Trolling Londonistan

BBC

James Delingpole has an article up at Breitbart. It’s an outstanding one, not unusually for Delingpole, He’s one of the few Brits who get published who understand us, and understands Trump, and why he’s president. Yes, there are others, and we’ll try to introduce you to a few of them going forward. But Delingpole is special.

President Trump has offended pretty much the entirety of Britain’s political and media establishment up to and including the Prime Minister, the Mayor of London and the Archbishop of Canterbury.[…]

In a moment I shall explain why the president is right and his critics are wrong. But first a brief recap of what the fuss is all about. […] [Three tweets. Neo]

One depicted a bearded Muslim destroying a statue of the Virgin Mary.

One showed an Islamist mob pushing a teenage boy off a roof and then beating him to death.

One showed a white Dutch boy on crutches being gratuitously beaten up by a man described in the video caption as a “Muslim migrant”.

Prime Minister Theresa May; Mayor of London Sadiq Khan; and many other politicians professed themselves to be appalled by this. As was BBC news, which made this horror its lead story.

But it wasn’t the sadistic brutality on any of the videos that bothered them. It was the fact that the person whose tweets the President had retweeted, Jayda Fransen, is the deputy of a nationalistic, anti-immigration political party highly critical of Islam called Britain First.

According to Prime Minister Theresa May this was a grave mistake.

She said:

I am very clear that retweeting from Britain First was the wrong thing to do.

“Britain First is a hateful organisation. It seeks to spread division and mistrust in our communities. It stands in fundamental opposition to the values that we share as a nation – values of respect, tolerance and, dare I say it, common decency.”

Some politicians went further.

London’s Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, sought to use Trump’s tweet as an excuse to promote his ongoing campaign to prevent the President being granted a State Visit to London.

Chris Bryant – a Labour MP better known as “Captain Underpants” because he posted “sexy” photographs of himself on a gay dating site wearing nothing but his white briefs – accused the president of “supporting and condoning fascism”.

Every time I read crap like this, I think it must be very uncomfortable living with your head where the sun don’t shine. But that’s Britain’s ‘ruling class’ these days. If you had the impression they really got their knickers in a twist, well you would be correct. Funny how the truth works, ain’t it? And by the way, whenever I read ‘right wing extremist’ in a European context, I laugh and say, “Oh, somebody who tells the truth.”

Virtually none of my colleagues, even in the conservative media, has a good word to say about him. They think of him in all the usual leftist cliches: that he’s crass, vulgar, dumb, brash and so on. They think that those few of us who defend him – like me, Katie Hopkins, Nigel Farage, Jacob Rees-Mogg, David Pryce-Jones, Daniel Johnson and a handful of others – only do so because we are attention-seeking loons.

What they misunderstand about Trump is the scale of his ambitions and the true nature of his mission.

As I argue in this week’s Spectatorhe represents the same revolt of the masses against the liberal elite we saw with Brexit. His mission is vital:

That mission, domestically, is to Make America Great Again. But his ambitions, I believe, are even greater than that. As he outlined in his brilliant Warsaw speech, he sees himself as the defender of not just the free world, but of western civilisation itself.

‘We write symphonies. We pursue innovation. We celebrate our ancient heroes, embrace our timeless traditions and customs, and always seek to explore and discover brand-new frontiers. We reward brilliance. We strive for excellence, and cherish inspiring works of art that honour God. We treasure the rule of law and protect the right to free speech and free expression. We empower women as pillars of our society and of our success. We put faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, at the centre of our lives. And we debate everything. We challenge everything.’

I think he does, too. Remember what America is, where the entire world, came together in freedom. This is where a black Eskimo is possible. When our people came here, they left behind the ancient quarrels, and signed on to an experiment, in freedom and justice. And we rarely forget the justice part.

It might seem a stretch to argue that Trump’s recent trio of trolling retweets of Muslims-behaving-badly videos have much to do with this noble mission.

But cometh the man, cometh the hour. President Trump is no ordinary leader and he most certainly does not play by the conventional rules.

A key facet of his modus operandi is the way he manages to bypass a generally hostile media and speak directly to his constituency – essentially ordinary people who’ve had just about enough of politically correct nonsense – using social media.

