Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Jakub Kyncl photographed Constanta Casino



Image result for Jakub Kynčl Constanta Casino

Newborn babies good, unborn babies dispensible

10 million babies may die in the first months of life over the next ten years whose lives could be saved if mothers were offered the right services. So said the man reading the news on the BBC World Service this morning. He asked
'Why is it so hard to prevent deaths in the first month of life?'
He was talking about a new UNICEF report. Babies born in rich countries, the report unsurprisingly states, have a high chance of survival, while the number of newborn deaths in poor countries is alarmingly high.

This is very sad and something should be done. Aid donors, rich countries in other words, should do something. So should the poor countries concerned.

But notice the difference between UNICEF's and the BBC's concern for new born babies and unborn babies. They show no concern for unborn babies.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Review of R.H.S. Stolfi's "Hitler: Beyond Evil and Tyranny" - Part 2

Macaulay disapproved of military history and Napier's History of the Peninsular War. He thought it immoral to divorce military strategy from history in the wider sense and he has a point. 

Someone said that military justice is to justice what military music is to music.
Perhaps military history is in the same case. 


Stolfi's unsentimental attitude to Hitler may derive from coming to him from studying German military strategy. He is an interesting military historian who sometimes admires Hitler as a strategist. Nevertheless he is sure that Hitler made many mistakes and, by ignoring the generals, lost the war on a single day.

I learnt from Stolfi that once Britain and France declared war Hitler was in a hurry to invade France, expecting every day to learn that the Allies had taken over Belgium without firing a shot. Would that they had!

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Review of R.H.S. Stolfi's "Hitler: Beyond Evil and Tyranny" - Part 1

John F. Kennedy, aged 28, wrote these words in his diary on holiday in Germany in the summer of 1945, after visiting the Berchtesgaden and the Eagle's Lair.
“After visiting these two places you can easily see how that within a few years Hitler will emerge from the hatred that surrounds him now as one of the most significant figures who ever lived. He had boundless ambition for his country which rendered him a menace to the peace of the world, but he had a mystery about him in the way he lived and in the manner of his death that will live and grow after him."
They now read very oddly, although there is no question that Hitler was one of the most significant figures who ever lived. Kennedy did not foresee that the hatred that surrounded Hitler in 1945 has not lessened at all in 72 years. 

Books read since last summer

Reading War and Peace intermittently and lackadaisically took up almost two years, not because it is dull but because it is hard to read when the internet exists. Since then I have read a few books and hope to get off the internet as much as possible. Giving it up for Lent (video, audio and this blog excepted) is an experiment.

Bold means I loved it and highly recommend it. * means I have read it before.

Last year:

War and Peace - 
the best novel I ever read, toppling The Charterhouse of Parma.

Lady in the Lake*
, Raymond Chandler, transcendent prose.

Quotations about 'Cambridge (and Oxford)', written in my commonplace book just after I went down

[I collected them in the dear bygone time before the internet made finding quotations easy. I wonder where I found them. I suppose I just read a lot, much easier to do before the Internet and life began.]

Oxford to him a dearer name shall be
Than his own mother university.
Thebes did his green, unknowing youth engage,
He chooses Athens in his riper age.
John Dryden

But how I longed
As a boy for the groves and grooves of Academe.
Christopher Fry, Venus Observed

Quotations I collected when I was 22

I kept commonplace books of quotations in the months between going down from university and starting work. Five thick ones, A4 sized. I intend to publish a selection from them as an e-book. One has been sitting in my sitting room for years and here are a few quotations from it.


Think you, if Laura had been Petrarch's wife
He would have written sonnets all his life?

Lord Byron

Quotations - I do not necessarily endorse quotations I publish


“We [Americans] have a record of conquest, colonization and expansion unequalled by any people in the Nineteenth Century. We are not about to be stopped now.” Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, 1895

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Will #MeToo be the antidote to Donald Trump and save the left?

Another book about Steve Bannon and Donald Trump is out. Joshua Green, author of Devil’s Bargain, watched the Golden Globes ceremony with Mr. Bannon last month and quotes him saying,
“It’s even more powerful than populism. It’s deeper. It’s primal. It’s elemental. The long black dresses and all that - this is the Puritans! It’s anti-patriarchy. I think it's going to unfold like the Tea Party, only bigger. It's not Me Too. It's not just sexual harassment. It's an anti-patriarchy movement. Time's up on 10,000 years of recorded history. This is coming. This is real.”
Steve Bannon is a very perceptive man and might have a point, but in the short term #MeToo is aimed at Donald Trump and keeping the zeitgeist progressive. It is a very clever tactic by the Democrats to turn a scandal about someone in the heart of the Hollywood Democrat establishment and use it against Republicans.

