American Elephants


Look What I Found in Today’s News! by The Elephant's Child

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From today’s international news:

Iran threatened to shoot down two US Navy surveillance aircraft flying close to Iranian territory in the Persian Gulf over the weekend, the latest in a series of recent provocations between Iran and the US military in the region, three US defense officials with knowledge of the incident told Fox News.

On Sept. 10, a Navy P-8 Poseidon with a crew of nine and an EP-3 Eries with a crew of roughly 24, were flying a reconnaissance mission 13 miles off the coast of Iran, through the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman, according to officials who call the boundary Iran’s “black line.”Iran’s territorial waters—like all nations–extend 12 miles into the sea, according to international maritime law.

At some point during the flight, the Iranian military warned the two aircraft to change course or risk getting shot down.

From The Associated Pres via Popular Mechanics:

“Iran is Building a New Nuclear Power Plant”
It’s the country’s first new construction of this kind since signing the nuclear deal last year.

Iran began building its second nuclear power plant with Russian help on Saturday, the first such project since last year’s landmark nuclear deal with world powers.

The project in the southern port city of Bushehr will eventually include two power plants expected to go online in 10 years. Construction on the second plant is set to begin in 2018. The entire project will cost more than $8.5 billion, with each plant producing 1,057 megawatts of electricity.

So apparently Obama’s Iran Deal is just going swimmingly.

At American Thinker, Daniel John Sobieski reported on the fact:

Almost as soon as he took office, President Obama began a military purge not dissimilar to those routinely conducted by third-world despots, with the goal of eliminating voices that might oppose his withdrawing America from the world stage.  As Investor’s Business Daily editorialized:

We recognize President Obama is the commander-in-chief and that throughout history presidents from Lincoln to Truman have seen fit to remove military commanders they view as inadequate or insubordinate. Turnover in the military ranks is normal, and in these times of sequestration and budget cuts the numbers are expected to tick up as force levels shrink and missions change.

Yet what has happened to our officer corps since President Obama took office is viewed in many quarters as unprecedented, baffling and even harmful to our national security posture. We have commented on some of the higher profile cases, such as Gen. Carter Ham. He was relieved as head of U.S. Africa Command after only a year and a half because he disagreed with orders not to mount a rescue mission in response to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi.

The list goes on of outstanding officers asked to leave before what would normally be their expected tenure.

I have no current connections in the military, so I can’t speak to the clear meaning of all this, but I do remember my history, and Iran has been at war with us since 1979. And I have never been able to understand the Iran Deal and what Obama thinks it will accomplish.

Unrelated? From the Daily Caller: “John Kerry’s State Department Funneled MILLIONS To His Daughter’s Nonprofit.”

More than $9 million of Department of State money has been funneled through the Peace Corps to a nonprofit foundation started and run by Secretary of State John Kerry’s daughter, documents obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation show.

The Department of State funded a Peace Corps program created by Dr. Vanessa Kerry and officials from both agencies, records show. The Peace Corps then awarded the money without competition to a nonprofit Kerry created for the program.

Investors Business Daily had a few words to offer on that one.



Obama’s Huge Problem with the “Rules of Engagement” Threatens Our Troops by The Elephant's Child

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Up till now, the U.S. Army could have engaged with ISIS in Afghanistan — only if  the group “posed a threat to the U.S.” which meant they had to be designated as a terrorist organization by the State Department. Obama has changed the rules of engagement so they can now pursue ISIS-K  (ISIS-Khorasan) in Afghanistan and Pakistan as a terrorist organization.

The designation of the group as a “terrorist organization” means the US also prohibits any cooperation with or supply of material or resources to the group.

ISIS-K was formed a year ago in January by a group of militants who defected from the Tehrik-e Taliban and pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. So Obama’s only a year late in protecting our troops.

“ISIS-K already is believed to be responsible for suicide and small-arms attacks and kidnappings, targeting civilians and Afghan government officials,” CNN reported.

