Brexit Voted Still Again and Buying Indoctrination

via Victory Girls; Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy/Public Domain

So Teresa May’s (very slightly) modified Withdrawal Agreement failed still again in Parliament yesterday. That’s a very good thing since what it primarily did was sell British sovereignty and the legislative role to the EU. The law says Britain leaves on WTO terms at the end of the month, but the cowardly Parliament and government are openly working to thwart the law. What happens now? I have no clue, if you do, tell me. What should happen is a general election and the replacement of every dishonorable member who has forgotten who he works for and what they told him to do. Most of the government and a fair slice of the (not so) Civil Service would be improved by spending some time at Her Majesty’s Tower of London. Sadly, that is the most unlikely outcome. The swamp in Westminster may be deeper and more viscous than the one in Washington.


In other news, now comes news that some 50 people are at some place in the process of being arrested for bribery. It seems they thought their kids needed some extra help to get into those elite schools that educate swamp creatures, so they paid someone to lie for them. Toni Williams at Victory Girls explains.

About 50 people have had arrest warrants issued, been arrested, are negotiating their arrest or are being pursued in connection with a college cheating scandal code named “Operation Varsity Blues”. Parents paying to get their mouth breathing, drooling spawn into schools the little idiots are not qualified to attend. If you missed the press conference today, it was absolutely jaw dropping. Not shocking or surprising just jaw dropping.

While the rest of us honorable schmucks were paying for college board prep tests (my son wouldn’t go) or at least begging our little cherubs to get a good night’s sleep prior to the test (nope to that one, too), these elitists, who are so much better than we are, schemed with a weasel named William Singer to phony up the test scores for the college boards, create phony elite athlete profiles and get their kids into college as athletes or just plain bribe college officials. And, then as if these elitists didn’t disdain us enough, they claimed the costs as charitable contributions on their tax returns. You cannot make this excrement up.

Actress Lori Loughlin (Aunt Becky on Full House) and her husband, Target fashion designer, Mossimo Gianulli are two of the parents caught in the web of lies. From Deadline Hollywood:

Loughlin and her spouse Mossimo Gianulli “agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew — thereby facilitating their admission to USC,” asserts the grand jury indictment.

Gianulli has been charged.

No real surprise, I think, except the prosecutions. And for that matter, anybody think these spawn went to school to learn anything useful, or just to get a meaningless piece of paper for the wall, and a four (or more) year party. So while the illegality should be punished, I don’t see many victims here, the parents had way more money than sense, the schools have long since giving up educating for indoctrinating, and the kids are there for the sex, and drugs, and rock and roll, or whatever it is now. Hard to get too excited.

The Eagle and the Dragon

David Runciman wants you to know that the 21st Century will be China’s just as the 20th was America’s. Isn’t that special! Maybe, but frankly, I doubt it. So does Steven W. Mosher, who writes about that in American Greatness.

Let’s take a look.

America’s best days are behind it, says David Runciman, in his book, How Democracy Ends.

Runciman sounds for all the world like a big “D” Democrat—a member of the political party that, at least since the time of Jimmy Carter, has specialized in “malaise.” The Democrat “two-step” goes like this. First, they cause “malaise” by hamstringing the economy, then they highlight it as an excuse to enact government programs that make even more people dependent upon the welfare state they control.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, specializes in “robust good health.” His booming optimism is reminiscent of Teddy Roosevelt’s. You can almost imagine him charging up San Juan Hill. How invigorating and refreshing to see energy, rather than excuses, in the Oval Office.

Like Roosevelt and Reagan, Trump believes that America’s best days are ahead of it.

Mosher goes on to note that it is China that has started to decline since the American people decided to turn our back on despair and dependency by electing Trump. He says, and I agree, it might have been true if we had elected Clinton.

But we didn’t. We elected Trump, a proven fighter who fights to win and is already doing so, as we see China and the EU start to slip into recession. Mind you, trade is not a strictly a win-lose game. Done properly it is a win-win thing. But the US has been playing a sucker’s bet since 1945, first intended to help the world to recover, and then out of habit until it was starting to really hurt America. To every thing, there is a time, wrote the Teacher, and the time to hurt ourselves to help others is no more.

While the Brits may not have caught on to the fact that America’s best days are ahead of it, the Democrats have. Witness the increasingly panicky calls for impeachment.

When their chief initiative is to carry out a political coup to remove their political opponent from office they are truly out of ideas.

Read his article (linked above) for his observations on China. I agree, from what I see. But he’s an expert, I’m not, but I do have eyes.

Business Insider is also reporting on troubles in China.

According to a paper published in January by Hurun Report, a Shanghai-based research firm, just over one-third of the superrich Chinese citizens in a survey described themselves as “very confident” about the future of the Chinese economy.

On the surface, that seems like a solid number, but it is startling when compared with the same survey two years ago, which showed that nearly two-thirds were very confident in China’s economic future. It is also the lowest number in the 15 years the survey has been produced, Hurun said.

