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.

Narratives and Terrorism

London police chief Cressida Dick

This is rather bizarre

London Police commissioner says nationalities of eight London Bridge victims tell a proud story of city’s diversity https://t.co/9msx7b7s4Spic.twitter.com/euPEDQknTM

— ABC News (@ABC) June 10, 2017

And yet, they weren’t particularly diverse, they were all from either Europe or the Anglosphere. London is lots more diverse than that. And everybody is aware that London is a world city, indeed it is the oldest of them, going well back into the nineteenth century.

“It’s desperately sad and poignant but among those who died is someone who’s British, there are French, Australian, Canadian, Spanish,” Cressida Dick told The Associated Press in an interview Saturday.

“In terms of our witnesses that we’ve spoken to so far, out of the 300-odd people, there are about 20 different countries of origin. And the London British population comes from all kinds of backgrounds and every kind of faith and ethnicity.”

She said longtime Londoners value this international aspect of the British capital.

“We believe of course that that’s what makes our city so great,” she said. “It’s a place where the vast majority of time it’s incredibly integrated and that diversity gives us strength.”

This is one of those times that what is getting reported is not exactly untrue, but so mundane as to be, “Well, so what?”

What Commissioner Dick did not report on, however, is the diversity of the attackers. Why? I have no idea, maybe because there was none. They like just about every known wolf attack in the last decade or so, were radical Islamists. But it is not PC to say so, so the British authorities won’t. Which has much to do with their inability to stop these attacks. How does one fight something one is afraid to identify. Well, one could establish a proxy.

This is the mayor of London

As always – give me more money. I dislike agreeing with Piers Morgan but he’s right, “What is more important?”

This maybe?

Priorities, don’t you know. Can’t be offending the Muslims, now the Christians that’s an entirely different matter, just ask the DUP.

Tom Blumer has a bit to add:

Sadly, almost no one in the press dares to observe the utter lack of diversity among terrorist attackers. As has almost invariably been the case since 9/11, those who carried out the two most recent UK attacks were Muslims with a jihadist mindset. That combination has proven itself to be the greatest current enemy of genuine diversity and ethnic and cultural camaraderie on earth.

Regarding the Manchester Arena bombing on May 22, which at last count has left 23 victims dead and 119 injured (23 critically), the facts are these:

  • The UK Telegraphreported that“Manchester bomber Salman Abedi took his twisted revenge out of ‘love for Islam’ after being radicalised by (an) Isil (Islamic State) preacher.”
  • 22 others were ultimately detained after the attack, but they were released without charges Sunday morning.
  • On May 24, the BBC described“a triangle of Islamist-jihadist connections between Manchester, Libya and Syria” which also may have influenced Abedi, even if one takes the unlikely view that he acted totally alone without anyone else having the first clue as to what he was up to.

Concerning the June 3 London Bridge attack, which at last count has left 8 victims dead and 48 injured (21 critically):

  • Attackers Khuram Shazad Butt, Rachid Redouane, and Youssef Zaghba first “mounted the pavement at London Bridge and ploughed into pedestrians, knocking them down like skittles.” Then, after leaving the vehicle, they “began attacking passersby,” and “shouted ‘this is for Allah’, as they stabbed indiscriminately.”
  • 19 others have been arrested in connection with the attack, but 12 have already been released without charges.

Instead of uncritically taking dictation from London’s police chief, reporters like the AP’s Katz might consider looking into whether the quick releases of most of those arrested after these two attacks indicate that post-attack police “roundups” really represent a form of street theater designed to make it appear as if officials are accomplishing something when they really aren’t.

Returning to the main theme, there’s not a lot of precious “diversity” among the attackers because those involved never got the memo that there’s nothing wrong with racial and ethnic “diversity” in a society as long as its members buy into that society’s fundamental values.

The reason they never got the memo is that it hasn’t been sent to new arrivals in the UK and many other western nations for years.

To be honest, until we are willing to again send that memo, and enforce it. This is how life is going to be in the West.

