American Elephants


Majority Leader Eric Cantor Defeated in Primary Election by The Elephant's Child

This is a very big deal. House majority leaders have been defeated in general elections on rare occasions, but in a primary? The last was in 1899. Eric Cantor’s defeat in a primary is clearly all about immigration, which is, I believe,  a deeply misunderstood issue. And it will awaken any slumbering members of Congress.

The usual number of illegal immigrants given is eleven million, but nobody really knows. We have lately had an astonishing influx of unaccompanied children and mothers with children. The word circulating in Central American countries is that the U.S. currently won’t deport children, hence the influx. The estimate is that there will be 90,000 children this year. This of course is enhanced by the president’s attempt to override Congress’ rejection of the Dream Act— which is widely publicized in Central America.

The Technology giants want more H-1B visas. They claim they cannot find enough STEM graduates to fill their needs. This is palpably untrue, because we have large numbers of STEM graduates who cannot find jobs. It is also true that they can get immigrant technology workers for less, and the nature of their visas makes them compliant. The Technology companies are awash in cash, it wouldn’t hurt them to start training their own workers if they are not satisfied with their applicants. The Chamber of Commerce is also demanding more immigrant visas in hopes of driving wage costs down, and telling business not to support Republicans if they don’t cooperate. Business does not agree.

Democrats believe that being welcoming to illegals will enhance their electoral chances with Hispanics. Some Republicans buy into this argument, assuming that amnesty will give them more votes from Hispanics.

Polls, on the other hand, show that Immigration policy doesn’t even rank among the top three political issues that Hispanics care about most, according to a recent Pew Research poll. Hispanics care about education (57%), jobs and the economy (52%) and health care (43%) are the important concerns. Just 32% said immigration.

The American people deeply resent the open borders policy of the Obama Administration. We have laws, and Americans deeply believe in the law and the Constitution. America, for years has had enormous success with welcoming immigrants and turning them into proud American citizens. We have been blessed with the energy, entrepreneurial enthusiasm and contributions of immigrants, and they have not only prospered, but become the proudest advocates of American liberty. We work hard at turning our immigrants into citizens, in contrast to most European countries who have accepted large numbers of immigrants, but never really accepted them. You don’t, for example, become a German by immigrating to Germany.

I remain a big-tent Republican. I don’t expect Republicans to march in lockstep as the Democrats do. You cannot be a thoughtful person and march in lockstep to party demands.We have only the past to guide us and the future is an unknown. The Founders intended for us to argue and discuss and fight over our ideas as we search for a solution to the problems we face.

I have found the battle between the “Republican establishment” whoever they are, and the Tea Party (who are not some wild-eyed radicals, but your next-door neighbors) offensive. The Tea Party has chosen some excellent candidates, and some lousy ones. The Republican party now has a deep bench of  very successful young governors whose success in their states is a beacon to those who hunger for jobs and economic improvement. They have accomplishments to brag about, proven competence and experience.

Parts of the Tea Party are more conservative than the established party. We must not, however, get into a battle over just how pure conservatism must be. If we want to win elections, we have to be a welcoming big tent, not an exclusionary clique. If you haven’t noticed, often members of the same family can’t get along.  I don’t think you will find Republicans who want to re-write the First Amendment, nor many who do not believe in the rule of law— though we may disagree with quite a few activist judges.

Americans are worried about jobs and the economy. They will be more agreeable to immigration reform when the number of people of working age who are so discouraged they have given up looking for work starts significantly declining. We have a president who does something to destroy jobs with one hand, as he talks about how much he wants to create job opportunities on the other.

Congratulations to David Brat. He seems to be a well-qualified candidate. We always need more free-market economists.

ADDENDUM: More information. Although David Brat was supported by the local Tea Party, he got no support from the national Tea Party. He did get the support of Democrats. There was no Democrat contest, and Democrat and liberal media were urging their Democrat voters to vote for Brat to help defeat Cantor. In 2012, the vote was 45,000, but jumped to 65,000 yesterday. Virginians were angry with Cantor’s poor response to constituents. They felt he was too involved with House politics and failing to support his district. We will learn more eventually. Eric Cantor has responded graciously, and stepped down, as that was the most positive thing he could do for Republican politics. David Brat emphasized the immigration issue, portraying Cantor as favoring amnesty.



Iran Claims To Have Reverse-Engineered U.S. Drone by The Elephant's Child

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Iran on Sunday unveiled what it says is a copy of a U.S. stealth drone that it brought down safely when they “commandeered” it in flight in 2011.

“The drone was brought down by the Iranian Armed Forces’ electronic warfare unit which commandeered the aircraft and safely landed it,” the Iranian Tasnim News Agency reported.

