American Elephants


These Are Interesting Times Indeed! by The Elephant's Child

I think the ancient Chinese curse is “May you live in interesting times.” I may be mistaken because I didn’t look it up but depended on my memory. Well, they are interesting indeed. President Trump acted on an opportunity to get one the world’s worst terrorist leaders, and our national media erupted in horror, completely forgetting that our embassy in Iraq had been attacked, or ignoring this inconvenient bit. The information was correct, we were able to hit Quassam Soleimani and eliminate a terrorist dedicated to attempts to harm the United States and our military at every opportunity.

Democrats in Congress were incensed that they were not consulted for their formal consent and approval, neglecting to consider that in such situations the President does not need to consult Congress, nor does he need their approval. He is the Commander in Chief. He gets to protect our Embassy, it’s staff, our military.

The Embassy is sovereign American territory, which was attacked. Soleimani has been a formally designated terrorist and terrorist leader since 2007. That this comes in the midst of an attempt to impeach the President with a Democratic Party that is consumed with their desire to get rid of the terrible Trump, leaves the Democrats in a sticky position. They cannot approve of anything Trump does at the moment, yet taking the opposing position puts them on the wrong side as well.

Some have pointed out the example of Benghazi and our embassy there, and the failure of our State Department to provide them with the needed security to prevent the death of the Ambassador, his aide and two former Seals working as government contractors. It was inexcusable.

What is disheartening is the response of the media who can’t put aside their partisan outlook long enough to report events as if they are journalists rather than just partisan Democrats.



Politics, Politics and More Politics, Ours & Theirs. by The Elephant's Child

Politics. Many of our friendly nations are currently embroiled in politics. Our Democrats are trying for a do-over of the previous election, because they simply cannot get over the fact that they lost the 2016 election to the hated Trump.  Just why they hate President Trump so much remains a mystery, because he is doing a remarkable job of getting the economy back on track, which is what we elected him to do.

Canada is not entirely happy with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but he is going to keep his job and form a minority government. His Liberals are again the largest party, but have lost their parliamentary majority.

The British have a Prime Minister in Boris Johnson, but are embroiled in Brexit. From what I can tell, the people want out of the European Union, but the Parliament does not. The battle goes on, and on. Back in 2007, Valery Giscard d’Estaing was writing a Constitution for the European Union, and briefly looked at the American Constitution, but couldn’t handle all those freedoms, and rejected it outright as an example. Unfortunate.

The Israelis are having a crisis of sorts because Prime Minister Netanyahu could not form a government because of the (weird to Americans) way the Israeli government is formed. The Prime Minister gets elected, I think, and then has to create a government by getting all the other parties to agree to what he comes up with, or something like that. We all get accustomed to our own form of government and do not understand any other countries’ politics, which usually is just as complex as ours, and often more so.

South America is a mess, but since we don’t speak their languages, we don’t pay all that much attention. Odd, but I don’t know how many Americans could name the countries of South America on an unlabeled map. And of course, we always call ourselves “Americans” which undoubtedly annoys the citizens of Central and South, who are just as much “Americans” as we are.

Hong Kong and China are getting bloody. China is Communist, which works only for those at the top, and until they are overthrown. We have enough world history about what works and what does not to teach us all – how to go about doing government. The most passionate are always the least-informed, and sure that they have a better idea.

Apparently our colleges and universities are graduating a new class, sure that the answer to the problem of the rich is Socialism or Communism. They are, of course,  tutored by professors who discover that there are successful entrepreneurs who without the qualification of a PhD in something or other receive enormous salaries and benefits for keeping a corporation healthy and thriving. No Fair! If you wondered why a college education costs so much today, there you go.

President Trump is beginning to move governmental agencies out of the “swamp” and closer to the people they are supposed to be serving. Thus the Farm Bureau is moving to farming country which is excellent, but those who are being moved from cosmopolitan D.C. to farm country are not happy.  I think it’s a great idea.



Assigned Reading by The Elephant's Child

The new American history by Wilfred M. McClay has had excellent reviews and I’m giving it as Christmas gifts, but I haven’t read it yet.

Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story

Another I like is John Steele Gordon’s

An Empire of Wealth:
The Epic History of American Economic Power

Essential:
The Black Book of Communism
Crimes, Terror, Repression

Communism
A History
By Richard Pipes

The Black Book is huge, over 700 pages, Richard Pipes book is small at 160 pages, but dense. Read both.

It’s clearly time to know a lot more about China than we do. The unknown story of:

MAO
by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday

Two from Bernard Lewis:

The Middle East:
A Brief History of the Last 2000 Years

What Went Wrong
The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East

And I like this:
Voices of 1776
The Story of the American Revolution in the Words
of Those Who Were There
by Richard Wheeler

And let me add:
1491
New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
By Charles C. Mann



The Democrat Debate. Sad. by The Elephant's Child

I watched and listened to the Democrats’ debate for a while, and couldn’t take any more. Perhaps after a bit of a rest, I can stand a little more without getting too annoyed.

