Deep State, Brexit, Trump, and Paranoia

There has been lots of hot air expended about all the nonsense (fake news included) since Donald Trump won the presidency. I put my thinking hat on a while ago and came to my own conclusions. So did R.S. (The Other) McCain. They’re pretty much the same. Here some from his post yesterday.

There was a lot of weird craziness in Andrew McCabe’s 60 Minutes interview, including the hare-brained scheme to secretly record President Trump’s conversations and invoke the 25th Amenidment, but perhaps nothing was more revealing than when the fired FBI official said this:

“I was speaking to the man who had just run for the presidency and just won the election for the presidency. And who might have done so with the aid of the government of Russia, our most formidable adversary on the world stage,” McCabe said of the meeting with President Trump. “And that was something that troubled me greatly.”

This is paranoia. […]

Let’s talk a bit about geopolitical reality: China is an economic rival to the U.S., and has been making military moves in the South China Sea. In any long-term military/diplomatic strategy, protecting America’s allies and interests against Chinese aggression is a major consideration. Meanwhile, the regime in Iran is a destabilizing force in the Islamic world, sponsoring terrorism, threatening Israel, and working to obtain nuclear arms.

Given the seriousness of these geopolitical threats, why would McCabe speak of Russia as the greatest “adversary” to America?

In a word, Brussels.

Yup. That’s what I see as well. We like the British have a bunch of political operatives masquerading as civil servants (two lies for the price of one: they are neither civil nor do they think of themselves as servants, of God, let alone the British and American people).

Stacy gives an excellent thumbnail description of European (including Russian) diplomatic history, mostly since 1914, but the main thrusts go back at least to the Napoleonic era, and likely farther. In fact, they form the lynchpin of the Westphalian system.

That’s all very well, I can understand how Brussels and Moscow got to this point, but what on earth makes any of this of more than cursory interest of the United States, let alone the paramount one. But here is your explanation as to why all these years after the demise of the Soviet Union, NATO still exists and maintains a cordon sanitaire around Russia.

Many Americans have always had an inferiority complex vis a vis Europeans, thinking them cultural icons compared to our bumptious people. They may have a point. So did many Romans view Greece. Regardless, America has the power, Europe is simply struggling to control a pretty small sandbox, and in Brexit, they stand to lose their only world power.

Europe has become a backwater, jerkline continent, of no real account to history. It’s almost a continent-size theme park, although there is little reason to go to Germany, you can find equivalent violence in Chicago or Baltimore. It has become irrelevant.

The real action in the world for the foreseeable future will be in Asia. Against China in the east and against Iran in western Asia. Europe has opted to have no role in either of these, although a free Britain (along with the Commonwealth) will have a large one.

Stacy comments:

This obsession with preserving the European Union explains why the same people who hate Trump also oppose “Brexit,” because a re-assertion of British sovereignty threatens the E.U.-centric mentality of the elite, in quite the same way that Trump’s “America first” approach offends those who want to see the U.S. “lead from behind.” Even though Andrew McCabe was never elected or appointed to any post that would require him to have an opinion on U.S. foreign policy, it is obvious that the former deputy FBI director had absorbed the establishment elite’s worldview, including their paranoid fear of Russian influence.

And there he speaks an obvious, but not well known, truth.

Sir Walter Raliegh had a clear understanding of this when he wrote:

For whosoever commands the sea commands the trade; whosoever commands the trade of the world commands the riches of the world, and consequently the world itself’

Since 1588 the people that have exercised that power have been British and/or American. You’ll remember 1588 as the time that Britain broke Imperial Spain at sea as Spain attempted to conquer the island. We finished the job 300 years later at Manila Bay. Now Europe tries, as they’ve been doing from one direction or another since 1067, hasn’t worked yet, no reason it should now. Even less reason for the line of battle ship of America to follow in the wake of the cock-boat of Europe.

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Endings

Well, you may have heard, AOC, or as we are inclined to call her, Occasional Cortex has with some help from her friends, cost New York City that new Amazon headquarters. I’m not a fan of government subsidies to get big businesses to move in, but it is what it is. via the New York Post:

“For Amazon, the commitment to build a new headquarters requires positive, collaborative relationships with state and local elected officials who will be supportive over the long-term,” the company said.

