American Elephants


A Cheerful Song About BREXIT : Shall We Stay or Shall We Go?? by The Elephant's Child

If you re offended by a little vulgarity (the F-word) nevermind. If not, this is great fun. Pure English Music Hall, I think though I’ve never been in one.



Does Europe Get Its Due On the World Stage? by The Elephant's Child
July 13, 2018, 8:48 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

europe

The media are full of President Trump’s visit to Europe and to England. They were delighted with the offensive and disrespectful balloon in London, sure that the terrible Trump was going to permanently spoil our relations with the leaders across the pond.

America is a big open country, we hang all our linen out on the clothesline, so to speak, the clean as well as the dirty. Our news appears on the front pages of European newspapers, and our demonstrations on their television. Interestingly, the opposite is not the case. We may hear about big events on the continent, but for the most part, Americans don’t pay much attention. We know that Europe has had an invasion of migrants who cause some trouble, but frankly, we don’t know much about the state of affairs.

Victor Davis Hanson, in his latest essay for the Hoover Institution, clarifies the situation, explaining the big picture. He brings his deep historical knowledge to his evaluation, and it is valuable. Do read the whole thing and save it.

Yet in current foreign policy journals, a constant theme is European leaders who lament that Europe does not get its due on the world stage. Why would that be?

After all, if “Europe” is defined by the membership of the 28-member European Union, then it should easily be the world’s superpower. The European project now has an aggregate population (512 million) that dwarfs that of the United States (326 million). Even its GDP ($20 trillion) is often calibrated as roughly equivalent to or even larger than America’s ($19 trillion).

Historically, European geography has been strategically influential—with windows on the Atlantic, Baltic, and Mediterranean, the ancient maritime nexus of three continents. Rome is the center of Christianity, by far the world’s largest religion. Some of the world’s great nations—Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, and the United States—were birthed as European colonies. Some two billion people speak European languages, including hundreds of millions outside of Europe whose first language is English, Spanish, Portuguese, or French.



Only On the Hard Left: Goofy Dreams of a Borderless World by The Elephant's Child

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Americans have watched the influx of millions of young, Muslim, and mostly male refugees into a European Union poorly prepared to deal with them.  The European Union, envisioned as sort of a United States of Europe, has been troubled from the start with an oversupply of political correctness. The Schengen Area agreements which gave free rights of movement within Europe were not planned to deal with the migrants or their numbers. A popular revolt has arisen. Europeans apparently wish to accept Middle Eastern immigrants only to the extent that they arrive legally and promise to become European in values and outlook, and they are learning that their own values and outlook are quite different from what prevails in the Middle East or North Africa.

President Obama has effectively planted a big welcome sign on our Southern border. Since 2012, the U.S. has essentially quit policing the border entirely. He has, by executive order, reduced the requirements for citizenship, scattered illegals across the country inflicting hundreds of new students on unprepared school districts. This has directly led to the rise of Donald Trump and his “great big wall.” It may be as much that someone is finally taking notice of the problem, as the actuality of a promised wall. Victor Davis Hanson, whose home is in California’s great Central Valley has written often about immigration and its resulting problems.  He wrote yesterday:

Driving the growing populist outrage in Europe and North America is the ongoing elite push for a borderless world. Among elites, borderlessness has taken its place among the politically correct positions of our age—and, as with other such ideas, it has shaped the language we use. The descriptive term “illegal alien” has given way to the nebulous “unlawful immigrant.” This, in turn, has given way to “undocumented immigrant,” “immigrant,” or the entirely neutral “migrant”—a noun that obscures whether the individual in question is entering or leaving. Such linguistic gymnastics are unfortunately necessary. Since an enforceable southern border no longer exists, there can be no immigration law to break in the first place.