What is wrong with today’s world, the enormous troubles of the world, all that is wrong anywhere — is Trump. The horrors of the border, the American health care situation, drug addiction, the American economy, the rest of the world which now hates us because of Trump, He has turned all of our allies into enemies. They’re not going to call them “concentration camps” at the border, (that didn’t go over too well) But the children at the border, the poor pitiful little children must be saved, not clear exactly how, but everybody gets to make their application for amnesty because they are escaping from countries that we have to turn our attention and wealth to fixing, so they can stay home once we have fixed their home countries for them.

Their loathing for Trump is enormous, and he is to blame for everything. What I have found really interesting is Democrats’ lack of interest in Hillary. They are most furious about being out of power, about losing the election and every detail of what caused them to lose (electoral college), Constitution, white supremacy etc. etc.

They are all signing on to “Medicare for All” which will clearly be a major campaign issue. That and some form of children in cages being mistreated at the border. Make voters care with an appeal to stop Trump from mistreating innocent little children. Little children dying in evil Border Patrol custody will be big. Evil pharmaceutical companies to blame for drug addiction, the cost of health care, and just the usual Democrat focus on big business as evil. You don’t even need to watch any of this to know what is being said and urged. You’ve heard it all before.

Time to insert Thomas Sowell quotation:
“There are no solutions, only trade-offs”

America has the best health care in the world because kids who like science work their tails off to get good grades so they can get into good medical schools so they can become doctors, save lives, become prosperous and live good lives themselves. One of the Democrat debaters (I didn’t recognize him) said he asked  several hospital management people what they would do if everybody was on Medicare. The answer was uniformly – close down. Did you ever ask how much one of those complicated hospital beds costs? Let alone the big scanners and the complex new drugs that are saving lives. That’s why in the big cities the hospitals have auxiliaries and society balls for their supporters where it is important to be seen. Trade-offs. Democrats don’t like Tom Sowell. They call him an “Uncle Tom.”



Andy McCarthy Speaks on the Problem of Collusion by The Elephant's Child

Andy McCarthy was the Federal Prosecutor who successfully tried the Blind Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and his co-conspirators who were responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing. He is the author of Willful Blindness and other important books on jihadism and Islamist fanaticism.

This is his talk, “Ball of Collusion”, on the current search by Robert Mueller for some crime, any crime, with which to attack the President of the United States for what must be a crime for defeating Hillary Clinton in the last election. Andy knows his way around the courts and collusion and crime. The speech was given at the recent Restoration Weekend presented by the David Horowitz Freedom Center. A massive scam? Andy’s the one to ask. But the Russians have almost always sought to interfere in our elections, it’s nothing new.



Immigration: Legal or Illegal? It Makes a Difference. by The Elephant's Child

statue-of-liberty-1210001_1280

The Caravans have apparently gotten rides and around 7,000 to 10,000 of them are at the border in Tijuana. The residents of that city are up in arms with thousands of unwanted migrants on their streets. The Migrants are admitting that they are not after asylum, but just want American jobs. President Trump asked why are they waving flags of their native countries? They do not want asylum, they do not want to become Americans, they want jobs and the benefits our generous aid systems provide.

The military has been busy setting out razor wire all along the border. Tijuana has appealed to the Mexican military for help. The migrants know they are not eligible for asylum. They apparently intend to mass at the border and see what President Trump will do about it.

Homeland Security claims there are at least 500 criminals traveling with the caravans. Authorities have closed four lanes of traffic at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa crossings in response to intelligence that groups of migrants planned to rush the border through automotive lanes. That led to closure of eight more lanes at the busy border crossings. There were already many Mexicans camped near the border waiting their turn to apply for asylum. The asylum rules are complex, but as I understand it, they have to apply in the first country they come to, which for the Hondurans, Guatemalans, and Salvadorians was Mexico – who offered jobs, but only 1,800 or so took them up on it.

Australia’s Prime Minister has promised a major cut in their migrant intake. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the country’s major cities have buses, trains and schools that “are full.” The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Mr. Morrison will ask state leaders to create their own population plans and will address the issue at the next Council of Australian Governments meeting on December 12.

His plan is to move away from top-down discussions about population to set specific migration caps to how many can enter. In Sydney, Mr. Morrison said, that migrants accounted for about 70% of the population growth last year. Australians want an end to mass migration.

And then there is Europe. Angela Merkel has, for whatever reason, perhaps German guilt, encouraged the European Union to welcome refugees, and they have come from all the troubled countries of the Middle East and Africa. But swallowing this massive influx is something else again. Initially they were greeted with flowers and food and song. (Really) But the immigrants have had a habit of burning cars, complaining about the housing arranged for them, raping women and girls, and killing innocent Europeans.

