American Elephants


Victor Davis Hanson Speaks on the Problem of California by The Elephant's Child

Dr. Hanson speaks of the wealthiest state, the Golden State, and where has California gone wrong? California was supposed to be the answer or the guide to a better future for the rest of the world, with the best climate, the best universities, the most beautiful state with lovely beaches, redwood forests, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, bountiful farmlands and citrus groves — what happened? This is the San Mateo County “Progress Seminar 2017” held in May. Hanson is a renowned historian, emeritus professor of Classics at Cal State University at Fresno, fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University,  5th generation Central Valley farmer, and author of at least two dozen books.  If you’re not from California, why should you care?

Though he talks about what is going wrong in California, it is also what is going on in perhaps lesser ways in the rest of the country.  The cities of so many dreams have become unaffordable,  business is leaving for more welcoming states, a heavy tax burden, water problems, energy problems, a coastal elite and impoverished Central Valley. Hanson has retained all of his worlds, which inform his scholarship and views on modern life and the long span of history since the days of ancient Greece.



There Are Refugee Problems in the West, But Europe’s Afghan Crime Wave Is Shocking. by The Elephant's Child

One of our biggest problems, it seems, is the matter of immigration. As a nation, we conflate a wide numbers of separate issues—George Soros advocates for open borders everywhere, then there are the terms migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, exile, emigre, displaced person, and stateless person.  Can you tell the difference? In the first 3 weeks of May, we were admitting 830 people a week as refugees, but the State Department lifted the restriction on the number of refugees allowed to enter the U.S. to 1,500 each week. 

Then there are 66,000 temporary non agricultural workers admitted under the H2B program—33,000 for the first half of the fiscal year and 33,000 for the second half. An increase is being added and will be announced today. The jobs are based on employer requests. Jobs are for landscapers, lifeguards, carnival workers, factory workers, cooks, maids, and fishery workers. Most come from Mexico, Jamacia, Guatemala, South Africa and the United Kingdom. The Center for Immigration Studies says a new analysis shows the locations where jobs have been offered to guestworkers are even in areas of  high unemployment and low labor force participation, so there is some disconnect and the scrutiny for visa approval is inadequate. Some employers may be using the program as a way around the rules of other guestworker programs. These are not immigrants, but temporary workers.

The H1B program is similar, but for highly educated, highly skilled foreign workers for specialized occupations for a 3 year stay. They are also not immigrants, but temporary workers for jobs that require specialized knowledge or expertise. About half come from India, with significant numbers from China, South Korea and the Philippines. The numbers now stand at 65,o00 a year with another 20,000 for those with masters degrees. There are many complaints about American workers being replaced by cheaper foreign workers. Our illegal immigrant population includes many who have overstayed their visas.

President Trump’s “Muslim Travel Ban” doesn’t really apply to Muslims, and leftist judges keep challenging the regulation, the latest concerns whether grandparents can be considered part of the immediate family. The so-called Muslim Ban is a temporary hold so the federal government can figure out how to vet those who have applied, when no state really exists to vouch for them. But the left has become somewhat deranged at the suggestion of even a temporary ban, looking for sympathetic cases to touch at the heartstrings.

An Iranian cancer researcher traveling to Massachusetts to work at Boston Children’s Hospital was detained last Tuesday at Logan International Airport along with this wife and children before being sent back to Iran.  Outcries from the media. Immigration assured the media that it had nothing to do with the case of Dr, Mohsen Dehnavi, who holds a visiting work visa. The Trump administration order banning people from six Muslim-majority countries can be partially enforced according to the Supreme Court. His visa was valid, yet he was sent back. It seems that in Iran he was a head  of a student branch of a volunteer militia linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Banning a jihadist is what Trump’s travel ban is all about.

Everyone claims that the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. are about 11,000, but they have been using that number for years, and it never seems to change. There are about  4.4 million people on the immigrant wait list, who have applied and are legally waiting their turn. Here’s a graph that shows how the appeal to immigrate to the United States goes.

