American Elephants


Promises, Promises, From the Real Good Talker. by The Elephant's Child

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Today I am pledging to cut the deficit we inherited in half by the end of my first term in office. This will not be easy. It will require us to make difficult decisions and face challenges we have long neglected. But I refuse to leave our children with a debt they cannot repay — and that means taking responsibility right now, in this administration for getting our spending under control.
………………………………Barack Obama, Fiscal Responsibility Summit 2/23/09

On January 20, 2009, the day President Barack Obama was inaugurated and saved the nation from the clutches of runaway capitalism, the national debt was $10,626,877,048,913.08; Obama acting more responsibly than any Wall Street villain increased that by around $6,000,000,000,000. If Barack Obama paid the debt back a dollar a second, it would only take him 126,750 presidential terms to “finish the job” and put us back on solid fiscal ground. Assuming the debt didn’t grow in the meantime.
………………………………………………………..David Harsanyi, The Federalist



Your Freedom and Your Nation Are At Risk by The Elephant's Child

CAVSZGZU0AAe8F1Kimberly Strassel had an important column Friday in The Wall Street Journal (subscription barrier) about the nation’s guardrails —”people who don’t think that rules of personal or civil conduct apply to them.”

Barack Obama has done plenty of damage to the country, but perhaps the worst is his determined destruction of Washington’s guardrails. Mr. Obama wants what he wants. If ObamaCare is problematic, he unilaterally alters the law. If Congress won’t change the immigration system, he refuses to enforce it. If the nation won’t support laws to fight climate change, he creates one with regulation. If the Senate won’t confirm his nominees, he declares it in recess and installs them anyway. “As to limits, you set your own,” observed Dan in that editorial. This is our president’s motto.

Mr. Obama doesn’t need anyone to justify his actions, because he’s realized no one can stop him. He gets criticized, but at the same time his approach has seeped into the national conscience. It has set new norms. You see this in the ever-more-outrageous proposals from the presidential field, in particular front-runners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Mrs. Clinton routinely vows to govern by diktat. On Wednesday she unveiled a raft of proposals to punish companies that flee the punitive U.S. tax system. Mrs. Clinton will ask Congress to implement her plan, but no matter if it doesn’t. “If Congress won’t act,” she promises, “then I will ask the Treasury Department, when I’m there, to use its regulatory authority.”

The Left has moved decidedly much further left during the Obama administration, but their dreams of a glorious future when there is social justice for all and everyone is equal, are showing more and more evidence that is not what they want at all. They want to be — tyrants, fully in charge where no one dares to criticize them, or contradict them, or even argue — they want to be agreed with and admired. And those who disagree should be put in camps or something.

Different members of the Left have expressed their distaste for the Constitution, in whole or in part. The Second Amendment is unpopular with gun-grabbing Democrats, and they object seriously to freedom of speech. Which is obvious around college campuses just now, and few professors willing to explain to the snowflakes that there are advantages to allowing others to say things you don’t agree with.

That one sentence should raise the hackles of every American: “Mr. Obama doesn’t need anyone to justify his actions, because he’s realized no one can stop him.”

Kim Strassel adds: “The more unrestrained the idea, the more press coverage; the more ratings soar, the more unrestrained the idea. The humble candidates—those with big ideas, but with respect for order and honor —are lost to the shouting.” We need to do some serious thinking about this whole situation.



What Would FDR Have Said When Confronted With a Rising Danger? by The Elephant's Child

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Sometimes a little historical reference can help clarify events in the present. History doesn’t exactly repeat itself, but the same problems arise over and over.



