American Elephants


Worldwide Publicity and Public Outcry + A Little Scientific Input by The Elephant's Child

Charlie-Gard

It appears that worldwide publicity and public outcry have had an effect on the sad case of Great Ormond Street Hospital and the baby Charlie Gard. Seven medical experts have suggested that unpublished data showed therapy could improve the 11-month-old’s brain condition. The High Court said previously that it was unlikely a U.S. doctor offering to treat Charlie would be able to cure him. The Great Ormond Street Hospital has said it would “explore” the data. The case will be heard on Monday by Mr. Justice Francis.

According to the previous High Court ruling GOSH is forbidden from allowing Charlie to be transferred for nucleoside therapy anywhere.

Charlie has mitochondrial depletion syndrome, a rare genetic condition which affects the cells responsible for energy production and respiration and has left him unable to move or breathe without a ventilator.

The parents have raised £1.3 million on a crowdfunding site to pay for the experimental therapy. Public attitudes may have been different if the cost was to be borne by taxpayers, but it has seemed to many that it’s not something for a court to decide if the parents can pay, even if it should prove to be futile. It’s the hospital and the High Court that have so enraged people around the world.



Here’s the Full Video & Text of Donald Trump’s Speech in Poland by The Elephant's Child
July 7, 2017, 9:42 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Europe, Freedom, History, National Security | Tags: , , , ,

President Donald Trump delivered the following remarks to the people of Poland from Warsaw’s Krasiński Square after being introduced by first lady Melania Trump.

Thank you very much. That’s so nice. The United States has many great diplomats, but there is truly no better ambassador for our country than our beautiful First Lady, Melania. Thank you, Melania. That was very nice.

We’ve come to your nation to deliver a very important message: America loves Poland, and America loves the Polish people.

The Poles have not only greatly enriched this region, but Polish-Americans have also greatly enriched the United States, and I was truly proud to have their support in the 2016 election.

It is a profound honor to stand in this city, by this monument to the Warsaw Uprising, and to address the Polish nation that so many generations have dreamed of: a Poland that is safe, strong, and free.

President Duda and your wonderful First Lady, Agata, have welcomed us with the tremendous warmth and kindness for which Poland is known around the world. Thank you. My sincere — and I mean sincerely thank both of them. And to Prime Minister Szydlo a very special thanks also.

We are also pleased that former President Lech Walesa, so famous for leading the Solidarity Movement, has joined us today, also. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

On behalf of all Americans, let me also thank the entire Polish people for the generosity you have shown in welcoming our soldiers to your country. These soldiers are not only brave defenders of freedom, but also symbols of America’s commitment to your security and your place in a strong and democratic Europe.

We are proudly joined on stage by American, Polish, British, and Romanian soldiers. Thank you. Thank you. Great job.

President Duda and I have just come from an incredibly successful meeting with the leaders participating in the Three Seas Initiative. To the citizens of this great region, America is eager to expand our partnership with you. We welcome stronger ties of trade and commerce as you grow your economies. And we are committed to securing your access to alternate sources of energy, so Poland and its neighbors are never again held hostage to a single supplier of energy.

Mr. President, I congratulate you, along with the President of Croatia, on your leadership of this historic Three Seas Initiative. Thank you.

This is my first visit to Central Europe as President, and I am thrilled that it could be right here at this magnificent, beautiful piece of land. It is beautiful. Poland is the geographic heart of Europe, but more importantly, in the Polish people, we see the soul of Europe. Your nation is great because your spirit is great and your spirit is strong.

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A Fine and Moving Speech Celebrating a Strong Europe and Western Values by The Elephant's Child

There’s an odd kind of disconnect going on. President Trump spoke to the people of Poland yesterday, reaffirming the long-standing bond between our two countries, and the bond with our European allies. He reaffirmed his commitment to Article 5, the NATO mutual defense pact, and noted that the United States had demonstrated not just with words, but with our actions, our commitment  to our allies. When our commitment to our allies is unsaid, the media climbs all over it, when it is included, it gets no mention at all. One might be inclined to think there is something to President Trump’s complaints about his treatment by the media.