“While polls show that 70 percent of New Yorkers support our plans and investment, a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City.”

According to the reports I’ve seen, that’s 25, 000 jobs with an average salary of $150,000 per year (Yes, I also think it either insane or obscene, but that’s life). That works out to $3,750,000,000 lost. That’ll leave a mark on tax revenues. And it doesn’t count the other jobs, janitors, food service people, road crews, even ambitious young female bartenders. Nice job, Alexandria.


Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is apparently dead. Science reporter Jacob Margolis told us Wednesday via PJ Media.

“She was bouncing along, doing well, until a massive dust storm engulfed all of Mars in June 2018, knocking out communications with the team on earth,” he explained. The team has not heard from Opportunity since and it is unclear exactly what happened, he said. “The last message they received was basically, ‘My battery is low and it’s getting dark.’ They hoped that the windy season would clear dust off the solar panels (if that was the problem). “

Since then they’ve been pinging her “again and again, every way they knew,” to no avail. “Winter is coming,” said Margolis. “The windy season, which runs from November – January has come to an end, ” which is bad news for the rover because it will be dark and temps could dip to -100 C. The only way she has to keep warm is to move around, so “If components haven’t broken already, the extreme cold will likely serve the final blow…. If the solar panels do start to sip energy from the sun and feed it to the battery, Oppy’s emergency heaters will kick in and it’ll spend that energy warming its little robot heart, which contains its most important components.”

“We have made every reasonable engineering effort to try to recover Opportunity and have determined that the likelihood of receiving a signal is far too low to continue recovery efforts,” said John Callas, manager of the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) project at JPL on Wednesday afternoon.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine officially declared Opportunity dead in a 2 p.m. EST tweet:

Someday mankind will walk on Mars, and some of the credit will go to #Oppy and the brilliant Americans who designed, built, and operated the rover. Bravo Zulu, guys and girls.

And there a lesson there, Oppy was American technology, designed and built by Americans, designed to operate somewhat autonomously in a known hazardous atmosphere for 90 Martian days and travel 1100 yards. Instead:

NASA said in a statement. “In addition to exceeding its life expectancy by 60 times, the rover traveled more than 28 miles (45 kilometers) by the time it reached its most appropriate final resting spot on Mars — Perseverance Valley.”

Margolis shared what was likely Opportunity’s last photograph:

Nobody does it better!

As Dr. Tanya Harrison, one of the rocket scientists at JPL Tweeted:

.

History of St. Valentine

Not St. Valentine, but a reminder of how much we need women (or men), and God, in our lives

FR. WILLIAM SAUNDERS

Who was Saint Valentine and how did he come to inspire Valentine’s Day?

In the early martyrologies, three different St. Valentines are mentioned, all sharing Feb. 14 for a feast day. Unfortunately, the historical record is sparse. The first St. Valentine was a priest and physician in Rome. He along with St. Marius and his family comforted the martyrs during the persecution of Emperor Claudius II, the Goth. Eventually, St. Valentine was also arrested, condemned to death for his faith, beaten with clubs, and finally beheaded on Feb. 14, AD 270. He was buried on the Flaminian Way. Later, Pope Julius I (333-356) built a basilica at the site which preserved St. Valentine’s tomb. Archeological digs in the 1500s and 1800s have found evidence of the tomb of St. Valentine. However, in the thirteenth century, his relics were transferred to the Church of Saint Praxedes near the Basilica of St. Mary Major, where they remain today. Also, a small church was built near the Flaminian Gate of Rome which is now known as the Porta del Popolo but was called in the 12th century “the Gate of St. Valentine,” as noted by the early British historian William Somerset (also known as William of Malmesbury, d. 1143), who ranks after St. Bede in authority.

The second St. Valentine was the Bishop of Interamna (now Terni, located about 60 miles from Rome). Under the orders of Prefect Placidus, he too was arrested, scourged, and decapitated, again suffering persecution during the time of Emperor Claudius II.

The third St. Valentine suffered martyrdom in Africa with several companions. However, nothing further is known about this saint. In all, these men, each named St. Valentine, showed heroic love for the Lord and His Church.