President Obama in Paris, Telling Fishy Stories About Alaska. by The Elephant's Child

720x405-R1245_COV_APresident Obama is in Paris, at COP21 the big climate meeting that is the successor to all the other failed climate meetings. Big hype, remarkable rhetoric, promises that will not be kept. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol was a grand plan to save the world, and failed in spectacular fashion. COP21 doesn’t even have such grand ambitions. The commitments, or lack thereof, by the nations have already been submitted and analyzed. The conclusion is that all the nostrums will add up to an effect on climate too small to be measured. All will congratulate themselves for doing something to Save the Earth. And they will make plans for their next big meeting. President Obama’s remarks at the first session included this:

Nearly 200 nations have assembled here this week — 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 we finally determined we would 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.

He claimed that fourteen of the fifteen warmest years on record have occurred sine the year 2000, and 2015 is on pace to be the warmest year of all. Except there has been no net warming for 18 years and 9 months. The sun has gone quiet. NOAA made up temperatures for the vast areas of South America where there are no sources for temperature, and produced readings more agreeable for the president to take to COP21. Obama reported on his trip to Alaska last summer:

This summer, I saw the effects of climate change firsthand in our northernmost state, Alaska, where the sea is already swallowing villages and eroding shorelines; where permafrost thaws and the tundra burns; where glaciers are melting at a pace unprecedented in modern times.  And it was a preview of one possible future — a glimpse of our children’s fate if the climate keeps changing faster than our efforts to address it.  Submerged countries.  Abandoned cities.  Fields that no longer grow.  Political disruptions that trigger new conflict, and even more floods of desperate peoples seeking the sanctuary of nations not their own.

OMG the sea is swallowing villages. The permafrost is thawing and the tundra is on fire. Submerged countries! Abandoned cities! Fields that just don’t grow! More conflict and more people seeking sanctuary!  This is irresponsible nonsense. Visiting Alaska was clearly an unusual experience for Mr. Obama, and I believe I remember his being photographed holding a salmon, gingerly. A bit gullible out there in the Great Alone..

Were you ever out in the Great Alone, when the moon was awful clear,
And the icy mountains hemmed you in with a silence you most could hear;
With only the howl of a timber wolf, and you camped there in the cold,
A half-dead thing in a stark, dead world, clean mad for the muck called gold;
While high overhead, green, yellow and red, the North Lights swept in bars? —
Then you’ve a hunch what the music meant. . . hunger and night and the stars.
That’s Robert Service who was also inspired to flights of fancy in the Alaskan landscape. Here is Obama’s first speech at COP21. It’s worth reading at least part of it to understand the mindset. Never were so many whoppers told by a single head of state quite so publicly.  Embarrassing. Here he is with a small Alaskan salmon, which he didn’t catch himself.
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ADDENDUM: I am mistaken about the burning tundra. Apparently the tundra is usually burning in places. Fires are ignited by lightning strikes, and they smolder on for ages. They are neither caused by global warming, nor encouraged by it. I don’t want to get in trouble with any of my friends in Alaska.


“Contained,” But Under Obama’s Watch ISIS Has Grown by 4,400 Percent. by The Elephant's Child

lk_1The raging debate about Syrian refugees is full of lies and misrepresentations, and totally confusing.  Syria is a battleground with some of the worst characters imaginable. Bashar Assad is using barrel bombs and poison gas on his own citizens, ISIS is committing some of the worst crimes against humanity ever known, and destroying the archaeological remnants of the ancient world as well.

Strangely, to western eyes, those atrocities — beheading, crucifying, burning people in cages — are all designed to attract adherents. President Obama has claimed that ISIS is “controlled,” yet under Obama’s watch ISIS has grown by around 4,400 percent. CIA Director John Brennan admitted that the Islamic State terror group has grown by that much during President Barack Obama’s tenure in office. During former president George W. Bush’s term in office ISIS was “decimated” and had around “700 or so adherents left.” The CIA has found the organization currently has somewhere from 20,000 to 31,500 fighters operating across the Middle East.

The Islamic State “was, you know, pretty much decimated when US forces were there in Iraq. It had maybe 700-or-so adherents left. And then it grew quite a bit in the last several years, when it split then from al Qaeda in Syria, and set up its own organization,” Brennan said.

