American Elephants


If It Involves Little Kids, the Democrats Have a Sob Story by The Elephant's Child

Democrats usually rely on emotional appeals to gain their advantage. The earlier discussions of our Southern border were accompanied by pictures of children in cages (from the Obama Administration) and lots of pictures and talk of “little children ripped from their mother’s arms.” Well, no they weren’t. When illegal alien parents were held until they could have a hearing and were detained, our laws said that the children could not be physically detained with their parents. We provided comfortable care, entertainment, with trips to parks and playgrounds, and good food. But our suburban moms seldom get the whole story, and were, as intended, moved by the “ripped from their mothers’ arms” theme repeated over and over. That worked for the Democrats, and they may have even gained some votes from it.

So back to the border. When the “caravans” started in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, they were told right at the beginning that they would not be admitted to the United States. Caravan spokesmen made it clear early on that they were not asking for asylum, they just wanted jobs. So we’ve ended up with 3 or more new caravans, huge, going to walk thousands of miles to show how serious they were. Lots of pictures of the thousand member caravans. But the long slog up the west coast which was supposed to be barren and dangerous didn’t happen, as they seem to have gotten rides most of the way. The Border Patrol has closed most lines of traffic so they cannot use the car lanes.

Some have tried to rush the border, some have tried to climb the fences. When they started throwing rocks and thermoses, the Border Patrol was authorized to defend themselves. The Democrats had the usual emotional response ready. “ICE was using tear gas on unprotected innocent little children.” I think it was the Washington Post that went on about tear-gassing babies in diapers. It was the Border Patrol, not ICE, but ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has already been carefully identified as the bad guys. The whole thing is supposed to reflect very badly on the tyrannical Trump, except the San Diego Union-Tribune called up some articles from 2013  when a little group of about 100 people were trying to illegally cross the border near the San Ysidro port of entry and threw rocks and bottles at U.S. Border Patrol agents who responded with pepper spray and other means to force the little crowd back to Mexico. That was the Obama administration pepper-spraying homeless, desperate deportees making a desperate bid to rejoin their families. According to the Washington Post Obama was doing it once a month.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was instructed not to call them “migrants” but to call them “asylum seekers.” She promptly compared them to Jewish families fleeing Nazi Germany, noting that asking to be considered as a refugee and applying for status is not a crime. International Law requires migrants applying for refugee status to apply to the first country they come to. Mexico offered asylum and at least temporary jobs, but thousands turned down the offer.

Let me repeat what I said at the beginning. They said when they first formed up into a caravan that they knew they wouldn’t get asylum — they just wanted jobs, and our nice benefits. There were a lot of previously deported illegals, and significant numbers of Bangladeshis, and at least 100 identified criminals.

The Center for Immigration Studies (cis.org) has attempted to get a count of the suspected terrorists who have been encountered en route or at the Southwest Border since 2001. Their estimates are here, if you are interested.

Democrats are giving this all the full court press. It has been suggested that they want open borders to get their numbers up on the 2020 census, so they will get more congressional representatives in the House. It would be really helpful if they would actually deal with these problems honestly, but apparently that is quite unlikely.



How Do You Solve A Problem Like Human Nature? by The Elephant's Child

There are faint signs that perhaps the tensions involved over the debate about “globalism” and “national sovereignty” may be clearing a bit. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that European Union (EU) member states must be prepared to transfer their powers over to Brussels at such a debate.

“In an orderly fashion, of course” Merkel said, as she explained that Germany had given up some of its sovereignty in order to join the EU, but national parliaments were in charge of deciding whether or not sign on to international treaties.

The CDU (Christian Democratic Union) leader said that trust and the willingness to compromise are essential in discussing the controversial UN migration pact, which the debate has continued to divide her own party.

Some important allies are pulling out of the agreement – Australia has left saying they will not risk their ‘hard won’ success in controlling their own borders. Trump has said no, and others are trying to figure out where they stand.

Chancellor Merkel accused critics of the Global Compact for Safe and Orderly Migration of “advocating ‘nationalism’ in its purest form.” She paraphrased her French counterpart Emmanuel Macron who recently claimed that “patriotism is the exact opposite because nationalism is treason.” Europe must surrender national sovereignty she said, to Brussels over “foreign affairs, migration, and development, as well as an increasing part of our budgets and even fiscal resources.” She also called for the creation of a real, true EU army and she stated that only through globalism can the world see peace.

