American Elephants


President Trump Goes to India by The Elephant's Child

Of course, the obligatory visit to the Taj Mahal, a stunningly beautiful building built of white marble. It is a mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra.

It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan who reigned from 1628 to 1658, to house the tomb of his favorite wife, Muntaz Mahal, and also contains the tomb of Shah Jahan himself. It is the centerpiece of 42 acres that contains a mosque and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenellated wall. Muntaz Mahal died while giving birth to their 14th child in 1631. Her death left the emperor heartbroken, and his hair was said to have turned grey overnight. The construction began in 1632.

Here are the pictures from the President’s visit It’s fun to scroll through them. There’s a picture that’s my favorite of a man mounted on a camel, man and camel decorated lavishly with flowers. The camel seems to be smiling in a funny grin, and the gentleman riding him is carrying a Tuba, which he obviously plays at some point.

When you reach the end, do not click on the <2 or 3> which is just a repeat of what you already saw, unless, of course you want to see it all again.



It Makes No Sense, No Sense at All! by The Elephant's Child

From Hot Air, by Kevin Williamson:

Trump’s wrongdoing is real and significant, but Pelosi et al. never had the moral credibility to make a persuasive impeachment case against him or the political juice to get it done. Democrats were talking about impeachment before the man was ever sworn in as president, and they remain emotionally dependent upon their preposterous tale about Russians on Facebook throwing the election to Trump. (The Russians, for their part, wanted paralyzing chaos and to destabilize the United States politically — Mission Accomplished, Ivan.) The Democrats would have been far better off simply telling the truth about Trump’s failings and challenging him at the polls rather than presenting this as an apocalyptic drama that cannot wait for an election and resolution on ordinary democratic terms. Apocalyptic dramas are pretty hard to sell when unemployment is low, and it is possible to exaggerate the sins of even Donald Trump.

From Hot Air by David Harsanyi:

While civility is an imperative in a decent society, we can’t ignore that Trump’s coarseness has also helped reveal the liberal establishment’s incivility and disdain for anyone who refuses to adopt its cultural mores. I’m sorry, I have a hard time taking etiquette lessons from people who can’t raise any ire over the Virginia governor’s casual description of euthanizing infants but act as if every Trump tweet should trigger his removal from office through the 25th Amendment.

So while I don’t like Trump any better today than I did when writing those critical pieces, I do live in the world that exists, not the one I wish existed. And that world has changed. What I didn’t foresee when writing about Trump’s candidacy was the American Left’s extraordinary four-year descent into insanity.

Most people grew up in a neighborhood where everyone else was much like themselves. They never knew anyone who was significantly different. I didn’t grow up in a neighborhood, but in the country where the closest neighbors were a mile or more away, and nothing like me at all. But here are two Conservatives who don’t like Trump, and yet have trouble with the Left’s Trump Derangement Syndrome. Williamson finds Trump’s wrongdoing real and significant. ?? Harsanyi doesn’t like him because of his coarseness, Yes, Trump responds directly to attacks, and responds in kind. Anybody remember LBJ?
Well government is hard, and the people often do not like their governors, but Trump’s accomplishments would seem to outweigh at least some of the dislike. And yes, the Democrats had decided to impeach him even before he was elected. Trump’s accomplishments in office are amazing and truly welcome.

Yet: “Trump’s Average Unemployment Rate is the Lowest in Recorded History.” There are more women working than at any time in history, and more women currently working than men. The Washington Examiner follows up with “It’s still possible the economy will decline in time for it to hurt Trump in the election. And the Trump presidency has been polarizing for many other reasons. ”

At Powerline, Steven Hayward quotes Joel Kotkin:
For much of the last seventy years, economic growth has lifted the quality of life in Europe, North America, and East Asia, providing social stability after the violent disruptions of World War II. Today, however, many of the world’s most influential leaders, even in the United States, reject the very notion that societies should improve material wealth and boost incomes given what they believe are more important environmental or social equity concerns. . .
Can anyone out there make sense of all this for me? I thought a president was someone you elected to accomplish things and make the economy better.


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.



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



Victor Davis Hanson on “The Case For Trump” by The Elephant's Child

This was first posted in May, this year. I think it’s time to review it once again, because there is so much here and it is so valuable. Please watch the whole thing, you’ll be glad you did. It’s a long conversation, but you can spread it out over several days if need be.



I Went Missing: Here’s Why by The Elephant's Child

Sorry about that! Microsoft decided to add a formal update, and it did not go well. Needed things disappeared, unneeded things were added, nothing worked, and it took a full day to just become functional again. Beyond my level of expertise. Didn’t miss much.

