American Elephants

California’s Sanctuary Laws Are Unconstitutional by The Elephant's Child

California’s Governor Jerry Brown ran for the nearest microphone to shriek that the Trump administration “is basically going to war against the state of California.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions filed a lawsuit Tuesday against California’s sanctuary state laws. There are three in particular: The Immigrant Worker Protection Act (HB 450); the Inspection and Review of Facilities Housing Federal Detainees law (AB 103); and the California Values Act (SB54). The Trump administration argues that the California laws are unconstitutional under the Supremacy Clause, which states that federal law “shall be the supreme Law of the Land.” The laws prevent corporations and prisons from cooperating with federal authorities.

Governor Jerry Brown tweeted, “At a time of unprecedented political turmoil, Jeff Sessions has come to California to further divide and polarize America. Jeff, these political stunts may be the norm in Washington, but they don’t work here. SAD!!!”

A Survey USA/KPIX poll conducted last week after Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf warned illegal immigrants last week about potential ICE raids. ICE detained more than 200 illegals last week, but a potential 800 illegals, many of whom are criminals escaped. The poll found that 61% in the San Francisco Bay Area — including 65% of whites, 61% Blacks, 59% Hispanics and 53% of Asians — believe local police should help federal authorities detain illegal immigrants. This is not surprising.

Democrats are anxious to increase the numbers of immigrants, particularly Hispanics, because they are apt to vote Democrat as they usually choose a government that offers more services. The American people clearly want the numbers of illegal immigrants cut back sharply. The Democrats are still calling them “undocumented” rather than “illegal” which is telling. And trying to deny the crimes committed.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions flew to California this morning to meet with the California Peace Officers Association, a group that has opposed the State’s sanctuary stance consistently. They have to deal with the criminals. Sessions said:

There is no nullification. There is no secession. Federal law is ‘the supreme law of the land.’  I invite any doubters to Gettysburg, and to the graves of John C. Calhoun and Abraham Lincoln.

California may top the list of badly managed states. The U-Haul measurement shows a steady outflow of people and businesses. Jerry Brown’s high-speed train to nowhere continues to bankrupt the state, the wildfires this last year that devastated the state were unnecessary because of failure to remove dry undergrowth, water problems led to the Oroville Dam disaster and also to the water needs of the great Central Valley which was the breadbasket of the country. San Francisco streets are filled with human feces and homeless. Los Angeles has tried to tackle the removal of a city of homeless camped along the Los Angeles river. But as long as Silicon Valley is happy, the rest of the state can go hang. The freeways are filled with potholes, I am told. I lived in California for too many years and loathe the state. But many like the weather and the beaches. Jerry Brown huffed:

This is really unprecedented for the chief law enforcement officer of the United States to come out to California and act more like Fox News than a law enforcement officer. This is a political stunt,” Brown said. “We know the Trump administration is full of liars. They’ve pled guilty already to the special counsel.”

“This is basically going to war against the state of California, the engine of the American economy. It’s not wise, it’s not right, and it will not stand,” Brown said.

Here’s the Supremacy Clause — Article VI, second clause:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.


Please, Try to Learn Some Facts Before You Speak. by The Elephant's Child

People who know nothing about guns, have never held one in their hands nor fired one, should try to get slightly informed before they start lecturing the rest of the country about banning guns. Nobody needs guns, they will say. Tell that to Oprah, or George and Amal Clooney, the Katzenbergs, or Steven Spielberg who are collectively donating $2 million to the children’s crusade, the “March for Our Lives” — a disgusting politicization of Parkland students’ anguish. And ask if these wealthy folk have bodyguards, and do their bodyguards carry guns?

I grew up in the mountains of Idaho, on 400 acres adjoining National Forest. We had varmints. Coyotes, lynx, bobcats, porcupines, skunks, bears, cougar. Local ranchers had guns. When one of their herd broke a leg or was harmed by other wildlife, they had to be put down. There were no local vets. Coming home from a ride one day, I was blocked from the ford in the river by a coiled rattlesnake, and my horse was having fits. Having to dispatch a rattlesnake with large rocks was fairly scary.  I suppose I was firing a .22 by the time I was six. We usually took a gun along on our early spring picnic to fire at tin cans down on a beach on the Big Salmon River where blooms were out and lambs were newborn. At home we still had a couple of feet of snow. I was fairly deadly with woodrats, but most of the rest of the wildlife was safe from me.

