American Elephants


We Apparently Paid A Really Big Ransom To Iran For Our Hostages. by The Elephant's Child

The truth will out, as Shakespeare said. It doesn’t always become clear when it should, but sooner or later it does. Back in September, AEI’s Michael Rubin “testified before the House Financial Services Committee on the allegation that the Obama administration had paid Iran a ransom—at the time it was believed to be $400 million but it was later revealed that the figure was more than three times that amount—in cash for the release of American hostages held by Iran.”

At the hearing, it is now clear that State Department officials lied outright to the committee. But, lest there be any question about how the Iranian government perceived the payment received from the United States, Hossein Nejat, deputy Intelligence Director of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps yesterday bragged that Iran forced the United States to pay $1.4 billion ransom to win the release of imprisoned Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian.

What does this mean for the United States? Unfortunately, the damage is already done. The cash the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps received (for they were the entity which took possession of the ransom) will fuel greater terror as well as Iran’s campaigns in Syria, Yemen, and perhaps Bahrain as well. In 2010, the United States busted the Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington because the US intelligence community was monitoring bank accounts known to be operated by the Qods Force. Cash makes it far easier for Iran to move money without risk of detection.

There is a reason why the United States customarily does not pay ransom for Americans taken as hostages. Giving in puts the life of anyone else in reach of terrorist forces at risk, leaves the impression that the United States is weak, and puts our allies at risk as well. Michael Rubin says the hostage agreement should be published. Obama promised he would preside over the most transparent administration in history. Well, yes. Promises, promises. “It is now clear that State Department officials lied outright to the committee,” Rubin added. And you wonder why President Trump speaks of draining the swamp.



The Dakota Access Pipeline Protest Is Over — Their Disgusting Mess Left For Others to Clean Up. by The Elephant's Child

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It takes a fair amount of garbage to fill 240 rollout dumpsters, and the protesters at the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota left a mess. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will spend more than $1 million to clean up the debris left by protesters who succeeded in temporarily shutting down the construction of the pipeline under orders from President Barack Obama. We apparently cannot bill President Obama, and the taxpayers will once again have to pay for the cleanup. They left behind not only their old food supplies, but tents, teepees, building materials, personal belongings, human waste and even trucks and motor homes. They also left behind their pets—dogs and puppies—but animal rescue agencies have stepped in for those.

It was all so pointless. The light, sweet crude oil is being transported from the Bakken/Three Forks production area in North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois. The state of the art 30 inch underground 1,172-mile pipeline will eliminate 500-740 rail cars and/or over 250 trucks needed to transport the oil every day.  99.98% of the pipeline is installed on privately owned property in North Dakota,South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois. The remaining 0.02% is owned by the federal government. None is owned by the Standing Rock Sioux. It runs 5′ under the Missouri River next to an existing pipeline. The pipeline  has created 12,000 construction jobs during building.

The Standing Rock Sioux wanted publicity and to call attention to their gripe about historical loss of their lands, and environmentalists who regard oil as particularly evil, and publicity-seeking film people flocked to the site to get media attention. Once winter set in, they pretty much lost interest, and there you are—another million dollar bill for the taxpayers— from people too lazy to clean up after themselves.



It’s a Big Job, How Do You Start? by The Elephant's Child

Over at National Review, David French explains what a monumental job reducing the reach of the regulatory state is.

At present, the vast and bloated executive branch — existing through its alphabet soup of agencies such as the EPA, IRS, DOE, ATF, and the like — intrudes into virtually every aspect of American life. It regulates your workplace, your home, your car, and your kids’ school. It’s staffed by legions of bureaucrats who enjoy job security that private-sector employees can only dream of, and it’s granted legal authority by the Supreme Court to interpret its own governing statutes and expand the scope of its own authority. In its own spheres of influence, it often acts as legislator, prosecutor, and judge. …

To dismantle the administrative state, the executive and legislative branches will have to act against their perceived political interests. The executive will have to intentionally surrender power, and the legislature will have to accept accountability. In other words, Donald Trump — as a matter of formal policy — will have to abandon an ideology that says he “alone” can fix this nation, and the legislature will have to embrace the reality of casting hard votes, day after day and week after week. Let’s not forget, the administrative state exists in large part because Congress has intentionally abdicated authority. It passes extraordinarily broad bills that empower executive-branch agencies to write even more law and impose even more restrictions. Congress goes home and says, “We voted for clean air,” while the EPA does all the heavy lifting to define what that really means. Or Congress says, “We voted for banking reform and better markets,” while an array of agencies promulgate rule after rule affecting companies from coast to coast. Congress takes credit for its intentions. It blames others for the outcomes.

