Let not your heart be troubled — nations can be saved

I thought about Margaret Thatcher today.  Lord knows, she was something.  Brilliant, indomitable, focused, feisty, witty, and absolutely convinced of her right-ness and righteousness.  She was the un-RINO.  Her unswerving commitment to her principles enabled her to turn England around.  We forget that sometimes, because the Labor party managed to take her legacy and destroy it by turning England into an Orwellian state.

For a few brief shining years, though, she fought back against a socialist norm that had turned England into a decayed, drab society.  She privatized businesses, fought victorious wars, and generally reminded the English of their greatness.  I was there during that transition period.  The unions fought back ferociously but Maggie, unlike today’s loosey-goosey Republicans, would not back down.  She wasn’t driven by polls or scared by a Leftist media.  She understood economics and human nature.  The last half of the 1980s and much of the 1990s saw an English economic renaissance.  Had the British people been smart, they could have kept it going; instead, they opted for a renewal of socialism, the EU, unlimited immigration, and the strong velvet chains of a nanny state.

I mention this because I refuse to accept that Obama can “destroy” America.  He can — and will — damage it.  If we can get a handful of Maggie Thatchers, though, or even one Maggie Thatcher, someone who is both a visionary and a fighter, America can be turned around.  And if we’re smart, once that turnaround happens, we’ll stick with it.

Incidentally, although this sounds awful, I think we need to go over the fiscal cliff in January.  Three reasons:  First, this is what Americans voted for and, in a republican democracy, they should get it; Second, the longer we delay, the worse the inevitable fall will be; and Third, this disaster needs to happy during the long haul of a Democrat presidency (and Senate) so that Americans can grasp cause-and-effect.  Only when the socialist economic infection erupts in its full fury will Americans begin to accept that their nation is sick.  When that happens, God willing, we’ll have a Thatcher-esque politician cogently explaining to Americans that the cure lies in reaffirming constitutional and free market principles.

Sometimes you need to see the infection to know you're sick

Sometimes you need to see the infection to know you're sick

 

British police can’t even defend themselves against dogs

Perhaps I’m misunderstanding things here, but as I read this article, five British police officers got badly mauled by a single dog because none had a gun.  It wasn’t until a SWAT team arrived that the attack ended.

In America, the police are minutes away when seconds count.  In England, the police are there, but who cares?  Even the dogs aren’t scared.

Double paying in Britain for health care

When I lived in England, those who could afford to escape from government medicine by paying twice did so.  I addition to their high taxes, they bought a private insurance that I remember rejoiced in the name BUPA.  Things haven’t changed.  I don’t know why I’m on the mailing list, but I just got this announcement in today’s email:

NHS Waiting Lists Soar by 50% in the Last Year !!

Can you afford to be without Health Insurance ??

With the NHS waiting lists out of control, it’s no surprise millions of UK residents are protecting themselves with medical cover.

Premiums have dropped dramatically in recent years and are now at an all time low due to increased competition.

There are more providers and more plans available which has had an impact on price. Providers also offer more flexible underwriting terms which means helps people switch even if they have pre-existing conditions.

For many people, medical insurance may seem like a luxury that they just cannot afford to have. The reality is that medical insurance is a necessity that they cannot afford to live without.

Whether you have still not yet taken out Medical Cover, or wish to review an old one – let us do the hard work for you and compare the leading providers for you.

If you don’t have Health Insurance Click here

If you are about to renew Click here

We’re actually all familiar with this situation. Everyone pays for public schools. Thanks to unions, though, even the best public schools indoctrinate as much as they teach. The worst public schools are dangerous slums where children learn basic survival skills. Parents who want out, in addition to paying high taxes, also end up paying tuition for private schools. Poor parents, of course, are trapped, and beg for vouchers, which their elite Democrat masters deny them. (And yet they still vote Democrat. Go figure.)

Socialized anything is low-quality, crowded anything. Only the rich, who can afford to double pay, escape.

