American Elephants


Why America Must Lead by The Elephant's Child



The Laws of the United States of America Are Going to be Enforced. by The Elephant's Child

john-kelly-testifies-1500-20-jan-2017-ts600John Kelly, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, has issued two memoranda directed to the federal agencies that are involved in implementing executive orders or immigration. The memoranda are clearly intended to tell ICE and the Border Patrol and other agencies that the United States laws on immigration are now going to be enforced.

It’s not all going to happen overnight, new resources will be required including the hiring of 10,000 new ICE officers and agents. The memorandum titled “Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest” makes it explicitly clear that it is the president’s constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. We have a president who takes his oath of office seriously. This should not be news, but in the wake of Barack Obama’s abdication, it is. Kelly’s memoranda reads, in part:

Except as specifically noted above, the Department no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. In faithfully executing the immigration laws, Department personnel should take enforcement actions in accordance with applicable law. In order to achieve this goal, as noted below, I have directed ICE to hire 10,000 officers and agents expeditiously, subject to available resources, and to take enforcement actions consistent with available resources. However, in order to maximize the benefit to public safety, to stem unlawful migration and to prevent fraud and misrepresentation, Department personnel should prioritize for removal those aliens described by Congress in Sections 212(a)(2), (a)(3), and (a)(6)(C), 235(b) and (c), and 237(a)(2) and (4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Victor Davis Hanson points out the complications. Activists portray illegal immigration as a tale of the desperately poor from south of the border seeking a new productive life in the U.S., but the Mexican government keeps taxes low on their elites by exporting their own poor citizens who will send remittances back to Mexico—some $25 billion from Mexican citizens working in America—to support the Mexican economy. Mexico’s approach to immigration enforcement on their own southern border is sterner, and perhaps you remember the U.S. military member who got confused at the border crossing into Mexico, got into the wrong line and ended up in a Mexican prison for his error. And of course the Mexican government is having fits at President Trump’s tweets.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly were in Mexico today to meet with the Mexican government. The current initiative is focused  primarily on those illegal aliens who threaten national security, border security or public safety. But being here illegally is unlawful.

President Obama wanted to use illegal immigrants’ numbers to change the demographics in districts currently unfavorable to Democrats. Which makes the attempts to conflate illegal aliens and illegal immigrants and legal immigrants in the public mind clearer. If most people don’t understand the difference between the popular vote and the electoral college vote, that makes it easier to change the vote by changing the population of a district. Thus, most of those who violated our immigration laws got a pass.

That is coming to a halt. “DHS no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. Any illegal immigrant encountered in the course of normal law -enforcement  operations will be subject to deportation.” In other words, our laws will be enforced. It is only in America that deporting aliens or those who have overstayed their visas is a big deal. In virtually every other country immigration enforcement is an uncontroversial part of national life. Canada deports about 13,000 people annually. Australia deports 10,000 people annually, and they intercept illegal boat migrants by denying them any claim to refugee status by not allowing them to land.

The vast majority of Americans oppose the idea of sanctuary cities. A new Harris poll shows that 89% of voters say local authorities should have to comply with the law by reporting illegal immigrants, and the president has broad public support for cracking down on sanctuary cities. American Hispanic citizens are no more favorable to illegal aliens than the rest of us.

Is it possible that the Democrats are on the wrong track here? It would seem so, but if they have a death wish for their party, who am I to interfere?



The Oroville Dam Drama, Explained In Full by The Elephant's Child

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The pictures of the Oroville Dam spillway and the power of the vast rush of water are both beautiful and frightening. It seemed sure that the dam would collapse. So many people were evacuated. Climate scientist Dr. Roy Spencer had very thorough coverage at his website: www.drroyspencer.com . Lots of pictures, diagrams, charts to show the watershed of the dam,  the damage to the spillway, the history, everything the armchair geologist might want to know and more. A little raw nature is a nice relief after all the raw emotion on the streets.



Apologies to Visitors by The Elephant's Child

Sorry about the light blogging. I’ve been down with headaches. Apparently some mixture of new glasses and the computer screen, that’s not working.  I’ll try to catch up, there’s so much to write about, and so much going on that is hard to understand.



Why is America So Rich? by The Elephant's Child



What? You Mean Rioting Is Against the Law? by The Elephant's Child

dc-riotsNBC News has reported that 209 Inauguration Day rioters have so far been indicted for felony rioting charges. They will face a fine of up to $25,000 and a maximum of 10 years in prison. 230 people were arrested during President Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20, but several cases have been dismissed.

Federal investigators were still going over hundreds of hours of video, some of it captured by undercover Washington D.C. police officers during the riots and protests, and many still photos. D.C. officers wore body cameras while on duty at the protests. Defense attorneys for the rioters have said that many of their clients are college students who live outside of Washington D.C., Maryland or Virginia. Poor victims, of course.  Who Knew? There are Consequences for Bad Behavior.