The same survey from Hurun also found that the number of wealthy Chinese who had “no confidence at all” in China’s economic future had doubled from last year’s survey to 14%.

Hurun’s survey of 465 superrich Chinese citizens also found that almost half were considering emigrating or had already made moves to emigrate from China.

Heh! Funny how that happens when you feel you know better than your people. Here it is, more people saying the US will win again.

Why?

You know why!

Because Hillary will never be President.

Always amazing what freedom, politically, and in markets can do.

Green New Dream and Brexit: the Musical

Well, I think we’ll do a few more videos today.

The Clear Energy Alliance has a series of videos up explaining just how incredibly stupid Occasional Cortex’s (or AOC, if you insist) Green New Deal is.

I’ll post a couple of the series, but more at the link.

and

They are completely right, of course. This whole plan is substandard for college freshmen over a football weekend. But that is fairly standard for Congress.

Or Parliament for that matter, Brexit the Musical is available. It’s not quite up to the standard of Hamilton, but if the F bomb in a posh British accent doesn’t overly bother you, it’s pretty good. But perhaps a bit NSFW

Hat tip to PowerLine for both.

A Stab in the Back: Brexit

Click to embiggen

Samizdata brings us “this twitter thread from Matthew Goodwin.”

One critical point about vote for #Brexit is that it marked the first moment when a majority of British people formally asked for something that a majority of their elected representatives did not want to give. It was always destined to lead us here

Contrary to popular claims, we now know from a dozen + studies that Leavers knew what they were voting for. They had a clear sense about how they wanted to change the settlement; they wanted powers returned from the EU & to slow the pace of immigration

We also know that for large chunks of the Leave electorate this vote -a rejection of the status quo- was anchored in high levels of political distrust, exasperation with an unfair economic settlement & a strong desire to be heard & respected

I do not think that it is hard to imagine what could happen if Brexit is delayed, taken off the shelf altogether or evolves into a second referendum that offers Remain vs May’s deal, which Leavers would view as an illegitimate ‘democratic’ exercise

We have evidence. (1) Professor Lauren McLaren has already shown that even before the first referendum people who wanted to reform the existing settlement but who felt politicians were unresponsive became significantly more distrustful of the entire political system

(2) Professor Oliver Heath (& others) have found that as British politics gradually converged on the middle-class at the expense of the working-class the latter gradually withdrew from politics, hunkering down and becoming more apathetic

This is partly why the first referendum was so important, where we saw surprisingly high rates of turnout in blue-collar seats. Because for the first time in years many of these voters felt that they could, finally, bring about change.

And we’d already seen an alliance between middle-class conservatives and blue-collar workers to try and bring about this change when they decamped from mainstream politics in 2012-2015 to vote for a populist outsider

So I think that we do know what the effects of a long/indefinite delay to Brexit, or taking it off the table altogether, will be. Either we will see a return to apathy & ever-rising levels of distrust which will erode our democracy and the social contract from below, or …

Another populist backlash, anchored in the same alliance of disillusioned Tories & angry workers who -as we’ve learned- are very unlikely to just walk quietly into the night. If anything, this will just exacerbate the deeper currents we discuss here

More on that thought later. But yes, this is very close to what I am hearing, almost entirely Brexiteer. Over at Law and Liberty, Samuel Gregg takes a close look at the politics involved and such.

That, however, is not how most of the British political class sees Brexit. As in the lead-up to the referendum, gloom-and-doom is being voiced from across the political spectrum at Westminster. This owes something to the fact that Prime Minister Theresa May’s tenuous hold on the House of Commons—not to mention her own Tory party—means that her government has to negotiate with multiple groups with wildly divergent views of what Brexit should be or if it should even occur. To say that this process has not been going well is an understatement. It’s further complicated by the fact that many government ministers and MPs from all parties, the majority of the civil service and large segments of the press opposed Brexit, have never accepted the referendum result, and resent the entire exercise.

Keep reading but my take is that Britain has the same problem that we do, the bureaucracy has revolted and taken over the joint with the acquiescence (often verging on outright support) of the legislators themselves. The voters no longer matter to many of these.

Dan Mitchell tells us that economically a Hard (I actually prefer WTO) Brexit will be far more beneficial to Britain than any deal, let alone the travesty of May’s withdrawal agreement. He’s right and he’s also where we found the picture that leads this article. More sense and more cartoons in the article.

My views on Brexit haven’t changed since I wrote “The Economic Case for Brexit” back in 2016.

It’s a simple issue of what route is most likely to produce prosperity for the people of the United Kingdom. And that means escaping the dirigiste grasp of the European Union.

And finally, Mark America takes a look at the Brexit situation noted in our first link, in an American historical context.  His conclusion is the same as mine.