Yep, exactly. Hey, British guy (or gal) in the street, especially outside the M25 (not to mention Germans, Poles, Frenchmen, Czechs, and all the rest) our President is talking directly to you, just as he does us. And his message, is your message, and it is our message, as well, our elites simply don’t understand (or don’t care, take your choice) about us, understand us, or share our values, but our president does. Think about that, that is another gift of the American people to the world. An American leadership that will push back for our values. Yes, we will MAGA, but Delingpole is correct, more than that America hasn’t given up and will defend Western Civilization.

Read Mr. Delingpole’s article. Good stuff!

 

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Welcome to December

Well, another week, for a lot of us Christians, we start a whole new year today, as we anticipate the birth of Jesus. I’m ready for one, and suspect you are too. He’s back!

Well, the President retweeted some British group (that hardly anybody had heard of, although they have now) and HMG came unglued. I wonder of it was because Britain First was correct. Less NSFW than usual, BTW.

Well, another week, another bunch of unemployed famous men who can’t seem to understand that women are not their property, or something.

More palatably

Christmas shopping?

And, of course

Mostly from PowerLine, Sleeping Beauty from Ace.

Freezing in the Dark for Obama

We’ve said before that much of the climate change debate/hysteria is driven by nothing more than grantsmanship and/or self-interest. It’s still true. Isaac Orr writing in The American Spectator had something to say about it the other day.

More than 200 cities and 12 states have pledged to uphold the Paris climate accord, even after President Donald Trump announced his administration would withdraw the United States from the agreement. These pledges have led four states — Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, and New York — to enact climate and energy policies based on the Obama-era social cost of carbon (SCC) calculations, which attempt to quantify the long-term economic damages associated with emitting one ton of carbon dioxide into the air. The Obama administration concluded for every ton of carbon dioxide released, $36 worth of damage occurs.

The SCC is based on flawed scientific and economic assumptions. As a result, the dozens of regulations imposed on the energy sector that were based on these calculations significantly and needlessly increase the cost of electricity without delivering any measurable environmental benefits.

The SCC overestimates how much warming will occur from increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the air because it is based on outdated estimates from 2007. These figures were derived from a study that concluded doubling the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would warm the planet by between 1.72 degrees Celsius and 7.14 degrees C, with their “most likely” estimate to be 3 degrees C.

More than a dozen scientific studies have since found the range of possible outcomes for global warming is much smaller than the scenario relied upon in the SCC calculation. For example, a study by a group of climate modelers who conducted analyses for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2013 found a much smaller range of potential outcomes; they concluded there is a low-end estimate of 1.2 degrees C and a high-end estimate of 4 degrees C, with a “best guess” of 2 degrees C. Other studies have found the best estimate to be a 1.64-degree Cincrease, if accompanied by a doubling of atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentrations.

If the actual range of possible warming is much lower than what was assumed by the Obama administration in its SCC calculations, its cost estimate of $36 per ton is much too high.

And it is, and it was. Almost in its entirety, the whole thing is driven by self-aggrandizement, politically, financially, and often both. Add to that a political leaven that very often indeed sounds like nothing so much as fascism, and you have a toxic brew, that will leave the average guys freezing in the dark while he starves. Environmentalism, or more correctly, stewardship of the land is all very good.

We should all strive to leave the world at least as good as we found it. But that does not supersede our need to live and to eat. But that is exactly what most organized environmentalism does seek these days. I don’t buy the nonsense, and neither should you.

You should not waste energy, because it costs you money, that most of us work hard for. But you have a right to try to make yourself comfortable, whether it is air conditioning in the summer or actual heat in the winter. But what if you can’t afford it, well that’s a problem isn’t it? And there is the problem, the radicals in the field, and that includes those states and cities above will make that problem worse. If they could prove that it was good stewardship, maybe it would be worthwhile, but they can’t.

Let’s note that in passing that no environmentalist ever used the word stewardship, likely because it contains a theory that we have as much right to use natural resources as any other denizen of the earth, and the ability to make intelligent decisions.

That goes against dogma. The only important thing is to propitiate Gaia, and cute polar bears, people don’t matter. It’s an elitist position because it inherently assumes some people have the right to tell others what to do. They don’t; except enforcing an objective law that prevents people from harming each other. No reason that doesn’t include polluting and such, it is readily apparent that it harms others.

In sum, Mr. Orr is correct:

Lawmakers considering policies that would hold their communities to the Paris climate agreement’s standards should recognize the flaws in the SCC and reverse course. If they don’t, voters should keep their higher electricity bills in mind when they head to the polls on Election Day.

