Churchill on “A Peculiar Type of Brainy People”

As with so many other things, Churchill was on to the problem of the administrative state and today’s presumptuous liberal cosmopolitanism from early on.  A 1933 speech offers a perfect description of our Beltway mentality today:

The worst difficulties from which we suffer do not come from without. They come from within. They do not come from the cottages of the wage-earners. They come from a peculiar type of brainy people always found in our county, who, if they add something to its culture, take much from its strength.

Our difficulties come from the mood of unwarrantable self-abasement into which we have been cast by a powerful section of our own intellectuals. They come from the acceptance of defeatist doctrines by a large proportion of our politicians. But what have they to offer but a vague internationalism, a squalid materialism, and the promise of impossible Utopias?

This quotation, and much more, appear in Larry Arnn’s forthcoming book, Churchill’s Trial: Winston Churchill and the Salvation of Free Government, which will be released in October. But you can pre-order now!

Churchills Trial Big copy

Climate Then and Now

From volume 4 of Churchill’s Marlborough: His Life and Times, about the winter of 1708-9, near the culmination of the long war against Louis XIV:

But there now fell upon France a new and frightful misfortune. Since the beginning of December there had been a hard and almost unbroken frost. On January 6, after a brief thaw, it set in again with a bitterness so intense that two days later the rivers of France, even the Rhone, one of the most rapid rivers in Europe, were almost completely covered with ice. All the canals of Venice were frozen, and the mouth of the Tagus at Lisbon. Masses of ice appeared in the Channel and the North Sea. Communications between England and Holland were suspended; Harwich and the Dutch ports were ice-bound. Olives and vines split asunder. Cattle and sheep perished in great numbers. The game died in the forests, the rabbits in their burrows. From January 25 to February 6 there was an interval of snow followed by a few days’ thaw, and then another month, until March 6, of extraordinary cold. Thereafter gradually the weather became less severe. Thus this almost glacial period lasted into the fourth month. On February 4 it was known at Versailles that the seed corn was dead in the ground. . .

Their sufferings were extreme. In Paris the death-rate doubled. . .  In the countryside the peasantry subsisted on herbs or roots or flocked in despair into the famishing towns. Brigandage was widespread. Bands of starving men, women, and children roamed about in desperation.

But never forget that the industrial revolution and a warming world is a disaster for humanity.

Goodnight Vienna (3)

Omri Ceren provides an email update on the latest from Vienna, this one addressing “State Dept vs. State Dept on Iran cheating on deal — State.gov contradicts State Dept damage control on Iran violations.” Omni writes:

Day 3 of this, and still nothing on the record from the Obama administration about why it’s OK to let the Iranians be in violation of the interim JPOA’s requirement that they convert their excess enriched uranium (UF6) into uranium dioxide powder (UO2). The main argument appears to be that the Iranians got close enough: a “US official” told the Associated Press the US was “satisfied” with Iran transforming the uranium gas into something that’s not dioxide, and yesterday Scott Kemp – a former science advisor for the State Department on Iran’s nuclear program – tweeted that the distinction was about “minor chemical variants not meaningful in the slightest.”

No, it’s not. The issue isn’t about chemical variants of uranium oxide as mandated by the interim JPOA deal. It’s about the credibility of the final JCPOA deal that Congress will have to evaluate. For the interim agreement, the administration invented an unproven technological quick-fix so that it could cave to an Iranian demand – the demand to keep enriching – while still telling lawmakers that Tehran’s program was “frozen.” When that technological quick-fix failed the White House went into “Iran’s lawyer” mode: first they declared that skeptics were wrong and that the Iranians would stay in compliance – because White House scientists said so (!) – and when that became indefensible they weakened the deal’s criteria so they could claim the Iranians weren’t cheating.

The political problem is straightforward: for the final deal, and especially for the administration’s core claim that “scientists” confirm a one-year breakout time, everything hinges on the success of a dozen similar technological quick-fixes. At least a couple of those too-cute-by-half mechanisms are also likely to fail. In evaluating the deal Congress will want assurances that the Obama administration will hold Iran accountable for noncompliance. So it’s politically problematic for State Department officials to keep declaring that the Iranians came close enough, so who cares?

