Starting the Week with the Monday Round-Up

Well, nothing really here that surprises me, I had long wondered about that. From Order-Order.com.

Yesterday human tea bags protested outside Sainsbury’s AGM over the supermarket’s decision to replace “Fairtrade tea”. […]

The truth is that just 23.3% of the £11,350,000 of revenue captured by the Fairtrade Foundation – mainly from supermarkets paying for their endorsement – actually goes to producers. More money, over 35%, is spent on “education and awareness”. Which means the Jolyons and Taras spend more money on themselves ‘campaigning’ than they give to the actual farmers who produce the products. It is a scandalous rip-off.

Sainsbury’s are withdrawing from the scheme because they intend to give more money to third-world producers than the Fairtrade Foundation currently gives them…

Can’t be taking bread out of rich westerner’s mouths and giving it to poor third world farmers now, can we? Why we might have to earn an honest living some day.


Illinois just decided to continue committing suicide, by raising taxes still another $5 billion dollars on their vanishing productive class. Why vanishing? Because they are moving increasingly quickly to Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, Iowa, and Wisconsin. It’s a feature of the Federal system. Usually, we call it voting with our feet. From Conservative Intel.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Police continue to be persecuted (and their pension money stolen by Chicago politicians, so the continue to ‘Stay fetal’. As would any sane man or woman.


Bill Gates did something remarkable the other day, he showed a bit of common sense. From The Resurgent.

In a starling repudiation of the New World Order, Microsoft founder and renowned philanthropist Bill Gates told a German newspaper that the European Union’s rather permissive policies toward migrants might have a significant downside:

“On the one hand you want to demonstrate generosity and take in refugees, but the more generous you are, the more word gets around about this, which in turn motivates more people to leave Africa.

“[Germany cannot] take in the huge, massive number of people who are wanting to make their way to Europe.”

He said instead the EU must make it “more difficult for Africans to reach the continent via the current transit routes” while also relieving “enormous pressure” by sending foreign aid.

Progress, of a sort.


Catholic Culture tells us The Netherlands is murdering its own people.

New statistics on the use of physician-assisted suicide in the Netherlands show that hundreds of patients were given lethal drugs without a request from the patients.

The figures for 2015—the most recent statistics available—show 431 cases in which the patient’s life was ended without an explicit request.

Shocking, but not surprising.


We are reminded that Freedom of the Seas is one of the paramount objectives of the United States Navy, as it was of the Royal Navy before it. That mission continues.

“China resolutely opposes individual countries using the banner of freedom of navigation and overflight to flaunt military force and harm China’s sovereignty and security,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Friday.

The statement came after the US Air Force confirmed earlier on Friday that two B-1B Lancer bombers from Guam had flown over the disputed waterway.

Prior to the flyover, the Lancers conducted exercises with Japan in the East China Sea, representing the first time the two forces had conducted joint night-time drills.

Virtually all of the South China Sea is claimed by Beijing, despite conflicting claims from Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Taiwan.

The US has been exercising freedom of navigation over the sea in recent weeks, with two Lancers from Guam flying over the waterway last month. A US warship also carried out a maneuvering drill within a short range – reportedly just 12 nautical miles – of one of China’s artificial South China Sea islands in late May.

Just a reminder, this has been going on for years, and a goodly part of why China can not be trusted.

Sunday Pictures and a Bonus Video

Another week to sum up. Dana Loesch brings it – the truth, that is.

Meanwhile, the usual (paid) suspects are rioting in Hamburg at the G20, their old buddy Mayor deBlasio is junketing over there leading them while, as always shirking his duties. The NY Post has had enough.

I think we all can sympathise. A few more from there,  from PowerLine.

 

I’m beginning to think a whiff of grapeshot might well be in order. But I’m old fashioned like that.

Wrapping up the week, from PowerLine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heh!

Headlines of the Week

 

 

 

And, of course,

 

Happy Sunday!

Continuing the Mission

One year ago today, the day of the Brexit election, my post started with a quote from Thomas Paine, this one

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. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but “to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER” and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.

It was true in the winter of 1776, and it was true last year, and it is still true. But the British, being the steadfast friends of freedom they have always been voted to leave the EU regardless. They’ve had a tough year. They will stay the course, I think. We’ll talk about that later, but just for comparison what happened in the year after we Americans declared independence? A quick overview from BritishBattles. com.

