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Politics

In which I’m reminded why I dislike politics by engaging in some

I haven’t taken an active part in any political campaign since 1992, when I stuffed envelopes for my local Tory Association. I don’t – as will be no surprise to attentive Kitty Kounters – like politics, although I take the same morbid interest in it as I would any other catastrophe that had befallen me and my family.

However, the recent narrowing of the polls in the Scottish referendum, not to mention the mob that assembled outside the BBC in Glasgow at the weekend (I’m no fan of the BBC, but that sent a chill up my spine), made me feel I had to do something, so this afternoon I headed down to the Better Together office and volunteered. I ended up handing out leaflets and posters on the street.

Mostly, I was pleasantly surprised. Without any overt indication – a badge, T-shirt, or whatever – it was impossible to tell at a glance who would be sympathetic. People of all ages, all walks of life, and all ethnicities accepted a leaflet with a smile, a good many actually coming up and asking for them, and for the most part it was actually quite a heartwarming experience given the sheer volume of “Yes” propaganda that’s around. It was encouraging to see that “we” really are out there, and in good numbers.

But around 5:30, just as I was thinking of heading home, two blokes came up to me and demanded, “CAN YOU GUARANTEE THAT THE BARNETT FORMULA WILL NOT BE DILUTED OR ABOLISHED BY 2020?”. Not memorized at all, oh no. I was rather taken aback. Of course I can’t. Nobody can. It’s a long-standing parliamentary convention that a sitting parliament can’t bind future ones. I’ll bet whoever wrote the question for them knew that perfectly well. Whatever, it set them off. I don’t think they even listened to my answer.

Long story short, twenty minutes later, there was a crowd of I don’t know how many Yessers – dozens, anyway – TV cameras, press, and a couple of coppers. And me, plus the Better Together bloke I was with. Still don’t even know his name. He seemed to be getting the worst of it, and holding his own – he’d obviously experienced this before – while I had been latched on to by a guy with a bike who, to give him his due, was relatively subdued and rational. Relatively. Then the mob jumped back in. By the end of it, their entire “argument” consisted of chanting “Yes! Yes! Yes!” at us. It’s not hard to imagine what it reminded me of.

Eventually we extracted ourselves – to loud cheers, as if they’d won the argument that had barely even taken place – and the police came over and asked us if we needed protection. Police wondering if mainstream political canvassers need protection, in Britain, in 2014.

Politics is hateful.

I’ve always said that, but I saw the literal truth of it today. Sneering, shouting, hate… it was the very antithesis of reasoned argument. I tried, but they weren’t interested. They just regurgitated the prepared lines, sneered, and laughed. Then resorted to the chanting when we weren’t so easily cowed. I have no hesitation in calling them a mob, without any irony.

Orwell wrote, “True propaganda does not seek to persuade. It seeks to create a climate of thought in which dissent is seen as something akin to madness”. These people were clearly wandering around the city looking for us, not to persuade undecided voters, but simply to shut us down. Spoiling for a fight.

People say that whatever damage this referendum has done – the uncertainty affecting the financial markets – “it has at least engaged people in politics”. No: it has set them against each other, forcing them to take sides. Maybe it amounts to the same thing. That’s why I can’t stand it.

But I’ll be back tomorrow. I won’t give the buggers the satisfaction.

President Warren Harding – the real founder of the modern Republican Party (or the good bit of it anyway).

All most people know of Warren Harding is that he was corrupt – and all that most people know is wrong.

Although certainly no saint (he was a drinker, and a poker player, and a lover of women) Warren Harding was not personally corrupt – and his Administration was actually less corrupt than most. For example vastly less corrupt than the Administrations of Franklin Roosevelt or Harry Truman – and Hollywood and the rest of the media (and academia) do not present those Administrations as corrupt.

That is all the space I am going to waste on the so called “Ohio Gang” or “Tea Pot Dome” – people who are interested in such stuff can read a good biography of Harding (clue to what a good biography is – the author will not pretend Harding’s papers were destroyed, which is the standard “Progressive” excuse for not reading the documents and writing “history” based on nonsense instead). 0r they can just look at the chapter on Harding in the “Politically Incorrect Guide to the Presidents” by Steven F. Haywood (a good historian).

I am interested in other matters………

Today it is a common place among Republican politicians to talk of rolling-back-government – reducing the size of government, cutting taxes, getting rid of regulations, and reducing government spending.

Some (alas not enough) of these Republicans actually mean what they say – but WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?

Republicans have not always promised smaller government – Republican Presidents (and Governors, and Senators and Congressmen and …..) did not use to make a big thing of this. One does not hear this in the speeches of Lincoln, or in Chester Allan Arthur. or Harrison, or Taft…….

