Jesus wept.

I saw a version of what you will see in the link on Facebook this morning. Crying and outrage don’t make good mornings. But that’s ok because people seem to have fifteen-minute memories and this is vitally important.

Our resident historians will have much to add, I suspect, and I look forward to their reactions to the article and pictures in the link. I watched the FB version four times. The first reaction was shock and horror. The second reaction was crying. The third reaction was outrage. The fourth reaction is this article I’m writing.

[There’s quite a bit more of this anti-Semitic death porn at the link above and below. Neo]

I tried really hard to keep an open mind about the tourist pictures, tried to find excuses – they’re young; they’re on vacation; this is the selfie generation to which I have no connection and no understanding; young people are thoughtless at this age. None of it worked. I can find no excuse that makes their selfies youthful exuberance or plain thoughtlessness. There is a distinct and pointed deliberateness about them that is unforgivable.

Again I have to refer to the documentary by Ken Burns, The War. The staff interviews with some of the men who were actually there, who actually helped to liberate the death camps, are indelibly printed on my brain and my heart. The documentary was filmed in 2006 if I remember correctly, and the men well deep in age, and even then, all those years after, their eyes and their faces register the horror of what they saw – the inconceivable brutality of true evil.

I am so grateful to the young Israeli, Shahak Shapira, (who lives in Germany) for creating the translation of what those ‘tourists’ were actually doing. If a picture speaks a thousand words, imagine what his images speak. Ignorance, disrespect, callousness, self before anything or anyone. I think he did a brilliant piece of work and should be commended.

Indeed. Jesus wept.

[Audre saw the TV series (as did I) but I also knew men who liberated Ohrdruf Concentration Camp. The first camp liberated by the US Army. They were armored infantrymen in the 4th Armored Division who came into France at Utah Beach on 11 July 1944 and became the spearhead of Patton’s 3d US Army. Amongst other things, they were the men who relieved Bastogne. They ended the war at Strakonice,  Czechoslovakia. They saw all the horror that the European Theater had to offer. When I knew them twenty years later, they tried to explain KZ Ordruf to me, knowing my interest in the military. All three of them failed, just sitting there at lunch with tears streaming down their faces, and the most haunted look I have ever seen. That’s what the very foolish kids are making light of here. I can think of nothing more despicable. Jesus indeed wept, and I thank God my friends and co-workers died without seeing this new horror. Neo]

Hypocrisy, Valor, and Prayer

Well, something new today and something that pleases me greatly. We are featuring a post by a guest author, whose nom de internet is 39 Pontiac Dream. He’s a friend of both Audre and me and lives in north Norfolk, England. It’s something I’ve wanted ever since Jess left, I find the English view of events here informative, and like so many of us, I care about what is happening to the cousins. So, Here’s Pontiac

The Hair Raising Hypocrisy of the Media

Take this title with a pinch of salt. It’s nothing more thanconjecture on my part, in relation to hat some might see as quite superfluous. In the UK, though, this superfluous musingcould potentially mean something quite different.

As Tina (my better other half as Neo and Audre will tell you) and I were watching the news ecently, Tina turned to me and asked, “who is doing their hair and makeup?” A relatively straight forward question with a simple answer in normal times however, here in good old Blighty, the hair and beautysector are being told that they will be some of the last businesses to reopen, considering the close and personal contact with their clients. If, however, those in the media are still using them, then they are disobeying the lockdown measures they propagate every day. Tina informs me (I’m a bloke – how the hell would I know?!) that hair and makeup, in relation to television, is a tricky business. The makeup, for one, and considering the cameras, the lighting, the heat in the studio has to be applied to ensure the presenters look completely natural. Apparently, that takes years of training and is not something a presenter would know how to do. With regards hair, not one of our news presenters or reporters look any different, presentation wise, to how they did before the lockdown. Some on the BBC insist they’ve been doing it themselves but I seriously doubt that. If they are, indeed, cutting their own hair, then inevitably there’d be someone who has made a mistake; cut one side higher than the other; cut a chunk out of the back of their hair leaving a bald spot. Inadvertently cut their fringe too short. There are no tell tale mishaps to back up their claims that they are doing it themselves which makes me suspect that they are not doing it themselves, as they say. They should, to all intents and purposes, all look as dishevelled as Boris Johnson does on one of his morning runs but they don’t so I ask again – who is styling these presenters?