The Left is anxious to ban guns and attack the NRA. I suspect that Lefties are sure that people who grow up in the mountains of Idaho live in compounds of crackpots who all have guns and explosives and may rise up to take their country back.  The statistics on guns are quite clear, banning guns does not solve anything. The scary accessories on a so called “assault weapon” are just to make an ordinary rifle sexier. They don’t do anything useful. Far more people are killed with handguns, blunt objects, knives, and fists. I would bet that Oprah and the others have no idea what the NRA does, or who they are. Virtue signalling.

The Parkland school shooting was a failure of the FBI, the local police, the Sheriff’s office and the school itself. CNN has compounded the reaction with their dishonest use of traumatized children in a scripted Townhall for their own purposes. At Ricochet, a woman from Kentucky writes about an earlier school shooting this year, and the contrasts.  And someone else suggested that people don’t do their homework — that is they don’t do even a small amount of research to see if they know what they are talking about, because they are afraid of having to read something long. A preference for very thin books. Really? Disturbing. Think about the other things they are trying to ban.

The picture at the top was about 5 or 6 miles down the road from our place, where the turnoff for the road up the mountain was. That’s the scary mountains of Idaho, but only one of the lesser peaks.

The Indispensable Man: A Search for the Real George Washington by The Elephant's Child

The George Washington that most of us see most often is the engraving after the Gilbert Stuart portrait on the one dollar bill. Reproductions of the Gilbert Stuart portrait and a portrait of Abraham Lincoln used to hang on the front wall of every elementary classroom when I was growing up, with an American flag standing in the corner.

We all know, I think, that George Washington had dreadful false teeth. A terrible pity, both for the President — because they must have been instruments of torture in his mouth — and because they distract our attention from far more important things about the man. Certainly Washington must have had access to the very best dentists of the day. By 1789, he had only one of his own teeth left. The teeth were horrible-looking contraptions made of substances like hippopotamus ivory, hinged at the back and operated with springs. He complained that they distorted his lips, and they must have distorted his appearance as well.

Gilbert Stuart was the most celebrated of portraitists. He trained in London, and was thought to be a potential successor to the famed Sir Joshua Reynolds. However Stuart was extravagant and fled in debt from London. He turned up in Philadelphia during 1795 , hoping to pay off his creditors by creating a multitude of portraits of the world’s greatest man. Washington sat to him for three separate portraits, and Stuart made hundreds of copies.

According to James Thomas Flexner’s Washington: The Indispensable Man, Washington and Stuart did not get on. The portraitist usually kept his sitters amused and their faces alive by a flood of showy and outrageous talk. Washington always felt uneasy at having to remain still and being stared at and was put out rather than being amused.

Stuart, who felt that “artists were fundamentally superior to all other men including Presidents, resented Washington’s formality. He could not forget what had resulted when, in trying to unstiffen the hero, he had gone to the length of saying, “Now, sir, you must let me forget that you are General Washington and I am Stuart the Painter. Washington replied (as it seemed to him politely), Mr. Stuart need never feel the need for forgetting who he is and who General Washington is.”

Stuart emphasized, as no other portraitist did, the distortions of Washington’s mouth. Flexner suggests that since Stuart was known to have angrily used General Knox’s portrait as the door of his pigsty that perhaps the harm he did to Washington’s historical image was somewhat deliberate.

This life mask by Jean Antoine Houdon gives us more clues as to what Washington actually looked like. He was tall, about 6’2″, and most verbal descriptions mention his ‘roman’ nose, so it was perhaps a little prominent. This is not the face of the Stuart portrait, but looks more probable.

