American Elephants


Time to Get To the Bottom of this Climate Change Business, If It’s Not Too Late!

The White House is organizing a panel to assess if Climate Change poses a national security threat. Federal intelligence agencies have apparently affirmed this idea several times since President Trump took office. The proposed Presidential Committee on Climate Security will be established by executive order and will be spearheaded by William Happer, a National Security Council senior director. Happer who is an emeritus professor of physics at Princeton University, is a world renowned climate scientist. He has said that carbon emissions linked to climate change should be regarded as an asset rather than a pollutant.  (from Climate Depot:)

Unsurprisingly, he has written numerous articles that are “mainly” about the infrared absorption bands and Google Scholar finds over 1,000 articles that contain his name as well as “infrared”. So when it comes to the main physical effect that is supposed to drive “climate change”, he’s not only an expert. He’s one of the world’s leading experts. CNN and doomsaying crackpots in general surely find this fact inconvenient but this inconvenience doesn’t make it less true.”

The following comes from The Washington Post, so you will notice  a slight change in tone:

The initiative represents the Trump administration’s most recent attempt to question the findings of federal scientists and experts on climate change and comes less than three weeks after Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats delivered a worldwide threat assessment that identified it as a significant security risk.

In late November, Trump dismissed a government report finding that global warming is intensifying and poses a major threat the U.S. economy, saying, “I don’t see it.” Last month, his nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency, acting administrator Andrew Wheeler, testified that he did not see climate change as one of the world’s pressing challenges.

Lefties believe firmly in science, if it comes from those who are equally alarmed by the potential of Climate Change to destroy the world in the near future. Al Gore and Bill Nye tell us it’s a real problem, as does Leonardo De Caprio, and AO-C, so pay no attention to those “deniers”. Trump refused to sign the Paris Climate Accords that were going to save the world, so see! See!

Perhaps we should reassess the Federal Intelligence agencies while we’re at it.

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See The Border Walls Going Up In New Mexico!

California’s new Leftist Governor Gavin Newsom has been grandstanding about suing the Trump administration over its construction of a forbidding big concrete border wall.  Just yesterday a truck carrying 22 illegal immigrants simply bashed through the existing aging corrugated junk metal fencing with a heavy smuggling vehicle — terrorist style, in San Diego. This is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection photo;

President Trump tweeted what may or may not have been a triumphal direct response, but it certainly works like one. Speeded up  bit to get the construction impressively faster to completion. Take that you doubters!

There are people and organizations in Central America urging people there to go to America, and if you have a child with you they will have to let you in, they have shortages now of enough people to fill the jobs, so you will be able to get work. They are told to turn themselves in to the nearest Border Patrol once they cross the border, and ask for asylum. Who’s behind all that ? I don’t know, but it is clear they have had instructions. Is this the Democrats who want more bodies for the 2020 Census? Or the Democrats who want more Democrat voters? Has your district gone Democrat yet? I certainly do not want to suggest that there is anything nefarious about the opposing political party who have been suggesting everything from assassination to impeachment on a daily basis.

ADDENDUM: President Trump asked Congress for $5.5 Billion for an urgently needed border wall, Nancy Pelosi snarkily offered $1. Congress appropriated $!.5 Billion. Mick Mulvaney checked   around the administration, and found $600 million in the Treasury Department in forfeited funds,  $2.5 billion in Defense Department Construction funds, and some they feel that they can spare from other programs, and it adds up to round $8 billion. Naturally, there will be great wailing and gnashing of teeth among the Democrats who can’t stop making fools of themselves, but there you go.



Suggested Reading for Clarifying the Mind
  • From Victor Davis Hanson:”The New Nihilism:” Summing up the Democrats’ response to President Donald J. Trump, and his many, many accomplishments. Not a pretty picture.
  • From Steven Camarota of CIS: “On Immigration, Trump Needs to Focus on the Numbers” For all the talk about the border, the biggest issue is not welfare or illegal immigration per se; it is the total number of immigrants settling in the country ,legally or illegally. Democrats focus on amnesty, Businesses push for ever more guest workers, and the media happily supports both. The national interest and his political future depend on the numbers.
  • From Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner:Border apprehensions jump 84 percent, 606,000 expected this year” a surprising surge. Again, it’s the numbers.
  • From Andrew R. Arthur of CIS:Notes on a Deal I Haven’t Seen: The Pitfalls of Compromise” The fundamental issue behind all of this is the request for crucially needed infrastructure along the border. I mean fences, walls, barriers, drag roads, cameras, sensors and any number of other tools needed by the 18,600 Border Patrol agents who man the 1,954-mile southern border.

We assume that the illegal border-crossers come from Mexico and Central America, many come from the Middle East as well.



