Ireland and Life

Tomorrow the people of Ireland will go to the polls. They will decide whether to repeal the 8th Amendment to their Constitution. That amendment states the following, “acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”

As you all know, I couldn’t agree more with it, and I will consider it a travesty if they repeal such a common sense provision. But they might, hedonism runs strong, these days. Something Timothy M. Jackson wrote in The Federalist yesterday resonates strongly with me.

Start with any blatantly obvious premise that is grounded in a basic moral principle for producing a good and just society, and you will find that, according to the pro-choice proponent, abortion is the sole exception to all those standards. They would agree that all innocent human beings should be afforded protections under the law, except for the unborn.

They would concede that we have a responsibility to make sure all children are cared for, except for the unborn. They would argue that children with more needs and more dependence for survival should garner more compassion and heighten our responsibility to care for them rather than diminish it, except for the unborn.

They would argue that intentionally killing an innocent human being is always unjust, except for, well you get the idea. Ireland has recognized that this one exception has not been in line with reason. It is ad hoc. In other words, this one exception as has been concocted to defend the turf of abortion only.

Well, they are not exceptions, we all began as the unborn. Abortion is the ultimate selfishness, killing the weakest amongst us because one can’t be bothered to take care of the helpless.

Well, it’s not for me to tell the Irish what to do, but if they wish to maintain a moral society, there is only one answer, it is summed up in the old adage:

The first duty of the strong is to protect the weak.

Who amongst us could possibly be weaker than those who haven’t been born? And who could be more evil than those who would kill them?

I hope the Irish do the right thing.

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Video Wednesday

These have been accumulating so lets watch them together, and clean out the files a bit.

Via The Conservative Woman, Thanks, Laura

Choosing Freedom or Terrorism

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R), France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (L), Germany Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (C), EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Britain’s Foreign Secretary arrive for a meeting of EU/E3 with Iran at the EU headquarters in Brussels on May 15, 2018. – Iran’s foreign minister said on May 15 that efforts to save the nuclear deal after the abrupt US withdrawal were “on the right track” as he began talks with European powers in Brussels. (Photo by Olivier Matthys / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read OLIVIER MATTHYS/AFP/Getty Images)

From the Free Beacon, in the biting off more than you can chew department.

European countries are currently examining a range of options to counter the reimposition of harsh U.S. sanctions on Iran in a bid to continue doing business with the Islamic Republic, a move that is being met with chilly reception on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers are already putting in place measures to ensure that any European nation caught skirting U.S. sanctions faces harsh repercussions, according to a new policy paper being examined by lawmakers and viewed by the Washington Free Beacon.

European Union members are seeking to reimplement an old law known as the blocking statute, which orders European companies to ignore U.S. sanctions on Iran.

The move sets up a showdown between the United States and Europe over the future of business dealings with Iran in the wake of President Donald Trump’s decision to walk away from the landmark nuclear deal and reimpose wide-ranging and severe sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Iran opponents on Capitol Hill are already moving to respond, according to multiple sources who shared with the Free Beacon a newly developed policy memo that maps a plan for the United States to potentially sanction the European Investment Bank, or EIB, and cut its access to the U.S. financial system. The policy paper was written by Richard Goldberg, a senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

“There is no statute that can save a European company from losing its access to the U.S. financial system,” the policy memo states. “European companies will not be willing to violate U.S. sanctions even with the revival of the blocking statute.”

European companies will be forced to make a choice between doing business with Iran and retaining access to the U.S. financial system.

“French President Emmanuel Macron Thursday conceded that European companies should be allowed to decide for themselves what to do without an EU order,” the memo notes. This suggests that whatever blocking statute is announced Friday will be largely symbolic.

Well, they can do what they want, I suppose, but it looks from here like a foolish move to anger the United States rather seriously in order to trade with the failed state of Iran.

But look, there’s more!

The Trump administration could invoke the 2013 Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act, a wide-ranging law that could be interpreted in such a manner that would sanction European companies for providing material support to the globe’s foremost state sponsor of terror.