This is an old, old argument — even on the original Thanksgiving we celebrate — can’t we all just get along? Well, no we can’t. It is now and always has been a pipe dream. And on throughout world history. The first humans probably started dispersing because they couldn’t get along together and were fighting about the kill that Roku dragged home for dinner, or who was going to get the choice piece of meat. You probably noticed in all the talk about happy family get-togethers for Thanksgiving dinner, there was also a lot of talk about how to deal with Uncle Harry who was a far Left Trump hater, or Uncle Ralph who was a bigoted Conservative.

The concept of a perfect society, or utopia, is as old as humanity. That is really the origin of communism and socialism and Nazism. They believed they were creating the perfect system. Here in America the Utopian Movement gained traction in 19th century America when thousands of people formed communities hoping to improve on existing society. The heyday was between 1820 and 1860. One of the remaining groups from that period is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or the Mormon Church, founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith. There was also the Oneida Community in upstate New York, the Shaker Movement, Brook Farm, a utopian community in Massachusetts.

We have had a lot of movements for “world peace.” There was the “war to end all wars” followed by the League of Nations”, followed by the rise of socialism with Mussolini and Hitler and World War II and the United Nations and the Cold War and another bunch of wars and Angela Merkel ought to be aware that the odds are quite definitely not in her favor.

In the present, Europe is suffering from Merkel’s invitation to all the unhappy people from the Middle East and Africa to migrate to Europe in the mistaken idea that Europe’s problem of declining birthrates and lack of young people to do the scut work and boring jobs would be solved by migration. Instead they got an invasion of Moslems whose religion demanded that those who did not submit to Allah should be killed. The migrants were welcomed all over Europe with gifts of food and clothing, flowers and song. The migrants were happy to accept the gifts, complained bitterly about the accommodations provided, and wanted to be supported by European generosity. They have instead proved willing to burn cars, rape any available women and girls, and engage in occasional shootings, and their communities have become dangerous ‘no-go’ districts. Merkel has just still not given up on her ideas of utopia.

In spite of all the Never-Trumpers, the deranged ‘celebrities’ in a constant search for the nearest microphone, and the newest “Democratic-Socialists”, plain old free-market capitalism in a constitutional republic seems to work better than anything else. The news of the day is not usually about how peaceful and happy the nations of the world are, but about their quarrels. Quarreling remains human nature, and we seem to be stuck with it.



How Will Trump Deal With The Migrant Caravans? by The Elephant's Child

With three or more “caravans” of migrants from Central America heading up the west coast of Mexico towards our southern border, there are lots of questions about immigration. President Trump wants to eliminate birthright citizenship for those who are not born to citizens.

A few years back, more than five but I can’t remember how many, a Russian oligarch arrived in New York harbor in his gigantic yacht, anchored and shortly rushed to a New York hospital so his mistress could have an American citizen baby. Somehow that just didn’t seem right.

This election has made it clear just why the Left is so determined to favor any and all illegal aliens who arrive, and want them to become citizens. The issue of vote fraud has been very clear in California, Florida and quite a few other states, with non-citizens illegally voting. For the current crop of Democrats, being in control is all important, and they are willing to go to any lengths to make sure they are.

Migrant family apprehensions in October are up 378 percent over last year. That’s before any caravan has reached the border. The Left has insisted on portraying the caravans as peaceful migrants, but a hundred migrants have disappeared from the march. Someone rolled a truck up, told the migrants they could get a free ride, and no one has seen them since. The kids can become a “family unit” for traffickers, the women cn go to a brothel and the men may end up as drug mules or in mass graves. Massive numbers do not necessarily promote safety.

So President Trump has sent troops to the border, wants to end “birthright citizenship”, wants to build a wall to make it harder for illegals to get in. What can he do? What are his legal powers? Dan Cadman at the Center For Immigration Studies has spelled out the President’s powers: The Background, The Use of the Military, the Enforcement Powers, The Use of Force, and Border Agent Force Multipliers and other Executive Powers of the President. He can close the border.  This is a very useful view of the President’s Executive Power. Do read the whole thing. It will serve you well, as Democrats start trying to eliminate ICE, (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) the border police, and change the nation’s laws because they want to assure their own power. This is a very troubling period.



Here’s A Very Special Video for Veterans’s Day by The Elephant's Child

Thanks to Maggie’s Farm and Bruce Kessler for finding this video. It’s memorable and very special.