Death of a poacher

But when he bent him over Jim,
The Honest Keeper’s eyes were dim. 
The Lion having reached his Head,
The Miserable Boy was dead!

An African hunter (a poacher) has been eaten (all save his head) by a lion and Facebook is full of morally disgusting people (with British names) who are rejoicing and cracking jokes. 

No wonder Western civilisation is going to fall into the sea. They are the sort of people who disapprove of shooting big game but don't mind rats being killed with rat poison.


The idea that animal lives are of equal, or for some people, greater value than a man's is very recent, very nasty and very decadent indeed.


This disapproval on Facebook in 2018 of poaching would have surprised that stern, unbending Tory Lord Chancellor Eldon in 1818. Even he only approved of hanging poachers, after due process of law. He didn't think they should be eaten alive by lions. 


The constant use of the word poacher is in fact very significant. It's a parable. The benign state protects lions and obedient people rejoice when a rule breaker is eaten alive.


Most of all it's about the loss of religious faith and therefore loss of respect for humanity who are reduced to the level of animals in people's minds.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Exactly

Jordan B Peterson (@jordanbpeterson):
Or it might be an informed choice made by autonomous individuals...
“The rate of millennial women choosing to become stay-at-home-moms is on the rise. Bad work-life balance and lack of flexibility may be to blame: https://t.co/37AKbKMYOp
TWITTER.COM

Sunday, 11 February 2018

More quotations

If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself.
Rollo May

The culture of Christianity has always been, in a measure, self-critical, and many of the political freedoms that we now take for granted have their origin in customs deeply rooted in the habit of Christian forgiveness.
Sir Roger Scruton

Quotations


Sir Roger Scruton:
The emergence of this culture of repudiation is a normal result of the breakdown of an old religion. Faced everywhere by customs, artefacts, and rituals that have been shorn of their old authority, the would-be priest is moved to acts of sacrilege and iconoclasm.

Sam White (@SamWhiteTky):
Tomorrow and forever, everywhere: racism, identity politics, racism, racism, identity politics, racism, identity politics.

Was it Great Britain, not Russia, that was interfering in the 2016 US Presidential election?

The investigation into whether Trump colluded with Russia to help him win the election - spoiler alert: he didn't - is for me very boring and not at all important. What is interesting is that the FBI relied on uncorroborated information in order to investigate someone in the Trump campaign. They did so because they, quite reasonably, had faith in Christopher Steele, the supposedly retired M16 man who produced the information.

The Guardian in April 2017 said:

John Kelly's troubling views and why I back the South in the U.S. Civil War

The Guardian is very disappointed that retired General John Kelly, Donald Trump's Chief of Staff, is not 'restraining' the president, which they see as his duty. And he does not have approved views on the Civil War.
John Kelly expressed some troubling views of his own. He described Robert E Lee as “an honorable man” and blamed the conflict on “the lack of an ability to compromise” rather than slavery. ....Pressure grows on him to resign.
I remember my supervisor in my first term at university telling me that the Civil War was fought over the Union not about slavery. I replied 'Of course. No other reason would possibly have been justifiable'. She seemed a little surprised.

First freedom became a reactionary idea - now democracy is going out of fashion

From a comment left by a British (Northern Irish Protestant) man on a journalist's Facebook wall today.
The Brexit vote showed that the English experiment in self-government has run its course. A condominium worked in the New Hebrides... It could work well for the English natives too. Nicola Sturgeon, Guy Verhofstadt, Leo Varadkar and George Soros running things rather Theresa May? Yes please!
This is typical of several dozen things I have read on Facebook and Twitter about how the British referendum shows that democracy simply doesn't work. 

Some of these appalling anti-democratic comments were made by decent good people, whom I generally respect. I think that none of them were made by Tory Remainers though. The left are almost always more authoritarian and much more snobbish than the right.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Angela Merkel rides again


Angela Merkel is a woman, as slow as Theresa May at making decisions and as unconservative.


There the resemblances between the two seem to end. Frau Merkel is a brilliant and cunning politician who did to her party what Mr. Blair did to his. She created a real conservative party, the AfD, rather as his legacy is a far left Labour Party led by Mr. Corbyn and George W Bush and Mr Obama's is President Trump.

British 'Integration Tsar': It is not OK for Catholic schools to be anti-gay marriage.



