Brexit Monday

Brexit’s opponents, including the Prime Minister and the Uncivil Service, have done an amazing job of ignoring what the people voted for while at the very same time telling them that “Brexit means Brexit”

They are skirting near bringing on something not seen since 1642, the English people taking up arms in opposition to their government. Think of how the entire modern world has been built since that date, and largely by the British, as well, without them getting sideways with their government. But now they are.

Dr. David Starkey is an eminent historian, although one I often disagree with, But recently he wrote in the £ Daily Mail and he is entirely correct.

Historians should avoid colourful predictions, however tempting they might seem.

At the moment I’m touring the country with a lecture called Henry VIII And The First Brexit, which compares the king’s eventual clean and triumphant break with the Roman Church with our own messy and humiliating attempts to extricate ourselves from the European Union.

But audiences really want me to talk about the present.

Henry VIII’s First Brexit is a very strong parallel which I draw often as well. And don’t forget that first Brexit led to almost everything in the world today.

‘What do you think is going to happen?’, they ask. I shrug my shoulders and explain that, since history only works by looking backwards, those historians who pose as prophets are charlatans.

My audiences think I’m copping out, of course – and they are right.

I haven’t always been such a purist. Three years ago, I published a book on Magna Carta to mark the founding document of our Parliamentary constitution, that had been sealed 800 years earlier in 1215.

In holding a medieval king accountable to his subjects – or some of them, at least – Magna Carta was a revolutionary step and is rightly celebrated.

But I ended on a note of caution. All is not well with Britain or our politics, I said. ‘Is it silly to think there is a touch of 1215 – a whiff of revolution – in the air?

And it came true in June 2016, with the decisive referendum vote to reshape our politics once again and leave the European Union.

The referendum was a very British revolution. And it’s been followed by a very British counter-revolution, which shows every sign of succeeding.

Don’t be deceived by the lack of violence or the comparative good manners of those now seizing control. This is a coup, and what is at stake is the nature and legitimacy of Parliament itself.

Ruled by comfortable, smug elites, Parliament is choosing to ignore the ordinary British people as they attempt to hold power to account.

It is no exaggeration to say that British democracy, which stands in direct line with Magna Carta, is now unravelling before us.

If today’s self-satisfied MPs and Ministers – I have already described them as a Parliament of Pygmies – have no time for the voters, they have little time for history, either.

Do keep reading, he’s well worth your time.

Along that theme, what they have consistently done all along is preach what we have come to call Project Fear, to attempt to frighten the British (especially the English) people into line. It has never worked, but like Hillary, they persist. Here is MP Peter Shore in 1975, before the vote that sadly took the UK into what was then the EEC.

Some things never change. And lions are not leopards and so have no spots to change.

And this:

I’ve said before, I was born an American, and would be one by choice, but if I had to be something else, It would be English.


 

In a slightly connected story, I was reading on the site of the Museum of the Bloody Hundredth, the 100th Bomb Group of the 8th AAF, which is on their old field, using the buildings, near Diss, Suffolk, England. Two things came to mind. First, who but the English would spend their time, and other resources, to maintain an installation of another country’s armed forces, sure we are friends, maybe cousins, the treatment we have received in East Anglia, from the dark days of 1942, right up to the present is simply amazing. And something else.

First, that’s an American military band, marching and playing in a small English city, and for all concerned, it’s pretty much routine. It’s an all American program as well, Bagley, Sousa, and Glenn Miller. and all old friends. And we are, Bury St. Edmunds isn’t very far from Dickleburg where the  100th’s museum is, and where on September 1, 1944, Glenn Miller and the AEF band played about an hour’s worth of a concert. Of course, Major Miller was lost over the channel that winter, but here’s a funny coincidence.

The band had played Tibenham Airfield, not far away, that afternoon, and another American officer you may have heard of was stationed there, and most likely in the audience, a guy called Jimmy Stewart. Not only would he become Major General Stewart, USAF, but 10 years later, he would play Major Miller in the Glenn Miller Story.

And I just can’t imagine the amount of time, effort, money, and love that goes into the efforts that the British make to commemorate the time when we more or less overran their country. Yes, it was a friendly invasion, but it was an invasion none the less.

Mostly an interesting story, but there are so many like it that somehow Britain almost seems like home to us, in a way that no where else in Europe does. Be a shame to lose that. And that too is something that Her Majesty’s Government risks.

Sunday Funnies: Varsity Blues

While we’re still keeping our sense of humor (mostly) the Brits are feeling rather overwhelmed. It’s not easy finding memes applying to them, but we keep looking.

 

 

Think I’ll go fishing!

Not to mention that the only reason Mexico exists is that we chose, in 1848, not to make the whole place part of the US, while we were discussing peace terms, in Mexico City, occupied by the US Army.

