Other stuff, mostly in Britain

Well, I’ve nothing much prepared for today, so let’s get a bit more bashing of Britain out of our blood, shall we. Then perhaps we can move on. I’m quite pleased, by the way, that yesterday’s article drawing on Solzhenitsyn was our most read post in over a month, and I think the most read ever, in the UK. Still lot’s of good and decent folks there, just not in authority. Let’s start with why the mayor of Londonistan thinks Trump should not visit

There some good stuff in that, as for visiting London, well I tend at this point (admittedly still in pretty hot blood) think instead of visiting England, Trump should appoint a commission to look into the lack of civil rights in the country.

Peter Hitchens is not right yet about emigrating, but the trend is not favorable, and I would seriously consider it if I planned on having kids. Who wants to watch the government starve your sick kid to death.

The Council of Ealing (it’s in west London, BTW) has passed an ordinance prohibiting prayer vigils within a hundred meters (328 ft, for normal people) of a human abattoir abortion provider. There is no record at all of the people, mostly Catholics, interfering at all with those going to and from the so-called clinic. From the Catholic Herald.

They accused Ealing Council of violating basic rights to free speech, prayer, and free assembly

A group of mothers has lodged a High Court challenge against a so-called “buffer zone” outside an abortion clinic today.

Alina Dulgheriu, a mother who was helped by a pro-life vigil, filed the challenge to Ealing Council’s decision to enforce a Public Space Protection Order mandating a 100m (328 ft) exclusion zone around an abortion clinic.

Ms Dulgheriu was joined at the press conference by other mothers who had been supported by vigils. “Without sufficient justification, Ealing council has decided to criminalise otherwise lawful behaviour…to criminalise charitable activity that is needed by some of the most vulnerable women in our society,” she said.

Situation normal for the UK these days.

And a bit more on Alfie, more even-tempered than I can manage, but just as accurate, from Sohrab Ahmari writing in Commentary.

[…]The cases are silly, but the chilling effect on free speech in Britain is all too serious—and real.

That brings us back to Alfie. As the case has progressed, the political, religious, and class fault lines running through it have become ever more visible. Alfie’s parents are working class and Catholic. Judging by the social-media outpouring, many of their supporters hail from a similar class firmament: the type who voted for Brexit, who read the Sun and the Daily Mail, who are puzzled by all this talk about gender and newfangled pronouns, and who quietly cheer Donald Trump across the pond.

On the other side stands an administrative elite that has had it with “these people”—with their voting habits, their sentimentality and patriotism, their common sense on Islam and integration, and, well, their failure to understand that it is up to experts, not parents, to discern the “best interests” of a toddler like Alfie. The members of this elite worry a lot these days about the health of liberal-democratic order. An entire cottage industry has sprung up, churning out books and policy briefs on how to preserve democracy against populists and uncouth, excitable majorities. But fair-minded observers of the Alfie Evans debacle can decide for themselves which camp poses the greater threat to freedom in Britain.

Never in all my life did I think I would see such words published about Britain, let alone agree with them completely. Sad days, my friends.

In other news, I understand that the White House correspondents hosted a very ugly bash the White House Press Secretary dinner Saturday night. Inventive group, these cretins, always finding more ways to alienate themselves from the people of America. Rather like the London elites, in fact.

 

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Guilds in America

Over in The American Spectator Andrew Wilford had a few things to say about how state licensing restricts trade. In fact, he, like me, calls it the guild system. We do that because that is exactly what it is. Here’s some of his.

Occupational licensing remains one of the most effective methods of restricting employment in the country. Experts have estimated the economic costs of excessively strict occupational licensing around the country at $203 billion. Burdensome licensing rules function as a way for entrenched professionals to restrict competition in their industry—licensing rules have resulted in 2.8 million less Americans employed. A study out of Alabama shows how effectively these anti-competitive professionals lobby for excessively restrictive licensing rules to keep the number of new licenses issued at a minimum.

