Guns, Islam, and Orlando, and a note on Brexit

A note if you haven’t heard: Brexit won, everywhere but London, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, and fairly decisively. I’m not going to say any more because Jess and I both cared very much about this, and we disagreed, and we agreed not to gloat, whoever won.

So, while we all catch our breath, perhaps some Bill Whittle on Orlando. There are some quite graphic images in the video, so be warned, but then again that’s how life is, as well.

And the last Word, for our British Friends and Cousins.

Out brexit

This was Tweeted by Elizabeth Hurley, and I’m inclined to give it credence. http://images1.fanpop.com/images/photos/1500000/Elizabeth-elizabeth-hurley-1548027-1024-768.jpg

This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,–
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

We’ve talked here about all the reasons you should vote leave, and I will not rehash them, yet again. But Thomas Paine was speaking to you, even as he was us, back on 23 December 1776 when he wrote this:

THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but “to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER” and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.

And mind you, that is exactly what is at stake in this referendum, the heritage you built (and passed on to us) of a free people in a free land. Great Britain or Britannia as the Romans called it. A mere outpost of a nondemocratic empire.

Soon we will know what you have decided, we Americans, like your own writers have told you what we see, and what we think you should do. But, as it should be, it is up to you, the people of Great Britain, especially England, which will decide the issue. Vote as you think right.

But we will always remember the Great Britain that inspired us, and fought by our side throughout the last century, with awe and thanks, and we will always remember that your bequest to us was our freedom, and power, and ability to mostly do the right thing. You know, this Great Britain.

You may choose, of course, the temporary safety of the German Zollverein, that is your privilege, but the world needs Great Britain to help lead it to ‘the broad sunlit uplands’, of freedom and peace, and so do we.

And so, as Charles James Fox during the Revolution wore the buff and blue of the Continental Army into Parliament, today I shall be wearing, the Union Jack in my lapel.

I Tweeted this morning a comment from The Conservative Woman because it says it all, and besides, there is nothing little about England, it’s freedom and language is the aspiration of the entire world.

 

 

Why Uber Keeps Raising Billions

Travis Kalanick, Uber’s chief. Uber is on its way to amassing $15 billion in real cash since starting in 2009. Its valuation on paper is $68 billion. Credit Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg

This is interesting, and a chase of pace. Apparently Uber is sitting on a pile of cash and borrowing more. I don’t know enough here to even have an opinion, but it tends to fascinate me. Here, read the whole thing.™:

It feels like almost every other week there is a new headline about Uber raising more money. “Uber Closes $1.6 Billion in Financing.’’ “Uber Turns to Saudi Arabia for $3.5 Billion Cash Infusion.’’ Last week, we got this one: “Uber to Raise Up to $2 Billion in Leveraged-Loan Market.’’

If you add up all the money Uber has raised since it started in 2009 — the idea was born when its founders became annoyed that they could not get a cab in Paris — the ride-hailing app company is on its way to amassing a colossal $15 billion. That’s real cash, not some funny-money, paper-based valuation. (That figure is $68 billion.) It has done all this while still managing to remain a private company, and its chief executive,Travis Kalanick, has insisted that a public offering is not coming soon. “I’m going to make sure it happens as late as possible,” he has repeatedly said.

Consider this: When Amazon went public in 1997, it raised $54 million and was valued at $438 million.

So what exactly is Uber doing with all that money? And what does it say about Uber — and the financial markets — that the company has turned most recently to selling the equivalent of junk bonds?

Yes, Uber has to finance an all-out war to gain market share in China and India. But there is more to it than that: Uber’s money-grab is seemingly part of an unspoken strategy to mark its territory.

Every time Uber raises another $1 billion, venture capital investors and others may find it less attractive to back one of Uber’s many rivals: Didi Chuxing, Lyft, Gett, Halo, Juno. In other words, Uber’s fund-raising efforts have seemingly become part of the contest: It’s not just a rivalry over customers and drivers; it’s a war of attrition, a mad scramble to starve the competition of cash.

