American Elephants


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

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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

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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.



Only Yesterday in New Zealand by The Elephant's Child

Hillary is back on her world whine tour. In New Zealand yesterday, she told an Auckland audience that Michelle Obama was “so right” when she blasted women for not electing Clinton and said female politicians are held to a higher standard than men.

“The more professionally successful we are, the less people like us,” Clinton said. “Historically, people like me when I’m serving a supporting role… But the minute a woman, at least in our country, stands up and says ‘I’d like a chance to lead’… everything changes.”

I don’t think the Logan Act applies, but one usually doesn’t go abroad, even to an ally, and badmouth her own country. But then Hillary has never had a self-esteem problem, just a profound lack of self-awareness.

As Secretary of State, Hillary managed to kill her own ambassador and his aide by ignoring his pleas for help in a situation of increasing danger. That neglect also resulted in the death of two former SEALs who were trying to protect the embassy staff. Then she tried to palm it all off on a poor Coptic Christian man who had made a film that nobody saw. Sent him off to prison.

Insisted that we should abandon any support of Ghadaffi, who admittedly was a bad guy but was keeping the lid on in Libya, got him killed and turned the nation into a terrorist hellhole. Lied about her trip to Bosnia to enhance the story of her own bravery, by claiming that her plane had to spiral in because it was so dangerous, when there were photos of her greeting children on the tarmac at the airport. Drinks too much, has a mouth like a sewer, and keeps falling down. I could go on, but plenty of people are fully aware of Hillary’s “qualifications.” The problem is that so many are unaware.

Our presidents are just ordinary men, who have risen to the responsibility of the office, or not, with all the failings of ordinary men. The same would be true for women. They all make mistakes, some small, some occasionally momentous. Sometimes we get one of really good character, and more often we don’t. Takes some extra chutzpah¹ to run for that office.

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¹Chutzpah is a Hebrew word that has been adopted into Yiddish and then English. Chutzpah has been defined as audacity, insolence, impudence, gall, brazen nerve, effrontery, incredible guts, presumption and arrogance. Yet something essential about chutzpah is missing from all these words.

Chutzpah can be destructive and ugly or vital and fantastic, but never in-between.



Violation of the Logan Act is a Felony by The Elephant's Child

The Boston Globe reported on Friday that former Secretary of State John Kerry is engaging in “shadow diplomacy” with Iran, working secretly with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to save the “Iran Deal.” I have never been an admirer of Mr. Kerry, but this is really beyond the pale.¹

He sat down at the United Nations with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to discuss ways of preserving the pact limiting Iran’s nuclear weapons program. It was the second time in about two months that the two had met to strategize over salvaging a deal they spent years negotiating during the Obama administration, according to a person briefed on the meetings.

With the Iran deal facing its gravest threat since it was signed in 2015, Kerry has been on an aggressive yet stealthy mission to preserve it, using his deep lists of contacts gleaned during his time as the top US diplomat to try to apply pressure on the Trump administration from the outside. President Trump, who has consistently criticized the pact and campaigned in 2016 on scuttling it, faces a May 12 deadline to decide whether to continue abiding by its terms.

Kerry also met last month with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and he’s been on the phone with top European Union official Federica Mogherini, according to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal the private meetings. Kerry has also met with French President Emmanuel Macron in both Paris and New York, conversing over the details of sanctions and regional nuclear threats in both French and English.

The Obama administration seemed to believe that the evil Bush administration took us into an unnecessary war and killed a lot of Americans for no reason. They figured they would just turn all those little states like Iraq, Lebanon, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan , Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and whoever I forgot, over to Iraq to manage, then we could all have world peace.

Did these people just assume that these people who talk constantly about eliminating Israel, death to America, reestablishing the Caliphate that controlled the entire Mediterranean really don’t mean it? How could a former Secretary of State believe that Iran, with their well known history, believe that they would just shelve their nuclear program and their vicious hatred for the West and make nice with the UN? Did Mr. Kerry not see Prime Minister Netanyahu’s presentation?

