Friday, 15 December 2017

This morning the queue to see the King lying in state was short (fifteen or twenty minutes) but passing just now at midnight it was hours long.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Why Israel occupies part of the Golan Heights

This, found on the net, is interesting and topical.

Talking in 1976 Moshe Dayan, who was the Israel defense minister in 1967, explained that Syria had not been a threat to Israel before 1967.

"I know how at least 80% of all the incidents with Syria started. We were sending a tractor to the demilitarized zone and we knew that the Syrians will shoot. If they did not shoot, we would instruct the tractor to go deeper, till the Syrians finally got upset and start shooting. Then we employed artillery, and later also the air-force... I did that... and Itzhak Rabin did that, when he was there."
Israel provoked Syria, in Dayan's words, 
"to grab a piece of land and keep it, until the enemy will get tired and give it to us."

1960s student radicalism, the Weathermen and the origins of political correctness

The SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) was an important American student organisation in the 1960s known for its activism against the Vietnam War. It split after 1968 over whether to use violence to overthrow the government. This article is in the public domain and sheds light on the origins of the modern left in the USA.

It was at this meeting that Bernadine Dohrn, celebrated the fork stuck into the heavily-pregnant Sharon Tate's belly.
“Dig it! First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them. They even shoved a fork into the victim’s stomach. Wild!”
I draw your attention to this passage:


The logic of that view was expressed in a statement by Ted Gold, a top Weatherman, who said that “an agency of the people of the world” would be set up to run the U.S. economy and society after the defeat of the U.S. imperialism abroad.

A critic spoke up: “In short, if the people of the world succeed in liberating themselves before American radicals have made the American revolution, then the Vietnamese and Africans and the Chinese are gonna move in and run things for white America. It sounds like a John Bircher’s worst dream. There will have to be more repression than ever against white people, but by refusing to organize people, Weatherman isn’t even giving them half a chance.”

“Well,” replied Gold, “if it will take fascism, we’ll have to have fascism.”

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

“The issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution.”


“The issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution.”

An unnamed “SDS radical” quoted by David Horowitz - I wonder which radical if any said this. I remember hearing this expression back in my 1970s childhood. 


This brings to mind the recent emergence of transgender rights as a political issue.

It is interesting to be reminded of the revolutionary fervour of the 1960s, which later transmogrified into the identity politics of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, both disciples of Saul Alinsky. Alinsky's book “Rules for Radicals” was originally entitled “Rules for Revolution”.

Calling the gendarmes slaves is against the law



Last month a Romanian, posting on Facebook, called the gendarmes guarding the National Anticorruption Department (DNA) "slaves", reports News.ro. He has been ordered to pay a fine of RON 900 (about EUR 195) for offensive language.

Calling the gendarmes slaves is against the law.

Eastern Europe is starting to become as authoritarian as Western Europe: in the 1980s I could not have imagined writing this sentence.


Things are even worse in England where a demonstrator was fine for calling his MP a coward. that only made the local paper.

Freedom is a concept that people increasingly no longer even understand.

Genius and dunderheads



The human desire to create a comprehensible narrative out of haphazard events is very strong.  
Do you remember when Jeremy Corbyn was a dunderhead? It was just before he was a genius, which came just before people wondering if he should be doing better. 
Jeremy Corbyn’s period as a dunderhead started while David Cameron was a genius, which came just before he was a dunderhead too.

Daniel, Lord Finkelstein in The Times today.


As Ed Miliband said, after defeat in the 2015 election,
When you win, everything you did was an act of genius and when you lose everything you did was the work of a fool

On my walk to work

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Stoicism

"An intelligent life is all about such emotional positioning to eliminate the sting of harm, which as we saw is done by mentally writing off belongings so one does not feel any pain from losses. The volatility of the world no longer affects you negatively.


Seen this way, Stoicism is about the domestication, not necessarily the elimination, of emotions. It is not about turning humans into vegetables. My idea of the modern Stoic sage is someone who transforms fear into prudence, pain into information, mistakes into initiation, and desire into undertaking."