Today’s open-borders agenda has its roots not only in economic factors—the need for low-wage workers who will do the work that native-born Americans or Europeans supposedly will not—but also in several decades of intellectual ferment, in which Western academics have created a trendy field of “borders discourse.” What we might call post-borderism argues that boundaries even between distinct nations are mere artificial constructs, methods of marginalization designed by those in power, mostly to stigmatize and oppress the “other”—usually the poorer and less Western—who arbitrarily ended up on the wrong side of the divide. “Where borders are drawn, power is exercised,” as one European scholar put it. This view assumes that where borders are not drawn, power is not exercised—as if a million Middle Eastern immigrants pouring into Germany do not wield considerable power by their sheer numbers and adroit manipulation of Western notions of victimization and grievance politics. Indeed, Western leftists seek political empowerment by encouraging the arrival of millions of impoverished migrants. …

Few escape petty hypocrisy when preaching the universal gospel of borderlessness. Barack Obama has caricatured the building of a wall on the U.S. southern border as nonsensical, as if borders are discriminatory and walls never work. Obama, remember, declared in his 2008 speech in Berlin that he wasn’t just an American but also a “citizen of the world.” Yet the Secret Service is currently adding five feet to the White House fence—presumably on the retrograde logic that what is inside the White House grounds is different from what is outside and that the higher the fence goes (“higher and stronger,” the Secret Service promises), the more of a deterrent it will be to would-be trespassers. If Obama’s previous wall was six feet high, the proposed 11 feet should be even better.

It’s a long article, but very worth your time. Dr. Hanson has clearly given the matter of borders a great deal of thought.

Clearly delineated borders and their enforcement, either by walls and fences or by security patrols, won’t go away because they go to the heart of the human condition—what jurists from Rome to the Scottish Enlightenment called meum et tuum, mine and yours. Between friends, unfenced borders enhance friendship; among the unfriendly, when fortified, they help keep the peace.



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)



What the Heck is BREXIT ? They Sound a Lot Like Our Revolutionaries Back in 1776! by The Elephant's Child

BREXIT stands for the British exit from the European Union, and the British people will vote on whether to leave or stay on June 23.  It’s a very, very big deal. This is an hour long movie, so you’ll want to watch it in the evening. It’s very well done, with many of my favorite Brits explaining why the European Union does not work — Daniel Hannan, James Delingpole, Matt Ridley, Janet Daley, and Melanie Phillips.

The movie explains how the European Common Market seemed like such a good idea after World War II, how it morphed into the European Union, and what happened when the regulators took over.

It’s a remarkably Leftist Union, sure from its beginnings that control and regulation would fix all the wars and arguments and end poverty and hunger and, well you’re familiar with all the unfilled promises of the Left. When President Obama stopped by in Britain in April, he wrote an op-ed in The Telegraph to tell the British what they needed to do to get full U.S. support—which included staying in the EU, and unsurprisingly ignited a firestorm. Bad manners, but Obama would like the control and regulation and unaccountable government, as he has so clearly demonstrated. Angelina Jolie was just there to tell the Brits not to even think of leaving.

The movie explains how it all came to be and the immense, smothering, unaccountable bureaucracy that it has become. It is a dire warning to us about the rights and possibilities we might well lose if we continue to allow the Left to govern our country. Do set aside time to watch history being made across the pond.



The European Union is Coming Undone Over Political Correctness. Could We Just Use Common Sense Instead? by The Elephant's Child

Constitution

The news almost daily has headlines regarding the influx of refugees or migrants into Europe. They are generally referred to as Syrian refugees or Syrian migrants, but they come from a wide range of countries including many from Africa, and Asia as opposed to what we usually think of as the Middle East. We have seen pictures of massive marches of immigrants in Europe and read the tales of the problems Europe is having with their refugees, and specifically with Islamic terrorism. Paris and Brussels are only the start.

Did you know that the Obama administration has issued around 680,000 green cards to migrants from Muslim nations during the last 5 year period? If there is no change in current policy, the U.S. will admit another 680,000 over the next five years, or possibly more. During the same five years, we issued green cards to only 270,000 migrants from the European Union.