Downton Abbey — a soap opera for the intellectual crowd

Have you watched Downton Abbey yet?  Or perhaps a better question is, have you even heard of Downton Abbey?  I’ve been aware of it for a couple of years, because I read Britain’s Daily Mail.  The show has been a monster hit there and, during the season, the Daily Mail has a steady stream of articles about the plots and the actors. I only started watching it recently, though, when it crossed my husband’s radar.  I didn’t have any reason to ignore it before; I’m just not a TV person.

The easiest way to describe the show is to say that it’s a 21st version of Upstairs Downstairs insofar as the plot tracks the lives of an Earl’s family and his staff, all of whom live in a magnificent English country house.  The first season, which is available on streaming video and disc, begins in 1912 and works its way up to WWI.  The second season, which is currently showing on Masterpiece Theater, picks up with the war and clearly intends to take us into the post war years.

The series is absolutely gorgeous.  I’m madly in love with every single “upstairs” costume the women have worn, silly hats included.  Highclere Castle serves as the set, and it really takes your breath away every time you see an exterior shot or an interior “upstairs” room.  Typically for a high-end British production, the acting is superb.  Every character seems is a fully realized person.

Putting all that aside, though, fundamentally the show is a soap opera for the elite crowd.  There’s illicit sex, homosexuality, cross-class romances, heroism, death, brutal sibling rivalry, class warfare, etc.  About halfway through the first season, I became exhausted with the dragging soap opera feel of it.  Take away the historical story line, the lovely clothes, and the Castle, and it could be All My Children.

There is really only one thing that distinguishes the show from any other soap, and that thing is a whopper:  Maggie Smith.  Smith plays the family matriarch, and she is so magnificent in the role, I think that when she wraps up her career it will be considered her finest moment.  The following clip shows Smith in action.  She is at her best when she is sparring with the heir’s mother (the Earl had no sons, so the heir comes from a middle class line), a kind woman whose slightly over-officious work ethic deeply offends Smith’s character.

I’m not suggesting that you rush out to watch Downton Abbey, but I do think you might enjoy it if you get the chance.

Bully, meet Victim. Or, the two-sided story of sexual slavery in Great Britain

The British are starting to wake up to a problem in the Midlands and in Yorkshire.  Pakistani men are cultivating and pimping non-Pakistani British girls.  This video explains more:

Hat tip:  FrontPage Magazine

This problem has been obvious to many of us who have followed blogs that Chronicle the way in which Muslim men view the European around them.  Because the women go about unveiled and unescorted, the Muslim men automatically view them as prostitutes, and then treat them accordingly.  Wait, that’s not true.  One can treat prostitutes “accordingly” simply by paying them for sex.  These Muslim men treat them abusively (raping, acid attacks, murder, pimping, etc.), and then justifying it by claiming that, owing to their attire, the women deserve what happened to them.  It’s classic abuser conduct, carried out on a vast and brutal culture scale.

That’s the problem with the Muslim side of the equation.

The video above, though, hints at a reality few what to acknowledge — bullies don’t exist in a vacuum.  I remember reading aeons ago that someone, observing schoolyard activity, noticed that it wasn’t always the bullies who sought out the victims.  Sometimes, the victims gravitated to the bullies.  It doesn’t mean anyone deserves to be or is asking to be a victim.  It does mean, however, that sometimes there can be a complex dynamic between bully and victim that goes beyond the garden-variety situation in which a predator randomly seeks out prey.