The popular customs of showing love and affection on St. Valentine’s Day is almost a coincidence with the feast day of the saint: During the Medieval Age, a common belief in England and France was that birds began to pair on Feb.14, “half-way through the second month of the year.” Chaucer wrote in his “Parliament of Foules” (in Old English): “For this was on Seynt Valentyne’s day, When every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.” For this reason, the day was dedicated to “lovers” and prompted the sending of letters, gifts, or other signs of affection.

Continue reading History of St. Valentine. It’s an interesting story.

And that’s the story, as I’ve always known. That part of this post was originally published in 2013, and while there was more of it, it’s not overly relevant now. The day before I received one of those dreaded phone calls. My oldest sister died that day, and the rest of the post was me explaining why Jessica, my fairly new co-blogger at the time, would be taking over for a few days. And she did her usual superb job. I go back sometimes and read her posts, I did yesterday, and it never fails to amaze me how she could say so much in about 500 words, I’m almost always at 7-800 and not as clear as she was. Oh well. Things always change, and we carry on.

In any case, I read an article yesterday about how Charles Wesley, who along with his brother John, founded Methodism, found that loving his wife increased his love of God, and vice versa as well. I wonder if that isn’t true for many of those we admire so much, being both some of the best Christians we know and having those amazing long and seemingly really good marriages as well.

The “Lesser” Wesley

Accounts of the great evangelical revival of the 18th century often neglect the life and thought of Charles Wesley (1707–1788). He wrote well over 7,000 hymns, but his older brother John has almost always been honored as the greater of the two men. Even as a child, Charles tended to be sickly, and illness plagued him for much of his life.

Yet Charles was raised in the same home as his brother John, listening to their father, Samuel Wesley Sr., preach in the Epworth church in Lincolnshire, England. Charles, likewise, learned under the tutelage of their assiduous mother, Susanna, who guided the children in their earliest years and taught them the basics of Christian belief and practice.

At Oxford, Charles was initially rather indifferent to matters of faith. After a year of study, however, he recognized the need to set new patterns. Charles began to take the religious life more seriously, celebrated the Lord’s Supper weekly, and convinced a few of his friends to accompany him in the process.

Do read this one as well, it’ll make you smile (or at least it did me!) and help you to recognize the really important things in life. When I first wrote this, I said, “I was going to continue this with some thoughts on how we celebrate the day now. You know, all the money we spend and how every girl needs a dozen roses or a 4½ foot tall teddy bear and such.”

It’s true, that outward swag doesn’t really mean much, except perhaps to remind her you didn’t forget and that’s important. But what is really important is to love and respect each other. That I think is the key to loving each other, and maybe to loving God as well. At least that’s my 2¢ worth. I’m probably overcharging you though. I think I’m maybe a decent Christian, but I’m sitting here alone, having been divorced for over 20 years, so do as I say, not as I did.

Sunday Funnies: State of the Union

Well, this has been quite the week, upside down inside out every which way. Let’s have a look.

Grantham, Lincolnshire, England has agreed to have a statue of their favorite daughter, Baroness Margaret Thatcher. Good for them, although given that they are from the Labour party, they may be a bit halfhearted. But many, many people from Russia to America know better than they do.

As opposed to

I hear this time and again in talking with Britons.

 

And, of course

Mostly, but not all, from PowerLine (including comments) this week.

Venezuela, Corbyn, and Brexit

Dan Hannan, MEP for SE England, on Venezuela, via Conservative Home. Good Stuff.

To grasp the full extent of Venezuela’s tragedy, consider just one statistic. In 1959, GDP per head in Venezuela was 10 per cent higher than in the United States. That’s right. Venezuela wasn’t just the richest country in Latin America; it was one of the richest countries on the planet.

When I was growing up in Peru in the 1970s, Venezuela was the place people aspired to emigrate to. Not just from South America, either. People came in their tens of thousands from southern Europe in search of a better life.

One man, even during those plentiful years, fretted about the future. Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo, a former Venezuelan energy minister and a founder of OPEC, pronounced what now looks like a spookily apt prophecy in 1976: “Ten years from now, 20 years from now, you will see, oil will ruin us.”

