Mediocrity In Our Time

A review of the movie The Final Year  – about the Obama Administration’s, well, final year – reveals more between the lines than in the actual script, according to Kyle Smith in NRO.

Pullquote:

The Obama foreign-policy masters see their three accomplishments as the Paris Climate Accord, the opening to Cuba, and the Iran deal. Given that the former wasn’t presented to Congress for approval, was nonbinding, and was later dumped by President Trump, while the other two amounted to making concessions to American foes in exchange for virtually nothing, this is a bit like bragging that you suckered the Franklin Mint into giving up a souvenir Elvis plate for only $34.95. But to understand why Rhodes and Obama are so pleased with their foreign policy, you have to understand the way they think. The documentary is revealing about that.

A contest to determine the worst Secretary of State of the past fifty years between Madeline Albright, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry would be a spirited one indeed.

Walter Duranty Is Alive And Well

American legacy media trip over, beclown selves with their coverage of the Nadia Comaneci of this year’s winter olympics…

North Korea:

No foreign leader has enjoyed coverage as good as North Korea’s Kim Yo Jong since Vogue profiled Asma al-Assad, first lady of Syria, back in 2011. (That was right before Assad’s regime killed tens of thousands of people and used chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war.) A sampling: Reuters: “North Korea has emerged as the early favorite to grab one of the Winter Olympics’ most important medals: the diplomatic gold.” CNN: “Kim Jong Un’s sister is stealing the show at the Winter Olympics!” Business Insider: “From her “side-eye” of US Vice President Mike Pence to hints at Korean unification, Kim has stolen the spotlight at the Winter Olympics.” Washington Post: “The ‘Ivanka Trump of North Korea’ captivates people in the South at the Olympics.”

All that is necessary to get the coastal media’s blessing is to  be the opposite of Donald Trump.

Without whom this rapprochement, real or fabricated, would not be happening in the first place.

Cognitive Assonance

When Donald Trump was elected, Big Thinkers with Bylines predicted that he – and the BREXIT movement often associated with him and his rise – would gut US markets.

Apparently not.

They also said that his intransigence would make American foreign policy even more fraught than it had been.

I’n not exactly “tired of winning” yet, but it’s interesting how turning foreign policy and defense over to grownups – people who’ve read enough non-intersectional history to know that coddling bullies just gives you more bullies – is slowly moving some of the world’s needles in the right direction.

 

 

State Of The World

Sometimes, no matter what “side” of American politics one is on, it can seem like there is no good news to be had.

It’s most prevalent among people on the left, these days, of course – but even conservatives can fall prey to the idea that it’s never been worse.

And with that in mind, sometimes it’s good to take a step back and a deep breath and look at some of the advances the West has made in terms of global strategic goals in the past year or so.

So let’s do that – the top ten developments in the world strategic picture in the past year:.

Here’s one development I never thought I’d see in my lifetime:

In 2017 it finally happened. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait went public in support of an Arab-Israeli alliance to oppose Iran. Many (Arabs, Israelis and Iranians) believe that such an alliance won’t last long but that is not crucial. The alliance only has to last long enough to halt the spread of Iranian power and influence. Israel has been through this before. The peace deals with Jordan and Egypt have largely held even though there are ups and downs. The Israelis know that the anti-Semitic attitudes in the Arab world go back to before the emergence of Islam in the 7th century and have waxed and waned ever since. Anti-Semitism is again widely tolerated in Europe. But the United States has a new president who grew up in and around New York City, built a fortune there, has a Jewish son-in-law, Jewish grandchildren and a pro-Israel attitude that is more decisive and imaginative than that of the last few American presidents. Currently the Arabs of Arabia, or at least key leaders, have decided that decades of denouncing Israel, the one nation in the region with a functioning democracy, the most advanced and successful economy and the most powerful armed forces, ought to be rethought. So now Israel is seen as a potential ally not a battlefield opponent. As a result Arab journalists and leaders are speaking openly, and more frequently, about such an alliance. Some countries, like the UAE (United Arab Emirates), can now speak openly of the discreet (and often not so secret) commercial, military and diplomatic links they developed with Israel over the years. To a lesser extent Kuwaiti and Saudi Arabian connections are now admitted.