If anything, he underestimates. And don’t think that it is only a problem for hair-braiders and barbers and such. It permeates construction, while not doing anything at all to improve either quality or price.

Let’s revisit something I wrote about it back towards the end of 2012.


Guilds, Licensing, Inspections, and Code, Oh My

Guilds and Licensing

You’ve often heard me say that trade licensing is like nothing so much as the medieval guilds. Here’s why.

You decide you want to be an electrician, so you go get a job with one or you go to a community college, now you can get your apprentice card, you lucky boy or girl. Either way, once you’re on the job site, you’ll carry parts, run a broom, maybe bend some conduit, dig a trench, the stupid stuff that young people always end up doing. That’s fine, it’s been that way forever, I did it, and so did my dad.

You keep doing that for a few years (it varies with school or pure apprenticeship) and you’re qualified to take the journeyman test. They claim it has some electrical knowledge on it but, for the most part, it’s a code test, which is important, but not the be all-end all you think. Let’s say you pass, many don’t, 5 or times isn’t uncommon. I think it’s a ridiculously stupid test and open book at that, but it’s not up to me. Now you’re a journeyman.

As a journeyman you can supervise three apprentices (these are all Nebraska examples) in theory you could be in charge of wiring the new skyscraper in Omaha, as a 25-year-old journeyman. (Don’t worry, you won’t be, usually, that job will have 50 or so electricians on it). But most likely you’ll be in charge of a crew, and as you learn what you’re doing your responsibilities will increase. It’s not all that bad a system.

The next step and many never take it, is to take the contractor’s test, it’s a little more difficult but not much. If you pass and buy insurance you can be an electrical contractor. Woo-Hoo!

Say you decide to go out on your own, which is really the only point to that license, you might be a good electrician, many are barely OK and lazy to boot in my opinion. But here are some things you need to know:

  • How do you do a fair estimate?
  • How do you figure out how much of which material to use? [Most house plans leave all that up to you, and if they’re three or more years old, they’ll need revision for the current code cycle]
  • How do you figure a fair return? Not that you’re going to get it on residential work.
  • How does accounting work?
  • What do you have to do to comply with OSHA?
  • What is and when do you have to apply NFPA 70E or NFPA 101
  • What is the UL White book, and why does it matter.

My point is, there’s a lot to being a contractor that a journeyman rarely sees.

Oh, did I mention that your present contractor has to sign off on you taking the test? That’s where the guild thing comes in. It’s nothing less in my mind than using the government in restraint of fair trade.

Inspections

Here inspection is done by the State, and they’re pretty good, knowledgeable, fair, and consistent. Just about all you can ask, really. Or is it? See the thing is, their job is to enforce the code, period. And as we’ll talk about in the next section that introduces some problems.

What I would like to see is this, when you buy a home, if you want insurance (and most mortgages require it) why couldn’t the insurance companies require that electrical, plumbing and whatnot be brought up to code, using their own or contract inspectors, which would mean that every once in a while homes would get inspected and not the messes that some so-called handymen leave behind them.

Nothing new about this either. When I was young, nearly every factory in America was insured by Factory Mutual. Factory Mutual not only required compliance with a very strict code, that covered lots of things, they even had their own labs for rating products, and if your product didn’t have an F-M label it couldn’t be used. But if you complied, the insurance was pretty cheap. Why? Because the losses were low. You know, the free market at work.

Codes, Codes, and more Codes

Residential

For the most part, electrical work is covered by the National Electric Code (NEC, NFPA 70), it’s a good code. Like it plainly states it is not a design manual, although if I want the job, I’m usually not going to go very far beyond it. If wired in accordance with the code, your house will be safe, it may be adequate and convenient, or it may not.

