America stands with Hong Kong, and Hong Kong Reciprocates

This was a week that may well change the world. A lot of it is down to the Hong Kongers.

You remember that election they had earlier this week for mostly meaningless jobs (which is why China lets them vote, of course). There were absolutely no protests and nobody can complain the elections were anything but fair and free. And the protestors candidates won 17 of the 18 councils.

That is pretty amazing after all e disruption we’ve seen. It really is the population protesting. Then in a remarkably bipartisan effort, the United States announced that the Secretary of State is now required to report at least once a year on whether China is living up to the treaty that returned Hong Kong from Britain. What’s on the line for China? Their trade links with the largest economy on earth and the US will hold their personnel personally responsible via sanctions. You know the same tools that killed the Soviet Union and are killing the Mullahs of Iran

In response to that, Hong Kongers had something to say.

 

Of course the Chinese (and the HK puppet government) are already whining about it. PJ Media reports:

The Chinese ministry of foreign affairs has released a statement condemning President Trump for signing a bill in support of the Hong Kong protesters. Beijing told Trump to stay out of it because Hong Kong and China are “one country,” albeit with “two systems.” It is an internal affair, China says, and therefore none of Trump’s business. […]

“We are officially telling the U.S. and the handful of opposition politicians in Hong Kong who follow America’s lead to not underestimate our determination to protect Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability, don’t underestimate our belief to protect the ‘one country, two systems policy’ and don’t underestimate our capabilities and strategies in protecting our country’s sovereignty, safety, growth and rights,” the ministry said in response to these bills.

“This so-called bill will only make the Chinese people, including our compatriots in Hong Kong, further understand the sinister intentions and hegemonic nature of the United States. It will only make the Chinese people more united and make the American plot doomed to fail,” China’s foreign ministry added.

Yeah, whatever. Sometimes one just has to do what is right, and when the police are ing live ammunition already, how much worse can it really get?

In truth, these protestors remind me of a group of farmers, who started a war with the greatest empire in the world and won through, back in April of 1775. Will the Hong Kongers win? I don’t know, but like us long ago, they know they have to hang together or they’ll assuredly hang separately. I do know this, America’s place is always on the side of freedom. Keep that beacon fire lit, there are people who still believe. In us, and in the dream.

Sadly those do not include Britain. As you may know, the President will be in London on Monday for NATO’s 70th anniversary. Sounding almost exactly like the Chinese, Boris Johnson is pleading with Trump not to talk about their upcoming election. I wonder why. Could it be that he is afraid the British people will figure out that he is selling Britain out (as they sold out Hong Kong) to the EU, which increasingly resembles das vierte Reich?

 

The Real Heroes Are Dead

One of the heroic men I often write about around 9/11 is Rick Rescorla. The man whose foresight saved all but thirteen Dean Whitter Morgan Stanley employees (he was lost that day, and his body was never found) on that dark day. So do others, Powerline, like here has a recurring post on him, and The Victory Girls often do, as well. But we all have something to add now. Colonel Rescorla, born in Cornwall, veteran of the British Paratroopers who served during the war in Cyprus and Rhodesia, and an American veteran of the 7th Cavalry in the First Battle of Ia Drang, in Vietnam. If you have seen the cover of We Were Soldiers Once, and Young, that man is Rick Rescorla. He was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal posthumously this week. Watch.

 

I really like the write up that Nina Bookout gave him at The Victory Girls.

There is so much more to Rick’s story. He was a British paratrooper who served with the British Army on Cyprus and then in Rhodesia. Not long after that he emigrated to the United States and joined the Army. This man, who had already been in battle, joined up in time to go to battle again. This time at the Battle of la Drang. The loss of the men he served with never left him.  It is his photo that is the cover of “We Were Soldiers Once…And Young.” 

“In 1965 Rescorla knew war. His men did not, yet. To steady them, to break their concentration away from the fear that may grip a man when he realizes there are hundreds of men very close by who want to kill him, Rescorla sang. Mostly he sang dirty songs that would make a sailor blush. Interspersed with the lyrics was the voice of command: ‘Fix bayonets…on liiiiine…reaaaa-dy…forward.’ It was a voice straight from Waterloo, from the Somme, implacable, impeccable, impossible to disobey. His men forgot their fear, concentrated on his orders and marched forward as he led them straight into the pages of history: 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry…’Hard Corps.’”

