American Elephants


The Art of Political War And the Art of a Political Response by The Elephant's Child

Republicans prefer their presidential candidates to be experienced governors who are practiced at dealing with difficult legislatures, lots of state agencies and troublesome problems that pop up unexpectedly—so when they are elected they can move into the White House more or less knowing what they are doing.

Democrats prefer glamorous candidates that they can admire. They fell in love with FDR, Jack Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Obama. Republicans seldom go to that extreme, though they have liked some better than others.

We elected Donald Trump, who, having spent his life in a very liberal New York City, is not as intense a Republican, or perhaps only lately a Republican. Nevertheless, he saw something disturbingly wrong with the Obama administration’s America, and he wants to fix it —  hence the “Make America Great Again” baseball caps and the “draining the swamp rhetoric.” He hit a chord in vast numbers of angry American voters.

The White House and the presidential job were a bit startling to this Chief Executive Officer of his own empire, It’s far more intense than he had expected. Democrats in the Senate slow-walked every appointment that they could. Maxine Waters got in front of every available camera to insist on impeaching the president. Selecting the best person for each cabinet post means lots of interviews, lots of recommendations to sort through, and at 120 days he has finally completed the appointments.

I can sort of imagine the problems. He has his campaign staff with him, but many of the most important cabinet officers are still new to him. Each of them must start right in with a brand new office of old Washington hands, some willing, many unfriendly leftovers. Many of the appointments seem to be outstanding. Nikki Haley has hit the ground running at the UN. Some of the new people aren’t Republicans at all. Suspicions abound. Old familiar staff and family and new staff are sizing each other up and trying to decide if they can possibly work together.

Congress is moving at a slow crawl. The news media is hostile and trying to make a catastrophe out of every word by, about and from the President. The Democrats cannot accept the verdict of the American people and are trying to bring down this president. There are “Never Trumpers” among the Republicans. The Democrats really struck pay-dirt when they found the 5 year old tape of the presidential candidate  making “locker-room comments” about women attracted to celebrities. Someone remarked that it was a “class issue”, and because of that comment, the elites determined that he was lower class, and thereby beyond the pale. Uneeded complications.

Trump is meeting with a wide variety of our most repellent foreign leaders in coming days, at his invitation. I think he just wants to size them up himself, rather than just rely on what he is being told. Some are disturbed that he is willing to meet with these heads of state.

The new staff is still sorting itself out and not satisfactorily. Some will be replaced, which will lead to further attacks from the Democrats. Staff dissension will be sorted out, communication will improve, and progress will be made. Bite your tongue. Allow the White House time to sort out the newness,  they are under attack in an unexpected war. We’ve got an outstanding bunch of people there. Use your annoyance and anger to attack the left’s unrelenting venom.

Democrats are unaccustomed to any possibility that Republicans might actually respond. They remind us frequently that Mitch McConnell said early in Obama’s first term that his number one goal was to make sure that Obama was a one-term president, and how rude and crass a comment! That was apparently the whole of the Republican attack on the new Democrat president. Republicans are far too polite to really go on offense. They need your help. Hang in there. Praise the successes, and try not to criticize the flops too much. They need your encouragement, not  your criticism. It’s still very early on.

 

 



The American Left Has Gone Very Wrong by The Elephant's Child

Over at The Federalist John Daniel Davidson wrote a piece headlined “The American Left is Talking Itself Into Violence”

Something is wrong with the American Left. The recent spate of violent protests on college campuses has been well-documented, but the violence and intolerance championed by left-wing student activists is beginning to creep off campus and into mainstream public life.

The reason for this is straightforward enough: although progressives pride themselves on their putative tolerance and diversity, the imperatives of leftist politics are fundamentally illiberal. Justice imposed through power is the philosophical foundation of the political left, and when earnest progressives become convinced the only avenue to power is violence, their tolerance quickly falls by the wayside.

The reason for it all is not the campuses, that’s just more evidence of the derangement. The Left lost the election. They have been astounded to learn that the popular vote does not count, and think that is highly unjust. They are unfamiliar with the reason the founders set our governance up that way, so that small enclaves with large populations cannot dominate the rest of the states. They were absolutely sure that Hillary’s win was a sure thing. They envisioned permanent Lefty rule with no annoyance from a failed Republican party, no stupid Tea Party, and their grand vision of a better world and intelligent governance by qualified elites would bring the dream of socialist perfection ever closer. They would be in control.