These were not the big (peacetime) government fiends of Rothbardian fantasies – but they were not roll-back-the-state types either.

So where does it come from? This modern identification of the Republicans (sometimes correctly – sometimes NOT correctly) as the make-government-smaller party?

Basically it comes from one man.

WARREN HARDING.

Essentially Warren Harding created this role for the Republican Party – he invented the approach, he created the modern Republican Party (or the good bit of it anyway).

In his campaign against the Administration of Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding created all the themes we know today.

When you hear (for example) Senator Rand Paul speak (on civil liberties, on government spending, on ANYTHING) you are really hearing WARREN HARDING – Republicans did not tend to speak in this way before him (he, basically, invented it).

And Harding lived the dream – he made it real. And he was faithfully followed (in his policies) by his Vice President Calvin Coolidge (President Calvin Coolidge) and his Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon (anther viciously libelled man).

As the British historian Paul Johnson (in “Modern Times” – long before Ron Radash’s work on Harding) pointed out – Warren Harding actually did the things he said he was going to do.

He sincerely believed in Civil Liberties.

Warren Harding utterly opposed the politics of the Socialists and Communal Anarchists (the Red Flaggers and the Black Flaggers) – but (ironically) they were physically safer under Warren Harding than they were under the Progressive Woodrow Wilson.

President Harding would not tolerate people (even Reds) being sent to prison on trumped up charges – and if he found them already in prison, he would pardon them to get them of prison.

“The bastard must have done something. so what does it matter what we got him for – after all he would murder millions if he had the chance ” may appeal to nasty people (nasty people including, perhaps, ME), but it horrified Harding.

Harding was also horrified by censorship – or any other aspect of the Police State.

He was denounced as Pro German (totally false) for defending German Americans from persecution – German thinkers (as far back as the 1700s) may have worked on aspects of a “Police State” (see Hayek – “The Constitution of Liberty” and “Law, Legislation and Liberty”), but this did not mean that German Americans deserved to be persecuted by an American Police State.

And Warren Harding defended black people also.

He was born in 1865 the year of defeat for the Slave Power – and Warren Harding did not have the “benefit” of a Rothbardian education (based on the writings of Woodrow Wilson – oh yes that was the source Rothbard based his stuff on) that the Civil War was not “really” about slavery. The old men that Warren Harding knew in Marion Ohio had fought in the Civil War – but what did they know, they were not academics…..

The continued persecution of blacks (above all lynching) disgusted Warren Harding to the core of his being – and he denounced the persecution.

The Democrats (and some Republican Progressives, for racism was a Progressive doctrine then, indeed it still is – accept now Progressives stir up blacks against whites, rather than whites against blacks, the switch came in the 1960s and was quite sudden, but as the Dems control the media they got away with it ) replied by spreading rumours that Warren Harding was part black himself (a lie) – but he carried on.

Unlike Woodrow Wilson (a German style trained intellectual [see my first comment] – and “scientific” racist), Warren Harding (a man with little formal education) held that prices and wages should be set by supply and demand – not government orders.

This is why the crash of the post World War One Credit Bubble in 1920-1921 was not like the crash of 1929.

The crash was just as bad (although the Progressive academics have put it down the “Memory Hole”) but Warren Harding was not Herbert “The Forgotten Progressive” Hoover (a man who became conservative after he left office – having never been so before). Harding did not prevent wages and other prices (a wage is a price) adjusting to the crash – instead he got government out of the way (so mass unemployment was not a feature of year-after-year – as was under Hoover-Roosevelt,  for most of Roosevelt’s policies were started by Hoover).

So what did Warren Harding do?

He cut the Federal government in half – from about six billion Dollars spending in 1920 (a peacetime total) to about three billion Dollars only a couple of years later.

Yes prices were falling – but you try and do that. Cut government spending – dramatically.

No “fool” or “lazy man” could do what Warren Harding did - roll back the government on civil liberties, on taxation, or regulation, and on government spending itself.

That is what “normalcy” (and, contrary to ignorant leftists, “normalcy” was the correct American English in Webster’s dictionary when Harding was young) meant to Warren Harding.

Civil Society – where individuals and private associations (commercial companies, churches, clubs, fraternities……) could exist and thrive – and not have every day of their lives spent looking over their shoulder for the commands of the state. A government limited by the Constitution of the United States - in which Warren Harding believed (unlike Woodrow Wilson who despised it) and even physically saved (the physical document was falling apart when he became President – Warren Harding had preserved).

This (his belief in liberty, in property rights, in limited government)  is why the collectivists hated Warren Harding (and still do) – and that is why they (the academic-media-cultural elite) have spent more than 90 years spitting on his name.