To dismantle the administrative state, the executive and legislative branches will have to act against their perceived political interests. The executive will have to intentionally surrender power, and the legislature will have to accept accountability. In other words, Donald Trump — as a matter of formal policy — will have to abandon an ideology that says he “alone” can fix this nation, and the legislature will have to embrace the reality of casting hard votes, day after day and week after week. Let’s not forget, the administrative state exists in large part because Congress has intentionally abdicated authority. It passes extraordinarily broad bills that empower executive-branch agencies to write even more law and impose even more restrictions. Congress goes home and says, “We voted for clean air,” while the EPA does all the heavy lifting to define what that really means. Or Congress says, “We voted for banking reform and better markets,” while an array of agencies promulgate rule after rule affecting companies from coast to coast. Congress takes credit for its intentions. It blames others for the outcomes.

Do read the whole thing:



The Laws of the United States of America Are Going to be Enforced. by The Elephant's Child

john-kelly-testifies-1500-20-jan-2017-ts600John Kelly, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, has issued two memoranda directed to the federal agencies that are involved in implementing executive orders or immigration. The memoranda are clearly intended to tell ICE and the Border Patrol and other agencies that the United States laws on immigration are now going to be enforced.

It’s not all going to happen overnight, new resources will be required including the hiring of 10,000 new ICE officers and agents. The memorandum titled “Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest” makes it explicitly clear that it is the president’s constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. We have a president who takes his oath of office seriously. This should not be news, but in the wake of Barack Obama’s abdication, it is. Kelly’s memoranda reads, in part:

Except as specifically noted above, the Department no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. In faithfully executing the immigration laws, Department personnel should take enforcement actions in accordance with applicable law. In order to achieve this goal, as noted below, I have directed ICE to hire 10,000 officers and agents expeditiously, subject to available resources, and to take enforcement actions consistent with available resources. However, in order to maximize the benefit to public safety, to stem unlawful migration and to prevent fraud and misrepresentation, Department personnel should prioritize for removal those aliens described by Congress in Sections 212(a)(2), (a)(3), and (a)(6)(C), 235(b) and (c), and 237(a)(2) and (4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Victor Davis Hanson points out the complications. Activists portray illegal immigration as a tale of the desperately poor from south of the border seeking a new productive life in the U.S., but the Mexican government keeps taxes low on their elites by exporting their own poor citizens who will send remittances back to Mexico—some $25 billion from Mexican citizens working in America—to support the Mexican economy. Mexico’s approach to immigration enforcement on their own southern border is sterner, and perhaps you remember the U.S. military member who got confused at the border crossing into Mexico, got into the wrong line and ended up in a Mexican prison for his error. And of course the Mexican government is having fits at President Trump’s tweets.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly were in Mexico today to meet with the Mexican government. The current initiative is focused  primarily on those illegal aliens who threaten national security, border security or public safety. But being here illegally is unlawful.

President Obama wanted to use illegal immigrants’ numbers to change the demographics in districts currently unfavorable to Democrats. Which makes the attempts to conflate illegal aliens and illegal immigrants and legal immigrants in the public mind clearer. If most people don’t understand the difference between the popular vote and the electoral college vote, that makes it easier to change the vote by changing the population of a district. Thus, most of those who violated our immigration laws got a pass.

That is coming to a halt. “DHS no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. Any illegal immigrant encountered in the course of normal law -enforcement  operations will be subject to deportation.” In other words, our laws will be enforced. It is only in America that deporting aliens or those who have overstayed their visas is a big deal. In virtually every other country immigration enforcement is an uncontroversial part of national life. Canada deports about 13,000 people annually. Australia deports 10,000 people annually, and they intercept illegal boat migrants by denying them any claim to refugee status by not allowing them to land.

