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

We’re Doomed, Doomed I Tell You.

From Philly.com

Seventeen years after the Year 2000 bug came and went, the federal government will finally stop preparing for it.

The Trump administration announced Thursday that it would eliminate dozens of paperwork requirements for federal agencies, including an obscure rule that requires them to continue providing updates on their preparedness for a bug that many feared would afflict computers at the turn of the century.

The Pentagon will also be freed from a requirement that it file a report every time a small business vendor is paid, a task that consumed about 1,200 man-hours every year.

“We’re looking for stuff everyone agrees is a complete waste of time,” Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters at the White House. He likened the move to the government “cleaning out our closets.”

Deregulation is a major ambition of President Trump’s agenda; he has signed more laws rolling back his predecessor’s regulations than the combined total of the three previous presidents since the process was established by the 1999 Congressional Review Act.

Seven of the more than 50 paperwork requirements the White House eliminated on Thursday dealt with the Y2K bug, according to a memo OMB released. Officials at the agency estimate the changes could save tens of thousands of man-hours across the federal government.

Yeah, it’s a silly story, but you know, its something that happens in all organizations. We get in habits, and no matter how irrelevant, we keep on, keepin’ on. Most of the time, it does little to no harm and might build respect for tradition, but in large part, it’s kind of silly. As Doug Powers said.

The people working in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Horse & Buggy Administration are feeling a little nervous about their jobs right now.

In other news, all from Powerline, this time.

But one is far superior

Of Course

 

 

 

Grenfell Tower

So let’s try to unpack this horror a bit, shall we? I happened to watch it almost in real time (on Sky) and I was appalled as it went up. As I said yesterday, it reminded me of the WTC more than anything – essentially all the heroism in the world from the emergency services (and they were, as always) of very little utility, the effects were more like the actions of a particularly malevolent god than anything else.

The best general write up I’ve read as to underlying causes was, not surprisingly on The Conservative Woman. In the immense comment stream, it degenerates a bit into partisan backbiting. Well, what doesn’t these days?

But here’s what I think I know.

  • It’s a high rise (24 stories) with one staircase and two elevators. Not uncommon, there or here, but one must always remember that once you get past roughly 10 floors the fire department is restricted to internal access. 150 feet is about all mobile equipment can reach.
  • Supposedly it was constructed to contain fire, reinforced concrete construction, fire doors and such. Normal stuff, not all that expensive, usually effective. Failed here.
  • A cladding was applied to the building, for appearance and insulation. Some reports say it was not fire resistant. It’s possible it wasn’t, but apply enough heat and almost anything will burn. What appeared to happen here is that fire got behind the cladding and into the insulation. I’ve heard that insulation described as Celotex (may or may not be true), but almost all insulation will either burn or melt, and if it does behind the cladding, it will form a flue (much like a chimney) and heat will rise very quickly feeding the flames. That is what the fire looked like on TV.
  • No sprinklers. May or may not have mattered in the public spaces. Which is all that is usually required. If they had been installed in the apartments may well have contained it, and most also have an automatic alarm, both local and fire department, which would help. Apparently, this building grandfathered the requirement, but best practice would have seen them installed.
  • No (or inaudible) local fire alarm. Inexcusable, in my mind at least.
  • Open windows. England has little air conditioning, and none here, so windows were open, increasing draft for the fire. Well, not really a lot you can do about that.
  • Lots of immigrants in the building. Not a big deal, maybe, but cultural practices do matter. May have been lots of flammable artifacts about, prayer rugs, this, that, and the other. I have also seen immigrants here cooking over open flames (improvised firepits and such) very dangerous in a multi-story building. Don’t know, but might be worth looking at. Also were firedoors kept shut? Canada, for instance, requires that the door to a connected garage have an self-closing mechanism.
  • One that will surprise Americans. There are reports of an exploding refrigerator. That’s something that just doesn’t happen here. Why? Because we use CFCs for refrigerants. If they leak and burn, they can cause phosgene poisoning, but the systems are sealed and pretty much bulletproof. Never, not once, in the last 50 years have I heard of a problem. Europe is different. They use Isobutane, essentially what we call LP gas. Yeah, the same stuff that we use in our barbecue grills, and sometimes stoves and furnaces where natural gas is not available. I won’t have it in my house for any reason, not least because, unlike natural gas, it is heavier than air and will accumulate, and a very small spark (static electricity from a woolen rug, say) can set it off. The other thing is, it’s a small molecule (unlike CFCs) and much harder to seal permanently. LP is every bit as flammable as acetylene that is used for welding, in fact, Oxy-propane is very often used for cutting torches because it burns hotter. Now get a leak in your refrigerator, and a spark in the thermostat, and you have an explosion, and not a small one. Why do they do this? Because the EU has banned CFCs for environmental reasons (we’ve changed our formulations too. The new ones aren’t as effective, but less damaging to the ozone layer).¹