Read the whole thing.  The news isn’t all good, but it’s much better than the current, TDS-addled media will tell you, too.

Panic

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Hillary criticized Trump’s efforts to contain North Korean aggression, while she was speaking at a conference in China on Tuesday.  She wants to see the six-party talks brought back (North Korea walked out in 2009 to resume its nuclear weapons program).

A few hours later, North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile at Japan.  It was not carrying a nuclear warhead  . . . this time.

And still, she wonders why people would rather vote for an orange orangutan than vote for her.

Joe Doakes

I’m amused by people blaming Trump for the fracas last week in Hawaii.  As if the Hawaii emergency management people wouldn’t have made the same mistake, engendering the same panic, under HIllary.

Much Ado About S______es.

News flash: President Trump said something offensive.

Maybe.

The is sure, but can’t confirm it beyond Dick Durbin – a man with a long record of practicing the ethics of convenience – and repeated by the Dems’ stenographers in the media, which only stops them when the subject is a Democrat, but whatever, but whatever; it’s one of the reasons I trust a used car salesman with an untreated gambling addiction more than the institution of the media.

Anyhoo, the President ostensibly referred to certain nations – as distinct from people – as “S***h**es”.

My dislike of Trump goes back, uninterrupted, to the mid-eighties – but let me break this down for you:

If you are referring to a society where the vast majority of the people are short of basic necessities like food, water and jobs because the “government” runs things for the benefit of a kleptocratic ruling “elite” (in the same sense that the Crips, MS13 or the Mafia are “ruled by an elite”) – as in much of subsaharan Africa, and a fair part of Asia and Central and South America – the President may have had a point.

If you are talking about a society that brags about having a culture hundreds or thousands of years old – but all of that cultural history is marked by feudal warlordism, systematic devaluation of the individual, mass murder, indentured servitude and serfdom, systematic ignorance of human rights and endless cycles of variations on single-person or single-party rule, the President isn’t that far off.

If you’re talking about a culture that we’ve had to teach how to stop herding people into death camps at bayonet-point in living memory, or a country where very significant numbers of people were perfectly happy to send their neighbors of an inconvenient ethnicity to their deaths for 13 pieces of silver, or one where millions of people long for the return of the most bloodthirsty tyrant of all time? The President may have been wrong in the literal sense, but not moral or metaphorical ones. `

And if you live in an American city where the achievement gap and the gap between the gentrified “haves” and the ghettoized “have nots” is approaching third-world levels, crime is rising even as the national crime rate is plummeting, and the public debt bubble is growing to catastrophic levels, and the leadership’s response is to virtue-signal about minimum wages and police shootings?

The President wasn’t referring to you, but to foreign countries. So far. But he’s not far off.

I didn’t vote for Trump. But some of the people howling about his (alleged) remarks really need to broaden their focus. All humans are created equal before God and the Law (whether their rulers acknowledge it or not), but all governments and nations are not.

Anyone who disagrees is invited to live in Venezuela until further notice. Which isn’t saying “America – love it or leave it”; it’s saying “History: learn it or end up on the wrong side of it”.

Not That There’s A Problem

Two years ago, “the authorities” dismissed reporters that gangs of Middle-Eastern and North-African migrants roamed the streets of German cities during the New Years celebrations, attacking women in an orgy of depredation Europe hadn’t seen since, well, Europeans were doing it to each other in the thirties and forties.

Dismissals aside, The Authorities” saw fit to staff “women only safe zones” in Berlin for this year’s New Year celebration in Berlin:

Organisers of Berlin’s New Year’s Eve celebrations are to set up a “safe zone” for women for the first time.

The new security measures planned for the Brandenburg Gate party come amid concerns about sexual assaults…Women who have been assaulted or feel harassed will be able to get support at a special “safety zone”, staffed by the German Red Cross, on Ebertstrasse…The city’s police have also issued advice to women, encouraging them to seek help if they feel threatened and to carry a small bag with no valuables.

The “zone” will be staffed by counselors and psychologists.

I’m thinking the Bundeswehr would be a better idea, but then The Authorities never ask me about these things.  Still, I’m not the only critic:

Critics say it does not tackle the perpetrators of sexual violence, while some others complain it is discriminatory.

