Voyages and Voyagers

Click to make bigly

Well, the Alabamans are electing their new Senator. I’ll be surprised if it’s much of a surprise, but that’s why they have the election.

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night and was listening to BBC Norfolk, as I usually do. The call-in show was discussing whether they should allow Trump to make a state visit. The host obviously (although I doubt he thought it obvious) favored not allowing it. I was surprised though, by the time I went back to sleep about five people had called in, all favored the visit, and several vociferously called out his obvious bias. Frustrated indeed, was he, and yes, it was a joy to hear.

The other day, you may have heard, NASA fired a secondary set of thrusters on Voyager 1. Yes, they worked perfectly. But let’s think a bit here. Voyager 1 and 2 launched in 1977, the year Star Wars came out. Voyager 1 is about 13 billion miles away now, well out of our solar system, it took 19½ hours to find out if the commands worked.

NASA back in the day was one of the glories of America and this is why, they simply did things right. Not cheap (even if built by the lowest bidder) they built for the ages and now the stuff simply works.

And now, I hear that President Trump has told NASA to prepare to return to the moon in order to mount a mission to Mars. I’m skeptical but pleased, remembering how it pulled us together in the sixties, so we’ll see.

You know overall, having him as President sort of reminds me of what Gordon Sinclair, a Canadian said back in 1972.

The United States dollar took another pounding on German, French, and British exchanges this morning, hitting the lowest point ever known in West Germany. It has declined there by 41% since 1971, and this Canadian thinks it’s time to speak up for the Americans as the most generous, and possibly the least-appreciated, people in all the world.

As long as sixty years ago, when I first started to read newspapers, I read of floods on the Yellow River and the Yangtze. Well who rushed in with men and money to help? The Americans did, that’s who.

They have helped control floods on the Nile, the Amazon, the Ganges, and the Niger. Today, the rich bottom land of the Mississippi is under water and no foreign land has sent a dollar to help. Germany, Japan, and to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy, were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts. None of those countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.

When the franc was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who propped it up, and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets of Paris. And I was there — I saw that. When distant cities are hit by earthquake, it’s the United States that hurries into help. Managua, Nicaragua, is one of the most recent examples.

So far this spring, fifty-nine American communities have been flattened by tornadoes. Nobody has helped.

The Marshall Plan, the Truman Policy, all pumped billions upon billions of dollars into discouraged countries. And now, newspapers in those countries are writing about the decadent, war-mongering Americans.

Now, I’d like to see just one of those countries that is gloating over the erosion of the United States dollar build its own airplanes. Come on now, you, let’s hear it. Does any country in the world have a plane to equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed Tristar, or the Douglas 10? If so, why don’t they fly them? Why do all international lines except Russia fly American planes? Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or a woman on the moon?

You talk about Japanese technocracy and you get radios. You talk about German technocracy and you get automobiles. You talk about American technocracy and you find men on the moon, not once, but several times, and, safely home again. You talk about scandals and the Americans put theirs right in the store window for everybody to look at. Even the draft dodgers are not pursued and hounded. They’re right here on our streets in Toronto. Most of them, unless they’re breaking Canadian laws, are getting American dollars from Ma and Pa at home to spend up here.

When the Americans get out of this bind — as they will — who could blame them if they said “the hell with the rest of the world. Let somebody else buy the bonds. Let somebody else build or repair foreign dams, or design foreign buildings that won’t shake apart in earthquakes.” When the railways of France and Germany and India were breaking down through age, it was the Americans who rebuilt them. When the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both of ’em are still broke.

I can name to you 5,000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble. Can you name to me even one time when someone else raced to the Americans in trouble? I don’t think there was outside help even during the San Francisco earthquake.

Our neighbors have faced it alone, and I’m one Canadian who is damned tired of hearing them kicked around. They’ll come out of this thing with their flag high. And when they do, they’re entitled to thumb their noses at the lands that are gloating over their present troubles. I hope Canada is not one of these. But there are many smug, self-righteous Canadians.

And finally, the American Red Cross was told at its 48th annual meeting in New Orleans this morning that it was broke.

This year’s disasters — with the year less than half-over — has taken it all. And nobody, but nobody, has helped.

As I write this California is burning, and fighting it is a huge effort. It is an American effort, as it always is. But not quite, there’s bunch of very brave men out there, who came to help, all the way from Australia. Friends indeed, as they always have been.

