American Elephants


Obama: Iran is Obeying letter of the Nuclear Deal, Not the Spirit by The Elephant's Child

Last Friday, President Obama had a news conference and talked a bit about his friends in the Islamic Republic of Iran. He said: “When they launched ballistic missiles with slogans calling for the destruction of Israel that makes businesses nervous…If Iran continues to ship missiles to Hezbollah, that gets businesses nervous.” And here was Obama, hoping that with the new influx of businesses from around the world, Iran would turn to improving the economy of their country and improving the lives of their people. Here’s the complete transcript.

And here’s Ezra Levant who ran across a video clip posted by the White House, of Obama boasting about just how awesome the Iran Deal is, except the nuclear program isn’t dismantled? The deal is so pathetically awful that if Obama were trying to destroy America, instead of leading the country — what would he have done differently?



America Doesn’t Have an Incarceration Problem, It Has a Crime Problem by The Elephant's Child

“In New York City the number of annual murders peaked at 2,245 —a rate  of six per day—in 1990, the first year the Democrat David Dinkins was mayor. After Republican Rudolph Giuliani took office in 1994, there were 1,177 murders in 1995 and 770 in 1997. By 2013, however, New Yorkers had only faint memories of walking the streets in constant fear.” That ‘s from William Voegeli’s essay in Commentary magazine from July 1, 2015.  “Democrats.” he said, “are gearing up to reverse decades of successful policing.

Voegeli reviews the history of our views on crime and punishment, as the political football it usually is. Hillary Clinton made crime the subject of her first major policy address of her 2016 presidential campaign. She called for creating new approaches that would “end the era of mass incarceration” as well as “working with communities to prevent crime, rather than measuring success just by the number of arrests or convictions.”

Heather MacDonald is having none of that. She says America doesn’t have an incarceration problem—it has a crime problem.

President Obama made a press saturated visit to a federal penitentiary in Oklahoma in 2015. “The cell blocks that Obama toured had been evacuated in anticipation of his arrival, but after talking to six carefully prescreened inmates, he drew some conclusions about the path to prison. “These are young people who made mistakes that aren’t that different than the mistakes I made and the mistakes that a lot of you guys made,” the president told the waiting reporters.

The New York Times suggested that there is a fine line between a president and a prisoner. Anyone who had smoked marijuana and tried cocaine could end up in federal prison. Heather MacDonald disagreed.

This conceit was preposterous. It takes a lot more than marijuana or cocaine use to end up in federal prison. But the truth didn’t matter. Obama’s prison tour came in the midst of the biggest delegitimation of law enforcement in recent memory. Activists, politicians, and the media have spent the last year broadcasting a daily message that the criminal-justice system is biased against blacks and insanely draconian. The immediate trigger for that movement, known as Black Lives Matter, has been a series of highly publicized deaths of black males at the hands of the police. But the movement also builds on a long-standing discourse from the academic Left about “mass incarceration,” policing, and race.

September 2015, “Black Lives Matter goes to the White House”

The Obama White House rolled out the red carpet this week for leaders of the racist revolutionary Black Lives Matter movement, providing yet more confirmation that the Obama administration supports its members’ increasingly violent activism.

Black Lives Matter is animated not only by anti-white racism but by a hatred of normal American values, including law and order. Its members denounce the U.S. for imagined institutional racism and discrimination against African-Americans. Members idolize convicted, unrepentant cop-killers Assata Shakur and Mumia Abu Jamal, both of whom are black, and have declared “war” on law enforcement. Its members openly call for police officers to be assassinated.

Yesterday, President Obama commuted the sentences of 61 drug offenders. These were not sentences for selling marijuana, but for dealing in hard and dangerous substances—crack, coke and PCP. The recidivism rate for offenders who commit such crimes exceeds 75 percent within five years, and that’s just the ones who are caught. Drug crimes usually go unreported because customers and dealers don’t report them. This ignores the heroin epidemic that is growing across the nation.

The President claims that the most important thing we can do is reduced the demand for drugs. He has asked for an additional $1 billion for treatment, and drug crimes must be treated as a public health problem, not a criminal problem.

One expert, Columbia University neuropsychopharmacologist Carl Hart explicitly made the case that “drug addiction is a health problem that requires treatment” is exactly the wrong way to look at the use of drugs in the United States.