The U.S. drone was identified as the RQ-170 Sentinel made by Lockheed Martin. U.S. officials said in December 2011 that the drone was part of a CIA reconnaissance mission. President Obama asked Iran to return the drone to the US. Didn’t work.

Now Iran claims to have reverse-engineered the drone, and armed it with weapons to attack U.S. warships. They also claim to have decoded surveillance footage from the captured drone. In photos they display the U.S. drone accompanied by the Iranian copy.

This is the time of year, the Sacred Defense Week, when Iran makes big claims to demonstrate their power, as it is the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq War. Some aviation experts are skeptical, and suggest the whole thing is a fake. Iran does have a history of publicizing fakes. Power, after all, is perceived power.



The Bergdahl Blunder is Not About Bowe, But About Barack Obama by The Elephant's Child

The center of the Bowe Bergdahl scandal is not the young man who apparently deserted his post in wartime, but the President of the United States. President Obama was advised by senior military leaders not to make the prisoner swap with the Taliban. Barack Obama released five top Taliban leaders in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl. This has been compared to releasing five four-star generals belonging to the  enemy in the midst of war.

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In fact he has been advised fairly continually since 2011, not to negotiate with the Taliban, and not to release these five Taliban leaders (the worst of the worst).

The Obama foreign policy was failing on every front. The president’s handlers developed a program to show that he was really in charge. The first was a quick flight to Bagram Airfield as the first photo-op. (See how I care about the troops). Two days later, there was a Rose Garden press conference to announce his decision about future U.S. troop levels and his timeline for ending the war in Afghanistan( in command) The next day he was off to West Point to deliver “a major foreign policy address” at the commencement ceremony (Commander in Chief). The address received polite applause from the cadets who had undoubtedly hoped the address would be about their future, since it was their graduation.

Back in the real world, setbacks in Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Ukraine continued. China continued making increasingly aggressive territorial claims, Russia was doing the same, and the White House inadvertently “outed” the CIA station chief in Afghanistan.

It has been said for some time that the president frequently does not take intelligence briefings or chooses to ignore the advice offered by intelligence officers in those meetings, and relies on his close associates instead.When Russian tanks rolled into Crimea, the administration admitted it had no strategic warning of just what Putin was up to.

The Veterans Administration scandal broke to American outrage, and the president was sure that returning the long held prisoner-of-war to the bosom of his family would get the vets off the front pages. With progress on ending America’s overseas wars and closing the detention facility at Guantanamo, he expected a big jump in the polls. Didn’t work. Susan Rice was sent to the Sunday shows. Bergdahl was a hero, the president had an obligation to prioritize the health of Sgt. Bergdahl. His life could have been at t risk. The Taliban would kill him if word got out. (then they’d have nothing to trade), The Taliban would kill the deal if word got out. Something over 90 people in the administration and in Qatar knew about the deal, just not Congress. And the most recent is that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is the one who signed off on the deal. The president’s insistence on never accepting any blame for anything gets tiresome. The Bergdahl affair is something the president blames on his enemies in Congress. “I’m never surprised by controversies that are whipped up on Washington,” he said.

“The controversy whipped up by others” says an article in The Federalist is in reality President Obama’s desire to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. His administration has already written a memo contending that the executive does not possess sole authority on such matters. Obama’s drive to undo anything and everything done by his predecessor is hampered by the Constitution. You have “an increasingly hegemonic presidency that employs the Constitution as campaign fodder during election season but sees it as a nuisance otherwise.”

It has become clear that President Obama was motivated less by any desire to bring this particular prisoner back, than by a desire to make a deal with the Taliban. The president himself said that the deal could “open the door for broader discussions[with the Taliban] about the future [of Afghanistan] by building confidence.”

Which leads to the news today that al Qaeda has taken over Mosul. The Iraqi Army which was shaping up well, but unready for prime time, needed the extra time with U.S. Military help denied them by the Obama administration. The foreign policy of “Anti-Bush” has not worked too well. Not many people know that the major portion of the military death rate in Afghanistan was under Barack Obama. Obama came into office believing that his ability to make speeches that swayed people into doing what he wanted was all that was needed in American Foreign Policy. That hasn’t worked out either.

Add the problem that the Taliban have now got their hands on modern U.S. heat-seeking Stinger missiles. This is the result of the U.S. government’s efforts to arm the Libyan rebels which backfired, ending up with flooding weapons into Syria.

The prime duty of the President of the United States is foreign policy, protecting the United States of America. President Obama doesn’t like foreign policy and tries to avoid it. He believes in making deals, in negotiation. He believes firmly that peaceful negotiation leads to finding common interests which is the basis for agreements. The government of Iran, for example, believes firmly in the art of deception, which is approved by the Koran. As diplomats pronounce the July 20 deadline for a nuclear deal dead, the ayatollahs have managed to string us along for eight months. So there we are.




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