American Elephants


Raul Castro Has Resigned From the Presidency of Cuba by The Elephant's Child

The General Assembly has voted in a new president, the hand-picked former Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel. The Constitution of Cuba is modeled after the Soviet Union’s and similar to modern-day China’s meaning the legislature has full control over who becomes president and who joins his cabinet. The former vice president has a reputation for following orders very successfully.

Many of our news outlets assumed that this was a big deal, but it is not. Raul Castro remains to run the Communist Party, which runs everything else.

Chapter I, Article 5 of the Cuban constitution makes the Communist Party “the superior directing body of society and the State, which organizes and orients the common efforts towards the end of the construction of socialism and advancement of communist society.” This makes the head of the Communist Party—Castro—the “superior” director of the State, above his future successor.

Who remains as commander in chief of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) of Cuba is not entirely clear from the constitution, as Fidel and Raúl Castro have typically been both president and comandante.

The head of government’s powers are fairly limited:

  • Represent the State and Government and manage general policy
  • Organizing and lead activities by the Council of Ministers
  • Control and attend to the development of activities at the ministries

Last year, Mary Anastasia O’Grady wrote in the Wall Street Journal about a brief uprising of a” Venezuelan National Guard Captain and some 20 others who had gotten some 120 rifles, ammunition and grenades from an armory at Fort Paramacay in Valencia. There were unconfirmed reports of similar raids at other military installations. ”

“The Cuba-controlled military regime put tanks in the streets and unleashed a hunt for the fleeing soldiers.” She added that “Cuba had embedded about 50 high-ranking Cuban military officers, 4,500 Cuban soldiers in nine battalions, and 34,000 doctors and health professionals in Venezuela,  with orders to defend the tyranny with arms. Cuba provides Maduro’s personal security and thousands of other Cubans hold key positions of the State, Government, military and intelligence and counterintelligence services.” What their part is in the starvation in Cuba is unknown.

Burning Cuban flags, when they can be had, is now practically a national pastime in Venezuela because Venezuelans understand the link between their suffering and Havana. The Castro infiltration began over a decade ago when Fidel sent thousands of Cuban agents, designated as teachers and medical personnel, to spread propaganda and establish communist cells in the barrios.

In an August column, O’Grady pointed out that Cuba is not “simply a dictatorship.” For the regime it is a “historical political project” aiming for the establishment of a Cuban-type regime throughout Latin America. The Cubans have taken Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador and are now going after Columbia. Castro is dependent on Venezuelan oil and the money from the narcotics business. Fidel died at 90, and Raul is getting up there. There are a number of younger Castros in government, but future succession is unknown.

Now Venezuela cannot afford to export oil, and is having to import oil itself. The people are starving, and trying to get out of the country. Lefties are always sure that those other people just didn’t do it right, but Communism has a way of always ending up very, very badly.

ADDENDUM: According to Humberto Fontova, writing at Front Page Magazine, “Much of the vital day-to-day functions of the Stalinist regime will remain in the hands of Raul Castro’s son Alejandro Castro-Espin, a KGB-trained colonel in Cuba’s secret police and a fanatical Stalinist. Alejandro denounces the U.S. as “an Empire of Terror” and shrieks that “Cuba will never return to capitalism.” He was the one secretly in charge of “negotiations with” (demands upon) the Obama administration in 2014. Nothing was more vital to the Castro-Family-Crime Syndicate than securing and growing that multi-billion-dollar lifeline from the U.S.  So naturally fanatical Stalinist and secret policeman Alejandro was put in charge of securing and protecting this flow through the Stalinist regime’s jugular.” Fontova adds:

“The annual cash flow from the U.S. to Cuba for almost the past decade (mostly in remittances and travel expenses after Obama opened the spigot) exceeds what the Soviets used to send Cuba at the height of their sponsorship back in the 1970’s and 1980’s. In brief, thanks to Obama, the U.S. became Cuba’s new Sugar Daddy—and just in the nick of time. President Trump has closed this economic lifeline only slightly. We’ll see what happens now with the clear-eyed on Castroism Pompeo and Bolton in charge.”

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How’s Socialism Doing in Venezuela? by The Elephant's Child



Once California Was an Island, Off The Coast of Nova Mexico by The Elephant's Child
February 1, 2018, 9:57 pm
Filed under: History, Latin America, Mexico | Tags: , ,


I thought you might be interested in these historic  maps showing California as an island, off the coast of Nova Mexico. I don’t know the year, but they are writing in Spanish, rather than Aztec symbols, You can see notations for Apaches, Zunis, and Navajos so some exploration had been done. I don’t see any prominent illustration of the Missions, but I can’t read the small print.

I have resisted any snarky comments. You probably should too. :>)



The Immigration Debate Is Really Just Beginning by The Elephant's Child

I think that many of us who consider ourselves Republicans or Conservatives, have trouble understanding the Progressives, the current terminology since “Liberal” went away. If you think of Republicans as those who believe in a constitutional republic, it’s a little difficult to grasp what they are on about. No, they’re not all Commies. But if you think of Progressivism as a religion, you won’t be far wrong.