But they lost, Hillary lost, and to a man with orange skin and a weird haircut who said crude things. They lost the House — 69 seats, the Senate —13 seats, 910 state legislative seats, 30 legislative chambers. They were so enchanted with the first Black President. and his brilliance, and being in power, and doing all the things that were on the lefty agenda, that they simply didn’t notice that their president was doing a lousy job—doubled the national debt, doubled the debt per citizen, put another 10 million on food stamps, added an average of $6,000 to the cost of a family health insurance plan, and managed to make the world a far more dangerous place by portraying America as a weak, unreliable country. They still don’t understand that.

They awakened to a world in which their leaders were all—old. In their 70s and eighties. They had no deep bench of up-and-coming successful governors. States governed by Democrats are not successful. Many of their potential candidates are roundly disliked in their current posts. What can they do? Clearly, they must revert to their past victories in bringing down George W. Bush, destroying Nixon—they do know how to do that. They will impeach Donald Trump. He is so awful that they can surely find something to impeach him for.

Chucky Schumer, peering over his glasses, intoned: “We know Director Comey was leading an investigation in [sic] whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians, a serious offense. If there was ever a time when circumstances warranted a special prosecutor, it is now” Andy McCarthy responded “No it’s not. “ Hillary has attempted to blame her defeat on Russian collusion, but now it seems that murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich has sent 44,053 DNC emails to Wikileaks, though family and FBI sources discount that story. But it appears that the “Russian interference” may have been an inside job. And Russian interference was not why Hillary lost the election. She was unlikable, untrustworthy, and ran a lousy campaign.

If you read the Federalist piece on the Left talking itself into violence, you will find several examples where they have.  Representative Martha McSally, who represents the Arizona district where Rep Gabrielle Giffords was shot, has received serious death threats (he was going to shoot her between the eyes) from a Tucson school district employee who said “he was venting frustrations with congressional votes in support of the President of the United States. The article gives several other examples of people “inspired by the Resistance.”

The media isn’t even pointing out the fact that there’s a pattern forming, much less suggesting anyone else is ultimately responsible. That would be fine if they’d just stick to those rules the moment someone on the right does some crazy. But they won’t. There are two sets of rules for how these things are handled by the media.

The hard left media is increasingly irresponsible in their reporting, and  trying to make major news out of sketchy information. Law Professor and Hoover Institution fellow Richard Epstein took to the pages of Vox to say “Attention, liberals: Comey deserved to be fired and the Constitution is just fine. The hyperventilation in Washington is unjustified.”

Donald Trump won the election in part, because he promised to “Drain the swamp in Washington,” and there were a lot of Americans who thought that was a very good idea. As time passes, it becomes clear that it is not only a good idea, but very necessary.

 

 



Venezuelans Are Starving. by The Elephant's Child

Venezuelans are starving. Not the kind of starving when you burst into the well stocked kitchen after a football game and demand a sandwich. This is the real kind where 15 percent of the people are eating garbage in order to survive. Scrounging among the refuse thrown out by the city’s restaurants. A majority of Venezuelans go to bed hungry, mass protests and riots are breaking out across the country, and the despised dictator Nicholas Maduro attempts to dump the Venezuelan constitution in order to tighten his grip on power. The oil rich country desperately lacks the basic resources of medicine and power. Hospitals are dirty, empty of supplies and medicines. Venezuela has plenty of oil, but they cannot afford to take it to market to sell it.

Hugo Chavez was elected in 1999, an authoritarian who locked up his opponents, ended press freedom and paid gangs to intimidate poor communities into supporting him. He  promised that the miracle of socialism would feed the poor, help them to realize their dreams with free health care and education for all. He was celebrated by the usual suspects—Noam Chomsky, Jesse Jackson, Oliver Stone, Michael Moore, Sean Penn, but the only person he managed to enrich was his daughter who has become a billionaire and the wealthiest woman in Latin America. Chavez died in April of 2013.

His chosen successor, Nicholas Maduro, has made even more of a mess of things. Inflation is out of control, and the rebellion of the people is growing apace. In a recent speech to loyalists he announced his plan to arm hundreds of thousands of supporters after a years-long campaign to confiscate civilian owned guns. The highest denomination 100 Bolivar note is now worth abut 3 cents in American dollars. Inflation is expected to rise 1,660% this year, The country’s foreign reserves are down to only $10 billion, Venezuela was once Latin America’s richest country.