At the moment, Uber’s success has had the opposite effect: It has spawned a long list of rivals, big and little guys who say, “We can do it too.” But over time, as the smaller competitors run out of cash — after heavily subsidizing riders in an effort to steal business from Uber — venture capitalists should be less inclined to put up even more cash to go up against Fortress Uber.

via Why Uber Keeps Raising Billions – The New York Times

Like I said could be. But at the very end, the author makes a silly mistake. He forgets, if he ever knew, that there are no monopolies in nature (or free markets), somebody will always compete, usually better. The only way a monopoly exists is when it enforced by strong arm tactics, either of the players or the government.

Just ask the US carmakers, back in the 50s and 60s they could sell us any piece of overpriced junk they wanted to, no matter how shoddily manufactured. What happened? Volkswagen and Toyota. The Brits were at least as bad, so we’ll finish with Jeremy Clarkson on how they killed their auto industry.

We got a little luckier, we made it worthwhile for foreign makers to build plants here, and they did, in states that had never (for the most part) built cars or been unionized, and that’s why so many cars with funny names actually are American made, sometimes with American parts. And those workers have gained a reputation as the best in the world. Something that no one who ever dealt with the UAW ever said.

 

Hullo, Mummy. Welcome to the Revolution!

World US

How Americans see Europe

Over here, we’ve long viewed the United Kindom as the mother country. After all, we based our freedom on English practice, as we did our law, our trade practices, and even our treatment of each other. In fact, that was so strong that our founders referred to the Revolution, not the rebellion. That is because we were completing the revolution, restoring our rights as Englishmen, not rebelling against lawful authority. That is most of the reason that after the unpleasantness in 1812-1815, it became pretty easy for us to resume our friendship.

And you know, the revolution is completing yet again, as the United Kingdom itself finds itself in exactly the same position as we did 240 years ago, being ruled by another power, without representation, in their case, Brussels and the European Union. Mark Twain said history rhymes, but this is almost as close as history ever comes to repeating.

Robert Tracinski over at The Federalist has also noticed this phenomenon:

[Recently at Colonial Williamsburg] Oh yes, and we also got together in a mob outside Raleigh Tavern and hanged Lord North in effigy. […] Most of you, I suspect, will not know who Lord North was or why we were (symbolically) hanging him. But it’s entirely relevant today.

w1056 (1)Lord North was His Majesty’s Prime Minister during the crucial years of the American Revolution, from 1770 to 1782. The specific infractions for which he was subjected to mock trial and hanging in effigy were the Intolerable Acts, a series of punitive measures against Boston that were widely interpreted as a declaration of war against colonial America.

Today, we tend to think of the American Revolution as a war against King George III. But it was just as much a war against the British Parliament and its leadership, which was increasingly regarded by Americans as a “foreign” body that did not represent them. We already had our own, long-established legislatures (Virginia’s General Assembly, for example, will soon celebrate its 400th anniversary and is one of the oldest in the world), and we considered them to be our proper representatives, solely authorized to approve legislation on our behalf.

[and] The key issue — the breaking point — is the European Union’s practice of seeking to validate its authority through popular referendums then ignoring them when they don’t get the result they wanted.

The EU crossed a fatal line when it smuggled through the Treaty of Lisbon, by executive cabal, after the text had already been rejected by French and Dutch voters in its earlier guise. It is one thing to advance the Project by stealth and the Monnet method, it is another to call a plebiscite and then to override the outcome.

[…] And when you think of it, we were just following the British example. Britain had faced its own conflicts between the authority of Parliament and the overreaching ambitions of its kings, and they had already set the example of removing the king to preserve the power of Parliament. Before we did it in the 18th century, they did it in the 17th century — twice. Britain itself had established the precedents of the rule of law and the consent of the governed. I don’t know why they would want to throw that away now.

via Brexit: Welcome, Britain, To Our Revolution

You know he is exactly right. We took those (God-given) rights that the English had taken back for themselves, and enforced that they could not be removed from the people, as the English had done over the centuries. That is really how the Amerexit from the first empire came about. Now it’s up to the British to take back Britain for themselves, with Brexit. If you think you need justification, how about John Locke, who said this:

The people alone can appoint the form of the commonwealth, which is by constituting the legislative, and appointing in whose hands that shall be. And when the people have said, We will submit to rules, and be governed by laws made by such men, and in such forms, no body else can say other men shall make laws for them; nor can the people be bound by any laws, but such as are enacted by those whom they have chosen, and authorized to make laws for them. The power of the legislative[,] being derived from the people by a positive voluntary grant and institution, can be no other than what that positive grant conveyed, which being only to make laws, and not to make legislators, the legislative can have no power to transfer their authority of making laws, and place it in other hands.