In the event, he was out by 20 years: the ruin came in the 2000s. And for once the word “ruin” is literally accurate. Inflation in Venezuela is running at ten million per cent. There are verified deaths from malnutrition. Far from importing immigrants, the country has lost three million people since Hugo Chávez’s Bolivarian revolution, the worst refugee crisis in the history of the Western hemisphere.

What caused a collapse on this scale? Was it the “resources curse”, the name economists give to Pérez Alfonzo’s theory that unearned wealth wrecks an economy? Was it, as Corbynistas are now claiming, external sabotage? Or was it something else?

It is certainly true that oil can have a devastating effect on a country’s political system. Think of Iraq, Iran, Nigeria or Russia. Politics becomes a scramble for what Pérez Alfonzo called “the devil’s excrement”. To be more precise, the politicians who can place themselves between oil reserves and oil companies can make such vast fortunes that they can buy elections with their loose change.

But the “resources curse” is not inevitable. It did not destroy democracy in, say, Norway or Alberta. Several Gulf states – perhaps because they are aware of Pérez Alfonzo’s gloomy thesis – are now careful to place some of their oil bonanzas in sovereign wealth funds, aimed at diversifying their economies.

In the case of Venezuela, the spike in the cost of a barrel of oil during the early Chávez years had the effect of temporarily masking the worst effects of his policies. “There are no good or bad presidents,” Venezuelans say, “only presidents when the oil price is high, and when it’s low”. Chávez, needless to say, did not use his oil bonus to diversify the economy or build up reserves. He used it to cover the massive costs caused by his imposition of price controls, nationalisation and exchange controls. Anything he had left over went to backing Leftist insurgents elsewhere in Latin America. It was during those early years that the international Left (not only Momentum types) lectured the rest of us about how the rest of us ought to copy the Venezuelan example.

When the oil boom ended, the calamity of the command economy caught up with Venezuela. Like every other socialist strongman in human history, Chávez had made people poorer. Much poorer. Stories of hunger and emigration spread, opposition groups were harassed or closed down, but overseas Leftists still wanted to support the regime. So they began to claim that US sanctions were to blame. In fact, the only US sanctions in place before August 2017 were asset freezes and travel bans aimed at a handful of Chavista politicians and their cronies. (Many of the children of Venezuela’s socialist élite have scandalised their countrymen with their conspicuous consumption at luxury resorts around the world, and Chávez’s daughter is said to be worth four billion dollars.) There is no way that such personalised micro-sanctions could conceivably have harmed the Venezuelan economy as a whole. Even after 2017, eight years into the economic crisis, the sanctions were extended only to a ban on buying government bonds or bonds in state-owned enterprises.

He goes on to show how Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party still worship at Maduro’s feet, it’s both true and sad. It’s also one reason that Teresa May remains Prime Minister, very few people can stomach the thought of Corbyn as PM, nor does anyone appear willing to take on May in the Tories. In short, they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Sad, not least because it functions as a spanner in the gears to properly negotiating Brexit as well. Yes, I know not everything is Brexit, and yet Brexit is so fundamental, to Britain moving forward, that almost everything is.

Slaughtering the Innocents

Matthew writes:

Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

We call this The Slaughter of the Innocents, and those Innocents are the first Saints of our church. That is as it should be. But we in the United States, have butchered over 61 million children even younger than that since 1973. We will kill another 840 today. That is the entire population of the town I grew up in – every day.

Why? The excuses are legion, and few of them amount to anything more than a woman’s convenience. That seems to be enough reason to butcher a child using methods that would cause a packing house to be shut down in horror.

But even this isn’t enough, the left thinks a woman should be able to kill her baby even after it is born, or as it is being born, that is what the new New York law allows, as does the one the Virginia Senate defeated last week. Virginia’s governor proudly proclaimed that it would allow the killing of an infant after it was born.

Georgi Boorman writing in The Federalist reminds us. I quote little of it, read it all, it’s exceptionally well done.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who just made deeply troubling comments on abortion, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who just signed the country’s most radical abortion law, have been the subject of intense ire in recent days. The outrage is coming not just coming from “radical” pro-lifers, but people from across the political spectrum.