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Antifragile

'Plan to ban smoking completely in bars and eateries from 2018 scrapped by far-right Freedom Party'

Headline and sub-headline in the Guardian. 

Good for the Freedom Party. It doesn't stop them being accused of fascism or described by the Guardian as far right. 

In fact they represent the long liberal tradition in Austria politics that brought about the 1848 Austrian revolution. Liberals in Austria believed since the 1840s in a liberal greater Germany.

Note the way the Guardian puts inverted commas around freedom as if gingerly handling with gloves something suspicious and repellent


Austria stubs out looming smoking ban in name of 'freedom'
Plan to ban smoking completely in bars and eateries from 2018 scrapped by far-right Freedom party in coalition talks
Mathematicians have said many interesting quotable things. If they were also philosophers. Think Bertrand Russell. But have natural scientists? If not, and I think not, why not?


I can't imagine Newton, Einstein or Stephen Hawkins saying things as interesting as, say, any second rate poet like Sir John Betjeman or third rate novelist like Angela Thirkell. Or any decent Daily Telegraph writer.
Professor Haldane, what has your study of biology told you about the character of God? 

J.B.S. Haldane: That he seems to have an inordinate fondness for beetles.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Global warning prediction



"The Arctic Ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consulate at Bergen, Norway.

"Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone.

"Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes.
"Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the Gulf Stream still very warm.
"Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared.
"Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelt which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds.

"Within a few years it is predicted that due to the ice melt the sea will rise and make most coastal cities uninhabitable."

This report was from November 2, 1922, as reported by the AP and published in The Washington Post.


In case, gentle but cynical reader, you think this might be fake news from 1922 it has been fact checked by Snopes.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Facebook tells me that today is Human Rights Day. Rejoice?


Not me.

I would support a day to advance liberty, but not one to advance equality, a malign idea from the American and French revolutions. Human rights are good if they are freedoms, but not if they are extensions of state power.

Googling I find that this day, previously unknown to me, is as I suspected, a creation of that ghastly body the UN. Human rights is a rephrasing of Rights of Man. In other words Jacobinism.

Imagination

One loves women and countries that capture ones imagination. Life is mostly lived in the imagination, if you have one.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Bernardine Dohrn: "They even shoved a fork into the victim’s stomach. Wild!”

I wrote about the murderer Charles Manson  when he died two weeks ago. He was one of the increasingly few people who was before my time. 

At his death, the liberal press incredibly tried to suggest that the murderous Manson - a counter culture hero if ever there was one - was a forerunner of Donald Trump. 

I mentioned the debate in the SDS about whether killing white babies was a revolutionary act and quoted Bernadine Dohrn, the SDS and Weather Underground leader, who celebrated the fork stuck into the heavily-pregnant Sharon Tate's belly.
“Dig it! First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them. They even shoved a fork into the victim’s stomach. Wild!”
This was at a meeting held just after the Manson murders to decide a strategy for using violence to take over America in the name of Vietnamese and Africans. One of the SDS

Outside the Royal Palace on Thursday

Photograph by Octav Dragan, who comments on it:


Doamna din imagine nu avea telefon cu cameră foto și nici aparat de fotografiat, dar avea pix și un carnețel. În felul acesta a reușit să-și noteze pentru amintire toate mesajele de condoleanțe de pe gardul Palatului Regal. Respect! București, 9 decembrie 2017.



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We're here because we're here, because we're here

Headline in the Wall St Journal today:

U.S. to Remain in Syria Indefinitely, Pentagon Officials Say


The Americans should get out and leave the government, Russia and Iran to sort things out. Syria is a sovereign state and not in the American sphere of interest.

The US, which opposed the pro-Soviet Assad regime during the Cold War, has long wished its demise but now it seems that America for some reason identifies her interests with Israel's, though it originally allied with Israel for fear of Soviet takeover of Gulf - and fears Iran, though Sunni extremism (think Saudi funded mosques) are the threat to the West now, not Iran. 