Democrats remain certifiably crazy in their search for something with which to impeach the bad orange man. They were quite sure that anything and everything he did would be extremely bad, but the economy seems to be booming, wages are up significantly. Unemployment is at record lows. They were sure they really had him when when he took the troops out of Syria, and left the Kurds unprotected, but the President reminded Turkey’s dictator Erdogan that Turkey was being left alone without a single ally in the Middle East, and the Middle East is not a calm settled area of peace and tranquility, and Turkey may have gotten the message. We’ll see.

I remain deeply unimpressed with the lineup of Democrat candidates yearning to be president. Bernie Sanders had the burden of advanced age right off the bat, wondering when advanced age becomes too advanced, but adding a heart attack probably eliminates him. Elizabeth Warren has moved into the lead, but she misses a central fact about Americans. The freedom we celebrate makes it possible for anyone with a great idea to become rich. And Americans are doing so all the time. Elizabeth Warren seems to believe that no one should be allowed to become rich, and she will promptly take away their money to give to those who need it more. Can’t come up with a more un-American idea than that. Democrats want to buy your vote. Conservatives want to preserve the ability to become rich – because you have a good idea.

Democrats aren’t impressed with their own array of candidates. They keep pushing some other choice — Michelle Obama, Hillary again. Even Chelsea. Hillary may yet jump in. She remains obsessed with being the first woman president.



Democrats Have Become Wild-Eyed Extremists! by The Elephant's Child

Elizabeth Warren  has reportedly been looking for ways to “establish her anti-Israel credentials with progressives who have come to see the destruction of the Jewish state as a non-negotiable cause.” And found it in targeting GOP fundraiser Elliot Broidy, and hiring  anti-Israel radical Max Berger as an aide.

Berger helped to found the IfNotNow organization that has devoted itself to damaging Israel’s reputation in the United States in the guise of seeking an end to Israel’s “occupation” of Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem. Pay no attention to Palestinian terrorism. Berger has previously said on Twitter that he “would totally be friends with Hamas” the Sunni Islamist fundamentalist group that engages in terror. This is a way to get support from radical anti-Israel groups? Well, so much for Ms Warren.

Look up Israel’s gifts to the world. The list is extensive. Did you know that we have cherry tomatoes (which have way better flavor that the ordinary tomatoes I get at the store) thanks to an Israeli kibbutz? Look for the Palestinian gifts to the world. Crickets.

I had no idea that the Democrat Party was so anti-Israel, nor why. Is it part of their weird Trump Derangement? Or have they always been bigots? They want to get rid of the private health insurance that covers 250 million Americans. They want to decriminalize illegal alien entry into this country. They want to provide health coverage to undocumented immigrants. They want open borders. The worst-run states in the country are run by Democrats. (Our Washington State Governor ranked dead last in fiscal management of his stat by the CATO Institute’s survey last year.) Democrat run cities are a mess. There’s a reason for that.



Tucker Carlson’s Outstanding Takedown of Democrat Hypocrisy by The Elephant's Child

The best of Tucker Carlson is this epic takedown of Democrat hypocrisy, not to be missed. This is getting right to the basic elements of the ongoing crisis at our Southern border. Donald Trump has proposed to send to sanctuary cities the asylum-seekers who under current law must be admitted to the United States while they await adjudication of their claims for asylum.

Asylum has a clear definition under law, and historically a little over 33  percent of those claims are denied. Which is why when claimants are given their court date for their asylum hearing, most vanish into the country to increase the illegal immigrant population. Would be immigrants in their home countries are instructed on just how to turn themselves in to the Border Patrol immediately after getting across the border, and specifically what to say to request asylum.

Statistics released in May 2018 showed 697,777 cases pending before 334 immigration judges, or almost 2,090 cases per judge. When an illegal fails to show up, an in absentia removal order is issued.

Democrats want open borders to get higher population numbers in the 2020 census, which they believe will increase their numbers in the House of Representatives. Do not misunderstand. Democrat activists want control, permanent control.They do not want the constant threat of Republican governance hanging over them. That’s why all the “racist, white supremacy, Hitler, toxic masculinity, reparations” verbiage. They object to the words “illegal alien”— illegal simply means “not according to the law”. We are a nation of laws and to come here legally, one applies and if accepted, waits their turn. The term “alien” means owing their allegiance to the country of which they are a citizen. There’s nothing derogatory in the term, just fact.