The law “requires the president to block the assets of any person who knowingly provides financial or material support to any activity related to Iran’s port operators, its energy, shipping, and shipbuilding sectors, and any Iranian company or official listed on Treasury’s Specially Designated Nationals list,” according to the policy memo, which is being examined by multiple offices on Capitol Hill. “The Trump administration could interpret this section to apply to any EIB director who votes to provide such support—and to any member of the Management Committee who implements it.”

Administration insiders familiar with the United States’ efforts to ensure European nations cut ties with Iran told the Free Beacon the EU is fighting a losing battle to counter new U.S. sanctions.

“The Europeans are acting more like a Heaven’s Gate cult, locking arms and willing to eat the apple sauce rather than break off business with the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism,” said one source familiar with the strategy. “Treasury this week designated the governor of Iran’s central bank—does any European country think Treasury can’t designate their own central bank governor too?”

The real point here is that Israel is facing an existential threat, and Israel is very nearly as close an ally as Great Britain. If Germany and France want to anger the US real quick, well they found their issue. And it’s not Donald Trump, or at least not only Donald Trump, it is also the Congress, and yes, the people.

I said last week in a comment on a British blog, the Iran deal has the potential of being an issue where Europeans will have to decide between Iran and the United States permanently. One hopes they decide wisely, but one would be wise to not bet on it. Their delusions of importance seem to not only continue but to grow.

 

Duty, and Honor

So this happened, as it should have.

Professor Williams is, of course, correct. But there is more to the story, and what it entails. First Fergus died at Loos, that horrible battle that also cost Rudyard Kipling his only son, not to mention almost 60,000 more British casualties in four days.

At the time of the battle, Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, then 14 years old, was helping her mother to prepare the family home (actually castle) Glamis for use as a convalescent hospital for men wounded in the war. His death (and his brother being on the missing list) devastated her mother, and much of the work of the conversion fell on her shoulders, even to the point of fighting a fire in the castle with some help from the soldiers. I wrote about her here and quoted one of her mottos: Duty Is the Rent You Pay For Life.

I’m quite sure that duty was in her mind when she placed that bouquet on the tomb of the unknown warrior in 1923. She had just married the younger brother of the Prince of Wales, who as Edward VIII would be forced to abdicate the throne in order to marry his American divorcee, Wallis Simpson. (That may have been judging by subsequent events one of the main reasons that the allies won the Second World War) and so she became the Queen. She was a paragon of duty to her people during the war, during the Blitz when it was proposed to evacuate her and her children Elizabeth and Margeret to Canada. Her reply was this.

“The Princesses will never leave without me. I will not leave without the King and the King will never leave,” 

In fact, it appears they intended to go down hard. In addition to learning how to drive and repair trucks, as soon as she was old enough.

Princess Elizabeth, now the Queen, firing a Lee-Enfield at small arms practice during World War II.

I am also reminded that in November of 1921, that same unknown warrior received a singular honor, one never before and never since granted. Let’s let the American Ambassador tell us about it.

“By an Act of the Congress of the United States, approved on March 4 of the present year, the President was authorized “to bestow, with appropriate ceremonies, military and civil, a Medal of Honour upon the unknown unidentified British soldier buried in Westmister Abbey.” The purpose of Congress was declared by the Act itself, in these words: “Animated by the same spirit of comradeship in which we of the American forces fought alongside of our Allies, we desire to add whatever we can to the imperishable glory won by the deeds of our Allies and commemorated in part by this tribute to their unknown dead.”

The Congressional Medal, as it is commonly termed because it is the only medal presented “in the name of Congress,” symbolizes the highest military honour that can be bestowed by the Government of the United States. It corresponds to the Victoria Cross and can be awarded only to an American warrior who achieves distinction “at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty.”

A special Act of Congress was required to permit the placing of it upon the tomb of a British soldier. The significance of this presentation, therefore, is twofold. It comprises, in addition to the highest military tribute, a message of fraternity direct from the American people, through their chosen representatives in Congress, to the people of the British Empire.

