American Elephants

Well, Yes. And Then There Was Waterloo! by The Elephant's Child


It May Take a Bit of Time for the Panic to Subside by The Elephant's Child

Britain’s stock market had erased all of its BREXIT panic losses, fueled by as surge in energy and financial shares. It had slumped 8.7% after the vote to leave the EU. May be more ups and downs as investors absorb the uncertainty about how it will all turn out. Markets don’t like uncertainty.

The President of the E.U. Parliament, Martin Schultz, got all huffy. “The British have violated the rules. It is not the #EU philosophy that the crowd can decide it’s fate.”

Europeans have never understood and never liked Democracy. They have been ruled by Kings and Queens and Dictators and the Church— and allowing the people to decide is mostly unthinkable. I have particularly liked Matt Ridley’s suggestion that when the individual is free to think and create and experiment, you get ideas having sex. Ideas build on other ideas. A new picture, someone else’s new idea may spark something completely different. “Having sex” is as good a way to describe it as any. What kills creation is regulation. The more stoppers a government erects, the less innovation.

Did you wonder why we never seemed to recover from the 2008 recession? The growth of government and the proliferation of regulation, especially on small business, which is where much innovation is hatched.

Few other countries have ever had the free markets and free people that  have traditionally been found in America. And then there is Switzerland. (click to enlarge)


Brexit: The Movie. Explains the Tyranny of the “Experts” by The Elephant's Child

The markets are in turmoil. They just don’t like uncertainty at all. They may be confident of their own positions, but what about the other guy? This movie is quite wonderful, do watch.

The Presidents at the EU are furious. There are several — four, I think, heading up different commissions. All are unelected and the Members of the European Parliament have nothing to say about them, nor about their pronouncements. They are so indignant that they want to morph all the member nations of the EU into one giant Superstate, run by themselves, of course.  The Europeans have never liked Democracy. They are loath to give away any power.

The foreign ministers of France and Germany will reveal a blueprint to do away with individual member states in an “ultimatum.” Under the proposals, EU countries would lose the right to have their own army, criminal law, taxation system or a central bank, all those powers would be transferred to Brussels. This is going to be remarkably interesting.

Fredrick Forsyth (yes, that Fredrick Forsyth) has a long article explaining how the EU came about in the wake of the devastation of Europe after two World Wars. It’s worth your time to understand what’s going on in the present. Well, history is littered with bad ideas that promised a brighter future — the Thousand Year Reich was one of them, you can probably come up with quite a few others.

(Thanks to Maggie’s Farm for the link)

Britain Will Leave the EU, Which is Probably a Very Good Thing! by The Elephant's Child

From today’s Telegraph2506-MATT-PORTAL-WEB-P1-small

Market turmoil, apparently they didn’t expect the “Leave” faction to win. Do remember that Norway and Switzerland never joined the EU and are in better financial shape than the rest of the continent. Other countries like the Netherlands, France and Germany are clamoring for a vote. Of course the migrant invasion of Europe has played a big part in rejection of the EU.

A bigger deal entirely is the anti-democratic Brussels bureaucracy. It was British policy makers and business people who made London a great financial center. And as Matt Ridley noted, “container shipping, budget airlines, the internet and the collapse of tariffs under the World Trade Organization” have made it “as easy to do business with Australia and China as with France and Germany.” He added:

The European Union is quite unlike any of today’s international organizations and has never been emulated elsewhere. Britain has no desire to withdraw from NATO, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the Council of Europe or, for that matter, the Olympics. These bodies are agreements between governments. The EU is a supranational government run in a fundamentally undemocratic, indeed antidemocratic, way. It has four presidents, none of them elected. Power to initiate legislation rests entirely with an unelected commission. Its court can overrule our Parliament.

The British are Going to the Polls Today by The Elephant's Child

From today’s Telegraph
2406-MATT-GALLERY-WEB-P1-large_trans++qVzuuqpFlyLIwiB6NTmJwfSVWeZ_vEN7c6bHu2jJnT8In Britain it’s pouring, flash floods, and voters are caught in commuter chaos. The final opinion polls are too close to call, and are divided. There’s been a fake “BBC” announcement that says the polls are open on Friday.  Long lines at the polls. The polls close at 10 p.m. London time (6:00 a.m. Pacific time here). They will get results around nine hours later on Friday beginning around 7:00 a.m (London time). Lots of anger. British papers picked up videos of our Democrat’s publicity stunt “sit-down” on the floor of the house, to show that all’s normal in the Anglosphere.

More seriously, pause and think back to the first election in Iraq that swept like a thunderbolt across the Muslim world, with women proudly holding up their purple fingers to show that they had voted.

Makes you think about our chaos and anger a little differently.

Time Passes, Wars Fade into History, and We Fail to Learn the Lessons we Needed to Learn. by The Elephant's Child

D-Day was 72 years ago, even the youngest survivors are in their 90s, and soon there will be no one at all who was alive then. And wars fade into history, poorly remembered as the historians try to understand how it all happened and what lessons we learned and what lesson we didn’t learn. Fortunately, after WWII we learned that you can’t just pack up and go home. You have to try to put things back together. Unfortunately, Obama didn’t learn any history.