Railsplitters, Tailors, and Government Bureaus

Speaking of the CFPB, this is interesting, from The Federalist.

Although the Reconstruction Era has gotten more mainstream attention lately, to most Americans the Andrew Johnson administration is still a part of the dusty past. The CFPB dispute is, as David Harsanyi explained earlier this week, about which employee has the right to occupy the office of CFPB director. So did the dispute that led to Johnson’s impeachment and near-conviction. Only in that case, the office in question was of much greater importance: secretary of war.

In the days following the Civil War, the secretary of war (a predecessor to the secretary of defense, but without jurisdiction over the navy) occupied an important position in domestic politics, as his job included presiding over the reconstruction of the conquered Confederacy. After Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, his successor, Johnson, seemed to be in accord with Secretary of War Edwin Stanton and the Republican-dominated Congress on how to accomplish this.

Things soon changed. Johnson returned to his pre-war Democratic Party loyalty and worked to re-admit the Southern states to the Union quickly, with no other changes than a de jure abolition of slavery. Stanton and congressional leaders saw their task as larger, and wanted to ensure greater equality for the former slaves in fact as well as in law. As Johnson gradually replaced Lincoln appointees in the cabinet, Stanton was increasingly the only voice in the administration for a vigorous scheme of occupying and rebuilding in the South.

Stanton’s allies in Congress worked to protect him by passing the Tenure of Office Act in 1867. The act decreed that any officer appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate could not be removed by the president unless the Senate approved. Johnson saw the act for what it was—a curtailment of executive power—and vetoed it, but Congress overrode the veto and the bill became a law. The president no longer had control over his own appointees.

Johnson initially acted in accordance with the law and suspended Stanton while Congress was in recess, selecting Commanding General Ulysses S. Grant to serve as acting secretary in his stead. Stanton went along with this, as Grant was closer to congressional Republicans in his views than to Johnson. When the recess ended, the Senate refused to concur in Stanton’s removal, and Grant returned the office to him. Then Johnson declared the Tenure of Office Act unconstitutional and said Stanton’s removal was valid. He appointed Maj. Gen. Lorenzo Thomas to the “vacancy” and instructed him to report to the War Department for work.

Stanton refused to accept Thomas’s appointment and declined to yield the office. Thomas took the office across the hall, and both men declared themselves the true secretary of war. Stanton retained the keys to the office and did not leave the room, eating and sleeping there for months to prevent Thomas from seizing it.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives voted articles of impeachment against Johnson, specifically for his open violation of the law, but more generally for his obstruction of Congress’s plans for Reconstruction. The Senate fell one vote short of conviction, and Johnson remained in the White House. With Grant nominated for president and Johnson on the way out, Stanton gave up the fight and relinquished the office.

Rule Without Consequences

The stakes of the fight over the CFPB directorship are far lower, but the precedents of the Stanton-Thomas affair provide a guideline for how the current quarrel should proceed, both legally and politically.

The Tenure of Office Act of 1867 and the Dodd-Frank Act, which created the CFPB, both aim at the same result: removing the power from the president to control members of his administration. The Tenure of Office Act’s authors were concerned with keeping Johnson from overturning Lincoln’s legacy. Dodd-Frank’s authors had a wider goal in mind: removing politics from government. This fits the general progressive belief that we would be better governed by unelected technocrats than by politicians who must take popular opinion into account.

It is a strange take on a republic, and at odds with the Founding Fathers’ opinions. They knew that the government would contain officers who wished to trample the people’s rights. It has been true of every government, elected or unelected, since mankind emerged from the state of nature. The government of the people, by the people, and for the people acknowledges that the people in question are all flawed. As James Madison famously wrote in Federalist 51:

If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.

Do read it all.

And, in fine, that was much of the point of the Constitution, to throw sand in the gears of the government.  The founders knew, even better than we do, the cry of the American to his government, “Leave me alone!”. After all they fought a war, against the greatest empire of the age for that very reason. But as long as men (and women) seek personal advantage from government (and that is until Christ returns) the vigilance of the citizens will always be required.

Ronnie was absolutely right about the most feared words in the language, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”.

Net Neutrality? Really?

I suspect you’ve been hearing a bit about ‘Net Neutrality’, I surely have. Mostly from those who think regulation is a pretty good thing. Well, there’s another view, and I think it the correct one. Robert Tracinski in The Federalist lays it out.