As often happens, the original reasons for things get forgotten.

The reason that Romania was accepted as a candidate for EU membership was because of Emil Constantinescu's support for America in Kosovo (a war public opinion here strongly opposed). By the time Romania joined the EU the reason had been long forgotten. 

Other examples of this forgetfulness are legion.

Quotations

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"Men are creatures with two legs and eight hands." Jayne Mansfield

"Fools censure wit, as old men rail at sin." Earl of Rochester

"Humans are primed by prudent and rational evolutionary instincts to trust people who look like us"

"Humans are primed by prudent and rational evolutionary instincts to trust people who look like us and to fear those [who don't]."

Dr. John A. Bargh, a social psychologist at Yale University, like most American academics and possibly most Yale and Harvard graduates, doesn't approve of tribes, whereas I and most people do. They are the basis of Europe since prehistory. 

The Brexit deal: the end of the beginning

Martin Schulz, the German Social Democrat leader, told his party conference on Wednesday that a new treaty should be presented to member states creating a United States of Europe and countries who oppose it must leave the EU.

England has made her decision.

Martin Schulz lost the recent election badly, but it seems he will once more be Vice-chancellor. This is how democracy works in Germany, thanks to proportional representation and a tradition of consensus politics. All the German parties are social democrats except the Greens, who are crazy leftists, the ex-Communists and AfD.

Mrs. May's Brexit deal sounds worrying, sounds a sell-out, but this insightful article by Andrew Lilico cheered me up no end. Much is till to play for.

On the other hand, I see the UK being forced to remain in something akin to the single market unless we bite the bullet and go back to a hard border with Southern Ireland. A border that will in reality always be incredibly porous, as it was between 1922 and the 1965 Anglo-Irish free trade treaty, agreed between Harold Wilson and Sean Lemass. (They agreed it expecting to join the EEC.) Unless we do so we cannot prevent free movement of EU citizens into the UK (though we can prevent EU citizens who enter the UK after we leave the EU from working legally) or avoid being de facto part of the customs union. 

But although we might get customs posts at the Irish border I doubt that we shall.

Thank God the DUP has the power to prevent Northern Ireland remaining in the Single Market and separated from Great Britain by a customs barrier.

The Western European political classes despise the DUP as they despise UKIP, AfD and all parties that care deeply about Christianity or nations. They dislike the far left parties much less and are relatively unfazed by Sinn Fein/IRA or with leftish pseudo-nationalists like the SNP and the late, unlamented Catalan left-populist government.

One European negotiator is quoted in The Times today as saying
“To see a British prime minister a hostage of people like the DUP is horrifying. Can she get through this? This is the relative easy part, it gets really tough next year and she looks too weak. What we find alarming is the alternative: elections and a possible Corbyn victory. Then it’s game over.”
Theresa May has been helped by her sheer weakness and the probably unfounded fear in Europe (meaning Berlin) that Boris Johnson might succeed her. She has done better, in her terms, than might  have been expected. 

My guess is that Angela Merkel stepped in to save Mrs May and keep her show on the road.

Mrs May should not have agreed to decide the leaving payment and the Irish border before the trade deal, but she has kicked the can down the road. 

But it is still a can of worms. 

Peter Guildford, a former British EU official who runs a Brussels consultancy, pointed out:

“I never realized you could have a border without a border, but I was obviously wrong. Now let’s see how they create a single market without a single market. The wheels have to come off somewhere.”

Michael Gove and Boris Johnson must fight very hard now against the civil service, the diplomatic service, most of the establishment and the cabinet for a hardish Brexit.

I still like the idea of leaving the EU in an orderly way without a deal, and it might still happen. Andrew Lilico tweeted today that there is still a 50-50 chance of it. I doubt that because Mrs May will go to great lengths to prevent it and so would almost any new Conservative Prime Minister who replaces her. 

Another outcome I'd like is a Canadian type deal plus a deal on services, which are not covered in the Canadian agreement or the WTO rules.