Their vocabulary is political and weaponized. The case of the “Dreamers” is an excellent example. There are those who fall under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival  (DACA) who are somewhere around 800,000 strong, and there are “the Dreamers” who seem to be a group of around three million, including MS13, drug dealers and other undesirables along with those who are not “illegals” but “undocumented” as if not having papers was just an accident and they left them at home.

Victor Davis Hanson has an important column today about the “Mythologies of Illegal Immigration“. Do read the whole thing. His home is in the immigrant and illegal immigrant part of California’s Central Valley.

Most of the innocents are presumed to have graduated from college, served in the military and contributed to the nation, rather than the reverse. We are supposed to owe them something because they came here illegally with or without parents when they were little children. They owe us. They have received free schooling, though 8 times more have not graduated from high school than have graduated from college. Only one in a thousand has served in the military. The average age is 25, though many are much older. Here’s Professor Hanson:

“Diversity” is often associated with illegal immigration. In fact, the majority of illegal immigrants come from Latin American and Mexico. They are hardly diverse. Real diversity would be recalibrating immigration to be legal, meritocratic, and aimed at roughly equal representation from Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe—and thus politically unpredictable.

The cargo of illiberal accusations is likewise constructed, given the United States is the most pro-Latino country in the world, Mexico included. Half of all immigrants, both legal and illegal, come either from Mexico or Latin America—a sort of inverse racism that assumes illegal Spanish-speaking immigrants are intrinsically more deserving of U.S. residence than legal immigration applicants from Uganda, South Korea, or Ukraine. …

Strange, too, are the outward theatrics and themes of illegal alien activism—the frequent waving of Mexican flags, the often loud criticism of a generous host country, the usual demands made upon a foreign nation—mysteriously coupled with the overwhelming desire of millions to enter or remain in the supposedly demonic United States. Waving a flag of a country that one does not wish to return to while shunning the flag of a country in which one very much wishes to reside is incoherent.

“More than 500 DACA recipients have been stripped of protections for engaging in criminal acts—including gang activity—and are running free in the United States, say experts.” CIS reports that they have not been deported, and only about 30 percent have been removed or in custody of ICE. There is no record of removal, detention or release for 940 of the Dreamers.

The romantic language of the discussion of the Dreamers, including the name “Dreamer” is confusing the issues, and it’s hard to get to the serious questions of needed legislation. The American people are much more concerned about illegal immigration, our immigration laws, and the reforms needed. Jeff Bezos, head of Amazon, was toying with the idea of offering college scholarships to all the Dreamers. Why would someone offer such a gift to illegal immigrants who may not even be college material while ignoring the needs of many of our own citizens? Virtue signalling? Caught up in the romance of immigration? How are cities and states getting away with Sanctuary designations in defiance of Federal law, and why?

It would be really helpful if we could do away with the romantic and misleading language, and demand straight talk and straight thought about a serious problem and a serious discussion.

Progressives are furious with Schumer for caving in and helping to pass a temporary funding bill for the government. This remains an ongoing problem. You’d probably better call your representatives and let them know what you think.



Senator Schumer’s Shutdown by The Elephant's Child

Well, of course, that was then, and this is now. So it’s different. The matter of “the Dreamers” is urgent, and we must get approval to let them all stay, but not so fast. From the Center for Immigration Studies:

There are an estimated 790,000 DACA recipients in the country. The open border crowd discusses an amnesty for  the “Dreamers” (as opposed to DACA recipients) in order to have an amnesty cover as many of the illegal population as possible. And yes, the “Dreamer” population is probably over 3 million. These numbers, if chain migration is not eliminated, will have huge repercussions for demographics for years, and every study I have ever seen shows this population votes for big government.

But it is not just illegal immigration, it is massive legal immigration and our emphasis on chain migration that is causing a shift in politics.

Did you get that? The open borders crowd is talking about an amnesty for the “Dreamers” a much larger group (over 3 million individuals) of illegal aliens.

Federal immigration policy has allowed about 30 million legal immigrants to settle permanently in the United States since 1980. This has affected all areas of American life, not the least being electoral politics.

Progressives openly debate the immigration issue in political terms. Labor-union official Eliseo Medina, for instance, has promoted amnesty and increased immigration as a means to “expand and solidify the progressive coalition for the future” in order to “create a governing coalition for the long term, not just for an election cycle.”

For the Left, it is all about compassion. It proves to Progressives just how nice they are because they care—and the rest of us don’t. By establishing their compassion for the downtrodden, they have fulfilled their niceness obligation, if any, and can get on with the goal of getting back in control.

Of course much of the government shuts down every weekend. Or do you recall Obama’s big shutdown when he shut down all the National Parks, and spent a bundle to make sure that visitors were unable to even see Mt. Rushmore, and the Honor Flights of Vietnam Veterans were unable to see the monument they had come to Washington D.C. specifically to see. So embarrassing.

