

There are a number of passages in President Washington’s message that might recommend themselves to the attention of President Obama, as you will see.

President Washington expressed his humble gratitude for “the renewed testimony of public approbation” and for “the instances of affectionate partiality with which I have been honored by my country.” He would rather retire, but He will obey the suffrage which has “commanded me to resume the Executive power,” and he humbly “implores that Being on whose will the fate of nations depends to crown with success our mutual endeavors for the general happiness.”

He needs Congress to decide what should be done in regard to the treaties made with France about prizes, whether to allow them to be sold, or restored, or do we need protection of our territory by vessels commissioned. Congress needs to make rules or laws. It’s complicated and even the courts don’t know what to do.

The United States ought not to indulge a persuasion that contrary to the order of human events, they will forever keep at a distance those painful appeals to arms with which the history of every other nation abounds. There is a rank due to the United States among nations which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness. If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it, if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times ready for war. The documents which will be presented to you will shew the amount and kinds of arms and military stores now in our magazines and arsenals, and yet an addition even to these supplies can not with prudence be neglected, as it would leave nothing to the uncertainly of procuring warlike apparatus in the moment of public danger.”

When we contemplate the war on our frontiers, it may be truly affirmed that every reasonable effort has been made to adjust the causes of dissension with the Indians north of the Ohio. The instructions given to the commissioners evince a moderation and equity proceeding from a sincere love of peace, and a liberality having no restriction but the essential  interests and dignity of the United States. The attempt, however, of an amicable negotiation having been frustrated the troops have marched to act offensively.” As the seasons advance, we many need more troops than the number granted by law, and you need to address that and their compensation.

The Executive also has some anxiety about peace with the Creeks and the Cherokees. We’ve given the Creeks corn and clothing, and prohibited offensive measures against them.  Congress needs to provide for the current emergency. [T]he establishment of commerce with the Indian nations in behalf of the United States is most likely to conciliate their attachment. But it ought to be conducted without fraud, without extortion, with constant and plentiful supplies, with a ready market for the commodities of the Indians and a stated price for what they give in payment and receive in exchange. Individuals will not pursue such a traffic unless they be allured by the hope of profit; but it will be enough for the United States to be reimbursed only. Should this recommendation accord with the opinion of Congress, they will recollect that it can not be accomplished by any means yet in the hands of the Executive.”

To the House of Representatives:

On the first day of June last an installment of 1.000,000 florins became payable on the loans of the United States in Holland. This was adjusted by a prolongation of the period of reimbursement in nature of a new loan at an interest of 5% for the term of ten years, and the expenses of this operation were a commission of 3%.

The first installment of the loan of $2,000,000 from the Bank of the United States has been paid, as was directed by law. For the second it is necessary that provision be made.

No pecuniary consideration is more urgent than the regular redemption and discharge of the public debt. On none can delay be more injurious or an economy of time more valuable.

The productiveness of the public revenues hitherto has continued to equal the anticipations which were formed of it, but it is not expected to prove commensurate with all the objects which have been suggested. Some auxiliary provisions will therefore, it is presumed, be requisite, and it is hoped that these may be made consistently with a due regard to the convenience of our citizens, who can not but be sensible of the true wisdom of encountering a small present addition to their contributions to obviate a future accumulation of burthens.

But here I can not forbear to recommend a repeal of the tax on the transportation of public prints. There is no resource so firm for the Government of the United States as the affections of the people, guided by an enlightened policy; and to this primary good nothing can conduce more than a faithful representation of public proceedings, diffused without restraint throughout the United States.

Gentlemen of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:

The several subjects to which I have now referred open a wide range to your deliberations and involve some of the choicest interests of our common country. Permit me to bring to your remembrance the magnitude of your task. Without an unprejudiced coolness the welfare of the Government may be hazarded; without harmony as far as consists with freedom of sentiment its dignity may be lost. But as the legislative proceedings of the United States will never, I trust, be reproached for the want of temper or of candor, so shall not the public happiness languish from the want of my strenuous and warmest cooperation.

GEORGE WASHINGTON

(Reprinted and slightly revised from 2013)



Mr. Obama: “I’m proud of saving the economy.” by The Elephant's Child

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Fewer native-born Americans in the United States have jobs now than were employed in November 2007, in spite of a growth in the working-age population of 11 million.

What? I thought the unemployment rate was down to 5.6 percent. Isn’t that supposed to be a good number? Obama just said we had “the fastest economic growth in over a decade.”

