American Elephants


Did You Think Politics Is Boring? Wow! Think Again! by The Elephant's Child

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes finally got out of the FBI (with threats of impeachment and disgrace) the source of the origin of the Russia Probe. The committee wanted to know how the FBI found out about the George Papadopoulos meeting with a Russian national that led to the FBI’s original investigation into potential Trump/Russia collusion.

Chairman Nunes appeared on “Sunday Morning Futures” with Maria Bartiromo to explain what they have found.

DEVIN NUNES: It took a long time to actually get this… the original intelligence, the original reasons that the counterintelligence investigation was started.

This is really important to us because a counterintelligence investigation uses the tools of our intelligence services, that are not supposed to be used on American citizens. So we’ve wanted to know what intelligence they had that actually led to this investigation.

There was no intelligence. Do watch the interview linked above. Why is this a big deal? Somebody ordered the investigation. They are investigating the State Department. Longtime close associates of Hillary Clinton, including Sidney Blumenthal and Corey Shearer were actively giving information to the  State Department that was making its way to the FBI. So what you apparently have is a State Department whose Secretary is Hillary Clinton who is actively running for the Presidency participating in launching a probe and appointing a Special Prosecutor to  investigate her campaign opponent of the opposing party. And as Mr. Trump has claimed that his campaign was being wiretapped, he apparently was.

At The American Spectator George Neumayr takes it a little further.

The probe didn’t start “by the book.” It started largely on the say-so of John Brennan, whose CIA operated like a branch office of the Hillary campaign. We know from Brennan’s own testimony and leaks that he had been lobbying the FBI to start the probe since at least the spring of 2016. But whatever alleged intelligence Brennan gave to the FBI, it was too flaky for the FBI to commit to print.

The probe was the product of a shell game played by a cast of Trump haters — from Brennan to Peter Strzok (the FBI’s liaison to the CIA, which is a key fact in all of this) to Hillary hired gun Christopher Steele. Brennan, since at least April of 2016, had been shaking foreign intelligence agencies down for any dirt on Trumpworld. He claimed that he had come up with some from Estonia, England, and other trusted “counterparts” and shoveled it to Strzok, who then dumped it on the desk of other Hillary partisans in the FBI/Justice Department’s senior leadership. Strzok would later confess to his mistress, in between calling Trump a “douche,” that the probe was just a fishing expedition with no “big there there.”

At National Review today Victor Davis Hanson explains how Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation train searching for any conceivable thing that President Donald Trump might have done wrong in 2016 is exposing all sorts of improper or illegal FBI and DOJ false testimony. The Inspector General has already indicated that Andrew McCabe has lied to federal investigators. And the list of those who have probably lied to federal investigators grows and grows. This makes Watergate look like tiddlywinks. The potentially worst scandal in the history of the country.

The partisan press keeps trying to feed the dying Russia collusion conspiracy theory in which they have invested so much effort. Yet they took no notice of “last week’s federal court filing that exposes an $84 million money-laundering conspiracy the Democratic National Committee the Hillary Clinton Campaign executed during the 2016 presidential election in violation for  federal campaign-finance law.”

This comes from a post at The Federalist which added “Think of it Like a Shell Game With Millions of Dollars.” For the explanation of the law and why it’s a big deal you’ll have to follow the link. A lot of reading but we need to understand what is really happening, under the covers so to speak.

Investors Business Daily reported that the U.S. has  3.5 million more registered voters than live adults. Hundreds of illegals voted in Pennsylvania, and are cancelling their registrations now in fear of being discovered. Ken Block of Simpatico Software Systems did a comparison of voter registration and voter history from 21 states. Using an extremely conservative matching formula that included name, birthdays and Social Security number found that approximately 8,500 voters who voted in two states in the November 2016 election, including 200 couples who voted illegally together. He estimated that “there would be at least 40,000 duplicate voters if data was available from all states.” Chicago managed to have 14,000 more votes than voters in the 2016 general election. You will recall that Democrats insist that there is little if any vote fraud, and fiercely resist efforts to pass laws requiring voter identification. insisting that it is just racist attempts to keep Blacks from voting.