But there’s a deeper ignorance of history involved, one that I discussed a while back with technology entrepreneur Bill Frezza. Bill has lived this history, starting as an engineer with Bell Labs straight out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1978, because “if you wanted to be a telecom engineer the only legal place to work was in the Bell System at Bell Labs.”

The story he has to tell is that the Internet as we know it was born out of the breakup of the AT&T monopoly in 1982. Specifically, the Internet grew out of rejecting the very policies that are the backbone of “net neutrality.”

AT&T gained its monopoly, ironically, from a settlement called the Kingsbury Commitment that headed off an antitrust prosecution. In effect, the government agreed that instead of breaking up AT&T, it would give the government’s backing to its monopoly. In exchange, AT&T agreed to become a regulated utility.

The cornerstones of that deal were universal service—a telephone for everyone, no matter where he lived—and equality. As Frezza puts it, the commitment was, “People will be equal before the telephone. Not only will the guy way out there on a farm in Idaho get a phone, he’s going to pay the same prices as a city slicker, even though the city slicker lives in a 100-unit apartment building across the street from the central office.”

Sound familiar? This same promise of equality is the central principle of net neutrality. Not only will everyone have access to the Internet, but they will all have the same Internet. No “fast lanes,” no conditions, no playing favorites. Sounds great, right?

There was a point to it, without it that farmer in Idaho would never have gotten a landline phone. I grew up in the rural electric coops, and our REA loans had the same deal, we had to serve everyone, and every residential customer equally. Well, when those policies were implemented, in the 20s for telephone, and the 30s for electricity, there was no alternative method. So it may have been justified. That is no longer true, and Mr. Tracinsky is correct.

And further he is also correct that it stifles competition. Surely technology must have improved in electric power distribution since my engineering guides were published just after World War II, yet they are still current, somehow that is not true for my radio guides, I rarely use a 6W6 tube anymore.

Frezza describes how this held back the development of an Internet-style data transmission system. “If it has to be available on every pair of copper wires, including the five-mile loop with the load coils going out to the farmer—well, you can’t push more than 9600 baud through.” For those who don’t remember this antiquated terminology, 9600 baud is 9600 bits per second, which is not just a dial-up connection but a particularly slow dial-up connection. Today, we talk about download speeds in MBPS—that is, millions of bits per second, more than a thousand times faster. But all of that became possible because new capabilities didn’t have to be rolled out all at once to everyone, universally and equally.

That is the great fault with forced equality in anything, it stifles innovation, not always because it means to, although sometimes it does because the costs of doing something for everyone is simply insurmountable. And sometimes innovation doesn’t work. We all chide Microsoft because they have a habit of using us as ‘beta-testers’, but I wonder, would we still be running DOS without them doing that.

As Frezza sums it up:

Progress requires inequality. If you don’t give entrepreneurs the ability to become unequal—not just get rich themselves, but they have to make their customers unequal, they’ve got to give their customers commercial advantage or life advantage. That’s what drives progress. If you take that out of the equation, if you say all traffic has to be treated equal, all customers have to be treated equal—first of all, capital investment in the network is going to go down. We’ve already seen some of that. But so is innovation. Why would you want to give that up?

The exotic, exorbitantly expensive new technologies of a few years ago eventually become the cheap and ubiquitous technologies of today.

This is such a commonplace experience that it’s really astonishing that anyone in the tech industry has let themselves be bamboozled by the notion that we’d all be much better off with the business model of a sclerotic, highly regulated public utility.

“It’s a tragedy,” Frezza says, “to see people using the same arguments that were used back in 1913 to try to re-regulate the Internet.” If we don’t learn from telecom history, we will be doomed to repeat it.

Yep, it is. Don’t be one of those guys.

Beobachte den Osten; the German Outlook

FILE PHOTO: REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/File Photo

Yesterday, we talked about the British, through the eyes of Katie Hopkins, one of the best spokespeople for the people like us amongst the cousins. But what about the Germans? They are an even bigger economy and the mainstay of the EU, yet Mütti Merkel cannot seem to form a government, in fact, her problems parallel those of Mrs. May, and speak to why Hillary! failed so badly. All three countries (and France, as well) have specific problems but there are also commonalities. Much of this comes from PowerLine but also from where Steve sourced his: The New York Review of Books. Timothy Garton Ash writes in It’s the Kultur, Stupid this…