“Unemployment is at its lowest since 2008, the stock market is surging and a host of other economic indicators show the U.S. is making a comeback—a comeback Obama is flaunting and taking credit for more and more as he embarks on the fourth quarter of his presidency and looks to define his legacy,” that’s from CNN.

In November 2014, one in every five U.S. jobs was held by a foreign-born worker, up from one-in-six jobs was held by a foreign born worker the previous year.

The 5.6 unemployment figure is a result of the way the Department of Labor calculates the number. The BLS does not count someone as unemployed if they gave up looking after four weeks of fruitless searching. If a worker performs one hour of work a week and gets paid a minimum of $20 —that worker does not count among their number of unemployed workers.

These numbers are from Jim Clifton, the Chairman and CEO at Gallup.  He adds that if an American works part-time, but seeks full time employment, that worker does not count as unemployed. He uses the example of someone who has a degree in math or chemistry but can only find part-time work because that job is all that’s available.

Clifton emphasizes: “There is no other way to say this. The official unemployment rate which cruelly overlooks the suffering of the long-term  and often permanently unemployed as well as the depressingly underemployed, amounts to a Big Lie.” He notes “Gallup defines a good job as 30+ hours per week for an organization that prov ides a regular paycheck. Right now, the U.S. is delivering at a staggeringly low rate of 44% — which is the number of full-time jobs as a percent of the adult population, 18 years and older.”

“All of the net gain in employment since 2007 has gone to immigrants (legal and illegal)…Native [age 16 to 65] employment has not returned to pre-recession levels” said a December 19 statement from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).

On Nov. 20, President Obama announced that he would provide (by executive order) work permits to five million illegal immigrants in this country.He has also given work permits to at least 50,000 Central American migrants who crossed the border in 2014.

Overall, Obama has announced plans to give work permits to an extra six million migrants, in addition to the roughly eight million legal migrants that will arrive during his eight years in the White House. That adds up to almost one new foreign worker for every two Americans who turn 18.

Even Presidential Budgets that are dead-on-arrival can be useful. This year’s budget proposal is deeply flawed and risky. With the world situation today, the Middle East in flames, Russia becoming more aggressive, China building up their military — why would the administration suggest that the U.S can get by in the coming decade with a defense budget less than half of the historical average?

“I am very confident that America is stronger, more prosperous, safer, and more influential today that it was when I took office,” Obama said.



Who Me Worry? Congress Is Worried Too! by The Elephant's Child

obama-uh-oh-apThings are going very badly for America around the world. Iran moves steadily toward acquiring nuclear weapons, and the Obama administration seems not to mind. Iraq, where Obama declared ending the war as one of his greatest successes, is now largely occupied by ISIS. Syria continues to be a bloodbath. The government in Yemen, a key ally in the war against Islamic terror, has fallen. Boko Haram continues to slaughter thousands of people and now controls much of the richest country in Africa.

Russian soldiers have invaded Ukraine and are fighting beside separatist rebels. Russia seems to be concentrating their efforts on the eastern half of Ukraine, perhaps only to grab a land bridge to the Crimean seaports, perhaps to annex the whole of Ukraine. Nobody seems to know, and Obama does not seem to be particularly concerned.

Congress is concerned about Iran, and House Speaker Boehner has invited Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu to address Congress. President Obama is furious that he did not consult the White House first, but the president forgets that the Speaker heads an equal branch of government. What Mr. Obama should be worried about is that members of Congress in both parties have a remarkable lack of confidence in his diplomatic efforts with Iran.

That’s what is behind the invitation to Bibi Netanyahu. Most Republicans and plenty of Democrats want to hear what Mr Netanyahu thinks about the Iran nuclear negotiations. Obama seems to be desperate to strike a deal with Tehran, and they are worried he will give up far too much in order to claim a meaningless victory.

In his State of the Union speech, Obama claimed that his interim agreements with Iran have “halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material.” Nobody believes that.

The Obama administration on Wednesday paid $490 million in cash assets to Iran and by the time nuclear talks are scheduled to end in June, will have released a total of $11.9 billion to the Islamic Republic, according to figures provided by the State Department.

These are unfrozen cash assets, accompanied by no restrictions on how Iran can spend the money. They can keep enriching uranium, continue construction of the heavy water plant in Arak, which could function as a factory for plutonium bombs, the interim agreement prohibits only firing the reactor itself, and work continues on Iran’s ballistic missile program.