There Is No Constitutional Crisis. Get a Grip!

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A crowd of about 400 protesters rallied in front of the White House on Monday, carrying signs that called President Donald Trump a racist and claimed a wall on the U.S. Border with Mexico is a symbol of the rise of white nationalism under this administration.

The Wall is racist, and the Border Patrol are torturing the migrants who are in custody after illegally crossing the border into the United States. That was a speaker with Amnesty International, who added that “bridges are better than walls, love trumps hate, no human being is illegal, and we are all, by virtue of our shared condition guaranteed the same human rights.” Neither original thought or meaning are required when you are being passionate, purile and protesting.

January 2019 saw  surge of 22,000 more apprehensions of illegal immigrants at southwest border crossings over January 2018. Border officers, it is predicted will make over 600,000 apprehensions this year. The increase over 2018 was 84%.

Democrats want more voters, and illegals who can be registered to vote are likely Democrat votes, and they want them counted in the upcoming census to increase their numbers in the 2020 census, and thus their number of representatives in the House. That the American people will have to pay for Welfare, Food Stamps, medical care, education for the children, is not mentioned in all the compassion that expects other people to pay, is not mentioned, of course.

Democrats call all Republicans racist, of course. That is their ultimate epithet, useful in all circumstances. Obviously, since Trump declared a national emergency at the border, it could only be because the illegals have brown skin, instead of the white skin preferred by white supremacists.

Democrats insist Trump can be challenged on his use of emergency authority since they do not believe an emergency exists on the southern border. They will fail spectacularly if the case gets to the Supreme Court. While the source of funding can be challenged, there is no compelling basis to challenge the national emergency declaration.
……………………………………………………………..William Jacobsen

Trump’s actions have been greeted with now-familiar claims that he is sparking a constitutional crisis or threatening the rule of law.

Considering just the substance of what Trump has done, these are large exaggerations. Everything Trump proposes to do purports to be grounded in congressional statutes and much of what he aims to do does not rely on emergency power. Trump is not relying solely on Article II executive power, and he is not invoking executive power to disregard a congressional statute. Moreover, the statutes in question expressly give Trump authority in the areas in which he claims them.
…………………………………….Harvard Law Professor Jack Goldsmith

Just another day like all days with Democrats seething with ginned-up rage, trying desperately to find the ultimate insult that will make the gap toothed ignoramuses from flyover country go back into their holes and never talk to them again.



Trump’s Pointed Venezuela Speech Starts Things Moving

President Trump delivered an excellent speech in Miami directed at the Venezuelans and Hispanics in the audience. We have food aid waiting near the border to be delivered to the starving people in Venezuela. Now Brazil has assembled caravan of food for the Venezuelans in cooperation with the U.S. and said it’s whether socialist dictator Maduro likes it or not.

Maduro, of course, denies that there is any shortage of anything, and will block any shipments. Brazil’s new right-leaning President Jair Bolsonaro has recognized newly elected Juan Guaidó as the legitimate president of Venezuela. So far the Venezuelan military is backing Maduro, but that will not continue indefinitely, in the nature of things. Maduro will be lucky to escape with his life, but where would he go?

With the U.S. and Brazil standing up for ordinary humanitarianism, things will start to move and other nations, fearful of acting on their own, will join in. That too is in the nature of things. You can think back to other times and other dictators and how they were deposed. We can usually learn from history, even if the ignorant try to hide what what happened, to proclaim their own virtue. Famously said: “The Truth Will Out.”



A Search For The Real George Washington

The George Washington that most of us see most often is the engraving after the Gilbert Stuart portrait on the one dollar bill. Reproductions of the Gilbert Stuart portrait and a portrait of Abraham Lincoln used to hang on the front wall of every elementary classroom when I was growing up, with an American flag standing in the corner.

We all know, I think, that George Washington had dreadful false teeth. A terrible pity, both for the President — because they must have been instruments of torture in his mouth — and because they distract our attention from far more important things about the man. Certainly Washington must have had access to the very best dentists of the day. By 1789, he had only one of his own teeth left. The teeth were horrible-looking contraptions made of substances like hippopotamus ivory, hinged at the back and operated with springs. He complained that they distorted his lips, and they must have distorted his appearance as well.

Gilbert Stuart was the most celebrated of portraitists. He trained in London, and was thought to be a potential successor to the famed Sir Joshua Reynolds. However Stuart was extravagant and fled in debt from London. He turned up in Philadelphia during 1795 , hoping to pay off his creditors by creating a multitude of portraits of the world’s greatest man. Washington sat to him for three separate portraits, and Stuart made hundreds of copies.