Put aside the latest thriller you’ve been reading. Forget the movie you were going to watch. Politics is starting to get downright exciting as a spectator sport.

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Here’s What They Have In Mind For You And Me by The Elephant's Child

Do you often wonder what the Left is going on about? Angelo Codevilla describes them in his book The Ruling Class. He introduces the Ruling Class, the group of  bipartisan political elites who run America. The Ruling Class, educated at prestigious universities, convinced of its own superiority, benefits by raising  taxes and expanding the reach of government. This class maintains that it knows what is best for regular Americans and continues to increase its power over every facet of American life, from family and marriage to the environment, guns and God. I speak of the Left, but Codevilla is speaking of the bipartisan bunch who together run the show, and of course what we are now calling “the deep state.”

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“[P]icking economic winners and losers redirects the American people’s energies to tasks that the political class deems more worthy than what Americans choose for themselves. John Kenneth Galbraith’s characterization of America’s economy as “private wealth amidst public squalor” (The Affluent Society, 1958) encapsulates the complaint of our best and brightest: left to themselves, Americans use land inefficiently in suburbs and exurbs, making it necessary to use energy to transport them to jobs and shopping. Americans drive big cars, eat lots of meat and other unhealthy things, and go to the doctor whenever they feel like it. Americans think it is just to spend the money they earn to satisfy their private desires, even though the Ruling Class knows that Americans must learn to live more densely and closer to work, that they must drive smaller cars, if they drive at all, that they must change their lives to use less energy, that their dietary habits must improve, that they must accept limits on how uch medical care they get, that they must divert ore of their money to support those people, cultural enterprises, and plans for the planet that the Ruling Class deems worthy. So ever-greater taxes and intrusive regulations are the main wrenches by which the American people can be improved (and yes, by which the Ruling Class exercises its privileges and grows.) “



The Most Vapid Conversation Ever? by The Elephant's Child

This conversation took place about a year ago on Bernie Sanders’ show, featuring Bill Nye, “the science guy” who apparently doesn’t know any. This is perhaps the most vapid, inane, totally empty of thought or meaning conversation I have ever heard.

Science consists of hypotheses that can be tested and the results can be retested by others and come up with the same results. Bill Nye keeps referring to those who do not agree with him as “deniers,”which is just a slur since no one denies that the climate changes. The climate has been changing for millions of years. The climate science that alarmists extol comes out of computer programs, not the real world. And there is no 97% consensus among climate scientists. That has been thoroughly debunked.

James Hansen, former director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who Nye cites, wrote a paper in 2008 that claimed his climate models showed that exceeding 350 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere would have catastrophic effects. We have long since blown past that point, and the result has been the greening of the Earth. CO2 is a natural fertilizer for plants, and the plant growth is feeding a hungry world.  Plant nurseries keep their greenhouses at somewhere around 1,000 ppm, and the nurserymen are still healthy. Real world evidence clearly shows Hansen’s theory was wrong.

Bernie Sanders serves on Senate committees on the environment and climate. Bill Nye spoke of the rising sea level, and how it would force the people of New Orleans to abandon their homes, and they would leave behind great coils of wire and pipes. These two gentlemen clearly have no idea what they are talking about, but they care deeply about global warming. A situation that seems to be common on the Left.  This level of sheer ignorance should be disturbing.



New York City 1911 by The Elephant's Child

1911. An immaculately preserved film of New York City. (The speed has been corrected and sound added for ambiance.) The film was taken by the Swedish company Svenska Biografteatern on a trip to America.

What happened in 1911? Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole. Marie Curie won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Charles F. Kettering (US) developed the first practical electrical self-starter for automobiles. Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre (found in 1913 in Italy).  Irving Berlin published “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.” Winston S. Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty.