 

The hubris of Theresa May

o-THERESA-MAY-facebook.jpg

Politics is a curious business, and foreign politics may be particularly so, but since this is an Anglo-American blog, I thought some reflections from the recent events in the UK might interest Neo’s readers.

The background is that 7 weeks ago the Prime Minister, Theresa May, having a 20 point lead in the opinion polls, decided to call a General Election. She had no need to, with a majority of 17 in the Commons, and another 3 years before law would require one. The media was agreed on only one thing, she would win a crushing victory, perhaps over 100 more seats, and the Labour Party, under the Bernie Sanders sound-alike, Jeremy Corbyn, would be crushed. She asked for a mandate and a majority, she got neither. In normal circumstances such a leader would go, and it seems as though her first instinct was to do just that, but as so often, she let her advisers overrule her. Since then her advisers have ‘resigned’ – it is said before members of the Cabinet insisted on their resignation. Having wanted a strong and stable government, she has given us a weak and wobbly one. In a few days negotiations over Britain’s leaving the EU will start, and we are no closer to knowing what sort of deal she wants. The only thing for certain is she is a weakened and diminished figure whose authority dwindles daily.

The only way she can now secure a majority for crucial legislation is via a deal with Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionist Party from Northern Ireland. As Churchill put it in his memoirs of the Great War, writing about 1922:
“The whole map of Europe has been changed … but as the deluge subsides and the waters fall short we see the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone emerging once again.”

As the English electorate frantically googled ‘DUP”, the shape of modern toleration was apparent. At least one bigot on Twitter compared them to ISIS, and seemed surprised when I did not want to engage; minds that closed and toxic are not places any sensible person would wish to probe. Objections to their opposition to abortion and homosexual marriage are voiced loudly, as though no decent human being could think such things; the notion that no decent person could approve of the killing of babies in the womb does not occur to those quick to judge others.

So where now? Corbyn offered a lot of ‘free stuff’ to the young, and the old, who, naturally, bought it, so to say; after all, if bankers can be bailed out by billions of pounds, why can’t the young and the old? After nearly a decade of ‘austerity’, ordinary people are fed up. They do not feel they caused the crisis of 2008, but they know they have paid for it. The young, especially those who have been to university, are saddled with debts which they do not feel the jobs on offer to them will allow them to pay off; they are the first in this post 1945 generation not to be able to look forward to a better standard of loving than their parents – and they are not in the mood to vote for those who offer them no hope.

The Conservatives took the electorate for granted. Confident to the point of arrogance, they thought that could offer an uncosted manifesto with some unpopular policies, and make up for that by personal attacks on Corbyn. To his credit, he did not respond in kind, and whilst his own manifesto was full of dubious economics, it at least looked as though there was a message of hope there. The electorate have punished the hubris of Theresa May, and one thing is for certain, she will never be allowed to lead her party into another General Election. Can she carry on? Well, as long as there is no obvious successor, she can survive, but the Tory party has always been good at poleaxing failed leaders and finding new ones, so it will not be long, I suspect.

Do not take the electorate for granted or for fools.

Gulliver Awakes

Well, here’s a development made for clichés, isn’t it. “Sorry, Lauren, I guess we won’t have Paris after all.” But to me, it is most reminiscent of the story of Gulliver and the Lilliputians. One sees that the Europeans and the Asians realize that if Uncle Sam really gets back to productive work, it’s unlikely to be good for them, or even for the multi-national corporations they helped create, and so they attempted to create structures that a weak US administration would attempt to saddle the US economy with. Well, there is a problem with a plan that is anti-American enough to garner no support in Congress, and so you have to implement it with subterfuge. That’s what the Paris accord was, of course, the industrialized world kowtowing to China and maybe India, begging to be eaten last.

The problem is, the American people instinctively understood this, and stood up on their hind legs and told Congress “No” in very uncertain terms. Loud enough that their globalist paymasters had to give up, and Obama had to find a way to implement a treaty, without making it a legal treaty. Well, the people understood this ploy, even through the filter of the MSM, as well. And that’s one of the reasons we got Trump.