The mistake of John Jay – believing that the governement could make people virtuous.

The American Founding Father John Jay was fond of reading Plato in his youth (often not a good sign), and even named one of his slaves Plato (I am not attacking Mr Jay over slavery – I know he did more than anyone else to end slavery in New York State, even losing an election over it).

It is not likely that John Jay was fond of the economic collectivism of Plato (after all John Jay was the man famous for making “those who own the land should govern it” his maxim – although it was actually G. Morris who supported a strictly limited franchise, as long you owned a little land, say your own home, you should have the vote according to Jay), so what was he getting from Plato?

Not the idea of the importance of virtue – that was a commonplace of republican (small “r”) thought, that only a moral people could remain free (that a people addicted to vice and waste would either not notice government getting more powerful – or would actively welcome a despotic government, if it promised them lots of benefits “bread and games”).

Nor was John Jay some sort of “Puritan” in the Hollywood sense – he did not believe that such things as drink and dancing should be banned, he liked a drink and he employed tutors to teach his children to dance (and the only reason he did not go to the theatre was that he believed there was so much suffering and humiliation in real life that he did not want to see it on the stage as well). Again “virtue” was a much broader concept than the Hollywood mockery of po faced Puritans.

What Plato would have given John Jay is that idea that people can (and should) be made virtuous by THE STATE.

We today are used to prisons and government schools (especially in New York) being dens of vice – and that is not funny (rape and so on should not be a matter for nudge-nudge, wink-wink jokes). Places where vast amounts of taxpayers money are spent – and people come out vastly worse than they went in. Indeed the only thing that government schools in America appear to be good at teaching people is that government should control everything and that business (especially “big business”) is evil (needing to be controlled by noble government), and the churches are evil too, and…… (well any alternative to the state in any area of life) is evil – how odd that government schools should teach that government should control everything (well actually not odd at all).

However, dens of vice was not the Platonic vision (although what American schools and colleges actually teach would have pleased Plato).

In the vision of John Jay the government prisons he established (to replace the old policy of either hanging or flogging criminals) were meant to “reform” criminals.

And the government school system he longed for (it was not really established till after his time) would take children and turn them into virtuous citizens of the new republic .

What if someone from the state had come to Mr Jay’s farm (the house he had built shows his reputation as an aristocrat is false – it is a rather ordinary house with a front pouch where someone can sit on a rocking chair and chat to passers by – the house that “Common Man” Jefferson had built is vastly grander, but then Jefferson did not mind borrowing money, John Jay hated the idea of borrowing for luxury, he would only spend money he actually had) and started to order him about in farming matters?

I think such a government official would have got a cold stare from the man who attacked price controls and other such nonsense (John Adams would have lost his temper and set the dogs on such an official). But why should government be better at forming human character?

If would not trust the government to be in charge of your carrots, why would you trust them to be in charge of your children?

Governments are often better than private individuals and associations for destructive things – killing people, burning cities and so on (as a man who had lived through war – Mr Jay knew that), but for constructive things such as reforming human character? That does not seem very likely.

Evil (force and fear) has its place in human affairs – remember the Star Trek episode where Captain Kirk is divided between good and evil. His good side has many things (for example a sincere love of knowledge for its own sake) – even his courage (the evil Kirk is a coward – terrified of losing his own skin), but the good Kirk is also useless as a Star Ship commander (he will not take risks with other people’s lives – and he is horrified even by the suffering and death of enemies). It is the evil Kirk who has the “power of command” and the delight in torment and destruction that gives him the incentive to think up clever ways of destroying foes (the pleasure a cat has). And these-things-are-necessary at times.

The state (force and fear – the Sword of State) is the negative (destructive) energy of human life – you can burn a city with such a force, but you can not make people better (not really) you can not create new and good things. Force and fear has its place in human life (the good Kirk can not command the Enterprise – although the evil Kirk can not be trusted to do so) – but it can not turn a child into a good adult, or turn criminals into honest people (it can just turn them into hypocrites like Mr Heap – pretending to be “ever so humble” as they plot fresh crimes).

If one tries to use the state for positive (for constructive) purposes the negative energy feeds back on itself – the tormented child becomes a vile adult, the criminal leaves the prison worse than when he went in (and so on). The state can punish crime – but it can reform people (and the effort to use state power to “make people better” leads to the most terrible tyranny, as C.S. Lewis pointed out).

Those people (such as John Jay) who supported setting up state prison systems and school systems sincerely believing that they would promote virtue were making an error – a terrible, fundamental, error (an error for which the world is still suffering  – and will suffer more).

Dr Bonham’s case.