If you recall, President Trump criticized the members of NATO who were not paying their agreed-upon share of the costs of NATO. NATO countries have agreed to spending  2% of their GDP to support NATO, but only 5 nations are contributing that much. It’s a longstanding complaint. Defense Secretary James Mattis warned NATO members back in January that if they do not boost their commitment, the United States might “moderate” its commitment to the alliance.

“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,” Mattis said during a meeting in Brussels with defense ministers from other NATO countries. “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. No longer can the American taxpayer carry a disproportionate share of the defense of Western values.”

The U.S contributes 3.61 % of GDP. Greece 2.39%. UK 2.21, Estonia 2.16, and Poland 2.00. Canada contributes only .99%. The amount contributed is a goal — not a legal pact. America spent an estimated $650 billion on defense in 2013 which is more than double the amount contributed by the other 27 nations put together.

The problem is not just the defense spending, but underlying attitudes. Europe has been unwilling to face up to Russian aggression, and the problems of Islamic migration. The European Union has ordered EU nations to accept large numbers of migrants, and only a few are firmly resisting. Much of Europe is dependent on Russian natural gas and oil. The initial push to accept heavy migration was based on the idea of “refugees,”empathy and compassion.

In his speech to the Polish nation, and to the world, President Trump offered a “determined and affirmative defense of the Western tradition. He assured Poland that it would not be held hostage to a single supplier of energy. He exhorted Russia to stop destabilizing Ukraine and elsewhere, to stop supporting Syria and Iran and ‘instead join the community of responsible nations.”

He identified the most immediate security threat as an “oppressive ideology.” He was talking about radical Islam, but it is worth noting that he never mentioned radical Islam or Islamic State. Instead, he described the recent commitment by Saudi Arabia and other Muslim nations to combat an ideological menace that threatens the world with terrorism. He compared this idea of mutual defense to the alliance of free nations that defeated Nazism and communism.

But the speech’s most provocative argument was about our way of life. It came when he described how a million Poles stood with Pope John Paul II in Victory Square in 1979 to resist Soviet rule by chanting, “We want God!”

“With that powerful declaration of who you are,” Mr. Trump said, “you came to understand what to do and how to live.”

Donald Trump was taking a firm stand against the fuzzy multiculturalism and globalization of Barack Obama and Western intellectuals who are all too ready to surrender to the critics of the traditions of the West. He spoke of a nationalism rooted in the rule of law, freedom of expression, religious faith and freedom from oppressive government. It was an important speech.

Peter Beinart, who I was astonished to discover is an associate professor of journalism and political science, wrote for the Atlantic about “The Racial and Religious Paranoia of Trump’s Warsaw Speech.” It’s the clearest example of what sometimes passes for thought on the left that I’ve seen in some time, and even more silly than usual. It reminds me of what one might expect from a college freshman in love with his own newly discovered intellectual promise, and trying to impress a lefty professor, might produce. See, see how I can tear this speech apart—embarrassing.

Beinart found George W. Bush’s 2003 speech in Poland useful for contrast, because Bush referred to democracy 13 times, and Trump mentioned it only once. By taking each word very, very literally, and insisting that since “the West” is not correctly a geographic term nor ideological or economic, then obviously it’s a white nationalist screed. The editors at National Review summed it up nicely:

It’s a strange day when praising the Warsaw uprising, the Solidarity movement, and Pope John Paul II makes you a neo-Nazi, but that day is, apparently, today, following President Trump’s speech to an assemblage of dignitaries, alongside a cheering crowd, in Poland, on his way to the G20 summit.