It was placed on that tomb by the second senior American officer in history, (Washington is, and always will be the senior American general) General of the Armies John. J. Pershing, saying this:

One cannot enter here and not feel an overpowering emotion in recalling the important events in the history of Great Britain that have shaped the progress of the nations. Distinguished men and women are here enshrined who, through the centuries, have unselfishly given their services and their lives to make that record glorious. As they pass in memory before us there is none whose deeds are more worthy, and none whose devotion inspires our admiration more, than this Unknown Warrior. He will always remain the symbol of the tremendous sacrifice by his people in the world’s greatest conflict.

It was he who, without hesitation, bared his breast against tyranny and injustice. It was he who suffered in the dark days of misfortune and disaster, but always with admirable loyalty and fortitude. Gathering new strength from the very force of his determination, he felt the flush of success without unseemly arrogance. In the moment of his victory, alas! we saw him fall in making the supreme gift to humanity. His was ever the courage of right, the confidence of justice. Mankind will continue to share his triumph, and with the passing years will come to strew fresh laurels over his grave.

As we solemnly gather about this sepulchre, the hearts of the American people join in this tribute to their English-speaking kinsman. Let us profit by the occasion, and under its inspiration pledge anew our trust in the God of our fathers, that He may guide and direct our faltering footsteps into paths of permanent peace. Let us resolve together, in friendship and in confidence, to maintain toward all peoples that Christian spirit that underlies the character of both nations.
And now, in this holy sanctuary, in the name of the President and the people of the United States, I place upon his tomb. the Medal of Honour conferred upon him by special Act of the American Congress, in commemoration of the sacrifices of our British comrade and his fellow-countrymen,and as a slight token of our gratitude and affection toward this people.

And so now, this grave has been decorated by an American Princess, now a Duchess, as she enters into what to many looks like a fairytale world, but is, in fact, a world that few of us would care to make our life in. It is a world of duty paramount, to do the right thing for the right reason. And that, in fact, is what caused the abdication, Edward VIII’s unwillingness to place his duty above his personal happiness.

The Duchess of Suffolk joins a distinguished line of American women, who in marrying British nobility, have strengthened both countries, Jennie Jerome, Winston Churchill’s mother, Lady Astor, the first woman to serve in Parliament, and now Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Suffolk. May God give her the ability to see the right, and the ability to do right.

 

Picture This Week

So, another week in the books.

YANNY, LAUREL, OR….

Muppet Outtakes!!!

Once upon a time, P.J O’Rourke gave a most cogent explanation of why America doesn’t get invaded. You might remember it. In any case, here is the visual aid.

Mom taught us to share, right?

Congratulations to  Kaitlyn Marie, a graduate of Kent State University, class of 2018. Now she can protect herself on campus.

As usual, mostly from PowerLine and Bookworm, and diverse other places. Enjoy!

ps.

And just a royal wedding quibble or two. A couple of my Anglican friends, @DrJulesGomes and Gavin Ashenden had reservations on the Bishop’s message at the royal wedding yesterday. I don’t disagree with them, and the bishop will likely never have a more bully pulpit, But I have my doubts that anybody was really paying all that much attention, it was after all a show wedding, and I don’t know about you, but at my wedding, I had a few other things on my mind beyond what the preacher was preaching at me.

It also struck me that if this was my daughter marrying into the British Royal Family, I’d want her to have the best and that Rolls Royce she went to church in, while a pretty decent car, and rare too, wasn’t considered the best when it was built. This was:

That is a 1936 Packard All Weather Cabriolet V12, which quite a few reviewers at the time thought was a better car than the Rolls Royce. This particular one would have been highly appropriate having both show business and British connections. How does that work, you ask? Well, its original owner was a chap by the name of Charlie Chaplin.

Ask the man who owns one.

