October 22, 2014 5 Comments
Sorry guys, I’m neck-deep in a project, and the water keeps rising. But here’s Bill Whittle’s current Firewall.
What’s that? Yep, I agree with everything he says here.
The view from the Prairie, with an emphasis on Energy
October 17, 2014 1 Comment
You know that I like to commemorate events in history, and October is a rich month for that. I’ve often said that American history is a niece of British, especially English history. This month is a prime example of why. The other day was the 948th anniversary of the battle of Hastings. The Norman Conquest is one of the pivots of our (and perhaps world) history. Don’t think so? Let’s look at it, but first a short history of it.
In January St. Edward the Confessor, the last King of England of the House of Wessex, which we spoke of yesterday with regard to Alfred the Great, died, and eventually was borne in state to the new Westminster Abbey (which he built) where he was buried. Incidentally his feast day is 13 October.
The succession was a disputed one, it settled out as having three claimants, Harold Godwinson, The nobles of the realm offered him the crown, although he had a pretty weak claim to it, being the brother-in-law of King Cnut
Amongst the other claimants, King Swegn Estrithson, of Denmark and Edgar Aetheling (Atheling actually means throneworthy) and he was of the House of Wessex, the Grandson of Edmund Ironside, he was also a minor. Neither of these seem to have been considered at all.
But there was also King Harold Hardrada of Norway acting on behalf of Tostig, Earl of Northumbria, and King Harold’s brother. Tostig has always seemed to me to be a very troublesome younger brother, and it looks like Harold thought so too. But this was a serious claim.
Then there was William, Duke of Normandy, whose claim was based on a promise made ears before by Edward, and backed by the Pope.
And so, Harold was crowned at Westminster by Archbishop Stigand of Canterbury and Archbishop Ealdred of York. I also note that Halley’s comet was visiting that year, all seemed to think it a bad omen for Harold and a good one for William.
To contest this matter, William had to convince his nobles to help, and not demand, which he did, and got the support of the Pope as well. William was a planner and took his time with his preparations, which worked to his benefit.
And so, in May, Tostig made his first, abortive try to invade England, which caused Harold to call out the Fyrd, which was peasants who were required to serve at his pleasure, and he kept them out, waiting for William.
Meanwhile, William was preparing including calling his magnates to help him dedicate his wife Mathilda’s new abbey of St Etienne, in Caen, on 18 June 1066, and get his people to support him.
On 20 September Tostig and Harold sailed up the Ouse river and fought Earls Edwin and Morcar at Fulford outside York. The Earls were defeated and badly and took no further part. Following this Harold came up with a scratch force consisting mostly of his own Housecarls and thegns, He then marched 180 miles in four days calling out shire levies as he went. He offered Tostig his earldom back if he would change sides, and when he didn’t the forces met at Stamford Bridge on 25 September.
Both Hardrada and Tosig were killed in the battle beneath the Raven banner but, it was a hard battle and the King’s force were beat up and tired.
At this point William landed probably at Pevensey from his 700 ships. And then he proceeded to burn and pillage to force Harold to come south and fight him. Which worked, Harold raced his forces back south down the Roman road called Ermine Street and on 14 October they met in battle, at where else, the place now called Battle. It’s an interesting battle, and the linked article gives a reasonable description but the short form is: William won and Harold died. You may have heard of Battle Abbey, it marks the site.
And so for the last time (so far) in history was England conquered by an outside force.
But why does this matter? Well, England at the time was in no way a democracy but it wasn’t exactly feudal either. It was sort of an amalgam of the old northern European tribal structure with the feudal sytem. You’ll recall from Beowulf that certain men were considered eligible for the throne of the Geats, and Atheling is an obvious link to the concept. In addition the first charter of the rights of freeman had been issued by King Alfred the Great. In this we can see the first dim outlines of our freedom.
This was shattered by the Conquest, because Normandy had become almost completely feudal, and those Normans replaced almost completely the native Anglo/ Saxon/ Danish nobility. And so the language of the ruling class became French, which it would be for centuries. That echoes down to us, we raise cows but eat beef is one famous example. Another is contained in Kiplings poem which Jess wrote about, called ‘The Wrath of the Awakened Saxon”.
And never doubt that attitude has come down to us all, it’s part of the common heritage of the English speaking peoples, British, American, Canadian, Australian and all the rest. That’s our heritage, that and the rule of law, better expressed as “the rule through and under the law” which signifies that our governments, however constituted, are as subject to the law as we are. There is no more ‘Presentment of Englishry’ which deprived the English of their civil rights in there own land.
This is the heritage that gave us Henry II’s charter, ans Magna Charta, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution.
Nearly a thousand years ago that heritage was nearly killed, and tyrants have been (and still are) trying to kill it, and sometime we gain but sometimes we lose, but
October 15, 2014 2 Comments
I ran across a couple of TED talks yesterday that I want to share with you. Like you, I tend to find bias in most of them, or at least a different bias than mine. :-) But these are very good.
First is The Killer Apps of Prosperity
Makes all the sense in the world doesn’t he?
And then we’ll learn about Snollygosters
And these are both enjoyable and informative, I think.