According to DHS files the largest numbers of migrants came from Iraq and Pakistan with 83,000 each, and 75,000 from Bangladesh, 45,000 from Egypt, 31,000 from Somalia, 24,000 from Uzbekistan, Turkey and Morocco had 22,000 migrants each, Jordan and Albania 20,000 each and Lebanon and Yemen each had 16,000. Indonesia (15,000), Syria (14,000), Sudan (13,000), Afghanistan (11.000). and Sierra Leone  (10,000). There were only a few thousand each from Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Kosovo and Libya.

The administration, aside from being unable to say the words ‘Islamic terrorism,’ seems to believe that terrorism doesn’t really exist— even when the Ayatollah Khomeini leads his followers in chants of ‘Death to America‘ and ‘Death to Israel‘ — that’s just P.R. to please the locals. The programs launched by the administration to reach out and protect Muslims are extensive, and the administration has agreed to a terrorist front’s demands to purge FBI’s anti-terrorism material that was thought to be ‘offensive’ to Muslims.

A closely watched case, United States v. Texas, is going to be argued before the Supreme Court on April 18, Monday. The court surprised watchers when it asked that the parties in that case address a question they did not raise in their briefs: whether President Obama’s “Deferred Action for Parents of Americans” (DAPA) order violates the “Take Care Clause” of the Constitution. (“he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed,”) That clause had never before been addressed by the Court. An interesting development for the president who has said “I have a phone and a pen,” and has not been troubled by taking the laws into his own hands.

DAPA is a set of executive branch directives giving some four million illegal aliens who have given birth to children in the United States what the orders call “legal presence” — even though they are here in violation of the law. This “legal presence” entitles DAPA beneficiaries to work permits, a picture ID, driver’s licenses, social security, Earned Income Tax credits, Medicaid, ObamaCare, and other social welfare benefits. Until the 2014 election, President Obama repeatedly and emphatically stated that he did not have authority to issue such an order without congressional action. Then he did it.

Absolute monarchs rule absolutely. What they say goes. It was a long battle in English history, and King John (1119-1216) did things his way until confronted with armed insurrection at Runnymede (1215) when he agreed to the Great Charter which established the principle that even kings are not a law unto themselves, and must act through settled law.

The framers of the U.S. Constitution took care to carefully consider what prerogative powers were suitable for an American president. Much of the Constitution is devoted to replacing prerogative powers with settled law. Henry VIII believed his royal proclamations should have the force of law —Parliament repealed the Act of Proclamations.

As our Constitution was being written, the Committee on Detail changed the words of the draft Constitution which vested a “single person” with the power to carry into execution the national laws” to read “he shall take care that the laws of the United States be duly and faithfully executed.” That changed the execution of the law from a power to a duty rather than a power, indicated by the word “shall.” A reversal would portend ever-increasing  exercise of executive powers. The question is not whether the president’s rule would make good policy, but whether the Constitution allows the president to rule statutory violations. It does not.

The State Department wants to increase the rate of bringing Syrian refugees to the United States to an average of 1,500 a month in order to meet President Obama’s target of settling 10,000 refugees in the country by September.  Why by September? That’s Obama’s target —perhaps he expects to get 10,000 of them voting by November. Who knows? We have Trump’s Yuge wall, 40 feet tall, that he claims he will make Mexico pay for, which is absurd. The 18 to 24 month time for processing admission of  refugees has reportedly been slashed  to 3 months to meet the president’s goal of 10,000 refugees this fiscal year.

Although the Muslim immigrants clearly include some ISIS members seeking entrance to the U.S, (they are certainly plentiful among European migrants), the slashing of processing time is worrying. It would seem that immediate admissions should focus on providing a safe haven for the remnants of historic Christian communities throughout the Middle East that are now targeted for extinction. Churches have been burned, priests arrested, Christians have been tortured, raped and crucified. They have nowhere to go. Present policy does not take into account their precarious situation. The State Department accepts refugees from lists prepared by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner on Refugees which oversees the large refugee camps— but Christians do not dare enter those camps, where they are attacked and targeted by Islamists.

