American Elephants


The State of the Union Speech by The Elephant's Child

Oh excellent, excellent and most excellent. President Trump gave his best speech yet. Democrats were all prepared to go on and on about his lying and bragging. Not going to work. He explained his accomplishments for the country, why they needed to be done, and how they are working. He explained his hopes for the country and for the world, and asked for their help in getting it done.

I saw Nancy Pelosi all in white, but it took a while to realize that all the Democrat women were in white, symbolizing something or other. I apparently missed the explanation. I thought they were imitating Cuba’s Women in White, with their usual lack of comprehension of Communism, but I understand that they were thinking of themselves as “suffragettes” who nobody remembers and have nothing to do with white clothes as far as I can remember. I’m female, but definitely not a feminist, and find them  embarrassing. They seemed to have lot of trouble figuring out when to stand and when to sit, when to smile and when to scowl. Speaker Pelosi seemed to have big chunk of lemon in her cheek which she bit down on in the more stressful moments. (The cheering, the shouts of USA, USA!)

Chuck Schumer said that Stacey Abrams was a wonderful speaker, so I was interested but completely unfamiliar with her. I guess nobody checked on what she was going to say. Yea Unions! Boo depriving the people of their votes? Huh? Nice family stories, but utterly ill-informed about what is happening in the United States, except for Democrat propaganda. Little children in cages and all that. Seems like a nice lady. She tried to make a big deal out of the government shutdown, which was an inconvenience, but ruined no one’s life. I’m afraid that she was chosen as the first African-American woman to give the response to a State of the Union speech. Democrats think like that. The actuality of what is said isn’t that important.

Really funny to listen to the media’s comments pre-speech. Senator Schumer’s anticipatory comments were an absolute disgrace. He should be ashamed. There is really no place for that. Schumer has been in Congress since 1981. The venom of the Left knows no bounds.

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Here’s A Very Special Video for Veterans’s Day by The Elephant's Child

Thanks to Maggie’s Farm and Bruce Kessler for finding this video. It’s memorable and very special.



How the EU went Wrong and Why they did. by The Elephant's Child

George W. Bush gave a speech last Thursday at “The Spirit of Liberty: At Home, In the World” event in New York City. Politico called it a speech on Trumpism, but they were perhaps a bit hasty with their definition. But then, any opportunity to accuse Trump of designated awfulness, is the goal of the current news media.  I had admired George Bush for his ability to avoid speaking out on politics as a past president, especially in not commenting on Obama who had canceled all his executive orders, which must be galling.   I know it’s hard, but we really don’t want to hear from past presidents or past candidates. Their time is past.

We’re having some trouble with definitions, and throwing way too many “isms” around:  nationalism and nativism, for example. The Left, big on wide open borders, prefers to define nativism something evil, as if favoring your own citizens over illegal immigrants is reprehensible? Look up the definition of nativism. Other troublesome words are bigotry, prejudice, civility and incivility, and immigrant and migrant. ABC recently called illegal aliens (illegal: not according to law, alien: owing allegiance to some other nation) to avoid using such negative language, “undocumented citizens.” No, they’re not.

We are living in a time when the difference between undocumented citizens, immigrants and migrants is increasingly important. Europe, because of their cradle-to-grave social welfare benefits, has a declining birthrate. Because they have a declining birthrate, without enough young people working to pay for the cradle-to-grave social welfare benefits they so generously offered in order to get elected, they thought by inviting more immigrants to work and pay for the benefits, they could still prosper. “Poor” Americans have more living space than ordinary Europeans who are not poor. And more amenities.

The inviting immigrants in was a mistake for Europeans. They were feeling sorry for those in Middle Eastern refugee camps, and the well-meant invitation quickly became a flow of migrants from every hell-hole on the planet, and many ordinary countries that just didn’t have the presumed wealth of Europe.

Charles Hill explained how modernity went astray, based on a system that made room for wide cultural diversity based on a judicial doctrine of “the equality of states.”      (Do read Hill’s whole piece linked just above. It’s not long.)

The EU would become a new form of trans-national entity that would eschew war, abolish sovereign borders, exalt diplomacy, and supersede the Westphalian system by offering the world a compelling model of how to dismantle the state by devolving some of its powers downward according to the concept of “subsidiarity” while pulling other powers up into a pan-European bureaucracy in Brussels which, however defined, would not be a state. The EU assured that it was entirely un-religious and noted the care with which the text of its voluminous constitution – unratified – avoided any reference to Europe’s Christian heritage.

Put simply, the EU made itself the epitome of the Modern Age by relentless secularization. Islamism, emerging from the post-World War I collapse of the Ottoman Empire and Caliphate, made itself the vanguard of jihadist religion’s rise to become the implacable adversary of modernity. If Europe is where the siege is to take place, the drawbridge already is up:

Ambassador Hill adds: “Transatlantic unity has been the keystone of the defense and extension of freedom in wartime for a hundred years and must remain so.”

It is not the EU but NATO that has been the key to transatlantic solidarity. Strengthening NATO as a military alliance with political consequences in support of a reformed EU must be at the core of American policy. NATO’s role “out of area” will be vital along with continued efforts to integrate like-minded partners to the extent possible: Russia, Israel, the Gulf Arab states. The Modern Age itself is at stake.



