American Elephants


The French, Coming Apart. And the Rest of Us Too? by The Elephant's Child

Christopher Caldwell has a fascinating piece at City Journal about “The French, Coming Apart” He writes about Christophe Guilluy who has spent decades in France as a housing consultant in rapidly changing neighborhoods, studying gentrification, social problems, immigration tensions, deindustrialization, economic decline, ethnic conflict, and changes in politics and the rise of populist parties.  It is a ground-level look, Caldwell says, at the economic, residential, and democratic consequences of globalization in France.

France’s political system is as polarized as our own, this discussion arises in the midst of a French election which has selected Marine Le Pen described as a far-right nationalist or populist and Emmanuel Macron, a representative of France’s elite who is apt to win decisively, but to represent the status quo which is hugely unpopular. Unsurprisingly, immigration is a major issue. President Hollande’s approval rating is down around 6 percent, Macron represents more of the same, apologizes for French colonialism, and is a fierce defender of France’s open immigration system.

A process that Guilluy calls métropolisation has cut French society in two. In 16 dynamic urban areas (Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Toulouse, Lille, Bordeaux, Nice, Nantes, Strasbourg, Grenoble, Rennes, Rouen, Toulon, Douai-Lens, and Montpellier), the world’s resources have proved a profitable complement to those found in France. These urban areas are home to all the country’s educational and financial institutions, as well as almost all its corporations and the many well-paying jobs that go with them….

Most of France’s small cities, in fact, are in la France périphérique.) Rather, the term measures distance from the functioning parts of the global economy. France’s best-performing urban nodes have arguably never been richer or better-stocked with cultural and retail amenities. But too few such places exist to carry a national economy. When France’s was a national economy, its median workers were well compensated and well protected from illness, age, and other vicissitudes. In a knowledge economy, these workers have largely been exiled from the places where the economy still functions. They have been replaced by immigrants.

Guilluy shows that if French people were willing to do the work in the prosperous urban centers, there would be no place for them to live. It’s an interesting look at French societal problem, but also at British and American developments. Caldwell calls it globalization, but I’m not sure that it isn’t something quite different. Working class Frenchmen no longer exist in Paris. Multiculturalism, artificial intelligence, freedom of speech, political correctness, socialism. Some of the same effects led to Britain leaving the European Union.  70% of Frenchmen tell pollsters that there are too many foreigners in France. Jews are leaving at the rate of around 7,000 a year, fearing for their safety.

I remember reading, years ago, that the globalist NGOs saw the future of America as the people crowded together in very large high-rise cities with connecting roadways, and the land returned to wilderness in between. One wondered where the food would come from, among other things. but this piece brought back that memory. The big cities of the country are becoming unaffordable, with tiny houses, and apartments made of shipping containers, to crowd more people in. My own sleepy suburb has become a high-rise city with affordable living apartments developing all over. Reports of tiny spaces renting for outrageous sums in the Bay Area abound.

It is an interesting piece and both disturbing and thought-provoking. If you want to be provoked into pondering just where we are going, I recommend it. Paul Mirengoff at Power Line writes about it as well, but mostly in reference to the French election.

Makes me wonder if in pursuit of “draining the swamp” in Washington D.C. it wouldn’t be a good idea to move some agencies out to cities across the country. It’s getting way too incestuous back there.



An Inherited Catastrophe, A Quick Response by The Elephant's Child

Bashar Assad’s Sarin attack on the Ghowa agricultural region just outside Damascus, which has been held by rebels, was also an attack on International Law. The attacks came in early morning hours when many were still asleep. Initial estimates of the numbers of dead range upwards of 1,400, including way too many children.

Headlines in the media ranged from an irresponsible “TRUMP DECLARES WAR,” to less bellicose statements, but few recognized the very limited nature of the act. It would have been more accurately described as a direct response on the specific Syrian airfield from which the Sarin gas attacks were launched, to put that airfield out of business— and prevent further attacks. It was a correct and immediate response.

President Trump has received wide support from world leaders.  German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande in a joint statement said “President Assad bears sole responsibility for this development. His repeated use of chemical weapons and his crimes against his own population had to be sanctioned.” British Prime Minister Theresa May said the action was an “appropriate response.” Israel, Australia, Japan, Italy all expressed their support for American action and condemned the use of chemical weapons. Even Erdogan’s Turkey expressed support. The use of chemical weapons is an international war crime.

Russia predictably denounced the strike as an “act of aggression against a UN member,” and said they would demand an urgent UN Security Council meeting. Iran also condemned the US strike.

Hollywood celebrities chimed in with commentary on Twitter in about the manner you would expect. Perhaps someday they will learn that their commentary is not valued for its international expertise, but for the humor.

Barack Obama drew a Red Line in Syria, then failed to follow through and  essentially told the world that they could act with impunity, and America would do nothing. Always a mistake. Russia moved in as a military patron and Iran has become Assad’s protector on the ground with arms supplies and Hezbollah.