Protestors turn out in massive crowds, demanding change. Other pictures show the streets in other directions, equally packed with angry Venezuelans. This particular demonstration was because of Maduro’s attempt to upend the constitution.

Investors Business Daily wrote of the bewilderment of reporters at Venezuela’s descent into extreme poverty. The New York Times blamed it on “low prices for oil, the country’s main export and a drought.”The Los Angeles Times  said that it’s only “anti-government protesters” who blame Venezuela’s problems on the policies of Maduro. The Associated Press says “the oil boom and bust” is to blame for the crisis. USA Today said that the reason Venezuelans were hunting dogs and pigeons for food was because” Although Venezuela has the world’s largest petroleum reserves, the country has suffered from a combination of lower oil prices and tight limits on dollar purchases… and most imports.” No mention of socialism. None. IBD surmises that it’s largely because liberal journalists are infatuated with the idea of socialism.

Here’s how the AP lovingly described Chavez:

a political outsider promising to upset the old order and funnel some of the country’s enormous oil wealth to the poor. Poverty rates fell sharply during his administration, and many people continue to see him as a beloved Robin Hood figure who gave them houses, free health care, better education and a place at the table in government.”

IBD suggests that that list of accomplishments sounds remarkably like the Democratic Party platform.

Socialism does not work. Never has, never will. Reporters who are unwilling to face up to the facts and the history will always look for something, anything to blame when the socialist idea inevitably fails.



Captured On Video — The Real Agenda of the Climate March by The Elephant's Child

It was at a news conference in Brussels in early February 2015, that Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity—but to destroy capitalism.

“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” she said.

Socialists, intent on the wonders of social justice and the ‘better world’ of their dreams, never, never seem to pay any attention to the monumental failures of socialism everywhere it has been tried. The  past 25 years have witnessed the greatest reduction in global poverty  in the history of the world. An 80 % reduction in world poverty in only 36 years. Globalization, Free markets, free trade, international entrepreneurship. The free enterprise system, American style, which is our gift to the world. This is not the first time some greenie has blurted out the truth behind their campaign to protect the world from the horrors of the carbon dioxide we exhale every time we breathe. Go figure.

As far as that goes, climate change doesn’t really matter to them, it is only another tool in their drive for control. The failures of socialism all over the world never seem to penetrate. There’s the romance of manning the barricades, as seen in Antifa and the anarchists riots and breaking windows and setting fires. I was surprised to see in a video of the rioters in either Portland or Berkeley, I forget which, the women whose masks has slipped  and exposed their gender, with the clubs they carried. Romantic. Look how many celebrate Cuban Communism with Ché t-shirts honoring a nasty killer.

Here, from the Wall Street Journal is an article about the Venezuelan experiment with socialism. “Venezuela is Starving: Once Latin America’s richest country, Venezuela can no longer feed its people, hobbled by the nationalization of farms as well as price and currency controls”

YARE, Venezuela— Jean Pierre Planchart, a year old, has the drawn face of an old man and a cry that is little more than a whimper. His ribs show through his skin. He weighs just 11 pounds.

His mother, Maria Planchart, tried to feed him what she could find combing through the trash—scraps of chicken or potato. She finally took him to a hospital in Caracas, where she prays a rice-milk concoction keeps her son alive.

Well, they just didn’t do it right. The ability to apply expert administration, administrative scientism— the continual search for perfectionism in our ability to apply scientific knowledge to tomorrow’s problems by the elite. All just steps on the way to a glorious future when they are in complete charge.
They believe.



100 Days and the Gap in Understanding May be Too Wide to Bridge by The Elephant's Child

The whole First 100 Days thing is a legacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Charles Kesler explains where the arbitrary standard to which modern presidents are held comes from:

FDR spoke of “the hundred days which had been devoted to the starting of the wheels of the New Deal” in his fireside chat of July 24, 1933—142 days after his March 4 inauguration. He was referring to “the historical special session of the Congress” he had convened, which opened March 9 and adjourned June 16. That is, the Hundred Days were legislative days, not executive days.

