American Elephants


The Art of Political War And the Art of a Political Response by The Elephant's Child

Republicans prefer their presidential candidates to be experienced governors who are practiced at dealing with difficult legislatures, lots of state agencies and troublesome problems that pop up unexpectedly—so when they are elected they can move into the White House more or less knowing what they are doing.

Democrats prefer glamorous candidates that they can admire. They fell in love with FDR, Jack Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Obama. Republicans seldom go to that extreme, though they have liked some better than others.

We elected Donald Trump, who, having spent his life in a very liberal New York City, is not as intense a Republican, or perhaps only lately a Republican. Nevertheless, he saw something disturbingly wrong with the Obama administration’s America, and he wants to fix it —  hence the “Make America Great Again” baseball caps and the “draining the swamp rhetoric.” He hit a chord in vast numbers of angry American voters.

The White House and the presidential job were a bit startling to this Chief Executive Officer of his own empire, It’s far more intense than he had expected. Democrats in the Senate slow-walked every appointment that they could. Maxine Waters got in front of every available camera to insist on impeaching the president. Selecting the best person for each cabinet post means lots of interviews, lots of recommendations to sort through, and at 120 days he has finally completed the appointments.

I can sort of imagine the problems. He has his campaign staff with him, but many of the most important cabinet officers are still new to him. Each of them must start right in with a brand new office of old Washington hands, some willing, many unfriendly leftovers. Many of the appointments seem to be outstanding. Nikki Haley has hit the ground running at the UN. Some of the new people aren’t Republicans at all. Suspicions abound. Old familiar staff and family and new staff are sizing each other up and trying to decide if they can possibly work together.

Congress is moving at a slow crawl. The news media is hostile and trying to make a catastrophe out of every word by, about and from the President. The Democrats cannot accept the verdict of the American people and are trying to bring down this president. There are “Never Trumpers” among the Republicans. The Democrats really struck pay-dirt when they found the 5 year old tape of the presidential candidate  making “locker-room comments” about women attracted to celebrities. Someone remarked that it was a “class issue”, and because of that comment, the elites determined that he was lower class, and thereby beyond the pale. Uneeded complications.

Trump is meeting with a wide variety of our most repellent foreign leaders in coming days, at his invitation. I think he just wants to size them up himself, rather than just rely on what he is being told. Some are disturbed that he is willing to meet with these heads of state.

The new staff is still sorting itself out and not satisfactorily. Some will be replaced, which will lead to further attacks from the Democrats. Staff dissension will be sorted out, communication will improve, and progress will be made. Bite your tongue. Allow the White House time to sort out the newness,  they are under attack in an unexpected war. We’ve got an outstanding bunch of people there. Use your annoyance and anger to attack the left’s unrelenting venom.

Democrats are unaccustomed to any possibility that Republicans might actually respond. They remind us frequently that Mitch McConnell said early in Obama’s first term that his number one goal was to make sure that Obama was a one-term president, and how rude and crass a comment! That was apparently the whole of the Republican attack on the new Democrat president. Republicans are far too polite to really go on offense. They need your help. Hang in there. Praise the successes, and try not to criticize the flops too much. They need your encouragement, not  your criticism. It’s still very early on.

 

 

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Terminally Annoyed by The Left. by The Elephant's Child

In the waiting room at the veterinarian today,  I was reading the new May copy of the Seattle Met magazine. Featured article concerned the tragic people who hailed from the countries affected by Trump’s travel ban, before it was halted by illegal judicial hold. (The order from the Seattle judge was clearly improper, because the president has clear authority under the Constitution to do precisely what he did.) It was, however, upheld by the 9th Circuit, which is so far left that it has become the most overruled circuit in history. Nevertheless, the magazine apparently went to print before this all became apparent, so their article was intended as a pity piece of how these people were suffering under the abusive Trump order, which only lasted for 6 months in any case.

Some abuse. Some of the seven people were students, another was unable to return home to visit because he then would not be able to get back in the U.S. There was no discussion of how long these people had been in this country, whether they were working/applying for citizenship, illegal or what. It was a sad tale of presidential abuse, and a typical leftist trick of attempting to conflate the entire immigration issue.