President Obama has had an interesting relationship with the rules of engagement since he became president. The massacre at Fort Hood happened because soldiers on the base were forbidden to carry weapons. And that’s only one of the examples.

American planes in Syria, once they have found a significant target, have to radio back to base to get permission to actually bomb it, and then it goes up the chain of command who decide if there is any risk of killing civilians, so most of the missions reportedly return to base with bombs intact. And it was recently reported that bombing missions had to drop leaflets telling civilians on the ground to run away because we were going to drop bombs on those oil trucks.

In the first four years of the Obama administration — 3 times as many Americans were killed in Afghanistan as in the 8 years of George W. Bush’s conduct of the war — and there was no prospect of victory.

Under Obama, there were 8,000 Islamic terrorist attacks on infidels across the globe — a 25% increase over the period when fighting in Iraq was at its peak. The administration dropped the designation “War on Terror” and replaced it with “overseas contingency operations.” Any student of language could tell you things about that wording.

Obama has a peculiar relationship with national security. I have always suspected that he never saw a war movie, unless it was an anti-war film, never studied the history of the United States and never read a military history. He goes to great lengths to make a show of protecting civilians, but blithely orders drone attacks on gatherings of terrorist  wedding parties or  family gatherings. He really likes Special Forces because they added the death of bin-Laden to his legacy. But he demonstrates his unfamiliarity with things military when he says things like ‘corpse man’ and gets his grandfather’s service in Patton’s Army all confused.

Leaving our troops on the battlefield without the ability to shoot back is simply unconscionable. His reported daily briefings in 3 short paragraphs with 3 choices of action don’t allow for much discussion of pros and cons or alternatives.

Obama ran for the presidency using the Iraq War and George W, Bush as a foil. Public support for the war had begun to decline, and there was a specific unrecognized reason for that. And there was the same reason behind Obama’s attempt to blame every criticism of his actions on George W. Bush.

(h/t: weasel zippers)



So You Want to Get a Passport— Heh, Heh, Heh! by The Elephant's Child

The Heritage Foundation has been doing a series in their Foundry blog on governmental red tape. As a devout anti-Big Government activist, this is right up my alley. “Rewarding failure is a fundamental precept of the Bureaucratic Code,” Heritage says.  In this case it is the State Department and passport fraud.

The General Accounting Office (GAO) has investigated the State Department’s procedures for processing passport applications and found them troublesome, to say the least.  In 2010, an investigation found passports granted in spite of things like a 62-year-old applicant using a Social Security number issued in 2009, passport and driver’s license photos with a 10-year age difference, the use of a California mailing address, a West Virginia permanent address and driver’s license address, and a Washington D.C. phone number all on the same application.  No problem!

State Department officials plan to fix the problem by expanding the investigatory powers they have failed to use properly, and plan to impose new burdens on applicants for passports.

They are proposing a new application, Form DS-5513.  It would require the name and address of your every employer, your every supervisor’s name and the address of your every residence.  If you were not born in a hospital, or if your birth was not recorded within a year, you would have to supply:

  • The circumstances of your birth, including the names of everyone in the room when you were born;
  • Whether your mother received pre-natal and post-natal care and the names of the doctors and dates of the appointments for that care;
  • The name of your mother’s employer when you were born and her dates of employment;
  • Your mother’s address when  you were born and her address one year before and one year after your birth.

Good grief.  I couldn’t supply those facts for my own children! Each of them were born in a different hospital, I have no clue who the obstetricians were, and who else was in the room?  Sheesh, only a cubicle-enclosed bureaucrat could dream up such nonsense.  Department officials claim the new application will take just 45 minutes, on average, to complete.

This is number 10 in the Red Tape series.  Follow the Heritage link, and you can read about the other nine,  although I’ve ranted about several of them before. The mindset that thinks this sort of thing is acceptable is beyond comprehension.




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