Why? Because virtually no one but the far left believes it is morally acceptable to allow infants to be murdered seconds before birth, or to be left to die after delivery at the behest of the mother.

Yet the nation has been shocked by radical left’s boldness in their mission to define preborn human beings as disposable non-persons. Where is this evil coming from, and how do we stop it?

The Slaughter of the Young and the Elderly

Abortion and infanticide have historically been common practices. In the first century AD, infanticide was a common and culturally accepted practice across the world. The murder of infants was a regular occurrence in Europe into the Middle Ages and beyond, despite being condemned by both church and state.

The practice was not confined to the desperate, illiterate, impoverished masses, as if “enlightened” thinkers knew better. The Twelve Tables of Roman Law, admired by Cicero, contains the command that, “A dreadfully deformed child shall be quickly killed.”

Likewise, the wealthy first century Roman philosopher Seneca once wrote, “We doom scabby sheep to the knife, lest they should infect our flocks. We destroy monstrous births, and we also drown our children if they are born weakly or unnaturally formed; to separate what is useless from what is sound is an act, not of anger, but of reason.” This from a Stoic, who supposedly believed virtue to be the highest good. Notably, Seneca was Nero’s tutor.

Infanticide was an acknowledged option for any child who was deformed, sickly, of uncertain paternity, the wrong sex, or simply unnecessary to the household. Aristotle, revered by many a university professor, wrote that, “As to exposing or rearing the children born, let there be a law that no deformed child shall be reared,” and “if any people have a child as a result of intercourse in contravention of these regulations, abortion must be practiced on it before it has developed sensation and life.”

The Aztecs, Mayans, and Incans all practiced child sacrifice to appease their gods. The Chimú civilization, located in what is now Peru, sacrificed more than 140 children at one time some 550 years ago. The children’s chests were slashed open, presumably to remove their hearts.

The citizens of the powerful ancient city Carthage in Phoenicia ritually sacrificed their infants. Archaeologists believe the preferred age of sacrificial infants was less than three months old. According to the writing of early AD Greek biographer Plutarch, “But with full knowledge and understanding [the Carthaginians] offered up their own children, and those who had no children would buy little ones from poor people and cut their throats as if they were so many lambs or young birds.”

The residents of the broader region of Canaan (late second millennium B.C.) were condemned numerous times by the ancient prophets of Israel for their child sacrifice. The prophet Jeremiah, in his judgment against apostate Israel, foretold that the valley of Hinnom, where the Israelites were sacrificing children to Baal, would be called “the valley of Slaughter” (Jeremiah 19:5-6).

Evidence for both ritualistic and utilitarian murder can be gathered from around the globe. In times of famine, the Inuit would abandon the elderly (both with and without consent) or dispense of them by quicker means. The Bactrians of ancient Persia were reported to have fed their sick and elderly to dogs trained especially for this purpose. Nearby cultures were supposed to have had similar senicidal customs. Among the Massagetae, Herodotus wrote that, “Human life does not come to its natural close with this people,” but that the people sacrificed their elderly, boiled their flesh, and ate it.

Not every single community on earth had such evil practices, but the embrace of death as the first solution to a family or tribe’s problems has been wickedly banal, historically speaking.

This ended as Christianity spread its influence until most of us are horrified reading such accounts, but as Christianity starts to recede these practices come back. Infanticide (including what we euphemize as abortion) leads the way, but killing the elderly and infirm lurks not far behind. In fact, they too have made their appearance, especially in government-run healthcare, such as the British NHS.

 Tertullian, an early church father, wrote in “Apologia”: “In our case, murder being once for all forbidden, we may not destroy even the foetus in the womb…To hinder a birth is merely a speedier man-killing; nor does it matter whether you take away a life that is born, or destroy one that is coming to the birth. That is a man which is going to be one; you have the fruit already in the seed.”

Somehow it’s always those who think they are our betters, like the Democrats (and a fair number of Republicans as well, although fewer than they used to be). It seems to be a mark of the elites, to murder those they deem less exalted. Like Herod, and like Governor Northam. I see no difference between them.

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