American Elephants


This Is What Passes for News These Days by The Elephant's Child

There are small mentions of what would seem to be unimportant news items, but if you follow up and see what the Leftists with bylines do with it, it gets pretty funny. Here’s what happened. President Trump declined to hold a “Iftar Dinner” at the White House to celebrate Ramadan. (Translation, nothing happened because there was no dinner and there were no invitations). Can’t let something like that pass without comment (see Islamophobia). The ‘establishment media” promptly tried to turn it into a crisis.

“Amy B. Wang of the Washington Post led the pack” with a claim that Thomas Jefferson held the “first Iftar Dinner” with a June 24 piece titled “Trump just ended a long tradition of celebrating Ramadan at the White House.” She even “recounted the time when the diplomatic envoy from the Bey of Tunis, Sidi Soliman Melli Melli, visited Washington during Ramadan in 1805.”

Jefferson invited the envoy to dinner at the White House at 3:30 PM, the time when dinner was usually served in those days. He was told that Melli Melli could not partake of a meal until after sunset because of Ramadan. It was either cancel the dinner or change the time, which he did. He had no intention of honoring Islam, didn’t ask about any special food. In fact, there was no tradition. Only three presidents in all of American history ever held an Iftar dinner: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.  Three presidents out of 45 does not a “tradition” make.  Do recall that Jefferson fought the Barbary pirates. Obama claimed in 2010, that his Ramadan dinner was the first since Jefferson, but his speechwriters were not known for research accuracy.

Interestingly, it seems that Islamic extremists killed more than 1,620 people during this year’s holy month for Muslims, making it one of the bloodiest Ramadans in history. At the end of Ramadan on Saturday, the total number of casualties for the entire holy month reached 3,451 (421 deaths 729 injuries) more than tripling the 1,150 casualties from 2016. ISIS issued many messages urging its followers to carry out deadly attacks in the United State, Europe, Russia, Australia, Iraq, Syria, Iran and the Philippines. Except for Russia, they did carry out attacks. Breitbart has a list of all the attacks they have been able to record. It’s a very long list. Does fasting and avoiding sex from dawn to dusk make a person particularly irritable?  Who knew? So — news, fake news, bad research, overreach, dumb journalists. But that’s what passes for news these days.

ADDENDUM: Well, now that I’m fully awake, the math doesn’t add up 421 deaths +729 injuries adds up to 1,150 apparently from last year. If this year is a total of 3,451, that would indeed by a tripling. The error was in the original post, and I just unthinkingly copied it. Sorry about that.



A Word for Our Fellow Members of NATO: by The Elephant's Child

You have heard President Trump saying that the nations of NATO need to step up and meet their commitments. There are 28 member nations in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization who have agreed, as a condition of their membership, to spend at least 2% of their gross domestic product on defense.  That goal was set to include only a small percentage of GDP, and to avoid putting too big a burden on smaller countries.

Only five: The United States 3.61%, Greece 2.38%, Britain 2.21%, Estonia 2.16%, and Poland 2% actually meet that obligation. The other 23 countries do not. They range from France 1.78% down to the bottom five: Canada 0.99%, Slovenia o.94%, Spain o.91%, Belgium 0.85%, and Luxembourg 0.44%. The numbers come from 2016 figures supplied by NATO.

Defense Secretary James Mattis told the assembled Defense Ministers:

I owe it to you all to give you clarity on the political reality in the United States, and to state the fair demand from my country’s people in concrete terms. America will meet its responsibilities, but if your nations do not want to see America moderate its commitment to the alliance, each of your capitals needs to show its support for our common defense.

President Trump’s complaint about NATO would seem to be on solid ground, and Secretary Mattis is direct and simple.  With all the absurd claims and accusations going around, it’s nice to clear that particular one up.



The Comey Affair And the Fallout by The Elephant's Child

An interesting Tuesday. The White House announced that FBI Director Comey had been asked to step down, and would be replaced. Well, an explosion of he said, she said, and what it all meant. Senator Charles Schumer always right on top of things pontificated that this was a disaster for the Trump administration, as it made clear that the White House was deeply worried about what the FBI investigation of the Trump connections to Russia and Russian influence, and Russian interference in our election, and Russian spying, all of which was clearly an attempt to cover up deep very dark secrets and we needed an independent prosecutor right now. He was very positive about the whole thing, and hopefully setting the tone for the future.