  • Battle of Long Island:The disastrous defeat of the Americans on 27th August 1776 leading to the loss of New York and the retreat to the Delaware River.
  • Battle of Harlem Heights:The skirmish on 16th September 1776 in northern New York island that restored the confidence of the American troops.
  • Battle of White Plains:The battle on 28th October 1776, leading to the American withdrawal to the Delaware River and the capture of Fort Washington by the British.
  • Battle of Fort Washington:The battle on 16th November 1776 that saw the American army forced off Manhattan Island and compelled to retreat to the Delaware River.
  • Battle of Trenton:George Washington’s iconic victory on 26th December 1776 over Colonel Rahl’s Hessian troops after crossing the frozen Delaware River; the battle that re-invigorated the American Revolution.
  • Battle of Princeton:The sequel on 3rd January 1777 to the successful Battle of Trenton: the two battles began the resurgence of the fortunes of the American Colonists in the Revolutionary War.
  • Battle of Ticonderoga 1777:The humiliating American abandonment of Fort Ticonderoga on 6th July 1777 to General Burgoyne’s British army.
  • Battle of Hubbardton:The hard-fought battle on 7th July 1777 in the forest south-east of Fort Ticonderoga.

The next winter will see the naked Continental Army starving at Valley Forge. We didn’t win our independence until 1783. I think the cousins will have a somewhat easier time, but their perils are also different. But amongst other things, they have us. As they started this trend, we picked it up last fall, not a little encouraged ourselves by Brexit.

Dan Hannan recapped the status the other day for us.

An unexpected defeat is always unsettling. I suspect many ConservativeHome readers were disoriented when two in five people voted for Jeremy Corbyn. We wondered how we had so misunderstood our own country; and that was following a vote that we had won.

In the days following the referendum, three false assertions became widespread. First, that Leave had won dishonestly. Second, that the country had become more racist. Third, that the 52 per cent had wrecked the economy.

The “liars” complaint is levelled the losers of every vote. Political campaigners are not trying to behave like neutral academics: they are trying to win. Both sides make good and bad arguments; both sides get to rebut each other’s claims.

Remain told us that a Leave vote would trigger a recession in 2016, cost every family more than £4000, cause Scotland to leave the UK and transplant the Calais refugee camp to Kent. In fact, Britain boomed after the vote, support for Scottish separatism plummeted and the Calais jungle was dismantled. […]

What of the idea that the referendum somehow unleashed xenophobia? The notion that the Leave vote had been “all about immigration” was endlessly repeated in Remain circles and on the BBC. In fact, every opinion poll showed that sovereignty had been the main motivator. Lord Ashcroft, for example, carried out a massive survey on the day, interviewing more than 12,000 people, and found that democratic control was by miles the biggest issue for Leavers (49 per cent of them named it as their main reason for backing Brexit), with immigration a distant second (which was cited by 33 per cent). But opinion polls, for many Remainers, were no match for anecdotes: “Well, one Leaver I spoke to said…” […]

Saddest of all, though, was the determination to believe that Britain would become poorer. To be fair, several experts thought there would be an instant crash. A week after the poll, 71 per cent of City economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected a recession in 2016; in fact, Britain grew faster in the six months after the vote than in the six months before it. Another survey, by Reuters, found that the consensus among economists was that unemployment would rise by 9,000 a month in the second half of last year; in fact, it fell by almost exactly that amount.

Well, almost none of that happened. In fact, Britain is booming.

From Euro-Guido:

UK manufacturers’ order books are at their highest level since August 1988. A CBI survey of 464 firms found a “broad-based improvement” in 13 out of 17 manufacturing sub-sectors, with food, drink and tobacco and chemicals leading the British-made boom. Meanwhile, export orders rocketed to a 22-year high. CBI Chief Economist Rain Newton-Smith said:

“Britain’s manufacturers are continuing to see demand for “Made in Britain” goods rise with the temperature. Total and export order books are at highs not seen for decades, and output growth remains robust.”

Outstanding!

Britain’s got some serious problems, many of them caused by uncontrolled immigration, and by a Conservative Party which seems to have lost its mooring in history. Not to mention a press that is at least as biased as the American one. So it ain’t all beer and skittles. But remember what Paine wrote, and hopefully they will get themselves back on track one way or another. Along that line, I was thinking the other day that Tom Jefferson and George Washington were miles prouder to be British (until arbitrary government forced them out) than Jeremy Corbyn ever dreamed of being. Sad for a prominent politician to owe his allegiance to something outside his country, mostly for his own aggrandizement. Right General Arnold? Was Peggy Shippen worth it?

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more

Amazon – Whole Foods

So Amazon has agreed to buy Whole Foods. It’s an interesting agreement. Amazon is for the early 21st century rather what Sears and/or Montgomery Ward was to the old west. The purveyor of everything that you can’t find in the old general store. If you remember the old ‘wish book’ (the Christmas catalog) you’ll know what I mean. Man, when I was a kid, there were things in that catalog that I never knew they made, and that was the toy section! 🙂

You and I know that Amazon is like that too. They got stuff there that I never dreamed of, and it may be the best bookstore short of robbing the British Library. Yes, my friends who write books are not fond of them, but for me, sitting out here on the prairie, they are a boon.

