American Elephants


See The Border Walls Going Up In New Mexico! by The Elephant's Child

California’s new Leftist Governor Gavin Newsom has been grandstanding about suing the Trump administration over its construction of a forbidding big concrete border wall.  Just yesterday a truck carrying 22 illegal immigrants simply bashed through the existing aging corrugated junk metal fencing with a heavy smuggling vehicle — terrorist style, in San Diego. This is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection photo;

President Trump tweeted what may or may not have been a triumphal direct response, but it certainly works like one. Speeded up  bit to get the construction impressively faster to completion. Take that you doubters!

There are people and organizations in Central America urging people there to go to America, and if you have a child with you they will have to let you in, they have shortages now of enough people to fill the jobs, so you will be able to get work. They are told to turn themselves in to the nearest Border Patrol once they cross the border, and ask for asylum. Who’s behind all that ? I don’t know, but it is clear they have had instructions. Is this the Democrats who want more bodies for the 2020 Census? Or the Democrats who want more Democrat voters? Has your district gone Democrat yet? I certainly do not want to suggest that there is anything nefarious about the opposing political party who have been suggesting everything from assassination to impeachment on a daily basis.

ADDENDUM: President Trump asked Congress for $5.5 Billion for an urgently needed border wall, Nancy Pelosi snarkily offered $1. Congress appropriated $!.5 Billion. Mick Mulvaney checked   around the administration, and found $600 million in the Treasury Department in forfeited funds,  $2.5 billion in Defense Department Construction funds, and some they feel that they can spare from other programs, and it adds up to round $8 billion. Naturally, there will be great wailing and gnashing of teeth among the Democrats who can’t stop making fools of themselves, but there you go.

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There Is No Constitutional Crisis. Get a Grip! by The Elephant's Child

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A crowd of about 400 protesters rallied in front of the White House on Monday, carrying signs that called President Donald Trump a racist and claimed a wall on the U.S. Border with Mexico is a symbol of the rise of white nationalism under this administration.

The Wall is racist, and the Border Patrol are torturing the migrants who are in custody after illegally crossing the border into the United States. That was a speaker with Amnesty International, who added that “bridges are better than walls, love trumps hate, no human being is illegal, and we are all, by virtue of our shared condition guaranteed the same human rights.” Neither original thought or meaning are required when you are being passionate, purile and protesting.

January 2019 saw  surge of 22,000 more apprehensions of illegal immigrants at southwest border crossings over January 2018. Border officers, it is predicted will make over 600,000 apprehensions this year. The increase over 2018 was 84%.

Democrats want more voters, and illegals who can be registered to vote are likely Democrat votes, and they want them counted in the upcoming census to increase their numbers in the 2020 census, and thus their number of representatives in the House. That the American people will have to pay for Welfare, Food Stamps, medical care, education for the children, is not mentioned in all the compassion that expects other people to pay, is not mentioned, of course.

Democrats call all Republicans racist, of course. That is their ultimate epithet, useful in all circumstances. Obviously, since Trump declared a national emergency at the border, it could only be because the illegals have brown skin, instead of the white skin preferred by white supremacists.

Democrats insist Trump can be challenged on his use of emergency authority since they do not believe an emergency exists on the southern border. They will fail spectacularly if the case gets to the Supreme Court. While the source of funding can be challenged, there is no compelling basis to challenge the national emergency declaration.
……………………………………………………………..William Jacobsen

Trump’s actions have been greeted with now-familiar claims that he is sparking a constitutional crisis or threatening the rule of law.

Considering just the substance of what Trump has done, these are large exaggerations. Everything Trump proposes to do purports to be grounded in congressional statutes and much of what he aims to do does not rely on emergency power. Trump is not relying solely on Article II executive power, and he is not invoking executive power to disregard a congressional statute. Moreover, the statutes in question expressly give Trump authority in the areas in which he claims them.
…………………………………….Harvard Law Professor Jack Goldsmith

Just another day like all days with Democrats seething with ginned-up rage, trying desperately to find the ultimate insult that will make the gap toothed ignoramuses from flyover country go back into their holes and never talk to them again.



Trump’s Pointed Venezuela Speech Starts Things Moving by The Elephant's Child

President Trump delivered an excellent speech in Miami directed at the Venezuelans and Hispanics in the audience. We have food aid waiting near the border to be delivered to the starving people in Venezuela. Now Brazil has assembled caravan of food for the Venezuelans in cooperation with the U.S. and said it’s whether socialist dictator Maduro likes it or not.

Maduro, of course, denies that there is any shortage of anything, and will block any shipments. Brazil’s new right-leaning President Jair Bolsonaro has recognized newly elected Juan Guaidó as the legitimate president of Venezuela. So far the Venezuelan military is backing Maduro, but that will not continue indefinitely, in the nature of things. Maduro will be lucky to escape with his life, but where would he go?