Meet Tammie Jo Shults, Southwest Airlines Heroine by The Elephant's Child

You may have heard the tragic news of the death of a passenger on Southwest Airlines when an engine caught fire and disintegrated at more than 30,000 feet spraying shrapnel through the fuselage. Metal pieces ruptured a window behind a wing, fatally injuring a passenger in the first airline fatality since 2009, and the first fatality in the history of Southwest Airlines.

Southwest pilot Tammie Jo Schults executed an emergency landing in Philadelphia after the Dallas-bound flight departed from New York’s LaGuardia Airport. In the Wall Street Journal article, an experienced amateur pilot was deeply impressed with her inspiring calm control. He added:

Listen to the cockpit recording of the incident. She is so calm it is amazing. She says that a passenger may have been sucked out of the plane and that they are missing part of the aircraft like she is talking about the time of day. Yes, they train for emergencies and yes, they are expected to land on one engine. But her calm and composure is inspiring. When they tell her to switch from approach to tower frequency she even says, “Good day.”

Someone copied the plane to tower control conversation and posted it on You Tube.

An incredible demonstration of real air traffic control, and how the most professional pilots deal with an emergency. Here’s a real hero for all those whiny women complaining about work and not being paid enough.

Among the offerings at the end of this video is a conversation with a passenger on the plane phones in his story to the local news channel. It is also a rewarding conversation.

At American Thinker, Thomas Lifson extols the management at Southwest Airlines, and points out that in the wake of a tragic accident, there is usually hysteria in the media, resulting in a drop in the company’s stock value, but in this case the airline stock went up in the wake of a disaster.

After she graduated from college, Shults applied to the Air Force, but they wouldn’t allow her to take the test to become a pilot, so she turned to the Navy.

Shults became one of the first female fighter pilots in the history of the U.S. Navy and one of the first women to fly F-18s. She landed her fighter plane on boats at 150 miles per hour and eventually became an instructor. Although she wasn’t allowed to fly in combat, she did fly as an aggressor pilot. After a successful career, she resigned her commission in 1993.

Shults and her husband Dean, are both now captains with Southwest Airlines. Passengers last Tuesday were able to see a calm professional at the moment they most needed one.

ADDENDUM: Southwest Airlines has sent each of the 144 passengers on their deadly flight a $5,000 check with their heartfelt apologies to cover any of their immediate financial needs, after the flight suffered an engine failure and had to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia, on it’s way to Dallas. The letter also says the passengers would separately receive a $1,000 flight voucher for  future travel.

While the National Transportation Safety Board investigates the catastrophic engine failure, the airline’s “primary focus and commitment is to assist you in every way possible,” said the letter, signed by Southwest president Gary C. Kelly.

“We value you as our Customer and hope you will allow us another opportunity to restore your confidence in Southwest as the airline you can count on for your travel needs. In this spirit, we are sending you a check in the amount of $5,000 to cover any of your immediate financial needs. As a tangible gesture of our heartfelt sincerity, we are also sending you a $1,000 travel voucher (in a separate e-mail), which can be used for future travel.”

Tom Lifson said that Southwest had very good management.



Time for Our Annual Salute to Paul Revere by The Elephant's Child


[A little Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for the eighteenth of April]

Listen, my children, and  you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend,”If the British march
By land or sea from the town tonight,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light—
One if by land, and two, if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm.”

Then he said, “Good night!” and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, a British man-of-war:
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.

Meanwhile, his friend, through alley and street,
Wanders and watches, with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.

Then he climbed to the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry-chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the somber rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade—
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town,
And the moonlight flowing over all.

Beneath in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night-encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel’s tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, “All is well!”
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay—
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide, like a bridge of boats.

Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now gazed at the landscape far and near.
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth
And turned and tightened his saddle girth:
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and somber and still.

