Sunday Funnies: Buffoonapooza

What a stupid week. No one could make this up. I stole the term Buffoonapooza from PowerLine because it’s perfect for the week. I thought it was going to be almost all Beto, even Biden and Corn Pop couldn’t top him, and then along comes the New York slimes and their Kavanaugh fake news, and then to top it all, here comes Justin Trudeau. I haven’t a clue what more could be in store for next week. Well, might as well get started.

The whole thing leaves you wanting to know what store sells this:

And, of course

 

Looking over the Parapet

Some interesting news, for the first time in almost 50 years the British Royal Navy has two strike carriers at sea. The Queen Elizabeth is in the western Atlantic learning how best for her to operate strike aircraft and defend herself as the centerpiece of a carrier strike group. Now comes word that the Prince of Wales her sister ship has sailed for the first time from the Firth of Forth to begin her own workups, which likely won’t take as long as the QE because she is in the process of writing the book.

It should be noted that there is nothing afloat that is as powerful as these new ships, with the sole exception of US Nimitz class carriers and someday the new US Ford class. Bravo Zulu! More at The Thin Pinstriped Line. Oh, why not?

Just make sure you don’t let them fall under EU command.


Staying in Britain for the moment, for the first time ever, the Israeli Air Force is exercising over England along with the RAF, the USAF, The German Air Force, and the Italian Air Force.

Israel  sent several F-15s as well a Boeing  707s refueling planes and C130s and C130J’s

This is taking place over Lincolnshire and is known as Cobra Warrior, It is said that the RAF may take part in Israel’s Blue Flag exercise next year, which they have observed before.

Good job to all hands. More at Warsclerotic. I wanted to call those tankers C-135s since the use the flying boom that the USAF developed early in the cold war, but if you carefully at the picture you’ll notice that these aircraft have windows, KC135s co not.


If you pay much attention to either British history of British history on TV, you’ll know the name, David Starkey. He’s an excellent historian and an honest man. Here he explains the significance of Brexit and horrendous mess that May and Bercow have made. Do watch it.

You’ll not be surprised that I agree with him completely, and strongly commend him for doing this, because there is no way in hell that this would ever appear on the Fake News BBC.

Interestingly, towards the end, he speaks a good deal about the parallels between Brexit and the English Reformation under Henry VIII (his specialty, if I recall, is the Tudors). Well, maybe I’m about half as smart as I think, because I’ve always seen twp parallels in Brexit, one is the Reformation in England, and the other is the American Revolution.  Ever since the Anarchy in the thirteenth century, there has been a longing in the English to return to “the good old law”. In large measure that is what an8mated the American founders, and while we ended up starting over, not much of the good old law went into the discard.

My friends at The Conservative Woman suggest that this is also worth watching. They’re correct, so watch it too. (and it ‘s short).

Waiting for Evidence, or Banning Now?

You may have noticed lately that there is suddenly a campaign against vaping. It’s stupid, unnecessary, and unwarranted. But that never stopped people who want to control you. Paul Mirengoff at PowerLine reminds us:

Consumption of cigarettes is the leading cause of preventable death in this country. David Abrams, a professor at New York University’s College of Global Public Health, estimates that 1,300 people die from smoking every day. The life expectancy of a cigarette smoker is said to be a decade less than someone who has never smoked.

Vaping is a method of taking in nicotine, via e-cigarettes, that unlike smoking cigarettes, does not involve the intake of tar. And it is tar that causes the cancer that produces death. If cigarette smokers switch to vaping, they are far less likely to die from the habit.

Already smokers’ lives are in the process of being saved, thanks to vaping. Its advent has led to a significant reduction in the consumption of cigarettes.

Recently, however, there have been half a dozen vaping-related deaths, and a significantly larger number of vaping-related hospitalizations. This development, coupled with concerns that teenagers are becoming addicted to vaping (a concern I discussed here), has led to serious attempts to curb, if not eliminate, the practice.

That is spot on. I know this, back in 2013, I switched from smoking to vaping, within weeks I quit coughing, and much of my endurance came back. The surprising thing is that I also find that I can go far longer without vaping than I could smoking. I perhaps vape a bit more heavily than I should, but I was smoking 2 and sometimes more packs of filtered cigars a day. A huge improvement, and everybody I know that has made the switch says much the same.

Adam Mill at The Federalist adds this:

Vaping, we are told, is not an overall benefit to public health because it draws its customers from non-smokers. This is a lie. The real outcry is a result of the fact that vaping poses an existential threat to the tobacco industry’s business model. Sales of cigarettes declined 11.2 percent in May 2019. This follows 18 consecutive months of decline in tobacco sales.