This is, as Mr Lilico says, a moment when the Conservative Party should elect a new leader and thrash out what sort of Brexit we want.


At least it is clear that we are leaving in 2019 and that the EU no longer harbours hopes that we shall stay. If the transition arrangements end before the next election at least this will have been achieved. 

If they do not, though, and some think that they may need to extend for some years, then it may be Jeremy Corbyn who decides.



 How wonderfully brave my countrymen are (I had no vote but would have voted Leave). What is remarkably impressive is that roughly the same number of people in the UK are Leave now, despite all the propaganda from the pro-EU people. I expected people to get cold feet.

This fact is a great blow to the Remain establishment in the UK and to the EU.

Once more, I hope, to quote Pitt the Younger,  that England will save herself by her efforts and Europe by her example.

We are doing this not just for ourselves but for the good of Europe too.

Christmas markets without armed police are now a thing of the past in England

A great article by Ed West in The Spectator here, talking about the proliferation of machine guns and anti-terror 'diversity bollards' in British streets. The son of Richard West and Mary Kenny, he is a brave, clever and intellectually honest man who gets what is happening, as Douglas Murray does and many other young British conservative journalists like Tim Stanley or Fraser Nelson do not.

Cat calling is a hate crime



(London) Evening Standard yesterday:

Wolf whistling or making sexist remarks on London’s streets could become a hate crime. 

The Metropolitan Police today revealed it is speaking with other UK forces to assess whether it is worth cracking down on gender-based hate crimes after a pilot scheme was launched in the East Midlands last year.

Sexual assaults are very serious and wrong. Being wolf-whistled and catcalled in public are neither and usaully flattering. I asked a very attractive blonde friend of mine, Sally, what

Brasov (Kronstadt) under snow

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Democracy was always seen as the enemy of freedom

Democracy was always seen as the enemy of freedom and it was the great 19th century achievement to widen the franchise while preserving civilisation = economic inequality.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Princess Henry/Harry


The New Yorker:


"Might we not claim Harry and Meghan as the monarchs of our hearts? Might they not serve as paradoxical avatars of our own hopes for a more open, more international, more unified, and fairer world?"

Oh dear, oh dear. This sounds like a modern, globalist, multicultural version of 'Heir of Sorrows', the long running romantic serial about Charles and Diana, penned by Dame Sylvie Krin, in 'Private Eye'.


I am very pleased that Prince Henry is in love and hope he is making a wise choice. I must say that I wish the princess to be did not call herself a feminist and activist and list Ban Ki-moon, the last Secretary-General of the United Nations, as one of her heroes. 

Flowers outside the Royal Palace

On my walk to work today along Calea Victoriei in the December sunshine I came across this moving shrine to the King outside the Royal Palace. I recalled how in 1947 the crowds gathered outside the palace, enthusiastic for the King whom they saw as their only hope of protection from the Bolsheviks.

Some of the descendants of those people supported the post Communist governments of the early 1990s. The damage Communism does is very great indeed.

The flowers were moving but not so many plentiful. I think that the deaths of Freddie Mercury, Michael Jackson and David Bowie moved more Romanians to tears.

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'Outrage at plans to turn vacant home of famed English author George Eliot into an ARABIC school'



The Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail, but not the other British papers, have a story about George Eliot's house becoming an Arabic school. They found someone who was brave enough to be quoted as being outraged about it.


The Daily Mail is a valuable news source and provides a timid critique of the ideology of England's rulers, is very good on celebrity wardrobe misfunctions too, but it does not expect its readers to have heard of George Eliot or know she was a woman.


There's absolutely no reason why the house shouldn't become an Arabic school. It's an interesting footnote to history though. George Eliot's and Arnold Bennet's Midlands has been transformed and will be transformed much more.


Bismarck's ancestral manor house has been a Polish government building since 1945.





Thursday, 7 December 2017

German pilots refuse to carry failed asylum seekers

Figures collated by the German Left [ex-Communist] Party found 222 flights had been abandoned after pilots refused to carry failed asylum seekers on board.