Years later, as head of security for Morgan Stanley, Rick found himself in another fight. One against terrorism. After the first attack on the Twin Towers, Rick instituted mandatory evacuation drills. He KNEW that another attack would happen. He wanted every person who worked in those offices to be prepared. He wanted every person in those offices to be able to react immediately.

On that day, that fateful day when terrorists tried to bring us to our knees, Rick Rescorla’s planning and training saved lives. 2,700 lives in fact. While building personnel were ordering people to stay at their desks, Rick bullied Morgan Stanley employees into moving out to safety.

THEN…he went back UP the stairs!

“”Everybody said, ‘Rick your folks are out. You’ve done what you need to do,’ but he pointed up the stairwell and said, ‘You hear those screams? There’s more people up there. I have to help get them out,’” Lt. Col. Andrew Watson said at the conference room dedication, as reported by Military.com. He said he would run to safety only once he had gotten everyone in the building out.”

Probably the best write up from the time is by James B. Stewart in The New Yorker.

The title as you’ll find in the New Yorker article is a quote from Rick Rescorla.

“”Men of Cornwall stop your dreaming
Can’t you see their spear points gleaming?
See their warriors’ pennants streaming
To this battlefield.
Men of Cornwall stand ye steady
It cannot be ever said ye
for the battle were not ready.
STAND AND NEVER YIELD!
– “Men of Harlech”
Sung by Rick Rescorla in the Ia Drang Valley 1965 and in the stairway of WTC Tower 2 on September 11, 2001″”

 

1066/1776 and all that

1776

Another one of Jessica’s from that 2013 series today. It’s hard to believe how clearly she saw what was coming in the next decade, back in 2013. Neo

It is hard to pin down what you mean by culture, but despite the efforts of the MSM to pretend that our culture comes from all sorts of wonderful and weird places such as Kenya, the values on which this country was formed were those of a Christian heritage. It was a particular type of heritage. The early pilgrims were of British descent and of Protestant inclination. They were men and women who saw themselves as like the Israelites of old – in the wilderness, building a new Jerusalem – a shining city on a hill. But they also brought with them something from their British heritage – a love of law and freedom. Unlike some countries where the law was seen as the enemy of freedom, in England, from Magna Carta onward, it was seen as the protection of the liberties of the people.

But those Barons of Norman descent at Runnymede did not invent that idea; they inherited it.  The Normans were, as befitted the descendants of Scandinavian pirates, a tough lot; they could not have taken so much land if they had not been. But in England they found the descendants of other men from the North, the Saxons, and those Saxons had developed their own way of doing things.

For all that modern historians doubt the idea that the Saxons developed a form of consultative government via the Witan, that was not what those who settled America believed. They came with the idea that democracy had begun in the Saxon forests, and they applied it in the wilderness they settled. These were tough men and women too, but they valued freedom above all things. For that the crossed the Atlantic in small ships; for that they endured the hardships of building a new Jerusalem. Sustained by their Christian faith, and strong in their love of freedom, these people forged a nation and a culture. It was the threat to that from the German tyrant George which drove them to rebellion. Kipling expressed it best here:

1776

after
The  snow lies thick on Valley Forge,
The ice on the Delaware,
But the poor dead soldiers of King George
They neither know nor care.

Not though the earliest primrose break
On the sunny side of the lane,
And scuffling rookeries awake
Their England’ s spring again.

They will not stir when the drifts are gone,
Or the ice melts out of the bay:
And the men that served with Washington
Lie all as still as they.

They will  not  stir  though  the mayflower blows
In the moist dark woods of pine,
And every rock-strewn pasture shows
Mullein and columbine.

Each for his land, in a fair fight,
Encountered strove, and died,
And the kindly earth that knows no spite
Covers them side by side.

She is too busy to think of war;
She has all the world to make gay;
And,  behold, the yearly flowers are
Where they were in our fathers’ day!