A man by the name of Bonham refused to pay for a license to practice medicine from the London College Physicians.

The College pointed out that not only did it have authority granted by a King (Henry VIII) , but also a specific Act of Parliament upheld medical licensing. So it fined Bonham (half the fine going to the college – half to the government, just as the Statute said it should) and ordered him to be imprisoned.

In the modern world that would be it – consumer protection upheld, and the evil “Dr” Bonham shipped off to be raped to death in prison somewhere (to the applause of the media – and the education system, the schools and colleges with their “protect the consumer” and “protect the worker” textbooks). However, this was 1610………

Chief Justice Sir Edward Coke (with his wicked, reactionary “Medieval mind”) was outraged by the whole thing. Not owning a piece of paper (a “license”) was not a crime under Common Law (to the Common Law a crime was an aggression against the bodies or goods of someone else – not failing to buy something). Also how could a body (the college or the government) sell licenses and, at the same time, sit in judgement over the case? This would mean that those who profited from the sale of licenses (had a financial interest in it) could punish those who did not buy them! – Which (to the modern minds of both the college and the government) is replied to by “well yes you Feudal nutcase – THAT IS THE POINT”.

Sadly (in spite of the work of Sir Francis Bacon, the author of the Progressive classic “The New Atlantis”, and mentor of Thomas Hobbes – the great philosopher who spread the enlightened notions that “law” was just the whims of the rulers, and that humans were just machines, not beings – not moral agents). The reactionary Sir Edward stopped the imprisonment of Dr Bonham – and declared that he did not have to pay a fine for refusing to buy a piece of parchment (a “license”) as the Common Law (those DUSTY CENTURIES of Year Books full of cases about one man hitting another man over the head with an axe – or damaging a local church by using its windows for target practice for archery……) knew of no such “crime”, and that it was an outrage that those who sold these pieces of paper could fine (indeed imprison) those who refused to buy them (Sir Edward’s “medieval mind” just did not understand the Progressive modern world……).

Nor did this reactionary bigotry end with Sir Edward Coke.

Chief Justice Sir John Holt (late 17th century – the generation that produced the English Bill of Rights and other hopelessly reactionary documents. with their right to keep and bear arms and so on, that are affront to the modern Progressive world) held to the same view that Acts of Parliament do not overturn fundamental principles of natural justice embodied in the centuries of tradition of Common Law reasoning (in spite of Progressive Legal Positivist Thomas Hobbes “proving” that there was no such thing as natural justice or natural law in a moral way – and that the judges of the Common Law, in seeking justice over the dusty centuries, were just lost in illusions – true law being just the will of the ruler).

Chief Justice Holt – even cited judges as far back as Bracton (did he not understand that only what has been said in the last five minutes matters?) and openly stated that Acts of Parliament do not trump fundamental law – indeed it is the other way round. And that it was possible (although difficult) for legal reasoning to find justice. Not that all judges would always agree (YES – there are other cases in the centuries of Year Books that contradict the cases that Sir Edward Coke cited, he knew that and it does NOT undermine his position), but that legal reasoning (fundamentally reasoning in justice – after the manner of Aristotelian reasoning) was possible – that law was NOT just the ravings of Kings and Parliaments. That fundamental law was different to (and higher than) “legislation”.

Chief Justice Holt even tried to apply this to slavery – which to him (as to the 19th century American lawyer and later Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Salmon P. Chase) was the Common Law crimes of false imprisonment (dragging someone back if they ran away), and violent assault (whipping someone for refusing to work – no more acceptable in Common Law than throwing someone in prison for refusing to buy a piece of paper, a “license” or an “insurance policy” as with “Obamacare”).

In the United States this reactionary tradition continued with, for example, Justice Pierce Butler of the Supreme Court who held (by dissenting in “Buck Versus Bell”) that a State (even after it passed a “statute”) could not hold down a screaming woman and cut her up for the “crime” of (allegedly) having a “low IQ” out of fear that the women might give birth to babies who also might (allegedly) commit the “crime” if having a “low IQ”.

Justice Butler did not even believe that the government had the right (even after passing a statute) to exterminate “inferior races” – he had clearly never read the noble Progressive writings of the Fabian socialists H.G. Wells (the teaming millions of blacks, browns and yellows must go, forms of gas could be developed and…..) and George Bernard Shaw (every person should be made to justify their existence before a government board, “like the income tax tribunal” and if the board was not happy with them, they should be executed), friends of fellow Supreme Court Judge – O. W. Holmes Jr who wrote the Progressive view of Buck V Bell.

To a Progressive such as Holmes  the old American saying (attributed to Mark Twain) – “no man’s property or liberty is safe – when the legislature is in session” (a much realistic attitude that the deluded British faith in Parliament) is replied to with “and a jolly good thing to!”.