Playing politics with Immigration is a particularly unseemly thing to do. Instead of efforts to carefully vet Muslim immigrants, we run into accusations of “Islamophobia,” designed to stop any dissension. Religious freedom, promised by our Bill of Rights, does not aim to free those who are intending terrorist attacks. There are many tenets of the Muslim faith that are directly antithetical to the U.S. Constitution. We should be able to clearly explain those to all Muslim immigrants. We do not tolerate honor killings, we do not regard women as second-class citizens, we don’t accept wife-beating, and rape is a crime. These are serious prison offences. That is not Islamophobia — it’s just clearly setting the ground rules. There should be a clear discussion of rules that are in the Koran that are not acceptable under our Constitution. If they cannot agree to American law, perhaps they would prefer to go elsewhere.

One of the most despicable acts of President Obama has been to delete some of the requirements under the law for becoming an American citizen. That’s why Europe is in such great turmoil at present. They have no programs for assimilation, or for becoming a citizen of a particular country. European nations have always been tribal, with  differing languages, customs and rules. After centuries of constant and deadly wars they thought to end them by opening borders and sharing finances and laws. It hasn’t worked. An unelected and unrepresentative bureaucracy merely substitutes for the absolute monarchs that once ruled Europe, and the people are not quite at the armed insurrection stage, but it’s not all peaches and cream either. Political correctness dictates acceptance of poor refugees, common sense dictates something else.

Emma Lazarus’s “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore—” is all very compassionate, but hardly an acceptable guide to immigration.



Is the European Union Economy Going Down the Toilet? by The Elephant's Child
December 11, 2010, 8:55 pm
Filed under: Economy, Europe, History, Military | Tags: ,

Of course this is meant to be a humorous take on the Euro Crisis, as only the Brits can do it.  But it’s not all that far off.  Europe’s leaders have perfected two techniques, says an essay in Der Spiegel, since the start of the debt crisis, scrambling to catch up with events, and playing them down.  Again and again, they have been forced to assemble bailout packages to prevent the euro zone from breaking apart.  And after each new one, they insist that the measures are purely psychological and will probably never be needed.

First there was Greece, then Ireland.  To be followed by Portugal, Spain and Italy.  Governments claim they have come up with an idea that will end the crisis for once and all.  On Sunday, the euro group of finance ministers from the 16 euro-zone member states approved the outlines of a long-term European Stability Mechanism (ESM) to come into force in mid-2013.  It is intended to provide states with more options to fight debt crises.

At the end of World War II, free Europe was desperate to end the centuries of warfare that had swept back and forth across the continent. That latest bout with Fascism, Nazism, Communism, Socialism and the Holocaust was more than they could bear. But how to unite all these disparate countries with different languages, different customs and uncertain borders into something stronger. Countries that often hated each other. The Common Market was fairly successful, but the European Union may have overreached.  It’s a hope struggling to become some kind of reality. without a very clear idea of what is is they’re hoping.  Centuries of custom and identity don’t shift to becoming “Europeans” that easily.

When Valéry Giscard d’Estaing set about devising a constitution for the new union, he bragged that he had studied the two hundred year old American Constitution, only 12 pages long, beginning “We the people”. The most recent version of the EU Constitution is somewhere over 70,000 words and growing.  Their first version began “His Majesty, the King of the Belgians.”

The union seems to have held together largely because the government is almost completely unrepresentative.  It’s even illegal to criticize the EU. The Union seems to be slowly disintegrating even without the current debt crisis. They are not having enough babies to replace themselves and are slowly depopulating, except for in-migrating Muslims who are not assimilating, and Europe has no method to help them assimilate. It is a puzzlement.

This map shows just why they felt the need to form a union.  Can human nature be overcome?  Enlarging this to full screen size doesn’t work for me — type is still too fuzzy to read.




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