Britain has a supposedly Conservative Government. Giving evidence a couple of weeks ago before a House of Commons committee, Dame Louise Casey, the Government’s ‘integration tsar’, talked about 'Operation Trojan Horse' and the reasons why Islamism and Salifi extremism were taught in state schools in Birmingham. She went on to say


“When does a teacher running a secular school say, ‘No, it’s fine for you not to do theatre,’ or music or those sorts of thing? When is that OK? I do not really have any view on which religion it is that it is promoting those sorts of views, but they are not OK, in the same way that it is not OK for Catholic schools to be homophobic and anti-gay marriage. That is not OK either—it is not how we bring children up in this country.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

The UK needs Michael Howard as Prime Minister - there is no-one else

The UK needs Michael Howard to come back to the Commons and form a government. No one else has the stature political skills and is Leave. A Prime Minister is needed who believes in Brexit.

Suffragettes made no contribution to women getting the vote

A lot of nonsense in the press today about Suffragettes. I am sorry to see allegedly Conservative politicians like Mrs. May and the unspeakable Davidson woman praising the Suffragettes, whose illegal and violent tactics delayed women getting the vote. 

Women were given the vote by a predominantly Conservative government as a reward for their contribution to the war effort.

From a letter in today's Guardian:

It is simply untrue to state that the suffragettes only targeted property, not people. That may have been true of the leadership, but certainly not of the rank and file membership. In one year alone, 1914, shortly before Mrs Pankhurst disbanded the WSPU’s campaign to concentrate on the war effort, there were several incidents of suffragette violence against individuals: Lord Weardale was attacked with a horsewhip by Mary Lindsay, who mistook him for Asquith, the prime minister; a bomb on a Blackpool train badly burned a train guard. Meanwhile there were widespread reports of suffragettes practising with revolvers on shooting ranges around London. Had war not broken out in 1914, there can be little doubt that suffragette violence against individuals would have intensified still further.

Time once more for Lord Curzon's 15 Good Reasons Against the Grant of Female Suffrage.

Is there a precedent?

In all of history has there ever been a flood of refugees that was almost entirely composed of military age young men?

Real Tories are an endangered species

Anna Soubry threatens to quit Conservative Party if Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg take over. 'They aren't proper conservatives.' And she is? 

They were chosen by their local parties not chosen by Central Office. I so dislike the A List of non-conservative candidates chosen to appeal to focus groups as if the Tories were trying to launch an advertising campaign, not win seats. 

I'd like to go back to Knights of the Shires who went to church on Sunday, shot and hunted and loved the monarchy. Snobby left of centre journalists jeered at common little men on the Tory benches who liked Margaret Thatcher but in her day most Tory MPs were public school educated countrymen with  a strong sense of public service of the sort who had been Tory MPs since Wellington's day.

Islam and Catholicism as nationalism

"The Prophet Muhammad when assessed fairly, undoubtedly emerges as the greatest national hero that any country ever produced.
His greatness, however, lies in masterfully exploiting the concept of Prophethood, which, being an integral tradition of the Middle Eastern culture, is less spiritual and more political.

Prophethood is based on the doctrine of revelation: it means that God, the Creator, loves mankind so much that He wants to guide the human creatures to save them from hell. In return for this favour, God demands absolute submission, that is, man must worship the All-Mighty and live by his laws without ever questioning their purpose, validity and relevance.

We don't want to fight but by Jingo if we do...

The Great MacDermott's song was the big hit of 1877, as Britain geared up to go to war to defend Turkey from Russia in the Balkans. Here he is on YouTube!


Thus the word jingoism was coined. The Tories sympathised with the Sultan as legitimate monarch, the Liberals with the Christians for Blairite reasons.




We had no reason to fear Russia. Even had they captured Constantinople it wouldn't have mattered. The Cold War was probably not necessary but, even if it were, it is certain that Russia is no threat to Britain now.


I used to be a pro Turk a propos 1877. I am not sure now and should read about it but I think that that war, which led to Romanian independence (but Wallachia and Moldavia were de facto independent anyway), was unnecessary.  The majority of people in Eastern Thrace (which remains in Turkey) were Muslim 
and I am not sorry it is not in Greece, but the majority in Constantinople were Christian. Now I regret that, as so many hoped, Mass was not celebrated in the Hagia Sofia. Yet I regret the passing of the Ottoman Russian and Hapsburg empires. In the Middle East a democratic federal Ottoman Empire would be far better than the mess we have now.