He was hardly alone, he was supported in Parliament (the only time it happened) by both William Pitt the Elder, and Charles James Fox, who took to wearing the blue and buff of the Continental Army in Parliament itself.

John Adams chimed in with this:

The fundamental article of my political creed is that despotism, or unlimited sovereignty, or absolute power, is the same in a majority of a popular assembly, an aristocratical council, an oligarchical junto, and a single emperor. Equally arbitrary, cruel, bloody, and in every respect diabolical.

Yes, we’ve talked about this before, that article is here.

One of the things that America has preserved is the written history of liberty, it is probably harder with the government in Parliament, and that problem is why our founders organized these United States as they did. We’re an originalist bunch, basing ourselves on rights hard won by Englishmen and Americans alike.

UKIP has a very cute video out as well.

Come on out, the sun is shining and there’s corn, and most of all, there’s freedom.

Something I rarely do, but I think you should also read this:

 http://www.libertylawsite.org/2016/06/21/this-realm-this-england/

 

The Future of [Civil War] History

Washington DC_Moments in History_2This is very true, and quite interesting. I fell in love with civil war history during the centennial, back in the early sixties, originally through the American Heritage Pictorial History of the Civil War, with its text by Bruce Catton. It was one of the seminal books in my love for history. It spread first to World War II, both from books, and my parents and the generation that had lived through it. Then it spread through, partially, the historical novels of Thomas B. Costain, which ran from biblical through pretty much modern history.

It included Kenneth Robert’s books on colonial (to be) Maine, including Arundel, as well as others. And yes, it also involved some very good teachers (and coaches) when I was in junior and senior high school, and it likely didn’t hurt that dad was interested, and mom was an English teacher. What that legacy does is this, when I look at current events, my mind almost always can find an analogous situation. Amongst other things, that is why I rarely completely despair. Mark Twain was right, you know, history doesn’t repeat itself, but it surely rhymes.

My worries about the future of Civil War history are much broader and much larger than those cited in the articles in Civil War History. I spend a lot of time on the road, speaking to Civil War Roundtables and other similar groups. I’ve traveled to a lot of places—Ann Arbor, Michigan and Bloomington, Indiana in one recent week—and have met a lot of people along the way. One alarming trend that I have spotted in recent years is the graying of the audiences that come to hear me speak or attend my tours. The audiences get older and older, and I see fewer and fewer young people in the crowds. When I first started doing this almost 25 years ago, the crowds were much younger, and I saw many more younger people in the audiences.

via The Future of Civil War History: Eric Wittenberg | Emerging Civil War with a hat tip to Practically Historical

Jessie Childs recently published some thoughts on Elizabethan England and how certainty can become uncertainty. Here is a bit of that.

Unfirm ground is what makes history so thrilling: that sense that the plates are always shifting and that one discovery might change everything. I have not experienced a seismic swallowing up of a once-cherished opinion, but, researching my last book on Catholic dissidents in Elizabethan England, I felt as though I was changing my mind almost every day. I agonised over the relative lenience of Elizabeth I in religious matters. I was kept awake by the nagging feeling that the Catholic family I was writing about was not quite as loyal as it claimed to be. I drew a spider diagram, of the kind used in modern intelligence, and was thrown by the family’s links to the Babington Plot of 1586, even though I could not quite pin them to it. I veered between revulsion at the persecutory practices of the Elizabethan state and sympathy for its operatives, who had to deal with sophisticated terror networks and some very slippery language.

via Shifting Sands: Historians Change Their Minds. Note that the other short articles in the linked article are also quite good.

Not all that different, really, from today, with our problems with terrorists, is it.

And that’s the thing, we can infer lessons from the past, and we should, and I think, must. But we must remember with Hartley that:

The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there,” as well.