According to James Thomas Flexner’s Washington: The Indispensable Man, Washington and Stuart did not get on. The portraitist usually kept his sitters amused and their faces alive by a flood of showy and outrageous talk. Washington always felt
According to James Thomas Flexner’s Washington: The Indispensable Man, Washington and Stuart did not get on. The portraitist usually kept his sitters amused and their faces alive by a flood of showy and outrageous talk. Washington always felt uneasy at having to remain still and being stared at and was put out rather than being amused.

Stuart, who felt that “artists were fundamentally superior to all other men including Presidents, resented Washington’s formality. He could not forget what had resulted when, in trying to unstiffen the hero, he had gone to the length of saying, “Now, sir, you must let me forget that you are General Washington and I am Stuart the Painter. Washington replied (as it seemed to him politely), Mr. Stuart need never feel the need for forgetting who he is and who General Washington is.”

Stuart emphasized, as no other portraitist did, the distortions of Washington’s mouth. Flexner suggests that since Stuart was known to have angrily used General Knox’s portrait as the door of his pigsty that perhaps the harm he did to Washington’s historical image was somewhat deliberate.

This life mask by Jean Antoine Houdon gives us more clues as to what Washington actually looked like. He was tall, about 6’2″, and most verbal descriptions mention his ‘roman’ nose, so it was perhaps a little prominent. This is not the face of the Stuart portrait, but looks more probable.

Washington was an outdoorsman who spent much of his life in the saddle, and his complexion would have reflected that — more wrinkles, more weathered. They didn’t have sunglasses and baseball hats with a brim to keep the sun out of the eyes, lots of squinting. The portrait above seems to match the life mask fairly well. A far cry from the disagreeable Gilbert Stuart portrait.

I’m going a bit out on a limb here, but I spent some years in art school attempting to capture likenesses, and the smallest errors in size and distance relationships can lose a likeness completely. Also, people see likenesses differently. Some will insist that two siblings look just alike while others will see no resemblance between the same two. I have no real explanation for that.

I suspect that Gilbert Stuart had such a reputation as a great portraitist, undoubtedly aided by his own self description, that perhaps people were apt to accept his work as the “right” one. Portraits are an odd matter. One tries to capture a mobile. alive face that changes its expression constantly and represent it on a flat surface. If you have ever had photographer’s proofs of pictures of you to choose from, that will explain the problem. They’re all you, but you’ll like some better than others.

Here are “reconstructions” done by a forensic reconstructionist of Washington at his inauguration, as a general, and at around the age of 19. They are startling in their realism. I suspect (nit-picky as I am) that the face is too free of wrinkles, and too pinky-white, and not quite rawboned enough. (I said I was being picky) But they give you a vastly different impression of the man. Haul out a dollar bill and compare. Stuart played a cruel joke on Washington.

Washington didn’t know much about being a general when he was appointed by Congress to lead the American armies, but he was the best we had, and he did fine. His men loved him, and he gradually taught them to be soldiers. He was elected unanimously to be President when he wanted nothing more than to return to Mt.Vernon and retire from public life. The people idolized him. He could have been a king or an emperor, or like some — a dictator for life. But it was he, with his sterling character, who set the nation on the right path. He had a horrible temper, and mostly kept it under firm control. Any of his deeds alone would have made him famous, but in twenty-four years he led the armies, led the country, shaped a constitution, set a nation on its path and then went on home.

The portrait above is by Gilbert Stuart. He made many copies and others made copies of his copies which were sent around the new country so people could see what their new president looked like. Unfortunately, one of them was copied for the engraving on the dollar bill. Just mean.

ADDENDUM: I especially recommend Richard Brookhiser’s
Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington. It is not a life history, but a moral biography, only 199 pages. It’s a rewarding book. I post this every year on Washington’s birthday.



Joe Biden Attended the Munich Security Conference

In Saturday’s Washington Examiner. Joel Gehrke reported on the meeting  of foreign policy leaders at the Munich Security Conference:

Speaking on German soil 75 years after the U.S. and its allies prepared for D-Day, Joe Biden described America as “an embarrassment” and its trade policies “self-defeating.”

“The America I see values basic human decency, not snatching children from their parents or turning our back on refugees at our border. Americans know that’s not right,” the former vice president and potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate told the Munich Security Conference. “The American people understand plainly that this makes us an embarrassment. The American people know, overwhelmingly, that it is not right. That it is not who we are.”

Biden, 76, speaking at the annual gathering of foreign policy leaders, didn’t mention Trump by name. But, despite a longstanding tradition of politics “stopping at the water’s edge” and refraining from criticizing a commander-in-chief while on foreign soil, Biden took the opportunity to blast him, even veering into criticism of domestic policy as he launched into what sounded like a stump speech.

(italics added) I looked through the photos I’ve saved for a picture of Joe Biden, but I could only find one, which I’ve saved because it makes me laugh.

 




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