The Caravan Moves On And the Questions Multiply. by The Elephant's Child

A second “caravan” has been formed and crossed the border from Honduras into Guatemala on Sunday, and on to the town of Chiquimula by Monday night.  The first Caravan (the name the media has conferred) which has been estimated at over 7,000 by the UN, the Mexican newspaper El Universal says it has swelled to around 14,000. A Fox News crew traveling with the caravan has footage showing trucks handing out food, water and toilet paper to the migrants.

Oddly, no one has mentioned whether these people have television at home and if they have seen the vast caravans of migrants making their way to Europe and settling in. These are not spontaneous uprisings. but organized and paid groups. Investor’s Business Daily says:

The “caravan” of illegal immigrants from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras now making its way to the U.S. border is no accident. The timing, planning and financing of this tragic parade has but one intent: to disrupt and influence our midterm elections. Is this what the left means by “election meddling”?

The heart-rending shots of dirt-poor people from Central America have been making the evening news, which pretends this is some kind of spontaneous movement to come to the U.S. rather than an organized attempt at disruption.

Women and children have been shoved to the fore of the columns to hide the fact that many of the 4,000 to 10,000-strong throng of people are in fact working-age males, not families. Already, in crossing the narrow entry from Guatemala into Mexico, the peaceful “caravan” members got violent, injuring four Mexican border police who stood in their way. It prompted a response from Mexico’s president.

Representative Louis Gohmert (TX) has suggested using the RICO statutes to find out where the funding is coming from, Chavista Venezuelan oil money is suspected since the Chavista’s stated desire is to flood America with indigent migrants. They have ties to the Pueblo Sin Fronteras, a well known Chavez-supporting Honduras group. Soros is suspected. The media are not interested. Somebody is supporting pre-arranged and paid-for trucks which the migrants are climbing aboard.

But the migrants are also breaking into Mexican grocery stores and helping themselves to everything. They are already leaving behind all sorts of stuff in a mess, but including strollers and bedding. All will become clearer as time passes. It’s a long way walking up through Mexico to the border. Fox News interviewed one migrant who said that there are criminals “everywhere” in th crowd. Other sources have identified Bangladeshis. It is very likely that there are MS-13 and other terrorists among the numbers.



The Dogs Bark But the Caravan Moves On Through Mexico by The Elephant's Child


This Sunday in Southern Mexico: the Mexican authorities have not been able to turn back the Caravan. “Their numbers swelled to about 5,000 overnight and at first light they set out walking toward Tapachula, 10 abreast in a line stretching approximately a mile.” Breitbart has a video.

After an emergency meeting in Guatemala, presidents Hernandez of Honduras and Jimmy Morales of Guatemala said an estimated 5,400 migrants had entered Guatemala since the caravan was announced a week ago, and about 2,000 Hondurans have returned voluntarily.

Mexicans are offering food to some, but obviously feeding 7,000 is not going to happen. President Trump has said they are not entering this country, and he will call out the Army, not the Guard. Just how they are to be stopped must be a quandary. They are invaders, hoping to accomplish what they want by their sheer numbers. Democrats, clearly without understanding of the potential problems, are all for open borders because a majority of new immigrants are apt to vote Democrat, and apparently that is the only thing about them that interests the Left. They have reportedly been paid to do this.

What they are going to do without food is a question. Even if they have some money, no grocery store can supply 5-7,000 people. We could address the crowd somewhere in Mexico and explain that even our economy cannot supply work for 7,000 people at once. Give each of them a $100 bill if they give their word that when registered to vote, they will vote Republican.

That ought to get the Democrats very interested in building the wall on our Southern Border. Congressmen would probably head down to the border themselves to help build it.



What Has Transformed the Democratic Party? by The Elephant's Child

 

What has transformed the Democratic party into an anguished progressive movement that incorporates the tactics of the street, embraces maenadism¹, reverts to Sixties carnival barking, and is radicalized by a new young socialist movement? Even party chairman Tom Perez concedes that there are “no moderate Democrats left,” and lately the rantings of Cory Booker, Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder, and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez confirm that diagnosis.”  ¹(crazy raving)

That was how Victor Davis Hanson began his column “The Origins of Progressive Agony” on October 16 – a question we’re all asking. Obama won the Presidency in 2008 and 2012, and somehow in the process managed to lose control of state legislatures, governorships, the House, the Senate and finally the presidency itself. He managed to cripple the economy, make racial and cultural differences worse, raise taxes and make a mess of foreign policy. It was a divisive presidency. Democrats have never taken a failure at the ballot box well, but this time they went all out in rage and grief.