But there are problems. If your house was wired in the 50s or before, it may still have a 60A main, you will find it inadequate. If I remember the code started requiring 100A in the early 60s as it still does. So if you have that 60A service, usually it will have two sets of cartridge fuses labeled main and range, which is what they are normally used for, in addition, it will have four of the old plug fuses, we call them Edison base, same as a light bulb.

Here’s the kicker, say you blow a fuse, and you call me, and by some miracle I can come right over, if that panel shows any sign of overloading, like too big a fuse for the wire size, or pennies behind the fuse, or even if it’s hot (and I’ve burned myself on a few). I can do one of several things, I can replace all the fuses with the proper size Type S fuse and its adapter so that you can’t overfuse, although you’ll be very limited on load, I can replace the panel, or I can refuse to work on it. That’s it.

The best option for Joe Homeowner is to replace it. That’s problematical too though. In the current code, I have to protect just about every circuit in the house with either a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) or a combination type Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) instead of using a regular circuit breaker (I can’t even buy a fusible panel anymore).

GFCIs work fine here, no problem, it’s one of the very few ways I can replace a two wire outlet as well. AFCIs can be an entirely different kettle of fish. Invariably if I try to put one on the old cable with the woven covering, it won’t work, it could be something as minor as a staple driven too tight or something. If I’m in that spot, from the get-go, I’m going to tell you, you have to rewire your house. You really do need to anyway, but here we are talking about it on a cold winter’s night while we watch your pipes freeze.

OK, that’s settled, right? Oh, you want an estimate or a bid. OK, that better for both of us, anyway. It’s gonna cost you about $5000 dollars, more or less.

Why?

Because times have changed, in 1965 or so we went to grounded outlets, first with a small conductor and then with a full size one, it was a very good idea.

In about 1980 we started required bathrooms and kitchens to have GFCIs essentially wherever we are within six feet of water, and in the basement, garage, and outdoors. Again a good idea.

Now we require AFCIs on almost anything else in a dwelling unit. It’s not a bad idea, they detect an arc in the wiring and shut off the circuit.

Not least of the problems is that instead of about $5 for a circuit breaker, these (and GFCIs) are about $50. They also change some of our methods of wiring, and yes the new ways are more expensive in both time and material but, it can’t be helped.

Now the fun begins. Under the code, certain things are required.

  • An outside light, wall switch-controlled at each entrance
  • An outside outlet, as described above
  • Outlets, not more than 12 feet apart in all rooms of dwelling units, including any wall more than 18 inches long, except some halls and stairwells.
  • Wall switch controlled luminaires, or in some cases outlets, in all rooms, controlled at each entrance.
  • Bathroom circuit, 20A GFCI cannot serve anything else (sometimes it can serve another bathroom)
  • Kitchen, 20A GFCI, outlets every 24 inches over the countertop (not excluding that fancy island), two circuits required minimum.
  • There are limits as to how many outlets can be on a circuit 7 for a 15A circuit if I recall.
  • Any appliance that has a nameplate that calls for a separate circuit, has to have one. Invariably dishwashers, garbage disposers, freezers, furnaces, and icemakers do
  • A laundry outlet that serves nothing else.
  • Usually, I’ll spec a circuit for the refrigerator because they don’t always play nice on GFCIs or AFCIs and I hate call-backs.

So where are we, somewhere in the neighborhood of a dozen or more circuits, electric dryer add 2, electric water heater add 2 more, air conditioning add 2 more. If I remember, and I’m writing this from memory, the biggest 100A box I can buy has about 15-20 spaces in it, and it’s very poor design not to leave room for expansion, so you’re looking at a 200A service. In truth, I haven’t recommended anything else in 20 years, and I’ll bet those that insisted on saving that 50 or so bucks regret it now.

Did I mention that I have to use tamper-resistant outlets too? It’s not a big thing, only about a dollar more per outlet.

So after you cry for a while (I don’t blame you for it either) you say OK and pay the deposit which will be in the neighborhood of $2500. Now we can pull the permit and get started.