A society that thinks giving refuge from rapists “discriminates” against…rapists may be too far gone to save.

On the other hand, Berlin is, in American terms, a hard-blue city.  Which brings us back to “perhaps too far gone to save”.

 

 

In The Money!

SCENE:  Mitch BERG steps out onto his porch to bring in his mail – and is startled to see Avery LIBRELLE looking over the envelopes. 

BERG:  Um, Avery?  What the…

LIBRELLE: Merg!  Venezuela is raising its minimum wage! If they can do it, why can’t we?

BERG:  The “increase” is meaningless.  Just like the ones in the US.

LIBRELLE:  They benefit those who need it most!  The poorest and most vulnerable!

BERG:   Let me ask you this, Avery.  Let’s say that I give you coupons, in payment for waving a sign around at a rally.  Those coupons can be used for one thing – to get mint tea at Whole Foods.

LIBRELLE:  Mmm. . Whole Foods.

BERG:  Right.  Now, I give you two coupons.   One for every four hours of sign waving.

LIBRELLE:  OK.

BERG: But Alida Messinger gives you four coupons.   That’s a coupon every two hours.

LIBRELLE:  I’ll work for Alida.

BERG: Right.  But Whole Foods only has one bag of mint tea left in the store.  At all.  How many coupons is it going to cost?

LIBRELLE:  I don’t get it.

BERG:   You have coupons good for tea.  But there is no tea.  So all your coupons are are pieces of paper given to you in exchange for a day of waving signs.

LIBRELLE:  The correct answer, then, is that my labor – sign-waving – is of intrinsic value, and should be rewarded with tea.

BERG:  Not to Whole Foods, it’s not.    The coupons are just pieces of paper exchangaed for slices of time you spent, er, working.  The sign didn’t get waved twice as much, or twice as hard, or… (looks at LIBRELLE) twice as effectively.  You just got more slips of paper.  But the tea is all gone.

LIBRELLE:  Right, but I still have three more coupons!

BERG:  Which are of no value.  Like the 40% “pay raise” in worthless money that the Venezuelan “poor” will get out of this “raise”.

LIBRELLE: But when they throw off the shackles of the international capistalists, they’ll all be rich!

BERG: Right.  Just like you’ll have three bags of tea when the truck finally arrives at Whole Foods.  Hey – why are you on my porch.

LIBRELLE:  Just checking for thoughtcrime.

(And SCENE)

For Sale?

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

President Trump issued an Executive Order.  Human rights abuse and corruption are a threat to national security, so if you’re on our secret list, we can bar your entry into the country and if you’re already here, we can seize your assets without notice.

Wow, that’s a big step, worse than the No Fly List.  Just on general principles, I’m uncomfortable with the President giving the bureaucracy that kind of power.  What brought this on?

The order is somehow related to the Magnitsky Act, which is named after some Russian who died under suspicious circumstances.  The Russian government hates the Magnitsky Act and wants it repealed.  Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton didn’t enforce the Act because they wanted favorable relations with the Russians.

Remember Natalia Veselnitskaya, that Russian lawyer woman who met with Donald Trump Junior before the election?  She claimed to have dirt on Hillary so he went to the meeting but she had no dirt, it was a pretense to lobby him to repeal the Magnitsky Act.

Turns out that same woman was given special permission to enter the US by the Obama Department of Justice, tricked Junior into taking hermeeting, and also met with Fusion GPS – the people who made the fake dossier paid for by the DNC and Clinton campaign – before and after hermeeting with Junior.  She came, got instructions, executed them, reported back . . . mission accomplished.

That meeting and the Fusion GPS dossier are the Democrats’ reasons for claiming Trump was colluding with the Russians to steal the election.  On the contrary, it’s beginning to look as if the whole thing may have been a team effort between the Russian government, the DNC and the Clinton campaign to smear Trump and thereby help Hillary get elected.  And the proof is this Executive Order – had Trump not been elected, Hillary would have continued to go soft on Russia, so plainly the Russians had no interest in defeating her.  Trump is their worst nightmare – a politician they can’t buy.

The special investigator should be looking at collusion, all right, he’s just not looking in the right place.