Quotations

"Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire."

Gustav Mahler

"Human beings are born with different capacities. If they are free, they are not equal. And if they are equal, they are not free."

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“I want there to be a constitutional treaty to create a federal Europe to be presented to the member states, and those who are against it will simply leave the EU."

Martin Schultz today. 

Things that make me happy

The Tridentine Mass; winter sunshine; Bucharest; looking round churches; good friends; good conversation; good books; good restaurants (Grano, Mesogios, Il Villagio, Tuk Tuk, Zexe); good wine; old films. Mozart. Roquefort. The British monarchy and peerage. Romanian carols. Romanian villages. Romanian common sense attitudes to life. The amazing pizza shop on Lipscani, by the statue of the wolf suckling Romulus and Remus (there are not such good pizzas in Naples).

Sir Edward du Cann was a crook

I blogged about the death of Sir Edward du Cann here. I wanted to add this, which I just read in The Spectator by Charles Moore.
Sir Edward’s longevity proved a problem for me when I was preparing my first volume for the publishers. A paragraph about him (incredibly, he came quite close to being chosen over Mrs Thatcher to challenge Ted Heath in 1974) had to have two versions, one if he were still alive, the other if he weren’t. He lived, so my quotation from William Waldegrave said that Heath’s supporters hoped that Du Cann would challenge because they ‘all knew that he had such a dubious financial record as to make him an easy target’. In the ‘dead’ version, Waldegrave said: ‘all knew that he was a crook’. Those who romanticise the probity of politics in the old days would do well to study Sir Edward’s career.

The King is dead

O good old man, how well in thee appears the constant service of the antique world.
I have been very busy and had simply no time to blog about the death of the King which, even though he was 96 and had been very sick for two years, was a huge sadness to me and almost everyone in Romania. 

The Guardian obituary is here.

When I first came to live in Romania almost twenty years ago I was told that all nice Romanians are monarchists. It is true. The monarchy in 1990 was the rallying cry of the people who rejected the National Salvation Front and the (ex-)Communist structure of power. 

For many years until this century the words Monarhia Salveaza Romania ('The monarchy will save Romania') remained painted on a wall in Piata 21 Decembrie, a remnant from the days in the summer of 1990 when the golani ('hooligans')occupied the square before being expelled with violence and murder by the miners called into Bucharest by the ex-Communist government. 

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Tridentine Mass



The Tridentine Mass blows the mind. I attended a wonderfully well sung Tridentine Mass in Sunday in Rome and it convinced me that the way to reevangelise Europe is to have a solemn sung Mass in the old rite every Sunday in every Catholic church in Europe.




The vandalism and ugliness of the 1960s cannot be described.




My priest friend told me Pope Paul VI expected Europe to become far left, which it has, and that the vernacular Mass was a way to adapt to this which it is not.

When Catholics do not believe in God

When Catholics do not believe in God they know exactly what God it is in Whom they do not believe.

As a Spaniard said to George Barrow, why should I believe in your God when I do not believe in my own Who is the one true God?

Sunday, 3 December 2017

The mystery

'Not how the world is, but that it is, is the mystery.' Wittgenstein

Two thousand year old wisdom

Mrs. Opimian:  I think, doctor, you would not maintain any opinion if you had not an authority two thousand years old for it.

The Rev. Dr. Optimian: Well, my dear, I think most opnions worth mentioning have an authority  of about that age.

I am rereading Gryll Grange by Thomas Love Peacock.

When and why did we stop revering the wisdom of the past and start assuming that all opinions widely held before 1965 are probably malign?

Dinner in Belgrade

Snow!

Belgrade seemed tediously Western and modern in 1992.

Now it seems attractively shabby and parochial. Most of all it feels like a free country. People, one senses, say what they like here.

The man I had dinner with said Serbia is in no hurry to join the E.U. She has free trade agreements with the E.U., Russia and China and lots of Chinese, Russian and Arab investment.

He thinks once Serbia joins the E.U. the outflow of people to jobs in the West will ruin the country.