Washington was an outdoorsman who spent much of his life in the saddle, and his complexion would have reflected that — more wrinkles, more weathered. They didn’t have sunglasses and baseball hats with a brim to keep the sun out of the eyes, lots of squinting. The portrait above seems to match the life mask fairly well. A far cry from the disagreeable Gilbert Stuart portrait.

I’m going a bit out on a limb here, but I spent some years in art school attempting to capture likenesses, and the smallest errors in size and distance relationships can lose a likeness completely. Also, people see likenesses differently. Some will insist that two siblings look just alike while others will see no resemblance between the same two. I have no real explanation for that.

I suspect that Gilbert Stuart had such a reputation as a great portraitist, undoubtedly aided by his own self description, that perhaps people were apt to accept his work as the “right” one. Portraits are an odd matter. One tries to capture a mobile. alive face that changes its expression constantly and represent it on a flat surface. If you have ever had photographer’s proofs of pictures of you to choose from, that will explain the problem. They’re all you, but you’ll like some better than others.

Here are “reconstructions” done by a forensic reconstructionist of Washington at his inauguration, as a general, and at around the age of 19. They are startling in their realism. I suspect (nit-picky as I am) that the face is too free of wrinkles, and too pinky-white, and not quite rawboned enough. (I said I was being picky) But they give you a vastly different impression of the man. Haul out a dollar bill and compare. Stuart played a cruel joke on Washington.

Washington didn’t know much about being a general when he was appointed by Congress to lead the American armies, but he was the best we had, and he did fine. His men loved him, and he gradually taught them to be soldiers. He was elected unanimously to be President when he wanted nothing more than to return to Mt.Vernon and retire from public life. The people idolized him. He could have been a king or an emperor, or like some — a dictator for life. But it was he, with his sterling character, who set the nation on the right path. He had a horrible temper, and mostly kept it under firm control. Any of his deeds alone would have made him famous, but in twenty-four years he led the armies, led the country, shaped a constitution, set a nation on its path and then went on home.

The portrait above is by Gilbert Stuart. He made many copies and others made copies of his copies which were sent around the new country so people could see what their new president looked like. Unfortunately, one of them was copied for the engraving on the dollar bill. Just mean.

ADDENDUM: I especially recommend Richard Brookhiser’s Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington. It is not a life history, but a moral biography, only 199 pages. It’s a rewarding book. I post this every year on Washington’s birthday.

Improper Conduct and Abuse of Power? by The Elephant's Child

The Washington Examiner reports that: “The House Intelligence Committee has voted to release the four page memo that allegedly details that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein sought the renewal of a federal court-authorized surveillance warrant against former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.” Also named in the memo, were outgoing FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe (who has resigned and been put on permanent leave until the end of the year, to save his pension?), and former FBI Director James Comey.

The vote apparently involved invoking an “obscure” congressional rule to force the release of a classified memo written by Republicans that outlines what they say are federal surveillance authority abuse. The Republican majority, while voting to make the four-page GOP memo public, also voted against releasing a “counter memo” written by the Democrat minority. They voted to release the Democrat memo for viewing by House members. According to the rule, the memo can be made public as long as President Trump does not object within the next five days.

Ranking minority member Adam Schiff D-CA, said “We have crossed a deeply regrettable line in this committee.” The memo reportedly accuses the top FBI leadership of abusing the surveillance warrant process known as FISA, which involves presenting legal evidence to a FISA Court before taking any action. Congressman Schiff was referred to by Liz Shield of Instapundit as the current chairman of  of the Congressional Leak Everything Department, which I thought was funny, and presumably accurate.

So far, all we have had is a lot of rumors that executives at the FBI collaborated in attempting to influence the election, compromise the incoming Trump administration, and that a couple of FBI employees were engaging in an extramarital affair and texting each other about secret plans to work against the Trump administration. That the FBI used the “Steele Dossier” paid for by the Clinton Campaign to get FISA Court approval to investigate the Trump campaign, including wiretapping Trump tower? That and more is what is floating around, but all rumor and insinuation. If true in any part, it is extraordinarily damaging to the government. These “public servants” are supposed to be working for the benefit of the American people, not playing politics.

