American Elephants


Looks Like There Really Is a Swamp Down Here by The Elephant's Child

The breathlessly awaited Inspector General’s report has been released, and Singapore has vanished from the news. The report is some 600 pages long, so everybody is frantically trying to read it all very quickly, and only dribs and drabs are getting out. Those who hoped to see James Comey off to jail promptly will be disappointed. It is quite clear that there has been some improper behavior, but how much and who and whether it amounts to anything significant remains to be seen. Be patient.

What is clear is that there is indeed a swamp. Too many people who have been around too long, feel entitled, and have lost their sense of being servants of the people of the United States working to make the country better have got it all backwards. They believe they are in charge, and entitled to run the show. Throw in a goodly mixture of hard left bias learned from the faculties of the nation’s colleges and universities, and you have a glimpse of the problems. The media suffer from the same delusions. It ‘s going to take some real work to put it all back together.

 

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The Big Singapore Meeting: Big Breakthrough or Waste of Time? by The Elephant's Child

President Trump has gone to Singapore, had a good meeting with Kim Jong Un of North Korea, and returned home to the utter consternation of the media. They were eager for some kind of catastrophe. Trump is too new, too ill-informed about international affairs not to have made a complete mess of it. Here, from the White House, is the joint statement of President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea at the Singapore Summit. (You might find it fun to look up the Democratic People’s Republics of the world and see just who they are, and how they’re doing.)

The agreement is not all that much. They agree to try to make peace. They agree to try to commit to de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and they will commit to recovering POW/MIA remains. Nancy Pelosi threatened that the Senate would have to confirm it. It’s not a treaty, Nancy, there’s nothing to confirm. They had a meeting and agreed to try to do a little more.

President Trump said that the entire effort was dedicated to Otto Warmbier, the young American who made the mistake of taking a propaganda poster in Korea, whereupon the Koreans threw him into prison, brutally mistreated him and when he was released, he barely got home before he died.

I’m including links to some articles that capture some of the ideas that explain what is going on. The first is “How Twitter Diplomacy Works” by Thomas Farnan. He begins:

President Trump this week will bust 68 years of diplomatic white paper inertia and meet the leader of a nation with which America has been at war since 1950. President Trump this week will bust 68 years of diplomatic white paper inertia and meet the leader of a nation with which America has been at war since 1950. …

Do read the whole thing.

The White House prepared for the meeting carefully. They learned that Kim was a big movie fan with a huge library of movie videos, and they prepared their own—which Trump played for the Chairman on an iPad. Scott Adams (Dilbert) discusses the video brilliantly here:

There has been some angry objection from Conservatives that Mr. Trump buttered up Kim, said he cared about his people, (but he doesn’t and he;s a brutal dictator and murderer. ) Yes, but refer back to the simple statement that we have been at war since 1950.

There are some underlying things that we just don’t know about. North Korea has been a subsidiary of China, and China’s Xi has ambitions. How North Korea fits into that we don’t know. Useful or annoyance? When Kim shot off this last batch of nuclear tests, something happened to his test site, and the mountain collapsed, but we don’t know how bad it was or what it means.

Our media wants to portray the whole thing as a colossal failure of one sort or another. They want Trump embarrassed, disgraced (TDS kicks in here) so you can’t rely on much that they have to say. They’re already going on about the failure of Trump’s G-7 meeting and how he insulted the Canadians etc. ,etc. Here’s some useful commentary on that: American Greatness: “Trump is Right: G7 Needs a Wake-Up Call on Trade.” From Investor’s Business Daily: President Trump Didn’t Sigh G-7’s Leftist Agenda—Smart Move”.

From The Wall Street Journal: Why Trump Clashes With Europe” (subscription barrier), and THE WEEK: “If Europe is serious about challenging Trump, it should actually challenge him” by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry.

This is not all that much reading, you will find it valuable. There are some important insights here. And keep that one phrase in mind: “68 years of white paper diplomatic inertia.”