Well where do you stand gentle reader?

With the vile reactionaries such as Sir Edward Coke, Chief Justice John Holt, Edmund Burke (see his writings on Ireland and India), American Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, 20th century Justice Salmon P. Chase (and the others of the “Four Horsemen” who opposed such Progressive things as Franklin Roosevelt “National Recovery Agency” – General Johnson’s Jackbooted “Blue Eagle” thugs who tried to set the prices and business practices of every enterprise in the United States).

Or do you stand with the noble Sir Francis Bacon (of The New Atlantis), Sir William Petty (the creator mathematical “economic planning” in the mid 17th century), Thomas Hobbes, the Bowood Circle of the late 18th century (funded by Lord S.) with such lovely people as Jeremy Bentham – with his 13 Departments of State controlling every aspect of life (as it is the duty of government to promote pleasure and oppose pain – and natural law and natural rights are “nonsense on stilts”, law being simply the will of the rulers), and with the Hobbes lovers among the “Westminster Review” crowd of the early 19th century (with their “land question” – i.e. the view that the state could plunder the ancient estates, overturning “feudal” notions going back to the ninth century, as David Ricardo had “proved” that….. let us ignore the fact that Frank Fetter refuted David Ricardo on land a century ago, the Ottoman Empire, and Eastern Despotism generally, rocks, it is “Progressive” to attack the estates of “feudal” Western land holders). And the “New Liberals” of the late 19th century, and the Fabians and the American Progressives and………….

Ignore the warnings of old reactionary Common Lawyers such as Sir Edward Coke and John Holt that Progressive Francis Bacon stuff is really the dark side of Roman Law – the “Civilians” with their doctrines that the will of the ruler has the force of law, and that no law binds the government (because the government can change the law as it likes).

After all such warnings are repeated in the speeches of reactionary (and “corrupt”) President Warren Harding and reactionary (and “stupid”) President Calvin Coolidge in the 1920s (see the Politically Incorrect Guide to the Presidents) when they pointed out that  such things as the Progressive “New Freedom” of Woodrow Wilson which claimed to “evolve” beyond the principles of the Constitution of the United States, are (in fact) a product of German collectivist political philosophy (see J. Goldberg “Liberal Fascism”) going back as far as the 18th century philosophy (see the works of Hayek on this – for example the “Constitution of Liberty” and “Law, Legislation and Liberty” – although Hayek can never free himself from the general philosophy of the very people whose political ideas he attacks – and, contrary to Hayek, their politics comes naturally from their philosophy) and that this political philosophy is (in turn) a return to the ideas of the “civilians” – the Roman Law scholars with their doctrine that the government is limited by no law (as it can create any law it likes – and change any existing law) and that one must hope for wise rulers to promote the happiness of the people… The reactionary Harding and Coolidge claiming that those who seek to “evolve” beyond “vulgar” or “primitive” views of freedom (the property rights view embodied in such things as the British and American Bill of Rights) actually collapse back into the darkest tyrannical despotism.

Surely no one (but the most hardened and bitter reactionary) would deny that governments should promote pleasure and prevent pain (prevent the little darling people, children really, hurting ourselves) – without letting any silly “old right” stand in their way?

“How much there is that we prefer not to notice.”

The title is from the diaries of the Soviet poet Alexander Tvardovsky, as quoted (and translated) by Helen Szamuely. It’s from a passage describing an incident in the winter of 1955 when he saw young girls attempting to dig ditches in frozen ground.

The girls earn 10-15 roubles a day and their food is terrible. Today I joked a little as I went past: “Why not wait till spring? It will be easier to dig.” A pleasant young girl replied with sad determination: “We have to do it.”

How much there is that we prefer not to notice.

That was just how life was in the USSR. Now, this is not the Soviet Union. It’s not even close. But still, we go along with things for the sake of an easy life. We accept things we’d rather not until they become the “new normal”. There is much, even for us, that we prefer not to notice. “Asian” men abusing young girls in Rotherham, for example.

Once someone did notice, that shocked us all. But sometimes you have to step back a little, and look at what you’ve come to accept in a different light before you realise there’s something to notice in the first place.

I can’t recall exactly who it was – it may have been Helen’s “boss”, Richard North, or his associate Christopher Booker – who when writing about the European Union, asked a Norwegian politician prominent in that country’s campaign against membership exactly why it was that his countrymen voted against it, and received the answer, “It’s the lack of democracy in your system that we don’t like”. It struck whoever it was – and myself, reading it – deeply. “Your system”: we may rant about Brussels ordering around, and still, even now, persist on reporting it as “Foreign news”, but we are a part of this system. It’s ours, it’s governing us, and it’s rotten. We prefer not to notice.

