American Elephants


National Emergency? You Can’t Do That! by The Elephant's Child

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President Trump did exactly what he said he would, and declared a national emergency over the border, and of course the Democrats exploded in feigned outrage. I did mention that Obama declared a national emergency something like 13 times, so the hissy-fit seems somewhat misplaced, but of course it is all in the preparation for the upcoming court fights. Democrats want open borders. The illegal votes are important for them, and they’re hoping to switch enough votes in targeted states to increase their control of the House of Representatives to make it more permanent. They really don’t like to be out of power.

And of course, they deny every tiny bit of information on which the president has based his declaration of an emergency. Fewer illegals crossing the border now, no drugs except at the ports of entry, and they’ve given more money for technology to find the drugs that are coming through. Attacks on the president’s character, his information, his knowledge, and the usual claim that his only possible reason for not wanting illegal immigrants from Central America is that they are “brown people.” And how interesting that at the same time, they refuse to see or acknowledge the ‘Angel’ families who have lost members of their family to criminal illegal aliens.

Some of the vast field of would-be candidates for the 2020 nomination are joining the push for tearing down existing walls. Pandering to the illegals already here for their illegal votes? Nancy Pelosi outlined the Democrats game plan early on. The governing law is the National Emergencies Act of 1974. The Free Beacon covers the law thoroughly, Everybody plans to sue, picking the most favorable to their cause venue, and it will wind its way through the courts, probably ending at the Supreme Court. White House lawyers seem to believe they have a winning case.

Democrat’s position on the border has been clear for some time. Obama’s invention of the DACA amnesty was clearly illegal, and the results have been even worse than anticipated. Few have gone to college, and a large percentage never finished high school. The fraud rate has been estimated at 40%-50%, and very few have enlisted in the military. What is most discouraging is the Left’s drive for absolute power which is more appropriate to other kinds of governance like Russia or China. What’s the old saying –”Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The results are playing out for all to see in Venezuela, where children are starving to death, because there is no food, and Maduro will not relinquish the presidency even though he has been voted out legally. Nor will he allow the food aid we have sent – into the country. Wonderful system, socialism.



Today’s Commentary for Today. Posts I Liked. by The Elephant's Child

Important columns from today:

Thomas Sowell: Investors Business Daily “Lessons from the Past” Partly from his own history in 1948, when he was a black 17 year-old school dropout,  compared with the experience of 17 year old black teenagers today.

— Sally Pipes: Investors Business Daily “To Win the White House, Democrats Will Have to Hide the Truth About Single Payer.” It’s hard to believe that anyone would be pushing this.

— Bjorn Lomborg: “What science could teach Ocasio-Cortez about climate change” She knows we are all going to die starting in 12 years, and she’s not interested in other opinions.

—Byron York: Washington Examiner: “In border talks, a new fight for barrier deniers.” The ongoing efforts of the House-Senate committee. There are some areas of agreement, but not many.

— Editorial: Investors Business Daily “Growth Paid for 20% of GOP Tax Cuts, New CBO Data Show. Republicans argued during debates that the tax cuts would partially pay for themselves by spurring economic growth. Democrats, of course, said they were a giveaway to the rich. GOP was right.



Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence by The Elephant's Child

From the new issue of Imprimus from Hillsdale College:

Alex Berenson is the author of Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence

The following is adapted from a speech delivered January 15, 2019 at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington D.C.

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Seventy miles northwest of New York City is a hospital that looks like a prison, its drab brick buildings wrapped in layers of fencing and barbed wire. This grim facility is called the Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Institute. It’s one of three places the state of New York sends the criminally mentally ill—defendants judged not guilty by reason of insanity.

Until recently, my wife Jackie­—Dr. Jacqueline Berenson—was a senior psychiatrist there. Many of Mid-Hudson’s 300 patients are killers and arsonists. At least one is a cannibal. Most have been diagnosed with psychotic disorders like schizophrenia that provoked them to violence against family members or strangers.

A couple of years ago, Jackie was telling me about a patient. In passing, she said something like, Of course he’d been smoking pot his whole life.

Of course? I said.

Yes, they all smoke.

So marijuana causes schizophrenia?

I was surprised, to say the least. I tended to be a libertarian on drugs. Years before, I’d covered the pharmaceutical industry for The New York Times. I was aware of the claims about marijuana as medicine, and I’d watched the slow spread of legalized cannabis without much interest.

Jackie would have been within her rights to say, I know what I’m talking about, unlike you. Instead she offered something neutral like, I think that’s what the big studies say. You should read them.

So I did. The big studies, the little ones, and all the rest. I read everything I could find. I talked to every psychiatrist and brain scientist who would talk to me. And I soon realized that in all my years as a journalist I had never seen a story where the gap between insider and outsider knowledge was so great, or the stakes so high.