Everything I’ve mentioned above is required by code. I and the inspector have no choice. What we used to be able to do is to stage it, we could figure out the whole job, change the panel now, and rewire later, and occasionally it still can happen. Oh, don’t forget to schedule the drywall guy and painters, cause we’re going to damage your walls.

But, here’s the problem, remember where we started this story, when I walked in, I burned my hand on your panel. Let’s say you just got a job that pays say $10 dollars an hour, and your house payment is $300 a month. How are you going to be able to pay me? The short answer is, you can’t. I know it, you know it, and the inspector knows it too. But we’re all stuck.

Thing is, a competent electrician can do other things to make it reasonably safe, without all that drama. But the way the code is written we can’t.

That’s one of the reasons I like the system I outlined above, when you’re buying the house, you’ve got options, maybe the seller will help, in the worst case maybe you can include it in your mortgage,  instead of trying to do it right now when you have a problem.

Basically, we’ve made code compliance so expensive that we are leaving very dangerous situations in homes because no can afford to fix them. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in their quest to make electricity safe for a two-year-old, have priced fixing actual real-world hazards out of reach of the average homeowner.


Now mind, electricity can be dangerous, and complying with the code is important. But the roadblocks we place in the way of somebody wanting to do the work are ridiculous.

When I lived in Indiana, which had no state license (still doesn’t, I think) the work I did still had to pass inspection, and that is proper.

The real problem is contained right here, to get the license you need your employer to sign off on it. If you’re a decent electrician, why exactly would he? It’s directly against his interest to do so unless he’s your daddy. Usually, he won’t, and so you’re stuck. The other thing is, the ECs control the commission, which can take your license back for any or no reason.

A system designed to use the government to hurt the consumer, and that’s pretty close to a working definition of a guild. Something they told me in school is one of the things that stifled progress in the middle ages. I’m sure it did because it does now.

Worse Than Watergate

NBC News

Chris Buskirk at American Greatness:

The FISA Abuse Memo is out and now we know why the Democrats were desperate to keep its contents hidden from the public: it confirms the worst fears not just of President Trump’s supporters but of everyone concerned about the abuse of police power, government corruption, and the sanctity of our elections.
The memo shows interference in the 2016 presidential election by hostile elements within a United States intelligence agency. It wasn’t the Russians we had to worry about — it was rogue actors at the highest levels of the FBI and Department of Justice. Left unanswered is to what extent the West Wing knew about or was complicit in this gross abuse of power. . . .
We now know that almost every accusation leveled against the president with regard to so-called “Russian collusion” actually reflects the actions of what amounts to a cabal of Democratic Party operatives working with FBI and Justice Department fellow-travellers. . . .

R.S. McCain adds:

There was no actual “Russian collusion” because the people who arranged the Trump Tower meeting weren’t working for the Kremlin, they were working for the Democrat Party.

It’s like what they used to say down South: If you ever go to a meeting of five Klansman, one of them will be an FBI undercover agent and at least two of the others will be confidential informants. In the case of the make-believe “Russian collusion,” it appears that practically everybody involved in trying to get the Trump campaign tangled up in this embarrassing mess was, in one way or another, working for FusionGPS, which was being bankrolled by the Clinton campaign and the DNC.

That’s the size of it. Trump’s people come off as a bit credulous, they kept talking to stray people wandering in, but that’s not criminal, merely foolish.

Chris Buskirk again:

Nearly 50 years ago, the Watergate scandal forced a president from office. The Left thought it could do it again. But the Nunes memo—and the millions of documents and hundreds of hours of interviews behind it—makes clear that rogue elements within the FBI and Justice Department broke the law in an attempt to use the police power of the United States government first to throw the election to Hillary Clinton and then to destroy the presidency of Donald Trump.

This cannot stand. There must be consequences. And they must be swift, public, and severe.

Why is this worse than Watergate?