I thought the same thing when I read Andrew Gilligan’s Sunday Telegraph column this week: (more…)

Lets avoid a shotgun divorce

Fog in the Channel - Continent cut off

Before I get kicked to death in the streets by the Counting Cats Eurosceptic wing (which seems to be most of us in fairness), I shall be clear and unequivocal.

I believe that Britain has a place in Europe as its political and economic stability is essential to British peace and prosperity, but that “Europe” and the “European Union” are two very different things.

I believe that the EU is a travesty and, if not brought down by its own hubris, will cause conflict in Europe in the not too distant future, probably over the secession of Germany.

For this reason, I believe the UK should leave the EU, in fact we should have baulked at its creation at Maastricht in 1992.  Although John Major was very successful at negotiating away the worst excesses of the transformation from European Community into European Union, it was in fact little more than appeasement. (more…)

Self-Fulfilling Prophesy, UKIP-style

douglas-carswell[1]

If we’d failed in the European elections I would have stood down, if we fail next year the party will pick someone better than me…

UKIP will be a force in the House of Commons next year and if we get this right we may find ourselves in a hung parliament holding the balance of power.

Nigel Farage – Yesterday

As if in recognition (although more likely politically orchestrated), former Tory backbencher Douglas Carswell MP this morning announced he was defecting to UKIP and resigning from Parliament – sparking a crunch by-election.

Now in fairness, he could have simply defected to UKIP and remained a UKIP MP (the very first) until the next scheduled elections in June 2015, but he’s chosen to do the more honourable thing and fight the seat in a by-election for UKIP.

BREAKING: Tory MP Douglas Carswell defects to UKIP and resigns from Parliament sparking a crunch Essex by-election

The UKIP fox is definitely in the Westminster hen-house, I spy fun times ahead. Nothing like upsetting the Westminster apple-cart even if it is in the form of the Little England brigade.

Craven

The retailer of “naughty things” Ann Summers has apologized over a lingerie range named “Isis”

Knickers

Not to be confused with…

Twat

London (AFP) – Adult retailer Ann Summers apologized Saturday after launching a range of lingerie named Isis — but said it did not support jihadists in Iraq and Syria and had no plans to withdraw the line.

Well, that last bit is reassuring. Not, I suspect, that Ann Summers would be especially welcome in the New Caliphate anyhow. But why apologize? An Ann Summers spokeswoman stated the decision had been made months ago and Isis is an ancient Egyptian fertility goddess which seems a fairly reasonable name for female intimate attire. I mean it’s not something a lady would wear to play football in is it*?

It remains on sale which is something, though why apologize anyway? It is admitting that “ISIS” (or “IS”) have stolen part of our culture and mythology. It is bizarrely conflating something to cover your er… with a bunch of arseholes. And that is my point, really. Are ISIS vile? Are they dangerous? Yes. Are they the greatest threat facing the USA as President Obama recently stated? Are they Hell! They are just a bunch of ragged-assed renegades on the create. They ought to be treated with the disdain they deserve and not treated like Sith Lords. By regarding them as Mordor itself we are their best recruiting sergeants because it gives spurious glamour to a collection of honour-free tossers playing at jihad.

As an aside they are currently carrying out “judicial” executions, crucifixions and amputations and “encouraging” children to watch (like Alton Towers in the sand). Of course they would regard the ladies pictured above as depraved. I have a rather different standard for depravity.

On the plus side I am reliably informed that Russia has banned such frivolous under-garments on spurious grounds of causing minge-rot or something so it would seem we are annoying the right people.

Pooty Poot and the Sand People – sounds like a dreadful band from the ’50s.

*No I haven’t seen that video. Curse you internet!!!

Free apologist with every rape

Rotherham Child Abuse Scandal - Ring A

“Several staff described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought as racist; others remembered clear direction from their managers not to do so.”

Rotherham child abuse scandal: 1,400 children exploited, report finds

There is a reason that “Lady Justice” wears a blindfold, it is so that both prejudice and favour are ignored in the legal system and one of the reasons why the Anglo-Saxon legal system has established itself around the world.

Unfortunately, the same rules do not apply to the politically correct who see a “narrative” at every turn, indeed is a “Social Worker” not the very epitome of the Fabian state writ large?

The net effect of such deliberate and wilful ignorance was that a significant number of children were subjected to violence, sexual abuse and coercion because the public appointed and empowered enforcers of the law were colour-blind to their actions because they were Muslims.