There are still many things I do not like about Donald Trump, which all here know, but there is one overriding thing about him, which won him my vote. He understands that his job is to protect and promote America and our people, come what may. I can disagree about many things, and some I do, the same was true with Jack Kennedy, Richard Nixon, any Bush at all, and yet I slept OK, with them on duty.

And so, we withdrew yesterday from the Paris Accords, as we never ratified Kyoto, and for the same reason, we have made so much environmental progress here, that these artificial guidelines and penalties are a (very) unfair attack on us. That they are also simply an international version of welfare, as always with much of the loot sticking to the fingers of the administrators) is a secondary, but important factor.

We’ve done cleaning the environment here (until about the last decade) here mostly in the right way, we have found it to increase efficiency, and so it has worked almost voluntarily.

Here’s the President.

Wonder why YouTube lists this as unlisted. Anyone know?

mm

Wonder why YouTube lists this as unlisted. Anyone know? 😉 It starts at about the 1 hour mark, I don’t understand that either. Suppose somebody doesn’t want you to join the half million people that have seen it since yesterday? 🙂

In any case, this is one of those things that may go a long way to “Make America Great Again”.

John Moody, writing on Foxnews.com had a bit of advice for Mutti Merkel as well.

Achtung!

Merkel’s uncalled-for remarks about the United States no longer being a trustworthy partner for its European allies set off a frenzy. Was she so displeased with President Trump during last week’s G-7 meeting? Was their discourse so strident that she thought a verbal warning shot was necessary?

Or is she just trying to keep her job?

Remember, Germany has federal elections scheduled for September, and Merkel, while slightly ahead in most polls, has no sure lock on keeping her party, the Christian Democrats, in the majority. A strong, though receding surge for Socialist Martin Schulz, and a newly energized far-right party, the Alternative for Germany, has squeezed the chancellor, who has been in power since 2005.

But Merkel’s horrible decision to open the gates of Europe to tens of thousands of refugees from the Middle East and Africa turned her own people against her. Only Germany’s robust economy has saved her from humiliation in the last round of local elections – often an indicator of how federal elections will turn out.

Since she invited migrants into her country, and forced her neighbors to do the same, Europe has suffered nearly a dozen major terror attacks, none more horrific than the December 2016 Christmas market truck massacre in Berlin, which killed 12 and left Germany feeling very exposed to lone-wolf Islamic horror.

And who was among the first to decry Merkel’s come-one, come-all policy? Donald Trump. Who spoke up about the lopsided trade deficit the United States has with Germany? Donald Trump. Who lectured European members of NATO – specifically Germany – about not paying its fair share for the continent’s defense. Same answer.

And remember that Europe, excluding the UK, and a couple of small other countries, hasn’t carried their weight in their own defense since (at least) Nixon was President. It gets a bit tiresome, “doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much for so long with so little, that we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.” And, in fact, we are pretty tired of it.

When the United Kingdom opted out of the European Union last June, Merkel took it as a personal affront and has since schemed to make the U.K. pay a heavy price for its willfulness.

You might not like Mr. Trump, Frau Merkel. He is rude and outspoken and typically, in your view, American. But remember: Russia is to your east. Vladimir Putin is not impressed with the paltry defense force Europe could put together, if it did not have the United States behind it.

Verstehen?

Funny thing about those Anglo-Saxon countries, they’ll do a lot of things for you, but they do tend to expect at least a modicum of respect for doing that for you which is your own damned job.

“The Saxon is not like us Normans. His manners are not so polite.
But he never means anything serious till he talks about justice and right.
When he stands like an ox in the furrow – with his sullen set eyes on your own,
And grumbles, ‘This isn’t fair dealing,’ my son, leave the Saxon alone.

“You can horsewhip your Gascony archers, or torture your Picardy spears;
But don’t try that game on the Saxon; you’ll have the whole brood round your ears.
From the richest old Thane in the county to the poorest chained serf in the field,
They’ll be at you and on you like hornets, and, if you are wise, you will yield.