Because Watergate (the crime, not the coverup) was done by private individuals acting on their own. Foolishly, stupidly, and several other adverbs apply, but they were working for themselves and a private group.

However here we have high-level government law enforcement figures acting in an official capacity to corrupt the election process of the United States.

This is the problem that arises with any self-selecting elite (you may read experts if you choose), the time always comes when they conclude that they know better than the people they work for. Even if it is true, they have not the right to usurp their lawful superior (in this case the electorate). But almost always, it is not true, people have an innate sense of what is most likely to benefit them. And as we’ve seen in this matter, the experts are not acting in the people’s best interest, invariably they are acting in their own.

Indeed, this cannot stand, and the consequences must be swift, public, severe, and permanent.

Scandal of Silence

It’s always interesting, at least to me, what others see when they look at us, with all our kerfluffles, contretemps, and even the occasional very real scandal. Makes me grateful that they still have such expectations of us, after seeing how sordid our dirty laundry really is.

In any case, Melanie Phillips wrote Sunday about that House Memo that has so not been making the news, but we all know about anyway, and how horrible it sounds. Here’s Melanie filling in the cousins about it.

If you are in Britain and relying on the BBC and mainstream media for your information, you probably won’t know that a political scandal has been developing in the Washington swamp which has the potential to make Watergate look positively puny by comparison. You probably won’t know that what passes for the accepted wisdom about President Trump may be in the process of being turned on its head.

The reason there’s been no news coverage is that it suggests Trump has been not the instigator but the target of collusion – between the FBI, the Justice Department, the Democratic party and the Russians, first to prevent him from being elected US President and then to lever him out of office.

Last Thursday, some Republicans in Congress who had seen a secret memo, apparently compiled by House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes and fellow Republicans on the panel and which involved the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), were so disturbed by what it contained that they called for it to be made public immediately. They were not at liberty to divulge what it said, merely to express their concerns. But the assumption is that it supposedly contains evidence that the Obama administration made illegal use of FISA warrants to spy on both the Trump campaign and transition teams.

“The allegations contained in this important intelligence document”, Rep. Matt Gaetz told Fox TV, “go to the very foundations of our democracy. I am calling on our leadership to immediately hold a vote on the floor of the house to make public the key contents of this intelligence memo regarding the FBI, the Department of Justice and President Trump.”

According to Fox News contributor Sara Carter, the contents of the memo were so explosive “that it could end special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe once and for all”. Gaetz later told Sean Hannity’s show: “I believe people will go to jail.”

On Friday, Gaetz went further. “Our republic is in jeopardy if we allow this type of a palace coup environment to continue to persist… If we get this memo into the public square heads are going to roll at the FBI and the Department of Justice… What I’m worried about is that the cast of characters in the memo are not a group of people that are gone. Many of these people are still in our government. They still wield influence… It’s easy to see after reading this memo why Senator Grassley and why Senator Graham wanted to refer this matter for criminal prosecution. Laws were broken…”

By the way, if you were to ask me why I rarely listen to the BBC anymore, it is quite simple, it is simply another CNN, spouting the same fake news, designed to undermine the President of the United States as well as western civilization, and I don’t need it in stereo, or at all.

Think about that, denizens of the swamp perp walked in orange jumpsuits, what a wonderful, improbable vision. But it may be so, this is that big.

[…]Democrat Rep Adam Schiff has been pushing the same line. So shouldn’t this material be made public so that people can make up their own minds? Oh no, says Schiff, that would be a really bad idea “because the American people unfortunately don’t have the underlying materials and therefore they can’t see how distorted and misleading this document is”.

Never trust the people to think independently if you’re a Democrat, eh.

Yesterday, the Daily Caller featured this video interview with a former federal prosecutor, Joe diGenova. He brandished a document he said was now in the public domain but which the media had ignored. This was a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court decision on April 7 2017 which, he said, claimed there had been systematic violations of the law by the Obama Administration in a “brazen plot to exonerate Hillary Clinton” and “frame an incoming president with a false Russian conspiracy”.