The Left wants open borders. They believe that immigrants will be more apt to become Democrat voters, particularly when immigration from countries like Cuba has been halted by the Obama administration. Escaping from a Communist country suggests that they might not automatically become Democrats. Obama worked hard at distributing refugees to voting districts where they might alter the future vote, or where increasing  population numbers would shift the vote.

To achieve their ends, Leftists work hard at failing to distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants, ignore drug-dealing, sex-trafficking, and murderous gangs that have accompanied Obama’s lax border controls. Americans who object to illegal immigrants are supposed to be the bad people, not the illegals (“No human is illegal” say the signs). The fact that most countries have far more restrictive immigration laws than we had under the Obama administration is never mentioned. Mexico has a wall on their southern border, with guard towers, I believe. Canada’s immigration laws are more restrictive than ours. “We are a nation of immigrants” they proclaim, as if that had anything to do with anything. Apparently the United States is the only country in the world that is supposed to have completely open borders, and if you don’t believe that — you are a bad person.

This is false. We are quite entitled to admit those who are most apt to be a benefit or can contribute the most to the United States, and those who most want to become Americans. That is only basic common sense.

The Left wants cheap foreign workers to replace high cost Americans. Disney’s forcing high-tech workers to train their cheaper replacements or risk losing any severance pay was a dramatically ugly act. Wealthy Leftists desire for cheap servants isn’t very attractive either. There are real long-term concerns about Muslim immigrants who want to replace the American constitution with Sharia law—we should never admit anyone who arrives wanting to overthrow our government. You are not a bad person to expect such standards.

These are the tactics of the Left, and the reason for all the names we are called— racist, bigot, nativist, etc. etc. etc. If you do not think their way, you are a bad person. How many times lately have you hesitated in something you thought or said, because of what the Left might think of you?

But then, when we welcome the new dishes and foods immigrants bring as they open restaurants, we are accused of “cultural appropriation,”so there you go.



South of the Border, Down Mexico Way… by The Elephant's Child

Activists portray illegal immigration solely as a human story of the desperately poor from south of the border fleeing misery to start new, productive lives in the U.S. — despite exploitation and America’s nativist immigration laws. (Victor Davis Hanson)

We see the marches and the signs —No Human is Illegal—which is nonsense. Words have meanings, and neither wishful thinking nor activist cash get to redefine them. We are a nation of laws. We have specific immigration laws, which during the Obama administration were set aside and ordered to be unenforced. Mexico has a continuing interest in failing to pay any attention to the reasons why their citizens don’t seem to want to come home, amounting to around $25 billion in remittances sent from citizens who are working in America, and often subsidized by U.S. social benefits.

The Democratic party is also invested in illegal immigration, worried that its current agendas cannot win in the Electoral College without new constituents who appreciate liberal support for open borders and generous social services.

In contrast, classically liberal, meritocratic, and ethnically diverse immigration might result in a disparate, politically unpredictable set of immigrants.

Its a complex, difficult problem. It is probably impossible to remove all illegal aliens. When you get to the “Dreamers” those who were brought to this country when they were little children who have never known any other country, empathy kicks in and we are unlikely to deport them.  Victor Davis Hanson is an important voice, for he has grown up in an agricultural area of California where legal and illegal immigrants are a significant portion of the population.

The Center for Immigration Studies (cis.org) is a think tank dealing with facts and answers on immigration problems. Here is Jessica M.Vaughan’s testimony about “Restoring Enforcement of Our Nation’s Immigration Laws” before  the subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, March 28. It’s an excellent overview of where we are and where we’ve been, where is our strength and our weakness. And what should be Congress’ priorities, what about public safety and illegal hiring.

CIS has also made it clear that there is a cost for illegal immigrants. NAS, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine have estimated the average cost to taxpayers of illegal immigrants. NAS estimates that one illegal immigrant costs state and local governments approximately $75,000 in a lifetime—taking into account taxes paid and the cost of providing benefits such as education and health care. If a portion of the population of illegal aliens were stopped, around 9 to 12 percent, the wall would pay for itself.