Strangely enough, even in food. A few months ago my local grocery store was bought. That saddened me, I’ve liked it for years, pretty good quality and not bad pricing. A dream for a small town. Anyway, since the new owner took over the quality is reducing (in fact, a couple weeks ago, I had one of the worst steaks I ever had, from there for $10/pound. Not worth it was an understatement. Canned goods are another example, established, OK quality brands gone, replaced by cheap stuff, at high prices.

Anyway, there is a Wal-Mart about 15 miles away, that can solve the canned goods, without too much hassle, but I don’t much care for their meat. Well, as always planning helps. 60 miles away are other stores, good ones. There are also the friends of mine that raise cattle, a quarter or half of a cow custom-packed is always an option. And there is Amazon.

Funny thing is that for what I pay for a steak here, if I watch the sales I can buy from Omaha Steaks, either their website or Amazon. Yeah, surprised the dickens out of me too. Not on Amazon but there is a site I stumbled across where I can get English bacon for the same money I pay for (not very good, too much fat) American bacon.

Stuff, I haven’t seen in years, like B&M Beans (and Boston brown bread). Didn’t know they were still made. In my cart, hope they’re as good as I remember. Branson Pickle from the UK, same with Mincemeat tarts, hardly buyable in the US anymore. In some ways, I’m spending the same to a bit more money, but buying much higher quality.

Prices are basically from 15% below what I pay here to 20% or so higher, and the UPS guy puts them on my front porch. Doesn’t get much more convenient than that.

So, how does Whole Foods fit into that? Well, we’ve all heard the jokes about Whole Paycheck stores. My closest one is about 300 miles, so I’ve never been. Who knows? Kristin Wong has some thoughts.

It’s too soon to say what Amazon officially plans to do with Whole Foods, but rumors have been circling and experts have a few predictions. For one, it’s likely that Whole Foods will actually drop its notoriously high prices. Believe it or not, Whole Foods has already been testing price reductions on certain products due to competition from Walmart and Trader Joe’s. This could be good news even if you don’t shop at Whole Foods. Analysts say other grocery stores will probably lower their prices and improve their loyalty programs to keep up with the acquisition. CNBC reported:

“This transaction is going to change the landscape of how you buy food,” Mickey Chadha, Moody’s vice president and senior credit officer who covers Whole Foods, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday morning. He expects Amazon to put pressure on grocery stores to lower prices.

They add that the merger is probably even better news for Amazon Prime and Fresh customers, who usually get Amazon’s best deals. Moneyish reported:

“Coincidentally, Whole Foods is slated to roll out a loyalty program of its own later this year and those enrolled will likely get direct discounts on select products. “They will push pretty heavily to integrate Whole Foods with Amazon, I’m sure there’ll be Prime rewards for shopping at Whole Foods,” Barnett says.”

Guess we’ll see. Given a rational price structure, it might be a godsend for people like me. Several Whole Foods are well within overnight delivery range. And if there is one thing Amazon (especially Prime) is good at, it’s delivery logistics.

Interesting world, ain’t it?

The Yanks Are Coming, Again

John Hinderaker over at Powerline caught something that I should have. It happens. He quotes the Science and Environmental Policy Project’s The Week That Was:

Mr Hilton discusses the highly successful UK petrochemical firm Ineos. The firm may invest €2 billion (£1.76 billion) expanding its European petrochemicals capacity, possibly in Belgium. But location is only part of the issue. As Mr. Hilton states:

Once you have built a major chemical complex, your main (in many ways, your only) worry is the cost of the raw material you need to feed into it. This can account for half or more of total production costs, and is similarly crucial for other energy ­intensive industries such as refining, iron and steel, glass, cement and paper.

Until a few years ago Europe and America paid more or less the same amount for their petrochemical feedstock — the US had a slight advantage but not so great after transport and other costs had been factored in. (Middle East plants, sited right by the oilfields, did have such a price advantage but lacked scale.)

This is no longer the case thanks to the fundamental changes across the Atlantic. The Marcellus field, which spreads over several states and is just one of many in the US, produces 15 billion cubic feet of gas a day which is almost twice the UK’s entire consumption. But the result is that US prices have disconnected from the rest of the world and the subsequent feedstock prices have given American chemical plants so vast a price advantage that, on paper at least, there’s no way Europe can compete. It is staring down the barrel of bankruptcy, not now, but in a few short years, unless it can find some way to get its raw ­material costs down to American levels.

Thus far, the effect has been muted — and the European industry has had a little time — because the US petrochemical industry was originally not built for indigenous US gas and oil supplies but instead located near ports and configured to process supplies of oil from the Middle East.