If they’re not breaking the rules and are doing it themselves then you have to ask whether the stylists the BBC (and other channels) usually employ are now surplus to requirements
because I see no difference in how they look now to how they looked before.

I have no idea whether this sector, in the States, is suffering in the same way as it is here in Britain but I’m surprised no one has even thought to ask.

As I told Pontiac, likely they are employees of the network and considered essential, because TV makeup is pretty specialized. It can also be important. Back in 1960, the presidential candidates had a debate, Nixon refused makeup and Kennedy did not. By the transcript, it was nearly a draw, but Nixon won on the radio (more important then than now, of course) but Kennedy won on TV. Something to think about. But it is pretty hypocritical.

So say “Hi” to Pontiac in comments and let us know what you think, as well.


Today is an anniversary as well, of course, as most here will remember. Today 76 years ago, it must have felt pretty lonely in Southern England, as some million soldiers mounted the invasion of the continent that would result in VE day in about 10 months.

On April 2d of that year, A.P. Herbert published a poem that we should remember more than we do.

Boadicea from the Bridge looked down,
And saw the Yankee tanks invade the town.
Boadicea held her head more high
To hail the Sherman and the proud G.I.
‘Eyes right!’ she said. ‘Fine fellows though you are,
You’re not the first to drive an armoured car.
Halt, soldiers, halt! For here is one can tell
A tale of fighting chariots as well.
Look up, brave girls. In a.d. 61
I led the lads, and saw the Roman run.
God speed you too against an alien mob:
God bless you all for joining in the job.
By Grant! By Sherman!’ said the queen of queens.
I wish I’d had such men, and such machines.’

They passed. And Parliament, across the way,
Discussed the principle of equal pay.

I can remember waking up every Saturday to watch TV at 6:30 in the morning, no, not cartoons, a show called The Big Picture made by the Signal Corps. It showed various things the army was up to and was pretty interesting. This is one episode.

 

The Longest Day indeed, for here the future of Europe was decided for a generation by the Anglo Saxon powers. They went in with our prayers behind them, of course. In the United States led by the President.

The Strange Death of Europe

It’s probably safe to assume that many of you have heard of Douglas Murray’s The Strange Death of Europe. Murray is an Associate Editor of The Spectator and the author of The Madness of Crowds as well. It’s another one of those splendid interviews we have come to expect from Peter Robinson and The Hoover Institution.

There’s little to add to this, it’s his view, and it is a valid view, and in fact, it is very close to my own view, just better expressed. Except perhaps to wonder whether the United States can survive the death of our parent society.


And in an endnote of sorts, Chik Fil A announced yesterday that its charitable arm will no longer support the Salvation Army. That’s well within its purview so I’ll make no comment on it. What is within my purview is what I spend my money on, and it will not be with a hypocritical so-called Christian business who does not support the most effective Christian charity in the world. I find few things more irritating than hypocrisy, especially in favor of perhaps 1% of the population, whom the Sally Army already helps as necessary.

The Salvation Army is the only national/international charity that I find worthy of my money, and as such, for a Christian charity to not support it is beyond my personal pale.

Eat Mor Beef.

That does not mean I’m calling for a boycott or any other action. I’m merely stating what I will do. You do what you think is right.

A Brexpanation of the Mess in Westminster

This is, I think, a very good view of Britain as it prepares for what may thankfully be the last phase of Brexit.  It’s from Helen Dale writing in London for Law & Liberty. Let’s take a look.

At time of writing, Boris Johnson has opened a commanding lead in the race to be Conservative Party leader and thus Prime Minister, confirming one of my father’s bits of life advice: “always bet on self-interest, Helen; it’s the only horse that’s trying”. Whether Boris will have a country to govern come July 22 is, however, something of a moot point.

Let me tell you about Brexit Britain, which is in the process of breaking the Big Electric Trainset in the Palace of Westminster.

Since the 23rd of June 2016, when the UK voted to “leave” the European Union, colossal fissures — hitherto obscured from view — have opened in the body politic. More Conservatives voted Leave than Labourites, but Labour represents the most passionately pro-Remain constituencies in the country and the most passionately pro-Leave ones. This means both parties have taken to destroying themselves internally rather than dealing with the vote’s implications.