“The coordinated effort to destroy Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court required the systematic refutation of the entire notion of Western jurisprudence by senators and much of the American legal establishment. And there was no hesitation in doing just that on the part of Senate Democrats, the #MeToo movement, and the press.” That, Victor Davis Hanson wrote on September 30th.

Probably most of you have seen and enjoyed the You Tube composites of prominent Democrats laughingly saying that “Donald Trump is Not going to be president!” I’m not sure of all the presidents between Lincoln and Wilson, but I cannot remember any other election where the losing party behaved so badly. Americans have certainly not uniformly liked the president that they opposed, but this seems to be something new and different. A lot of us thought that some of the excess of Obama worship went way too far, but we didn’t start issuing death threats to his supporters, nor attack them in restaurants.

A president is someone we hire for four years to manage the federal bureaucracy and our relations with the rest of the world. It’s a tough job, and much depends on the people he hires to help him carry out the job. If a president succeeds in keeping the economy moving in the right direction, and manages to keep our relations with the rest of the world on an even keel, he (or she) deserves a lot of credit.

You don’t have to fall in love with him (or her), nor even like him personally. Democrats fell in love with Barack Obama. Electing the first black president gave them enormous credit, and made them feel good about themselves. So they hardly noticed when the economy turned sour, when the much hearlded ObamaCare has been an expensive mess, when he turned the Iraq success sour by pulling the troops out too soon.  His economists told him that economic growth was stuck, and would probably never rise over 2 percent. Obama was loved and admired, but unfortunately his policies were just wrong.

Yes. President Trump tweets. He calls people names. He has orange hair, and his neckties are too long. Many people don’t like the way he talks. Dan Bongino, who is also from Queens, says President Trump talks like someone from Queens who is in the construction business. Trump’s father put him to work with construction crews early on. Neither the accent nor the orange hair, nor even the tweets are what matters. We need to keep our priorities straight.



How Jack Became Black by The Elephant's Child

This goes well with the Heather MacDonald post. We have long considered Race to be both a big deal and in some way defining, but if you give it a little serious thought, it is our bureaucracies at all levels that demand that we give race importance in places where it shouldn’t matter.  When my health insurance demanded to know what my race was, I got my back up, and refused. The bureaucracies demand to know, because they have to put it down on a list which will go on to higher levels of bureaucracy until it reaches the level where some senator can use the statistic in a speech.

This is a trailer for a film about which I know nothing more than this trailer. May be preachy and obnoxious, or may be good, but I thought the trailer was interesting. Do we add Elizabeth Warren to the discussion?



The Puzzlement of Trading With China by The Elephant's Child

You have probably noticed that I favor columns from Victor Davis Hanson, among others. I think he is an important voice today. Yesterday was no exception with “Trump on the Ground”— which is a comment on contemporary California. Dr. Hansen is currently in Hillsdale for a teaching assignment for some lucky kids at Hillsdale College. Does Trump Get Deserved Credit? he asks. Not necessarily since it wars with the paradox that Trump is now seen by many as useful, but not as presidential. When one is doing well, he has the luxury of dreaming that it might be better to do poorly under a so-called presidential leader. (Do read the whole thing)

Abroad, for all the hatred of Donald Trump, there is a quiet, though usually repressed, recognition that the United States is doing what it long should have been doing—leading the world to an economic recovery, despite Trump’s trash-talking tariffs, and going to the mat with China. Critics concede that China is culpable of all sorts of trade violations. They add in the past that nothing much worked to persuade them to follow the global norms of currency, labor, environmental, and safety regulations, as well as copyright and patent laws. And while they abhor tariffs, they nonetheless have no ideas otherwise how to nudge China to follow the rules of global citizenship.

“The Obama years may have allowed China to infringe on American global power, but under Trump. this tide is turning. As governments around the world watch China’s expanding reach with resignation, the president has signed into law a bill promising to restrict foreign investment in the U.S. Under the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act, the U.S. government has added a powerful tool to block other countries—namely China—from buying up or funneling money into US companies. This is directly protecting vital strategic assets and know-how.”

In 2015 and 16, Beijing’s corporations went on an overseas acquisitions spree that concluded with multibillion dollar deals throughout the U.S., while the Obama administration stood idly by. U.S. intelligence  has long classified Chinese firms as security risks, raising concerns that China is able to access technologies underpinning American military might and economic power. Now the new investment law and the new National Defense Authorization Act prohibits U.S. government agencies from using telecommunications and surveillance products from Chinese technology firms like ZTE and Hyawei, their voices are now codified into U.S. law.