The next step should be to establish safe zones in Syria, with protection from possible attacks. The Wall Street Journal said:

Every military operation carries risks but this one could also have major political and strategic benefits if Mr. Trump follows the air strike with some forceful diplomacy. The demonstration of renewed U.S. purpose in the region could have an electrifying impact across the Middle East. The Saudis, the Gulf Sunni states and Turkey would begin to rethink their accommodation to the Russia-Assad-Iran axis of dominance that none of them wants.

Mr. Trump also needs to make Russia and Iran begin to pay a price for their support for Mr. Assad’s depredations. They have had no incentive to negotiate an end to the civil war because they see themselves on the road to a relatively cost-free victory. That calculus may change if it looks like the costs of intervening are rising and Mr. Assad is no longer a sure winner.

The Journal added:

The larger point for Mr. Trump to recognize is that he is being tested. The world—friend and foe—is watching to see how he responds to Mr. Assad’s war crime. His quick air strike on the evening he was having dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping makes clear that the Obama era is over. If he now follows with action to protect Syrian civilians and construct an anti-Assad coalition, he may find that new strategic possibilities open up to enhance U.S. interests and make the Middle East more stable.

ADDENDUM: The missile strikes were delivered while President Trump was having dinner at Mar -a-Lago with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Presumably the Chinese President took notice, as did the rest of the world. A bit of a wake-up call. New administration in town.



Heading in the Right Direction, Step by Step by The Elephant's Child

—The Senate has confirmed Ryan Zinke as Secretary of the Interior. It’s his first day on the job and he already signed two orders. One overturns the ban on using lead bullets for hunting, and bans fishermen from using lead sinkers on their lines. One of Obama’s little tricks on his very last day in office, via the Fish and Wildlife Administration.

— In a new paper (Stein et al.,2017), scientists find that Arctic sea ice retreat and advance is modulated by variations in solar activity. The sea ice extent is only slightly less than during the coldest centuries of the Little Ice Age (1600s to 1800s).

20 new papers affirm that Modern Climate is in phase with Natural Variability. The Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute used only observational evidence. They found that Arctic sea ice concentration anomalies were as low or lower in the early 1950s than they have been during recent decades.

—Dr. Susan Crockford, Canadian wildlife expert, has released the latest finding on polar bears. Since  2005, the estimated polar bear population has risen from about 22,500 to about 30,000. The bears are doing just fine, and the Global Warming Policy Foundation is calling on the U.S. Administration to re-assess the ‘endangered species’ status of polar bears.

—Since President’s Trump’s travel order was lifted, more than 1,800 refugees from the 7 countries the Obama Administration listed as sources of terrorism  have entered the U.S.

— Those who advocate accepting far greater numbers of refugees claim that no terrorists have attacked the U.S. from those countries. To the contrary, a Study from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) confirms that 72 terrorists have been convicted in terror cases, in a sharp contrast with assertions by the Ninth Circuit judges who blocked the President’s executive order. The law clearly states that the president may order exactly what he did.

— When President Trump told the Department of Homeland Security Staff on January 24 after he signed two executive orders on immigration enforcement that “This is a law-enforcement agency.” The assembled ICE agents, Border Patrol officers and others burst into applause. That tells you a great deal about how badly Obama gutted immigration enforcement and how devastating that was to employee morale.

— The European Union has told their member states to detain more migrants before deportation. A year ago most European countries were patting themselves on the back for being so open, welcoming and compassionate about the million and a half refugees they allowed into their countries, with no vetting. Terrorist attacks, big ones, have been worldwide news. The riots, attacks on women, rapes have become common and are mostly swept under the rug. Well over a million refugees and migrants are placing a severe drain on state finances and the people are beginning to realize that all is not what they expected. Germany is in the process of deporting tens of thousands of migrants who arrived in 2015. The German taxpayer has had the expense of feeding, clothing, housing and educating the 800,000 migrants welcomed with open arms by Chancellor Merkel. Can they send them back home? Or is it too late.



Innocence, Foolishness, Stupidity and Which is Which? by The Elephant's Child

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There are loaded words out there. Words that have been given meaning far beyond their normal weight, if one can call it that. Refugees is such a word. It is far more loaded than other words in the same family, like immigrants, or migrants. It seems to outrank citizens. Europe has largely surrendered to refugees. The word carries along with itself—ideas of empathy, pity, caring, welcome, fugitive, displaced person, asylum seeker, boat people.

Here’s the bit from Wikipedia. The refugee, of course, is a small child of indeterminate nationality. .

RefugeeA refugee, generally speaking, is a displaced person who has been forced to cross national boundaries and who cannot return home safely. Such a person may be called an asylum seeker until granted refugee status by the contracting state or the UNHCR if they formally make a claim for asylum.

What brings all this up is a post from  Gatestone Europe that contained these pieces.

The foreign minister of the European Parliament said, to justify the EU’s position on migrants, in the session of migration and Trump’s executive order, “If we had to live without migrants, in all our societies and all our economies, we would suffer a lot of negative consequences.”

