American Elephants


Staying At Home And Looking for Some Sunshine by The Elephant's Child

Our “stay at home” order here in Washington State has been extended to May 4.  We have increased the number of tests (2,656) since yesterday by +175. There have been 11 more deaths since yesterday.

The Boston Globe Editorial Board Claims that Trump Has “Blood on His Hands.” They relied on a combination of Left-wing talking points and Chinese propaganda in the Boston Globe, as Matt Margolis reported  at PJ Media. The Globe claimed that the number of confirmed cases surpassed that of any other nation, without mentioning that the United States is a larger country with a larger population.

The number of known deaths from the virus, so far the only reliable data, says that a fatality rate of 7 – 8 is one of the lowest in the world among larger nations.

It’s pretty clear that China is not accurately reporting the number of cases, nor the number of deaths, according to the U.S. intelligence community. The number of urns being delivered to Chinese funeral homes is far, far larger than the number of deaths reported. Communist governments are disinclined to report statistics that do not reflect favorably on the government, so we just don’t know how many deaths they have had, nor the extent of their testing, nor much of anything else.

Democrats are disinclined to report anything favorable to the Trump administration, but really! On CNN on Sunday, Pelosi charged that President Trump’s management of the coronavirus pandemic is costing American lives, and talking up an eventual congressional probe.

You surely will not be surprised to learn that Adam Shiff is eager to turn his Intelligence Committee to investigating President Trump’s response to the coronavirus. Of course he will.

And Nancy Pelosi compared Trump to Nero, the corrupt first century emperor who allowed Rome to burn – if he didn’t actually instigate the fire – then blamed Christians: “As the president fiddles, people are dying,” she charged.

So, shortly after orchestrating a failed, entirely partisan attempt to remove this president from office, Washington’s highest-ranking Democrat is once again speaking the language of impeachment. Except for dyed-in-the-wool grassroots party loyalists and, to their left, full-on Trump haters, this is sure to be received as the crassest brand of political opportunism.

Nice going, Nancy. While you are playing partisan politics, a lot of Americans are dying, or huddled down at home, fearful of running out of food. People are noticing. The New York Post plaintively asked in a headline “Does Nancy Pelosi know about the coronavirus outbreak?” and added “someone ought to tell House Speaker Nancy Pelosi…because her laser focus on pushing her political agenda suggests she’s unaware of it. The latest evidence: She wants to “retroactively” roll back Congress’ 2017 cap on tax deductions for state and local taxes (SALT), the New York Times reports. ”

She claims lifting the cap would address the economic fallout of COVID-19. She wants her “fix” to be part of Congress’ next rescue plan.

But her idea has nothing to do with boosting the economy and everything to do with helping Dems in blue states, like California, New York, New Jersey and Illinois. More than half the benefits of a repeal would go to folks making more than $1 million. Don’t Dems oppose tax breaks for the rich?

No, here’s Pelosi’s real problem: Heavily liberal states, with Democratic leaders, generally impose the highest local levies. The SALT deduction let high-income taxpayers recoup part of those high costs by paying less federal tax.

President Trump is doing a remarkable job in the face of all the unknowns and unknowables. A cruise ship stuck off the coast of Florida for 12 days with a number of critically ill Coronavirus patients with no ports willing to let it dock, has pulled into Fort Lauderdale to the cheers of port workers. Four people had died onboard as the ship had been turned away from 11 countries. President Trump indicated in his press conference that the Canadian and British people on board would be evacuated to their home countries immediately, and that we really had to help the people on board. A little intervention got things moving.

Doctors at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center say they have developed a vaccine against developing COVID-19 and they want federal permission for human trials. They based the vaccine on work previously done at UPMC that  sought to create vaccines against SARS and MERS, which they said are similar to the new coronavirus. They also say the vaccine is easily deliverable in large quantities.

Some bright rays of sunshine in a long dreary spell of rain.



Impeachment, Impeachment, Russians, Russians, Russians by The Elephant's Child

The Impeachment Circus goes on — and on. What is one to make of it?  Democrats were outraged when Donald Trump became the nominee of the Republican Party. They were on a roll. They had just elected the first black man as President of the United States for a second term, and now they were going to elect the first woman president. These things, the “firsts” are very important to Democrats. They are good people, breaking down barriers, and the “firsts” prove what good people they are.— doing the right thing for the country.

Hillary was well qualified. She had been First Lady, and First Lady of Arkansas too. Then she was Secretary of State, so she was pretty much a shoo-in. But Donald Trump! They were sure that he could not possibly win. Conservatives remembered the Arkansas cattle-futures thing. And the silly lie over the plane spiraling in to avoid being shot down, when there were little girls with flowers waiting on the tarmac. And Benghazi. We knew Hillary was a compulsive liar, and that she drinks too much. Maybe not a shoo-in. But none of these things mattered to the Democrats, or at least they did not overrule the awfulness of Donald Trump. Weird hair, weird Queens accent, unthinkable. They were so sure of themselves that they were completely astounded when Trump won the election, and have been denigrating the Electoral College ever since. Elizabeth Warren just announced that she would get rid of it, first thing! Few on the Left have read the Constitution with enough understanding to know why it is there, in any case.