America has been a major destination for Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in the last decade, and the largest target of Chinese capital flows since 2005. But even if Chinese President Xi tirelessly touts the supposed benign nature of investments, don’t be fooled: such investments are a favorite, and more surreptitious, weapon in the Chinese arsenal than the military – a weapon China is employing freely given the country cannot compete with U.S. military might in terms of capabilities and global force projection.

China is clearly trying to undermine America’s global power status through money rather than military might. Beijing’s pockets seem deep. Trump must draw some red lines abroad when it comes to Chinese investments. The consequences of Obama’s years of neglect will give China more of an advantage.

 



A Brief History Lesson: What Was The Cold War? by The Elephant's Child

British historian Andrew Roberts explains what the Cold War was all about. Oddly enough, even those who lived through it are apt to forget. The left really thought that communism might be a better system.

You still hear the echoes in Nancy Pelosi’s comments  that tax cuts have nothing to do with growing an economy, but are simply gifts for the very wealthy who clearly don’t deserve it. (That’s what the Left wants the poor to believe) Since she is very wealthy, who knows what she really believes. Democrats want people to pay more taxes so they will have more money to give to the poor to buy their votes.

The idea that free people, able to keep more of their own money, can create, invent, expand their businesses, or act on their own ambitions, somehow is not as important as control by their betters.

It’s followed by a fireside chat with Dennis Praeger.



Just What Does Being “Presidential” Mean? by The Elephant's Child

170520-trump-goodwin-feature

I have always suspected that Leftist ideology would prefer that we were more like Europe. Not sure what that means—Kings and Queens instead of boring old presidents? More castles for the exceedingly rich so they don’t have to build their own? Surely it’s not more wars. I also suspect that it’s partly because they are more than a little unfamiliar with history. They are very big on blaming America for slavery and racism, apparently unaware that slavery was the way of the world pretty much until the British and America banned it. American Indians practiced slavery. The vast majority of the trans-Atlantic slave trade went to the sugar islands of the Caribbean and South America, not here.

My point, however, is that Americans don’t understand the efforts made by the Founding Fathers, the early settlers, and historians well-versed in history to not favor any kind of royal trappings, they wanted us simple, ordinary, common, down-to-earth, good people. After the Revolution, when we thought we were done with British royalty, many wanted George Washington to be a King, but he would have no truck with that. He really didn’t want to be the President —he just wanted to go back to his farm. Whenever someone got to yearning for more elegance, there was usually someone else to remind that we don’t do that sort of thing. There was just an extensive article this week about the tendency of residents of “the swamp” to want to buy great art (with taxpayer dollars) to make Washington DC  a little classier.

Which brings me to the vast complaints about President Trump. The problem is the tweets. Of course it’s the language too, the Queens accent, (Dan Bongino, who is from Queens. says Trump talks like someone from Queens who is in the construction business.) Even the Never Trumpers always emphasize the tweets. The insults, the name-calling, the criticism. He’s Not Presidential!! they cry, forgetting that tweeting was not available to the previous 44 or 43.  I don’t mind because it tells us what he’s thinking, and I find that helpful information. And if they knew a little more presidential history, they wouldn’t yammer on about being “unpresidential.”

But “presidential”— if there is some particular standard for presidents, I must have missed it. We have had a very few exceptional, a lot of more or less OK ones, some marginally competent and some downright awful. The party that is not in power always has nasty thing to say about the president that is in power. Presidents are only ordinary men (so far) with all the faults and quirks that go along with being human, who are maybe a little more ambitious that the rest of us. We elect them to run the country for four years, and if they do a very good job we may give them another four years. We ask a lot of a president, but he gets to surround himself with the best advisors he possibly can get along with, but he’s the boss. When the board of directors of a corporation needs a new CEO do they sit around the table complaining about his funny hair, or his tan out of a bottle? They want someone who can make the company work better, earn more money, make better products, hire better people, make the company grow and prosper.

But isn’t that exactly what Trump is doing? Making the country grow and prosper? Black and Hispanic unemployment is the lowest in history. Small business prospering, large business prospering. But the Media says Trump is a racist? (see previous post) No, former Speaker Pelosi, tax cuts are not just for the rich. Everybody benefits, and the rich don’t necessarily benefit the most. And announcing that the first thing you’d do when you get back in power is to end the tax cuts immediately requires an immediate remedial course in economics, as well as a failure to get back in power.