“Appear with your wife and the children at their weddings and funerals and feasts.
Be polite but not friendly to Bishops; be good to all poor parish priests.
Say ‘we,’ ‘us’ and ‘ours’ when you’re talking, instead of ‘you fellows’ and ‘I.’
Don’t ride over seeds; keep your temper; and never you tell ’em a lie!”

Quo Vadis, NATO?

We’ve spent the weekend looking back on the heroics that led to Memorial Day. It is meet and fit that we do so, for in many ways that is where the American character was forged. From the loyalty of immigrants, to the battle heroics, the superb leadership, and the mastery of logistics, the Civil War was our graduation into the ranks of the great powers. From 1865 it has been self-evident that the United States could not be invaded by any other power, it could be defeated tactically, but only at existential risk to the power doing it.

From 1865 it has been self-evident that the United States could not be invaded by any other power, it could be defeated tactically, but only at existential risk to the power doing it. That is the grounding of the American hegemony which has existed since 1945 and it is a different ethos than any that has come before. That is because it has never looked simply to American advantage, but has sought mutual benefit, and in most cases that seeking has been rewarded.

That is the grounding of the American hegemony which has existed since 1945 and it is a different ethos than any that has come before. That is because it has never looked simply to American advantage, but has sought mutual benefit, and in most cases that seeking has been successful.

This has been especially true in Europe, which has been since Roman days subject to intramural wars. That ended in 1945, and it ended due to American leadership.

But that leaves the question: Quo Vadis? Where do we go from here.

Kori Schake wrote recently in The American Interest about this in an article entitled NATO without America. The article makes many good points, quite a few of which are not obvious.

[A] palpable sigh of relief emanated from NATO’s headquarters in Brussels and the capitals of 27 NATO members when Donald Trump finally had a good word to say about history’s most successful and enduring alliance. He did not, of course, go so far as to acknowledge NATO’s genuine achievements: agreeing in 1949 that an attack on any allied state would be considered an attack on all; creating in 1950 a structure of military commands that facilitates operations and creates a common strategic culture among members’ militaries; integrating West Germany as a military power into a cooperative framework in 1954; holding at bay bristling Soviet aggression for 45 years and Russian revanchism since; voluntarily sharing the burdens of a common defense—including nuclear weapons responsibilities; using America as a counterweight to potentially ruinous intra-European competition; reunifying Germany in 1991 without setting off alarms among European countries and Russia; imposing an end to the Balkan wars in 1995 and keeping the still-hostile parties from shooting at each other since; expanding the perimeter of security that encourages prosperity and accountable governance to Eastern and Southern Europe; preventing the Qaddafi regime from carrying out its apparent plan to massacre Libyans in March 2011; fighting for 15 years in Afghanistan; and continually finding ways to adapt a Cold War institution to new security challenges. […]

President Trump is certainly ruder than previous American leaders have been in decrying the shortfalls of our European allies, but the aggravation has long been widespread and is still growing. Americans of all political stripes believe it is long past time for Europe to stop indulging in post-Cold War defense cuts. Every American President of the past thirty years—actually longer, for the plaint goes back to the early years of the Nixon Administration—has dreamt up a NATO initiative to cajole greater defense expenditures out of our European allies. […]

Referring to the invocation (largely at British instigation) of Article 5 after 9/11.

But even if the support of some allies was grudging, they did nonetheless pledge on September 12 that the attack on us was an attack on them, and offer any and all support the Bush Administration wanted in the unnerving aftermath. That Americans were consumed with doing as quickly as possible all that was needed in those unimagined circumstances in no way diminishes the magnitude of commitment evinced by our allies.  […]

But most European governments conduct their national security policies at a much greater distance from their militaries, celebrating their concentration on “soft power” tools in lieu of force. Not only do they privilege those tools, they often consider their policies, and themselves, morally superior for the choice. One need only listen to EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker or read of the European Parliament passing legislation condemning U.S. intelligence agencies to share President Trump’s aggravation with Europe. We sentimentalize the Transatlantic connection at our peril.  […]

In some ways, we have created a ‘welfare state’ with regards to the defense of Western Europe, but it is very hard to see what the alternative was. We have become the ultimate European power, and the ultimate outcome of European culture, for better or worse. For all we wish that the Europeans would do more, well at least Germany isn’t invading Poland this week. We could certainly use better allies, but who, exactly might they be?