The Tories are more culpable because they formed government during this period. They stuck with Theresa May, a leader who lacks every leadership quality apart from perseverance and who managed to lose a 20 per cent poll lead against an antediluvian Marxist after calling a completely unnecessary general election. This election produced a hung parliament and forced May’s Tories into a confidence and supply arrangement with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), a Northern Irish outfit that is, to put it mildly, full of strange characters.

Thanks in part to the immense distraction of said unnecessary election, May and her Cabinet Office hangers-on made a complete hash of negotiating Brexit. They failed to appreciate — while slow and ponderous and beset with terrible problems of its own (Italy, Greece, Hungary, people in France attempting to re-run 1789, etc.) — the EU must defend itself on Brexit or risk being torn asunder.

There’s a lot in that. Because Mrs. May fiddled around while the Conservative party burned around her, the EU itself is backed into a corner. Back when the referendum passed, it might have been possible to let the UK go without too many repercussions in the EU itself, at least obviously, and like HMG, the people running the EU give no indication of being deep thinkers. But now, they have something of a continent-wide revolt on their hands, caused not least by Brexit, and so now everybody thinks they are fighting in the last ditch.

They may well be correct in that belief. It’s hard to see Britain surviving as a sovereign country if they take May’s Withdrawal Agreement, which to me (and to most of my British friends) looks slightly more harsh than Versailles agreement that ended the Great War did to Germany. It’s also increasingly hard to see the EU surviving the loss of its second largest contributor.

It is not Project Fear to point out that tariffs will make our goods unappealing to buyers in the EU; that is their point. A large number of British businesses will be affected and many of them will go bust. Industries that cannot relocate, such as Welsh lamb farmers — who depend overwhelmingly on exports — will go to the wall and they will not go quietly (nor should they).

On the other hand, shoppers will be free of EU tariffs on imports and will be able to buy generally superior Commonwealth (Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Canada) agricultural produce at a lower price. This is an undoubted benefit of leaving the EU properly but is also a reminder that neither EU nor UK agriculture is remotely competitive with Australian or Canadian agriculture.

That’s very true, and unlike 2016, the United States has a president that believes in Brexit and is willing to do a very good trade agreement, and our agriculture would make for overwhelming pressure on UK farmers, that’s one of the reasons that the EU’s agriculture tariffs are so high. But agriculture isn’t merely another business, aside from the fact that being able to feed yourself (or come close) is a strategic matter, for all of us agriculture is our base, it is how we grew our countries. That’s true for Britain, and France, and Germany, but also Canada and the United States, and Australia. It’s much more important to all of us than business, it’s very deep in our personalities.

One of the reasons the 2016 EU Referendum was so destructive of civil society is because Westminster is a system of representative democracy. We elect MPs to make law, and it is their role to deliberate in Parliament and make decisions on behalf of those they represent, but not at their behest. Over its long development, anything even vaguely populist was drained out of the UK’s constitutional architecture. Politicians are not supposed to keep picking at some electoral scab or another using direct democracy. 2016 was thus a horrible disruption of the constitutional order precisely because referendums are not how one does things.

A referendum became necessary, though, as the UK outsourced so many legislative competencies — most importantly trade and immigration — to the EU. Constitutionally, the electorate entrusts MPs with legislative power, but Parliament had no authority to give that power away; it required a popular mandate. Britain’s greatest constitutional lawyer, Professor Vernon Bogdanor, pointed out that a referendum should have been held in 1993 (before signing the Maastricht Treaty). His advice was ignored. Instead, former Prime Minister David Cameron, Bognanor’s most famous student, was forced by circumstances to lance the national boil in 2016.

UK politicians have legislated and governed within such a constrained field for so long they are now literally out of practice. Westminster is no more than a Big Electric Trainset. The concomitant loss of capacity among civil servants is notable. It is difficult, for example, to imagine the Home Office replicating Australia’s points-based immigration system, even if it wanted to.

And that is the baseline, I think. I can remember a very good friend telling me that the reason that every governmental function in Britain is Londoncentric is because there are no competent people in local government. I suspect he is correct. The problem now (that neither of us suspected then) is that there are none in Westminster, either.

Maybe Boris Johnson can find some, or Nigel Garage, or somebody. Because it is important that some develop from somewhere, or the whole thing is gonna fail.

Do read the whole article at Brexplaining the UK’s Future. It’s excellent.