Trump: NHS 'going broke and not working'

BBC headline - President Trump: NHS 'going broke and not working'. 

He is right of course but the BBC disapproves.

Trudeau

Justin Trudeau defended his ongoing reintegration of ISIS supporters by comparing them to Italian immigrants. He eulogised Fidel Castro on his death and yesterday corrected a young woman who used the word 'mankind', telling her the correct word was peoplekind.




No comment by me is necessary.

The British don't want to be ruled by foreigners

The reason people who want UK to leave the EU do so is that they don't want to be ruled by foreigners. This way of thinking is permitted, which is one of the things that makes Brexit such an interesting issue, but it is not far from the borders of permitted thought. There are actually Remain voters who think this racist. I have spoken to two such people. 

Historians will one day tell us why they think like that or psychologists. Theologians are beyond hope these days.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Patriotism is not enough but it is the most important thing



I am not a nationalist (I'm a Metternichian conservative) but I do think that the nation is the most important thing, as far as politics is concerned, and I assumed naively that everyone else did too. But they don't. Not just communists like Messrs. Corbyn and McDonnell but lots and lots of people don't.

Nationalism in the French Revolutionary sense - a derivation of fraternité, implies people have the right to rebel against a foreign monarch or ruler. It is something I certainly reject. It leads to all sorts of bad things like the American revolution and other insurrections. It leads to people like Gandhi, Nehru, the Stern Gang, etc. People sometimes nowadays seem to confuse nationalism, a revolutionary doctrine, with putting the nation in first place in one's list of political priorities, something all patriots do.


Sunday, 4 February 2018

Capture kindergartens and you capture the world

While wife Bernardine Dohrn was in the pokey Bill Ayers had a part-time job back in the eighties, teaching pre-schoolers how to be good lil lefties
Bill Ayers who co-founded the Weathermen, a communist revolutionary group that conducted a campaign of bombing public buildings, spent the time that his wife Bernardine Dohrn was in prison running a kindergarten to instill his ideas in the very young. Those ideas seemed eccentric in 1983 but are pretty much universally accepted now.

From 2011 to 2017 five million asylum seekers came to Europe

In 2015 almost 1.4 million migrants applied for asylum to the EU states, Norway and Switzerland. In 2016 the figure fell by 7% to 1.3 million and in 2017 to 706,913 asylum applications, a decrease of 43% compared to 2016.

In total, from 2011 to 2017, 5,136,383 asylum seekers came to Europe. This is a number as big as the population of Norway and more than the population of Scotland.

The Mossad agent who captured Eichmann supports AfD

Rafi Eitan, the Mossad agent who captured Eichmann and later became an Israeli cabinet minister, has expressed support for AfD (Alternative for Germany) and hopes its ideology expands to the rest of Europe. 

In a video message posted on Friday on AfD's Facebook page, Mr. Eitan said: 

“Please understand that all of us in Israel appreciate your attitude toward Judaism....In any case, I’m sure that if you work wisely strongly and most important realistically… I’m sure that instead of ‘Alternative for Germany,’ you might become an alternative for all of Europe.”

“Shadows from the Walls of Death”

No automatic alt text available.

Here is a fascinating article about how libraries handle the remaining copies of a 19th century book that contains poisonous wallpaper samples. It reads like a story by Poe or Borges. 
'The macabre title page reproduces a quote from the Biblical book of Leviticus: “And behold if the plague be in the walls of the house, with hollow streaks, greenish or reddish, then the priest…shall cause the house to be scraped within round about, and they shall pour out the dust that they scrape off without the city into an unclean place.” The remaining pages, 86 in full, consist of wallpaper samples taken from common merchants.'

What the article doesn't mention is that arsenical wallpaper has been blamed for the death of Napoleon.

Sunset over Dimbovita yesterday, by Octav Dragan

Image may contain: cloud, sky, twilight, outdoor and water

Saturday, 3 February 2018

In the 1970s, experts predicted overpopulation and mass starvation

"In the 1970s, experts predicted overpopulation and mass starvation. But a breakthrough discovery allowed much of the world to avoid that fate. How did so many get it so wrong?"

Instead of mass starvation a man I'd never heard of until recently called Norman Borlaug helped develop hybrid crops and other agricultural techniques that have prevented the global famines widely predicted when the world population began to rise rapidly after the war.

Please watch this short clip and stop worrying about climate change.

Liberalism is a religion (a false one, I think)

Amanda Spielman, the Head of Ofsted, the UK's Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills, said she wants teachers to combat extremism with “muscular liberalism”, instead of religious extremism. She has in mind Muslim schools, but may triangulate by persecuting Christian ones.

is any religion compatible with liberalism? I doubt it.