European countries have their own laws, but the EU has decided for the countries of Europe how many refugees each nation should accept, and under what conditions and rules. Countries like Poland and Hungary have decided they will not accept Middle Eastern refugees in spite of EU rules. The Eastern European states have had no trouble limiting or banning migrants from the Middle East, or building fences. Germany’s Angela Merkel is the one who welcomed all refugees, and most of Western Europe fell in line. Bureaucrats are always good about making up rules, it’s the people upon whom the rules are inflicted that suffer.

They welcomed the refugees with food and clothing, but have slowly come to realize that it isn’t working. The Scandinavian countries have had some of the worst problems. Denmark observed what is happening in Sweden and made an effort to not fall into the same trap. The governments try to cover up what is happening.

Dr.Cheryl Bernard was the program director of the Initiative for Middle Eastern Youth and the Alternative Strategies Initiative with the RAND Corporation. She has worked with refugees for decades. That the newcomers did not speak the local languages, might be traumatized, take some time to find their footing and have brought their ethnic, religious and sectarian conflicts with them, was not surprising but they were expected to be manageable problems.

There was one development that had not been expected, and was not tolerable: the large and growing incidence of sexual assaults committed by refugees against local women. These were not of the cultural-misunderstanding-date-rape sort, but were vicious, no-preamble attacks on random girls and women, often committed by gangs or packs of young men. At first, the incidents were downplayed or hushed up—no one wanted to provide the right wing with fodder for nationalist agitation, and the hope was that these were isolated instances caused by a small problem group of outliers.

As the incidents increased …the matter could no longer be swept under the carpet of political correctness. And with the official acknowledgment and public reporting, a weird and puzzling footnote emerged. Most of the assaults were being committed by refugees of one particular nationality: by Afghans.

Actually Afghans should not even have been part of the refugee tide, at least not in significant numbers. It was the Syrians who were expected. Afghanistan, a place of lingering and chronic conflict, is no longer on the official refugee roster—that’s reserved for acute political and military emergencies.

Dr. Bernard is deeply experienced in work with refugees from all over the Middle East, and she was shocked. Her research is impressive and thorough, and the picture that emerges is devastating. Please read the whole thing. We all need to understand what is happening.  She suggests that there are ways to deal with the refugee wave, but it’s not going to be easy and “the Left has to do a bit of hard thinking. It’s fine to be warm, fuzzy and sentimental about strangers arriving on your shore,” but we have our own values, freedom, and lifestyle to protect. And the freedom we have is worth defending.

We need to understand what is happening in Europe, which mostly doesn’t make headlines, because all too soon it may be happening here. Political Correctness rules in Europe as well as here. It is an important article, and casts a very different light on our ideas of immigration, refugees, and how we should think about them and how we should deal with them.

 



Enforcing Immigration Law and the Number of Deadbeat Countries by The Elephant's Child

ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has been working with the State Department to improve cooperation from other nations that have blocked our transfers of illegal immigrants. Their efforts have reduced the number of nations refusing to cooperate from 23 to 12. The Trump administration expects to continue to reduce the number of noncompliant countries even further.

The problem, of course, is that not only are these people illegal immigrants, but they have been convicted of a crime, and their own nation doesn’t really want them back. Sorry. That just doesn’t work.

Jessica Vaughn, ddirector of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies said:

I am confident that the number of deadbeat countries can be reduced even further – for starters, China and Hong Kong should be the focus of pressure. On the at-risk list, there is no way places like Bermuda should be stiff-arming us. Others, like Brazil, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Pakistan, have a lot to lose if they don’t cooperate more fully. There are plenty of visa programs that could be turned off in a heartbeat if they do not improve very soon.

ICE and State have the authority to punish recalcitrant countries, but it was almost never used in past administrations. President Trump seems to understand that if people think they can come here and stay on even after being caught—it will only encourage more illegals. If we don’t want illegal aliens, we should not be hanging out a big welcome sign. Conservatives, of course, are accused by the left of being cruel and bigoted, racist, etc. for refusing to welcome illegals.

We have immigration laws, though they need updating, and we can expect them to be obeyed. We have something well over a million people on the wait list—waiting their turn to be admitted legally to become American citizens. Illegals should not be able to jump the queue. It will greatly help to discourage illegals if the rules are clear and clearly observed.