This is a clear violation of the Logan Act², which does not get called up all that often. The meaning, however, is very clear, If you’re not authorized to speak for America, you do not get to. When your term is done, it’s done. You are just an ordinary citizen, and the fact that you were once, has no bearing.

The Left was enraged when the Trump administration was inaugurated and took power. They were enraged when Trump went out and started doing things. They have been enraged at everything that has been done. I mentioned before that I believe that they were deeply shocked, not only when Trump won the election, but that it was because of the Electoral College (to which they had never paid much attention) and are now determined to eliminate. They have no understanding of why the founders created such a gimmick. And above all, it was the map of counties in the country that went for Trump. It was red at every level of government clear across the country. In other words they are deeply scared.

The depth and irresponsibility of their hatred is exposed frequently, most notably in Kathy Griffin’s holding up a realistic-appearing severed and bloody Donald Trump head — and assuming that it would be accepted as a joke. That level of naivety is not only common but nearly universal. It suggests a deep ignorance of what it is the other party believes, which is why we get called “deplorables” and Fascists, and Racists, among other vulgarities. Any Democrat should be embarrassed to call a Republican a “racist”, but apparently they are unfamiliar with their own history, as well as the history of the country.

¹beyond the pale: adv, or adj. phr. In disgrace; with no chance of being respected by others; nor approved by the members of a group.

²The Logan Act (1 Stat. 613, 18 U.S.C. § 953, enacted January 30, 1799) is a United States federal law that forbids unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments having a dispute with the U.S. It was intended to prevent the undermining of the government’s position.

ADDENDUM:  I should have added that nobody actually prosecutes anybody with The Logan Act. I presume that it seems so obvious that one should not behave in such a manner, that it seems superfluous. And than the Logan Act itself is very old. Perhaps we should dust it off, and take it seriously once again.



When it’s Over, It’s Really Over. by The Elephant's Child

In the American political system, the President gets to hold office for either 4 years or 8, and when he or she is done, when a new president is elected, the previous president returns to civilian life. They are no longer a leader, no longer an official, just another past president, and once more a private citizen. Obama seems to be having a hard time accepting that, as do some of the people from his administration. No more titles. No more limelight. You had your turn and it is over.

George W. Bush was most gracious. He worked at rehabilitation for members of the military who were wounded during his administration. He paid honor to them with his paintings. He carefully did not interfere with Barack Obama’s turn. Obama knows that, but doesn’t seem to understand that it is an example for him as well.

The Twenty-second Amendment of the United States Constitution limits the number of times one can be elected to the office of President of the United States. Congress proposed the amendment by two-thirds of both the House and Senate on March 21, 1947. Ratification by the requisite 36 of the then-48 states was completed on February 27, 1951.

Mr. Obama is having a hard time being a private citizen. He was following President Trump in his visits to foreign leaders for a while, turning up for a visit right after Trump’s. Tacky.  It must be hard seeing your successor undo many of your presumed accomplishments, and even worse—see the economy respond in such vigorous approval. Is he hoping for a coup?

But that’s how it works. Americans were so thrilled when George Washington’s army defeated the British and sent them packing, that some wanted General Washington to become an emperor or a king, but Washington would have none of it. That was a most important step in the American presidency, and was recognized as such by other nations. The founders worked carefully to make sure that they were defining the presidency correctly to prevent future emperors or kings.

In many ways, the presidency is something of a thankless job. Things you wanted to do didn’t get done or there was deep resistance, or you were outvoted. You don’t get do-overs, and you don’t get to decide how the historians will think of you, no matter how glorious your presidential library turns out to be. You get to keep the honorific titles as a courtesy. Losing candidates also have a hard time accepting reality. Works better if you understand from the beginning the limits of the office. We probably tell our presidents too often that they are the most important man in the world. They are, but only briefly, then it’s over.




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