Does she mean Catholic schools won't tell pupils that sodomy is a sin? Do they even do so now? Or that wives should obey husbands?

Why should schools teach liberalism anyway? Why can't schoolchildren be conservatives or socialists or nationalists or whatever their parents bring them up to be?

Because the idea of our time is that the state is responsible for children, just as the state (in theory the electorate but in practice the man - person, sorry- in Whitehall) is responsible for how much property and money you have and how healthily you eat. 

Poles and Ukrainians murdering Jews

The Polish government, which generally gets an unfairly bad press from liberals, is very wrong to want to make it illegal to refer to the wartime German death camps in Poland as 'Polish death camps'. 

Here is very interesting information about Poles and Ukrainians killing Jews after the Germans invaded in 1939. I knew Ukrainians did so but had not known about the Polish killing spree. I did know of Poles murdering Jews after the end of the war on at least one occasion and about the war between Poles and Ukrainians that continued after Germany surrendered.

What is certain is that no historical writing or theory should be illegal except, because of their responsibility for massacring Jews during the war, holocaust denial in Germany and Austria. The world needs much more 
freedom of speech, not less.

I just finished rereading Grzegorz Rossolinski-Liebe's authoritative biography of Stepan Bandera. Bandera was a very charismatic Ukrainian nationalist who before 1939 was

imprisoned in Poland for political murders. 

The Mogg and free speech



Another attempt to prevent political debate when a fracas breaks out with demonstrators trying to prevent Jacob Rees-Mogg from speaking at a university.

Universities minister Sam Gyimah tweeted “Free speech under the law is fundamental to our democracy. Well done Jacob Rees-Mogg for not being cowed into silence.” 

The words UNDER THE LAW remind us how little free speech we have. Why do we have a universities minister anyway?

Sir Roger Scruton shines in a naughty world

I do not agree with Sir Roger Scruton on all things and found his book England: An Elegy a big disappointment (it was tired, too easy, too backward-looking and reminiscent of the Daily Mail in a bad not good way). I don't agree with him on nationalism which I see as another baleful product of the French Revolution (patriotism and love of ones nation, though, are the very best political emotions there are and wholly good). But he is mostly right and I agree with him here. 

"People who think of conservatism as oppressive and dictatorial have some deviant example in mind, such as fascism, or Tsarist autocracy. I would offer in the place of such examples the ordinary life of European and American communities as described by 19th century novelists."

Tweets

David Vance (@DVATW):
The Brexit vote has already exposed how many EU serfs live in this country, who pledge loyaty to Brussels, not Britain. The EU is akin to a creeping cancer.

Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1):

You mean the same civil servants & economists who (wrongly) predicted a recession & 500,000 job losses if we voted Leave now claim Brexit will be bad for our economy? Well, knock me down with a feather! *faints*

Octav Dragan: Sunset in Comana Natural Park, 20 miles south of Bucharest

Image may contain: sky, cloud, tree, twilight, outdoor, water and nature

Friday, 2 February 2018

Motherhood



Bunny Sheffield:


"The endless paradox of motherhood. I'm never alone, I've never been this lonely. It can be both boring and utterly miraculous. I've never felt so beautiful or so hideous, so tired or alive. I've never had so little, I've never had so much."


Anthony Trollope, Dr. Thorne:
“Of course, Lady Arabella could not suckle the young heir herself. Ladies Arabella never can. They are gifted with the powers of being mothers, but not nursing mothers. Nature gives them bosoms for show, but not for use. So Lady Arabella had a wet-nurse.”

When the USA was Anglo-Saxon


King George III, granting his first audience to the first US Minister Plenipotentary (Ambassador) John Adams, sweetly said:

I pray, Mr Adams, that the United States does not suffer unduly from its want of a monarchy.
Of course it did and does but the Loyalists who saw that had been driven out in a horrible manner.

The future President Adams, replying, declared:


I shall esteem myself the happiest of Men, if I can be instrumental in recommending my Country, more and more to your Majesty's Royal Benevolence and of restoring an entire esteem, confidence and affection, or in better Words, "the old good Nature and the old good Humour" between People who, tho separated by an ocean and under different Governments, have the same Language, a similar Religion and kindred Blood.

Excellent Horse-like Lady

The biggest hit of Hyon Song Wol, the North Korean pop star, who will sing in South Korea at the Olympics, is a song called 'Excellent Horse-like Lady'.