Leftists rely on language to accomplish their goals. That’s why we are now a “nation of immigrants” not a nation of citizens, children are “ripped from their mother’s arms” although the child may not belong to the family. Potential border-crossers are told that having a child with them will increase their chances. There is evidence that some children are being recycled across the border, that is, pretending to be the child of one illegal family, then when they get in, sent back across the border to be the child of another illegal. Of course there are also the “children in cages” pictures from the Obama administration being circulated for those who don’t pay attention to the news, to try to blame it on Trump.

I hope the president will follow through on his threat to send the illegals to those cities that have declared themselves “sanctuary cities” so they can experience the costs of additions to the welfare rolls, numbers of non-English speaking kids added to the schools, that the rest of the country is now paying for.

In The Pity Party, William Voegeli wrote:

In contrast to America, countries like Canada and Australia treat immigration the way Harvard treats college admission or the New England Patriots treat the NFL draft as a way to get the talented and keep out the untalented. Here in America we increasingly treat immigration as if it were a sacred civil right possessed by 7  billion foreigners.



Suggested Reading for Clarifying the Mind by The Elephant's Child
  • From Victor Davis Hanson:”The New Nihilism:” Summing up the Democrats’ response to President Donald J. Trump, and his many, many accomplishments. Not a pretty picture.
  • From Steven Camarota of CIS: “On Immigration, Trump Needs to Focus on the Numbers” For all the talk about the border, the biggest issue is not welfare or illegal immigration per se; it is the total number of immigrants settling in the country ,legally or illegally. Democrats focus on amnesty, Businesses push for ever more guest workers, and the media happily supports both. The national interest and his political future depend on the numbers.
  • From Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner:Border apprehensions jump 84 percent, 606,000 expected this year” a surprising surge. Again, it’s the numbers.
  • From Andrew R. Arthur of CIS:Notes on a Deal I Haven’t Seen: The Pitfalls of Compromise” The fundamental issue behind all of this is the request for crucially needed infrastructure along the border. I mean fences, walls, barriers, drag roads, cameras, sensors and any number of other tools needed by the 18,600 Border Patrol agents who man the 1,954-mile southern border.

We assume that the illegal border-crossers come from Mexico and Central America, many come from the Middle East as well.



Did You Know That the U.S. Is the World’s Largest Oil Producer? by The Elephant's Child

pic_giant_101514_SM_Pioneer-Energy

Do most people recognize that the United States has recently become the world’s largest oil producer? We have passed both Saudi Arabia and Russia as U.S. crude production has surged 20% in a year – and nearly tripled in the past decade. For nearly sixty years, OPEC has dominated the world’s oil markets by setting production quotas among its 15 members. In 2014, OPEC flooded the market with oil to try to break U.S. drillers who were pouring cash into innovation while they were already in debt. Seems like we knew what we were doing.

As oil prices fell below $40 a barrel in 2015 and 2016, many wildcatters folded or were absorbed by larger producers. The survivors became more efficient. They put technology to work, using drones with thermal imaging to detect any leaks along the line. Productivity went up. Over just the last five years, production per rig has more than tripled in the Permian basin and actually quadrupled in North Dakota’s Bakken Shale. The Bakken rig count has fallen by 70% and yet output has increased by a third.

In late 2015, the Republican Congress expanded the market for shale oil by lifting the export ban on crude oil in exchange for Obama’s demand to extend renewable energy tax credits.The biggest constraints on U.S. production have been distribution problems, but three new pipelines are expected to come online next year, capable of delivering 2 million barrels to the gulf coast and in 2020 two more pipelines will be completed.

The big news is that the U.S. Geological survey reported recently that the Permian’s Delaware basin holds more than twice as much oil and 18 times as much natural gas as the Midland region.

Barack Obama is claiming credit for the shale boom. (Why are we not surprised?) The Tax reform last year opened Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and the Interior Department scaled back unneeded protections for the sage grouse, which allows drilling on nine million acres in oil-rich states. Last month at Rice University, Obama said “You know that whole suddenly America’s like the biggest oil producer . . . that was me, people.” It must be hard to see the hated Trump administration get credit for expediting pipeline and terminal permitting and opening new federal land to drilling, but there you go. Can’t have it both ways.

OPEC countries and our own politicians should  take notice that America’s new energy prosperity comes from industry innovation, the importance of private property, and the wonders of the free market. We call it Free-Market Capitalism.

Confused by all the talk about “Fracking”? Here’s an excellent history and explanation from the oil industry.



The Differences between the Political Parties Couldn’t be Clearer. by The Elephant's Child

I posted this piece in November of 2013, and not all that much has changed.

