American Elephants


The Globalists Have a Major Blind Spot by The Elephant's Child

Here is Jonathan Haidt, talking on globalism and nationalism and why they are incompatible. There are some real problems with global thinking, and Haidt exposes them, one by one. We get remarkably confused as to what human nature is all about, and shifting psychology and changing generations and just where we get off track. It’s an interesting talk. Just slightly over 10 minutes. Big audience. April, 2018.

Jonathan Haidt is an American social psychologist and Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business. His academic specialization is the psychology of morality and the moral emotions. Haidt is the author of two books: The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom (2006) and The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion (2012). He is also the founder of the Heterodox Academy to support viewpoint diversity in academia: https://heterodoxacademy.org/ In this talk from Apr 2018, he talks about the generation after millennials,

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The Big Singapore Meeting: Big Breakthrough or Waste of Time? by The Elephant's Child

President Trump has gone to Singapore, had a good meeting with Kim Jong Un of North Korea, and returned home to the utter consternation of the media. They were eager for some kind of catastrophe. Trump is too new, too ill-informed about international affairs not to have made a complete mess of it. Here, from the White House, is the joint statement of President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea at the Singapore Summit. (You might find it fun to look up the Democratic People’s Republics of the world and see just who they are, and how they’re doing.)

The agreement is not all that much. They agree to try to make peace. They agree to try to commit to de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and they will commit to recovering POW/MIA remains. Nancy Pelosi threatened that the Senate would have to confirm it. It’s not a treaty, Nancy, there’s nothing to confirm. They had a meeting and agreed to try to do a little more.

President Trump said that the entire effort was dedicated to Otto Warmbier, the young American who made the mistake of taking a propaganda poster in Korea, whereupon the Koreans threw him into prison, brutally mistreated him and when he was released, he barely got home before he died.

I’m including links to some articles that capture some of the ideas that explain what is going on. The first is “How Twitter Diplomacy Works” by Thomas Farnan. He begins:

President Trump this week will bust 68 years of diplomatic white paper inertia and meet the leader of a nation with which America has been at war since 1950. President Trump this week will bust 68 years of diplomatic white paper inertia and meet the leader of a nation with which America has been at war since 1950. …

Do read the whole thing.

The White House prepared for the meeting carefully. They learned that Kim was a big movie fan with a huge library of movie videos, and they prepared their own—which Trump played for the Chairman on an iPad. Scott Adams (Dilbert) discusses the video brilliantly here:

There has been some angry objection from Conservatives that Mr. Trump buttered up Kim, said he cared about his people, (but he doesn’t and he;s a brutal dictator and murderer. ) Yes, but refer back to the simple statement that we have been at war since 1950.

There are some underlying things that we just don’t know about. North Korea has been a subsidiary of China, and China’s Xi has ambitions. How North Korea fits into that we don’t know. Useful or annoyance? When Kim shot off this last batch of nuclear tests, something happened to his test site, and the mountain collapsed, but we don’t know how bad it was or what it means.

Our media wants to portray the whole thing as a colossal failure of one sort or another. They want Trump embarrassed, disgraced (TDS kicks in here) so you can’t rely on much that they have to say. They’re already going on about the failure of Trump’s G-7 meeting and how he insulted the Canadians etc. ,etc. Here’s some useful commentary on that: American Greatness: “Trump is Right: G7 Needs a Wake-Up Call on Trade.” From Investor’s Business Daily: President Trump Didn’t Sigh G-7’s Leftist Agenda—Smart Move”.

From The Wall Street Journal: Why Trump Clashes With Europe” (subscription barrier), and THE WEEK: “If Europe is serious about challenging Trump, it should actually challenge him” by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry.

This is not all that much reading, you will find it valuable. There are some important insights here. And keep that one phrase in mind: “68 years of white paper diplomatic inertia.”

 



Victor Davis Hanson on the First Six Months of Trump by The Elephant's Child

A very odd and unappealing opening visual. Here is Victor Davis Hanson speaking at Hillsdale College about the Trump Administration and what is working and why and why not.  It’s a little long, but worth every minute. I am a great admirer of Victor Hanson. He thinks clearly, informed deeply by his studies in history and the classics to consider the big picture and how the little events of our times fit in.

It seemed to fit nicely with the absurd New York Times article posted just above. An excellent view of where we are and why. Enjoy.