Unfortunately, most of us can remember as far back as day before yesterday, when Schumer and associates were demanding that President Trump fire FBI Director James Comey for his interference in the election and spoiling the election and keeping Hillary from winning. It’s also funny how this older generation of Progressives keep forgetting that there’s You Tube to capture a video of everything said and who said it and when, and if in doubt, you can call it all up on your computer. It’s a whole new world and really hard for politicians who just aren’t used to being recorded for all posterity.



The Problem is Having to Live With The Choices We Made by The Elephant's Child

Former President Barack Obama has returned from his South Seas vacation, ready to resume trying to tear down the administration of his successor. Valerie Jarrett has reportedly been directing the resistance in his absence. Obama, meanwhile, has snagged a $400,000 fee for an hour long speech for a Wall Street firm, and a very large advance for books from Michelle and himself, so funds are not a worry.

It’s a sharp contrast with his own predecessor. George W. Bush gracefully left the limelight to avoid causing problems for his successor, and has refrained from comments on the Obama administration, appearing in public only with his programs of bike trips with recovering vets, and to talk about his new hobby of  painting, apparently inspired by Winston Churchill’s book Painting as a Pastime. President Bush has painted the world leaders with whom he engaged, and more recently, the heroes of the wars who fought under his responsibility in Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors.

President Bush recognized that history would judge what he had accomplished and where he had failed, and left it in the hands of the historians. Who will argue endlessly.

An ex-president hanging around and trying to run the opposition is something new and not very attractive. Americans are inclined to do some summing-up at the end of an administration, and it’s not often the admiration and attention that one hopes for. By the time a president leaves office, the public is usually thoroughly tired of them and hopeful that the new president can do a better job. Granted, that this year the Democrats, out of office and out of appealing candidates, out of ideas were insanely furious that their expected continuum with Hillary didn’t happen, because they don’t like Trump and cannot understand why Hillary didn’t win.

President Donald Trump has done quite well. His first 100 days have been celebrated by his supporters who are far more pleased than the media wants to acknowledge. His cabinet appointments have been outstanding, are in a position to offer excellent advice, and have hit the ground running. Neil Gorsuch’s appointment to the Supreme Court is a triumph. Nikki Haley has quickly taken charge at the U.N. and is proving to be a star. Syria has been put on notice, and the president is determined to reduce the corporate tax to 15% which will give the economy a boost. The ignorant leftist media is already gasping that the government won’t have any money.

Never fear. Corporations don’t really pay taxes. We do. When a corporation’s taxes are raised, they raise prices for their goods and we pay for it. When they don’t have to raise prices or do more of their business overseas to pay the taxes, their funds go for expanding and innovating and the economy improves. We currently have the highest corporate tax rate in the world, and it has been a drag on the economy. Between 1974 and 2001 average growth in the economy was 3.3%. A return to 3% from the dismal performance of the stagnant Obama economy would mean the economy could expand to $38.3 trillion by 2040.

The weeks of Obama’s vacation have been filled with the scandals of the Obama administration exposed, and they are not pretty. I understand that they want Sasha to finish high school at Sidwell Friends, but trying to occupy the media’s attention may not be wise.



Victor Davis Hanson Goes Right to the Heart of the Matter by The Elephant's Child

—Victor Davis Hanson has a number of recent columns that get right to the heart of the matter. “The Democrat Patient” on January 17. is one such:”Ignoring the symptoms, misdiagnosing the malady, skipping the treatment.”

If progressives were to become empiricists, they would look at the symptoms of the last election and come up with disinterested diagnoses, therapies, and prognoses.

Although their hard-left candidate won the popular vote, even that benchmark was somewhat deceiving — given the outlier role of California and the overwhelming odds in their favor. The Republicans ran a candidate who caused a veritable civil war in their ranks and who was condemned by many of the flagship conservative media outlets. Trump essentially ran against a united Democratic party, the Republican establishment, the mainstream media (both liberal and conservative) — and won.

He was outspent. He was out-organized. He was outpolled and demonized daily as much by Republicans as Democrats. Yet he not only destroyed three political dynasties (the Clintons, Bushes, and Obamas) but also has seemingly rendered the Obama election matrix nontransferable to anyone other than Obama himself.