Troll level: Grand Master of the Universe

If you laughed at that, this may be you!

And of course

Mostly from The Usual Suspects.

College-Admissions Fraud; Color Me Unsurprised.

So the completely unsurprising scandal of celebrities buying their stupid offspring into elite so-called universities for credentialing purposes continues. In truth, nothing could be less surprising. Heather MacDonald in City Journal writes:

The celebrity college-admissions cheating scandal has two clear takeaways:  an elite college degree has taken on wildly inflated importance in American society, and the sports-industrial complex enjoys wildly inflated power within universities. Thirty-three moguls and TV stars allegedly paid admissions fixer William Singer a total of $25 million from 2011 to 2018 to doctor their children’s high school resumes—sending students to private SAT and ACT testing sites through false disability claims, for example, where bought-off proctors would raise the students’ scores. Singer forged athletic records, complete with altered photos showing the student playing sports in which he or she had little experience or competence. Corrupt sports directors would then recommend the student for admission, all the while knowing that they had no intention of playing on the school’s team.

None of this could have happened if higher education had not itself become a corrupt institution, featuring low classroom demands, no core knowledge acquisition, low grading standards, fashionable (but society-destroying) left-wing activism, luxury-hotel amenities, endless partying, and huge expense. Students often learn virtually nothing during their college years, as University of California, Irvine, education school dean Richard Arum writes in Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses. They may even lose that pittance of knowledge with which they entered college. Seniors at Princeton, Yale, Cornell, Duke, and Berkeley scored lower in an undemanding test of American history than they did as freshmen, according to a 2007 study commissioned by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. College is only desultorily about knowledge acquisition, at least outside of the STEM fields (and even those fields are under assault from identity politics).

Yep, pretty much covers it, for me at least.

What the pay-to-play admissions scam does not demonstrate, however, is that “legacy” admissions are somehow more corrupt than race-based affirmative-action admission policies—which seems to be the primary lesson that left-wing commentators and politicians are taking from the scandal—or that meritocracy is a “myth” that has now been debunked. Racial preferences are a far more significant deviation from academic meritocracy than legacy preferences, which are not even implicated in the current scandal. An underreported but salient detail in the Singer scam is that he “falsified students’ ethnicities,” according to the New York Times, because “some families and students perceive their racial backgrounds can hurt or aid their chances of getting in to schools that consider race in their admissions decisions.” This is not a mere perception; it is the truth. […]

To be sure, legacy preferences and racial preferences should both be eliminated.

Colleges should adopt a transparent, purely merit-based admissions system based on quantified tests of academic preparedness. Such a system would guarantee that entering freshmen were all equally prepared to compete academically, and would have the additional benefit of putting most college admissions officers out of a job. These self-important bureaucrats view themselves as artistes, using their exquisite insights into character to curate a utopian community of “diverse” individuals. The Harvard racial-preferences trial put such airs on nauseating display. In fact, admissions officers are simply allocating a scarce resource based on their own prejudices and inclinations.

Yes, anything else is smoke and mirrors, or in good flyover country English: Bullshit. If you are going to college, and fewer than half of our kids have anything to gain from it. I personally found two years in that I didn’t. Luckily Purdue was a land grant University so I wasn’t saddled with huge debts for my trouble, and I learned quite a lot, and like most alumni, love the place (as you know). But not finishing has not hurt my career, which has been pretty satisfying and paid the bills, as well.

The real losers here though, are the kids who thought they were getting an education but instead have found out their parents were buying them credentials, but without the skills that must go with those credentials to be useful in the real world.

Until the ‘elite’ schools once again teach how to think instead of indoctrinating leftists, I, as a business type person would simply shitcan any resume with a degree other than engineering, or other stem fields. And yes, Purdue would be favored, I’m a bit corrupt, as well, I prefer excellence over mediocrity.

The Administrative State and Aircraft Safety

The US was the very last to ground the 737 Max 8 and 9. Why? Deion A. Kathawa writing in American Greatness has some idea.

[T]he sprawling, unaccountable administrative state is strangling America and killing common sense.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) refused this week to join a growing list of countries—including, so far, Ireland, China, Indonesia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Oman, Malaysia, Iraq, Mexico—as well as Europe itself, all of which have permanently or temporarily banned Boeing’s new airplane, the 737 MAX 8, from their airspace.

The 737 MAX 8 has crashed twice in the last five months, resulting in the deaths of 346 people. In Ethiopia, where the most recent crash occurred, the plane was in the air for all of six minutes before it plunged into the ground, tragically cutting short the lives of 157 souls.

The FAA’s obstinacy—it finds “no basis to order grounding the aircraft”—comes in the face of mounting pressure from U.S. lawmakers.

A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators has called on the FAA to ground the plane: Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Mitt Romney (R-Utah). Andrew Cuomo, New York’s governor, agrees.