Here’s the Left’s Bizarre Reaction to Trump’s Poland Speech by The Elephant's Child

John Hinderaker has summed up the leftist view of the President’s speech to the Polish people, with their offending quotations, clearly demonstrating how the left’s boat has slipped it’s moorings, so to speak. They have made it quite clear to anyone who might be interested that they hate and despise Western Civilization. Trump’s superb speech was a spirited defense of the West which to these loonies apparently means “white nationalism.”

Why white? Trump certainly did not allude to race in any way.  I guess Democrats are just too sensitive on their own history of race to the extent that it has become obsessive. Because of their obsession with race, they refuse to recognize the very real threat from violent Islamic jihad, endangering us all in the process.

Short article headlined — “It’s True: Liberals Hate Western Civilization.”

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And if you enjoy reading conservative comment on Leftist excess, as I do, here’s another from Noah Rothman: “Swelling the Enemy’s Ranks

It may be past time to get Western Civ back into the curriculum at all levels.



Stop The Presses! The President Just Tweeted! by The Elephant's Child

Twitter first gained public attention only in 2006, and has grown in popularity. Those who cry “It’s not Presidential” when the president tweets, are ignoring the simple fact that Obama is the only other president who could possibly have tweeted. Twitter has been especially popular among celebrities, because big numbers of followers can warm celebrity hearts. Celebrities, as we all know, are famous for being known.

The thought initially was that Twitter could be sort of an early-warning signal of upcoming political trends, but that’s giving it far too much credit. Mostly, it seems to be a channel for insults and snide remarks. Those who can manage a truly cogent remark in such limited words are celebrated—most cannot. President Donald Trump’s tweets are the focus of far too much attention. I would bet that you know far more about President Trump’s most recent tweet striking back at a remarkably nasty broadcast by Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, than you do about the accomplishments that the president is pushing through with members of his cabinet and through his own Executive Orders.

The fact that you know more about what he said about Mika’s facelift than you do about Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s efforts to find out whether all the regulations, taxes and subsidies that benefit “green energy” providers were harming the power industry and forcing the premature retirement of baseload power plants. This was a study, an effort to get some clear information, and predictably, the Solar Energy Industries of America and the Advanced Energy Economy, the New York Times and allies in Congress even went after the economist overseeing the study planning how to debunk it. That gives  you a clue about what the study will turn up, and how the media will address it.

What is a tweet—140 characters? I don’t tweet, so I’m not well informed. But that brief emanation from the White House was the focus of almost every journalist in the country.  Important things happening could go a  glimmering. Trump tweeted! Feminists shouted “objectifying women.” Republicans gasped, because Republicans don’t insult people directly, just behind closed doors so they can maintain their decorum.

Democrats are desperate to attack Trump in any way possible. They have no real policies to challenge what Trump is accomplishing and proposing, only defense of Obama’s failed programs. So Trump’s tweets are hugely welcome targets, and at just 140 characters—hardly challenging. They don’t even have to read any long pieces or do research—or even worry about being called “fake news.”

As far as being shocked by Trump’s tweets, you can find far worse in any comments column. Democrats are becoming notable for potty mouths. Language has dropped several rungs closer to the gutter. As far as “not presidential” we can recall LBJ holding conversations and meetings while sitting on the toilet.

There are far worse things that have gone on in the White House than some unmannerly tweets. There are far worse things and far more important things going on around the world, but harder for lazy journalists to write or speak about. It would require research and a knowledge of history and world affairs that these lightweights don’t seem to possess.



CNN’s Very Bad, Horrible, No Good Week by The Elephant's Child

CNN has had a very bad week. Tuesday, the network announced the resignation of three journalists — Eric Lichtblau, recently hired from the New York Times, Thomas Frank, and the head of the network’s new investigative unit, Les Harris. (We can probably assume fired). The cause —they had published a Russia/Trump story that had turned out to be completely false, so false that it had to be retracted by CNN. Retracted is really, really bad.

Apparently CNN’s CEO had told their reporters that the Paris climate thing was nice, but it was time to get back to Russia.

According to Power Line:

James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas has infiltrated CNN, and he has video of a CNN producer admitting that the network’s Russia fixation is “mostly bullshit,” but they do it because it brings in the money. Paul wrote about O’Keefe’s dynamite video this morning; if you missed it then you should watch it now. The CNN producer says things like “it’s mostly bulls**t right now.” And “I think the president is probably right to say, like, look you are witch hunting me.”