Maybe the State Department will come up with something else before the Iranian cheating is overtaken by events. But they’re on the wrong side of this debate. Every year the Congressional Research Service publishes a report on the JPOA. Every year the State Department publishes those CRS reports on state.gov. Those reports have no ambiguity. Here’s the language:

Iran is also to, in effect, freeze its production of enriched uranium hexafluoride containing up to 5% uranium-235 by converting the material to uranium dioxide. Tehran would take this step when it has completed the necessary facility, which is currently under construction.

The 2013 and 2014 reports live here.

The conventional wisdom remains that the President retains sufficient political capital to hold a sufficient number of Congressional Democrats on whatever Iran deal negotiators bring home. But if lawmakers were evaluating the agreement based on whether the Obama administration will even enforce it, 100% of the evidence cuts the other way. In the last 20 months, the administration has never called out Iranian cheating, and has instead played Iran’s lawyer on half a dozen different JPOA and UN sanctions violations.

The Palestinian aid charade (updated with a golden oldie)

You probably missed the story of the latest attempt to break the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza. The blockade prevents the resupply of Hamas terrorists with the tools of their murderous trade. Attempts to break the blockade are held out as acts of pro-Palestinian activism, but they are at best stupidity in action.

In this week’s episode, the “activists” aboard a Swedish vessel failed to punch through the blockade when Israeli commandos boarded the vessel, searched the ship and brought it to an Israeli port. The foreign activists were detained and are being deported. (I am borrowing from the account of the episode here by Washington Post Jerusalem bureau chief William Booth.)

Now here’s the beauty part. Israel denied that the vessel even contained humanitarian aid. Asked to provide evidence of the aid, Freedom Flotilla Coalition member Ann Ighe sent this photograph:

Aid

William Booth reports:

The Gaza activitists said the larger cardboard box contains a solar panel, donated by a Swedish magazine, ETC, which also runs an “environmentally-friendly electricity company.” The panel was bound for Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City.

Ighe said the Swedish Association of Midwives also donated a nebulizer, a machine used to inhale medicines, often used to calm asthma attacks. That is the small cardboard box.

Booth declines to judge the merits of the charade, but he gives Israelis the last word:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office wrote a letter to the activists, suggesting they would have been better off going to Syria and not Gaza.

“There is no blockade on the Gaza Strip,” the letter read.

“There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” [Defense Minister] Yaalon told Israeli diplomatic reporters.

The situation in Gaza “isn’t pleasant,” Yaalon conceded, but added that “if they were to decide to export strawberries from Gaza instead of rockets, the situation would be entirely different.”

At Commentary, Jonathan Tobin exercises his critical faculties in “Gaza activists brought hate, not aid.”

UPDATE: A reader suggests that we revisit the evergreen classic “We Con the World” (video below).

Thoughts from the ammo line

It feels like we have had to wait too long for relief by Ammo Grrrll this week. She arrives just in time with THE THRIFTY TEXAN. She writes:

The Paranoid Texan is my regular morning walking partner whenever the temperature in our Dusty Little Village is lower than body temperature. We have our limits, even here in Arizona. Mr. Ammo Grrrll is a runner, not a walker, plus he runs with headphones in which he is hearing and repeating Hebrew dialogue as he runs. Which is not companionable, but does complete the picture along with his running outfit, of making him resemble a recently escaped mental patient. The outfit includes a bush hat which, when anchored by the headphones, turns into a Little House on the Prairie style bonnet.

I have heard many people say, “I don’t care what other people think of me.” Most of them are lying. Mr. AG truly does not care if he is hip or cool. He cares if people think he is honest, ethical and kind. Beyond that, he doesn’t mind channeling Laura Ingalls Wilder if she had up and left her little house on the prairie and moved to a little kibutz in Israel.

So, one day, I go to collect the PT for our walk and he informs me that he’s sorry that he can’t go because he spent the entire previous day either on Hold, or talking with a variety of bureaucrats at a motley assemblage of insurance companies and HR departments in order to save $1,000. A goodly amount of money and well worth a day’s effort, no matter how tedious.

