American Elephants


No News Is Good News by The Elephant's Child

Late getting to the computer yesterday, so I was anxious to find out what had happened during the day.  Apparently nothing. Nothing happened at all. There was an enormous amount of nit-picking, nattering and he-said she -said. If you paid the slightest attention to the news, your life has been diminished, your understanding of the world has shrunk and you know significantly less. The headlines:

“College Plans to Fire Professor who taught a ‘Men in Literature’ Course”

“It Took Three People Two Months  to Create Hillary’s Campaign Logo”

“Cuba Reforms Are Stalling”

“How The Melting Pot Became Cultural Appropriation”

“Swarthmore Students Upset They Actually Got in Trouble for Office Sit-In Protest”

“Auschwitz Demonstrators Who Killed Sheep Weren’t Neo-Nazis.”

“Ashley Judd Embarrasses Herself On Women’s Rights”

“Ten Human Body Modifications You Can Expect In Next Decade”

“AP Reporter Says Sensational WaPo Claim on Tillerson Not True”
(Career diplomats say have not met him and have been instructed not to speak to him directly or make eye-contact)

These are all quite real and typical. There wasn’t anything at all that was actually what we would normally call news. I include no links, because if you read the articles you would know less than you do now. This may simply be a matter of not seeing the elephant in the room, or being more interested in nit-picking, perhaps  it is really a comment on the current state of journalism.

 



The Russia Flap, The Russia Flap. The Russia Flap by The Elephant's Child

One of the people to whom I always pay attention is Victor Davis Hanson. His views of the world today are formed and influenced by his deep knowledge of history, the patterns of thought that descend from the Greek Classics down to today’s world, and are well-seasoned by plain old common sense that comes from a background in farming and coping with the vicissitudes of weather and regulation.

His article “The Russian Farce” from National Review is a masterpiece in today’s strange world where every public or private word that can be nit-picked — will be, ominous meanings will be attached and debated, and the Democrats really need to take a couple of aspirin and lie down for a while and maybe they’ll feel better. Hysteria is not becoming.

In the same manner, Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev was often portrayed in the media as the urbane, suave, and reasonable conciliator, while President Ronald Reagan was depicted as the uncouth disrupter of what could have been improved Russian–American relations.

Senator Ted Kennedy reportedly reached out to Soviet leader Yuri Andropov in 1984 to gain his help in denying Reagan his reelection.

In sum, the American Left always felt that Russia was unduly demonized by the American Right and was a natural friend, if not potential ally, of the United States. That tradition no doubt influenced the decision of the incoming Obama administration to immediately reach out to Vladimir Putin’s Russia, despite its recent aggressions in Georgia and steady crackdown on internal dissent, and despite Russia’s estrangement from the prior Bush administration.

Do read the whole thing. It disposes of the silly Russia flap quite thoroughly, should embarrass a whole bunch of reporters, and points out the drive to deny reality.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Empathy Has No Place In Jurisprudence by The Elephant's Child

Kamala Harris is the new junior California U.S. Senator, replacing Barbara Boxer. She recently published an op-ed explaining why she would not vote to confirm Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. She had previously held office as California’s Attorney General, so her failure to understand the Law is  truly shocking. In a tweet she said:

“Judge Gorsuch has consistently valued legalisms over real lives. I won’t support his nomination. “

“In other words, Harris has problems with Gorsuch because he believes in the rule of law and wants to follow the U.S. Constitution.

Her actual op-ed was also a real treat. After stating Gorsuch was impressive, she offers the same trite and thin analysis of his rulings that has been provided by progressive, social justice advocates.”

…The rest of Judge Gorsuch’s record also shows he’s willing to favor corporations over the American people. He believes companies can impose their religious views on employees and deny women birth-control coverage. And he has been hostile toward federal agencies that protect American workers and consumers.

Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the civil rights hero who argued Brown and inspired my career, once bluntly defined his judicial philosophy, saying, “You do what you think is right and let the law catch up.” In simple terms, Justice Marshall appreciated that the ultimate goal of the law was justice. By stark contrast, Judge Gorsuch has consistently valued narrow legalisms over real lives. I must do what’s right. I cannot support his nomination.

Senator Harris has the frequent Leftist approach to the law, which is giving us so much trouble. The law is not about feelings, nor empathy, nor sympathy, nor pity. There’s a reason for the symbol of “Lady Justice.”

Lady Justice is the symbol of the judiciary. She carries three symbols of the rule of law: a sword symbolizing the court’s coercive power, scales representing the weighing of competing claims, and a blindfold indicating impartiality. This particular representation says:

Justice is the end of government. It is the end of civilized society. It ever has been, ever will be pursued until it be obtained or until liberty be lost in the pursuit.

The judicial oath required of every federal judge and justice says “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I…will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me… under the Constitution and laws of the United States, so help me God.