I began to wonder why—with the stocks of cannabis companies soaring and politicians promoting legalization as a low-risk way to raise tax revenue and reduce crime—I had never heard the truth about marijuana, mental illness, and violence.

******

You might want to read this one. The whole issue is here, and you can subscribe to Imprimis at the end. I have enjoyed my subscription. Only comes once a month, and it’s completely free.



Nancy Pelosi Got Her Speaker’s Gavel Back, Unfortunately. by The Elephant's Child

 

Nancy Pelosi has been reelected to the office of Speaker of the House, and immediately tried to claim that she was the equal of the President of the United States, which was a bit of an exaggeration. Congressman Brad Sherman of Ventura County California introduced articles of impeachment, brand new representative Rashida Tlaib, who chose Palestinian garb in which to take the oath of office announced to her supporters (to wild cheers) that “We’re gonna go in there and impeach the m—–.” Hank Johnson, who last time round  worried that an island might tip over, referred to President Trump as “Hitler,”and said that those who support Trump are “less educated.” Young Ocasio-Cortez announced that to save us all from world-ending climate catastrophe in 5 years to support her Green New Deal, Congress would have to raise taxes on the rich to, oh, 82% or so. Maxine Waters is slated to become chair of the House Financial Services Committee, and is very committed to impeaching the President. Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats immediately introduced a bill to restore voting rights to convicted felons nationwide. Pelosi does want to spend all sorts of money on saving us from global warming.

Democrats want to overhaul campaign finance and ethics rules that would  “expand voting rights.” One idea is to allocate a pool of taxpayer money to match small-donor donations 6-1, as a way of encouraging “grassroots campaigning.” This goofy idea would not pass the Senate, but progressives like the idea of empowering the state to allocate money to preferred donors.

Some big cities have already begun handing out tax-funded “democracy vouchers.” In other words, politicians have passed legislation that subsidizes the speech of people who will, for the most part, support them. It’s quite the racket. Pelosi wants to take this corruption national.

Reducing the power of “special interests” in Washington is always a popular issue with voters. The problem, of course, is that every voter considers another group a special interest. Though as a political notion, campaign finance reform remains popular with Americans, specific campaign finance reform legislation is always about inhibiting someone’s speech.

What many Americans don’t seem to accept, particularly partisans, is that not voting or participating in our political process is also a matter of free expression. There’s nothing, after all, in the Constitution about how the state should encourage “grassroots activism.”

Democrats have no interest in working with Republicans to do what is best for the nation, nor in abiding by the Constitution, I forgot to mention that Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) submitted a bill to change the Constitution by eliminating the Electoral College. Democrats have never grasped the reason why the Founders set it up that way, which interferes with their efforts to control the country.

Democrats’ demand to be in control has outweighed any understanding of the United States of America, our history, what the country is all about, the nature of our citizens – in their ugly, greedy desire to be in control with no interference from anyone. Nancy Pelosi not only announced that she was co-equal to the president (she’s not) but that we are nation of immigrants (we are not. We are a nation of citizens, and a nation of laws.) It’s going to be a difficult time.



American Life Expectancy Has Declined for the Third Year in a Row by The Elephant's Child

he Center for Disease Control and Prevention just revealed that American life expectancy has declined for the third year in a roll. The last time that happened was at the end of the first World War and the huge flu pandemic. The reason is clear – drug overdoses, and suicide. Last year 70,000 Americans died of a drug overdose.

This is double that of Canada, relative to population, and three times the rate in England and Wales. The health care system, on the other hand, works. The number one killer in the United States for decades has been heart disease. Between 2000 and 2017 the death rate from heart disease has dropped by more than 35%, and last year there were 63,000 fewer deaths from heart disease than in 2,000, and one-third the rate in 1969. I should note that if you take the suicide and drug overdoses out of the tabulation, life expectancy is back to increasing slowly. This is a lesson in how statistics can be deceiving.

The United States has also made tremendous gains against cancer, the second-most prolific killer of Americans. From 2016 to 2017, the overall mortality rate from cancer declined 2.1%. And since its peak in 1991, the U.S. cancer death rate has fallen nearly 30%.

Cancer kills more people, as a share of the population, in other countries. Canada’s cancer mortality rate is 198 deaths per 100,000 people — 30% higher than the corresponding rate in the United States. The United Kingdom’s cancer death rate is 80% higher than in the United States.