You might also note, as I do, that much more than half the price of a pack of cigarettes is tax, Federal, state and local. So who is hurt most by the reduction in cigarette sales? Why does New York worry more about cigarette smuggling than they do gun smuggling? Very good. I knew you could figure it out.

Steven Greenhut at The Spectator chimes in as well.

[Banning alcohol because:  kids] Lawmakers never propose that “solution” because it’s wrong to punish all adults for the actions of a small number of them who provide liquor to teens. Some products — alcohol, tobacco, and guns, to name a few — are meant for adults only. Our society can never completely keep such things out of the hands of underage people who want them, but the sensible approach is to enforce laws that ban their sale to and possession by youngsters.

When it comes to vaping products, however, such good sense often is ignored. Various cities, especially in liberal enclaves in the San Francisco Bay Area, have passed new laws that would ban the sale of flavored nicotine products such as menthol cigarettes and flavored e-cigarette liquids. Now Michigan and New York have banned the sale of flavored vaping products — and the Trump administration is using the Food and Drug Administration to ban flavored e-cigarettes. […]

“The role of flavored vape products in the current outbreak is unknown at this time,” reports National Public Radio. “Some lawmakers and public health advocates have been pushing for flavored vape products to be banned since flavors first entered the market, out of a concern that they appeal to children. The timing of the recent move to ban flavored vape products may be linked to the current public concern about overall e-cigarette safety.”

This is clearly a case of those who oppose vaping in general using the latest crisis as a means to create a banning frenzy. It’s reminiscent of the way that anti-gun legislators use gun-related violence to promote “emergency” policies to ban things they want to ban anyway. It’s disturbing to see President Trump, whose administration has been largely immune to hysteria-driven public-health campaigns, jump on the bandwagon.

Yep, and it’s also noteworthy that the people that died were all, according to reports, not vaping either tobacco flavored or other flavored vaping liquid. The were vaping a marijuana-derived substance called THC. Which is already illegal. Maybe instead of banning things, we should enforce the law. Just a thought.

Preferably before I have to go back to smoking and shortening my life even more.

Anniversaries

There were a couple of anniversaries yesterday, that are worth noting.

First, on 18 September 1947, the United States Air Force came into existence. Born out of the Army Air Forces, it had long been recognized that it should be a separate service. Even General of the Army/General of the Air Force (the only man to hold five-star rank in two services, and the only man to hold five-star rank in the Air Force) Henry H. (Hap) Arnold understood that separating in the preparation for and during World War Two was inadvisable. But with that war behind us, it was time to look to the future

And so following the Royal Air Force which became a separate service in 1918, it became so in America as well. The Navy looking at the British model strongly opposed the idea, noting that the RAF had taken over the fleet air arm. At a conference in Key West, it was agreed that the navy would keep its own air arm, as did the marines. And so now America has the two strongest air forces in the world.

As noted here right now the  Air Force faces challenges:

In strategic terms, the Air Force faces major challenges. As Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson put it this week, “What we know now from analysis” is that “the Air Force is too small for what the nation expects of us.” Wilson noted that the new National Defense Strategy says the military must “defend the homeland, provide a credible nuclear deterrent, win against a major power while encountering a rogue nation, all while managing violent extremists. Each of those missions relies heavily on America’s Air Force.”

Based on past performance, I’d guess they’ll come through for us, as they always have, but we really need to do better.

And so now, again looking to the future we have another new service aborning, mostly out of the Air Force, the Space Force. It’s probably a good idea, but it’s going to have to rely heavily on its older brother for a time, to get it all sorted out.

And so we owe thanks to the brave men and women whose bravery has kept us safe since 1947. Happy Birthday, Air Force, Keep ’em Flying and press on.

 


A few years before the establishment of the air force, there was a battle that was pretty important for    American history but perhaps even more important in English history. 881 years before the USAF King Harold Hardrada of Norway met King Harold Godwineson of England at Stamford Bridge. It’s quite a story, and my friend The Clerk of Oxford tells it better than I can.

Harold Hardrada’s army landing in England, in a 13th-century English manuscript
(CUL MS Ee.3.59, f.31)

On or around 18 September in the autumn of 1066, the king of Norway, Harald Hardrada, arrived on the coast of Yorkshire with a large army. In his company was Tostig, the brother of Harold Godwineson, king of England, who had joined forces with the Norwegians against his brother. Harold Godwineson himself was occupied elsewhere, on the south coast, having spent the summer awaiting a Norman invasion which had not – yet – come. Soon after their arrival the Norwegian forces won a battle at Fulford, near York, but were defeated a few days later by the English king at Stamford Bridge. In this battle, Harald Hardrada was killed. Accounts of the Norwegian invasion of 1066 in medieval English sources tend to be fairly brief, since it came to be overshadowed by the Battle of Hastings a few weeks later; but in Scandinavian history Harald Hardrada was a major figure, and so many Old Norse sources tell detailed and powerful narratives about the last days of his life. Written centuries after the events they describe, they are not really intended to be reliable sources for what actually happened in 1066; instead, they show us how later Norse writers thought about this period of history, which was (among other things) a turning-point in England’s relationship with the Scandinavian world.

One such is a text called Hemings þáttr, a narrative written in Iceland in the thirteenth century, which deals at length with the attempted Norwegian invasion of England, the Norman Conquest, and its aftermath. Following other Norse sources, it tells how Harald’s last days were marked by a cluster of omens which seemed to show the king that his death was approaching; Harald is shown embarking on the invasion with a sense of foreboding, increasingly confident that this will be his last expedition, the end of a magnificent career. He has been talked into it by Tostig, egged on to ambition by a bitter and vengeful man – Tostig is jealous of his brother, wants power for himself, and is trying to use the Norwegian king to get it. Harald knows Tostig is using him, knows he can’t be trusted, and yet agrees to support him. Almost before he has done so, the bad omens start: Harald’s men have threatening dreams, sailors report mysterious fires at sea and blood pouring out of the sky, a ghost rises up from a graveyard to prophesy that the king will fall. Worst of all, before setting sail, Harald has a vision of St Olaf, his martyred half-brother, who angrily chastises him for what he is about to do. Harald is shaken and Tostig, a wily ‘man of many words’, has to talk him round, telling him it’s just some ‘English witchcraft’ trying to frighten him. But the signs could not be clearer that this invasion will not end well.

By the time they reach the English coast, the relationship between the king and his English egger-on is strained. One thing that’s interesting about this part of the story is how precise the geographical references are, compared to the English sources; the Old Norse sources are much more specific about locating Harold and Tostig in particular places as they travel along the coast of Yorkshire, and Cleveland, Scarborough, and Ravenser are all mentioned by name. (Sometimes medieval Icelandic writers knew more about northern England than historians in the south of England did.)

Keep reading at the link. It’s quite the story, and well told. This battle, often overlooked, has in my mind at least ramifications that echo down to the present, stopping the revival of Cnut’s Scandinavian empire and weakening King Harold just enough for Duke William to beat him, sucking England into continental Europe for the next 500 years.

And yes, do buy her book, it’s one of my favorites. Here is the US Amazon link. I liked her writing enough to order it from Amazon UK before it was available here, and never regretted it.

The Age of Empires Redux?

This from Sumantra Maitra in The Federalist is very interesting.

“The world order of tomorrow is not a world order based on nation-states or countries, it’s a world order that is based on empires,”said former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, the current leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe in the European Parliament, in a barn-storming speech in the Liberal-Democrat conference in London.

“China is not a nation, it’s a civilization. … The U.S. is also an empire, more than a nation — maybe tomorrow they will speak more Spanish than English, I don’t know what will happen. And then finally, the Russian Federation,” he continued. “The world of tomorrow is a world of empires, in which we Europeans and you British can only defend your interests, your way of life, by doing it together in a European framework and a European Union.”

Interestingly, he is right in his own way, and I at least respect his sense of history and unabashed imperialism, although I am confused why, according to him, the British should join a European empire and not an American empire, since Brits are culturally and historically more compatible with the Anglosphere than with continental Europe. But at least he is not a fraud and is refreshingly honest about the ultimate endgame of global governance and “perpetual peace,” to borrow from Immanuel Kant.

I’d say he’s not entirely wrong. And I  too respect his honesty. America has always been sort of a quasi-empire, composed as it is of quasi-independent states, I’d be very surprised if our base language changed from English though.

I would not call China a civilization at this point, I would call it an empire, much like where the EU is tending, very authoritative, and little freedom.

Russia as well is an empire, composed, like the US of formerly independent countries. It’s problem is twofold. A lot of it is second world at best, and it sits between two other prototypical empires, the EU and China. It is more democratic than China and less than than the EU, but they are converging and may cross.  Vladimir Bukovsky, in a speech to the House of Commons, made this very point. So have many others. There is a very good explanation of his reasoning here.

In The  Federalist article, the point is made that the EU will eventually run afoul of the United States. I agree and would say that is already happening, although on a limited scale. Nor does it necessarily mean militarily, although it’s possible. It’s more likely to be like Sino-American relations, where both sides push at the fringes.

And that brings us to Great Britain, the leader of the two greatest empires of the modern world, and the progenitor of not only the United States, but almost all of what we could call Oceania, but might be better described as the Anglosphere in a looser meaning than we usually mean.

And that is kind of what is as stake with Brexit, will Britain remain in the authoritarian EU, almost all of which conflicts with British tradition, or join the much looser confederation, following for the most part British precedent and tradition, led, but not coercively, by the United States.

Read both linked articles, and I think you will see why this is such a basic decision, and why it is being so hard-fought. In truth, it may be as fundamental as when Henry VIII took England out of the Catholic Church and tuned the English gaze out onto the wider world, rather than stultifying in Europe.

It is also why the Democrats in the United States are going to lose, we’ve always gone our own way, but some of our people have always inordinately worshipped Europe. They really should move there, as should the remainers. Both we and they would be happier.

Keep Up the Skeer

From Victor Davis Hanson:

The new post-Mueller media narrative is “weariness” and “exhaustion” with President Trump’s tweets, his cul de sac Sharpie controversy, his ideas about buying Greenland, his unorthodox art-of-the-deal foreign policy that resulted in a plan to talk to Taliban leaders in the United States, and his firing of arch-conservative John Bolton.

The Drudge Report, once a go-to site for Trumpism, now seems unapologetically anti-Trump, in its often trademark snarky style.

Are Trump supporters then weary?

Well, are we? I can’t speak for you, but I’m weary as hell of the Dims, the news media, and even the Labour party (BIRM) attacking western society. Would I prefer that Trump didn’t feel the need to Tweet so much? Yeah, but then again, it’s about time somebody stood up for the normal people, and that is what he does. So I can live with it, while what the rest keep saying is simply sickening.

When we look to alternatives, all we seem to hear is multi-trillion-dollar hare-brained schemes from radical progressives and socialists masquerading as Democrats at a time of record national debt. The Green New Deal, Medicare for All, free healthcare for illegal aliens, reparations, the abolition of $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, and free tuition for all—are the stuff of fantasies and either would have to be repudiated by any of the Democratic nominees who actually was elected, or would destroy an already indebted nation.

So, again, where exactly is the supposed dissension in the Trump ranks, given that in 2020 he will be only the alternative to the above? […]

Google the phrase “Trump weariness” or “Trump exhaustion” and dozens of progressive articles pop up suggesting that Trump’s base is worn out by Trump’s antics. Julie Kelly has summarized (and dismissed) the same phenomenon among the Never Trump bloc. Trump supporter Michael Walsh worries about the effects of “Trump trauma” on the 2020 election: Trump’s supporters are seen as tired of his detour Twitter wars, impatient that he appointed deep swampers like Christopher Wray at the FBI, and now sense a distracted Trump’s only half-heartedly pursues his appointments or MAGA agendas.

All that may be true—but only to a certain extent.

Trump certainly did not need to assume the role of a discordant weatherman at a time when the Bahamas were flattened, or kneel to spar with nutty George Conway, or remind the nation that his new transient primary rival Mark Sanford is seriously delusional. Trump can be funny, as when he did not take the media bait by saying he didn’t like the Democratic debaters, but instead had “respect” for anyone willing to undergo the ordeal of a presidential candidate (such as he had done), or, earlier, speculated what alcohol might have done to a type-A personality such as himself. More of that, and less of tweeting about Greenland and the huffy Danish ambassador of course might be wise.

Then again maybe Trump’s clarity is a good thing. There are many enemies of western civilization no longer hiding in the weeds but out in public telling us how awful Trump is. Every time I read them, and it’s nearly every day, I thank God for a man who fights my battles better than I could. And you know, the world is noticing, in Hong Kong, in Venezuela, even in Great Britain,  where as people who think the same way as we do, tend to distrust Boris (and who can blame them really), they see an American president standing up for our shared, essentially Anglo-Saxon beliefs. The leader of the free world, indeed.

Trump was elected on the apostate position that if China is not stopped now in its systematic destruction of the global commercial order, it will end up as a hegemony that will devour the West. To that end, no one so far has come up with a more effective lever than the rusty iron bar of tariffs. Pre-Trump, our policy was to shrug or offer a whine or two about China.

No one in the Republican party previously believed that either offshoring or outsourcing was all that bad. Republican orthodoxy was more or less to let the Midwestern out-of-work deplorables eat cake, defined as getting in their old pickups and heading to the fracking fields in between oxycontin flare ups. The market alone would adjudicate their dismal futures.

Much more at the linked article, and it’s all good. Do I get tired of the constant commotion? Of course, I do, just as you do. But you know, I’m beginning to believe that if we “keep up the skeer” we just might survive as a free people, and yes, as the city on the hill that keeps the fire of freedom burning for all the world’s people.

It took a long time for it to get this screwed up, we’re not going to fix it next week. But we fought for seven years against the greatest empire of the age to assume our place in the world, now is no time to give up the fight  Thomas Paine told us long ago:

“THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated”

It’s the same the whole world over.

 

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