Golden-rod by the pasture-wall
When the columbine is dead,
And sumach leaves that turn, in fall,
Bright as the blood they shed.

It was a brothers’ war, and when it was over they bore no real ill-will and became friends and allies.

They could do that because of a shared love of freedom and the same concept of justice. There was no need to ask what culture was, and those uncounted millions who found in the New World a haven, embraced those values – so much so that people took them for granted – they were surely universal. Rule for the people and by the people did not fade from that land, and even after a second and bloodier war of brothers, the nation united around those shared values. To become an American was a great a noble ambition for every immigrant. It never meant junking your ancestor’s past, but it did mean embracing a better life – and recognising the values of your new country which made that possible.

Somewhere, and we can speculate where and how, that simple truth got mislaid by our rulers. The next few posts explore some of this – and invite you all to think about it with us.

It was, in fact, the Second English Civil War, for all that we call it The American Revolution, and like almost all revolutions in the Anglophone world, it was brought on by a longing for the ‘good, old law’. And that is what we accomplished here. Burke commented in 1775 that our forebearers left England when freedom was at its height and that is true. England has often backslid and never again attained that height. We have for various reasons done better (until now) at maintaining it here. But in the last century, we too have slipped, and now we stare in the face of the fourth of the cousin’s wars, like the first involving us on both sides of the Atlantic. Between yesterday’s post and today’s Jessica posted a warning. This is it. Neo

Mad as Hell in the UK

Mad as hellJessica wrote this for us on May 4, 2013, just after UKIP scared the Conservative party by winning lots of council seats (sort of analogous to state offices here). In it, she tells us of the temper of the British electorate. This was the election that scared Cameron enough to bring the Referendum on Brexit to the people. 

Sadly the so-called elites didn’t read their Kipling and they still have no idea how infuriated the electorate is with them. They gave the Tories the chance to make Brexit work, and they intentionally screwed it up.

It’s not very different here, except for the fact that this President reflects the people, not the elites. My comment at the time makes a reasonable introduction, and the original is here. It has some other good comments.

Yep, that’s what I read, from your election as well. You’re in the same spot we are, your government no longer reflects the electorate, and in fact has got itself crossways with us/ you.

Martin does sound fine-just as we have holdouts from Potomac fever, not enough but some, and I think their number will increase, in both countries, if our people have enough sense to say things directly, without worry of stepping on toes.

Time will tell, of course, but I am quite encouraged by your election, as I have been for the most part by the direction Canada has been taking the last few years, now, if we can get on the ball as well, what could we accomplish. Neo

UK Local Election: Triumph of Real Conservatism and Sea Change in British Politics.

If this were the USA it would be called an insurgency. The United Kingdom Independence Party has had a good set of local election results, winning many local council seats.  The media in the UK is seeing this as a protest vote, although I am not sure that the established political parties really understand what is being protested.

There is a controversial historian called David Starkey who, speaking on the BBC the other night, nailed it for me and for many.  Appearing on a discussion programme, he pointed out that most of his fellow panelists, including the deputy leader of the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrat politician, and even including the chairman of the programme, were all there because of hereditary factors; their parents had struggled to make money and made enough of it so that their children had advantages in life; now those same children, taking their position for granted, were trying, in the name of a spurious equality, to deny the same opportunity to others. Only two panelists  himself and the Conservative Minister, had to make their own way in life.  The broadcaster clearly objected, but had no answer because what Starkey had said was true. He had said that which should not be said – that the country is ruled by a self-perpetuating elite who all went to the same type of public school, the same universities and who have never had a job in the real world.

I suppose I should ‘fess up. I went to a Public (that is private) School myself, and whilst not going to Oxford or Cambridge, I did go to one of our older universities. But like many such, I went out into the real world (or the nearest equivalent) in order to earn a living, and I don’t obsess about politics, and I earn my own living.

What UKIP is tapping into is the feeling of many of that our Government and the established political parties are much of a muchness; all the same.  From issues such as gay marriage across to control over immigration and who stays in this country and who doesn’t, we feel no one is listening. I don’t smoke, but I don’t see why you can’t smoke in a public house, and whilst I like going to Europe, I don’t want to be ruled from Brussels by a bunch of people I didn’t elect and can’t get rid of.  As it happens, where I live we had no UKIP candidate, and the Conservative is an old friend of my co-author’s who farms locally and owns a chain of butcher’s shops which provides a lot of work locally; anyone less out of touch than Martin would be hard to find; so I voted for him with enthusiasm.