Overall, this was a systemic failure, old Murphy was working overtime. The problems just piled one on the other, and as a result, likely more than a hundred people are dead and died horribly. If I understand the building was council owned (rather like an overpowered city council combined with the zoning board) and managed by a (no doubt connected) non-profit. Strikes me as plenty of room for corruption to sneak in as well, although I have no proof of anything like that. But the one thing we know about bureaucrats is that they can almost never be forced to take responsibility for anything. I doubt anything different than that here.

And yes, the pseudo pious virtue signaling, blame passing, and all those games have already started. Not to mention the wingeing about how we don’t have enough money.

¹ ISOBUTANE

Rep Scalise, and an Attack on the Republic

(Photo: Shawn Thew, European Pressphoto Agency)

[I have some things to say about the Grenfell Tower fire in London, but it won’t be today. So far, I start thinking about it, and I just sit here and cry, not least because of the parallels to the WTC back on 911. The worry over my niece that was working in lower Manhatten that day still haunts me, and the pictures from this disaster bring it all back, terribly strongly. Maybe tomorrow.]

So, let’s talk about something perhaps more evil. The assassination attempt on Steve Scalise and a bunch of other Republican Representatives. Lots of time I don’t agree with any of them, you know that, but they are our elected representatives, and we should assume they are doing what they think is right. That goes for the Democrats as well. We are a representational republic, if you don’t like what they do, vote against them.

The weapon was apparently an AK 47 variant, not that it matters, it could have been anything including a bolt action. Much of the problem was that while I suspect many of these guys have carry permits, who carries a gun at baseball practice?  I don’t, you don’t, I doubt anybody does, but yesterday it would have been a Godsend.

That said, Rep Scalise being there likely saved us from a massacre, as leadership, he is entitled to security. And a couple of very brave Capitol Police officers saved the day. I don’t know whether they took the gunman out or the responding locals did, but they at least bought time for that response.

It’s no easy thing to go up against a rifle with a handgun, but Special Agent David Bailey and Special Agent Crystal Griner are beyond doubting real American heroes. Agent Griner was apparently wounded in the attack and we obviously wish her all the best. Both agents were as well as two others, and we pray for them all.

The perpetrator is dead, which is a good outcome, as Jonathon Turley reported earlier today the penalty for attacking Congressmen with intent to kill, ranges from 25 years to death, as it should. This was not a terrorist attack, at least as we generally perceive them. He was a 60-year-old supporter of Bernie Sanders, and opposed virulently both Trump and Clinton. As usual, he was likely just crazy, not that the current environment doesn’t aggravate that. None of this rebounds to Senator Sander’s fault, it is purely the responsibility of the perpetrator. Sen. Sanders released a statement which said this.

 

Fair enough, you will all remember that Senator Sanders also defended Ann Coulter’s right to speak at Berkeley. I almost never agree with him, but he’s an honest and an honorable man.

We are already, unsurprisingly seeing the attack turned into partisan politics, especially by the press, which seemingly will do and or say anything to get noticed these days. Which of course is why they have become irrelevant in the first place.