Socialized medicine does much worse. The government-run systems in Canada and Britain are not able to serve the needs of their patients. In England, 28,000 patients whose doctors referred them urgently to a hospital had to wait more than two months to start treatment. Almost 11,000 of those patients had to wait more than three months. In the U.S. 45 drugs for cancer have been approved between 2009 and 2013, Canada’ health care system covered just 13. Don’t let anyone sell you on Single-Payer Health Care.

There aren’t many things that are better done by a large bureaucracy. Health Care is not one of them. When a bureaucracy does it, cost becomes the major factor, and cutting costs ranks higher than anything individual. The other thing to take away from those statistics is the urgency of drastically cutting the flow of drugs into the country.

 



There Is A Natural Tendency Towards Tyranny by The Elephant's Child

Why are Democrats so angry? Why do they have such a hard time accepting defeat, or even accepting disagreement? They are indignant when we find fault with their statements or ideas. They call us racists, white supremacists, and they cannot think of words terrible enough to call President Trump. They call him a Nazi, they call him Hitler, with no justification whatsoever, except that they are furious that we disagree. There are a lot of tyrants in the world, but Trump is not one of them.

Hitler was a piker.  We rightly excoriate him for the mass murder of Europe’s Jews, for the concentration camps, for the death squads of the SS.  The Nazis populate hundreds of thrillers, movies, histories, and all sorts of scholarly work.  But we are probably more affected by the thrillers and the movies, for Nazis make fine villains with their boots and death heads and dramatically evil flag.  When frustrated lefties want to express their rage, they plaster Hitler mustaches and haircuts on photos of the objects of their anger.

Mao Zedong, founder of the People’s Republic of China, qualifies as the greatest mass murderer in world history, according to a Hong Kong-based historian who had unprecedented access to official Communist Party archives.  Frank Dikötter is the only author to have deeply studied the Chinese archives since they were reopened four years ago.

Between 1958 and 1962, Mao’s state waged war on China’s peasants.  The nation was facing a famine and the systematic torture, brutality, and starvation and killing of Chinese peasants were comparable to the Second World War in its magnitude.  More than 45 million people were worked, starved or beaten to death in China over those four years.  A third of all homes in China were destroyed to produce fertilizer.  In one region, 13,000 opponents of the regime were killed in just three weeks.

It is indisputable that Mao himself and the Party leadership were afflicted with economic incompetence, wholesale ignorance and ivory-tower utopianism. It was called ‘The Great Leap Forward,’ but the misallocation of capital and resources were disastrous leaps in the wrong direction.  This is the toll for only four years.  The total is far above 75 million.

The Soviet Union, of course, was responsible for upwards of 25 million deaths of innocent victims, systematically butchered.  That policy of ideological hegemony found it a crime to be middle-class, of noble birth, a kulak, a Ukrainian or even a member of the Communist Party.  Mikhail Tomsky, head of the Soviet trade unions stated in 1927 :”We allow other parties to exist.  However, the fundamental principle that distinguishes us from the West is as follows; one party rules, and all the others are in jail.”

The fascinating thing has always been the Left’s attempts to consider Nazi Germany (the National Socialists) as a party of the right, and thus freely despised, but the socialist Soviet Union was long admired.  People still remark that the Cold War was unnecessary overreach. And they simply do not recognize the similarities between Hitler and Stalin.

There are the regimes of the Soviet satellite states of Eastern Europe, now free.  Kim Jong Il’s North Korean despotic captive state needs little more explanation than the famous nighttime satellite picture of the Korean peninsula with only one tiny light for Pyongyang and constant evidence of the starvation of the North Korean people.  At least 2 million dead.

Pol Pot’s Cambodian killing fields where the entire educated class were slaughtered — some identified only by the fact that they wore glasses — too, are explained by only a few pictures, and an estimated toll of at least 2  million innocent victims.  Communist Vietnam and Burma Myanmar add unknown numbers to the toll.

Latin America accounts for at least a 1½ million.  The bloody killer Ché Guevara enjoyed doing his own executions personally, and is celebrated by having his image on tee shirts and the fantasy of his romantic story told by Hollywood.  New wannabe communists keep popping up in South America, which seems to have a predilection for dictators.

One common theme that runs through all these destructive regimes is complete intolerance for disagreement. How can you possibly have free speech and yet be intolerant of someone else’s disagreement?

I am simply trying to point out that American society is built on argument, debate and dispute.  We try to persuade, present evidence, show examples and convince.  When that fails, we  look for more evidence and more persuasive materials.  Our disagreements are worked out through messy, argumentative political campaigns, where we use all the tools available to us to win the argument.

In all of this there is a temptation towards tyranny.  A temptation to hate those who see the question differently.  A temptation to forcibly stop the other side of a question from disagreeing with our ideas. That’s where the Left has landed. Hollywood celebrities cannot wait to get to a microphone or to Twitter to call us names because we dared to disagree with them.