But the others should be a bit cautious, perhaps. As the Marines are wont to say, “No better friend, no worse enemy”. And our memories work just fine, why we remembered that the Voyagers are out there, still working, after all these years.

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Starting the Week.

Now that is a nice start to the week. The opening ceremony from last weekend’s Army-Navy game. If you haven’t heard, Army went, Beat Navy, in a very good game.

To Hell and Back

Tyler Durden tells us

Well informed sources have said the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp Brigadier General Haj Qassem Soleimani sent a formal verbal message, via Russia, to the head of the US forces command in Syria, advising him to pull out all US forces to the last soldier “or the doors of hell will open up”.

“My message to the US military command: when the battle against ISIS will end, no American soldier will be tolerated in Syria. I advise you to leave by your own will or you will be forced to it,” said Soleimani to a Russian officer. Soleimani asked the Russian officer to make known the Iranian intentions towards the US: that they will be considered as forces of occupation if these decide to stay in northeast Syria where Kurds and Arab tribes cohabit together.

Well, it seems to me that American forces have received such messages before, leading to some of the best quotes in American history. My favorite is also the shortest.

“Nuts,” The American Commander.

Melanie Phillips did truth-telling on the Palestinians as well.

The Palestinians’ violent reaction also demonstrates beyond doubt that, far from wanting to share Jerusalem with the Jews, they won’t permit the Jews to be there at all. Trump’s speech did not foreclose the option of a Palestine state, nor the prospect of the Palestinians having control of part of Jersualem. Their fury at the endorsement of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital at all shows how much they depend on the west facilitating their strategy.

Which is why the reaction of the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, is so stupid. She is far from hostile to Israel; but clearly, she hasn’t got the faintest idea of what the Arab war against Israel is about. It is not, as she appears to think, a conflict about the division of Jerusalem or the land. It is about destroying Israel altogether, and to that end an attempt to write the Jews out of their own history.

If Britain and Europe west followed Trump’s lead and moved their own embassies, and moreover told the Palestinians they no longer believed their lies or that their intentions were benign and started instead to treat them justifiably as pariahs, the war against Israel would end. Yet to its eternal shame, even though the US Congress is now passing legislation which will end American funding for murderous Palestinian incitement, Britain is continuing to fund the Palestinian Authority, thus making Britain complicit with incitement to hatred and murder of Jews and the destruction of Israel.

The Palestinians now find themselves in a fix. Saudi Arabia and associated Arab states will simply not allow them to get in the way of the all-important US and Israeli alliance against Iran. America has now shown it will no longer be manipulated in the campaign to destroy Israel.

So all the Palestinians are now left with is British and European support, and the old tactic of ramping up murderous violence against Israel to provoke it into actions which will cause the all-too reliable British and Europeans to try to punish Israel yet again.

British Prime Ministers should, I perceive, refrain from getting off airplanes with scraps of paper, far too often it has the result of encouraging enemies and discouraging friends. Right, Neville?

The Week: This Year in Jerusalem Edition

Welp, that time again, lots going on so let’s dive into the swamp.

Al Franken thinks we need to have a ‘National Conversation’ about sexual harrassment, I don’t see why, as far as I can see it only needs a short statement from such vermin’s employers. For instance, “You’re fired.” Perhaps followed with the suggestion that they don’t use us as a reference, ever. Sorry, but I’ve found that only the incompetent make excuses.

Will the second edition be titled, “Giant Jerk of the Senate”?

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The Colossus of Freedom

Real Socialism

I need one of these!

Then there is this guy

My kind of lawn mower

And, of course

As usual, most (but not all) from PowerLine and Bookworm.

Trolling Londonistan

BBC

James Delingpole has an article up at Breitbart. It’s an outstanding one, not unusually for Delingpole, He’s one of the few Brits who get published who understand us, and understands Trump, and why he’s president. Yes, there are others, and we’ll try to introduce you to a few of them going forward. But Delingpole is special.

President Trump has offended pretty much the entirety of Britain’s political and media establishment up to and including the Prime Minister, the Mayor of London and the Archbishop of Canterbury.[…]

In a moment I shall explain why the president is right and his critics are wrong. But first a brief recap of what the fuss is all about. […] [Three tweets. Neo]

One depicted a bearded Muslim destroying a statue of the Virgin Mary.

One showed an Islamist mob pushing a teenage boy off a roof and then beating him to death.