Beginning at 2:55, Former Labour Home Secretary and current Blackburn MP Jack Straw starts a very laborious analysis of the problem.  Both as a matter of decency and a matter of fact, he tries not to implicate the entire Pakistani community, even though he admits that there is a significant segment of men within the Pakistani community that views non-Pakistan British girls as legitimate prey for their sexual desires and appropriate fodder for their prostitution business.  But the key language shows up at 3:50.  There, Straw says the following:

These young men are in a Western society.  In any event, they are like any other young men; they are fizzing and popping with testosterone.  They want some outlet for that, but Pakistani-heritage girls are off-limits and they are expected to marry a Pakistani girl from Pakistan typically, so they then seek other avenues, and they see these young women, white girls who are vulnerable, some of them in care, who for sure and [sic] are not being subject to normal parental support, who they think are easy meat.  (Emphasis added.)

“Some of them in care” and “are not being subject to normal parental support” are both polite ways of stating that, while Pakistani girls may be over-protected by Western standards, white British girls are being under-protected by any standards.  I’m too lazy to find links now, but if you’re not as lazy as I am, you’ll be able to confirm that, in England, women are drinking more, drugging more, having children out-of-wedlock more, sleeping around more, etc.  More than what?  More than before and more than in most other Western countries.  They “are not being subject to normal parental support,” and they are raising second and third generations of girls who also “are not being subject to normal parental support.”  The Pakistani men in England may be plucking this fruit, but the politically correct, morality free, socialist English society is growing it.

 

 

The news out of England *UPDATED*

A few stories from England’s Daily Mail, all showing that the country is not in the best of health.  Each of these stories highlights, not the horrible things individuals can do, because those crimes transcend national boundaries, but the way in which England has rendered itself unable to react in any way to the insults occurring within its borders.

1.  An Eritrean national who helped plot an attempted jihad-inspired mass murder in England is not only free after serving just half his sentence, but the Brits cannot deport him for fear of violating his human rights.  Interestingly, concern about human rights didn’t seem to impinge on his activities when he helped the would-be bombers.

2.  Somehow England’s best, brightest and Leftest minds were unable to figure out that open immigration would depress wages.  This is what years of Leftist higher education will do to you — make you stupid.

3.  As a child, I remember reading that Soviet hospitals had something in common with medieval hospitals:  if your relatives weren’t there to take care of you, you died.  Turns out that you don’t have to be in a hardcore Communist nation or a medieval time warp for that to open.  Just go to England.  Soft socialism will do exactly the same bad job for you.

4.  Human rights don’t stop with Jihadists.  True blue axe-murdering Brits get their day in the sun too, as was the case with an axe murder with three notches on his blade who was nevertheless allowed out of prison to attend a course in chopping down trees.  Once an axe lover, always an axe lover, I guess.

UPDATE:  Sadie just sent me the worst article of all, one explaining better than anything else could, how Britain has arrived at this state:

From the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz to Meg, the good witch from the Meg and Mog children’s books, witches have always dressed in black.

But their traditional attire has now come in for criticism from equality experts who claim it could send a negative message to toddlers in nursery and lead to racism.

Instead, teachers should censor the toy box and replace the pointy black hat with a pink one, while dressing fairies, generally resplendent in pale pastels, in darker shades.

Another staple of the classroom – white paper – has also been questioned by Anne O’Connor, an early years consultant who advises local authorities on equality and diversity.

Children should be provided with paper other than white to drawn on and paints and crayons should come in “the full range of flesh tones”, reflecting the diversity of the human race, according to the former teacher.

Read the rest here.

And one more from Sadie:  police ban cafe owner from displaying Christian literature (including the Bible) and images, as they are an offense to public order.  The next thing, presumably, will be a raid on Buckingham Palace.  I’ve heard there’s an old woman living there who actually claims to be the head of a Christian church in England.  (I feel a satirical post coming on, if I can just keep my comic mojo going.)

Youth unemployment – where does it lead?

As we settle into the Obama Depression era, one thing that I and others have noticed is that many of the very youth that voted enthusiastically for Obama are the ones already feeling the consequence of his policies: they are unemployed. As one of my college-age kids put it, “our generation is so over Obama, today!”.