The media has made much of Saudi Arabia’s continuing to pump oil as an attempt to drive frackers in this country out of business. It seems more likely an attempt by the Saudis to put the brakes on Iran’s economy and its rush to build nuclear weapons. Iran has announced its intention to build two more reactors. Congress has protested the recently announced sale by Russia of an advanced missile defense system to Iran, citing concerns that it would embolden Tehran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Congress is considering a bill to trigger increased sanctions if negotiators miss the June 30 deadline the administration set for securing an agreement. It contains a series of criteria that Iran must meet in a nuclear agreement to avoid sanctions. Obama said he would veto, and he wants to “keep all options on the table to prevent a nuclear Iran.” This makes no sense, for the bill would simply increase the pressure on Iran to reach an agreement.

Hoover Institution scholar Richard Epstein wrote last August:

The President suffers from two fundamental flaws. The first is that he is unwilling to make decisions. He much prefers to play the role of a disinterested observer who comments on a set of adverse events that he regards himself as powerless to shape… The second is that he fundamentally misunderstands the use of force in international affairs. He handicaps himself fatally by imposing unwise limitations on the use of American force, such as his repeated declarations that he will not send ground troops back into Iraq. …

The President wrings his hands over how difficult it has become to find credible allies in the world to address these problems without ever asking why no one trusts him. So he resolves to hold back on the use of American force overseas. Armed with that certainty, every tin pot dictator and terrorist group thinks it has an open field in which to run.

There is  strong impression that this president would not mind if Iran gets nuclear weapons, since some other countries already have them. Iran has frequently stated objectives, however. They intend to get rid of “the Great Satan” and the “little Satan.” I hope Congress understands the issues more clearly than this president and his advisors.



A Cynical Speech, Breathtaking in Its Arrogance and Hypocrisy by The Elephant's Child

It is often assumed that occupants of the Oval Office live in a bit of a bubble, isolated from the American people, and consequently out-of-touch. With President Obama, it goes deeper. He lives in a fantasy world, transforming events into something more comfortable to live with. Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in carefully prepared remarks that “President Obama wears being called ‘an Emperor’ as a badge of honor.” So he does notice a little of what is going on out in the world.

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This one came from Jon Gabriel, editor at Ricochet. The cherub at the bottom is undoubtedly an anchor baby.

One of Obama’s first acts in office was to stop construction of the fence at the border. It was Obama who instructed the border patrol and ICE to stop deporting people, to pull back from the border, and whose efforts in Central American countries insinuated that children who crossed the border would not be deported, and caused the vast influx of illegal aliens. It was Obama who sent the “unaccompanied minors” all over the country and enrolled them in local schools who were completely unprepared for such an influx of young people requiring special services at vast cost.

When I took office, I committed to fixing this broken immigration system. And I began by doing what I could to secure our borders. Today, we have more agents and technology deployed to secure our southern border than at any time in our history. And over the past six years, illegal border crossings have been cut by more than half. Although this summer, there was a brief spike in unaccompanied children being apprehended at our border, the number of such children is now actually lower than it’s been in nearly two years. Overall, the number of people trying to cross our border illegally is at its lowest level since the 1970s. Those are the facts.

Uh huh. That’s why members of ICE are suing the government for not allowing them to do the jobs they are required to do. That’s why the Houston Independent School District suddenly has 3,000 new students to deal with, and unknown numbers of other school districts around the 50 states  are dealing with unknown numbers, because the federal government won’t tell where they have shipped the kids.

Obama’s speech is self-glorifying nonsense. False facts, pretty phrases, and attempts to turn reality into something more palatable. Won’t wash. Here is the text of the speech, should you care to read it. Frankly, I didn’t have the stomach for it.

He always ends his most divisive speeches with a pitiful anecdote about a suffering child or the like. This one has all the hallmarks of being completely made up. It’s almost sad watching the Democratic Party commit suicide.



Wrong, Wrong, Wrong! by The Elephant's Child

President Obama’s public explanation for Tuesday’s historic Republican election victories came in a CBS interview broadcast on Sunday. He acknowledged his role in Democratic defeats, but said that his principle shortcoming was a failure to sell good policies. He needs to do a better job of telling people that he’s right.

He said he constantly needs to remind himself that people don’t automatically come beating at your door, you have to let people know what it is that we are trying to do and why this is the right direction.

In other words, he learned nothing whatsoever from the Republican landslide. He told us that although he wasn’t on the ballot, his policies were (to the consternation of Democrats who had no intention of defending his policies). But he didn’t mean it. He just didn’t sell his policies hard enough.




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