“Politicians today, whether Republican or Democrat, are comfortable with saying that we don’t want to send people to jail for drugs; we will offer them treatment.” Hart said in Austin. But “the vast majority of people don’t need treatment. We need better public education, and more realistic education. And we’re not getting that.”

Why does he say most people don’t need treatment? Because—contrary to widespread perceptions—the vast majority of drug users aren’t addicts. “When I say drug abuse and drug addiction, I’m thinking of people whose psycho-social functioning is disrupted,” he said later in the talk. But for more than three-quarters of drug users (and we’re not just talking about marijuana here, either), that description doesn’t apply.

This overturns the conventional wisdom on drug addiction, but Hart thinks that’s a good thing. We’ve all been fed a diet of panic-inducing misinformation about what drugs actually do to our brains, he says.

I think #Black Lives Matter, the incarceration “problem, ” the commutation of sentences for drug dealers is all just a case of community organizing to get black Americans to the polls to vote to win an election. Too many “coincidences” and red flags go up.



Obama Searches Vainly for a Legacy in Cuba by The Elephant's Child

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Back when President Obama and Sec. of State John Kerry and Sec. of Energy Ernest Moniz were negotiating the “Iran Deal” we read that President Obama wanted to go to Tehran and shake hands on the deal with the Ayatollah Khamenei. He apparently envisioned himself in the moment when Nixon opened China, or when Reagan went to Moscow — a defining moment of his presidency. That didn’t work out, so President Obama turned his attention to Cuba.

He would “normalize” relations between the U.S. and Cuba. When he traveled to Havana this week, it was, as the Wall Street Journal’s Mary Anastasia O’Grady reported,” an effort to extract concessions, not from Communist Cuba, but from the U.S. Congress. Mr. Obama said, when he first announced that he would normalize relations, that the U.S . embargo—which prohibits foreign direct investment in Cuba by Americans, credit for Cuba from U.S. financial institutions, and Cuban sales of goods to the U.S.—should be lifted.”

The dictatorship loves the idea. But Congress believes that before there are American investments in Cuba the regime ought to pay for the property it stole after the 1959 revolution, and ensure basic human-rights for Cubans. Since Congress still passes the laws in this country, Mr. Obama’s capitalism for the Castros remains uncertain until U.S. lawmakers capitulate.

The spectacle in Cuba, choreographed by the dictatorship is supposed to make Americans comfortable with the idea, and make Congress appear unreasonable. The Cuban regime has offered no concessions whatsoever, and said firmly that they have no intention of changing, but Obama believes that increasing trade will force Cuba to relent.

The president apparently does not understand that any payment for Cuban workers hired by an American company goes, not to the worker, but to the Cuban State, which pays the $15 or $20 a month to the worker, and keeps the rest to enrich the Castros and the Cuban regime. “U.S. hotel chains, for example, will become minority partners with the Cuban military, which owns the tourism industry.”

Obama’s policy has made changes in Cuba, just not what he expected.

Cubans are suffering a wave of terror –involving everything from thousands, upon thousands of arbitrary arrests by KGB-trained secret police to machete attacks by regime-paid mobs against peaceful women dissidents—surpassing anything seen in decades.

Cubans are risking their lives to flee Cuba at a rate unseen for decades.

President Obama made some remarks about ending the last remnants of the Cold War, but seem a little vague about the history. He has crowed about being the first American president to visit Cuba in nearly 90 years.

The Castro dictatorship’s alliance with the Soviet Union and the military standoff in 1962 over the installation of nuclear-armed Soviet missiles just 90 miles off the U.S. coast might well have ended in WWIII. That was a fairly big deal in history. The visit, and the ‘surrender’ of the American president is a coup for the Communist regime. As with Obama’s Iran Deal, what we get out of Obama’s Cuba Deal remains a mystery. There have been no concessions, and Raul Castro essentially told Obama that human rights in Cuba are none of his business.

But Leftists seem to see only the quaint American automobiles from the 1950s, and the old buildings without understanding why they are old and quaint.



Obama is Frustrated by The Separation of Powers by The Elephant's Child

It’s called the U.S. Constitution, and it’s the envy of the world. That old document that the Left finds so annoying. Nearly eight years in office, an oath twice taken:

I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute
the office of the President of the United States,and will
to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend
the Constitution  of the United States.