Of Special Relationships

Well, in case you missed it there was a wedding at St. George’s Chapel, in Windsor castle this morning. A half black American divorcee married Prince Harry. I didn’t plan on watching but I was up, so I watched a fair amount of it. It was an interesting service, a combination of traditional Church of England and American African Episcopal. It worked amazingly well together. But then the United Kingdom and the United States usually do.

St George’s Chapel is the mother church of the Order of the Garter, the oldest and most prestigious order of chivalry in the world, founded by King  Edward III, also the founder of the order in 1348.

It is also the burial place of King Henry VIII and George III (and a fair number of others) but those two are arguably the two most important in American history, one the author of the original Brexit, and the turning of England away from Europe and out into the world, and the other one of the causes of the United States. Wonder what they would have thought!

So maybe it’s a good time to take stock of the general Special Relationship. Despite Brexit (as the BBC would surely say) and Trump. it continues with a deep bond between our peoples. Actually, I think that both Brexit and Trump strengthen it. Both are well within our character. Neither country is likely to take well to being ruled by a foreign so-called elite.

Ginny Montalbano interviewed Nile Gardiner about that very thing.

Ginny MontalbanoHow do you see the U.S.-U.K. alliance under the Trump administration so far?

Nile Gardiner: I think overall the current state of the special relationship is very strong. And so the interaction between the British government and the U.S. administration at the moment is very close-knit.

I would say that it’s stronger today than it was under the Obama administration, when there were significantly more tensions and disagreements between the two sides. And a good example of that was the Obama administration’s lack of support for Britain over the Falklands issue against a backdrop of Argentine aggression.

Right now the special relationship is in very good health. You have a U.S. administration that is very pro-British, is very pro-Brexit, that is strong in favor of a U.S.-U.K. free trade agreement, and works incredibly closely with the British government in every area.

Montalbano: Sort of unexpectedly, President Trump has struck up a great dynamic with the French president, Emmanuel Macron. Has that dynamic affected our relationship with the U.K.?

Gardiner: I don’t really think that the recent state visit by the French president makes any difference in terms of the U.S. relationship with Britain. Clearly, Emmanuel Macron has launched a charm offensive in Washington.

But the reality remains that as much as the French aspire to their own special relationship with Great Britain, there is only one special relationship, and that is between the United States and the United Kingdom.

France, of course, is an important ally of the United States, but the strength of the bond between the United States and the United Kingdom is far, far deeper.

I would say that unquestionably today America’s most important ally on the world stage remains Great Britain. When you look at the U.S.-French partnership … there’s a lot of disagreement between the two sides on a wide variety of policy areas.  And I think ideologically Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump are worlds apart.

So while they have struck a good working relationship,  the worldviews of Macron and Trump are very, very different. There’s more synergy, I think, between the foreign policy of U.S. administration and Great Britain right now than there is between the U.S. and France.

MontalbanoThe royal wedding is coming up. Meghan Markle, who is 36, is older than Prince Harry, who is 33. She’s American, biracial, and divorced. What are the implications of this American actress marrying into the royal family?

Gardiner: You have an American marrying into the royal family for the first time certainly since the days of Edward and Mrs. Simpson. This is highly significant, because this will undoubtedly strengthen the bond between the United States and the United Kingdom, the two most important defenders of freedom on the world stage.

With an American marrying into the royal family, that can only be a huge positive for the royal family and for the U.S.-U.K. relationship. I think Meghan Markle will be very warmly welcomed by the royal family and by the British people, and I think she already has been.

I have no doubt that she and Prince Harry will be tremendous representatives for the royal family, not only in Britain but across the world.

I pretty much agree with him, and one thing that I like about Harry, now Duke of Sussex, is that he is the first royal in a long time to be a combat veteran, in Afghanistan, we have seen often how much better that makes men, and I doubt it is different with him,

And I really like that they invited no (none, nada) politicians to the wedding. Not to mention that sewn into her veil was a flower from each of the Commonwealth countries. A family affair.

We’ve been friends with the cousins now for a century, and I see no reason for it not to last as long as our countries do.

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