When wars are over, everyone wants to bring the troops home and forget. We came home and disarmed ourselves after World War I, the “war to end all wars.” In 1933, the Army of the United States was 137,000 men — 16th in size in the world. The French army was five million strong. By Pearl Harbor , December 7, 1941, the U.S.Army was 1,640.000, and with U.S. entry into World War II, the army expanded to 8,300.000 officers and men. About 5,000,000 served overseas. By 1948 the army had declined to 554,000 and was totally unprepared for  the North Korean invasion of the South.

We just observed Memorial Day which is a remnant of the Civil War once called Decoration Day, when the surviving families decorated the graves of those who had died in the war. After 150 years, the Confederate Flag under which the South had fought is suddenly deemed too controversial and offensive to be seen. I lost two uncles on each side of the War Between the States.

It was Higgins Boats which led the D-Day invasion of Europe and the island hopping war in the Pacific. Yet how astounding to see, in Russell Crowe’s Robin Hood, the Normans invading England in 1066 in Higgins boats, and in The Lord of the Rings, it was the Orcs who manned the (admittedly more primitive) Higgins boats. So it is when wars slip into history. We receive our history in Hollywood fashion and the true history disappears forever, and we don’t learn the lessons we needed to learn.

Just Eleven Long Months and The War With Germany Was Over. by The Elephant's Child
Victor Davis Hanson wrote in 2014 in an excellent piece:

Seventy years ago this June 6, the Americans, British, and Canadians stormed the beaches of Normandy in the largest amphibious invasion of Europe since the Persian king Xerxes invaded Greece in 480 b.c.

About 160,000 troops landed on five Normandy beaches and linked up with airborne troops in a masterly display of planning and courage. Within a month, almost a million Allied troops had landed in France and were heading eastward toward the German border. Within eleven months the war with Germany was over.

Eleven months to reduce the “Thousand Year Reich” to rubble. From the archives:

Berlin After the War, An Archive of Photos, newly Discovered in 2010

 A gallery of 19 photos from  Der Spiegel in 2010, showing the devastation and the small signs of resilience of Berlin in the weeks after the surrender of the city at the end of World War II.  There are hundreds of newly discovered photographs in the archive of a Berlin publishing house that will become a book titled Berlin After the War to be published to mark the anniversary of the surrender of Nazi Germany, on May 9, 1945.

Forgotten for decades, a trove of post-war photographs from 1945 has recently been unearthed. The snapshots illustrate the devastation of the German capital and capture the desperation of the city in the weeks after the end of World War II. They also show glimpses of Berlin’s resilience.

The soldier with the Iron Cross on his chest lies in the middle of the street.  His steel helmet has rolled away.  The Red Army Soldiers are turning him onto his back and cleaning their weapons.  They take no notice of the photographer kneeling to take the picture. He’s already taken dozens of shots today — this time he’s just chosen a corpse for the foreground.

It’s a scene from the final days of the World War II, taken somewhere in the center of Berlin.  For decades this picture , along with thousands of others lay in the archives of a Berlin publishing house.  Unnoticed.  It is only now that the collection has come to light.

The pictures capture a moment in the city that had reached the end of 12 years of dictatorship and a devastating war: Signs of those final battles, of death, destruction and hopelessness — but also of  life growing once again among the ruins.  They are photos that portray a grotesque normalcy, in contrast to the better-known images of heroic liberation and optimistic reconstruction.  They provide documentation of the city”s downfall in the blink of an eye between an end and a beginning.  A Berlin that was just beginning to free itself from its lethargy.

The sampling of the photos is fascinating.  And the book will fill a gap in the history of the War.   For history buffs, I highly recommend Antony Beevor’s The Fall of Berlin 1945.  And from John Keegan’s The Second World War:

On the 26th of April, 464,000 Soviet troops, supported by 12,700 guns, 21,000 rocket-launchers and 1500 tanks, ringed the inner city ready to launch the final assault of the siege. The circumstances of the inhabitants were now frightful.  …Food was running short, so too was water, while the relentless bombardment had interrupted electrical and gas supplies and sewerage; behind the fighting troops, moreover, ranged those of the second echelon, many released prisoners of war with a  bitter personal grievance against Germans of any age or sex, who vented their hatred by rape, loot and murder. …

The cost to the Red Army of its victory in the siege of Berlin had also been terrible.  Between 16 April and 8 May, Zhukov, Konev and Rokossovsky’s fronts had lost 304,887 men killed, wounded and missing, 10 per cent of their strength and the heaviest casualty list suffered by the Red Army in any battle of the war.  …

Peace brought  no rest to the human flotsam of the war, which swirled in hordes between and behind the victorious armies.  Ten million Wehrmacht prisoners, 8 million German refugees, 3 million Balkan fugitives, 2 million Russian prisoners of war, slave and forced labourers by the million — and also the raw material of the ‘displaced person’ tragedy which was to haunt Europe for a decade after the war — washed about the battlefield. … in the Europe to which their soldiers had brought victory, the vanquished and their victims scratched for food and shelter in the ruins the war had wrought.

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