And lo! as he looks, on the belfry’s height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns!

A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet:
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.

He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides:
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.

It was twelve by the village clock,
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer’s dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.
It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, blank and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.

It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadows brown.

And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket-ball.

You know the rest.  In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled—
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the red-coats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm—
A cry of defiance and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will awaken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the  midnight message of Paul Revere.

(The illustration is from a lovely edition of the poem illustrated by Ted Rand for children or any Longfellow lovers. Copies still available from Amazon at very reasonable  prices)

I post this every year, but I almost forgot entirely. Too late for most, but print it out if you have kids and teach them a little history, which they probably won’t get in school. Kids like the rhythm- of galloping hooves that Longfellow used in this historic poem.



Life’s Little Surprises Always Await Us. by The Elephant's Child

In the Wall Street Journal today, James Freeman brought up the historic tax reform that Trump signed in December may turn out to be his finest hour, ‘trumping’ even  the firing of James Comey. So many companies have reported positive news from the tax law, even though it’s barely four months old.  The Journal calculated that the four giants of American retail banking— JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Bank of America have saved a total of $2.3 billion in the first quarter thanks to the new federal corporate tax rate of 21%, down from 35%.

Is that a big deal? Nancy Pelosi is arguing that the tax cut is a useless disaster, and when the Democrats get back in they will promptly raise taxes back to where they should be. (This is a campaign promise? Why?)

Wages have been growing. “Kroger, Walmart, Target Corp. and other food retailers are investing savings from the federal tax law to boost worker pay and benefits, ” the Journal reported recently. John Kartch at the advocacy group Americans for Tax Reform has been keeping a running tally of businesses (now 507) responding to their lower tax bills by announcing pay raises, bonuses, and higher 401K matches. The good news began to arrive almost as soon as President Trump signed the legislation.

Democrats seem to have a hard time getting their minds around the basic consequences of economic incentives. The Labor Department has reported that this is oficially the best job market for those seeking work in the history of  U.S. government statistics. Lefties are quite sure that the best results come from soaking the rich, by which they seem to mean the Koch Brothers, rather than themselves and their friends and supporters.

Ann Althouse notes that a new WaPo poll “finds that the gap between support for Deocatic vs. Republican House candidates dropped more than half since the beginning of the year.” A WaPo/ABC News poll found that 78 percent of registered voters considered voting for a candidate whose views on gun rights and gun control matched their own was either very or extremely important. 21% said it was somewhat or not important at all.

Investors Business Daily reported in an editorial on the macroeconomic effects of the tax reform bill. The Congressional Budget Office admitted that they had vastly overestimated the cost of the Trump tax cuts, because it didn’t account for the strong economic growth they would generate.

In any case, the CBO now expects GDP to be $6.1 trillion bigger by 2027 than it did before the tax cuts.

The CBO report also makes clear that this faster-growing economy will offset most of the costs of the Trump tax cuts.

In a table buried in the appendix of the CBO report, it shows that, before accounting for economic growth, the tax cuts Trump signed into law late last year would cut federal revenues by $1.69 trillion from 2018-2027.

But it goes on to say that higher rate of GDP growth will produce $1.1 trillion in new revenues. In other words, 65% of the tax cuts are paid for by extra economic growth.

Well, goodness. There might just be some reason to question conventional wisdom. The Center for Immigration Studies reported a few weeks ago that Trump’s Wall on our Southern Border would, over time, pay for itself, because illegal immigrants add a lot of cost with their dependence on welfare, crime, benefits and health care.  Who knew?  One can only urge Ms. Pelosi to keep railing about the necessity of raising taxes.

Among other surprises, a previously unknown asteroid the size of a football field had a near miss with Earth on Sunday. It came within one half of the distance to the moon.  It was the largest known asteroid to pass that close to Earth in observational history. Life always has interesting little surprises for us, even if we are paying attention.




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