So much for ISIS being “contained.”

How “Syrian refugees” are presented to the public governs public opinion. A huddled Muslim woman with her arms around two small children, backed with other women and children creates a far different impression than a long column of young men of military age. The heartbreaking photo of the drowned Syrian toddler washed up on a Turkish beach had a photographer there to arrange the body and smooth back the hair. The toddler was from Lebanon, not Syria, and almost nothing about the whole story was true except that the child drowned.

“Refugee” is a word that has a specific meaning, and the nation’s laws describe how one gets classified as a refugee — the president does not get to decide who is a refugee — Congress does, and there is a religious test. A “refugee” is escaping persecution or threatened harm especially because of his religious beliefs. And yes, the Christians  in the Middle East do meet that test. We have welcomed some groups of refugees, from Cuba, from Vietnam. Many immigrants seek to make a new life in America leaving their country of origin, but that does not make them “refugees.” I’m really tired of Obama telling us who we are; and what is and is not American. We do not make hard decisions based on compassion and empathy — but on hard nosed facts.

When I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted … that’s shameful…. That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.

Under federal law, the executive branch is expressly required to take religion into account in determining who is granted asylum. Under the provision governing asylum (section 1158 of Title 8, U.S. Code), an alien applying for admission must establish that…religion was or will be at least one central reason for processing the applicant.

How much of a risk should we take to allow into the country a host of people among whom a few terrorists or many terrorists may be hiding. The notion that we can “vet” them is clearly nonsense. There is no government in Syria to which we can apply for true information about who these people are. ISIS is increasingly using female suicide bombers. One just blew herself up in Paris. There are reports of ISIS fighters shaving their beards and disguising themselves as women in Europe. The fact that we have welcomed immigrants in the past has nothing whatsoever to do with the current situation. That’s a cheap appeal to emotion, and meant as a conversation stopper. It is not a simple question.

In welcoming immigrants, we have welcomed those who want to come to America, who want to become Americans, and who want to learn our history and our customs and our language. President Obama is attempting to eliminate, by executive order, portions of the oath of citizenship that require the immigrant to serve in the military if required. European countries have never figured out how to turn the immigrants they have accepted into real citizens.

We have been processing Syrian refugees for years. A leader of New York City’s Syrian community said that ISIS terrorists ave “absolutely” sneaked into America by posing as refugees from the civil war in Syria. He said he believes terrorists have been coning not only in the past few years, but way before that, said Arafat “Ralph” Succar. He added I think they’re already at work. He said the corruption in his homeland is so rampant that anyone could pay bribes and get official identification papers with a fake name to disguise their real identity.

And as Obama is being outraged over the governors and presidential contenders who want to pause the inflow of Syrian refugees. From Manila he tweeted

Slamming the door in the face of refugees would betray our deepest values. That’s not who we are. And it’s not what we’re going to do.

But back in 2011, at Obama’s behest, the administration stopped processing Iraqi refugee requests for six months after two Iraqi refugees were arrested on terrorism charges in Bowling Green Kentucky. The State Department stopped processing refugee requests in order to review and revamp security screening procedures. This included Iraqis who had worked with American troops as interpreters and intelligence assets. One Iraqi was assassinated before his refugee application could be processed because of the immigration delays. Only half as many Iraqis were resettled as refugees as the number from the previous year.
There’s really not much compassion, but a singular concern for how things would look to — who exactly? Whose opinion is he so concerned about? He has surrounded himself with a small group of sycophants, and regards anyone who is critical as the enemy.

You probably noticed all the women and widows and 3 year old orphans in the picture above.

 

ADDENDUM: That  female ISIS suicide bomber who blew herself up turned out not to be female. DNA tests on the remnants of the body established that she was a man.