“DiGenova condemned the FBI for working so closely with the controversial Fusion GPS, a political hit squad paid by the DNC and Clinton campaign to create and spread the discredited Steele dossier about President Donald Trump. Without a justifiable law enforcement or national security reason, he says, the FBI ‘created false facts so that they could get surveillance warrants. Those are all crimes.’ He adds, using official FISA-702 ‘queries’ and surveillance was done ‘to create a false case against a candidate, and then a president.’

“In this highly detailed video interview, he holds up an unreported April 2017 99-page FISA court opinion that ‘describes systematic and on-going violations of the law [by the FBI and their contractors using unauthorized disclosures of raw intelligence on Americans]. This is stunning stuff.’ ”

It’s stunning stuff, for many of us, the stuff of our worst nightmares, and time to take it out and examine it in the cold light of day.

But wait, there’s more!

Holy crap is there more. From Melanie’s post yesterday, which explains the unexplainable as best it may be explained.

Ok, this is all getting completely out of hand. Here are some more amazing developments in the Washington swamp of which you may be unaware if you rely on the mainstream media.

To recap. Last year saw revelations about FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page. The significance was this. Strzok, when deputy chief of counterintelligence, oversaw the Trump investigation when it was opened in July 2016 and had previously been a top investigator on the Clinton email probe.

Both Strzok and Page worked on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation until July 2017. Strzok was removed after the Justice Department’s inspector general discovered text messages he exchanged with Page with whom he was having an affair. In these exchanges, Strzok spoke insultingly about Trump. In another, he referred cryptically to an “insurance policy” that the FBI sought to take out in case Trump defeated Clinton in the election.

Now read on – and hold onto your jaw as it drops to the floor.

The Justice Department has told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in a letter that the FBI has LOST five months of email messages between the pair.

The letter states: “The Department wants to bring to your attention that the FBI’s technical system for retaining text messages sent and received on FBI mobile devices failed to preserve text messages for Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page.” he failure was put down to “misconfiguration issues related to rollouts, provisioning, and software upgrades that conflicted with the FBI’s collection capabilities. The result was that data that should have been automatically collected and retained for long-term storage and retrieval was not collected,

Pretty convenient, ain’t it, especially since the period they couldn’t manage to record the texts for is from December 14, 2016, to May 17, 2017. In other words from the date (approximately) of the Electoral College electing Trump until the very date, Mueller was appointed. Obviously a coincidence. Yeah right, there’s this bridge for sale up in Brooklyn.

We can’t prove it yet, but it is a coup, pure and simple. The evidence is out there, the internet is forever, as we all know, some of us to their sorrow. And as always, it is not so much the crime, as the cover-up.

Rope, Constitution Avenue lamposts, some assembly required.

Scamming the Citizen

Well, I don’t like to say, “I told you so,” but I told you this would happen. From PowerLine.

It’s been a tedious chore to track the slow motion train wreck of Germany’s energiewende, or “energy revolution.” Climatistas here have long touted Germany as the model we should follow. Think of it a renewable energy uber alles.

Well there’s a problem, and you don’t even need to know German to get this headline from two days ago:

Benny Peiser (a German native) at the Global Warming Policy Foundation to translates.

Irregular and unpredictable wind and solar power is increasingly becoming a problem for Germany’s power grid. Utility company Tennet TSO spent almost a billion euros last year on emergency interventions to stabilize the national grid.

That’s what the company announced earlier this week. The costs were thus about 50% higher than in 2016 (660 million euros) and around forty percent higher than in 2015 (710 million). Tennet is responsible for the electricity supply in an area that extends from Schleswig-Holstein in the north to Bavaria in the south of Germany and accounts for around forty percent of Germany’s total area. In particular, Tennet is responsible for important north-south transmission routes.