The People Are Getting Fed Up With Uncontrolled Immigration by The Elephant's Child

Sebastian-Kurz-1

There are bits of good news from Europe, from Austria in particular. Chancellor Sebastien Kurz, the guy our own German ambassador recently called a rockstar when suggesting that there is something of a more conservative resurgence in Europe. Well, of course that had the lefty news media having fits. An insult to Chancellor Merkel, interfering in elections. Ambassador Grenell said that he wanted “to empower other conservatives throughout Europe and that there is a groundswell of conservative policies that are taking hold because of the failed policies of the left.”

The bureaucrats of Europe are not happy with us. See the Paris Climate agreement, which would have accomplished nothing whatsoever for the climate, except to transfer large amounts of American taxpayers’ money to developing African states and help to keep their migrants at home. We’re also demanding that the Europeans keep up with their NATO and military readiness obligations, and they don’t want to.

Austrian Chancellor Kurz will be closing more than half a dozen mosques and ejecting dozens of Imams suspected of supporting radical theology, along with the disbanding of other Islamic organizations. They may expel up to 60 Turkish-funded imams and their families, and a hardline Turkish nationalist mosque in Vienna.

Ankara denounced the move, and Turkey’s presidential spokesman tweeted that ‘Austria’s decision to close down seven mosques and deport imams with a lame excuse is a reflection of the anti-Islam, racist and discriminatory populist wave in this country.’

Austria is a country of 8.8 million people with roughly 600,000 people of Turkish origin, including 117,000 Turkish nationals. Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has shown extensive signs of wanting to become another Middle Eastern dictator or tyrant, and referred to Kurz as “this immoral chancellor.” In the last year’s elections, both coalition parties called for tougher immigration controls, quick deportation of asylum-seekers whose requests are denied and a crackdown on radical Islam. Sounds a little familiar. The bureaucrats may want to keep doing business as usual, but the people are getting restless. Sebastien Kurz is a fresh voice, and a determined one.



The Future is Coming Whether We Welcome It Or Not by The Elephant's Child

My mail contained some startling notices. In the Netherlands, in  the city of Eindhoven, they are building a neighborhood of 3D printed houses. I saw pictures of a house they 3D printed here at a cost of around $3,600 (If I remember correctly) that looked attractive and like a normal house only very small. A whole new concept of neighborhoods and living. This one looks as if it was designed for migrants from a children’s book. Kids would love them. You can google 3D houses to see what’s being developed in this country.

Thinking about D-Day, I couldn’t help but wonder if we are going to have to do it again. The EU Government seems to think it will all go well as the migrants adapt and become Europeans. The Migrants seem to have no intention of assimilating, and just expect to take over in a generation or two, when they become the majority. Whether they want to eliminate the current Europeans is an unknown, but attacks seem to continue everywhere. The thinking of the EU government seems to have little to do with the ideas and interests of the people, with rare exceptions. See Victor Davis Hanson’s “Europe’s Vanishing Calm” at National Review.

It’s  now against the law in California to shower and do laundry in the same day. The Outgoing Governor Jerry Brown wants a few draconian laws passed as a parting gift to the state. This one is designed to help California to be prepared for future droughts and, of course, to help defray the effects of climate change. Governor Moonbeam remains a true believer. The mandatory water conservation standards will be permanent, not just in times of crisis.

But at the EPA, the valiant Scott Pruitt is doing some genuine cost-benefit reform. Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency rammed through an average of 565 new rules each year during the Obama Presidency, imposing the highest regulatory costs of any agency in the government. It pulled this off by arranging the supposed benefits to fit whatever cost they thought they could get away with. Regulations can impose severe costs on the economy. By adding “social costs” and “social benefits” Obama’s EPA added speculation about causing childhood asthma (scientists don’t know yet what causes it) which sounds good, and is hard to object to. Removing useless regulations has been a boon to commerce. The EPA has a statutory obligation to look at the costs and benefits of proposed rules, which were reinforced by executive orders and court rulings.

The EPA will take the first step today by issuing an advance notice of proposed rule-making. After weighing public input, EPA will propose a rule establishing an agency-wide standard for how regulations are assessed. The reform will make it easier for Americans and their elected representatives to see whether more regulation can be justified. At White House direction, the Trump EPA recalculated the “social cost” of prior regulations to include only demonstrable domestic benefits. The social cost estimates dropped to an average of $5 per ton of carbon from $36. The EPA had put the social cost of methane at an average of $1,100 per ton. The Trump EPA lowered that to $150 per ton. As they say, $1,000 here, and $2,000 there and pretty soon you’re talking real money. On his first day in office Mr. Pruitt said his goal was to protect the environment and the economy, and that “we don’t have to choose between the two.”