The vast majority of Americans oppose the idea of sanctuary cities. A new Harris poll shows that 89% of voters say local authorities should have to comply with the law by reporting illegal immigrants, and the president has broad public support for cracking down on sanctuary cities. American Hispanic citizens are no more favorable to illegal aliens than the rest of us.

Is it possible that the Democrats are on the wrong track here? It would seem so, but if they have a death wish for their party, who am I to interfere?



Tucker Carlson Interviews Leader of Berkeley Protests by The Elephant's Child

Published on Feb 13, 2017

Yvette Felarca, a middle school teacher and “By Any Means Necessary” leader explains to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson her definition of fascism and why gay immigrant Milo Yiannopoulos shouldn’t be allowed to speak anywhere at any time.

Fascism seems to be any view that conflicts with her own, and she is quite sure of her diagnosis of all things fascist. Might be described as sheer venom. You may not disagree. Parents with a child in middle school might want to consider homeschooling.



What? You Mean Rioting Is Against the Law? by The Elephant's Child

dc-riotsNBC News has reported that 209 Inauguration Day rioters have so far been indicted for felony rioting charges. They will face a fine of up to $25,000 and a maximum of 10 years in prison. 230 people were arrested during President Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20, but several cases have been dismissed.

Federal investigators were still going over hundreds of hours of video, some of it captured by undercover Washington D.C. police officers during the riots and protests, and many still photos. D.C. officers wore body cameras while on duty at the protests. Defense attorneys for the rioters have said that many of their clients are college students who live outside of Washington D.C., Maryland or Virginia. Poor victims, of course.  Who Knew? There are Consequences for Bad Behavior.



The Spontaneous Demonstrations at Our Airports Were Carefully Planned. by The Elephant's Child

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Those “Spontaneous Anti-Trump Airport protests weren’t Spontaneous at all,” reports Investors Business Daily. They were carefully planned by hard-core left-wing activist groups. Professional organizers have been waiting for, and planning for Trump’s orders on deportations, bans and detentions. Trump made it clear early that he planned ‘on day one’ to issue a temporary ban on visas and refugees from countries where terrorism was rampant. All these groups had to do was be ready when he made good on his campaign promise.

The news media was astonished, and rushed to report every last sign, shout, shouter, bullhorn and count the crowds. Yet the groups planning the “spontaneous” protests had been eager to share , and claimed to be in “constant contact with lawyers’ associations, lawmakers and reporters.” So how much was fact and how much was made up or wildly exaggerated? How many times did you hear that it was a “Muslim Ban?” It was not. There was no Muslim Ban.

The protests are absurd. Trump’s orders are clearly within his executive powers. The Washington State judge who granted a federal stay suggesting that the executive orders were unconstitutional was out of line, and his suggestions that the orders were harming the people of Washington, silly.

The executive order instituted a 90 day suspension (not ban) of immigrants from countries listed by the Obama administration as having a significant presence of foreign terrorist organizations. It also suspended the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days to give Homeland Security and the DNI time to determine how to make sure that terrorists weren’t slipping in as refugees—something ISIS has said they are doing. It also sets a slightly lower cap on refugees this year  than has been the norm for the past decade.

The countries concerned were listed by the Obama administration, not by Trump. President Obama barred large groups of immigrants at least six times out of national security concerns. But then his most recent executive order was to ban any refugees from Cuba—sending them back to the Castros’ communist Cuba.

Catholic Archbishop Bashar Warda of Irbil in Iraq plaintively asked:

“Where were all those protesters when ISIS came to kill Christians and Yazidis and other minority groups? They were not protesting when the tens of thousands of displaced Christians my archdiocese has cared for since 2014 received no financial assistance from the U.S. government or the U.N. There were no protests when Syrian Christians were only let in at a rate that was 20 times less than the percentage of their population in Syria.

I do not understand why some Americans are now upset that the many minority communities that faced a horrible genocide will finally get a degree of priority in some manner.

The Center for Immigration Studies suggests that we can help far more refugees if we help to settle them close to home, where they can more easily return home when the current danger passes. Most refugees don’t really want to move to a new country and an unknown new life. but would rather remain at home where everyone speaks their language and their relatives live, if it was safe.




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