The reason for the increase in emergency interventions is the rising number of solar projects and wind turbines in Germany. The share of renewable energy increased from 29 to 33 percent of the electricity supply last year. Wind and solar power are irregular and often unpredictable. This makes the network increasingly unstable.

But hey, anything to save the world, amirite? Well, perhaps, not so much.

German parties agree to scrap 2020 climate target – sources

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s would-be coalition partners have agreed to drop an ambitious plan to lower carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020, two sources told Reuters on Monday — a potential embarrassment for Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Negotiators for her conservative bloc and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) told Reuters the parties had agreed in exploratory talks on forming a government that the targeted cut in emissions could no longer be achieved by 2020.

As usual, it turns out to be “Anything to keep the cronies in power, so the gravy train doesn’t stop.” Business as usual, in other words, and the average citizen (German in this case) take the hindmost. Such lovely elites. As Steve asks, “How does one say epic fail in German?” His suggestion is Alles kaput. That works for me.

And that is exactly what offends me with the whole scam that climate change has become. There may have been some actual evidence back at the beginning that we do have an effect on the climate, but we’ll never know.

The whole thing has become a scam for statist government, universities more worried about a buck than intellectual rigor, and capitalists without the drive to deal with competition looking for corporate welfare. Who is the loser in this scheme? As always the mark, the sucker of the con, is the citizen, the fool who pays for all the private jets going to the conferences in Swiss ski resorts, who pays for building stupid windmills all over the place, and eventually sits shivering in dark, because the electricity is off (ask a Brit who remembers the seventies!). Likely to starve too since transportation costs will rise as well.

Welcome to their Brave New World.

Slaughtering the Innocent

I suspect many of you remember Charlie Gard, I certainly do. He was a baby with a disease that doctors in Italy and the United States thought maybe they could help, but the British NHS absolutely refused to let him go, essentially killing him. I wrote about it here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. In this post, we referred to a National Review article that mentioned another case was lurking out there. This is that case.

I heard about this from a British friend, who wrote an article about it on her blog, which is here. I’ll let Caroline describe it.

To recap, Alfie doesn’t have a diagnosis of terminal illness, in fact he doesn’t have a diagnosis at all, but that hasn’t stopped Alder-Hey hospital which is treating him, from coming to the conclusion that he would be better off dead.

In their legal submission Alder Hey claims that Alfie is insensate and unaware of any kind of stimulation or sensation. You need only to look at some of the videos on his Facebook page, to see that this is not the case. In one extremely poignant photo, baby Alfie is seen opening his eyes when his mummy picks him up for a cuddle. In another you can see Alfie clearly responding to his father’s voice and even stretching.

The reason why Alfie is in what appears to be a comatose state is because he is drugged up to the eyeballs on 4 different anti-convulsant medications in order to prevent the seizures which he was experiencing, which could cause brain damage. These drugs not only sedate Alfie, but also depress his breathing, making Alfie more reliant on his ventilator. The cumulative effect of all of them together increases their side-effects.

Alfie’s family have a number of questions surrounding his care, one of them being why he has been intubated for so long without ever being offered the option of a tracheostomy? Intubation is never intended as a long term option – it is uncomfortable and the tube which Alfie has fitted has been identified as being too large for a child of his age and size. One of the reasons why Alfie needs sedative drugs is order to suppress the gagging and discomfort which accompanies intubation.

Another effect of intubation is that of long term damage to the trachea, vocal chords and muscles required for breathing. It is considered best practice to perform a tracheostomy after 3 weeks of intubation in order to lessen these risks. A tracheostomy does less damage to the trachea, doesn’t required sedation and makes it much more likely that the patient could be weaned off the ventilator and in many cases, even allows for the patient to go home.

While it cannot be guaranteed that this would have been the outcome for Alfie , it calls into question Alder Hey’s submission that all options have been exhausted, because clearly this one has not been tried and as a result Alfie has potentially missed out on an extra year of babyhood and development.