The number of illegal immigrants crossing from Mexico declined by 40 percent from January to February. Customs and Border Protection normally sees a 10 to 20 percent increase in those months. An Executive Order to enforce immigration laws has made a difference.

Andrew McCarthy, who is a former assistant Federal U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York simply believes that in most cases, illegal aliens who are encountered in the course of ordinary law enforcement operations should be detained and deported. Willpower and resolve that put the burden on straightforward law enforcement rather than the political fortunes of politicians will solve most problems.

It will take some willpower from Congress. President Trump is requesting bids on construction of the wall. Mexico has a wall on their southern border, complete with guard towers. You may find it amusing that the first thing former President Obama did when contemplating the move into their rented mansion in a tony section of the nation’s capitol, was to build a wall around the new house.



Desperate Democrats Search Fruitlessly for a Real Issue by The Elephant's Child

It’s the Border Wall. That will fix those Despicable Republicans! Senate Democratic leaders say there’s no plan for construction or getting Mexico to pay for it. Showdown! Shutdown! The Senate Democratic leadership team wrote a letter:

We believe it would be inappropriate to insist on the inclusion of such funding in a must-pass appropriations bill that is needed for the Republican majority in control of the Congress to avert a government shutdown so early in President Trump’s Administration.
Contractors all over the country are putting in bids to build the wall, and it seems that the wall will pay for itself. Illegal immigrants pose costs on the country. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NAS) has estimated that one illegal immigrant costs state and local governments approximately $75,000 in a lifetime, taking into account taxes paid and the cost of providing benefits such as education and health care. President Trump’s border wall needs only to stop about 10 percent of illegal crossings in order to pay for itself. The wall is estimated to cost around $12 to $15 billion and would soon be offset by the savings to government if fewer illegal immigrants arrive over the next decade.
President Trump is able to begin immediate construction and opening bids for contracts because of a 2006 measure signed by President George W. Bush and supported by 64 Democrats. Two-thirds of the Republican-led House approved the bill including 64 Democrats, and 80 of 100 senators approved the bill in the Senate, including Senator Charles Schumer. The bill authorized DHS to construct about 700 miles of fencing or wall along the southern border, and authorized the addition of sensors, lights and cameras to enhance security.

It was to be modeled on the success of the border barriers in the San Diego sector of the U.S. border. The operative word was “secure.” Instead of this two-layer secure fence what has been built consists of flimsy pedestrian fencing or vehicle fencing consisting of posts people can slither through.

The two-tier fence in San Diego runs 14 miles along the border with Tijuana, Mexico. The first layer is a high steel fence, with an inner high anti-climb fence with a no-man’s land in between. It has been amazingly effective. According to a 2005 report by the Congressional Research Service, illegal alien apprehensions in the San Diego sector dropped from 202,000 in 1992 to 9,000 in 2004.

Democrats took back Congress, and in 2008 the White House saw in unrestricted immigration a way to fundamentally transform the demographics of the country and its political landscape. ICE was told not to enforce the law. The unrestricted flow of illegal immigration, drugs and crime soon became too big to ignore. That directive is the source of confusion in the language between Illegal Immigrant, Legal Immigrant, Refugee, Visitors who did not leave when required, and invited H1B workers to replace higher cost American workers. So we have “Sanctuary Cities” who are defying federal law,  and all sorts of confusion about “Amnesty” and “Anchor Babies.”

Enter President Donald Trump who had promised to build a wall. Although there is historically a rise in apprehensions of illegals from January to February, since the administration’s message to ICE and Border Control that they were a law enforcement agency, and Executive Orders to enforce immigration laws—the number of illegal immigrants entering from Mexico has declined by 40 percent  according to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly on Wednesday. It’s trending toward the lowest monthly total in the last five years, Kelly said. Just the simple statement that the laws will be enforced changes the situation dramatically. Someone should mention that to Minority Leader Schumer.