 



D-Day, June 6, 1944. by The Elephant's Child

Every year, the remembrance of D-Day grows a little weaker, as it fades into history. A young man of 18 on June 6, 1944 would now be 92. There are not many left, and now it is only those who were children then who remember events as they were happening. I always post something about the anniversary, but many years it is just a repost of what I wrote a previous year. You can access them all by entering “D-Day” in the blank over Bob Hope’s head in the sidebar.  Last year’s post of a book review of “D-Day Through German Eyes” is interesting and the links still work.

They All Hate Us, Right?” was a post in 2008 about the French reenacters. I don’t know if they are still doing it, but it’s interesting simply because it points out that it isn’t just the current media who don’t know what they are writing about, it’s been going on for a long time. Piper Millin’s story is a good one as well.

One of my favorite stories I don’t know if I ever wrote about, but it is some real evidence of our common humanity. It concerns the photo which all of us have probably seen many times of the GI in the water on D-Day, huddled behind a beach obstacle, trying to avoid the rifle fire, and looking terrified, but determined. There are hundreds of men all across the United States who claim to have been that guy. Don’t give me any of your “toxic masculinity” nonsense. Men are useful far, far beyond their ability to open jars and eliminate scary spiders.

Once again I want to urge you, if you have an interest in history or maybe more if you don’t, to buy and read Victor Davis Hanson’s The Second World Wars. Europe does seem, at present, to be slowly committing suicide. They are realizing that a good many of their migrants have no intention of assimilating and some of the countries are considering ways to block more migrants and if they can, to remove some who are already there. Here are a couple of brief excerpts:

The D-Day invasion of Normandy (Operation Overlord) was the largest combined land and sea operation conducted since the invasion of Greece by King Xerxes of Persia in spring 480 B.C. It dwarfed all of history’s star-crossed beach landings from Marathon to Gallipoli (April 1915). Normandy would serve as a model for large subsequent America seaborne operations from Iwo Jima (February 1945) and Okinawa (April 1945) to Inchon (September 1950). It made all prior iconic cross-Channel invasions in either direction—Caesar’s (55 BC), William the Conqueror’s (1066), Henry V’s (1415), or the 1809 British landing in Flanders—seem minor amphibious operations in comparison.  …

Over 150,000 Allied troops landed the first day on five British, Canadian, and American  assigned beaches, along with over twenty-five thousand airborne soldiers dropped behind German lines. Unlike possible spots in the Cotentin Peninsula or at Calais, the Allies believed that landings in Normandy would pose far more of a surprise, given the somewhat greater distance from Britain. More important, the expansive geography of the Normandy beaches would not box in the invading Allied armies on a confined peninsula or allow the  Germans to focus on a narrow front. Unlike the prior landings in Sicily and Italy, Operation Overlord had been carefully planned for over a year, drawing on the lessons from the Allies past amphibious problems at Dieppe, Sicily, Salerno and Anzio. New inventions and weapons were crafted for the invasion, from portable “Mulberry ” harbors to PLUTO (“pipelines under the ocean”) fuel lines laid under the English Channel and to Sherman and Churchill tanks modified  to uncover mines, cut barbed wire, provide pathways over the soft beaches, and bridge obstacles.

At this point I always have a flashback to the Robin Hood movie with Russell Crowe, when history deficient Hollywood had Robin headed for the beaches to prevent the landing of Henry V, and Henry’s troops were landing in Higgins Boats made out of driftwood, with the iconic front panel that drops down to allow the troops to run (or swim) for the beach. There were Higgins boats in the Lord of the Rings trilogy as well, but fortunately not so obvious. Andrew Jackson Higgins’ little plywood landing crafts played a big part in winning the war.



The Fuego Volcano in Guatemala Has Erupted on Sunday by The Elephant's Child

The Fuego volcano in Guatemala has erupted today, many deaths much destruction. Here’s a link to the Twitter coverage. At least 25 people have been killed. This is apparently the second eruption this year.  The mountain is close to the capitol city.

Very scary.

Addendum: The death toll in Guatemala has risen to over 125 and there are still missing people. They are finding bodies under the volcanic ash, most not yet identified. Here is today’s coverage so far:

 




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