 

Saturday Links, Mostly History Edition

stillman-300x200Well, it’s Saturday. The way this week started, I thought it would be rather terrible, but it’s worked out to be pretty good, both on the blog and in life. So we’re going to relax a bit and mostly enjoy. Lots of stuff accumulates around here, so let’s share some of it.

This one must be for a friend of mine, don’t you think Elinor?

[…] Lady Susan, Austen writes, is not only “excessively pretty,” but a “distinguished flirt.” She is in fact “the most accomplished coquette in England.” The object of considerable gossip, Lady Susan captivates men and infuriates women, who rightly see her as a self-serving seductress who has blithely left in her wake broken hearts, broken homes, and at least one dead husband. Having just been widowed, Lady Susan (Kate Beckinsdale) decides to descend upon her late husband’s brother, Charles Vernon (Justin Edwards) and his wife Catherine (Emma Greenwell) at Churchill, the Vernons’ grand estate out in the home counties.

True to form, Lady Susan wastes little time making a play for Catherine’s twentysomething brother Reginald De Courcy (Xavier Samuel), who is visiting at Churchill. A handsome but credulous young man, De Courcy assures his family that, no matter what, he will resist the legendary charms of the thirtysomething widow. It’s a challenge she cannot resist. As Lady Susan tells her confidante Alicia Johnson (Chloë Sevigny), she intends to wed Reginald partly to settle a score with Catherine Vernon and others in the De Courcy family who, she complains, assume superior airs. Besides, the wealthy Reginald is too easy a target to pass up. He falls completely for Lady Susan’s self-portrait as a helpless widow “bullied” by a cold, cruel world.

Complications ensue, however, when Lady Susan’s 16-year-old daughter Frederica (Morfydd Clark) unexpectedly turns up at Churchill, having been expelled from boarding school. (Lady Susan, who prefers to ignore Frederica, has also been ignoring her fees.) Sir James Martin then arrives, hot on Frederica’s trail.

via Jane Austen’s Memorable Con Woman – Online Library of Law & Liberty

Sounds to me like a fun way to spend an evening.

All things change over time, as we know, and that includes our language, that is part of its strength. But how did it sound?

Via: Two Nerdy History Girls

My friend Deidra Alexander, lost the lottery this week, she had to go to the DMV, she told us about it.

I just had 24 hours’ worth of creativity sucked out of me through my nose. The jokes my parents and grandparents told were true. I spent two and a half hours at the DMV getting my driver’s license renewed.

This has to be a government conspiracy designed to make you feel old, tired and beaten. Probably so you don’t notice the extra property taxes you’re paying so the high school can have a parking garage. No other building in town has a parking garage. But I digress.

I had been in line for about an hour when I had to say, “The line moved much faster before we had computers and the internet. That was when I first got in line. I think they switched over since I got here.”

From DMV Conspiracy

This simply fascinates me.

The Museum of London Archaeology’s excavation of the site of Bloomberg’s future European headquarters in central London has proven to be an even richer archaeological motherlode than we knew. Thanks to its proximity to the Thames and the waterlogged embrace of the lost Walbrook River, organic remains from the earliest days of Roman London through the 5th century were preserved in exceptional condition: entire streets, hundreds of shoes, a cavalry harness and the largest collection of fist and phallus amulets ever found. When the story broke in 2013, archaeologists had unearthed more than 100 fragments of writing tablets. That was just the beginning. In the final tally, a total of 405 wood writing tablets were found during the Bloomberg Place excavation.

via The History Blog

And finally, Why we call it Great Britain

[…]We gave the world democracy, common law, the Bailey Bridge, tanks, gravity, the worlds most common second language, Led Zeppelin, fair play, queuing, the backhoe loader, metal bridges, the Magna Carta, modern economics, the industrial revolution and Hollywood villains.[…]

Tea drinking, chicken tikka masala, Shakespeare, Winston Churchill, battered Mars Bars, the BBC, the mini (car, roundabout and skirt), the Spice Girls, Darwin, football, Marmite, rugby, cricket, golf, tennis, ping pong, pubs, tea, sharp suits, Spitfires and the fact there are homosexuals, lesbians and transsexuals in the armed forces and you know what, no one gives two shits.

And More, from Think Defence

Happy Saturday!:)

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