What happens when a referendum is held, but three years later, the government responsible for enacting the results of the referendum has failed to comply?  We’re about to learn the answer to that question, as the people of the UK have been betrayed by their government.  The people voted for “Brexit” very nearly three years ago.  Their government promised to carry out their wishes.  They wanted to leave the European Union.  Instead, rather than accede to the lawful demands of the people, the government has conspired to ignore those results, spending most of the intervening time trying to re-litigate the case in order to convince the public that it should not “Brexit.”  At this point, given this coup d’etatagainst the rule of law, the people of the UK would be justified in any action undertaken to forcibly remove the current government, cast off the parliament, and reform government anew.

Keep reading, he makes the case as well as anyone I’ve read. Well, except this guy:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

With his pen, Thomas Jefferson that day secured for America the support of about a third of Britain’s population. And now again, those same words call Britain itself, to hold itself to the higher standard that the English speaking world has always embraced. Will they? That is up to them. Remaining free, whatever the cost, is a judgment each of us must make for ourselves. But, I know what my decision would be. We shall see what sounds the Gales of April bring to our ears.

The Changing World Order

Sumantra Maitra opens his article in The Federalist this way…

Albert Einstein allegedly once said that it is the definition of insanity to do the same thing over and over again, and expect different results. Nothing reflects this more than the foreign policy communities in the two Anglosphere capitals in London and Washington, D.C.

The reactions to the speeches and trip of Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Europe signifies a long overdue change in foreign policy orthodoxy, and the meltdown in commentariat circles has been a sight to behold.

He then discusses a few of those reactions from people like Anne Applebaum, Nicholas Burns, and especially Natalie Nougayrede, all of whose arguments he describes as utter nonsense. He’s correct.

He’s correct because they are positing a situation that hasn’t existed since the early 90s if it ever did. Amongst other things Ms. Nougayrede explicitly tries to equate Europe with the EU, which is not what is to be seen on the ground.

The liberal foreign policy establishment is now so vehemently opposed to Trump that they have forgotten the countries in Europe currently opposed to American isolation were also the very same countries that once opposed American overreaction.

Back in 2003, Germany and France were at the forefront of protests against the United States opposing Iraq, and sided with Russia against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Fast forward a few years, and those same countries are arguing for Russian gas in Europe while moaning about American retrenchment. One might wonder if the only thing that will please Western Europeans is Americans silently continuing to carry the security burden of Europe, while being lectured about morality by their overlords in Brussels. Except that would be unsustainable in the long term, as Bob Gates predicted in 2011.

Many of you know that while I supported the invasion of Iraq, I am troubled. Not that it was not justified, it was, irrespective of WMD. What troubles me more than anything was that once again American (and British) forces were committed to battle with no plans to win the peace that followed their success. Too many instances of this phenomenon is one of the reasons that the American people are less and less willing to commit our troops to these endless wars.

As Professor Michael Desch said, for good or for bad, the United States does not have shared interests with a certain set of countries, or even a set of common values, the way it did 50 years back. Time has changed, geopolitics have changed, and with that, the balance of power is also changing. China is a far bigger threat to the United States than Russia is, and with the terrible cost of nation-building in the Middle East, the relative power of the United States is equilibrated with other powers.

But that’s pure geopolitics. There’s another far more important aspect that is barely mentioned, at least in policy circles. The U.S. grand strategy in Europe has been a continuation of the Anglo-American strategy for the last 500 years: to ensure there’s no unified political union that can be a potential hegemon in Europe, and thus pose any future challenge.

But that was predicated in the idea that nation-states of Europe would be free. The E.U. as an institution was there to help cement peace between Germany and France, but the E.U. as a trade/military hegemon was not part of that American calculation.

Of course, the E.U. military is nowhere comparable to that of the United States, regardless of the Franco-German wish for a European army. But the E.U. is already a trade rival, and E.U. and U.S. interests differ with regard to Russia, Iran, and China. None of those is going to go away anytime soon, and the rift could continue to grow.

I think that rift will continue to grow, and if the UK manages to leave the EU perhaps very quickly. The UK, like the US, and unlike any other European power is primarily a maritime power, known and respected around the world. Part of the reason both of us have always used that Westphalian settlement was to keep from having trouble in the back yard. Philip II of Spain, Napoleon, Hitler, and Stalin were all broken on it.

I think it entirely possible that the Visegrad countries will align with the US/UK, as will Poland, which has deep ties with both of us anyway. I’m no longer sure that defending Poland is any longer a strictly eastward facing matter though.

He ends his article with this paragraph, and I can’t improve on it.

Pence and Pompeo are correct in saying the world has changed and one should look at it as it is instead of how it ought to be. One can only hope the European heads of states, as well as our Anglo-American foreign policy establishment, understand this simple truth––that everything in life consists of a choice which leads to a consequence, and living under an American order or facing China and Russia on one’s own is a perfectly valid scenario.

Sunday Funnies: Polar Vortex

Another week consisting of mostly noise and storm signifying not much, but Baby, It’s Cold Outside.

And, of course

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