Today’s Congress commonly leaves Washington three days a week. If you wanted to apply Roosevelt’s implicit criterion of 100 congressional days, you’d be counting not to April 30, but into July or August—or even September or later, since Congress is in recess the whole month of August.

Well, never mind. It provides a handy lead for lazy reporters. It’s been 100 days, what has he accomplished, and even better— what not?

The administration started off with a bang issuing three executive orders within weeks of the inauguration addressing border control, including construction of the wall, and immigration related crime like smuggling of drugs and people. The Executive Orders included the expeditious hiring of 5,000 new Border Patrol agents, new air and marine officers for Customs and Border Patrol, and 10,000 new interior immigration enforcement agents. The immediate numbers of border crossers are down sharply, but dips have been seen before.

The practice of releasing arriving non-Mexican illegal border crossers immediately with an order to appear later (which never happens), has been stopped. ICE has increased its detention capacity by 1,100 beds, and made plans for 21,000 additional if funds become available. Reporters like to point out that many of those deported have not really committed real crimes, but might just have traffic violations (ignoring the fact that crossing the border illegally is a major violation of law). Did you know that there are at least 200 members of the violent MS-13 Salvadorean gang on Long Island, and are increasingly a national and international problem. Long Island.

Then of course there are the Obama named judges who are putting holds on Trump’s executive orders, though Obama’s very questionable executive orders sailed through. US District Court Judge William Orrick has issued a stay on Trump’s Executive Order withholding funding from communities that limit cooperation with immigration authorities. It is interesting to consider an article in the National Journal which examines the strange opinions of Trump voters:  It seems that “national security is a much bigger deal for Republicans than the economy. Trump’s supporters are quite optimistic about their economic future, but are deeply worried about their security.”

The author’s slightly amazed tone that such should be the case explains a lot, The signs held by protesters outside of Judge Orrick’s courtroom “ICE out of California.” NO Ban! NO Wall! Sanctuary for all” “Inclusion,” “Immigrants ARE Welcome,” and “Love is our Resistance” in the picture topping an article by Andy McCarthy, which explains why the judge is incorrect in his stay. It suggests that Democrats are completely unaware of the very real threat of nuclear attack from Iran and North Korea. I increasingly get the feeling that we are talking past each other, because we don’t share the same information, the same sources, the same interests. Megyn Kelly is coming back on the air with an interview with the Kardashians. Why? Isn’t there something more important to discuss?

Matthew Continetti took a different approach with “The Democrats’ First 100 Days,”which is fun, but they haven’t accomplished much of anything at all, so there’s not much to tell.

Sebastian Gorka, Deputy Assistant to the president, reviewed the Trump administration’s first 100 days, and spoke about the president’s address to a joint session of Congress.

It’s very, very interesting to go back and not just read the transcript, but watch the video, and that moment when the commander-in-chief pauses, looks straight at the camera, and says, “the enemy is radical Islamic terrorism.”

“You send messages overtly, you send them implicitly,” he elaborated. “I think everybody by now understands the MOAB attack in Afghanistan, the cruise missile attack in Syria — neither of those uses of force by the president are just about the countries in which they occurred.”

I also ran across these lines from Thomas Sowell: “The vision of the Left is not just a vision of the world. For many, it is also a vision of themselves—a very flattering vision of people trying to save the planet, rescue the exploited, create “social justice” and otherwise be on the side of the angels. This is an exalted vision that few are ready to give up, or to risk on a roll of the dice, which is what submitting it to the test of factual evidence amounts to. Maybe that is why there are so many fact-free arguments on the left, whether on gun control, minimum wages or innumerable other causes—and why they react so viscerally to those who challenge their vision.

I don’t challenge their vision. I challenge the failure to test their vision with some real facts from the real world.



Just How Do You Measure “Better Off” Anyway? by The Elephant's Child



April is the cruelest month… by The Elephant's Child

I made a stupid mistake on my taxes and had to do them almost all over. One of my cats is sick, which calls for much mopping and cleaning, and a trip to the vet. Two separate cloudbursts yesterday with thunder and lightening. A trip to the emergency room. Several calls from friendly computer services in the far off Middle East who were eager to help with my computer problems. Other than that, April Fool’s Day seems somewhat ongoing. What is it about April anyway? Sorry about the light blogging. I will aim for more informative brilliance.

APRIL is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
A little life with dried tubers.




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