Without committing acts of outrage myself, it is impossible to continue, but suffice to say that until political correctness and random acts of racism are removed from both law and public service – for what else is “Child Services” – or whatever the current politically correct euphemism?

There may well be a place for social workers, but it is within the voluntary sector of the 19th century rather than the state enabled child abductors of the 21st.

So. This Scottish thing, then.

It’s a month from now, so I suppose as the resident Jock I should say something about it. Okay, here’s the thing. I realised recently exactly why I’ll be voting “No”, and it comes down to this: Sure, the UK sometimes screws things up – Cameron is currently busy making an almighty hash of dealing with ISIS, for example, and the economic situation’s an unholy mess – but it’s my country, dammit. I’m British. My father’s family were Ulster Protestants (and you don’t get much more British than that), ultimately from Yorkshire, while my mother’s descended from border reivers who didn’t give a flying crap what country there were in at any given time. She has a cousin who moved to Yorkshire, coincidentally enough, and brought up a family there. I like cricket (as much as I like any sport), and support England, for whom Scots are eligible to play, and have. Friends I grew up with live and work in England and Wales (and therefore, incidentally, have no say in this). We don’t have much of a military history on either side of the family (both my grandfathers neatly managed to be too young for WWI and work in reserved occupations during WWII), but my great-grandfather died at Gallipoli under the Union Jack. Buggered if I’m about to vote for taking the blue bits off it.

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.

… as someone once said.

But moreover, leaving aside all the emotional aspects that we’re told are irrelevant by a bunch of people swanning around in painted faces and tribal dress, harking back to battles fought seven centuries ago – and this is the epiphany that struck me the other day when I realised that it’s what’s been in the back of my head all along – I have absolutely no confidence whatever, not a scrap, that a Scottish state would be the slightest bit better. Not least because, as we all know, all states are a bit crap in the end, but mainly because of Holyrood itself. Great Things were promised by the “Yes” campaign back in 1997. Almost exactly the same Great Things as are promised by the “Yes” campaign right now. Everything was going to be absolutely wonderful in the New Scotland, brought to us by an Era of Consensual Politics™. The parliament would get everything right, be all things to all men, we’d all be happier, healthier, and wealthier, neighbours would smile benignly at one another of a morning, and everyone would get off with the all the people they fancied. Or something.

And you know what? It’s no different. If anything, it’s worse: more centralization of power, more irresponsible profligacy with the taxpayers’ money, more pinch-faced governmental busybodying, and less individual liberty. Which might have happened anyway, but still. No better. Just last week Holyrood announced an attempt to scale back Westminster’s relaxation of gambling laws because “there are too many betting shops”. Who says? They do, our Betters. And if the Edinburgh Tramway isn’t the Springfield Monorail come to hideous, eye wateringly-expensive, life, I don’t know what is. (“What about us braindead slobs?” “You’ll all be given cushy jobs!” Was that the Simpsons, or the referendum debate the other week? It’s getting hard to tell.)

I didn’t buy the “Yes” hucksters’ flim-flam in ’97 and I don’t buy it now.

But why is it no different? Because they don’t want it to be. The entire raison d’etre of the seperatist movement – in which I include the paradoxically centralizing “devolution” – is to resist the perceived liberalising trend of Westminster. The writers of the words I quoted above recognised that the logical response to abuses of the power of a state is to create one less able to exert that power (and they still, arguably, failed) but the Scottish political class is absolutely fine with it as long as The Right People are in charge. It’s painfully obvious from everything they say that the advocates of a seperate Scotland want to use it to its fullest. From what little we know of their constitutional plans – we are again, as we were in 1997, being asked to sign a blank cheque – they intend a litany of “positive rights”, making classical liberalism effectively illegal.

But then, that’s nationalism for you. They always think they speak for all of us. No, worse than that, they think they – or somebody – can speak for all of us. People like that have no concept of the dangers of the state’s monopoly of force. If the state is “us”, then misuse of its power is an impossibility; how can we oppress ourselves? And this really seems to be the thinking: Westminster’s failures are due to “them”, “the English”, but if “we” had the power, all would be rosy. I can’t help recalling that old joke about the Lone Ranger: “What’s all this ‘we’ stuff, Kemosabe?” A nation is not one big happy family making consensual decisions around the kitchen table of its government. State power is at best a necessary evil that must be handled with the utmost care. Scotland’s nationalists – of all political colours, because they only differ on the matter of degree – are far too in love with it to be trusted.

It’s not just us brutal Anglo Saxons you know…

Protest outside Muenster Town Hall

This weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting a friend in the historic city of Münster, Germany – a university town with 50,000 students and famous as the site of the Rathaus where the Treaty of Westphalia was signed ending the Thirty Years’ War in 1648.