October 14, 2014 15 Comments
So are you panicking over the Ebola virus? No, of course you’re not, like me, you understand the utter futility of panic. I imagine also, like me, as well, you find it worrisome, it gives the TV folks something to talk about, nor would it hurt if someone in the government was in charge. The thing is, there is. There is a federal bureaucrat (and agency) specifically charged to take care of this kind of stuff.
So of course, that is the one person who hasn’t had anything to say about it. But Mollie Hemingway thinks we should meet her, and she’s right. This woman is the head of a multi-billion dollar agency tasked to protect us from things like Ebola, and biowar, and stuff like that. She, and the agency, appear to be totally corrupt as well. (Wait, why would that surprise you?)
Mollie found a video from the administrator about the agency, here it is.
You did note that her highest priority is to support the President, right? I would have thought it was to carry out the agency’s mission but, I’m old fashioned like that.
As the Ebola situation in West Africa continues to deteriorate, some U.S. officials are claiming that they would have been able to better deal with the public health threat if only they had more money.
Dr. Francis Collins, who heads the National Institutes of Health (NIH), told The Huffington Post, “Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready.” Hillary Clinton also claimed that funding restrictions were to blame for inability to combat Ebola.
Or did they?
See, in 2004, Congress passed The Project Bioshield Act. The text of that legislation authorized up to $5,593,000,000 in new spending by NIH for the purpose of purchasing vaccines that would be used in the event of a bioterrorist attack. A major part of the plan was to allow stockpiling and distribution of vaccines.
Just two years later, Congress passed the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act, which created a new assistant secretary for preparedness and response to oversee medical efforts and called for a National Health Security Strategy. The Act established Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority as the focal point within HHS for medical efforts to protect the American civilian population against naturally occurring threats to public health.
Of course, you realize that incompetent Washington politicians and bureaucrat (redundancy alert) will throw more of your hard earned money (that they stole from you) at the problem. It will also be ineffective.
Because they’re corrupt as well as incompetent.
October 12, 2014 11 Comments
Daniel Hannan has an outstanding article up on the Telegraph yesterday. He is talking about how to defeat the young Brits that wish to be jihadis. The thing is, you never defeat something with nothing, he’s right.
British history, like its niece American history, is the story of man’s ascent from slavery to individual liberty. In great measure, it is a story that is one of the most attractive in the world. But we have allowed it to be corrupted, by those who use it for political ends, who have convinced many that Britain, and America, are evil incarnate. We, like the Brits, have allowed this to creep in, unnoticed, over the years until this evil nonsense is what is being taught to our children as our history.
There are things in our histories that are cringeworthy, but that is true of everyone’s history. There is also the fact that of all the peoples in the world, the Anglo-Americans have done more for the individual, than anybody else.
And in a related matter, our young people are looking for something when they join the jihad, or even when they convert to Islam. I think they look for certainty, a system that knows right from wrong, good from evil. Islam is a system that is flawed of course, It reflects the flawed nature of its founder, and is easily corrupted to evil, if it is not evil in itself.
But, one knows that there is another system in the world that does the same thing, it offers a choice, and a stark one, between good and evil, but unlike Islam, it while rooted in antiquity, has grown. The wisest men of the last 2000 years have contributed to it, and enriched it.
But it, like Anglo-American history, has been greatly maligned and diluted, both from within and without. But also like our history, the record is still there, and accessible, we merely need to read, learn and share it.
A Polish friend, an MEP of my sort of age, was telling me the other day about how his life changed when Pope John Paul II toured his home country. The papal visit set in train the events that led to the Gdansk protests and, in due course, the unravelling of the tyranny. But my friend added a detail that I had never before appreciated. “The Holy Father never directly condemned the Communist authorities,” he said. “He didn’t need to. He was offering something better”.
When you put it like that, it’s obvious, isn’t it? Offer something better. It worked during the recent Scottish referendum. For months, Unionists had warned of the horrors that would follow from separation: companies leaving, markets collapsing, Scotland left without a currency. The more frenetically they warned, the further they fell behind in the polls. Only in the closing days did the “No” campaign make the positive argument it should have made all along: the UK was doing pretty darned well, Scots were prospering within it, and it was silly to discard a precious thing. That was when the polls turned.
Continue reading The way to defeat British jihadis is to offer something better
And that is the thing that I find so frustrating, Anglo-American history is the story of man’s ascent from slavery to freedom, and its sharing all over the world. It is one of the most remarkable and uplifting stories ever writing, and written in blood by the common man.
And the other story that I referred to above is even greater, although the two are intimately entwined. Because the story of Christianity is also a story of free will, and enlightenment. It has justly been called The Greatest Story Ever Told, and it is. It the story of man’s civilization, from a violent past. Only Christianity has developed, and lived by a ‘Just War Theory’ . The rest still live by the rule of the most powerful, while we live by the ‘Rule under and through the law’ and apply y it not only to ourselves but even to those who presume to rule us.
That is what President Reagan, Prime Minister Thatcher, and Pope (St.) John Paul II used to defeat the Evil Empire of the Soviet Union.
It is a wonderful uplifting story. Because something always defeats nothing, and humanism, and Islam, are nothing, Simply the rule of the powerful.