Some of the Eastern Europeans, more familiar with being invaded by violent armies, have built walls or fences to keep the migrants out, and are castigated for it. In England, it was reported that the most popular baby’s name was Mohammed. It is hard for the Europeans who also believe in Freedom of Religion, having had a reformation and many wars over religion, to accept criticism of the Moslem religion. There is, however. a major problem in that religious Muslims believe that infidels (us) must discard our religion and submit fully to Allah, which is a different matter.

Canada is helped immeasurably by their geographic location. On three sides they have ocean – the Pacific, the Arctic, and the Atlantic – and you can’t get there easily unless you have a boat and crew. Their southern border with America, the world’s leading economy, has been a magnet for immigration rather than the reverse. At some times in their history they worried more about the volume of emigrants from Canada to the U.S. to such an extent that Canadians feared for the future of their country. Generally, the movement of people into Canada has been law abiding and orderly. Most arrivals come through the front door. Canadians have a high commitment to policing, and you could call their fifth border “bureaucratic”. Visitors have to apply in advance for a visa, and if they are coming from a place that has recently sent more than a certain number of asylum applicants (or vacation overstayers) they are not admitted. Canada has some of the world’s most restrictive visa rules. Most applicants from countries such as Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan and Syria are turned down. And since the U.S. is not considered a threat, claiming asylum in Canada doesn’t work.

Illegal aliens often demonstrate here, bearing signs that say things like “No human is illegal” but dictionaries explain that “Illegal” simply means not according to the law. An alien is a person who owes allegiance to a country other than this. The Left favors massive immigration because new immigrants are likely to vote Democrat, and they are happy to sign up illegals to vote, as in California where anyone can get a driver’s license, and along with the driver’s license, you register to vote. and then they have sanctuary cities and states as well.

Then you have the inflow of various categories of temporary tech workers, who are apparently cheaper to hire than our own tech graduates. Farm workers, exchange students, and some foreign students sent here to learn our technology to take back home again, and just plain old tourists who overstay. It’s a very complicated mess even without migrants clamoring at the border and climbing the walls.  The Center for Immigration Studies has told us that a wall would actually pay for itself in the reduced cost of welfare and emergency health care and policing that are involved with illegal immigration. So there you are.



About the Constitution and The First Amendment by The Elephant's Child

We talk a lot about Free Speech in America because we believe deeply in the First Amendment. I’m not sure that all of us are aware that it is solely directed at the government, not at us. You can say whatever you want, but it may get you expelled or censored or punched in the nose.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Europeans are free to say only what the courts allow them to say.

When he was 50, the prophet of Islam took as his wife Aisha, who was then six or seven. The marriage was consummated when Aisha was nine.

This is not a smear. It is an accurate account of authoritative Islamic scripture. (See, e.g., Sahih-Bukhari, Vol. 5, Book 58, Nos. 234–236.) Yet it can no longer safely be discussed in Europe, thanks to the extortionate threat of violence and intimidation — specifically, of jihadist terrorism and the Islamist grievance industry that slipstreams behind it. Under a ruling by the so-called European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), free speech has been supplanted by sharia blasphemy standards.

Mrs. S appealed, relying on Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. That provision purports to safeguard “freedom of expression” although it works much like the warranty on your used refrigerator.  It sounds as if you would be covered, but the fine print doesn’t follow through.

Article 10 starts out: Europeans are free “to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.”  Followed by the legal details: One’s exercise of the right to impart information, “carries with it duties and responsibilities.” What is called “freedom” is actually “subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties” that the authorities decide are “necessary in a democratic society,” including for “public safety” and for “the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others.”

Translation: Europeans are free to say only what they are permitted to say by the unelected judges of the European courts. Truth is irrelevant. As the jurists reasoned in the case of Mrs. S., a person’s freedom to assert facts must be assessed in “the wider context” that balances “free” expression against “the right of others to have their religious feelings protected,” as well as “the legitimate aim of preserving religious peace.”

In other words, you cannot say anything that might upset Muslims. Child marriage, violent jihad, the duty to kill apostates, the treatment of women as chattel, that sort of things. Doesn’t matter if these tenents are accurately stated or supported by scriptural grounding makes no difference. Reliance on what their scriptures say could be classified as “an abusive attack on the Prophet of Islam, which could stir up prejucdce and put religious peace at risk.

There is no free speech in Islam. Sharia does not merely forbid speech that insults or denigrates Islam; they regard as blasphemy – and punish viciously – any form of expression that places Islam in an unfavorable light. Enacting laws against child marriage would be tantamount to saying that Mohammed was in the wrong, and that is unacceptable. So child marriage, among other things, remains a major problem in Islamic countries. In Saudi Arabia, efforts to establish the marriage at age 15 and some hope to raise it to 18 have been rejected by sharia authorities.

As we have said before, Europe seems bent on committing suicide.

Here, the Left’s increasing reliance on feelings as the most important guidepost is worrisome, and their contempt for the Constitution is even more a matter for very deep concern.




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