 



Here’s Why City Councils Often Become National Laughingstocks by The Elephant's Child

When people get interested in actually doing politics, some start near the beginning and run for their local city council.  Perhaps that is why City Councils so frequently make the national news for some dumb thing they have done. The Seattle City Council is an excellent example. Seattle has a major “homeless” problem, so of course they want to help give them homes.

I should note that I put “homeless” in quotes, because for the most part their problems are not a lack of a home, but drug addiction, uncontrolled alcoholism, mental illness. Some, it is reported, just like living on the street and don’t want to be controlled.  Call them “street people.”

Seattle property is currently very expensive, and becoming more so rapidly. So building homes for the “homeless” requires a hike in taxes. Problem is that we already are very thoroughly taxed. The Washington State Constitution forbids an income tax (which the bureaucrats keep trying to repeal) so they have to find somewhere else to tax. We have a significant sales tax, car taxes are at absurd levels, and property taxes are so far through the roof that people are leaving the state for more welcoming venues. But homes, homes, we need homes for the” homeless”!

The Seattle City Council’s initial solution was a “head tax” on the employees of “Big Business, those companies making $20 million or more like  Amazon, Boeing, Starbucks and others who have their headquarters in Seattle. (Boeing has moved their headquarters to Chicago, so perhaps they don’t count) In any case, the lefty supporters insisted that large companies like Starbucks and Amazon have contributed to Seattle’s homelessness by driving up rent and home prices.

They started off with a $500 “head tax” per employee, but new mayor Jenny Durkan undoubtedly heard for several weeks in no uncertain terms from a few of those big companies. The City Council reduced the tax to a $275 tax per-employee. Amazon has around 222,400 employees. National reporters love stories poking fun at bureaucrats, and the story spread across the country and anyone with the most basic familiarity with economics, which excludes most lefties, had a good laugh at the stupidity. (What happens in a company when a city council imposes a huge tax? Do they simply write a check? Amazon is already reported to be looking for another city for a “second” headquarters.) You can do the multiplication yourself.

Mayor Durkan and some members of the Seattle City Council have beat a hasty retreat. No “head tax”, they’ll think of something else. I’m not sure they’re open to suggestions, though I’m sure there are plenty of them out there.

 



“Fake News”, Poison Pen, and “Journalism” Today by The Elephant's Child

Here is an article I ran across this morning from The New York Times that is a perfect example of the loony “resistance.” If you want an example of why the president tweets about “fake news”, here you go. Ideally, I would love to see you print it out, take a red pencil, and underline each word and phrase that is poisonously partisan, false, slanted or just plain untrue.  So and so “are said to be thinking”— oh yeah? Who said they “are said”? “Last week, Mr Kelly told senators that the White House was “a miserable place to work”— so what? Many people have said or thought that about their workplace many times when exasperated without it being front page news for the NYT. Sometimes work is hard. That’s why they call it “work.”

Anything that can be phrased to carry a negative connotation is. Anything that can be described in a way unflattering to the President is. The entire article is a perfect example of the poisonous possibilities of the pen—how can you attempt to demonize with every word, every unsourced statement, and snide assumption, and still be considered “a reporter.” I almost never read anything  in the NYT, but occasionally read the headlines to see if anything has changed. But for East Coast lefties—this is what is happening, and what is real. And this is what the President must face every day. That he only responds by calling some of it “fake news” is really quite amazing.

Donald Trump was considered unfit for the presidency by many, who thought of him as a reality TV star. He did do that for fun for a while. Yet we consider a House or Senate term as an excellent qualification for office. So they voted Yea or Nay a number of times and sat through speeches and hearings and contributed what? In Hillary’s case, I read that her only bill during her term in the senate was to name a new Post Office.

Mr.Trump, on the other hand, built things in New York City and environs, doing battle with zoning bureaucrats, regulators, councilmen, lawyers, unions, mob bosses, city councils,  accountants, environmentalists, traffic regulators, pages and pages of regulations, state officials, and who knows what else, and still managed to get things built and make money at it. Sounds like a fairly good course in doing government, but of course doesn’t rate the approval of those who consider him not quite their class, with orange hair and too tanned complexion, and someone who speaks like a person in the construction trades from Queens.