This is, of course, a body blow to whatever is left of CNN’s credibility. But the bad news doesn’t end there. O’Keefe says today’s video is just Part 1. He has more on CNN, and he has put other corrupt news media on notice. So there could be more fireworks soon.

President Trump lost no time claiming vindication–rightly, according to the CNN producer.

I was looking through one of my bookshelves and noticed several books on  the Media. Damned Lies and Statistics by Joel Best, showing how statistics are manipulated by the media, and the difference between the world as it is, and the world portrayed by the media and the statistics they use to support their view. Published — 2001

Then there was Coloring the News by William McGowan, also published in 2001, exposing how crusading for diversity has corrupted American Journalism. Newspaper publishers and editors insist that promoting ‘diversity’ in the newsroom has produced better reporting and journalism. The assumption was undoubtedly that being of a different race or ethnicity would naturally produce a different viewpoint. McGowan carefully proved that they were wrong.

Bernard Goldberg’s Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News came out in 2002.Emmy Award-winner  Goldberg said the media too often ignored their primary mission—objective disinterested reporting.

Mobocracy: How the Media’s Obsession with Polling Twists the News, Alters Elections, and Undermines Democracy. Also published in 2002, by Matthew Robinson. Mark Levin’s blurb said Robinson had meticulously documented how the once-benign concept of gauging public opinion has been perverted into a weapon wielded by journalists with a political agenda.

Apparently I have been concerned about the American Press even longer than I remembered.  I can remember a day when we did trust the news and the reporters who brought it to our attention. I also recognize how hard it must be to put your politics aside and do objective disinterested reporting, but the current crop seem to wallow in their political agendas and are unfamiliar with the task of keeping politicians in line with honest reporting assigned to the profession by the Founders.



Deregulating the Administrative State by The Elephant's Child

We have Trumpkins and Trumpsters, Never Trumpers, and on the other side foul language, Russian conspiracy freaks, Maxine Waters and CNN, among others. The Left goes on about Authoritarianism, and is apparently extremely worried about a new burst of  Fascism, Administrative control and loss of Freedom while President Trump works hard at lessening the regulatory burden that the Obama administration inflicted on business, the economy in general and our individual lives. There’s a bit of a disconnect here.

Look, we the people are the board of directors, and every four years we endeavor to hire someone to run the place for four years. Big job, and an important job. Keep the economy running, try to keep the peace, get along with other nations, keep the federal bureaucracy in check, world’s policeman—not a job we or the world wants, but somebody has to pay attention. Just keeping the country running properly is a huge job. Lots of agencies and offices and administrations and services, transportation and intelligence, military and the courts. It’s very very complicated and most things happen very slowly and it’s little wonder that they refer to it as a swamp.

A lot of the agencies and services don’t work very well, and President Trump is already endeavoring to straighten some of them up. The Veterans Administration can now fire people who are not meeting the needs of the vets they are assigned to serve. Maybe we won’t have our veterans dying while they are waiting for an appointment. Most people will not appreciate the fact that Trump has ended the task of a government agency to keep reporting on the progress of their efforts to deal with Y2K — the change of the calendar from 1999 to 2000 that was expected to be a major problem for America’s computers. 17 years have passed and only now can they stop working on formal reports, due every year. The roots and tangles that gum up the swamp are rules,  regulations and requirements that go on eternally unless they receive an official order to stop. That—is how you drain a swamp. The president is very pleased with ending unnecessary regulation, and welcomes suggestions for more bad regulations to remove.

The Left is incensed that the Supreme Court has allowed President Trump’s temporary travel ban to proceed. If they were even slightly aware, they would recognize the depth of the problems Europe faces because of the flood of migrants from the Middle East and Africa. Europe, long slumbering under waves of unwanted immigration, is beginning to awaken and notice the constant terror attacks, the sexual attacks, no-go areas, the new attacks with trucks and cars and knives rather than explosives. Banning travel temporarily from seven nations designated as sources of terror by the Obama Administration — until they can figure out a way to vet them, is not cruelty but common sense.

The Left needs to take a deep breath, and stop making fools of themselves. But that’s undoubtedly asking too much.




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