And he still doesn’t get it.



Can We Take the Matter of Terrorism Seriously? by The Elephant's Child

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From the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday:

Tuesday’s coordinated terrorist attacks in Brussels have left at least 30 people dead and more than 200 wounded, shut down the capital of Europe and raised security alarms from Frankfurt to London to New York. (See above.) So maybe it’s time we all get over our inordinate fear of Islamist terrorism.

Believe it or not, that’s the not-so-subliminal message we keep hearing from President Obama, even as he condemned the attacks during his visit to Cuba. “Obama frequently reminds his staff that terrorism takes far fewer lives in America than handguns, car accidents and falls in bathtubs do,” reports Jeffrey Goldberg in a lengthy profile of the President’s national-security thinking in the Atlantic magazine. Islamic State, Mr. Obama is quoted as telling adviser Valerie Jarrett, is “not coming here to chop our heads off.”

I suppose it’s tempting to try to minimize the fear of terrorist action, when your foreign policy is entirely guided by your erroneous belief that you have saved America from the misguided efforts of the hated George W. Bush in Iraq, when you promised to end the war, and keep congratulating yourself for so doing, completely ignoring the results of that misguided pullout. But there is something particularly ugly about comparing the death count from falls in the bathtub to what the victims of terrorism and their families face.  Unusually callous.

At Commentary, Max Boot treats the subject with the seriousness it deserves:

As we struggle for an answer to the threat posed by ISIS, it’s worth remembering how the U.S. and Israel in the past defeated suicidal terrorist groups. There is, of course, no simple answer, no magical solution, but the essence comes down to the realization that the threat comes not from demented individuals but from a network run by savvy organizers who are not themselves suicidal. (You don’t see the leaders of groups like ISIS or Hamas wearing suicide vests; it’s rare to even see their children engaging in such acts.) Suicide bombers have to be manufactured. Making the actual explosives is the least of the problems, although that requires significant expertise, too. The real issue is indoctrinating young men (and sometimes young women) to perform the unnatural — and, in Islam, forbidden — act of committing suicide and in the process taking the lives of innocents.

It can take months to recruit and train would-be suicide bombers and then additional weeks and months to locate a target, figure out the optimal time for an attack, and then put the bomber in a position to inflict maximal damage. If a counter-terrorist force can disrupt the —network that makes the suicide bombing possible, then not even the willingness of individuals to kill themselves will suffice to create the kind of mass-casualty attacks that terrorists crave. At most, disorganized terrorists can carry off the kind of small-scale knifings that unfortunately have become all too regular an occurrence in Israel today.  (Do read the whole thing)

We need to start talking about Islam honestly. Many Muslims believe that Islam is a “Religion of Peace,” and treat it in that way.  Osama bin Laden and his followers believed that the rise of the Western world occurred because Allah had turned his face away from Muslims because they were not following the rules of the Koran as the Prophet had taught them, and it was necessary to return to the purity of Islam as taught in the 6th Century.

In America and in Europe, Religion has changed from the days of the Inquisition, the burning of witches. We had more than our share of religious wars — but we also had the Reformation. America had plenty of religious battles in the very early years, but when the Founders wrote the Bill of Rights, they wrote”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. or prohibiting the free exercise therof, ” which has caused enough problems in its clear simplicity. Americans, excepting parts of the Left, are quite protective of the freedom of religion, and thus very conscious of restrictions on religion as applied to Islam. And the new epithet has become “Islamophobia” to go along with the more usual “racist.”

I see no reason why we should not welcome Muslim immigrants, but they should recognize that some of the customs and rules of the Koran are against the laws of this country. Honor killings will get you sent to the penitentiary, wife-beating is assault, and our culture is far more open to women’s education and accomplishments than is usual in many Muslim countries. It is not discrimination to talk about such things. but just clear and honest.

Terror is supposed to frighten us into submission. That’s why they do it. A little straight talk and a lot less political correctness would seem to be in order.