But Martin is not typical of our elected politicians, and there is here a sense that we are ‘mad as hell’ and won’t take it any more.

In the end in a democracy we are ruled by our consent. When an hereditary political class starts behaving as though we need its consent, then democracy itself is in danger.  Yes, tell us, MSM, that our views are not ‘acceptable’ and that there is only a narrowish set of things we are allowed to think and say, and then run with that, but all you do is make many of us angry. We no longer have to accept the MSM, there’s a lot of better places to get your news. Nor do we have to accept the arrogance of a political elite which mistakes itself for having a divine right to rule over us.  That is what this local election is telling the main parties – and I cannot think they even know how to listen. But if they don’t, then they will continue to take a pasting from us until they do – or are replaced.

And now after a further six years, British conservative sound as enraged as we are, maybe even more so.  This started a series of posts between us, and I think a few more of them may show up. They are still quite apt. Neo

Remember, Remember, the Fifth of November

A little something for our English cousins.

Tonight they’ll try to set a bonfire to burn England down. Why? Because back in 1605 Guy Fawkes was caught before he had time to light the fuse on 30 some odd barrels of gunpowder under parliament, in an attempt to destroy Parliament and the King (James I), thereby setting the stage for the restoration of the Catholic Church.

It’s often said in England that Guy Fawkes was the last man to enter Parliament with an honest purpose. I think all of us in the English speaking world can nod and agree, whether it’s Westminster, Washington, Ottowa,   or any of the others.

I like the idea because, in a rather twisted way, it should serve as a warning to our governments. That it doesn’t is tragic, but the people will, at the last, have their way, whatever the ‘elites’ think

It has long since become nonsectarian although very often an effigy of Guy Fawkes is on the pyre. But mostly it’s a good excuse for a bonfire and fireworks, indeed rather like the 4th of July, where we really don’t rail much about old King George anymore.

It was celebrated here until the Revolution as well, especially in New England, where the effigy of Guy Fawkes was sometimes joined by one of the Pope. It was banned by General Washington while the Continental Army occupied Boston in the Revolution so as not to over inflame the residents, and pretty much never resumed.

St. Crispin/Crispians Day

Well, it’s St Crispin’s Day again, and that makes it a day to talk of the bravery of English and American armed forces, not that there is ever a bad day for that. St. Crispin’s Day is a pretty good encapsulation of our military histories though, always brave, sometimes badly led, and more often than not, victorious.

From Wikipedia: “Saint Crispin’s Day falls on 25 October and is the feast day of the Christian Saints Crispin and Crispinian , twins who were martyred c. 286.” That’s where the day gets its name. What it’s famous for is the battles of the English-speaking peoples that have been fought on it. The fact that we have fought some of our most famous battles on a day name for twins, I find interesting.

The first we will look at took place during the “Hundred Years War”. Henry V of England with a small army was on his way to Calais, getting chased all over northern France by Constable Charles d’Albret of France. The French King (Charles VI) was mentally incapacitated. Henry was heavily outnumbered and decided to arouse his exhausted army before the battle by giving a speech.

The English won the battle with ridiculously low casualties while wreaking havoc on the French forces. The reason for this was the English (and Welsh) longbowmen, making this the first battle since Roman times when infantry was anything but a rabble for the knights to ride down.

For this reason, Agincourt is often cited as a victory for the freemen of England over the aristocracy.

Battle number two for the day wasn’t so kind to the British.

This one was a cavalry charge against Russian Artillery. It was commanded by Lord Raglan (Yes, the sleeves are named for him). The orders he issued were vague and Lord Cardigan (Yes, he designed the sweater) executed the worst possible interpretation of them. The charge was carried out by the British light cavalry brigade which consisted of the 4th and 13th Light Dragoons, 17th Lancers, and the 8th and 11th Hussars, whose bravery we have never forgotten. It was too well immortalized.