Joe Doakes

Now that Trump has nominated a good SCOTUS justice, if all he accomplishes is further undercutting the respect for the media and the federal bureaucracy, I’ll consider his presidency a success

Sign O The Times?

Big Left seems to thrive on misery.  They seem to love to cling to the notion that things have never been worse, in the nation or the world (or at least they do when there’s no Democrat in the White House).

For example – ask a typical liberal, and they’ll say that “gun violence” is at an all time high.  It’s not – nationwide, it’s at sixty-year lows, and even in Democrat-controlled major cities it’s lower than it was 25 years ago.  And yet if you ask a “progressive” what’s going on in the world, they’ll to a person insist “violent crime is out of control”.

And that’s not the only area.

I mentioned the other day the church service I went to on Christmas Eve, featuring a homily that made it sound like the world was teetering on the the brink of collapse – notwithstanding the fact that, for most of the world, things have never been better.

Don’t get me wrong – the human condition is an ugly thing.  I’m of Scandinavian descent, so optimism and pollyannaism don’t come naturally.   And the arc of the universe, while long, curves inexorably toward tyranny and barbarism.  It could all go south someday.  And there certainly  are wars going on, refugees in camps, pockets of malnutrition.

But for now, for most of the world’s people, things have never been better. As evidence, I submit this:   for the first time in the history of humanity, obesity is a bigger problem than malnutrition, as reported by those noted conservative crazies in The Lancet, in this case via both CNN and an actual news organization (which notes that obesity kills three times as many people worldwide as malnutrition).

This, not fifty years after “experts” like Paul Ehrlich “proved” that mankind was headed for an unavoidable date with Malthusianism ; that poor countries in South Asian and Africa were beyond hope and would need to be “triaged”; that India was, inevitably, going to plunge to a stable population of 100 million, and Subsaharan Africa was going to mostly die off as well.

Bear in mind that throughout all of human history, mankind has always been one bad crop away from mass starvation.  This is the first time in history most people on this planet can take a deep breath and think about a future that goes past the net harvest.

And this is almost entirely due to the success of the free market – even in places that have repudiated free markets!

Again – not that life is a picnic everywhere on earth.  It’s not.  But it’s also never been less dire and threatened.

There’s just no telling that to Big Left.

Long Past Due

Yesterday, when the US used its Security Council veto to scupper a General Assembly resolution condemning Israel moving its capitol to Jerusalem, Ambassador Haley – the best UN ambassador since Jeanne Kirkpatrick – told the General Assembly that the US was going to start “taking names” of those who piddled on our shoes, especially come budget time.

The multilateralists who infest the media, academy and commentariat huffed and puffed.

Let them, I say.  We‘re the ones who’ll blow the house down:

But there are two things wrong with the liberal huffing and puffing. The first is that the administration’s threats are bound to be immensely popular even among Americans who aren’t Trump fans. The second is that it is high time that someone reminded the inhabitants of the U.N. that while the U.S. may be considered the dull child in the classroom in their realm, the balance of power in the real world is very different, even on issues where Trump has supposedly isolated the U.S., such as Jerusalem and the Arab–Israeli conflict.

Those Who Know Better – the think-tankers who infest most of the United Nations – roundly condemned us (and, perforce, Israel).

But Haley isn’t taking the attempt to isolate the U.S. lying down. As she did in her eloquent defense of the American position before the Security Council, the ambassador said not only that Trump had done the right thing when recognizing Israel’s rights in Jerusalem, but also that other nations had no business telling the U.S. where to put any of its embassies.

“But!  But!  War in the Middle East!”

…the main players in the Sunni Muslim world, such as the Egyptians and especially the Saudis, have made it clear to Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas that they are uninterested in backing him on the issue outside of purely symbolic U.N. theater. Reportedly, Abbas was summoned to Riyadh to be told to accept a peace deal that Trump may propose giving the Palestinians far less, especially in terms of Jerusalem, than past offers they’ve received — and rejected — from Israel.

So while the double-breasted suits who party their careers away in New York have the official vapours about Trump’s policies in re Israel and the UN, it’d seem that on the ground, Trump’s “intransigence” may be showing some actual, possible, maybe, sorta, results?