Obama Is a Little Confused About Just Who The Enemy Is by The Elephant's Child

Obama ArroganttPresident Obama is accustomed to admiring treatment from most of the media most of the time. He was asked repeatedly at a press conference in Turkey on Monday why he continues to insist that he never underestimated ISIS, and his strategy, he believes, is working.  Oddly enough, in the wake of terrorist attacks, and the Parisian roundup of the remaining terrorists who were responsible for ISIS attack on Paris, Obama has reserved his most intense anger for the Republicans. He says we’re playing into the hands of ISIS with our “anti-refugee hysteria.”

We are not well served when, in response to a terrorist attack, we descend into fear and panic,” Mr. Obama said at a summit in Manila, the Philippines. “We don’t make good decisions if its based on hysteria or an exaggeration of risks.”

Mr. Obama said some of the same people who have suggested stopping refugees from coming into the country also have suggested that they are tough enough to just stare down Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Apparently they are scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America,” Mr. Obama said. “At first they were too scared of the press being too tough on them in the debates. Now they are scared of three-year-old orphans. That doesn’t seem so tough to me.”

“Three-year-old orphans,” Mr. President? We just watched a massive attack by ISIS, the organization you claim is controlled, on civilians in Paris. I would suggest that Americans are not terrified by refugees, but just want them thoroughly vetted, and afraid you are incapable.

Europe is now dealing with the European Union policy on open borders. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in the name of wikkommenskkultur ( a culture of welcoming) suspended restrictions on refugees seeking asylum. Unchanged,  Germany would have a million refugees by year’s end. Last week the interior ministry re-imposed the very restrictions Ms. Merkel had lifted. Germans are calling for her resignation.

Mr. Obama misunderstands. Americans are far more afraid of the administration’s lack of resolve, arrogance, and failure to understand the nature of the threat. The dreadful Iran Deal gives Iran the time and funding to complete their development of nuclear weapons, the desultory effort to contain ISIS in Iraq has such restraint on targeting that nothing is accomplished in fear that we might possibly hit a civilian or anything else that might elicit disapproval.

Veteran journalist Sharyl Attkisson said that her sources have told her that President Barack Obama does not want and will not read intelligence reports on groups “he does not consider terrorists,” despite being on a U.S. list of designated terrorists.

“I have talked to people who have worked in the Obama administration who firmly believe he has made up his mind. I would say closed his mind, they say, to their intelligence that they’ve tried to bring him about various groups that he does not consider terrorists, even if they are on the U.S. list of designated terrorists. He has his own ideas, and there are those who’ve known him a long time who say this dates back to law school. He does not necessarily—you may think it’s a good trait you may think it’s a bad trait—he does not necessarily listen to the people with whom he disagrees. He seems to dig in. I would suppose because he thinks he’s right. He is facing formidable opposition on this particular point.”

In his latest harangue against Republicans and other American opposed to his insistence on continuing to import thousands of Muslim refugees from Syria and other parts of the Middle East and Africa, Obama said:

When I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted … that’s shameful…. That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.

We have noted that Obama has often tried to insert the idea of empathy or compassion into Constitutional law and federal law.
The law is about justice, and supposedly is blind to tests of compassion. Andy McCarthy wrote today: (Do read the whole thing)

Under federal law, the executive branch is expressly required to take religion into account in determining who is granted asylum. Under the provision governing asylum
(section 1158 of Title 8, U.S. Code), an alien applying for admission must establish that … religion [among other things] … was or will be at least one central reason for persecuting the applicant. …

The law requires a “religious test.” And the reason for that is obvious. Asylum law is not a reflection of the incumbent president’s personal (and rather eccentric) sense of compassion. Asylum is a discretionary national act of compassion that is directed, by law not whim, to address persecution.