I think they decided on impeachment the day he was elected. They didn’t care what the grounds were to be, he just had to be gotten rid of. So that’s where we are. There is a video floating around of Adam Schiff saying Russia, Russia, Russia over and over, but I haven’t been able to find it again. It puts the whole thing in proper perspective. They have no sense of President Trump’s accomplishments. They’re not interested anyway. They don’t care about the economy. They care about power, and control. So they can make things go the right way, with the right people in charge, ensuring their continuing control, and ability to make the laws to control the other people out there — us. The Wall Street Journal today titles an article about impeachment “And Congress Shall Be King: The House claims it, and only it, can define executive privilege” Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler on Thursday summed up the case for ousting President Trump this way:

“Simply stated, impeachment is the Constitution’s final answer to a President who mistakes himself for a king.” Which brings us to the case Democrats made Friday for their second article of impeachment charging “obstruction of Congress.” This would make Congress a king.

The remarkable House claim is that Mr. Trump violated the Constitution because he dared to resist Congressional subpoenas. He cited executive privilege to direct nine “vital” Administration officials not to cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry.

“President Trump thus interposed the powers of the Presidency against the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives, and assumed to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the ‘sole Power of Impeachment’ vested by the Constitution in the House of Representatives,” the House declares in its impeachment resolution.

The Editorial Board’s response to that:

Shorter version: The House has the unilateral power to define executive privilege, and a President has no constitutional authority to resist. If he does resist, the House can throw him out of office.

That all sums up pretty much what is going on, without the need to listen to the painful long drawn out arguments.  The Journal added that this is contrary to the design and intention of the Constitution’s separation of powers which establishes 3 co-equal branches. Also contrary to any notion of Congress’ subpoena power and a president’s ability to protect his power and deliberate with his advisers. Also contrary to Supreme Court precedents. But I imagine we haven’t heard the last of this.

The senators had a couple of hundred pounds of Hershey’s and a bunch of Fitbits to play with to pass the time. WSJ pointed out usefully that impeachments set precedents even when they result in an acquittal as this one probably will do. The real object was to screw up the 2020 election to the extent possible. They just don’t seem all that excited by their own candidates. It should get more exciting when we get to their convention. At least the two billionaires will liven it up, though they don’t seem to have much else besides a lot of money. I don’t really get what the Russians are supposed to have done, except possibly stolen Hillary’s computer contents, whatever good that would do them.



Tucker Carlson Clears up the Trump Mystery by The Elephant's Child



Donald Trump is Building a Wall at the Southern Border, and Mexico is Helping to Pay for It. by The Elephant's Child

Early on, President Trump promised voters that he was going to build a wall at the Southern Border, and Mexico was going to pay for it. Well, of course that promptly hit the fan! You know how much outrage that bit provoked. But the really hot weather of high summer is over, as we move into fall, and it’s time for the caravans again.

And guess what? President Donald Trump is building a wall at the Southern Border, and Mexico is helping to pay for it. Caravans of Central American migrants are forming up in Honduras and Guatemala to start their annual mass migration north in hopes of reaching the border of the United States. The very first group of the season, more than 2,000 strong, didn’t make it very far. They were stopped by Mexican federal troops, with more than half of them being detained.

Some 2,000 migrants from various nations — including Central American and African countries, Haiti and Cuba — set off on foot in the predawn hours from the southern Mexican city of Tapachula…

On Saturday, the northbound caravan met a phalanx of Mexican authorities, including National Guard and federal police units along the highway at a point about 25 miles north of Tapachula. The enforcement presence prompted almost half the caravan members — including many women and children — to surrender to Mexican immigration authorities.

This is the result of the deal that the White House cut with Mexico. We are happy to have productive trade deals with them, and provide them with aid, but we need their cooperation in matters of immigration enforcement. This can become the new norm.

Those in the half of the caravan that wasn’t detained, some scattered to look for a new way north, but many returned to their countries of origin. If the word gets out in Guatemala and Honduras that caravans can no longer travel freely all the way to the American border, fewer will sign up. Hopefully some are being informed about how to go about fixing their own countries.

And perhaps we can clear some of the backlog in our immigration courts. Thank you, AMLO.