With the U.S. and Brazil standing up for ordinary humanitarianism, things will start to move and other nations, fearful of acting on their own, will join in. That too is in the nature of things. You can think back to other times and other dictators and how they were deposed. We can usually learn from history, even if the ignorant try to hide what what happened, to proclaim their own virtue. Famously said: “The Truth Will Out.”



A Search For The Real George Washington by The Elephant's Child

The George Washington that most of us see most often is the engraving after the Gilbert Stuart portrait on the one dollar bill. Reproductions of the Gilbert Stuart portrait and a portrait of Abraham Lincoln used to hang on the front wall of every elementary classroom when I was growing up, with an American flag standing in the corner.

We all know, I think, that George Washington had dreadful false teeth. A terrible pity, both for the President — because they must have been instruments of torture in his mouth — and because they distract our attention from far more important things about the man. Certainly Washington must have had access to the very best dentists of the day. By 1789, he had only one of his own teeth left. The teeth were horrible-looking contraptions made of substances like hippopotamus ivory, hinged at the back and operated with springs. He complained that they distorted his lips, and they must have distorted his appearance as well.

Gilbert Stuart was the most celebrated of portraitists. He trained in London, and was thought to be a potential successor to the famed Sir Joshua Reynolds. However Stuart was extravagant and fled in debt from London. He turned up in Philadelphia during 1795 , hoping to pay off his creditors by creating a multitude of portraits of the world’s greatest man. Washington sat to him for three separate portraits, and Stuart made hundreds of copies.

According to James Thomas Flexner’s Washington: The Indispensable Man, Washington and Stuart did not get on. The portraitist usually kept his sitters amused and their faces alive by a flood of showy and outrageous talk. Washington always felt
According to James Thomas Flexner’s Washington: The Indispensable Man, Washington and Stuart did not get on. The portraitist usually kept his sitters amused and their faces alive by a flood of showy and outrageous talk. Washington always felt uneasy at having to remain still and being stared at and was put out rather than being amused.

Stuart, who felt that “artists were fundamentally superior to all other men including Presidents, resented Washington’s formality. He could not forget what had resulted when, in trying to unstiffen the hero, he had gone to the length of saying, “Now, sir, you must let me forget that you are General Washington and I am Stuart the Painter. Washington replied (as it seemed to him politely), Mr. Stuart need never feel the need for forgetting who he is and who General Washington is.”

Stuart emphasized, as no other portraitist did, the distortions of Washington’s mouth. Flexner suggests that since Stuart was known to have angrily used General Knox’s portrait as the door of his pigsty that perhaps the harm he did to Washington’s historical image was somewhat deliberate.

This life mask by Jean Antoine Houdon gives us more clues as to what Washington actually looked like. He was tall, about 6’2″, and most verbal descriptions mention his ‘roman’ nose, so it was perhaps a little prominent. This is not the face of the Stuart portrait, but looks more probable.

Washington was an outdoorsman who spent much of his life in the saddle, and his complexion would have reflected that — more wrinkles, more weathered. They didn’t have sunglasses and baseball hats with a brim to keep the sun out of the eyes, lots of squinting. The portrait above seems to match the life mask fairly well. A far cry from the disagreeable Gilbert Stuart portrait.

I’m going a bit out on a limb here, but I spent some years in art school attempting to capture likenesses, and the smallest errors in size and distance relationships can lose a likeness completely. Also, people see likenesses differently. Some will insist that two siblings look just alike while others will see no resemblance between the same two. I have no real explanation for that.

I suspect that Gilbert Stuart had such a reputation as a great portraitist, undoubtedly aided by his own self description, that perhaps people were apt to accept his work as the “right” one. Portraits are an odd matter. One tries to capture a mobile. alive face that changes its expression constantly and represent it on a flat surface. If you have ever had photographer’s proofs of pictures of you to choose from, that will explain the problem. They’re all you, but you’ll like some better than others.

Here are “reconstructions” done by a forensic reconstructionist of Washington at his inauguration, as a general, and at around the age of 19. They are startling in their realism. I suspect (nit-picky as I am) that the face is too free of wrinkles, and too pinky-white, and not quite rawboned enough. (I said I was being picky) But they give you a vastly different impression of the man. Haul out a dollar bill and compare. Stuart played a cruel joke on Washington.

Washington didn’t know much about being a general when he was appointed by Congress to lead the American armies, but he was the best we had, and he did fine. His men loved him, and he gradually taught them to be soldiers. He was elected unanimously to be President when he wanted nothing more than to return to Mt.Vernon and retire from public life. The people idolized him. He could have been a king or an emperor, or like some — a dictator for life. But it was he, with his sterling character, who set the nation on the right path. He had a horrible temper, and mostly kept it under firm control. Any of his deeds alone would have made him famous, but in twenty-four years he led the armies, led the country, shaped a constitution, set a nation on its path and then went on home.