What was not so appealing this weekend was the protest outside the historic Rathaus by a group of supporters of the Palestinians shouting quite frankly repulsive and anti-Semitic slogans while the Police looked on with cold eyes.

The rally had been called by the “initiative of the Friends of Palestine in Münster”. Bearing banners and pamphlets to express their protest the participants were mainly women with headscarves and children.

They also chanted slogans such as “child murderer Israel” or “mass murderer Netanyahu”. In a pamphlet stated: “We do not hate the Jews, but the terrorist state of Israel.”

On the opposite side of the street, under the arches, demonstrated a significantly smaller group of people for self-defense of Israel.

Heated verbal exchanges on the principal market (in the original German, translated into English by Google Translate)

It was quite clear to all concerned that the Police were not there to ensure the demonstrators didn’t get out of hand (as occasionally happens with environmental and Neo-Nazi protests in Germany), but rather to ensure that the demonstrators themselves were protected from the public at large.

Marcus, my host for the weekend, is an educated native German with a doctorate in physics who spends his summer vacations building village schools in rural India, so not exactly a little-Deutschlander, but he was outraged to the point of anger that the “…spectre of the anti-Semitism of the Nazi era…” (his exact words) should be displayed again on the streets of Germany.

I pointed out to Marcus that if the right to free-speech means anything, it means the right to make statements which others may find offensive and that there is no general right not to be offended.

“Quite correct”, Marcus said, “but if the protesters had been ethnic German’s rather than immigrants, then they would have been dragged away by the Police at the first anti-Semitic outburst” - this was in relation to an anti-immigration protest at the Münster Rathaus some months ago, which the police had broken up for exactly that reason.

“The police are afraid to intervene because they are Muslims” was Marcus’ final word on the matter.

Diplomacy amidst the wreckage and the rhetoric

Malaysian PM Najib on MH17

Although not a fan of Malaysian PM Najib Razak, his approach to the MH17 disaster has been more diplomatic than the angry rhetoric of both the US and the UK. Indeed I would go further and say that it demonstrates the difference between Cameron and Obama, who are simply politicking and the governments of Malaysia and the Netherlands who are attempting to recover the bodies of their citizens and understand why MH17 is spread across 8-miles of a Ukrainian war-zone.

(more…)

A “not-so-veiled attempt to gut” Obamacare

Sad Obama is Sad

A federal appeals court dealt a potentially major blow to President Obama’s health care law Tuesday, ruling that participants in health exchanges run by the federal government in 34 states are not eligible for tax subsidies.

Judge Harry Edwards dissented, calling the challenge “a not-so-veiled attempt to gut the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” and warning that the panel’s ruling “portends disastrous consequences.

US court deals setback to Obamacare

Good.

While having some sympathy for those caught up in the ever widening unravelling of Obamacare, folks who just want to make sure that their families can get the coverage they need at a price they can afford, the more nails in the coffin, the better.

Every time we’ve had a court case challenging the validity of Obamacare provisions, libertarians such as myself have hoped and prayed “Let this be it, let it end here…”, but so far it never has.

Why is this important? because it is the last gap in the gobbling up of healthcare provision by the US Government. They’ve taken the usual slow-pace slice-and-dice approach as recommended by Gramsci and other Marxists and are just waiting for the payoff, because when all healthcare coverage is mandated by the state, then it matters little who the actual providers are, it is socialised medicine with all the consequences that come with socialised medicine, postcode prescription, drug panels and ultimately death panels.

Anyone who tells you it ain’t so is lying.

So where do we go from here? Well as sure as eggs is eggs, there will be a lot of lying from the Democrats that this is just a transitory ruling and given the failure of the Supreme Court to actually overturn Obamacare on previous occasions (even with  Chief Justice John Roberts nominally in charge), I am dubious they will do so now, with any decision affecting the healthcare of millions of Americans.

What I expect is another fudged decision – and the inane, stupid and crippling progression of Obamacare across America – destroying freedom, jobs and household budgets along the way…

Lord Adonis.

His first name, Andrew, means basically “manly”. This is Lord Adonis (a former Labour transport minister)…

Yeah, right. He looks like he could be hoicked with a wet tea towel.

QotD: Sowell on the Negative Wage

Dr. Sowell:

Someone who is trying to climb out of poverty by working their way up can easily reach a point where a $10,000 increase [ in pay]* can cost them $15,000 in lost benefits they no longer qualify for. That amounts to a marginal tax rate of 150 percent—far more than millionaires pay.

–Quoted by Hunter Lewis in his piece “50th Anniversary of Federal Government’s Failed War on Poverty.”

*Parenthetical not mine. –J.

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