We should pause for a moment, however, and consider the absurdity of this entire situation. Article I of the U.S. Constitution states: “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” That is a clear, unambiguous grant of authority—albeit a limited authority—by the nation’s founding charter to the nation’s legislative branch.

What Article I proclaims about the delegation of legislative power is true regardless of what one thinks about the validity of vast delegations of legislative authority to the legion of executive agencies that comprise the modern administrative state and make most of the law in this country; the wisdom of quick, sweeping governmental action in the face of a fluid situation like this; or the relative competence of the FAA compared with Congress to judge the safety of airplanes.

If Congress delegated to the FAA the power to ground the plane, then Congress also has the power to ground the plane. Obviously that must be so. Congress legislated the FAA into being and empowered it ex nihilo via an organic statute; if that agency has the power to ground planes, how can the body superior to it—Congress—not have that power, too?

All true, although the power itself is rather shaky Constitutionally, I think, it’s based on the Commerce Clause “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.” That can (and often does) mean anything you want it to. This is the clause that famously ruled, in Wickard v Filburn, that a farmer raising crops to feed himself and his livestock was engaging in interstate commerce.

But here we saw the administrative state tying itself in knots to not do what is necessary, until and noticeably it was the President who announced the grounding. He actually should have had nothing to do with it.

Time to tear a lot down, say perhaps some government renewal, that operates in the manner of urban renewal in the 60s.

Also, if you are interested in the technical suspicions of the plane, WAPO has a reasonably informative article here. Watch out for the autoplays. I’ve also read that it has been stretched so much that without the flight assist system, it is inherently unstable. I don’t know that but it could well be having center of gravity problems. I suppose we’ll find out some day.

A Mild-Mannered Radical

Courtesy of Mitch Daniels’ office

In Reason’s April issue, Katherine Mangu-Ward interviewed one of my favorite people, Mitch Daniels, President Bush’s Head of the OMB, former Governor of Indiana, and since 2013, President of Purdue University.

It’s really good stuff about a guy that in a fell stroke revamped much of the public sector in Indiana, Who while building further one of America’s great world-class universities, has not increased tuition in 7 years.

Who took the initiative to adopt verbatim the University of Chicago’s Chicago letter on free speech, and earning again the green check mark from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, (FIRE). Only three schools in Indiana have, Purdue, Purdue Fort Wayne, and Purdue Northwest. That school down south has a yellow one, and Notre Dame a red one.

The best University president in America? I think he may be, but then, I would, wouldn’t I? Here’s some of the interview.

At first glance, Mitch Daniels seems rather bland. His hair is straight and tidy. His suits are understated but tasteful. He speaks slowly and in quiet tones. He gently declines to answer questions about the failings of other politicians. And he seems genuinely mortified when he accidentally refers to his interviewer as Meghan.

But Daniels’ record as governor of Indiana could best be described as radical. During his governorship, which ran from 2005 to 2013, he decertified all government employee unions on his first day in office, managed to defeat teachers unions in a pitched battle for school choice, imposed tough spending austerity and raised taxes to balance the books, and inspired the Democrats in Indiana’s legislature to walk out at the beginning of his second term over a right-to-work bill. In his previous gig as the head of George H.W. Bush’s Office of Management and Budget, his nickname was “the Blade.”

In his regular Washington Post column, Daniels seems to delight in triggering his readers. He has advocated relocating all the major federal agencies away from Washington, D.C., defended the morality of genetically modified foods, and most recently called for the abolition of the “tasteless, classless spectacle” of the State of the Union.

He also rides a motorcycle and was indicted for marijuana possession as an undergrad at Princeton.

In 2010, he told The Weekly Standard that the next president “would have to call a truce on the so-called social issues” in the face of a mounting fiscal crisis. Between the kerfuffle caused by those remarks and his desire for privacy about an unorthodox relationship history—he and his wife married each other twice, with a break in between—he ended up stepping back from politics.

Since 2013, Daniels has been running Purdue University. If you talk to one of the people on his team, they refer to him as “President Daniels.” On the phone, it’s all too easy to imagine he’s calling from an alternate dimension where he actually ran for president of the United States—as many of his associates and the national media believed he would in 2012—and won. And after a wide-ranging conversation in January, it’s hard not to think that might have been a better, freer, calmer timeline than our own.

In January, Daniels spoke with Reason‘s Katherine Mangu-Ward about free speech, the power of unions, and whether it’s already too late to avert a full-fledged American economic collapse.

Reason: These days, our national politics can sometimes feel like it’s oriented around student debt and educational availability. You’re trying some unusual solutions to these problems as president of Purdue University, including not raising tuition over the last seven years.