[L]ike all contemporary populisms, the German version exhibits both generic and specific features. In common with other populisms, it denounces the current elites (Alteliten in AfD-speak) and established parties (Altparteien) while speaking in the name of the Volk, a word that, with its double meaning of people and ethno-culturally defined nation, actually best captures what Trump and Le Pen mean when they say “the people.” In Angst für Deutschland, her vividly reported book about the party, Melanie Amann, a journalist at the weekly news magazine Der Spiegel, notes how some of its activists have appropriated the slogan of the East German protests against Communist rule in 1989: Wir sind das Volk—We are the people. Like other populists, Germany’s attack the mainstream media (Lügenpresse, the “lying press”) while making effective use of social media. On the eve of the election, the Alternative had some 362,000 Facebook followers, compared with the Social Democrats’ 169,000 and just 154,000 for Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

Its criticism of globalization is familiar, as is its angry and self-congratulatory denunciation of political correctness. Typical of all European populisms is a negative attitude toward the EU in general and the euro in particular. The Alternative started life in 2013 as an anti-euro party. Although overall German support for the EU is still very strong, a poll conducted for the Bertelsmann foundation in the summer of 2017 found that 50 percent of those respondents who identified themselves as on the “right” (carefully distinguished from the “center-right”) would vote for Germany to leave the EU, if Germans were offered a Brexit-style in-or-out referendum. This is a remarkable finding. Unlike Brexit, Germexit would be the end of the European Union.

Yep, that is remarkable, 50% of the right in Germany would vote to exit the EU. But I don’t think that is the main takeaway here. I think the main takeaway here is that so many of its supporters come from the former GDR, the old Deutschedemokratischerepublik, or East Germany. Like the Poles, the Czechs, and the other east Europeans, they know how socialism works (or doesn’t) and they aren’t buying into it again. We Americans have always fought off the worst effects, and the British some of them, but the east ended up with the very worst, subject to the Soviet Union and they haven’t forgotten. I’m guessing that in Germany like the rest, the kids simply can’t (or won’t) believe what their parents and grandparents tell them, but it is all true, in all its grim majesty.

In Germany, I think it worse because teaching much of any real history about the Nazi era is mostly verboten, much as if we didn’t teach FDR’s presidency.

Unlike in Britain and America, economic factors play only a small part here. It’s not just that Germany as a whole is doing well economically. In a 2016 poll, four out of five AfD voters described their personal economic situation as “good” or “very good.” This is not a party of the economically “left behind.” It gathers the discontented from every walk of life, but those who predominate in its ranks are educated, middle-class men. A leading CDU politician told me that the angry protest letters he gets from defectors to the Alternative will typically be from a doctor, businessman, lawyer, or professor. This strong presence of the educated upper middle class distinguishes German populism from many other populisms.

Among the leaders of the party, they are visibly represented by its other designated “leading candidate,” Alexander Gauland, a seventy-six-year-old former CDUfunctionary who almost invariably wears a check-patterned tweedy jacket and dark green tie. He is one of those elderly conservative gents who look so English that you know they must be German. Then there is Beatrix von Storch, a shrill and tiresome minor aristocrat with neoliberal, Hayekian intellectual pretensions. (Her maternal grandfather was Hitler’s finance minister—but we are not responsible for our grandfathers.) As for Alice Weidel: this former Goldman Sachs and Allianz asset manager, white, blonde, always neatly turned out in business attire, lives just across the border in Switzerland, in a same-sex relationship with a Swiss filmmaker of Sinhalese heritage and two adopted sons. These are not the German equivalent of the American rust belt manual worker, or of what is known in England, with liberal condescension, as “white van man.” (The van is white as well as the man.)

Here he is blinded by his own prejudices. In my experience, neither the rust belt manual worker nor ‘the white van man’ is typical, the support for Brexit and Trump extends far beyond these illiberal stereotypes, and the blindness of our so-called ‘betters’ is one of the main reasons they are losing. In fact, I find that they are exactly parallel, the most productive parts of society are the ones most frustrated by the dangerous silliness of the elites, who have rarely had a real-world job.

In any case, an interesting pair of articles. And something rare, an encouraging report from the continent.

Once again, America, partnering with England, shows Europe what freedom looks like and how to achieve it. Perhaps we will be able to say, with William Pitt the Younger:

[B]ut Europe is not to be saved by any single man. England has saved herself by her exertions, and will, as I trust, save Europe by her example.

Beobachte den Osten

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