The Saudis are often maligned as being as great a threat as al-Qaeda or ISIS. This not only ignores the great changes in Saudi national security policy, especially after the 2005 terrorist attack in Riyadh, but also the important political and social changes enacted under the influence of the Emirates’ successes and a reformist leadership in the Kingdom. America’s partners in the region have gone on a defense-spending spree, driven by concern about Iranian efforts to destabilize Sunni governments and infiltrate Shi‘a ones. Even with those changes, however, impediments to deeper cooperation remain […]

Jordan, in particular, has been heroic in its generosity to Syrian refugees and courageous in its policies toward the Assad government. The United Arab Emirates  leads in the development of serious military forces and in cooperating with U.S. operations, as it did in Libya. Jordan, Egypt, and the UAE have been stalwart in their commitment to the war in Afghanistan and are being cajoled into a common front against ISIS. Even so, the countries of the Middle East pose challenges that European allies do not. […]

[I]t also merits emphasizing that NATO and “Europe” are not the same. Very often when American exasperation boils up at Europeans, it is the European Union we are reacting to. Not only do the EU’s ambitions outpace its achievements, its advocates and officials often seek acclaim in the present for intentions to accomplish things in the future. But while most NATO allies are also in the European Union, they behave differently in each setting because the institutional cultures of the two organizations are markedly different.

American leadership in NATO creates opportunities that we will never have in other venues. The integrated military command (IMC)  in NATO is the way we go to war, because the NATO allies are the countries we most frequently fight alongside, and the long-practiced procedures of the IMC facilitate understanding. Allies show up using equipment compatible with American equipment, talk on radio frequencies already known to American forces, share intelligence across linked systems, and drop bombs that can be shared if one country’s forces run short. […]

[R]ussian aggression is reviving interest in European security, but not diminishing other claims on American attention. Part of the reason why Trump’s criticism of European defense resonates is that challenges in Europe look manageable with the power Europeans could muster on their own. Could Britain, France, Poland, and Germany really not bring enough power to bear to defeat a Russian invasion of a Baltic state? If not, should they not quickly mobilize greater military forces—or more creatively use the nuclear and conventional forces they already have—instead of relying so heavily on American guarantees? Russia is not the peer of any of those countries (with the possible exception of Poland), much less all of them combined.

This plaint misses an important point. In aggregate, Europe’s military assets look formidable, but only the United States can bring them together in an effective fighting ensemble. We are the mainframe, so to speak, and the allies plug into that—whether we are talking about intelligence, logistics, lift, or half a dozen other crucial functions in contemporary warfighting. However well equipped they look on paper, our allies strain to coordinate their assets without us.

In any event, Americans would be wise not to scorn Europeans for clinging to us when they’re worried. Few states have the ability or domestic support to act without benefit of allies or international institutions. The United States does. But allied support matters for our domestic political purposes as well: Americans are more confident that our government is in the right when we win the support of other states that share our values. It matters especially now, when the international order is fraying. The world looks less safe, and the rules less respected, than they did a decade ago.

There is quite a lot more at the link, which you should read and digest. But the point is valid. Without the US at the center, as we have been for 70 years now, Europe has real problems in executing anything especially at any distance from home. It’s easy for us, as Americans, to forget that while we easily switch from considering the Balts to the middle east to Asia, only we, and before us, Great Britain, have ever truly been world-wide powers, able to project force almost anywhere on earth. The other are all regional powers of one sort or another, but they can be and are increasingly worldwide partners, because their militaries are constituted to work within the distinctive American pattern.

That makes them uniquely valuable, and it makes us essential to them, forging a win for all of us.