Despite previously recommending a brain biopsy for Alfie, Alder Hey state that this procedure is too invasive.

Another hospital in Europe has agreed to take Alfie and perform a tracheostomy immediately.

On the subject of tubes Alfie also has a feeding tube fitted through his nose and down his throat, along with the ventilator tube. It’s quite a lot of equipment to be fitted into a baby’s tiny throat for an entire year, especially with the large uncomfortable tapes across his face.

As with the intubation, when internal feeding is required for a long time, normal practice is to fit a PEG feeding tube directly to the stomach, yet Alfie has not received one. The nasal tubes were not designed to be fitted long term and are insanitary. Last time Alfie’s feeding tube was changed it was blocked with deposits from meds and food. Alfie’s current tube has mould on a connecting piece and apparently the hospital hasn’t responded to repeated inquiries about changing it.

There’s quite a lot more and you really need to read it.

Again there is an Italian hospital that is willing to at least make him more comfortable by installing the proper tubes, and then they can perhaps do some real good. Also again it has been fully funded by a go fund me, so the British government is not on the hook for the cost.

Alder-Hey is, of course, the hospital that got itself in all sorts of trouble back around the turn of the century for improper handling, retention, and disposal of human tissue, including children’s organs. That led to the Human Tissue Act 2004, which may, but likely does not, have a connection with this case.

But what does have a connection with Charlie Gard is the hospital’s disdain for the child’s parents, and their insistence on effectively torturing him until he dies, and the sooner the better. Just before Christmas, there was a hearing (as Caroline mentioned) to remove the parents’ control and appoint a guardian. When this was done In Charlie’s case, the guardian appointed was Victoria Butler-Cole, the chairman of Compassion in Dying, a euthanasia charity. In this case, the judge, in a rare human decision, said there would be no decision until after the holidays.

What we have here, once again, is British institutional disdain, at best, of parent’s rights, to have a say in their child’s healthcare, like the baby is the property of the state. Well, that probably is what they believe but we, and many Britons, know better. It’s also curious that most of these cases seem to come up in families with normal heterosexual couples, who live together and love their baby. Wonder why that is.

Caroline again:

I can only speculate why this might be, perhaps it’s because his parents are both very young working-class blue collar types and some kind of snobbery is in play. Or maybe it’s because it’s thought that Alfie will be too much of a drain on the NHS in the long-term and perhaps if his parents could have been persuaded to accept that he ought to be taken off life-support, his organs could have been used for donation?

No matter what the motivation, this case, along with that of Charlie Gard seems to be all about the normalisation of euthanasia. Edmund Adamus came under fire in 2009 when he called the UK, the geo-political centre of the culture of death, but you have to wonder what is going on in a country where if your child is critically ill, regardless of how fantastic a parent you might have been, the state determines that only they, not you, are able to determine whether they should live or die.

Edited Wednesday 20th December 2017: The first version of this blog was published on Monday 18th December 2017, the day before the Directions Hearing in the High Court. At this hearing, an anonymity order was put in place which prohibited publication in the UK media of the names of the medical professionals involved in the case. Out of courtesy for this order, passed on Tuesday 19th December, I have therefore removed the names of the individuals, even though this blog is published on an international platform, for an international readership.

I was able to verify the involvement of one of the named individuals in another well-known case via a number of independent sources, which I already knew at the time of the case.

While I respect Caroline’s decision and will comply, frankly it is bullshit. If you are not man enough to take responsibility for what you do, you have no business making decisions for yourself, let alone anyone else, especially a helpless baby. It makes a damning story even worse, I think.

And so it time to pray again, that the British government may be prevented from killing another innocent (very innocent) Briton. May not work, but then again it may, and what else can we do.

The title I chose will come into focus Thursday, when we will look at King Herod’s Slaughter of the Innocents because frankly, I see very little difference between the current British medical system, backed by the government, and King Herod.

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