One showed a white Dutch boy on crutches being gratuitously beaten up by a man described in the video caption as a “Muslim migrant”.

Prime Minister Theresa May; Mayor of London Sadiq Khan; and many other politicians professed themselves to be appalled by this. As was BBC news, which made this horror its lead story.

But it wasn’t the sadistic brutality on any of the videos that bothered them. It was the fact that the person whose tweets the President had retweeted, Jayda Fransen, is the deputy of a nationalistic, anti-immigration political party highly critical of Islam called Britain First.

According to Prime Minister Theresa May this was a grave mistake.

She said:

I am very clear that retweeting from Britain First was the wrong thing to do.

“Britain First is a hateful organisation. It seeks to spread division and mistrust in our communities. It stands in fundamental opposition to the values that we share as a nation – values of respect, tolerance and, dare I say it, common decency.”

Some politicians went further.

London’s Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, sought to use Trump’s tweet as an excuse to promote his ongoing campaign to prevent the President being granted a State Visit to London.

Chris Bryant – a Labour MP better known as “Captain Underpants” because he posted “sexy” photographs of himself on a gay dating site wearing nothing but his white briefs – accused the president of “supporting and condoning fascism”.

Every time I read crap like this, I think it must be very uncomfortable living with your head where the sun don’t shine. But that’s Britain’s ‘ruling class’ these days. If you had the impression they really got their knickers in a twist, well you would be correct. Funny how the truth works, ain’t it? And by the way, whenever I read ‘right wing extremist’ in a European context, I laugh and say, “Oh, somebody who tells the truth.”

Virtually none of my colleagues, even in the conservative media, has a good word to say about him. They think of him in all the usual leftist cliches: that he’s crass, vulgar, dumb, brash and so on. They think that those few of us who defend him – like me, Katie Hopkins, Nigel Farage, Jacob Rees-Mogg, David Pryce-Jones, Daniel Johnson and a handful of others – only do so because we are attention-seeking loons.

What they misunderstand about Trump is the scale of his ambitions and the true nature of his mission.

As I argue in this week’s Spectatorhe represents the same revolt of the masses against the liberal elite we saw with Brexit. His mission is vital:

That mission, domestically, is to Make America Great Again. But his ambitions, I believe, are even greater than that. As he outlined in his brilliant Warsaw speech, he sees himself as the defender of not just the free world, but of western civilisation itself.

‘We write symphonies. We pursue innovation. We celebrate our ancient heroes, embrace our timeless traditions and customs, and always seek to explore and discover brand-new frontiers. We reward brilliance. We strive for excellence, and cherish inspiring works of art that honour God. We treasure the rule of law and protect the right to free speech and free expression. We empower women as pillars of our society and of our success. We put faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, at the centre of our lives. And we debate everything. We challenge everything.’

I think he does, too. Remember what America is, where the entire world, came together in freedom. This is where a black Eskimo is possible. When our people came here, they left behind the ancient quarrels, and signed on to an experiment, in freedom and justice. And we rarely forget the justice part.

It might seem a stretch to argue that Trump’s recent trio of trolling retweets of Muslims-behaving-badly videos have much to do with this noble mission.

But cometh the man, cometh the hour. President Trump is no ordinary leader and he most certainly does not play by the conventional rules.

A key facet of his modus operandi is the way he manages to bypass a generally hostile media and speak directly to his constituency – essentially ordinary people who’ve had just about enough of politically correct nonsense – using social media.

Yep, exactly. Hey, British guy (or gal) in the street, especially outside the M25 (not to mention Germans, Poles, Frenchmen, Czechs, and all the rest) our President is talking directly to you, just as he does us. And his message, is your message, and it is our message, as well, our elites simply don’t understand (or don’t care, take your choice) about us, understand us, or share our values, but our president does. Think about that, that is another gift of the American people to the world. An American leadership that will push back for our values. Yes, we will MAGA, but Delingpole is correct, more than that America hasn’t given up and will defend Western Civilization.

Read Mr. Delingpole’s article. Good stuff!

 

Welcome to December

Well, another week, for a lot of us Christians, we start a whole new year today, as we anticipate the birth of Jesus. I’m ready for one, and suspect you are too. He’s back!

Well, the President retweeted some British group (that hardly anybody had heard of, although they have now) and HMG came unglued. I wonder of it was because Britain First was correct. Less NSFW than usual, BTW.