Obama Makes Nice With The World’s Dictators, But It’s All Out War With Republicans by The Elephant's Child

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President Obama is going full bore community organizer on his nomination of Judge Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court, as he announced yesterday from the Rose Garden:

Of the many powers and responsibilities that the Constitution vests in the presidency, few are more consequential than appointing a Supreme Court justice — particularly one to succeed Justice Scalia, one of the most influential jurists of our time.  …

So this is not a responsibility that I take lightly.  It’s a decision that requires me to set aside short-term expediency and narrow politics, so as to maintain faith with our founders and, perhaps more importantly, with future generations.  That’s why, over the past several weeks, I’ve done my best to set up a rigorous and comprehensive process.  I’ve sought the advice of Republican and Democratic members of Congress.  We’ve reached out to every member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to constitutional scholars, to advocacy groups, to bar associations, representing an array of interests and opinions from all across the spectrum.

And today, after completing this exhaustive process, I’ve made my decision.  I’ve selected a nominee who is widely recognized not only as one of America’s sharpest legal minds, but someone who brings to his work a spirit of decency, modesty, integrity, even-handedness, and excellence.  These qualities, and his long commitment to public service, have earned him the respect and admiration of leaders from both sides of the aisle.  He will ultimately bring that same character to bear on the Supreme Court, an institution in which he is uniquely prepared to serve immediately.

Today, I am nominating Chief Judge Merrick Brian Garland to join the Supreme Court.  (Applause.)

Followed by a long speech about Judge Garland’s qualifications and various comments on his own Constitutional Duty, and a lot of nonsense about how it is the Republicans Constitutional Duty to give Judge Garland an immediate hearing and confirm him.

President Obama is correct that it is his duty to nominate someone for the office. He is incorrect that it is the Republicans’ duty to give him an immediate hearing and to confirm him. That is not in the Constitution. Republicans believe that confirmation of a new judge should reflect the new president under whom he will serve and the people who voted for that administration — rather than the last few months of a lame-duck presidency.

Here’s a sampling of the president’s rhetoric:

I simply ask Republicans in the Senate to give him a fair hearing, and then an up or down vote.  If you don’t, then it will not only be an abdication of the Senate’s constitutional duty, it will indicate a process for nominating and confirming judges that is beyond repair.  It will mean everything is subject to the most partisan of politics — everything.  It will provoke an endless cycle of more tit-for-tat, and make it increasingly impossible for any President, Democrat or Republican, to carry out their constitutional function.  The reputation of the Supreme Court will inevitably suffer.  Faith in our justice system will inevitably suffer.  Our democracy will ultimately suffer, as well.

He rounded up a group of lefty “experts” — think tank scholars, law professors, political science professors, and history professors to send a “Letter from the Experts: The President’s Supreme Court Nominee Deserves a Chance.”

The summary from Tanya Somander. Director of Digital Rapid Response for the Office of Digital Strategy: Scholars, law professors, and presidential historians write that denying the President’s Supreme Court nominee a hearing is unprecedented.

Well, no it isn’t. The GOP is playing by the same rules that Democrats like Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, and even Barack Obama employed when their party didn’t control the White House. The Senate will be doing its job and fulfilling its Constitutional duties by refusing to confirm the president’s choice just as much as it would by approving him.

Democrats will go full community organizer on this. There’s nothing Obama loves so much as playing political hardball. He never quits. He  has mobilized veterans from his campaign operations to help him push for his Supreme Court nominee. The “new” group will be called “the Constitutional Responsibility Project.” It will be: “a nonprofit organization and solicit donations, develop advertising, coordinate messaging, help manage operatives in the field, respond to attacks on Judge Garland and collect opposition research on Republican opponents.” That’s what  you call hardball.

The Wall Street Journal notes that Garland’s 19 year tenure on the DC  Circuit Court of Appeals “demonstrates a reliable vote for progressive causes.” The National Federation of Independent Business concludes after studying his record that “he would be a strong ally of the regulatory bureaucracy, big labor and trial lawyers.”

He seems to favor stronger gun laws, and has shown a pattern of over-deference to administrative agencies including the EPA. “In a dozen close cases in which the court divided, he sided with the agency every time.”

It looks like a long hot summer.



Is America Racist? Black Lives Matter Certainly Seems To Think So by The Elephant's Child

“Is America Racist? Is it as President Barack Obama said — part of our DNA? Author and Talk Show Host Larry Elder examines America’s legacy of racism, whether it’s one we can ever escape, and in the process, he offers a different way of looking at things like Ferguson, crime, police and racial profiling.”

A 2016 video from Praeger University.




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