Donald Trump Did Not Betray the Kurds! by The Elephant's Child

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The Outcry about President Donald Trump abandoning the Kurds in Syria has been loud and accusatory. How dare he? He’s removing U.S. special forces from the Syrian border with Turkey, thereby enabling a Turkish invasion by the Syrian dictator Erdogan. He’s double crossing the Syrian Kurds who have fought with Americans for five years against ISIS. It seems to be almost unanimous.

Fortunately there is Caroline Glick, American born Israeli journalist, writing from Israel:

There are several problems with this narrative. The first is that it assumes that until this week, the US had power and influence in Syria when in fact, by design, the US went to great lengths to limit its ability to influence events in Syria.

The war in Syria broke out in 2011 as a popular insurrection by Syrian Sunnis against the Iranian-sponsored regime of President Bashar al Assad. The Obama administration responded by declaring US support for Assad’s overthrow. But the declaration was empty. The administration sat on its thumbs as the regime’s atrocities mounted. They supported a feckless Turkish effort to raise a resistance army dominated by jihadist elements aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Obama infamously issued his “redline” regarding the use of chemical weapons against civilians by Assad, which he repudiated the moment it was crossed.

As ISIS forces gathered in Iraq and Syria, Obama shrugged them off as a “jayvee squad.” When the jayvees in ISIS took over a third of Iraqi and Syrian territory, Obama did nothing.

As Lee Smith recalled in January in the New York Post, Obama only decided to do something about ISIS in late 2014 after the group beheaded a number of American journalists and posted their decapitations on social media.

Do read the whole thing. I have always found Caroline Glick to be an outstanding journalist, and given the local temper, an account of action in Syria fairly unavailable elsewhere. Too much partisanship out there, too little  careful investigation. Whether you agree with her or not, you will understand the situation a lot better.

ADDENDUM: Here’s another view of the Kurds and Syria from National Review’s Andy McCarthy: “Turkey and the Kurds: It’s More Complicated Than You Think”

 



Comparisons Are Perhaps Inevitable! by The Elephant's Child

Wilfrid M. McClay, a professor of history at the University of Oklahoma is the author of a new history of the United States: Land of Hope: an Invitation to the Great American Story, which is receiving excellent reviews.

He just wrote a short piece for Hillsdale College’s Imprimis, an always interesting publication, with an essay from an important scholar, free on request from the college. The copy I just received contained this interesting portion of a longer essay.

A related lesson of history is that acts of statesmanship often require courage and imagination, even daring, especially when the outcome seems doubtful. Take the case of Lincoln. So accustomed are we to thinking of Lincoln in heroic terms that we forget the depth and breadth of his unpopularity during his entire time in office. Few great leaders have been more comprehensively disdained, loathed, and underestimated. A low Southern view of him, of course, was to be expected, but it was widely shared in the North as well. As Lincoln biographer David Donald put it, “Lincoln’s own associates thought him “a Simple Susan, a baboon, an aimless punster, a smutty joker” Abolitionist Wendell Phillips called him “a huckster in politics, a first-rate, second rate man.” George McClellan, his opponent in the 1864 election, openly disdained him as a “well-meaning baboon.” For much of that election year, Lincoln was convinced, with good reason, that he was doomed to lose the election, with incalculable consequences for the war effort and the future of the nation.

We need to remember that this is generally how history happens. It is not like a Hollywood movie i which the background music swells and the crowd in the room applauds and leaps to it feet as the orator dispenses timeless words, and the camera pans the room full of smiling faces. In real history, the background music does not swell, the trumpets do not sound, and the carping critics often seem louder than the applause. The leader or the soldier has to wonder whether he is acting in vain, whether the criticisms of others are in fact true, whether time will judge him harshly, whether his sacrifice will count for anything. Few great leaders have felt this burden more completely than Lincoln.



Elizabeth Warren Does Not Understand Economics by The Elephant's Child

A few years back, Mary Kissel who was at the Wall Street Journal at the time, remarked that Elizabeth Warren had only “a child-like understanding of economics”. That stuck with me because it was so accurate. Black unemployment is the lowest it has ever been. The economy is doing great. Food Stamp use is way down. New filings for unemployment benefits are at an all time low.

Democrats believe, as a matter of faith, that Republican tax cuts go only to the rich and to corporate chieftains. Democrats have no understanding of proportionality whatsoever. Since the rich pay way more in taxes, the same percentage of a tax cut will mean more money for somebody who makes far more. Worked for Ronald Reagan too, if you remember

That’s why tax cuts for business owners mean they have more leeway to invest, build, hire, grow their businesses and they do so. Ordinary people have more money to buy something they need or want. They have more freedom. It’s a big shot in the arm for the economy. Were Ms. Warren to be elected, the first thing she would do is end the hated tax-cuts, and set the country on a recession which she would not understand at all, and inevitably believe that it was something Trump did to her because she attacked him for calling her Pocahontas. Bet she doesn’t even know that President Trump is donating his salary to the country.




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