If you did the red pencil thing, or not, now watch the Victor Davis Hanson speech, and think about today’s world. President Trump has surpassed 3% growth, some are expecting it to hit 4% soon. Black unemployment is at the lowest rate ever, and white unemployment is decreasing as well. Business is growing with tax relief and the removal of unnecessary and expensive regulations. The list of accomplishments is growing daily in spite of all the attacks. Tom Steyer is still out there spending millions to try to get the President impeached. And the slowly unwinding story of collusion and Russia and the CIA, Justice, the FBI, the Intelligence Committees of House and Senate, continue to reveal the seamier side of government.



Victor Davis Hanson on the First Six Months of Trump by The Elephant's Child

A very odd and unappealing opening visual. Here is Victor Davis Hanson speaking at Hillsdale College about the Trump Administration and what is working and why and why not.  It’s a little long, but worth every minute. I am a great admirer of Victor Hanson. He thinks clearly, informed deeply by his studies in history and the classics to consider the big picture and how the little events of our times fit in.

It seemed to fit nicely with the absurd New York Times article posted just above. An excellent view of where we are and why. Enjoy.



The People Are Getting Fed Up With Uncontrolled Immigration by The Elephant's Child

Sebastian-Kurz-1

There are bits of good news from Europe, from Austria in particular. Chancellor Sebastien Kurz, the guy our own German ambassador recently called a rockstar when suggesting that there is something of a more conservative resurgence in Europe. Well, of course that had the lefty news media having fits. An insult to Chancellor Merkel, interfering in elections. Ambassador Grenell said that he wanted “to empower other conservatives throughout Europe and that there is a groundswell of conservative policies that are taking hold because of the failed policies of the left.”

The bureaucrats of Europe are not happy with us. See the Paris Climate agreement, which would have accomplished nothing whatsoever for the climate, except to transfer large amounts of American taxpayers’ money to developing African states and help to keep their migrants at home. We’re also demanding that the Europeans keep up with their NATO and military readiness obligations, and they don’t want to.

Austrian Chancellor Kurz will be closing more than half a dozen mosques and ejecting dozens of Imams suspected of supporting radical theology, along with the disbanding of other Islamic organizations. They may expel up to 60 Turkish-funded imams and their families, and a hardline Turkish nationalist mosque in Vienna.

Ankara denounced the move, and Turkey’s presidential spokesman tweeted that ‘Austria’s decision to close down seven mosques and deport imams with a lame excuse is a reflection of the anti-Islam, racist and discriminatory populist wave in this country.’

Austria is a country of 8.8 million people with roughly 600,000 people of Turkish origin, including 117,000 Turkish nationals. Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has shown extensive signs of wanting to become another Middle Eastern dictator or tyrant, and referred to Kurz as “this immoral chancellor.” In the last year’s elections, both coalition parties called for tougher immigration controls, quick deportation of asylum-seekers whose requests are denied and a crackdown on radical Islam. Sounds a little familiar. The bureaucrats may want to keep doing business as usual, but the people are getting restless. Sebastien Kurz is a fresh voice, and a determined one.



Civil Disobedience Meets Corporate Marketing by The Elephant's Child

Summertime. The Country Time Lemonade company is teaching American business how to do public relations. Every summer lately, we hear outrageous stories about petty bureaucrats who shut down little kids’ lemonade stands because they don’t have the right permits. This summer might just be different.

Country Time has announced an ingenious summer promotional campaign. They want your kids to be entrepreneurs and open lemonade stands. If City Inspectors come calling, Country Time will cover the cost of fines and permit fees. Great advertising for Country Time, good publicity.

Rather different from the oligarchs in Silicon Valley who are hiring the Southern Poverty Law Center to tell them which are Conservatives doing “hate speech.” For the infamous SPLC anything said or written by a conservative is “hate speech.”




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