Charge of the Light Brigade

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
‘Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns’ he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

—Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Here’s a visual version.

It should be added that Great Britain didn’t do a great job of taking care of their veterans (neither did the U.S.) in those days.  Rudyard Kipling had this to say:

The Last of the Light Brigade

There were thirty million English who talked of England’s might,
There were twenty broken troopers who lacked a bed for the night.
They had neither food nor money, they had neither service nor trade;
They were only shiftless soldiers, the last of the Light Brigade.

They felt that life was fleeting; they knew not that art was long,
That though they were dying of famine, they lived in deathless song.
They asked for a little money to keep the wolf from the door;
And the thirty million English sent twenty pounds and four !

They laid their heads together that were scarred and lined and grey;
Keen were the Russian sabres, but want was keener than they;
And an old Troop-Sergeant muttered, “Let us go to the man who writes
The things on Balaclava the kiddies at school recites.”

They went without bands or colours, a regiment ten-file strong,
To look for the Master-singer who had crowned them all in his song;
And, waiting his servant’s order, by the garden gate they stayed,
A desolate little cluster, the last of the Light Brigade.

They strove to stand to attention, to straighten the toil-bowed back;
They drilled on an empty stomach, the loose-knit files fell slack;
With stooping of weary shoulders, in garments tattered and frayed,
They shambled into his presence, the last of the Light Brigade.

The old Troop-Sergeant was spokesman, and “Beggin’ your pardon,” he said,
“You wrote o’ the Light Brigade, sir. Here’s all that isn’t dead.
An’ it’s all come true what you wrote, sir, regardin’ the mouth of hell;
For we’re all of us nigh to the workhouse, an’ we thought we’d call an’ tell.

“No, thank you, we don’t want food, sir; but couldn’t you take an’ write
A sort of ‘to be continued’ and ‘see next page’ o’ the fight?
We think that someone has blundered, an’ couldn’t you tell ’em how?
You wrote we were heroes once, sir. Please, write we are starving now.”

The poor little army departed, limping and lean and forlorn.
And the heart of the Master-singer grew hot with “the scorn of scorn.”
And he wrote for them wonderful verses that swept the land like flame,
Till the fatted souls of the English were scourged with the thing called Shame.

They sent a cheque to the felon that sprang from an Irish bog;
They healed the spavined cab-horse; they housed the homeless dog;
And they sent (you may call me a liar), when felon and beast were paid,
A cheque, for enough to live on, to the last of the Light Brigade.

O thirty million English that babble of England’s might,
Behold there are twenty heroes who lack their food to-night;
Our children’s children are lisping to “honour the charge they made – ”
And we leave to the streets and the workhouse the charge of the Light Brigade!

OK, that’s two, only one more to go, 90 years later, to the day, halfway around the world

The Battle of Leyte Gulf

This time it’s the US Navy and the Imperial Japanese Navy.

The Japanese realized that losing the Philippine Islands meant losing the war put everything they had left into this battle. Here a chart that shows the relative strengths.

Navy Large carriers Small Carriers Aircraft Embarked Battleships Cruisers Destroyers
United States 8 24  1712 12  24 141 
Japan 1 117 9  20 34

from: http://www.angelfire.com/fm/odyssey/LEYTE_GULF_Summary_of_the_Battle_.htm

From the chart, you can see how amazingly the USN had recovered from Pearl Harbor and the early battles of the war. You should also note that if the ship is not engaged in the battle it doesn’t count for much, so here we go.

The Japanese had a complicated plan depending on close timing between forces coming from various ports and operating under what we call EMCOM now. Essentially radio silence; meaning they couldn’t coordinate their attacks.

The Japanese carriers which had essentially no planes or pilots were used as a decoy force to try to pull Halsey’s 3d fleet away to the north. This worked, although it took them a long time to attract the American’s attention. When they were finally spotted Halsey went charging off after them until he was almost in gunshot and then turned around to help 7th fleet (which we are coming to). This also ended up being too late, so America’s premier naval force mostly sailed around burning oil and accomplishing not much of anything.