What is the difference between Republicans and Democrats?  I suspect that most people don’t really know. Republicans  are usually pretty clear about what we believe, and can express it clearly — that’s why we argue so much. It’s a big-tent party that welcomes Conservatives, Tea Party people, Libertarians, “mainstream” Republicans, Independents, and all sorts of people who are deeply interested in a single issue. Republicans don’t usually conform to current talking points as Democrats do.

Republicans are committed to principles, Democrats admit that they don’t have any, and react to events as they occur, which they believe is a superior way of thinking.

Republicans worry about debt and taxes, economic growth, and individual liberty. Democrats’ care about winning. When they win, they have the power to tax and spend which will enable them to win the next time.

Republicans believe in low taxes, because the money belongs to individuals who, on the whole will use it far better than the government would. Free people and free-market capitalism. The decisions of the mass market will usually be far better than the decisions of the enlightened few.

Democrats believe in government money. It is money they are entitled to spend because of taxes which are paid by rich people who don’t deserve it. (At some point you have enough money). When they leave government “service” they will move to lobbying or NGO’s or corporate boards, or other well remunerated positions. It’s a good life.

Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Charles Schumer and Max Baucus have never done anything but government. No private sector experience at all. I haven’t had time to go through the rest of the list, but I would expect a lot more of the same. So they do not understand profit and loss, nor risk, nor meeting a payroll— any of that stuff. They seem a little weak in the math department as well. And economics? Any bets?

So these are the people who believed they could write a successful health insurance program for 330 million people to replace the world’s finest health care system. They believed they could convince ordinary Americans that it will cost less and be a vast improvement over what they had. They knew perfectly well that it would take some convincing. We got a lot of convincing, direct from their President and all his minions.

And there is not any part of it that can be believed. They tell you that they care about you, but unfortunately — they lie.

No change. We just get called more names, and they’re not even creative ones.



A Study Reveals That 72 Terrorists Came From the Countries In Trump’s Travel Ban by The Elephant's Child

Trumpsigns-1

On January 27, 2017, President Trump issued Executive Order 13769 which banned travel from seven countries, largely Muslim in population, that supported terrorism. Well! Huge Liberal outcry. He Can’t Do That! Lawsuits,! Liberal judges said no. Trump accused of racism, cruelty, etc., etc. Ninth Circuit judges said there is no evidence showing a risk to the United States in allowing aliens from these seven terror-associated countries to come in. Case went to Supreme Court.  June 26, Supreme Court upholds ban. You probably remember all of this. It was very noisy. But eventually we find out what it was all about.

Jessica Vaughn from the Center for Immigration Studies (cis.org) reported on a review of information compiled by a Senate committee in 2016 reveals that 72 individuals from the seven countries covered in President Trump’s vetting order have been convicted in terror cases since the 9/11 attacks. These facts stand is stark contrast to the assertions by the Ninth circuit judges who blocked the president’s order on the basis that there was no evidence.

In June 2016 the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, then chaired by now Attorney General Jeff Sessions, released a report on individuals convicted in terror cases since 9/11. The Obama administration refused to provide government records, so this came from open sources. The report found that 380 our of 500 people convicted in terror cases were foreign born.

The CIS center has obtained a copy of the information compiled by the Senate subcommittee. The report contains names of offenders, dates of conviction, terror group affiliation, federal criminal charges, sentence imposed, state of residence and immigration history.  72 of the individuals named in the Senate report, country of origin was one of the seven countries included in the vetting order.
• Somalia: 20  • Yemen: 18  • Iraq: 19  • Syria: 7 • Iran: 4  • Libya: 2  • Sudan 1

•Total 72

These immigrant terrorists lived in at least 16 different states, with the largest number from the terror-associated countries living in New York (10), Minnesota (8), California (8), and Michigan (6). Ironically, Minnesota was one of the states suing to block Trump’s order to pause entries from the terror-associated countries, claiming it harmed the state. At least two of the terrorists were living in Washington, which joined with Minnesota in the lawsuit to block the order.

Thirty-three of the 72 individuals from the seven terror-associated countries were convicted of very serious terror-related crimes, and were sentenced to at least three years imprisonment. The crimes included use of a weapon of mass destruction, conspiracy to commit a terror act, material support of a terrorist or terror group, international money laundering conspiracy, possession of explosives or missiles, and unlawful possession of a machine gun.

It’s the usual story. Big outcry from the Left. Liberals don’t know what they are talking about, they just object. When they are proven wrong, or make big mistakes, it just all vanishes down the memory hole.




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