Videos from the President’s Visit

The video album from the state visit and D-day 75.

And the return toast

This I totally missed, and like it immensely.

This is nice

A cheeky Brit; Good on him

Piers seems to have changed since he went home.

And the highlight, the president on Omaha Beach

 

NATO at 70

Walter A. McDougall has a superb article up at Law and Liberty, recapping the history of NATO. While it’s quite long as articles go, it is the best short form history of the alliance I’ve read, as far as I can remember, ever. So you should too.

In just a few days, delegations from the member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will gather in Washington to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the longest-lasting multilateral alliance in modern history.

They shall recall how NATO fostered unity, strength, and will among Western democracies for 40 years and prevailed over the Soviet bloc without a shot being fired. They shall also congratulate themselves on the subsequent 30 years during which the membership expanded from 16 to 29, the mission expanded far beyond collective security, and the area of operations expanded as far afield as Afghanistan. But unchecked inflation is often a symptom of institutional senility rather than vitality.

Perhaps the Americans who steered NATO on its present course were simply anxious to provide new raisons d’être for an alliance whose real target disappeared with the Cold War. Perhaps President Donald Trump had a point when he called NATO obsolete. Perhaps the years of its life are “three score and ten, or by reason of strength fourscore” (Psalm 90:10), in which case, this decennial may be its last.

The threat that gave birth to NATO—the communist bloc—ceased to exist 30 years ago. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics collapsed two years after that, reducing Muscovy back to its 17th century boundaries. During the 1990s Russia’s economy contracted by 45 percent and has not grown much since. The Russian defense budget today is 72 percent less than the last Soviet one. And while Vladimir Putin pretends Russia is a world power, even he admitted in his Munich address of 2007 that the Cold War’s bipolarity had been replaced by a hegemony in which the United States is the “one center of authority, one center of force, one center of decision-making,” and has “overstepped its national borders in every way.”[1] Most galling for Putin was the fact that the United States exploited Russian weakness to expand NATO up to and even into the boundaries of the defunct Soviet Union.

Nothing resembling the threat of Josef Stalin’s empire and Red Army exists today and Europeans are well aware of that, which is why only three European governments met the target—2 percent of GNP—for defense spending in 2017. Germans, French, and Italians simply do not feel threatened by Russia. Hence the “free rider” dilemma of a United States that accounts for 71.7 percent of NATO’s defense expenditures in 2017 has only become more acute, not less, since the end of Cold War.[2]

The voracious engulfment by NATO of nearly all countries west of Russia likewise risks its cohesion. The alliance motto, which looms on the wall overlooking the grand conference room in its Brussels headquarters, reads: Animus in consulendo liber (“A mind unfettered in deliberation”). But the fact is that NATO’s deliberations have always been fettered by its unanimity rule. Consensus was hard enough to achieve among the original 12, not to mention the current 29 governments each with own agenda . . . unless, of course, member states just surrender to the will of the United States.

It would appear that NATO today has become both “too big to fail” and “too big to work.” Some day, NATO’s credibility will be put to a test that its constituent states will be unable or unwilling to pass.

Empire by Invitation

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, like so many initiatives identified with the United States, was a British invention.[3] In 1948, Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin begged Americans to identify with the Brussels Pact, which Britain, France, and the Benelux countries had just concluded. Bevin’s premises were that Soviet obstruction had crippled the United Nations as an instrument for collective security; that Europe’s postwar democracies were too weak to defend themselves; and that the Marshall Plan could not succeed unless Europeans were assured of a U.S. military commitment.

There are lots of truths here, not least of them that, while I would not use the term empire, Europe has become an American (and to some extent, British) protectorate. Not so much because we wanted it to, as because it is certainly easier to let someone else defend you, especially if you are a believer in globalism. Most of Europe is, that’s why the European Union keeps talking about unity.

If the US hasn’t done anything else, we’ve made an intra-European war nearly impossible for the near future, they’ve all disarmed.

One of my friends is a British expat living quite happily in Siberia, I think from what we tell each other, he would agree heartily with the conclusions in this article, and I see much merit in them as well.

I can’t say that America really wishes Russia any ill, because I don’t think we, in general, do, but we often don’t think things through very well before we do stuff, often for domestic reasons, that may have adverse effects on others.

In any case, read the article linked above, and tell me what you think.

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