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.



The Immediacy of The Latest News of the Day by The Elephant's Child

Got up a little late today, and perusing all my usual websites in search of what is news in the wake of the elimination of top Iranian terrorist Quassem Soleimani, the Democrats impeachment debacle, and what Hollywood celebrities had to say about Trump, what appeared at the top of the front page of almost every website was “If You Have Toenail Fungus, Do This Immediately!”

Some days are just like that!



And a Happy New Year to You All ! by The Elephant's Child

I am not an enthusiast for New Years celebrations, nor do I really think of a new year being a big deal. Don’t like all the efforts to predict what the new year will bring, but the efforts to sum up what transpired during the past year can be useful.

The impeachment thing drags on, but is going nowhere. Abuse of Power is silly, there was no crime whatsoever, and Obstruction of Congress is way beyond silly. The President’s job is to keep the reins on Congress and keep them from doing stupid things. That’s why the founders gave him veto power, and Congress the right to override a veto if they can. The founders were well aware of the failings of the human race, and thought long and hard about writing a Constitution.

The Wall Street Journal was having fits about the “trade war” Trump was initiating with China, but as Joseph Sternberg said today:

A new year brings new optimism that the U.S.-China trade war might not blow up the global economy after all. The two sides are on track to sign a “phase one” deal within weeks. Oddly, no one has stopped to ask if America is ready for what will happen if President Trump “wins” the trade war. …

China’s current-account surplus—the amount by which its exports of goods and services and income from overseas investments exceeds imports—has shrunk for years. It’s likely to tip into a deficit early this decade, meaning China will import more goods and services (and receive less profit from overseas) than it exports.

The scale of this potential deficit, likely under 1% of gross domestic product to start, pales in comparison with the enormous current-account surpluses of nearly 10% of GDP each year China racked up in the first decade of the century. And the deficits will be here to stay.

He adds that their population is aging, the much vaunted Belt and Road deal is mostly pouring money into corrupt public-works, and China’s overseas investments tend to be bad ones. And the U.S. tends to be the world’s premier destination for investment capital. China’s Communism has used industrial policy to suppress domestic demand.

It seems that despite the skeptics, Capitalism seems to work quite nicely. Unemployment is at record lows, the stock market at record highs.

In Baghdad, the crowd that attacked the U.S. Embassy in Iraq seems to have been more pro-Iran militia than unhappy citizens. A  country’s embassy is considered a part of their own territory and attacking it is a big deal. The president promptly sent in the Marines to reinforce and protect, and demonstrate that attacks were not acceptable. The Washington Post, of course, tried to score points against President Trump. The top Iranian Commander, Quassem Soleimani, leader of Iran’s Quds Force, was apparently killed Friday in airstrikes on Baghdad International Airport. The Pentagon confirmed that President Donald Trump ordered the airstrike. Iran’s Quds Force has been designated as a terrorist organization for some time.

Seems to me that President Trump is letting our friends and enemies know that he has no intention of being a pushover, in case they were under some misapprehension.

Other than that, the media seemed fascinated with the leftover theme from the 1920’s – trying to stick on “the Roaring Twenties” in some way, I guess because that’s all they could think of.  Didn’t work.

Hollywood has-beens keep trying to come up with insults to the President that will get them some media notice, for you cannot remain a celebrity if you cannot get the attention of the press, Nobody seems to have noticed that a lot of Americans are finding other ways to amuse themselves, and movies aren’t doing all that well.



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 Unrecognized Perils of Running For the Presidency by The Elephant's Child

You have probably noticed that people who have run unsuccessfully for the presidency of the United States don’t fade quietly away after their unsuccessful run. Immediate example is, of course, Hillary. She seems to have convinced herself that she actually won the election, and through some nefarious trickery, the horrid Trump got the nod, but he didn’t actually win. Everybody cheated, including the now famous “Deplorables.”

Hillary is not alone. Mitt Romney is now in the news for his secret Twitter account where he is accused of being a Twitter ‘Lurker’ under the name “Pierre Delecto” for keeping up with the news. I think if you have seriously competed and lost, you are bound to look at each new event with the consideration of how you would have handled it and what you would have done, and how much better your ideas are. Human nature. I think it extends to those who dropped out early as well.

Every act of a new president will be put under a magnifying device, and certainly Donald Trump has had more nay-sayers than most. Past presidents will feel they have the authority to chime in, and of course present events may suggest the correctness (or not) of their actions in office. Lots of people are suggesting that Hillary may jump in at the last minute.  We’ll see. Wouldn’t take much to convince her that she should.



Is Communism Once Again Rearing Its Ugly Head? by The Elephant's Child

The current bunch of Democrats remaining in the contest for the Democratic nomination continue to astonish in their very odd understandings of America and Americans. How Bernie Sanders can remain on the list with significant support while professing Socialism as the solution for the government of the United States of America is astounding.

Supposedly one out of three millennials (31%) say they are a democratic socialist or a socialist and would identify as either, according to a poll. The poll found that nearly half of all millennial Democrats (48%) identify as democratic socialists or socialists. The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation found that 50 percent of American millennials view socialism or communism as the ideal political ideology. Our colleges and universities have a lot to answer for, raising up a generation of ignoramuses.

Nazism is an accusation thrown around by the Left at President Trump and his supporters. They apparently fail to understand that Nazism was just another form of socialism. But it remains a choice insult because of the known death toll from the Holocaust:

Between five and six million Jews. More than three million Soviet prisoners of war. More than two million Soviet civilians. More than one million Polish civilians. More than one million Yugoslav civilians. About 70,000 men, women and children with mental and physical handicaps. More than 200,000 gypsies.

Nazism came to a distinct end with the defeat of Nazi Germany. But the death toll from communism encompasses many countries and many regimes. Socialism often turns directly into real communism,  depending on the party’s will for ever more complete control.

Communist regimes did not just commit criminal acts, they were criminal enterprises in their very essence; on principle, so to speak, they all ruled lawlessly, by violence, and without regard for human life.

This is from The Black Book of Communism. It offers a rough approximation, based on unofficial estimates to give some sense of the scale and gravity of these crimes.

USSR: 20 million deaths
China: 65 million deaths
Vietnam: 1 million deaths
North Korea: 2 million deaths
Cambodia: 2 million deaths
Eastern Europe: 1 million deaths
Latin America: 150,000 deaths
Africa: 1.7 million deaths
Afghanistan: 1.million deaths
The international Communist movement and Communist parties not in power: about 10,000 deaths

You might conclude that there is some sort of pattern here, and that perhaps regarding it as an ideal political ideology is beyond ignorance, and approaches insanity.



The Reality of China Today by The Elephant's Child
April 6, 2019, 3:35 am
Filed under: Bureaucracy, China, Communism, Economy, History, Politics, Regulation, Terrorism

Here’s a not-to-be-missed article by Gordon G. Chang, author of The Coming Collapse of China, from Friday’s edition of American GreatnessHe explains something about the reality of China today. It is an important issue, and we need to understand what they are about, and what they are up to. They are becoming a vast high technology society, and the world is depending on their manufactures and products. They are stealing our technology, and we are not very sure of their aims.

China today is a very tightly controlled society. Everyone is monitored, and to get benefits like taking a train trip one needs lots of good social credits which come from things as simple as obeying traffic lights and donating blood, and all sorts of “good behavior,” like getting the right amount of exercise. They are building high technology centers  everywhere, and clearly spending billions on high-tech infrastructure.

The article is called China’s Han Superstate: The New Third Reich. And do add American Greatness to your list of excellent websites.




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