Corruption is always not only tempting, but always present in governments. Our Founders were well aware of that, and attempted in the U.S. Constitution to include safeguards. Why is it not surprising that a Democrat reporter for the Week is demanding that we do away with the Constitution entirely.

And About Draining the Swamp… by The Elephant's Child

Lord Acton (1834 – 1902) said memorably: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; still more when you superadd the tendency of the certainty of corruption by authority.”

“Despotic power is always accompanied by corruption of morality”

“Everybody likes to get as much power as circumstances allow, and nobody will vote for a self-denying ordinance.”

The Left Always Goosesteps by The Elephant's Child
January 14, 2018, 6:42 am
Filed under: Freedom, History, Military, The Constitution, The United States | Tags: , ,

Nazi Germany, 1943, the “Goose Step”

Adolph Hitler reviewing the troops

China, troops in review

Cuba, Salute to Castro

Cuba, again

North Korea, Troops in Review

North Korea, Women’s troops

Vietnamese troops

American Expeditionary Force in Vladivostok, January 1918

U.S. Army, St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2013

ADDENDUM: Why do the world’s worst dictators want their military to do the goose step? If you’re at home, try it. It’s painful. Would take weeks of practice to get it right. Then try it with an imaginary rifle held across your chest, (a yardstick or mop handle would do) Then try to imagine the mind of the dictator. Free countries in the West just don’t do that nonsense.

“Speaking Facts in Polite Company” Scandalized the Left by The Elephant's Child

Ahhh! The Agony of the Left. President Trump accurately described some of the troubled countries of the world, though apparently not in the words claimed, and the Left erupted in fury, attempting to attach the probably crude designation of a country to the citizens thereof and thereby make a moderate insult into a racist one. Or something like that. Anyway it was enough to occupy the media’s hours, because they don’t seem to know enough about the real world to do actual news. What do they teach in journalism schools these days anyway?

The most accurate and effective riposte came from Andrew Klavan, which is great fun as well as being completely accurate.

Nothing scandalizes a leftist like the truth. Point out that women and men are different, that black Americans commit a disproportionate amount of violent crime, that most terrorist acts are committed by Muslims, and the Left leaps to its collective feet in openmouthed shock, like Margaret Dumont after a Groucho Marx wisecrack. This is racism! This is sexism! This is some sort of phobia! I’m shocked, shocked to find facts being spoken in polite company!

No one is really shocked, of course. This is simply a form of bullying. The Left has co-opted our good manners and our good will in order to silence our opposition to their bad policies. The idea is to make it seem impolite and immoral to mention the obvious. …

Here in the states, the First Amendment has so far allowed old-fashioned American loudmouths to fight the system whenever they could find ways around our monolithic corporate media. But the Empire of Lies is quick to strike back. Google/YouTube now stands charged by multiple accusers of singling out conservative voices for censorship, “fact-checking,” and demonetization. Hidden-camera videos released by Project Veritas this week show Twitter employees conspiring to “shadow ban” conservatives on their system. On campus, intelligent conservative speakers of good will like Ben Shapiro, Charles Murray, and Cristina Hoff-Somers have faced violent protests meant to shut them up.

No person of importance on the right seeks to silence anyone on the left. The Left, on the other hand, is broadly committed to ostracizing, blacklisting, and even criminalizing right-wing speech.

The Manhattan Contrarian takes on the same general problem—the utter insanity of the Left, quite effectively. And calls out the “Yale psychiatrist” who in contraindication to the rules of her supposed profession feels free to diagnose  someone she has never met, or goofy columnists who don’t even need any qualifications whatsoever.

Scott Adams. creator of Dilbert sums it all up nicely by noting that President Trump has earned the “Highest Presidential Approval Level of all Time.” The most important Presidential Approval Poll is the Small Business Optimism Index, which has hit an all-time high.

The lesson of 2017 is that better policies make for better economic results,said Duggan. “The evidence is overwhelming that small business owners pay close attention to Washington, and that federal policies affect their decisions on whether to hire, whether to invest, whether to grow inventory, and whether to seek capital.”

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