D-Day Through German Eyes by The Elephant's Child

In one of the posts on D-Day on and around June 6th, I came across a review of a new book, or rather 2 books on the German side of D-Day. The books are D-Day Through German Eyes and D-Day Through German Eyes—Book 2, by Holger Eckhertz. The author’s grandfather was a journalist for German news magazines during World War II. In the spring of 1944, prior to D-Day, he toured sections of the so-called Atlantic Wall, including the Normandy beaches, and interviewed soldiers from units in the area. About ten years later, he determined to track down the soldiers he had interviewed or at least someone from their units and interview them again about their experience during the invasion.

The books are apparently available only as E-books, and are in interview format, that is questions and answers—small vignettes of individual soldier’s experiences. The review isn’t long, and includes some surprising bits of information. The Germans did not expect an invasion at the Normandy beaches, the Allies had control of the air right from the beginning. The German troops were third rate troops, generally soldiers that because of a medical or psychiatric condition were no longer regular infantry, but there were also troops who had defected from the Soviets. They were surprised at the physical size of the American and Canadian troops, presumably because of better diet.

Do read the whole thing. It’s surprising and interesting.  It seems that the Germans were working on a thermobaric weapon — I had to look up the unfamiliar term.  A thermobaric weapon is a type of explosive that utilizes oxygen from the surrounding air to generate an intense, high-temperature explosion, and in practice the blast wave of such a weapon produces a typically significantly longer duration than a conventional condensed explosive. The fuel-air bomb is one of the most well-known types of thermobaric weapons. Fortunately, a stray Allied Bomb inadvertently destroyed to development works.



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.



June 6, 1944, D-Day. Piper Bill Millin Pipes The Invasion Forces Ashore by The Elephant's Child

Bill Millin, Lord Lovat’s personal piper, is pictured here ready to jump from the ramp of the landing craft into the icy water of Sword beach on June 6, D–Day, 1944.  Lord Lovat is thigh-deep in the water just to the left of Bill Millin’s arm.  As the Telegraph obituary says: “As the Cameron tartan of his kilt floated to the surface he struck up with Hieland Laddie.  He continued to pipe even as the man behind him was hit, dropped into the sea and sank.”

Millin said “I was so relieved of getting off that boat after all night being violently sick.  When I finished, Lovat asked for another tune.  Well, when I looked round — the noise and people lying about shouting and the smoke, the crump of mortars, I said to myself  “Well, you must be joking surely.” He said “What was that?” and he said “Would you mind giving us a tune?” “Well, what tune would you like, Sir?” “How about The Road to the Isles?” “Now, would you want me to walk up and down, Sir?” “Yes, That would be nice.  Yes, walk up and down.”

And that’s what Bill Millin did, walked up and down the invasion beach at water’s edge, blasting out a series of tunes.  Bodies of the fallen were drifting to and fro in the surf.  Soldiers were trying to dig in and, when they heard the pipes, many of them waved and cheered — though one came up to Millin and called him “a mad bastard.”

For many soldiers, the piper provided a unique boost to morale.  “I shall never forget hearing the skirl of Bill Millin’s pipes” said One, Tom Duncan, many years later.  “It is hard to describe the impact it had.  It gave us a great lift and increased our determination.  As well as the pride we felt, it reminded us of home and why we were there fighting for our lives and those of our loved ones.”

After the Great War the War Office had banned pipers from leading soldiers into battle after losses had become too great. “Ah, but that’s the English War Office,” Lovat told Millin.  You and I are both Scottish and that doesn’t apply.”  Millin was the only piper on D-Day.

Millin died on August 17, aged 88.  He piped the invasion forces on to the shores of France, unarmed apart from the ceremonial dagger in his stocking.  The mayor of Colleville-Montgomery, a town on Sword Beach , has offered a site for a life-size statue of Millin opposite the place where he landed on D-Day.  The statue is due to be unveiled next year. His pipes are in the Scottish War Museum.

Bill Millin’s personal account of D-Day is found here, and the Telegraph’s obituary is here. Millin has been justly famous in all accounts of the D-Day invasion, especially his courageous march across Pegasus Bridge at the crossing of the Orne.  This may have been the last time that a Scottish piper led Scottish troops into battle.



One of the Great Speeches by The Elephant's Child




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