The British Report

We haven’t followed up with our British friends are doing and saying for a bit. Quite a bit, actually since they have an election coming up next month. If everybody is right, it won’t be exciting, the Conservatives (who aren’t very, in our terms) will roll.

But part of the infection they caught from Europe has to do with free speech, and the left’s (including the BBC)(BIRM) strong drive to stifle it. One of my best friends, Professor John Charmley wrote about it yesterday in Christian Today, here’s some.

An inquisitorial tone is to be expected from the presenters on Radio 4’s Today programme, but on Wednesday May 18 we had that tone of outrage reserved by the BBC for an idea which its presenters consider beyond the pale.

A Liberal Democrat spokesman was confronted with the fact that a decade ago his party leader, Tim Farron, had opposed abortion. Was this, the presenter asked, still the case and would it affect party policy? […]

Under William III, parliament passed a series of Test Acts designed to bar from public life an otherwise qualified man who was not an Anglican. For 150 years Britain was an Anglican confession state, and not until the Catholic Relief Act of 1829 were Roman Catholics permitted to vote in national elections and sit in parliament.

In their original form the Test Acts allowed any non-Anglican who felt able to turn up to take communion a couple of times a year to vote – in other words, anyone who believed what their Catholic faith taught was barred, but those with looser consciences were able to squeeze in.

We now have a modern test Act.

‘Are you now, or have you ever been, in favour of restricting abortion “rights” or have you opposed gay marriage?’ Should you fail to recant, there will be a public roasting. Anyone familiar with Twitter will see the reaction of many progressives to orthodox Christians and it is not pleasant. At the very least, the Christian politician who holds to orthodox teaching on such matters has to be prepared to declare that whatever his or her views, they will have no influence on their conduct in office. […]

Political life is already dominated by a narrow range of people, and the danger of group-think is obvious. The hounding of Tim Farron suggests there are those who wish to apply Test Act mentality to political life. We have recently heard much of the Benedict Option – it sounds as though Farron’s persecutors would like to enforce it. That should be resisted.

John Charmley is an historian and Pro-Vice Chancellor at St Mary’s University, Twickenham.

He’s very correct, and we are starting to see the same BS on our left, It should not be permitted.

On a much lighter note, is there anyone, anywhere who is not fascinated by the Tudors, especially Henry VIII and his daughter Elizabeth? If so, I haven’t met them. And so eminent British historians keep making TV shows about them, and it’s a good thing. I happened to see Suzi’s Tweet the other day, and so watched this episode. Well, it’s hard to go too far wrong when you have Suzi Lipscomb and Dan Jones for presenters, and so it proved here. If you can see it, watch it, and likely it’ll end up here eventually anyway.

gjones #ElizabethI @lilycole @channel5_tv – on now!

And still another one of my friends, Roger Pearse may have solved the mystery of the ages – who first used Abracadabra to make magic.

The first writer to use the phrase “abracadabra” as a magical incantation is, I understand, the (probably) late second century AD medical writer Q. Serenus Sammonicus.  He does so in his two-book medical handbook, the Liber medicinalis, in chapter 51, as a cure for demi-tertian fever, which is perhaps some form of malaria.[1]

Here’s the Latin for chapter 51, from the PHI site:[2]

Hemitritaeo depellendo.

Mortiferum magis est quod Graecis hemitritaeos     51.932 
uulgatur uerbis; hoc nostra dicere lingua  
non potuere ulli, puto, nec uoluere parentes.  
Inscribes chartae quod dicitur abracadabra            935 
saepius et subter repetes, sed detrahe summam  
et magis atque magis desint elementa figuris  
singula, quae semper rapies, et cetera †figes,  
donec in angustum redigatur littera conum:  
his lino nexis collum redimire memento.               940 
Nonnulli memorant adipem prodesse leonis.  
coralium uero si †cocco nectere† uelis  
nec dubites illi ueros miscere smaragdos,  
adsit baca teres niueo pretiosa colore:  
talia languentis conducent uincula collo 945 
letalesque abiget miranda potentia morbos.


 

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