The portrait above is by Gilbert Stuart. He made many copies and others made copies of his copies which were sent around the new country so people could see what their new president looked like. Unfortunately, one of them was copied for the engraving on the dollar bill. Just mean.

ADDENDUM: I especially recommend Richard Brookhiser’s
Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington. It is not a life history, but a moral biography, only 199 pages. It’s a rewarding book. I post this every year on Washington’s birthday.



Joe Biden Attended the Munich Security Conference by The Elephant's Child

In Saturday’s Washington Examiner. Joel Gehrke reported on the meeting  of foreign policy leaders at the Munich Security Conference:

Speaking on German soil 75 years after the U.S. and its allies prepared for D-Day, Joe Biden described America as “an embarrassment” and its trade policies “self-defeating.”

“The America I see values basic human decency, not snatching children from their parents or turning our back on refugees at our border. Americans know that’s not right,” the former vice president and potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate told the Munich Security Conference. “The American people understand plainly that this makes us an embarrassment. The American people know, overwhelmingly, that it is not right. That it is not who we are.”

Biden, 76, speaking at the annual gathering of foreign policy leaders, didn’t mention Trump by name. But, despite a longstanding tradition of politics “stopping at the water’s edge” and refraining from criticizing a commander-in-chief while on foreign soil, Biden took the opportunity to blast him, even veering into criticism of domestic policy as he launched into what sounded like a stump speech.

(italics added) I looked through the photos I’ve saved for a picture of Joe Biden, but I could only find one, which I’ve saved because it makes me laugh.

 



Please Make an Effort To Know What You Are Talking About! by The Elephant's Child

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Freshman Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) yesterday announced that “every Democratic presidential candidate” was supporting her Green New Deal resolution.

“The Green New Deal that we introduced two weeks ago, which was an amazing step forward, when we first were engineering it before it was introduced they were saying, ‘She’s divisive. She’s too confrontational. No one will sign onto a single piece of legislation that she introduced,'” said Ocasio-Cortez.

“We were able to to introduce a resolution in both chambers co-sponsored by every presidential candidate, every Democratic presidential candidate and 65 House members,” Ocasio-Cortez continued.

Oh dear, it’s not, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez that you are divisive or confrontational, it’s that you don’t know what you are talking about. The Earth has been warming and cooling for millions of years. The people who suggest that “global warming” is not a crisis, are not “deniers”– they acknowledge that the earth has warmed in the last 40 years – 25 one hundredths of one degree! That’s+0.25 deg.C. according to the UAH Satellite-Based Temperature of the Global Lower Atmosphere.

You want to rely on wind and solar energy — natural and free, provided generously by Mother Nature? The problem is that wind and solar energy do not provide enough energy to power a modern society. The problem is not in the quantity of turbines or solar panels, it is in the wind itself. Wind is intermittent. It blows, occasionally, in puffs and wafts, sometimes in gales, and very often not at all. On the rare occasions when it blows steadily at about 35 mph, the turbines produce energy. When it does not, it requires 24/7 backup from a conventional power source. The conventional power sources don’t do too well with switching on and off all the time, either.

Solar energy is a different matter. Sunshine is diffuse. There are clouds that drift across the sky, at different levels, and sometimes there are clouds for days. it rains. The sun sinks below the horizon at night, just when everyone is settling down for the evening. Ivanpah in California’s Mojave Desert was the biggest and fanciest solar array with thousands of solar panels the size of garage doors shining on a central tower designed to heat and generate massive amounts of power. Didn’t work. The project generated only about 40 percent of the advertised power, and managed to incinerate all kinds of birds, many of them protected species like eagles. Cost a bundle. Useless.

To have enough wind turbines to power the country, you’d need an acreage about the size of California. Not going to happen.

The bit about high speed rail doesn’t work either. It works in Europe because Europe is much denser with many towns and cities close together. You may have noticed that new California Governor Newsom has just dumped Jerry Brown’s pet high-speed rail train to nowhere. Too expensive, Vast cost overruns. Always was a pipe dream, but Brown would not give up on it. You may have noticed that Hawaii’s Mazie Hirono suggested that your idea of ending airline flights to Hawaii didn’t go over well.

The fact that you have all the Democratic potential candidates signed on to your Green New Deal, is frightening. It says that we have large numbers of people running for the highest office in the land who do not do their homework, and do not know what they are talking about. It really isn’t that hard to study up, but the idea that one of them might possibly be elected and know only that they have to believe in global warming because it’s what Democrats do, is pretty scary. But then you got elected, never having done any research either.



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.




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