He had only one tiny part of that task left, he said. Today, he was fixin’ to spend just four hours to save $9.00 on some refresher driving class for seniors. I offered to GIVE him a ten-spot (which only has an old dead white guy on it, anyway) and said he could even keep the change. I’ll probably win it back at the next poker game. He insisted it wasn’t about the money, but there was some cockamamie principle involved. A “principle” that involves working for a little over $2.00 an hour?

“What about the principle of committing to exercise so we don’t turn into the dreaded roly-poly Walmartians?”

“One day won’t make any difference in that.” The Paranoid Texan has the strongest resistance to being ripped off of anyone I have ever known, except for Mr. Ammo Grrrll.

Mr. AG’s bargaining skills have made grown car salesmen cry. I also witnessed a memorable conversation in the Sears Home and Garden Department when we bought our first modest home. When we moved into the house one cold April day in Minnesota, we bought the most basic electric lawn mower Sears had on offer.

The salesman had started with a riding John Deere that cost more than either of our crap cars and reluctantly worked his way down. The only grass-cutter more basic than what we selected would have been a Garden Weasel or, possibly, a goat.

He then tried to sell the young Mr. AG a year-long “extended warranty” for about half of what we had just paid for the lawn mower. “A year?” asked Mr. AG, with hardly a trace of sarcasm. “That should come in handy in Minnesota from October through next April.”

When The Paranoid Texan lopes down to the mailboxes, he often stops by our house to get our mailbox key too. So we have had occasion to open our electric and water bills at the same time. This month our electric bill was exactly double his! I was pretty sure it was blatant anti-Semitism, and not the fact his identical house is dark except for the room he is currently in, while I keep mine well-lit enough to guide small aircraft to a safe night landing within.

Being a Texan, he also has his air conditioning set to 86, whereas if I accidentally left the milk out for a couple days, it would be perfectly safe. Once when we lived in an apartment on the East Side of St. Paul, Mr. Ammo Grrrll took me somewhat forcefully by the arm into the basement to see all the electric meters ticking slowly away, save for one. In Apartment 107, it appeared that the meter was actually spinning. Uh-oh. That can’t be good. Must be defective.

The PT is far from poor. But he believes buying food is a waste. Especially if it has to be cooked, which squanders electricity. He is not a fussy eater. One of his favorite meals is tacos from Jack In The Box – that famous purveyor of fine Mexican food – six for $3.23. He asks: Is it fast? Is it easy? Can it be microwaved? Sometimes he also asks if it’s cheap, but fast and easy are more important. He eats on paper plates. In the dark, he says. (He rarely accepts our nearly daily dinner invitation, because usually – catch this, ladies – he says he is “not hungry.” Like hunger has anything at all to do with eating!)

But back to our topic: What is it about guys and fear of somebody taking advantage of them? Maybe we women are just used to it. A multimillionaire friend of mine pitched a fit when we had lunch in a popular Mall of America restaurant that charged a $1.00 apiece “mixology” charge to mix two cocktails. He never returned. (“Well done, management! Lose a customer over $2.00!”) And that was about the same time he donated $10 Million Dollars to the University of Minnesota for scholarships. So, clearly, he was not cheap. He just refused to be ripped off. “Millions for defense; not one penny for tribute,” and all that.

Friends: Under what circumstances would you spend four hours to save $9.00? Discuss. Show your work.

Eyes of the World (with Comment by Steve)

Chatting at a Claremont Institute event ten years ago, Steve Hayward blessed my love of the Grateful Dead. Steve is an expert consumer not only of prog rock, but also of jam bands. He even sent me his own compilation of favorite numbers by the jam band String Theory stringing it out.

Essential Dead member Jerry Garcia died in rehab in 1995. The surviving members of the group have reunited for what are to be their final (“Fare Thee Well”) concerts this weekend in Chicago. (Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio is sitting in for Garcia. Bruce Hornsby is joining in on piano.) The shows are advertised as a fiftieth anniversary celebration, but Tracy Swartz puts it this way in the Chicago Tribune: “It’s the end of the road for the Grateful Dead.”