But it is time, indeed it is well past time, to cool the rhetoric in this country some. The witchhunt and the defenses against it are becoming much too likely to precipitate violence, and as we saw this morning, that is not in any of our best interest. We don’t need to agree, but we do need to agree to act civilly, if we don’t this will become the precursor of who knows what. I was asked today by a British friend whether we are getting ready to kick off Act 4 of the “Cousin’s Wars”. My answer was that I hoped not, but I feared we are.

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.

 

Mobocracy, Individual Rights, and Government

This new Bill Whittle series is extraordinary. This one, entitled Government may be the best short explanation of why and how America’s government was designed as it is.

The last week has been rather heavy in British constitutional theory and practice, what with the general election and all. It’s not a bad reason to remind ourselves and others why it is so important to limit the size and power of the (especially general) government.

And yes, the Brits actually do know this as well as we do. That’s where we learned it, of course. We here in the United States, when it came our turn to mount the recurrent civil war (English Civil War, American Revolution, and American Civil War) we learned not only from the Stuarts, and their overthrow but from Cromwell and his excesses. And because we started with a clean slate, and toweringly good men, and above them one, George Washington, we were provided with safeguards from almost all dangers, except for we the people ourselves.

My British friends have always been uncomfortable with the emphasis we put on the individual. I understand their concern well, so did Benjamin Rush, who wrote to John Adams, in 1789.

Philadelphia Jany. 22nd. 1789.

My dear friend

Your affectionate and instructing letter of Decemr 2nd. did not reach me ‘till yesterday. I Embrace with my Affections, as well as my judgement that form of Government which you have proved from so many Authorities, to be the only One that can preserve political happiness. It was my attachment to a constitution composed of three branches, that first deprived me of the Confidence of the Whigs of Pennsylvania in the Close of the year 1776. My Observations upon the misery which a single legislature has produced in Pennsylvania, have only served to encrease my Abhorance of that Species of Government. I could as soon embrace the most absurd dogmas in the most Absurd of all the pagan religions, as prostitute my Understanding by approving of our State constitution—It is below a democracy. It is mobocracy—if you will allow me to coin a word. If you will not permit me to compare it to a Wheelbarrow, or a Balloon. I never see our self-ballanced legislature meet, but I feel as if I saw a body of men ascending in One of those air vehicles—without sails or helm.—I have collected materials for a history of the Revolution in Pennsylvania, but despair of being Able to arrange or publish them, while I am so closely confined to the duties of my profession. They contain such an Account the follies & cries of mankind as would tend forever to discredit a single legislature. …

If memory holds, the Pennsylvania government of 1776, was not all that different from that of England, a fairly weak executive, and courts, all subservient to the basically unitary legislature. It was a decided failure. In England at the time, the House of Commons was moderated by both a much stronger House of Lords and crown than they are now.

In many ways, it’s a balancing act, between the executive, the legislative assembly (House of Representatives, now), the States (The Senate as originally constituted), and the courts, not to mention the people.

Mobocracy is always a danger, of course, as we are seeing in our own time, offsetting that is that by guaranteeing the unalienable rights of the individual, we thereby guarantee those of the family, the community, the church, and the constituent state vis a vis the federal government, which then as now is seen as the most likely to degenerate into tyranny, which must be guarded against from all comers, whatsoever. And it also guarantees them in practice from the mob itself.

If you would know why I, and many Americans, supported Brexit, full-throatedly, you will find your answer here. We, as Americans, if we know our history, easily quote from our Founders, to make all these points, on rights and obligations and all the rest. But so can the British, more than any other people in the world. For all of these men, who bequeathed to America whatever share of freedom and liberty we have maintained, every one of them considered himself a free-born Englishman, and a proud one, until that government attempted to remove those rights. Then they became Americans. There is nothing comparable to the Anglo-American concept of responsible liberty on the face of the earth, there is only the autocracy of the elites, and the mobocracy of the serfs.

Only in the Anglosphere, (not so) strangely including Israel, do men walk as free men, with unalienable rights.

 

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