As I wrote back in 2015—

“Empathy” is the word that has caused so much concern. For empathy has no place in jurisprudence. Federal judges swear an oath to administer justice without respect to persons. If they are to feel more partial to the “young teenage mom,” the “disabled,” the “African-American,” the “gay,” the “old,” then they are not and cannot be impartial, and the rule of law counts for nothing. The “depth and breadth of one’s empathy” is exactly what the judicial oath insists that judges renounce. That impartiality is what guarantees equal protection under the law.

That is what the blindfold is all about.

Nobody said it is easy.

 



Here’s What Happened Last Fall at Yale University by The Elephant's Child

I don’t know how closely you have been following the general insanity on campus in this country, the violence, intolerance and suppression of free speech. At Yale this all began with, of all things, Halloween costumes. Do watch the whole 12 minutes of this We the Internet documentary, it’s an important part of understanding what is going on.

It’s the language war again. This time it is “cultural appropriation” —obviously a bad thing to appropriate someone else’s culture—like tacos, or Chicken Vindaloo, or French perfume? German beer?

It’s clearly time to return to “in loco parentis” or “in the place of parents”, which was once the way college faculty and administrators regarded themselves as the teachers and supervisors of a big group of kids who didn’t know very much and were there to learn how to be grown-ups. In those days, these kids would have promptly been sent home to reflect and beg for readmission at some point.

But then the Sixties arrived, and Vietnam protests by kids who were scared to death they would get drafted and were therefore virulently anti-war. Without getting into the morality of the war, kids rioted and scared faculty and administrators to death. They invaded offices, did a lot of damage, and proclaimed themselves adults, and not to be bossed around by a bunch of timid eggheads, or something like that.

And so it was. Colleges once had “hours” times when kids had to be in their dorms. Kids not conforming to the hours got longer hours when they had to be in their dorms, were promptly sent home at any offense for readjustment, and might not get back in until the next semester. It was a big deal. 18 and 19 year-olds knew they were not adults, and didn’t expect to be treated as such. A new survey reveals that Millenials believe that you don’t become an “adult” until age 30.

And the children have been running the institutions ever since. A significant part of the faculty were Vietnam protesters who avoided the draft with educational deferments to get their PhDs, and since faculties take part in new hiring decisions, mostly refused to hire conservatives who went off to war and made it back. What will happen to this generation of children who won’t grow up, who need “safe spaces” to protect them from words they don’t like, and consider it their right to act out when someone says words they don’t like? Who will hire them? Who will support them until they reach the ripe old age of 30? Going to be interesting to say the least.



Overturning a Regulation Here and a Regulation There and Eventually You Are Free Again by The Elephant's Child

Within just 24 hours, the Senate successfully overturned two sets of regulations finalized by the Department of Education in the final weeks of the Obama administration. As the Daily Signal reported:

Using the oversight authority granted to it by the Congressional Review Act, the Senate passed resolutions of disapproval for accountability regulations under the Every Student Succeeds Act and regulations for teacher preparation programs. These resolutions now proceed to President Donald Trump.

The use of the Congressional Review Act to roll back these regulations provides immediate relief for states and schools. It also prevents the Department of Education from promulgating substantially similar regulations in the future without congressional approval.

Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb) rose to speak about the regulations, and said he had prepared some major thoughts, but put them aside because it all boiled down to two simple facts:

1.Government bureaucrats are not qualified to make highly specific decisions for remote programs.

2. The federal government lacks the constitutional authority to interfere in local decision-making about education.

He also pointed out that the regulations directed at local decision-making  devised by the Obama administration amounted to 635 pages of densely worded directives. 635 pages! Federal micromanagement at its best.

That’s the essence of the Left’s drive for control. They are quite sure that they are considerably smarter than those rubes out there, and must control their every effort at individual freedom.

Striking down regulations one by one is a long and troublesome process. Thank your representatives when they succeed. The Left’s desire for control is, in the end, no match for the American people’s demand for freedom.



Democrat Scandal-Mongering Amounts to Nothing at All by The Elephant's Child

Preet Bharara has been the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. He was fired on Saturday, since he chose not to tender his resignation as the other U.S. Attorneys did. It is customary for U.S. Attorneys to resign when a new administration begins, as they serve at the pleasure of the president. Naturally this has been picked up by the Democrats, trying to make a scandal out of a normal function of government that takes place in every new administration.

James Freeman explains the dramatic situation at the Wall Street Journal:

At the start of the first week since 2009 in which Preet Bharara will not be the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Manhattan residents are jamming local markets in search of emergency supplies of food and water.

Most shoppers are likely responding to a blizzard warning from the National Weather Service. But given the outsize press coverage of Mr. Bharara’s Saturday firing, one could easily assume that New Yorkers, especially those who work in media, are simply trying to cope with a bout of post-Preet depression.

This is another enormous attempt to create scandal out of nothing at all. Pay no attention.




%d bloggers like this: