Sunday Funnies, The Nonsense Continues

The Week.

A serious country, willing to fight to the last avocado, not like this one

The Telegraph

A variation

And since it is Palm Sunday, perhaps the Passion Play for our time.

The Attack of the Greenies

A couple of weeks ago, we did an article about how badly Nebraska is flooding this year, and how we’re coping with it. That story continues, Nebraska floods every year, it comes from having major rivers, especially ones that are slow flowing and meander, which describes the Missouri, to an extent, and applies strongly to the Loup, the Platte, and others. While Nebraska is not as flat as people going through on I 80 assume, it isn’t Colorado either.

It’s not entirely curable, but it used to be a lot better, and not that long ago. Why? Let’s let Joe Herring, of The Herring Report, out of Omaha tell us.

In the pages of American Thinker, I recently discussed the degree of responsibility I believe should accrue to the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for the current catastrophic flooding across parts of South Dakota,  Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and nearly all of Nebraska.

In that piece I clearly stated that the entirety of flooding could not have been prevented by the Corps, or any other earthly organization.

However, the unprecedented severity and frequency of flooding throughout the Missouri River basin – most specifically, that which has resulted in all but 9 of Nebraska’s 93 counties being under a federal disaster declaration – has increased dramatically in recent years due to one reason only, and folks, it ain’t climate change.

Permit me to provide context.

Average runoff in the Missouri River basin above Sioux City between the completion of the dams in 1967 and 2004, (when the management priorities were altered), averaged 25.19 million acre-feet (MAF).  SeeTable 1

The average runoff between 2004 and 2018 is 25.3 million acre-feet, a statistically insignificant difference.

While the 2004-2018 average includes two of the three highest runoff years since the advent of the dams, the 1967-2004 average includes SEVEN of the top ten runoff years since the dams began operation, including the 2nd highest runoff ever recorded, 49 MAF in 1997.  See Table 2

Table 2

Yet, despite these stressors, before the Corps abandoned flood control as the highest priority of the dam system, these 7 top ten high runoff years resulted in flooding far less severe and significantly less frequent than that seen since the change.

Why?

 

The Corps reflexively claim that all eight Congressionally “authorized purposes” (according to the Master Water Control Manual) are weighted equally, with priority shifting depending on circumstances.

While the Corps yet believed protecting people and property was a more worthy aim than the well-being of two birds and a fish, the riverbanks were routinely stabilized, shored up against ordinary erosion and the scouring of high-water events.

This was done under the authority of the Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project (BSNP), which, along with the construction of the system of dams, freed up hundreds of thousands of acres of former floodplain for farming and development.

Under the BSNP, channels were dredged regularly to keep them free of silt infill.  A target depth of 9 feet was maintained in the lower reaches of the river to ease barge traffic, but a deeper river also meant increased capacity to handle runoff, greatly enhancing the draining efficiency of the river.

The Missouri is the longest river in our nation, accepting the runoff of millions of square miles of mountain and plains snow and rain.  A major part of the flood control plan relied on the enhanced flow of runoff through the river channel, not across the floodplain.

During this flood-focused phase of Corps management, dikes and levees were built and assiduously maintained. Chutes, (secondary channels of a meandering river) were closed to inhibit the spread of the river in seasons of high-water. Long reaches of the river were deepened and straightened in a process known as channelization.

Channelization greatly enhanced navigation and promoted efficient handling of runoff.  Once a touchstone for responsible river management, the word is now spoken in hushed tones, much the same way our grandparents once whispered “cancer.”

All these things (and more) combined to permit millions of Americans to develop the newly-accessible lands for farming, ranching and homes. Indeed, these millions of Americans were encouraged to do so by their elected representatives, who happily took credit for the resulting economic benefits and increased tax revenues generated by that development.

I grew up in the floodplain of the Kankakee River in northern Indiana, 15 miles from the river. Indiana had dredged the river, and it worked efficiently. But as close as we were to Chicago, and on one of the main trunk railroads, as well as one of the much rarer north-south ones, the entire area was essentially undeveloped until the river was channelized and the swamp drained. What they now call wetlands, of course. When I left, floods were, after most of a century, again becoming a problem, because Illinois refused to dredge the river, and so it backed up, causing millions of dollars in damage.

Read the rest of this fine article, and start wondering how the US government somehow decided its mission was a couple of birds, not the people of the United States. If you find a valid reason, good on you. I find it at best counter to the best interest of the country, at worst seditious. Not what we should expect from the USACOE.

Neocon to NeverTrump

From left: Bill Kristol, Max Boot, David Frum, Elliot A. Cohen.

Julie Kelly has an article up at American Greatness. Let’s take a look.

For more than two years they misled us.

Exploiting fear and confusion after a shocking event, they warned that our country was in imminent danger at the hands of a mad man. They insisted that legitimate intelligence, including a CIA report issued a month before a national election and a dossier producedby reliable sources in the United Kingdom, proved the threat was real. The subject monopolized discussions on Capitol Hill, in the White House, and in the press.

They argued that the situation was so dire that it was straining our relationship with strategic allies. Any evidence to the contrary was readily dismissed. And anyone who questioned their agenda was ridiculed as a coward, a dupe, or a conspiracy theorist. The news media dedicated endless air time and column inches to anyone who wanted to repeat the falsehood.

But an investigative report released two years after the propaganda campaign began found no evidence to support their central claim. The CIA report was highly flawed. The official dossier, some concluded, was deceptive and “sexed-up.”

Sounds really, really familiar these days doesn’t it? It should, we have a current example to look at, but this is not a description of the mess we have seen in Washington the last couple of years, it’s a good description of how we got into the war in Iraq. And most amazingly it was brought to you by the same ‘players’. Ms. Kelly continues:

So, these discredited outcasts thought they found in the Trump-Russia collusion farce a way to redeem themselves in the news media and recover their lost prestige, power, and paychecks. After all, it cannot be a mere coincidence that a group of influencers on the Right who convinced Americans 16 years ago that we must invade Iraq based on false pretenses are nearly the identical group of people who tried to convince Americans that Donald Trump conspired with the Russians to rig the 2016 election, an allegation also based on hearsay and specious evidence.

It cannot be an innocent mistake. It cannot be explained away as an example of ignorance in the defense of national security or democracy or human decency. It cannot be justified as a mere miscalculation based on the “best available information at the time” nor should we buy any of the numerous excuses that they offered up to rationalize the war.

In fact, one can draw a straight line between the approach of neoconservative propagandists from the Iraq War travesty and the Trump-Russia collusion hoax. The certainty with which they pronounced their dubious claims, their hyperbolic warnings about pending doom—all eerily similar:

Bill Kristol in 2003: “We look forward to the liberation of our own country and others from the threat of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, and to the liberation of the Iraqi people from a brutal and sadistic tyrant.”

Bill Kristol in 2018: “It seems to me likely Mueller will find there was collusion between Trump associates and Putin operatives; that Trump knew about it; and that Trump sought to cover it up and obstruct its investigation. What then? Good question.”

John McCain in 2003: “I believe that, obviously, we will remove a threat to America’s national security because we will find there are still massive amounts of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.”

John McCain in 2017: “There’s a lot of aspects with this whole relationship with Russia and Vladimir Putin that requires further scrutiny. In fact, I think there’s a lot of shoes to drop from this centipede. This whole issue of the relationship with the Russians and who communicated with them and under what circumstances clearly cries out for an investigation.”

David Frum in 2002 (writing for President George W. Bush): “States like these and their terrorist allies constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.“

David Frum in 2016: “I never envisioned an Axis of Evil of which one of the members was the US National Security Adviser.”

Max Boot in 2003: “I hate to disappoint all the conspiracy-mongers out there, but I think we are going into Iraq for precisely the reasons stated by President Bush: to destroy weapons of mass destruction, to bring down an evil dictator with links to terrorism, and to enforce international law.”

Max Boot in 2019: “If this is what it appears to be, it is the biggest scandal in American history—an assault on the very foundations of our democracy in which the president’s own campaign is deeply complicit. There is no longer any question whether collusion occurred. The only questions that remain are: What did the president know? And when did he know it?”

Those are just a handful of examples from a deep trove of comparisons. Other accomplices on the Right involved in both scandals include former NSA Director Michael Hayden; former Weekly Standard editor Stephen Hayes; MSNBC host and former U.S. Representative Joe Scarborough; neoconservative think tankers Robert Kagan and Eliot Cohen; and former Bush aides Michael Gerson and Peter Wehner.

Even George W. Bush questioned aloud last year whether alleged Russian meddling “affected the outcome of the election.”

And let’s not forget who was in charge of the FBI before, during, and after the Iraq War: Robert Mueller, the Special Counsel hired in May 2017 to find evidence of Russian collusion. In his February 2003 Senate testimony, Mueller confirmed reports that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and expressed concern that Hussein “may supply terrorists with biological, chemical or radiological material.” James Comey, Mueller’s close friend and successor at the FBI, served as George W. Bush’s deputy attorney general from 2003 to 2005. Comey, of course, is the man who opened an investigation into the Trump campaign in July 2016 and signed the FISA application in October 2016 to spy on Trump campaign aide, Carter Page. Both, we’ve been assured repeatedly, were Republicans.

This is from an article by Julie Kelly on American Greatness which when you go read it all (Do it now!) will tell you just how despicable this bunch of charlatans are. Just about every American casualty in the middle east since 2003, over a hundred thousand dead Iraqis, a bunch of Libyans and Syrians, not too mention the invasion of Europe by pseudo refugees can be laid at these clowns doorsteps. All to keep their influence and their paychecks, not to mention the cocktail parties and cruises.

In 1961, as he left the Presidency, Eisenhower told us some base truths, here is a bit of it, the rest is here.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientifictechnological elite.

I can’t speak for you, but in 2003 I bought their snake oil, but like so many of you, in 2016, I knew better.

Screw me once, shame on you,

Screw me twice, shame on me.

Our experience with these neocons tells us we have failed in that mission, that Ike outlined, and rather badly. But you know, we are a sensible people, and in electing Trump, we may have found the cure or at least a palliative.

One hopes so.

Brexit: Trump and Queen Anne

A lot of Americans are supporters of Brexit, not least because we see many parallels with America’s revolutionary struggle. From what he has said, I think President Trump does too.  He doesn’t say much, but how can he really, Obama got pretty seriously criticized for his “back of the queue” remark. Rightly of course. These countries are supposedly all our friends, but hey, this is Britain, the cousins. Of course, we care.

So what has he done? Walked very softly and offered the use of one of our biggest sticks, the US economy itself. He hasn’t, in so many words, offered the United Kingdom completely tariff-free trade with the US, but that is the import.

That is just about all we can do, other than offer moral support, and advice from one of the world’s best negotiators. That too has been done, only to be spurned, sometimes contemptuously.

Some of the more sensible Britons have noticed as well. One of them is Freddy Gray and he wrote about it in The Spectator UK. Sadly behind the paywall, but if you have any free articles left, it’s pretty good.

Tune out all the noise around Brexit, and read what Donald Trump said today:

‘I’m surprised at how badly it’s all gone from the standpoint of a negotiation,’ he told reporters at a bilateral meeting with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. ‘But I gave the Prime Minister my ideas on to negotiate it and I think you would have been successful. She didn’t listen to that and that’s fine, she’s got to do what she’s got to do, but I think it could have been negotiated in a different manner, frankly. I hate to see everything being ripped apart now. I don’t think another vote would be possible because it would be very unfair to the people that won … But I thought it would happen, it did happen, it’s a very tough situation.’

In fact, if you want to understand quite how bad Theresa May’s government has been, it helps to go back to January 27, 2017: the day Theresa May visited Donald Trump in the White House. Trump was very keen to offer May a trade deal there and then, but she demurred. She was more eager to get Trump to reaffirm America’s commitment to NATO.

As Steve Bannon, who was there, tells me:

‘President Trump tried to coach May during her White House visit. He told her to get on with it because time was her enemy not her friend. He also offered to do a bilateral deal with the UK. You could tell she didn’t really comprehend what he was trying to tell her. She seemed like a deer in the headlights.’

Westminster know-alls will tell you that it would not have been legally possible for May to enter into trade negotiations with Trump before our exit from the EU. Maybe so. But surely the mere offer would have been useful leverage, as the Author of The Art of the Deal might say.

One can’t help wondering who the real idiot is: Donald Trump? Or Brexit Britain?

My read is that Parliament has become an out of control tyranny, hell-bent on selling British sovereignty to the EU, probably for a hell of a lot more than 30 pieces of silver, the promise of a well-rewarded life of no responsibility, and at least part of the government and civil service are in league with them. Like most things, there is a precedent, the last time Parliament went this rogue, England got the Lord Protector, Cromwell. No sightings around Cambridge so seems unlikely this time, but maybe Queen Anne has something to offer. Cranmer seems to think so.

The last time Royal Assent was withheld from a parliamentary bill was in the wake of the union of England and Scotland in 1707/8, when Queen Anne declined to support the Scottish Militia Bill. And she did so on the advice of her ministers: “…the Tories had shown that their views in relation to the major issues confronting the nation – the Church, the war, the succession, and the question of union with Scotland – were out of gear with the nation’s interests.” Queen Anne deployed her prerogative veto to ensure (or enhance) the possibility of national peace and reconciliation: the last thing the inaugural Parliament of Great Britain needed was armed Jacobites intent on restoring the Stuarts to the Throne.

The European Union (Withdrawal) (Number 5) Bill currently making its way through Parliament – at the behest of Yvette Cooper and Oliver Letwin – is designed to frustrate the possibility of a ‘no deal’ Brexit (that is, a clean, global Brexit on WTO terms). It is thereby purposely designed to frustrate Brexit altogether, simply because it obliges the Prime Minister to seek an extension to Article 50 not quite in perpetuity, but certainly to a point which appears to mandate the UK’s participation in Elections to the European Parliament next month, and thereafter Brexit is delayed until a ‘deal’ is done which satisfies the EU. The Bill doesn’t prevent ‘no deal’ altogether (the European Council could reject the Prime Minister’s request), but it patently binds the Prime Minister’s negotiating hand. It is a profoundly flawed bill – not least because it appears to have been preempted by her recent request for an extension to Article 50 – but it is effectual to the extent that the Prime Minister must move a motion in the House of Commons to extend Article 50 the day after the Bill receives Royal Assent.

There has been some conjecture that the Crown may demur, as it did in 300 years ago; that the Queen may be advised by her minsters not to give assent to the Bill on the grounds that it is purely a creation of Parliament, not responsible government; that is, government responsive and accountable to the will of the people. As JS Mill observed in 1864: “Responsibility is null when nobody knows who is responsible… To maintain it at its highest, there must be one person who receives the whole praise of what is well done, the whole blame of what is ill.” The Prime Minister can sack responsible ministers, and the people can sack responsible governments, but who can sack both Houses of Parliament? How may those who voted for a manifesto which pledged to take the UK out of the EU (Single Market and Customs Union) mete democratic justice upon a fractious Remainer House of Commons aided by a partisan Speaker who has ridden roughshod over constitutional precedent; abetted by a compliant Remainer House of Lords intent on abdicating their scrutinising role to rush through a flawed, ill-considered and procedurally irregular piece of legislation?

Keep reading. This is, I think, legitimate. Freedom is always based on the interplay between various forces. In the US, it is explicit, in the UK implicit, and it is rare indeed for the Monarch to be involved. But this situation is rare, indeed, Parliament is not in good order, and is obviously violating the will of the people, and now the government is as well, but in a different way.

And frankly, for all the reasons His Grace listed, including her duty as head of the Church of England. Is this so different really, leading the UK into the at best Godless EU, compared to the birth of a Catholic heir that simulated the Glorious Revolution, bringing the House of Orange to the throne?

Levin, and Logan

Last night Lara Logan was on Mark Levin’s show on Fox. It was a rather extraordinary interview. If you wish to understand the American press these days, here is your primer. I think it even more applicable to our British cousins and their media, judging by what I hear. I was hoping the whole thing would be up this morning if it is I can’t find it. but here is a chunk.

I find it pretty compelling stuff because I recognize how biased the media is. One point, and it’s important, that Logan makes over and over, is that we all have biases. She’s right, we do, and we have opinions. I have no problem with that if you’re either left or right, as long as you are honest about it. OK, granted if you’re obviously left wing, I’m fairly likely to not bother reading or watching you, but that is my choice.

Logan has followed a much harder road. Like Sean Hannity, I have no clue what her politics are. She says she more or less moderate, and insists she is owned by no one. Fair enough. Too often moderate means wishy-washy, agreeing with everyone and standing for nothing. It doesn’t with her. She spent years with her ass in the grass in the middle east, in Afghanistan.  She was gang-raped nearly to death in Egypt during the so-called Arab Spring. By the way, CBS called (and still calls) it a sexual assault. That’s bullshit, It was simply an attempt to silence her, if not kill her, using gang-rape as a tool of intimidation. It is hugely to her credit that it did not work.

She simply put what she believes away and reports the news. That’s much harder, I’m not sure I could, but then I’ve been told I’m opinionated. 🙂

After Ted Koppel made his remarks, she also talked with Hannity, that too is pretty interesting.

Good stuff, and good on her.

Unplanned

The Federalist (and others) tell us that the film Unplanned is far outperforming expectations, and that is very good. If you happened to miss it, which would not be hard since there is a media blackout, including most TV networks refusing advertising, Twitter sabotaging its account, and what looks like a malicious R rating, it is the story of a director of a Planned Parenthood clinic whose interaction with a prayer vigil group, and witnessing the attempts by an unborn child to avoid being aborted, eventually brought her to become a stalwart pro-life witness.

It’s a story we have told before, here. In fact, my former co-blogger was personally involved in one of those stories. She told her story here, and here is a bit of it.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine had a knock on the door of the vicarage where he lives. It was a young woman. She was pregnant and did not want to be. She could not get an immediate appointment with a doctor or a medical social worker, or even the counsellor she was seeing at the abortion clinic; she’d heard that you didn’t need an appointment to see a vicar – so there she was. She’d never been to church and admitted she didn’t know what ‘it was all about’, but she needed an ear. My friend listened to her for about an hour. He did not try to influence her against her will, but to discern that will. She was clearly confused and in some desperation.  After the hour, she left, thanking him.

We heard nothing more until Friday evening, when she telephoned to say she was going to have an abortion the next day; she asked if he would come to see her on Sunday. He asked if he could bring a friend – me, as he felt a woman might help in the situation; she said that would be fine.

I posted about her on my own site and asked people to join me in prayer for her. Most of those commenting did so, although there was one poster who thought we ought to be telling her what a dreadful sinner she was, although, since she knew not the Lord, it is hard to know what she would have made of that. We went, wanting to be there to extend compassion to her, and to do whatever the Lord wanted.

When we went into her small flat, it was clear that she was depressed – it was like a huge cloud over her. She told us that she had been counselled about all the medical things, and the side-effects, but she had never felt so empty and so ‘wrong’. She cried, and it was hard to know what to do, so I held her hands. I asked if she’s mind if we said a prayer, and through her tears she said she didn’t really mind, though couldn’t see it would help. The three of us held hands and I asked God to have mercy on the three sinners in the room, and to grant His grace to the dead child. The room filled with light. We all felt the same thing. She gasped. We sat in silence, holding hands for as long as was needed.

As he light faded, I asked her how she felt. She said: “As though God has spoken to me saying that I should go and sin no more,” I asked if she knew where those words came from, and she laughed and said “I’ve just told you, God told me.” I said I knew, I had heard them too, but did she know they had been said before? She asked what I was talking about, so I told her about the woman taken in adultery. She got very serious: “But I thought you Christians would condemn such a slut – and one like me, but you haven’t, and God loves me.” We all cried.

Back when Jessica first told me this story, I sat here crying as well. From things she told me in confidence, I am very sure that that young woman would not have lived a week, she would, I will always believe, have committed suicide. Instead, she is now married to the vicar in the story, happily, I hope. I haven’t heard in quite a while.

Christians were known from the very beginning for their quite obdurate insistence on raising their children, not following the common Roman practice of leaving the unwanted ones to die of exposure. It is one of the reasons Christianity spread so far and so fast.

And now we see politicians who openly advocate the old Roman practice once again, but we also see these little groups of Christians who pray and are kind to all around Planned Infanticide Planned Parenthood. It has caused the baby killers in Britain such fear that they have attempted to use the law to remove the prayer groups.

But like those attempting to stifle the film, well, God has His ways, and He will prevail.

And The Spectator reminds us that there is nothing Feminist about this either. Susan B. Anthony a legendary and genuine fighter for women’s rights’ wrote this:

She must feel herself accountable to God alone for every act, fearing and obeying no man, save where his will is in line with her own highest idea of divine law.… When the mother of Christ shall be made the true model of womanhood and motherhood, when the office of maternity shall be held sacred and the mother shall consecrate herself, as did Mary, to the one idea of bringing forth the Christ-child, then, and not till then, will this earth see a new order of men and women, prone to good rather than evil.

Here’s the trailer, but see the film.

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