#Black Lives Matter Seems to Be Remarkably Uninterested in The Lives of Poor Black Kids by The Elephant's Child

Oooops! Black Lives Matter just exposed their organization as entirely political, and not much interested in the lives of black children. Betsy DeVos, newly confirmed Secretary of Education, was blocked from attempting to enter the Jefferson Academy middle school in Washington DC by Black Lives Matter protesters blocking he way and heckling, reportedly organized by the Washington Teacher’s Union.

The Alliance For Educational Justice claimed,  “Today, families, residents and community leaders joined to block U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos from disrupting learning at Jefferson Academy.”

“Betsy DeVos has a track record of privatizing and undermining public schools that serve Black students for financial gain,” said Makia Green, an organizer with the Washington, DC chapter of Black Youth Project 100. “Today’s action made it clear: our community will do everything in our power to resist DeVos‘ destructive policies and her attacks on an entire generation of Black students.”

DeVos responded in a statement following the incident saying, ” I respect peaceful protest, and I will not be deterred in executing the vital mission of the Department of Education. No school door in America will be blocked from those seeking to help our nation’s school children.”

The reason that Betsy DeVos was nominated to be Secretary of Education is that she has been a long time advocate for poor black children trapped in poor schools, and pushes for charter schools as the best answer to the need for parents to have a voice in their children’s education.

There is a lot of misunderstanding about “charter schools.” Charter schools are public schools. Some presume that because of the word “charter” that they are somehow private schools. Not so. Those who wish to start a charter  must develop an educational plan to submit to the state, and when their plan is made public—gather enough interest to make a separate school viable. They may have more freedom from federal and state regulation than regular public schools.

A study reported in Forbes in 2014 showed evidence that charter high schools had 7-11%  higher graduation rates than their public school peers, boosted college enrollment rates by 10-11 percent, were more apt to complete at least 3 years of post-secondary education, and charter school attendance was associated with an increase in maximum annual earnings between ages 23 and 35 years of age, about 12.7% higher than those who attended a traditional high school.

Different states have different rules. Charter schools usually operate on a smaller budget—but better ideas, teachers are often paid less (because they get to really teach—some teachers go for it) (a big part of the reason that teacher’s unions oppose charter schools and charter teachers are not necessarily members of the unions). Like much in American life, schools operate under far more rules than they used to. I’m not sure if all states even have charter schools. New Orleans has the highest percentage of students in charter schools, over 90%. Here are five facts about charters from the Reason Foundation, in simple graph form.

Here in Washington State, the state teacher’s union lobby has fought endlessly to ensure that all public funds are given only to traditional public schools. As the populous Seattle area is reliably Lefty, the Supreme Court broke with the precedent set by six other states that faced similar battles, ignored the vast amount of evidence that charter schools improve academic outcomes for students, ignored the over one million students currently on wait lists for admission to charter schools, and their parents who favor charters, and ruled that public funding of charter schools was unconstitutional. The legislature has found funding from Lottery revenue for charters, but the state should work to ensure that funding follows the children, not the teacher’s unions. A better education means so much to minority children trapped in failing schools that it is particularly interesting to see Black Lives Matter opposing charter schools and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

You have perhaps noticed that leftists seem to always appear in organized groups — Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, the list goes on and on, but when you get down to what they actually advocate, it’s often just hard-left politics, not black lives, nor $15 an hour, nor economic equality.

A group of 160 black education leaders are fighting against the NAACP’s proposed stance against charter schools, which shows the diversity of views of charters.

An article from AEI last August tries to offer some clarity on the battles, showing that advocates of different positions are relying on different evidence, and doesn’t clarify anything at all.

More troubling is a report from the Minneapolis/St Paul Star Tribune on the trend for violence in the public schools, and the dangers that teachers face. School disciplinary policies have removed many consequences for bad behavior in response to liberal demands for an ideology of “equity.” In St. Paul schools in 2010-11, “15 percent of the district’s black students were suspended at least once — five times more than white students. This racial differential mirrors those in schools across the Twin Cities and throughout the nation…. St. Paul school leaders have assumed that differences in discipline rates are the result, not of higher rates of misconduct by black students, but of the racism of teachers and administrators, who are believed to unfairly target black students.” To eliminate statistical disparities, they abandoned meaningful penalties. I read a lot, but I haven’t seen much reporting on violence in schools—just enough to suggest that it is perhaps far more prevalent than is realized. Do read this whole article if you care about kids and education.

Betsy DeVos has long been a passionate advocate for poor black children facing failing schools, and suggests that more charters will help. It’s a big job and I certainly wish her well. Progressives believe that all things are better done  by the federal government, with themselves in control of the government.  Conservatives believe that there are few things that the federal government can do satisfactorily, and that most tasks should be devolved to the states, or to the closest government to the people who are affected by the tasks. That old “We the People” thing.




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