Taking Stock of Trumpism by The Elephant's Child

Victor Davis Hanson spoke in May, at Hillsdale College’s Kirby Center in Washington D.C. on “Trumpism.” Where did it come from, where is it going and what has it accomplished? This election was a strange phenomenon, when a political neophyte with no experience in politics at all, won the election over a long term politician, wife of a president, who clearly was owed the opportunity to become the first woman president.

It was impossible. That is surely the source of the Trump Derangement Syndrome. But Democrats operate on talking points, devised and focus group tested words. Surely you have noticed that suddenly all Democrats seem to be speaking the same exact words. It’s an old propaganda technique, if a lie is repeated often enough, people will start to believe it. They’re not getting the response they want fast enough, and yesterday they were trying a new one. Trump is crazy. Mentally deranged. For which he should be encouraged to resign if not be impeached. Let’s see if that one has any staying power.  Dr. Hanson’s speech is a fine remedy. Enjoy.



We Mostly Do Not Understand How Differently Other People Think by The Elephant's Child

Perceptions. We’re mostly inclined to believe that other people think pretty much as we do, and are surprised to find out that there are true believers in something radically different. And even when we grasp that they really do believe, and don’t believe that they are wrong, but that you are—it’s still a little hard to get your mind around it. Aside from Maxine Waters, who has now announced that Vice President Pence should also be impeached—(do you think she is just grandstanding for attention, or does she really believe her nonsense?)

Many Americans believe that Europe is well on the way to becoming Islamic. Only 45% of Europeans believe that the massive influx of asylum seekers is a cause for alarm, but 71 percent of Germans listed climate change as their greatest cause of personal concern. Looming less important than fluctuations in the Earth’s climate are things like new wars, the threat of terror attacks, or crime (which 63% fear). Apparently they do not associate the massive influx of asylum seekers, with the rapes and sexual attacks, and terror attacks. Must be a very strong societal emphasis on compassion or empathy going on. Birth rates in Europe are very low as well, and far below a replacement rate.

The results of the study come at a time when Germany is facing an unprecedented Islamist terror threat, with a new report showing that more than half (54 per cent) of plots in the nation have involved asylum seekers and refugees since 2014, and the onset of the migrant crisis.

And on Wednesday it was revealed that the influx of a million migrants in 2015  — who arrived after Chancellor Angela Merkel opened Europe’s borders — has already left a huge mark on Germany’s demographics.

Chancellor Angela Merkel stood out as a credible environmentalist when she attacked Donald Trump for his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement, which scientists largely agreed would have little or no effect on the climate by 2100. A boost for the coming elections.

The study comes at a time when Germany is facing what would seem to be a major terrorist threat. The report shows 54 percent of attacks in the country have involved asylum seekers and refugees, ever since 2014 and the onset of the migrant crisis. Yet they are more frightened by the threat that the climate might get a degree or two warmer. Terror attacks like Manchester or the cases in Sweden don’t seem to bother them, and they are not influenced by the Eastern European countries like Poland and Hungary who are defying the EU demand that they accept asylum seekers. It would seem to us like a major case of denial. It’s hard to understand how differently others can see the world around them.



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.

 



Donald Trump’s Generals: The Most Renowned Wartime Commanders of Their Generation by The Elephant's Child

A blog called “Breaking Defense” has written well on Trump’s Generals. The Left, constantly looking for something horrible in Trump’s plans, finds the naming of so many retired military men to top positions will possibly undermine the principal of civilian control—as if Constitutional niceties are of enormous concern to the  Left—who have been ignoring that ancient document at their convenience for the last eight years. I’m getting really tired of the Left and their antics.

Donald Trump’s decision to lean heavily on generals in building his national security team has been received with sighs of relief by many foreign policy and national security experts. By the nature of their profession, senior military leaders tend to be pragmatic internationalists who know how to run large organizations. They understand from experience how the world works. They are generally disciplined and well-read. Having come of age on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq, these generals are also intimately familiar with the horrors of war, and the second- and third-order consequences of firing the first shot. …

Indeed, the generals likely to form the top ranks of a Trump administration are among the most renowned wartime commanders of their generation. As the presumptive Secretary of Defense, retired Marine Corps General Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis will have as his chief military adviser Marine Corps General Joseph “Fighting Joe” Dunford, appointed by Obama as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Both flag officers earned their nicknames the old fashioned way during multiple combat tours. They are also close to retired Marine Corps General John Kelly, another combat veteran and the former commander of US Southern Command, who will reportedly serve as Trump’s Secretary of Homeland Security. According to a knowledgeable source, it was Mattis who took upon himself the heartbreaking task of telling John Kelly that his son, 1st Lieutenant Robert Michael Kelly, had been killed in Afghanistan in 2010.

Trump’s Generals, Part 2: Jim Mattis vs. Iran

Trump’s Generals, Part 3: Mike Flynn vs. Al Qaeda

Trump’s Generals, Part4: John Kelly vs. The Narco-Terrorists

Like many Republicans, when President Elect Trump announced his first nominees for cabinet positions, I was reassured that Mr. Trump knew what he was doing and was getting excellent advice. After 8 years of an administration that assured us that they were completely in control of foreign policy, but could not manage to call the enemy by name or even admit that it was an enemy (junior varsity?) I was delighted. It’s a pretty impressive national security lineup. Get acquainted.




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