And if either is the case – movement on the Palestinian situation and on neutering and perhaps ditching the UN – happen to come to pass, I, a non-fan of Trump, will be pretty darn impressed.

 

 

 

Game Of Thones And Swivel Chairs

Prince Harry is engaged.

To an American.

Connect the dots, people:

And much of the Blue East Coast will welcome it, unless they can find a German prince to latch onto (and yes, I know whatever German nobility still exists isn’t a part of governent, but I’m pretty sure most Europhiles don’t know that).

Warranty Voided

The Nobel LIterature prize is now enmeshed in a sexual harassment scandal.   It’s actually pretty nasty looking, especially given Sweden’s strenuous efforts to paint itself as gender-neutral to the point of androgyny.

And the Swedish Academy that issues the awards is worried (emphasis added):

“When an institution which selects Nobel laureates finds itself in this type of situation then it of course risks affecting the Nobel prize negatively,” Lars Heikensten, executive director of the Nobel Foundation, told the daily Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

Don’t worry, Nobel peeps.  After Obama, Paul Krugman,Aung San Suu Kyi, the IPCC, Algore, Paul Krugman, Kofi Annan and Yassir Arafat, that boat has left the dock and cleared the lighthouse.

Hero Takes A Fall

There’s a bit of a humanitarian crisis in Burma (the wonk class now call it “Myanmar”, but nobody cares, because it’s freaking Burma); the majority Buddhist population is carrying out ethnic cleansing against a small Muslim minority, with the blessing of the military (who worry about a Muslim population on the border with majority-Islamic Bangladesh).

And it’s ugly:

(Human rights activist Maung Zarni): Simply put, the military in Burma today uses what the Nazis used in the 1930s – that they have misframed the Rohingyas the way the Nazis blamed the Jewish people for everything that was wrong with the society, all the frustration and anger. So I think the military has cleverly diverted public frustration towards the Rohingya, who are completely unarmed and helpless. And they’ve been sitting ducks for the last 40 years.

More disarmed people at the mercy of their masters.   But I digress.

There are a couple of “unlikely” suspects in this crime against humanity, too.  Keep this one in mind when your dippy nephew says he’s experimenting with Buddhism because of its’ universal love for humanity:

ZARNI: Well, there is no someone else inside the country. Even Buddhist monks justify openly to the military, to the public that killing the nonbelievers, non-Buddhists, the Rohingyas does not amount to bad karma. It is not a crime.

And – “Surprisingly”, if you have not completely given into cynicism about the Mainstream Media’s take on the world – this suspect:

(NPR talking voice Kelly McEvers): And human rights groups have said that Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of Myanmar, is part of the problem here. This is a woman who of course won the Nobel Peace Prize. She’s considered a champion of human rights. Yet she will not say that what’s happening to the Rohingya is ethnic cleansing. Why? Why is she not getting more involved in their case?

ZARNI: Well, you know, I’ve known her personally, and I’ve supported her for the first 15 years of my activism. And simply put, she is anti-Muslim races. She is Islamophobe. I mean, she is a big part of the problem.

Why, it’s almost as if the Nobel Peace Prize is of no value…

The whole thing is worth a read.

Österreich Wieder Groß Zu Machen

Austria elects a millennial immigration hard-liner in the race for Austria’s Chancellorship:

Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz declared victory on Sunday in the race to become Austria’s chancellor, becoming the youngest head of state in the West. The 31-year-old Kurz and the center-right People’s Party defeated the Social Democratic Party, which was the largest party in the Austrian parliament before Sunday.

Austria – a nation with about the same  population as Minnesota and the Dakotas put together – has been on the front line of Europe’s immigration crisis.  The rise of the Austrian Volkspartei  (Peoples Party) – which is called “far right”,- is not uncoincident with the rise of Trump in the US, and other parties that are demanding a very un-Euro, un-“progressive” approach to immigration in time of anti-western extremism.

(Here’s a take from the center-right German ˆFrankfurter Allgemeineˆ)

Crusade, Redux

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Denmark is putting troops at the border and on guard duty around synagogues.

Why now?  Martin Luther, Henry VII and John Wesley all died centuries ago.  It can’t be Anglicans, Methodists or Lutherans threatening Jews.  What’s changed in the last couple of years that has disrupted Danish life so much they need to put troops on the streets to maintain order?