Second piece: “Gangster Islam: The Problem Europe Ignores” featuring the Dutch-Moroccan rapper Ismo stating “I believe nothing blindly except the Quran””I hate the Jews even more than the Nazis: and “I won’t shake hands with faggots.”

For over a decade, Europe’s struggle to successfully integrate its Muslim population has been evident. But throughout the years a new and distinctly European phenomenon arose, which is as significant as it is underreported: Gangster Islam. It entails the conflation of the seemingly a-religious street culture of youths from a Muslim background on the one hand, and elements of the Islamic religion on the other.

Then, a report that “Hamas Organises Dutch Conference, Intelligence Agencies in Full Denial.”

And a video clip of the Chief of Police of  Östersund, Sweden, Stephen Jerand, warning women to adjust their behavior to protect against a spate of violent attacks” (avoid getting raped by gangs of young men)

There’s lots more. They are apparently far more concerned by President Trump than by the Muslim refugees in their midst that are not interested in assimilating, but only in establishing Sharia law and taking over.  But perhaps I exaggerate.

On the Left, “refugees” is indeed a loaded word, and we must all care deeply and admit all refugees, and continue to have sanctuary cities, counties, towns and universities, in defiance of federal law.  Because if we don’t care then we will be bad people. And we don’t have to worry about future effects because, well, that isn’t now and it will probably all be better anyway when we are in charge again.  Is that the mindset? Or is it all just George Soros‘ open borders and Open Society  or like Scarlett O’Hara’s plan to go home to Tara and think about it all tomorrow?

We have been told that Europe will be Muslim by 2050, simply because the Muslim birthrate is so much higher, and Europe’s is close to negative.



Prime Minister Theresa May in the House of Commons by The Elephant's Child

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour party leader, is neatly put in his place by Prime Minister Theresa May. Nice work!



There’s a Lot to be Said for the Power of Optimism by The Elephant's Child

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The British People voted last year to leave the European Union in a vote that has come to be called “BREXIT” or British exit. Mrs. May said forthrightly that she was not in favor of leaving, but if that is what the British People voted for, that is what she would do.

The British High Court said the Prime Minister would have to get a vote of the Parliament in order to do so, and on Wednesday they voted to allow Prime Minister Theresa May to start Brexit negotiations with the European Union. The European Union Bill passed with 498 votes to 114. The Bill will still have to go to the House of Lords before becoming law. May has set a March 31 deadline for invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and beginning exit formalities with the European Union.

The Scottish National Party attempted to block the bill before the vote. Forty-seven members of the Labour Party MPs revolted against the Labor Party’s leadership and voted against the bill.

Staying in the single market would require Britain to continue contributing to the Brussels budget, accept EU economic rules and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, and admit levels of immigration that have become politically unacceptable. Remainers said these concessions were worth making, but voters disagreed and they must be respected.

Some European countries want to punish Britain, and drive the hardest bargain possible.  Mrs. May has argued for a clean break, as that is the only way for London to negotiate its own trade deals with the rest of the world.

The smart play is for both to help the other succeed….The biggest threat to the EU isn’t a Britain that succeeds outside the common market. It is an EU that keeps failing to provide the economic prosperity demanded by its frustrated citizens. What drove Britain from the EU was the Continent’s failure on immigration control, fighting terrorism and delivering jobs and rising incomes.

To put it another way, Mrs. May is telling Britons they’re embarking on another great chapter in self-government. The Brits helped invent the idea, so they know what it takes.

Daniel Hannan is a member of the European Parliament who went to the European Parliament urging the abolition of the place. He said “It’s difficult to begin to understand the imbalance of forces in our recent debate and referendum. Every broadcaster, every political party, every bank, every big corporation, every trade association, every think tank, every EU-funded university, the whole of the establishment was telling us that it was a matter of national survival to stay in the EU. That it would be calamitous for us if we left. And people didn’t believe it. On June 23, they politely disregarded all the advice, all the bullying, all the hectoring, all the threats, and they voted to become a self-governing country again.”

He added “Americans voted Leave in 1776, and from where I’m standing, it seems to have worked out OK for you.”



Totallly Unrelated, of Course, But Food for Thought by The Elephant's Child

eu-refugeesA huge raid by about 800 Austrian police officers in Vienna and Graz, have rounded up fourteen Islamists, including three women and a handful of Imams connected to ISIS, after a two-year long investigation into the radical Salafist network. They will be charged with membership in a terrorist organization and the creation of a criminal organization.

The head of the criminal justice department of the Ministry of Justice said the Islamists spoke of creating a “State of God” or an Islamic Caliphate theocracy. Police also allege that the group had recruited at least 40 people to engage in jihad. Previous reports indicate that around 270 Islamists were under active observation by Austrian intelligence services.

The German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) and the Austrian government reported last November after the attack at the Bataclan theater in Paris that hundreds of ISIS fighters have been smuggled into Europe as “refugees.”




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