So how many legal and illegal immigrants do we need to import? The world population clock says there are 7.8 billion people in the world, but of course we don’t know at all, it’s all guesswork. New immigrants are mostly potential Democrats. That’s because they are mostly Hispanic. Pew has found that 55 percent of Hispanics have a negative view of Capitalism. 75% prefer a bigger government that offers more services, while only 19% favor a smaller government that offers less services. Asians too, prefer bigger government and more services. This is from a 2012 study, but it does provide some fuel for thought.

Free enterprise and capitalism and a market economy are what has made America great. How odd that the Left should be so opposed to that, but of course that is why they are the left. I suspect that they simply do not understand the consequences of their actions, and their analysis stops at the goal of control.

There are four primary sponsors for the DREAM Act, including Democrats Durbin (IL) and Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Republicans Graham (SC) and Jeff Flake (Ariz.). All four sponsors are part of the “Gang of Eight” that introduced the overweening and intellectually dishonest amnesty legislation into the Senate in 2013 only to see it go down in flames in the House.

The projected deficit the legislation would create is huge, and poses serious questions about both Flake’s and Graham’s claims to being fiscal conservatives, as my colleague Art Arthur has already noted. This is from Graham’s official website:

Our immigration system is a mess. Every last bit of it is haywire and it badly needs to be reformed. Many people are seduced by the claims that swirl around the system — we are all immigrants, America is a nation of immigrants, immigrants have contributed so much to America, and so on and on. Some have, some have not. We get caught up in slogans all too easily.

According to the Congressional Budget Office with the Joint Committee on Taxation:

CBO and JCT estimate that changes in direct spending and revenues from enacting S. 1615 [the Senate’s bill number for the DREAM Act] would increase budget deficits by $25.9 billion over the 2018-2027 period, boosting on-budget deficits by $30.6 billion and decreasing off-budget deficits by $4.7 billion over that period.

One of the erroneous facts being reported by the media is that the DACA program expires entirely in March, “a date that Republican leaders have cast as the actual deadline for action.” Not true. There is no deadline, despite the urgency being dredged up by CNN and ABC. Any panic they can arouse will result in click bait for the leftist media.

Just ran out to get something at the Pet Store, and on the radio an announcer was intoning that “we are nearing the second day of the government shutdown” in dramatic fashion, completely unaware that the government essentially shuts down every Friday night, as workers take the weekend off.  The incompetence of the current media never ceases to amaze.



“Dreamers” According to a Leaked Memo Are Critical to Democrats Future Electoral Success by The Elephant's Child

According to Breitbart, a leaked memo from the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a very left-wing organization

https://i1.wp.com/media.breitbart.com/media/2018/01/Leaked-Dem-memo.png

Democrats are urged not to support any 2018 spending bill that does not support a DACA amnesty where illegal aliens are given a path to U.S. citizenship, saying that it will “jeopardize” elections for Democrats, in 2018 and beyond.

The Trump administration has endorsed a DACA amnesty plan that trades legalizing the nearly 800,000 illegal aliens in exchange for mandatory E-Verify, which bars employers from employing illegal aliens, and ending chain migration, where newly naturalized citizens can sponsor an unlimited number of foreign relatives, ending the Diversity Visa Lottery program which randomly imports 50,000 foreign nationals a year, and authorizing the construction of a wall along the U.S. -Mexico border. Democrats loathe the idea of a wall, but Mexico has a wall on their southern border, guarded, so they can keep out immigrants from states like Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras—unless they are just passing through to get to the U.S.

There are a number of pictures available of the wall on the Southern Border. “Snopes” says flatly that there is no wall on the Southern border with with Guatemala, but I’ve never been inclined to believe Snopes, though I’ve never personally seen any Southern Wall, so there you are. This is clearly an era of “fake news”, so we’re all on our own to find reliable sources of information.  I read a while back that a survey of our Hispanic citizens, indicated that a plurality of them wanted the “Dreamers” sent back home. I can’t find that bit of information, so it’s just my possibly faulty memory. The Center for Immigration Studies is the only Think Tank focused on the study of immigration. They are pro-immigrant, but pro-legal immigration. 

Democrats are going to fight on this one.  We’ll see how tough President Trump can be,



Las Bolas de Fuego –loosely translated–Great Balls of Fire by The Elephant's Child

I don’t know about your town, but in mine, fireworks are banned.  No more fireworks stands, no more roman candles, whistling petes or anything else interesting.  That isn’t to say that there are not explosions everywhere on the Fourth of July, but they are illegal explosions.   There are formal fireworks displays, big spectacular ones if you are willing to cope with the drive and the parking. If you miss that excitement, take off for Nejapa, San Salvador on the 31st of August.

There is a festival in Nejapa, called Las Bolas de Fuego.  (Balls of Fire) There are two stories about the festival.  The historical story is about a local volcano called El Playon which erupted in November of 1658, it found the people in the old village and forced them to flee in terror to what is now the location of Nejapa.

Then there is the religious version, where you have San Jeronimo who was fighting the Devil with great balls of fire.  I know, it looks like a riot, but look carefully— they’re all wearing protective gloves and having a wonderful time!




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