The Japanese Centre Force was first spotted in the Palawan Passage by the submarines Darter and Dace. Darter sank the Heavy Cruiser Atago which was Admiral Kurita’s flagship and Dace sank the Takao and severely damaged the Maya, which was forced to withdraw.

Halsey’s force made 259 sorties against the Centre Force eventually sinking the battleship Musashi with her 18.1-inch guns. They also did damage to some other ships. But Kurita made for the San Bernadino Strait at night with 4 battleships and 6 heavy and 3 light cruisers all fully operational.

Meanwhile, the Japanese Southern force including two elderly battleships under Admirals Nishimura and Shima were spotted on the morning of the 24th and Admiral Kincaid who realized they would attempt to attack the landing through the Surigao Strait was preparing to meet them. Kincaid’s 7th fleet had plenty of power for this.

The Battle of Surigao Strait

Rear Admiral Jesse Oldendorf had 6 old battleships (5 of which had been sunk at Pearl Harbor), 4 Heavy and 4 Light Cruisers, 26 destroyers and 39 PT Boats. He deployed his lighter ship along the side of the strait and formed his battle line. PT 131 made the first contact and for 3 and a half hours the squadron attacked the Japanese force without a hit but, providing contact reports to the force. As Nishimura’s forces entered the strait the American destroyers attacked; hitting both battleships, the Yamishira was able to continue but, Fuso blew up and sank. Admiral Shima with the 2d Striking Force was much discouraged when he came upon the burning halves and other wreckage of the destroyer attack and decided to withdraw. So as Admiral Nishimura emerged from the strait to engage Oldendorf’s battle line, he had 1 Battleship, 1 Cruiser, and 1 Destroyer. Oldendorf crossed his “T”. Parenthetically this is what Lord Nelson risked with his battle plan at Trafalgar that we talked about a few days ago. The American Battleline started firing as they got range information (some had radar rangefinders and some didn’t) at about 30,000 yards. The Battleship was sunk, the Cruiser wrecked and somehow the Destroyer escaped. This was the last surface gun action in history.

The battle off Samar

7th fleet had 18 escort carriers divided into thee task units. They were equipped for fighting submarines and providing air cover to the landing, not for a full-on naval battle. These are usually referred to by their radio call signs Taffy 1, Taffy 2, and the most northerly, Taffy 3 under Rear Admiral Clifton Sprague. It was a routine morning until at 0647 Ensign Jensen from the Kadashan Bay sighted (and attacked) a force that he accurately reported as 4 Battleships and 8 Cruisers. The surprise was complete. A few minutes later heavy shells began falling around the carriers.

Admiral Sprague was in trouble. He was being chased by heavily armed warships which were considerably faster than his escort carriers and were already in range. He also had very few weapons that could hurt them. He started chasing shell splashes, making smoke, running away, and yelling for help, from 3d fleet, 7th fleet, a merciful God, or somewhere. At 0716 he also ordered his three destroyers, the Hoel, the Herrmann, and the Johnston, to counterattack the Japanese which they did with incredible bravery. At 0750 the Destroyer escorts also attacked. Remember these are anti-submarine ships with 5-inch and 3-inch guns going on the attack against Battleships and Heavy Cruisers. Not terribly different from charging the Russian guns 90 years before. They attacked with torpedoes and guns and managed to disrupt the Japanese formation enough to give Sprague a chance to get away. All the available aircraft also attacked even though they weren’t carrying the proper (if any) ordnance for this work, they strafed and buzzed and annoyed the Japanese though.

By 0945 the Johnston, the Hoel and destroyer escort Samuel B. Roberts had been sunk. and the escort carrier Gambier Bay was hit repeatedly by 8-inch shells and sank at 0907.

But Kurita had lost control of his formation (and was probably worrying about when 3d fleet would turn up) and broke off the action at 0911.

While Taffy 3 was doing all this, Taffy 1 was subjected to the first organized use of that new weapon: the Kamikaze, Taffy three would be so attacked in the afternoon.

And so we have St Crispin’s Day, a day of mostly victorious battle for the English-speaking peoples. The English win one with a “Band of Brothers”; the British lose one heroically and gloriously, and the Americans win one part easily, live through a terrible nightmare, while the American varsity is off hunting empty carriers.

 

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