Who Will Pay for the Great Big Wall? by The Elephant's Child

1200px-us-mexico_border_fencePresident Trump’s  Great Big Wall (popular or unpopular according to your politics) is going to be built. Walls work, if imperfectly. They’ve been working for centuries, see the Great Wall of China. Israel’s wall works well in spite of Palestinian tunnels and efforts to breach. You can’t just put up a wall and expect that the simple barrier will solve all problems. But most of the concern in this country is for the cost of  border wall.

Based on fiscal estimates developed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NAS) for immigrants by education level, NAS calculates the future fiscal balance immigrants create — taxes paid minus costs. NAS reports fiscal balances as “net present values” which places a lower value on future expenditures than on current expenditures.

Based on the NAS data, illegal border-crossers create an average fiscal burden of approximately $74,422 during their lifetimes, excluding any costs for their U.S. born children. If a border wall stopped between 160,000 and 200,000 illegal crossers—9 to 12 percent of those expected to successfully cross in the next decade—the fiscal savings would equal the $12 to $15 billion cost of the wall.

These are estimates, of course, but the current conversation about Trump’s “Great Big Wall” concern only the cost of a wall, the terrain that is difficult or impossible.

Congress passed the Secure Fence Act of 2006. It’s goal was to help secure America’s borders to decrease illegal entry, drug trafficking and security threats by building 700 miles of physical barriers along the Mexico-U.S. border. On January 23, 2008 the 110th Congress introduced Reinstatement of the Secure Fence act of 2008 which called for Homeland Security to put up 700 additional miles. (Died in Committee)

By April 2009, Homeland Security had built about 613 miles of pedestrian fencing and vehicle barriers (low fence and concrete posts as vehicle barriers) More attempts to reintroduce finish the fence regulations 2010, 2012.  Costs exceeded Border Control’s budget. Never built, and some wouldn’t keep out a jackrabbit.

That’s what I could find. The previous administration had no interest in a border fence, nor in keeping border crossers out.  They were more interested in placing illegal immigrants and refugees in congressional districts where they could influence the vote. And contrary to media insistence, lots of ineligible immigrants voted in the election.

Dozens of Ineligible Aliens Voted in Philadelphia.
Examples in Missouri, North Carolina, and Kentucky.
No, It’s Not a Racist plot.

From AEI: “How to turn off the Latin refugee flood at the source



President Donald Trump Being Presidential by The Elephant's Child

trumpgeneric1It was a very good speech. Donald Trump was at his presidential best, clear, straightforward, positive and offering his hand to his opponents in Congress, inviting them to think first of our country. He began with a tribute to Black History Month and the work that still needs doing for civil rights, and the threats to Jewish Community Centers. He reminded us all that “we may be divided on policies, but we are a nation that stands together in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.” After scanning the state of the country, he turned our attention to a strategic effort to improve the lives of all Americans. And the heartfelt applause! Be a bit difficult to keep up with the silly ‘Nazi’ bit after this.

If you were watching, perhaps you noticed that many Democrat women were wearing white. After all the talk of how they would disrupt the speech, find nasty ways to protest, walk out, or just do something to acknowledge their fury, members of the House Democratic Women’s Working Group decided they would channel the suffragette movement when they wore white to President Trump’s joint address to Congress. I didn’t even notice them until near the end of the speech.

In a statement, Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., said they will be wearing white to “unite against any attempts by the Trump administration to roll back the incredible progress women have made in the last century.”

Frankel chairs the Democratic Women’s Working Group, which said their commitment to women’s rights includes affordable healthcare and Planned Parenthood, equal pay, paid sick and family leave, affordable child care, secure retirement and “lives free from fear and violence.”

I’m not sure in what alternate universe this bunch of women assume that the Trump administration is trying to deprive them of their progress. The women of the House don’t have ObamaCare for their health insurance, so they really don’t know how expensive it is, nor why it is such a failure.  The Federal government has no business either supporting or attacking Planned Parenthood. The right to an abortion has been guaranteed by the Supreme Court, but a large portion of the country opposes abortion, and should not be forced to support it with their taxpayer money. Equal pay has been settled law since 1963, and this blather about 70% of mens pay is and has been totally false. Republicans passed the vote for women’s suffrage in 1920 in spite of Democrats opposition, just like they passed the Civil Rights Act in spite of Democrat opposition. A little late, Democrats are once again attempting to capture credit for something they historically opposed. This gets tiresome.