I loved the Dead even before I began to understand them. Anyone who knows anything about the history of American popular music would hear Garcia’s love of folk and bluegrass espcecially, but also of country and blues, in their best albums and in their live performances. Garcia was an American original and a genuine folk/bluegrass nut. His friendship with mandolin maestro David Grisman preceded the formation of the Grateful Dead. Garcia even called on Grisman to contribute a few of the grace notes to the Dead’s American Beauty album.

I only saw the Dead perform once, at Dillon Stadium in Hartford on July 31, 1974. It has lived vividly in my memory ever since. I believe it was the tour in which the Dead featured their pioneering Wall of Sound setup. The Dead and the sound were great.

I listen to the Dead frequently on the Sirius/XM Grateful Dead channel. The Dead excelled in their live performances and they seem to have preserved every show they ever played on tape. The channel is built around their live performances.

A few weeks ago I was goin’ down the road feelin’ good, to vary a Dead phrase, listening to the Dead on Sirius/XM. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself listening to the 1974 show I had attended in Hartford. It sounded even better than I remembered it (though I hadn’t recalled vocalist Donna Godchaux being unable to hit a note; she is simply terrible).

Looking around online at home, I was even more surprised to find the concert posted here. Given the holiday weekend, I thought some readers might want check it out just for fun. Among other things, if you have a taste for the Dead, you won’t want to miss their sinuous 18-minute take on “Eyes of the World.” I thought wow! then and I think wow! now.

STEVE adds: As events would have it, I actually scored tickets to the Fare Thee Well show at Santa Clara last Sunday, but wasn’t able to make it so I donated my tickets to a charity auction. Seeing that Bruce Hornsby was going to play keyboards on these revival shows sent me back: I saw several shows in 1991 when Hornsby filled in after the Dead’s third keyboard player, Brent Mydland, died of an overdose. (The Dead went through more keyboard players than Spinal Tap did drummers.) The Hornsby-backed shows were better than the last few years of Mydland, I thought. And as one commenter below notes, they could have simply awful nights.

A few years after Jerry Garcia died, I happened to sit next to Hornsby on a coast-to-coast airplane flight, and talked to him at length about the music scene and much else. (If Power Line existed then and did podcasts, I’d have signed him up.) I asked why the post-Jerry members didn’t stay together in some form, and Hornsby said: “Bob [Weir] and Phil [Lesh] don’t get along very well. But it might happen some day.”

I think this ride took place in 2000 if memory serves, because Hornsby had a “Bill Bradley for President” pin on his shirt. So we talked about that, too. Bradley is a liberal, but at least he isn’t Al Gore. Good of Hornsby to see that much.

What Real Feminism Looks Like

In these days of such confusion over everything having to do with gender and sex, it is a relief to be able to bring you this public service announcement. From RightWingNews, it’s The 20 Hottest Conservative Women in the New Media for 2015. There are a couple of friends of Power Line on the list, and if you haven’t kept up with this non-Trumped up pageant, there are helpful links at the bottom for the list from the last three years.

Meanwhile, if you want to know what real feminism looks like in action, check out this story that crossed the wire yesterday:

Mom gives birth, fights off bees, starts wildfire 

Published: Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A California woman and the newborn she gave birth to alone in a Northern California forest are recovering after a harrowing weekend.

Amber Pangborn, 35, went into labor last Thursday. While driving to her parents’ house, she tried a shortcut, but took a wrong turn and ran out of gas in the Plumas National Forest.

“I thought we were going to die,” she told local television news station KCRA-TV. “And there was no cell service, there was no … there was nothing.”

Forced to give birth in the forest, Pangborn had to shield her premature newborn from mosquitoes as well as swarming bees she said appeared attracted to the placenta.

By Saturday, a desperate Pangborn started a fire to try and signal for help, but quickly lost control of the flames.

“Like, the whole side of the mountain caught on fire. I was looking at Marisa and was like, ‘I think Mommy just started a forest fire,’” she said.

The fire, however, succeeded in attracting the attention of the Forest Service, which dispatched a helicopter to the area after receiving word of low-lying smoke.

After finding mother and baby in their vehicle, crews transported both to a nearby hospital. Pangborn, who has three other daughters, has recovered. The baby is receiving additional care, but is “doing great,” according to Pangborn’s mother