But this is changing fast. There has been virtually no big petrochemical investment in Europe in the past decade whereas in the US since 2010 some $85 billion of petrochemicals projects have been completed or are under construction. Spending on chemical capacity to 2022 will exceed $124 billion, according to the American Chemistry Council, creating 485,000 jobs during construction and more than 500,000 permanent jobs, adding between $80 billion and $120 billion in economic output. After years where chemical capacity has run neck and neck with Europe, the American industry is about to dwarf it.

Makes all the sense in the world, when one thinks about it. And it’s true all through the energy sector. When I started this blog, we, in America, were paying about $5/gallon for gasoline (mostly slightly less) while Britain was paying about £4/Liter, if I recall. The BBC says they are now paying £1.19/Liter while we are paying ~$2/Gallon. But there are almost 4 liters in a gallon, and while I don’t remember what the pound was worth 6 years ago, I suspect it was considerably more than $1.28. And while we’re OK on Gasoline, we’re pretty much awash in Natural Gas, to the point that we are using it to replace coal in electrical generation, because it burns cleaner, while exporting coal to China.

So often I say here that America was built on abundant (and increasingly cheap) energy. I don’t usually document it because it seems pretty obvious to me, but it really is. Think about why such companies as Amazon, which are really little other than overgrown mercantile houses (in itself a concept we pioneered a hundred and fifty years ago with such firms as Sears, Roebuck, and Co.) both started and prospered so mightily here.

This will, I think become obvious quicker in chemical plants (do remember that the fertilizer we use on crops, another field that the US/Canada dominate, are products of chemical plants). Fracking is going a long way towards making America competitive with anybody in the world, again. And if you combine that with the traditional American propensity for innovation, well, the limits of our return become hard to discern.

White Horse, Paris, and Death Worship

Well, guys, we made it to another Saturday. It was quite a week wasn’t it? Another really great speech from the President, which led to the greatest display of cognitive dissonance in history – thinking at one and the same time that our withdrawal from the Paris Accord will be the end of the world, and at the very same time thinking that it doesn’t really matter, since it wasn’t binding. Well, it always matters what the United States signs off on, and there is still a bunch of us that insist the United States of America is a sovereign country and will so remain. Seem like Donald Trump agrees with us.

Then there was the abortive Kathy Griffin publicity stunt, that backfired so badly that Chelsea Clinton and Keith Olberman both objected to her leftist stunt, well she screwed up. In truth, I feel a bit sorry for her, I can remember when she was mildly amusing (so mildly that I can’t remember what TV show she was on). She’s a D-list comedienne because she used to be rather cute, and with F-level talent. Well, few have underestimated the level of American entertainment.

But she’s unimportant, worshipping death has never been an American pastime. We tend to focus on the future, intensely, and find ways to go there, life is our thing. I can also remember a saying that I heard from a US Marine

It’s God’s job to judge the terrorists…

It’s our mission to arrange the meeting!

That works pretty well for me, for a whole lot of the nonsense we are dealing with now.


In other news, whoever these death worshippers of Anti-fa or whatever group of losers are, they have apparently run out of Confederates in Texas, or something. They’ve decided that a statue of Sam Houston, the first President of Texas must go.

Well, good luck with that, Texans, even more than most Americans are rather proud of their heritage, as they should be, and have a reputation of reacting rather strongly to people messing with it. Been that way since Col. Travis drew that line in the sand with his saber, I doubt it’s changed.

GK Chesterton wrote in Orthodoxy, in 1908 that

“Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.”

He’s right of course, and the foundation of that is that all we have, we have built on the shoulders of our forebearers. He also wrote

” The theory of a complete change of standards in human history does not merely deprive us of the pleasure of honouring our fathers; it deprives us even of the more modern and aristocratic pleasure of despising them.”

 

But we go on. Trusting God and in ourselves as God gives it to us to see us. Not Gott mit uns, but We are on the Lord’s side -we hope. And if you can’t see the difference, you need some education.

When things are dark, or streaky, like now, a couple of verses of Chesterton’s Ballad of the White Horse, introduced to me by my dearest friend run through my mind. I love the whole poem, but it is much too long to post here. They are these.

I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher

The lines are repeated in a different context toward the end as Alfred gathers the Saxons for what will prove the last and successful battle

“And this is the word of Mary,
The word of the world’s desire
`No more of comfort shall ye get,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.’ 

Now it proves the flint against which the iron of resolve is sharpened, and the Saxons rally and they win, even though all had seemed lost.

Let’s finish with a couple of verses that reminds us of the outcome.

And this was the might of Alfred,
At the ending of the way;
That of such smiters, wise or wild,
He was least distant from the child,
Piling the stones all day.

Alfred has faith and he had patience, and he had resilience; he lacked the capacity to despair. In short, he possessed all the Christian virtues. He listened to Our Lady and he understood her advice, and so, at the height of the battle:

The King looked up, and what he saw
Was a great light like death,
For Our Lady stood on the standards rent,
As lonely and as innocent
As when between white walls she went
And the lilies of Nazareth.

 

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