When you cut taxes, people are able to keep more of their own money, and invest it in new businesses, new products, new ideas, or just buy something they’ve needed for years. When the government dumps dumb regulations that are not accomplishing anything, people are freed up to do new things. But the environment! Trump is getting rid of regulations. Yes. filling the gas tanks of America’s cars with fuel made of corn (food) was a dumb idea. The Paris Climate Accords were a scheme to get the rich countries to give a big chunk of their wealth to poor developing countries for free, and pretending that it had some effect on the climate (it didn’t) was a dumb idea.  What the Left hates is that the country is prospering under Trump, and there’s a possibility that he might get re-elected, which accounts for much of the venom.



Wars Are To Be Won, They are Not Playing Fields For Theorists by The Elephant's Child

Japanese Surrender

It was seventy three years ago today. There are few left who remember at first hand, and even new recruits who were 20 then would be 93 today. Victor Davis Hanson remarked a while ago, that history is about wars. Do we gradually become inured to war as it grows more distant? Are those most bellicose in the present the ones who are historically the most ignorant? How much of our present attitudes are related to how much, and how accurate is our knowledge of history?

This original post was written in 2009, with references to President Obama’s current words and actions about the Middle East and Afghanistan. I left that part our and reprinted the history. The first link below is to pictures of the Missouri. This one is to the history of the Last Battleship

The Emperor Hirohito, of course, did not come down to the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay for the surrender ceremonies.  To misunderstand that demonstrates a lack of understanding of the Pacific War and the relationship of the Emperor to the Japanese people. In their 2000 year history, the Japanese had never surrendered to anyone.  Japan was determined to fight on, even after Okinawa was lost.  The Japanese navy had effectively ceased to exist, but an all-out defense of the homeland beachhead was planned.  Rebellious army officers planned a palace coup which was put down.  On August 14, 1945, the Emperor recorded a speech which was broadcast to the nation at noon on the following day, August 15.

The Japanese people were stunned.  They had never before heard the Emperor’s voice.  The formal surrender ceremony took place aboard the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945. The Japanese representatives on board the Missouri were Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu (wearing top hat) and General Yoshijiro Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff.  Behind them are three representatives each of the Foreign Ministry, the Army and the Navy.

Japanese Surrender2

Worth noting is an article from The New York Times that quoted  Toshikazu Kase, a 100-year-old veteran of the Imperial Japanese government. (Second from right in middle row in the top hat).  He would write in his memoirs about the surrender to MacArthur on the deck of the Missouri:

Here is the victor announcing the verdict to the prostrate enemy.  He can impose a humiliating penalty if he so desires.  And yet he pleads for freedom, tolerance and justice.  For me, who expected the worst humiliation, this was a complete surprise.  I was thrilled beyond words, spellbound, thunderstruck.

Understanding the history of our relations with Japan is crucial to understanding our relationship and friendship with Japan today. Understanding the history of Israel and Palestine helps to keep from making mistakes about who our friends are and why.  Understanding the history of Latin America keeps a president from siding with some of the region’s worst dictators, and confusing our Constitution and laws with the constitution and laws of Honduras.

These things matter, and if a President does not have the background, it should be included in briefings. If his speechwriters don’t have the background, they should look it up.  And if the State Department doesn’t have the background, God help us .

(the headline comes from a quotation from Ralph Peters)

I ran onto this piece today, a pictorial of the Japanese memorial service in honor of those who died in World War II, with a picture of Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.That reminded me of a book I’ve had for years, an autobiography by Elizabeth Gray Vining, which I recommend highly. She became a member of the Society of Friends after her young husband was killed in an auto accident in which she survived. When the Japanese Emperor Hirohito decided to employ an American Quaker woman as a tutor for his son and the future Emperor, they turned to Elizabeth Vining. Her first book is
Windows for the Crown Prince followed by the autobiography Quiet Pilgrimage in which she tells about the appointment.She wrote:

“In the fall of 1946 a quiet Philadelphia woman was suddenly picked up, transported halfway around the globe and dropped down again in the middle of the oldest, the most formal, the most mysterious court in the world, the court of Japan. I was that woman.”

In her autobiography she includes much of what didn’t appear in the earlier book. I found the whole thing absolutely fascinating.




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