There is no right to emigrate to the United States. And the fact that one comes from a country or territory ravaged by war does not, by itself, make one an asylum candidate. …

Other lawyers have noted today that the president doesn’t get to decide who is a refugee and who is not. John Hinderaker wrote:

There are strong practical as well as legal reasons for distinguishing between Islamic applicants for asylum and similar applications by Christians or others. We know that ISIS is trying to infiltrate terrorists into groups of migrants leaving Syria; there is some evidence that they have succeeded. As McCarthy says, no one has a right to emigrate to the U.S. The government’s first duty is to protect the American people, not to extend favors to foreigners. Moreover, Obama’s “compassion” argument falls flat. A recent Center for Immigration Studies report found that, for the cost of resettling one refugee in the United States, we could instead care for 12 refugees overseas. That is a much more cost-effective approach, and one that will not impose needless dislocation either on us, or on the refugees.

It would be interesting to know just who Obama considers “real terrorists,” and which advisers he actually listens to — but everybody says that he has only a very narrow group of people that he associates with. His selection of advisors seems to be confined to those who will do exactly as they are told and don’t even think of disagreeing. The rest have resigned, or left for other ventures.  He doesn’t even seem to be particularly impressed with the attack on Paris. After all the more important big climate meeting is coming up, and there’s a world to be saved from the horrors of carbon dioxide.



Intelligence Sources Say that 4 Out of 5 Syrian Refugees Are Not From Syria. by The Elephant's Child

Syria2_442696bPresident Obama is set on his plan for admitting 10,000 “Syrian refugees” next year, and his press conference yesterday is not going over well even with the Democrats. Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, typically an Obama ally, said that “at times he was patronizing, at other times he seemed annoyed and almost dismissive.”

“That’s not the tone you want to strike to the public, that’s not the tone you want to send to our allies and enemies,” said Democratic strategist Brad Bannon.

Obama saved his harshest criticism for Republicans, but focused most of his time fending off critics who say the Paris attacks show his counterterrorism strategy has been a failure. ISIS has continued to hold on to large swaths of territory — but its newly demonstrated ability to pull off a coordinated terror attack in a major European city should elicit from Obama some broader reevaluation of his strategy.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Monday that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) isn’t contained to its territory in the Middle East, presenting a sharp contrast with President Obama’s remarks on his strategy to combat the group.

“I have never been more concerned,” Feinstein said during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” calling for additional U.S. troops on the ground to combat the militants.

The media is, as usual, muddying up the situation. The “refugees, migrants, immigrants” usually described as “the Syrian refugees”are not all from Syria. Some intelligence sources say that 4 out of 5 refugees are not from Syria. They have apparently been told that they are welcome in Europe and will receive welfare and schooling and all sorts of benefits they can’t obtain at home. And once there, they are demanding, and particular, and ungrateful.

Who can possibly not have sympathy for those trying desperately to escape Bashar Assad’s barrel bombs and poison gas? FBI Director James Comey has said that it is impossible to vet the refugees, since there is no government in Syria to vet them with, as has Michael Rogers, NSA Director.  Attorney General Loretta Lynch claims they will screen them, how, she didn’t say.

Here are the top 15 countries of origin for refugees admitted to the U.S. in fiscal year 2015: Myanmar, Iraq, Somalia, Dem.Rep. of Congo, Bhutan, Iran, Syria, Eritrea, Sudan, Cuba, Ukraine, Burundi, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and Colombia.

The New York Times has a map that shows where Syrian Refugees have so far been placed, and it includes states whose  governors have refused to accept refugees. It is an extremely difficult situation, and Mr. Obama seems unable to understand that it is not a matter of empathy — but of attempting to keep Americans safe from a massive attack, which is clearly coming.

Strangely, in this very strange time, the loose-knit online hacker group Anonymous “declared war‘ on ISIS this weekend, and reports that over 5,500 ISIS-affiliated accounts on Twitter have been exposed and taken down.

If you have not read The Atlantic article on “What ISIS Really Wants,” I would urge you to do so.  As the subhead says: “The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy — and for how to stop it.”




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