President Trump’s speech to Congress was truly presidential and a very good speech as well. Democrats were clearly not expecting that, and were totally unprepared for it to be anything even acceptable. In their current unhinged state they were expecting something they could really get their teeth into (so to speak) and were ready to take him on, but gracious, well-meaning, kind,  and celebrating our country and its history—the women in white slunk out of the chamber before anyone could notice, without a sound, utterly defeated.



The Laws of the United States of America Are Going to be Enforced. by The Elephant's Child

john-kelly-testifies-1500-20-jan-2017-ts600John Kelly, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, has issued two memoranda directed to the federal agencies that are involved in implementing executive orders or immigration. The memoranda are clearly intended to tell ICE and the Border Patrol and other agencies that the United States laws on immigration are now going to be enforced.

It’s not all going to happen overnight, new resources will be required including the hiring of 10,000 new ICE officers and agents. The memorandum titled “Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest” makes it explicitly clear that it is the president’s constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. We have a president who takes his oath of office seriously. This should not be news, but in the wake of Barack Obama’s abdication, it is. Kelly’s memoranda reads, in part:

Except as specifically noted above, the Department no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. In faithfully executing the immigration laws, Department personnel should take enforcement actions in accordance with applicable law. In order to achieve this goal, as noted below, I have directed ICE to hire 10,000 officers and agents expeditiously, subject to available resources, and to take enforcement actions consistent with available resources. However, in order to maximize the benefit to public safety, to stem unlawful migration and to prevent fraud and misrepresentation, Department personnel should prioritize for removal those aliens described by Congress in Sections 212(a)(2), (a)(3), and (a)(6)(C), 235(b) and (c), and 237(a)(2) and (4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Victor Davis Hanson points out the complications. Activists portray illegal immigration as a tale of the desperately poor from south of the border seeking a new productive life in the U.S., but the Mexican government keeps taxes low on their elites by exporting their own poor citizens who will send remittances back to Mexico—some $25 billion from Mexican citizens working in America—to support the Mexican economy. Mexico’s approach to immigration enforcement on their own southern border is sterner, and perhaps you remember the U.S. military member who got confused at the border crossing into Mexico, got into the wrong line and ended up in a Mexican prison for his error. And of course the Mexican government is having fits at President Trump’s tweets.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly were in Mexico today to meet with the Mexican government. The current initiative is focused  primarily on those illegal aliens who threaten national security, border security or public safety. But being here illegally is unlawful.

President Obama wanted to use illegal immigrants’ numbers to change the demographics in districts currently unfavorable to Democrats. Which makes the attempts to conflate illegal aliens and illegal immigrants and legal immigrants in the public mind clearer. If most people don’t understand the difference between the popular vote and the electoral college vote, that makes it easier to change the vote by changing the population of a district. Thus, most of those who violated our immigration laws got a pass.

That is coming to a halt. “DHS no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. Any illegal immigrant encountered in the course of normal law -enforcement  operations will be subject to deportation.” In other words, our laws will be enforced. It is only in America that deporting aliens or those who have overstayed their visas is a big deal. In virtually every other country immigration enforcement is an uncontroversial part of national life. Canada deports about 13,000 people annually. Australia deports 10,000 people annually, and they intercept illegal boat migrants by denying them any claim to refugee status by not allowing them to land.

The vast majority of Americans oppose the idea of sanctuary cities. A new Harris poll shows that 89% of voters say local authorities should have to comply with the law by reporting illegal immigrants, and the president has broad public support for cracking down on sanctuary cities. American Hispanic citizens are no more favorable to illegal aliens than the rest of us.

Is it possible that the Democrats are on the wrong track here? It would seem so, but if they have a death wish for their party, who am I to interfere?




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