American Elephants


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.



White House Correspondent Ed Henry Asks — Why? by The Elephant's Child

During today’s press briefing, Fox News White House Correspondent Ed Henry inquired of Press Secretary Josh Earnest whether it was prudent for the president to spend the weekend fundraising for his party and golfing while terrorist acts are being committed against the United States. Obama has stated that his administration has no strategy for dealing with ISIS. Henry asked Earnest:

I wonder what you think about the optics of the president, from that podium yesterday, does not have a strategy to deal with ISIS in serious military, and then next day, without that strategy, goes out and raises campaign money?

Is he detached? Does he feel like the critics coming after him, it just doesn’t matter anymore?” Henry asked. “Why is he still raising campaign money, playing golf, when he’s acknowledging he doesn’t have a strategy to deal with this?

Josh Earnest:

The job of any U.S. president is to be able to handle a lot of different responsibilities at the same time,” Earnest replied, in defense of Obama’s fundraising and golfing. The secretary added that Obama has a national security team, to whom he has outsourced the job of looking after America’s national security challenges.

“Outsourced.” There’s a remarkable lot hiding behind that word.



“They’re Coming” and “Another 9/11 is Imminent” by The Elephant's Child

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An editorial from the Washington Post last Friday was headlined “Obama’s authorization of Iraq airstrikes isn’t connected to a coherent strategy.”

PRESIDENT OBAMA was right to order military action to prevent a potential genocide in northern Iraq and to stop forces of the al-Qaeda-derived Islamic State from advancing on Baghdad or the Kurdish capital of Irbil. However, the steps the president authorized on Thursday amount to more of his administration’s half-measures, narrowly tailored to this week’s emergency and unconnected to any coherent strategy to address the conflagration spreading across the Middle East. …

Yet by the White House’s own account, the measures ordered by Mr. Obama are not intended to defeat the Islamic State or even to stop its bloody advances in most of the region. Instead they are limited to protecting two cities where U.S. personnel are stationed and one mass of refugees. The hundreds of thousands of people in Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere threatened by the al-Qaeda forces will receive no U.S. protection.

That’s the Washington Post’s Editorial Board, not usually leading the charge in criticism of the president.

President Obama is trapped in his self-created bubble. He was elected, he believes, to end the war in Iraq, and sees doing so as possibly his greatest achievement. He regarded getting out as the goal, rather than a gradual turnover as Iraq became more able to deal with problems on their own. Even now, he doesn’t understand that there is a genocide in progress, that is endowed with billions stolen from all the banks in Iraq, the world’s best and most modern weapons which which we outfitted the Iraqis, and gullible jihadis are flocking from all over the world to join up in the bloodletting.

Europe assumed that it was a good idea to replace their declining birthrate by admitting immigrants, for they had seen how immigration enriched America. But they didn’t get the assimilation part. They got a lot of Islamist immigrants, but they didn’t turn them into real citizens. It looks like over 900 French nationals have answered to call to jihad in Iraq, and volunteers in significant numbers are coming from Britain and most European countries. Even young women are flocking to become ‘jihadi wives,’ unaware they will end up as sex-slaves and either dead or in the brothels of the Middle East.

I cannot imagine what visions of “the Caliphate” attract them— the opportunity to kill with abandon, long trains of battle-hardened jihadis bristling with guns and tanks, flying the black flag of the Islamic State? Is it an ideal of suddenly being powerful? Too many romantic movies?

We see the primitive blood-lust, the sheer barbarianism and fail to take it seriously at our peril. The Middle East is more unstable today than it has been in years. Global energy supplies are at risk and with that, the entire world economy. The Islamic State seizes vast swaths of land and resources, murders and terrorizes whole nations and recruits thousands of new fighters with Western passports and plots another attack on the United States. Its much more comfortable to blame the failures of your own society on the west than to fault your own backward society.

Ali Khedery is an expert on the Middle East, CEO of the Dubai-based Dragoman Partners, and previously worked the U.S. State and Defense departments, and served as an American official in Iraq from 2003 to 2009, special assistant to five U.S. ambassadors and senior advisor to three commanders of U.S. Central Command.

When he says “They’re coming” and “another 9/11 is imminent” we need to pay attention. He wrote a letter to President Obama in Politico on Tuesday, attempting to warn the president that he needs new advisors, and a “Middle East Czar.” “Someone who can help contain and quell separate conflict in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq before they merge into a full-fledged regional war.” This is not the J.V. team, but the most virulent form of transnational jihad the planet has ever seen. Here he is, being interviewed by Jake Tapper.



Some Are True Believers, Some Are Skeptics, Nobody Is “A Denier.” by The Elephant's Child

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Here’s a new video from the White House, (sorry, I can’t embed it.) President Obama’s Science Advisor Dr. John Holdren explains—in less than three minutes — how climate change is making America’s wildfires more dangerous and why we must act now.

President Obama is deeply in awe of Dr. Holdren. He said breathlessly the other day that when he had a question about anything about science, he could just call up Dr. Holdren and he would explain it. “And he’s a real Physicist,” Obama said.

From the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho: “Outside of the West Coast, there is very little forest fire activity in the U.S. this year. Burn acreage is much less than half of normal.”screenhunter_1655-aug-04-06-59

(click to enlarge)

Forest fires are caused by lightening strikes, or occasionally by careless campers. They are not caused by global warming.




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