Amazing, they have both kinds of unrest:  Muslim and leftist.  The incident cited was a Muslim terrorist who shot up a free speech event.  Striking parallels to the Left in this country.  Sounds as if Danes need to start listening to The Donald.

Build The Wall.

Joe Doakes

That should stretch the Danish military to the breaking point. Not joking.

(Danish Military trivia:  the Hjemmeværnet, or “Home Guard”, which is their national militia, was established after WW2 on the basis of the wartime Resistance – and with the mission of operating independently of the King and Parliament to defend the country (or kill invaders) regardless of the any government capitulation.  It was the closest I’ve seen to a “Second Amendment”-style policy in any non-Swiss European state.  But in recent decades, that mission has been softening; the Hjemmeværnet has been drawn more into the government mainstream, and the notion of having to resist an invader even in contravention of a (subjugated) government has faded from living memory.  I wonder if it’ll make a reappearance?   Nota bene:  don’t underestimate the Danes).

Bring On The Horseshoes

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Liberals say the Second Amendment doesn’t protect my right to have military-grade weapons to resist my own government.  They say America should be more like Sweden.

Sweden – where widespread availability of hand grenades resulted in a 550% increase in people throwing hand grenades at government targets.  Jiminy Cricket – who knew Swedes were such violent domestic terrorists in their own country?  And why now, all of the sudden?

The latest attack was in Malmo, Sweden.  Hmmmm, Malmo, Malmo . . . why is that name familiar?

Joe Doakes

Grenades don’t kill people.  People with violence on their mind and grenades do.

Not The Dumbest Idea They’ve Had

Venezuela responds to US moves to deal with the unraveling of Venezuelan economic life:

“The ‘contact group’ you’re proposing is completely useless and unnecessary,” Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez fumed at a meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Cancun, Mexico.

“The only way you could impose it would be to send in your Marines — who would meet with a crushing response from Venezuela if they dared make such a misstep.”

Getting conquered may be the only way to save Venezuela.

Live By Bureaucracy, Die By Bureaucracy

Whenever you think the bureaucracy in the city of Minneapolis, or Minnesota state government in general,  is addled and hidebound, just take a look at India, and see what the future holds.

It’s bad enough when it comes to importing things or retaining Indian labor.

When it comes to “Justice”, forget about it.

Six British ex-military men employed by an American company on anti-piracy duties were arrested by the Indian Coast Guard 3½ years ago – and charged with weapons possession (for the firearms they used to, y’know, guard ships from pirates).  They’ve been rotting in an Indian prison ever since.

An international move is going on to try to get some justice for these guys.

When The Future Is Forgotten

Most of Europe’s political leaders – almost without exception, among the big ones – have no children.  The list is almost airtight:  Frances’ Emmanuel Macron; Germany’s Angela Merkel, the UK’s  Theresa May,Scotland’s Nicola Sturgeon, Italiy’s Paolo Gentiloni, the Netherlands’Mark Rutte, Luxembourg’s Xavier Bettel – none have kids.  Sweden’s Stefan Löfven has no bio-kids; the EU’s uber-bureaucrat Jean-Claude Juncker is also “child-free”.

 

And this is significant:

One of the benefits of parenthood is the daily confrontation with free will—a human nature. Parents may have their child’s life, career, and happiness planned out, but a child has other ideas -constantly. Love, patience, teaching, negotiating, scolding—nurture—can help direct the child, but the overwhelming otherness of the child is undeniable. They are not blank slates upon whom the parent exercises his will.

Political leaders without this experience of parenthood may be susceptible to the idea that people are blank-slates, interchangeable units of human capital. As a parent and a teacher, I have seen many brilliant and well-meaning parents and colleagues crash their will and intellect against the rock of a child’s independent nature. Now, scale such a hubristic paternalism to a nation. Or a continent.

Contemporary childless leaders, however ascendant they feel today, may be the last gasp of secularism. The future is won by those who show up, and only the religiously orthodox are having children.

The number of utopians – good and evil (and as opposed to totalitarian gansters, who may talk of utopia but never practice it), from the far left, far right, and the far libertarian fringe – who have eschewed parenthood is also a little daunting.