— On February28, he addressed President Donald Trump himself in “The Metaphysics of Trump:” Paradox:How does a supposedly bad man appoint good people eager to advance a conservative agenda that supposedly more moral Republicans failed to realize?

We variously read that Trump should be impeached, removed, neutralized — or worse. But until he is, are his appointments, executive orders, and impending legislative agenda equally abhorrent?
—On March 8, He took on The News, “Talk Radio, Cable News, the Mainstream Media and the News Revolution” What is their assigned role, and how are they doing? Victor Hanson does a marvelous job of clearing up their roles and who is succeeding and who is a failure. and why.
In the hubbub over Trump’s attack on the media, we sometimes forget that Barack Obama et al. customarily went after talk-radio and cable-news conservatives — whose job, after all, was opinion journalism — as biased, whereas Trump went more after news-gathering organizations who deliver the news under the pretense of straight reporting.
Who has suffered from this ongoing media crackup?
Not conservative opinion journalists on television and radio. The role of talk-radio and cable-news outlets is to interpret the news, and they continue to do that well from a conservative point of view.
But are the mainstream news outlets — AP, Reuters, CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, etc. — commensurately doing their quite different jobs?
Hardly, given the epidemic of fake news passed off as disinterested reporting, the hysterias about the Russians, the smearing of officials like Jeff Sessions, or the collusion to undermine the Trump administration in general.
What we are witnessing is an utter inversion in the supposed way the media works. Whereas the task of a Rush Limbaugh or Tucker Carlson is to offer cogent analysis from a more conservative viewpoint on the news of the day, a supposedly disinterested media cannot be relied upon in the same degree to do their quite different job of reporting the days’ events.
Or is the implosion of the mainstream media even more revolutionary?
Clarity of thought, clear expression, and going directly to the heart of the matter. I am a great admirer of Dr. Hanson’s work.


Who Will Pay for the Great Big Wall? by The Elephant's Child

1200px-us-mexico_border_fencePresident Trump’s  Great Big Wall (popular or unpopular according to your politics) is going to be built. Walls work, if imperfectly. They’ve been working for centuries, see the Great Wall of China. Israel’s wall works well in spite of Palestinian tunnels and efforts to breach. You can’t just put up a wall and expect that the simple barrier will solve all problems. But most of the concern in this country is for the cost of  border wall.

Based on fiscal estimates developed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NAS) for immigrants by education level, NAS calculates the future fiscal balance immigrants create — taxes paid minus costs. NAS reports fiscal balances as “net present values” which places a lower value on future expenditures than on current expenditures.

Based on the NAS data, illegal border-crossers create an average fiscal burden of approximately $74,422 during their lifetimes, excluding any costs for their U.S. born children. If a border wall stopped between 160,000 and 200,000 illegal crossers—9 to 12 percent of those expected to successfully cross in the next decade—the fiscal savings would equal the $12 to $15 billion cost of the wall.

These are estimates, of course, but the current conversation about Trump’s “Great Big Wall” concern only the cost of a wall, the terrain that is difficult or impossible.

Congress passed the Secure Fence Act of 2006. It’s goal was to help secure America’s borders to decrease illegal entry, drug trafficking and security threats by building 700 miles of physical barriers along the Mexico-U.S. border. On January 23, 2008 the 110th Congress introduced Reinstatement of the Secure Fence act of 2008 which called for Homeland Security to put up 700 additional miles. (Died in Committee)

By April 2009, Homeland Security had built about 613 miles of pedestrian fencing and vehicle barriers (low fence and concrete posts as vehicle barriers) More attempts to reintroduce finish the fence regulations 2010, 2012.  Costs exceeded Border Control’s budget. Never built, and some wouldn’t keep out a jackrabbit.

That’s what I could find. The previous administration had no interest in a border fence, nor in keeping border crossers out.  They were more interested in placing illegal immigrants and refugees in congressional districts where they could influence the vote. And contrary to media insistence, lots of ineligible immigrants voted in the election.

Dozens of Ineligible Aliens Voted in Philadelphia.
Examples in Missouri, North Carolina, and Kentucky.
No, It’s Not a Racist plot.

From AEI: “How to turn off the Latin refugee flood at the source




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