The founders wisely provided three separate divisions of government to provide checks and balances on each other.  But the initial rendering of the Constitution all too soon showed cracks — in spite of the clear designation that “we the people” gave certain rights and duties to the government — people were being imprisoned for criticizing the government. So the Bill of Rights was enacted to make crystal clear the protection of political speech and disagreement, as well as our other rights. Why is that so difficult to understand?

 



Immigration: Legal or Illegal? It Makes a Difference. by The Elephant's Child

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The Caravans have apparently gotten rides and around 7,000 to 10,000 of them are at the border in Tijuana. The residents of that city are up in arms with thousands of unwanted migrants on their streets. The Migrants are admitting that they are not after asylum, but just want American jobs. President Trump asked why are they waving flags of their native countries? They do not want asylum, they do not want to become Americans, they want jobs and the benefits our generous aid systems provide.

The military has been busy setting out razor wire all along the border. Tijuana has appealed to the Mexican military for help. The migrants know they are not eligible for asylum. They apparently intend to mass at the border and see what President Trump will do about it.

Homeland Security claims there are at least 500 criminals traveling with the caravans. Authorities have closed four lanes of traffic at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa crossings in response to intelligence that groups of migrants planned to rush the border through automotive lanes. That led to closure of eight more lanes at the busy border crossings. There were already many Mexicans camped near the border waiting their turn to apply for asylum. The asylum rules are complex, but as I understand it, they have to apply in the first country they come to, which for the Hondurans, Guatemalans, and Salvadorians was Mexico – who offered jobs, but only 1,800 or so took them up on it.

Australia’s Prime Minister has promised a major cut in their migrant intake. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the country’s major cities have buses, trains and schools that “are full.” The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Mr. Morrison will ask state leaders to create their own population plans and will address the issue at the next Council of Australian Governments meeting on December 12.

His plan is to move away from top-down discussions about population to set specific migration caps to how many can enter. In Sydney, Mr. Morrison said, that migrants accounted for about 70% of the population growth last year. Australians want an end to mass migration.

And then there is Europe. Angela Merkel has, for whatever reason, perhaps German guilt, encouraged the European Union to welcome refugees, and they have come from all the troubled countries of the Middle East and Africa. But swallowing this massive influx is something else again. Initially they were greeted with flowers and food and song. (Really) But the immigrants have had a habit of burning cars, complaining about the housing arranged for them, raping women and girls, and killing innocent Europeans.

Some of the Eastern Europeans, more familiar with being invaded by violent armies, have built walls or fences to keep the migrants out, and are castigated for it. In England, it was reported that the most popular baby’s name was Mohammed. It is hard for the Europeans who also believe in Freedom of Religion, having had a reformation and many wars over religion, to accept criticism of the Moslem religion. There is, however. a major problem in that religious Muslims believe that infidels (us) must discard our religion and submit fully to Allah, which is a different matter.

Canada is helped immeasurably by their geographic location. On three sides they have ocean – the Pacific, the Arctic, and the Atlantic – and you can’t get there easily unless you have a boat and crew. Their southern border with America, the world’s leading economy, has been a magnet for immigration rather than the reverse. At some times in their history they worried more about the volume of emigrants from Canada to the U.S. to such an extent that Canadians feared for the future of their country. Generally, the movement of people into Canada has been law abiding and orderly. Most arrivals come through the front door. Canadians have a high commitment to policing, and you could call their fifth border “bureaucratic”. Visitors have to apply in advance for a visa, and if they are coming from a place that has recently sent more than a certain number of asylum applicants (or vacation overstayers) they are not admitted. Canada has some of the world’s most restrictive visa rules. Most applicants from countries such as Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan and Syria are turned down. And since the U.S. is not considered a threat, claiming asylum in Canada doesn’t work.

Illegal aliens often demonstrate here, bearing signs that say things like “No human is illegal” but dictionaries explain that “Illegal” simply means not according to the law. An alien is a person who owes allegiance to a country other than this. The Left favors massive immigration because new immigrants are likely to vote Democrat, and they are happy to sign up illegals to vote, as in California where anyone can get a driver’s license, and along with the driver’s license, you register to vote. and then they have sanctuary cities and states as well.

Then you have the inflow of various categories of temporary tech workers, who are apparently cheaper to hire than our own tech graduates. Farm workers, exchange students, and some foreign students sent here to learn our technology to take back home again, and just plain old tourists who overstay. It’s a very complicated mess even without migrants clamoring at the border and climbing the walls.  The Center for Immigration Studies has told us that a wall would actually pay for itself in the reduced cost of welfare and emergency health care and policing that are involved with illegal immigration. So there you are.




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