I know my own approach to politics was a lot more…entitled?  Absolutist?  Based on assumptions that raising kids showed me were unsupportable?   All of those and more, before I had kids.

So now we have the leadership of one of the world’s most powerful blocs of natoins, all governing from the perspective of people who’ve never had to deal with kids?

I think it’s also significant that the leaders of the former Communist countries in Europe – Poland, Hungary (fiive kids!), the Czechs, Latvia, Estonia, Bulgaria – people who’ve had to deal with genuine cognitive dissonance and the imperfection of institutions in their lifetimes – tend to have kids.

Behold

Last year, we were assured, BREXIT would spell doom for Britain, and the conservatives who led it.

It just had to happen; BREXIT was an epic rejection of the political technocrat elite by the rabble and peasants – and the technocrats (and those who suck up to them) warned us that that could lead to nothing but calamity.

It haan’t – and the opinion polls on the upcoming parliamentary votes seem to be bearing this out:

For the first time in this election, YouGov reveals the voting intention picture in each British government office region. The fieldwork, conducted from April 24 to May 5, shows:

  • The Conservative vote share is up, sometimes dramatically so, since the last general election in every region of the UK.
  • Labour are down on their 2015 vote haul in every region of the UK except the South West and South East where they were already performing poorly.
  • The Liberal Democrat vote share is up in most regions, but only by small margins.
  • UKIP’s vote share is down seven to ten points in all regions except Scotland and London, where they were already performing poorly.

The Tories have co-opted a lot of UKIP’s messaging.  And Labour seems to be eading toward its worst showing since the end of WWI.

The Ark

I saw this story a few years ago, and put it aside until today – the fortieth anniversary of the dedication of the more unusual Catholic churches in the world, Kosciol Arka Pana in Novy Huta, Poland.

Which is interesting in and of itself; Nowy Huta is a district in Krakow that was built as a “Socialist Realist” experiment, an entire community built from the ground up to reflect the ideals of Stalin-era communism.

Including absolute, suffocating atheism.

Poles are, of course, obstreperously Catholic – so the battle between Socialist Atheism and Faith seesawed across the city.  In 1960, a wooden cross was erected with aa permit, prompting police response; violent demonstrations ensued.  The future pope, then-bishop Karol Wojtyla, who began holding annual outdoor Christmas Eve Masses in Nowy Huta in 1959 – and saw to it that ever time the cops removed the cross, another one replaced it.

It took seven years to secure a permit – and, literally, nothing else.  In a society where all resources were officially allocated by the government – picture a government where everyone is Alondra Cano – they did it all with volunteer labor and scrounged material.

With no outside help it was down to the locals to mix cement with spades, and find the two million stones needed for the church’s facade. The first corner stone was laid in 1969 by Cardinal Karol Wojtyła, who would later assume fame as Pope John Paul II, but the discovery of a WWII ammunition dump delayed work, as some 5,000 mines and shells had to be carefully removed. Finally, on May 15th 1977, the church was consecrated. Built to resemble Noah’s Ark, with a 70 metre mast-shaped crucifix rising from the middle, the church houses an array of curious treasures, including a stone from the tomb of St. Peter in the Vatican, a tabernacle containing a fragment of rutile brought back from the moon by the crew of Apollo 11, and a controversial statue of Christ that shows him not on a cross, but about to fly to the heavens. If you think that’s odd, check out the statue dedicated to Our Lady the Armoured – a half metre sculpture made from ten kilograms of shrapnel removed from Polish soldiers wounded at the Battle of Monte Cassino. In the early 1980s, the church became a focal point during anti-communist protests, not least for the shelter it afforded the locals from the militia. Protesting during the period of Martial Law was dangerous business, as proven by the monument dedicated to Bogdan Włosik opposite the church. Włosik was shot in the chest by security services, and later died of his injuries. His death outraged the people, and his funeral was attended by 20,000 mourners. The monument commemorating the site of his death was erected in 1992 and is a tribute to all those who died during this period. As recently as September 2012, Kraków City Council awarded Arka Pana the ‘Cracoviae Merenti’ silver medallion for its significance to the city’s history.

Apropos not much, other than historical interest.