Daniels: The tuition freeze began as a one-year time-out, a gesture to indicate sensitivity to what was plainly—even in 2012 or ’13—a growing burden. Often when people ask for an explanation, I’ll tell them what we didn’t do. They want to know what kind of voodoo we practiced and I say: Here, let me allay all your suspicions. We didn’t cheapen the faculty. We had one of the highest ratios in the country of tenure-track faculty. We didn’t downshift to so-called contingent or temporary or part-time teaching. We didn’t get any more money from the state. In fact, slightly less. We didn’t dip into the reserves—they’ve been growing every year. We didn’t resort to a sleight of hand through other fees in lieu of tuition. There haven’t been any of those either. So the way I usually frame it is that, if a place like ours can do those things and run in the black on an operating annual basis while investing, while maintaining quality, why would you raise tuition? It ought to be the last resort, not the first instinct.

Sometimes we solve the equation for zero. Zero meaning zero increase in tuition. If you start with that premise—that’s our objective, that’s our goal—you can frequently make systems and budgets and practices adapt to that. It serves the very same purpose that a balanced budget requirement can in government or a flat topline sales number or revenue number can in business. When you have to, you do. And sometimes it’s easier than you thought it’d be.

Income share agreements (ISAs) have been somewhat controversial but also now seem to be potentially a Silicon Valley darling. These are arrangements where students sign a contract and some or all of their education is paid for. Then when they get a job, they hand over an agreed-upon percentage of their income for a fixed period of years. Purdue has been experimenting with them. How did you come across the idea?

It has been out there since Milton Friedman a half a century ago. I’d read it somewhere and knew about it. I got cornered into going down and testifying in Congress; I usually try to avoid those things. The subject wasn’t ISAs or even higher education finance—it was about innovation in education. I offered up a few thoughts about ways the federal government should get out of the way of innovation, some regulations and so forth. And almost as a throwaway example, I mentioned ISAs. If there were less ambiguity around some of the tax laws, I thought, this idea might finally take wing. I was astonished by the amount of press interest in it. I got engulfed as soon as the hearing was over, over this throwaway line.

I immediately began hearing from what turns out to be an incipient industry out there of people who like this, who want to see this idea get airborne. And I discovered that there were people hoping to operate businesses to administer these things and funds to invest in ISA contracts. So away we went.

Do keep reading, it’s a fairly long article, but a very good one.

Brexit Voted Still Again and Buying Indoctrination

via Victory Girls; Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy/Public Domain

So Teresa May’s (very slightly) modified Withdrawal Agreement failed still again in Parliament yesterday. That’s a very good thing since what it primarily did was sell British sovereignty and the legislative role to the EU. The law says Britain leaves on WTO terms at the end of the month, but the cowardly Parliament and government are openly working to thwart the law. What happens now? I have no clue, if you do, tell me. What should happen is a general election and the replacement of every dishonorable member who has forgotten who he works for and what they told him to do. Most of the government and a fair slice of the (not so) Civil Service would be improved by spending some time at Her Majesty’s Tower of London. Sadly, that is the most unlikely outcome. The swamp in Westminster may be deeper and more viscous than the one in Washington.


In other news, now comes news that some 50 people are at some place in the process of being arrested for bribery. It seems they thought their kids needed some extra help to get into those elite schools that educate swamp creatures, so they paid someone to lie for them. Toni Williams at Victory Girls explains.

About 50 people have had arrest warrants issued, been arrested, are negotiating their arrest or are being pursued in connection with a college cheating scandal code named “Operation Varsity Blues”. Parents paying to get their mouth breathing, drooling spawn into schools the little idiots are not qualified to attend. If you missed the press conference today, it was absolutely jaw dropping. Not shocking or surprising just jaw dropping.

While the rest of us honorable schmucks were paying for college board prep tests (my son wouldn’t go) or at least begging our little cherubs to get a good night’s sleep prior to the test (nope to that one, too), these elitists, who are so much better than we are, schemed with a weasel named William Singer to phony up the test scores for the college boards, create phony elite athlete profiles and get their kids into college as athletes or just plain bribe college officials. And, then as if these elitists didn’t disdain us enough, they claimed the costs as charitable contributions on their tax returns. You cannot make this excrement up.

Actress Lori Loughlin (Aunt Becky on Full House) and her husband, Target fashion designer, Mossimo Gianulli are two of the parents caught in the web of lies. From Deadline Hollywood:

Loughlin and her spouse Mossimo Gianulli “agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew — thereby facilitating their admission to USC,” asserts the grand jury indictment.

Gianulli has been charged.

No real surprise, I think, except the prosecutions. And for that matter, anybody think these spawn went to school to learn anything useful, or just to get a meaningless piece of paper for the wall, and a four (or more) year party. So while the illegality should be punished, I don’t see many victims here, the parents had way more money than sense, the schools have long since giving up educating for indoctrinating, and the kids are there for the sex, and drugs, and rock and roll, or whatever it is now. Hard to get too excited.

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