Well, another week, another bunch of unemployed famous men who can’t seem to understand that women are not their property, or something.

More palatably

Christmas shopping?

And, of course

Mostly from PowerLine, Sleeping Beauty from Ace.

Railsplitters, Tailors, and Government Bureaus

Speaking of the CFPB, this is interesting, from The Federalist.

Although the Reconstruction Era has gotten more mainstream attention lately, to most Americans the Andrew Johnson administration is still a part of the dusty past. The CFPB dispute is, as David Harsanyi explained earlier this week, about which employee has the right to occupy the office of CFPB director. So did the dispute that led to Johnson’s impeachment and near-conviction. Only in that case, the office in question was of much greater importance: secretary of war.

In the days following the Civil War, the secretary of war (a predecessor to the secretary of defense, but without jurisdiction over the navy) occupied an important position in domestic politics, as his job included presiding over the reconstruction of the conquered Confederacy. After Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, his successor, Johnson, seemed to be in accord with Secretary of War Edwin Stanton and the Republican-dominated Congress on how to accomplish this.

Things soon changed. Johnson returned to his pre-war Democratic Party loyalty and worked to re-admit the Southern states to the Union quickly, with no other changes than a de jure abolition of slavery. Stanton and congressional leaders saw their task as larger, and wanted to ensure greater equality for the former slaves in fact as well as in law. As Johnson gradually replaced Lincoln appointees in the cabinet, Stanton was increasingly the only voice in the administration for a vigorous scheme of occupying and rebuilding in the South.

Stanton’s allies in Congress worked to protect him by passing the Tenure of Office Act in 1867. The act decreed that any officer appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate could not be removed by the president unless the Senate approved. Johnson saw the act for what it was—a curtailment of executive power—and vetoed it, but Congress overrode the veto and the bill became a law. The president no longer had control over his own appointees.

Johnson initially acted in accordance with the law and suspended Stanton while Congress was in recess, selecting Commanding General Ulysses S. Grant to serve as acting secretary in his stead. Stanton went along with this, as Grant was closer to congressional Republicans in his views than to Johnson. When the recess ended, the Senate refused to concur in Stanton’s removal, and Grant returned the office to him. Then Johnson declared the Tenure of Office Act unconstitutional and said Stanton’s removal was valid. He appointed Maj. Gen. Lorenzo Thomas to the “vacancy” and instructed him to report to the War Department for work.

Stanton refused to accept Thomas’s appointment and declined to yield the office. Thomas took the office across the hall, and both men declared themselves the true secretary of war. Stanton retained the keys to the office and did not leave the room, eating and sleeping there for months to prevent Thomas from seizing it.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives voted articles of impeachment against Johnson, specifically for his open violation of the law, but more generally for his obstruction of Congress’s plans for Reconstruction. The Senate fell one vote short of conviction, and Johnson remained in the White House. With Grant nominated for president and Johnson on the way out, Stanton gave up the fight and relinquished the office.

Rule Without Consequences

The stakes of the fight over the CFPB directorship are far lower, but the precedents of the Stanton-Thomas affair provide a guideline for how the current quarrel should proceed, both legally and politically.

The Tenure of Office Act of 1867 and the Dodd-Frank Act, which created the CFPB, both aim at the same result: removing the power from the president to control members of his administration. The Tenure of Office Act’s authors were concerned with keeping Johnson from overturning Lincoln’s legacy. Dodd-Frank’s authors had a wider goal in mind: removing politics from government. This fits the general progressive belief that we would be better governed by unelected technocrats than by politicians who must take popular opinion into account.

It is a strange take on a republic, and at odds with the Founding Fathers’ opinions. They knew that the government would contain officers who wished to trample the people’s rights. It has been true of every government, elected or unelected, since mankind emerged from the state of nature. The government of the people, by the people, and for the people acknowledges that the people in question are all flawed. As James Madison famously wrote in Federalist 51:

If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.

Do read it all.

And, in fine, that was much of the point of the Constitution, to throw sand in the gears of the government.  The founders knew, even better than we do, the cry of the American to his government, “Leave me alone!”. After all they fought a war, against the greatest empire of the age for that very reason. But as long as men (and women) seek personal advantage from government (and that is until Christ returns) the vigilance of the citizens will always be required.

Ronnie was absolutely right about the most feared words in the language, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”.

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