High youth unemployment is an inevitable consequence of socialism. In modern Europe, it has always been high. Here is an example of its pervasiveness in the U.K., for example:

http://anglo-americandebate.blogspot.com/2011/01/left-wing-policies-have-destroyed.html

In Europe, the problem has been exacerbated by extensive “social safety nets” that guarantee a pretty good lifestyle for the unemployed. Why work, when you can live comfortably on public assistance combined with the black market economy (dealing drugs, for example)? There are large swaths of the European population that, like people in our inner city projects, have no idea how to work. A young man in France with a finance degree recently reported to me that he was “happily unemployed”. Thanks to his government, he leads a comfortable existence. However, that, too, shall come to an end, for Europe faces the same economic collapse as the U.S.

I really do feel sorry for university students graduating today: for many, if not most, their degrees will be obsolete by the time the economy recovers (which could be a very long time). What employer would hire a student with, say, a business, philosophy, English, or whatever degree that has lain fallow for two, four or more years when they can hire a freshly minted graduate instead? These students’ parents, meanwhile, will often have drained hundreds of thousands of dollars from their retirement funds to fund such now worthless educations. I know of parents that have destroyed their retirement options in order to put their kids through university.

So, what happens when you have armies of unemployed young people with obsolete skills? I know that this has happened before, such as in the Great Depression. However, when economic recovery did come in the mid-to-late ’40s, workers with no education and technical skills could still find plenty of hands-on work opportunities. I don’t know that this holds true anymore in a modern economy. There’s only so many openings for baristas.
Any ideas?

England swings wildly between the extremes

In 1931, Nancy Langhorne Astor’s son Robert Gould Shaw III was arrested for committing a homosexual act (in a park, I believe).  This was a continuation of a long-standing British public policy of prosecuting “sodomists.”  Arguably the most famous prosecution was that against Oscar Wilde, for public indecency.  The trial, scandal and imprisonment destroyed the noted Victorian wit entirely, and he died in self-imposed, poverty-stricken exile soon after his release from prison.

How times have changed.  In 2010, Dale McAlpine, a Baptist preacher in England, was arrested for stating in a public place that homosexuality is a sin.

Have the English no sense of balance or proportion?  Do they think that criminalizing people’s thoughts and opinions is the only way to balance the scales for the humiliations they visited on homosexuals in years past?

Anyway, rather than opining more on the subject, let me refer you to my previous post on thought crimes.  I think it pretty much covers anything I want to say.

Matched story sets on freedom of association and recycling

Yes, my friends, it’s matched set time again.  I just love pairing stories (or, here, a prescient video and a current story), for your enjoyment and edification.

I’ll start first with a couple of stories that have their genesis in San Francisco and that have made it to the media this past week.  I’ve already mentioned one at my blog, which is the story about the softball players who lost their championship because some of their team members weren’t “gay enough.”  The problem for the winning team was that the league was, by definition, a “gay” league, and mere bisexuality didn’t cut the mustard.  Aside from the obvious identity politic problems inherent in the story, I was intrigued by the last few paragraphs (emphasis mine):

Beth Allen, an attorney for the alliance, said Wednesday that the suit has no merit and that none of the plaintiffs suffered any discrimination.

She said the San Francisco league’s suggestion to remove the heterosexual limit is problematic.

“Presumably, if that were to occur, teams could be comprised of heterosexual players only,” Allen said.

“This is not a bisexuals vs. gays issue,” she said. “It’s whether a private organization may say who may be a member of their organization. It’s an issue of freedom of association.”

Are you holding that emphasized thought? Good. Because now I have the next story, again arising in San Francisco. This time, it involves a case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court.  The question is whether U.C. Hastings, a public law school, can ban a Christian group from campus on the ground that the group excludes active homosexuals.  Mitch McConnell argued that, under the Constitution, Hastings cannot do so (again, emphasis is mine):

On Monday, McConnell argued a case called Christian Legal Society v. Martinez in the United States Supreme Court. His client, a Christian organization at the University of California’s Hastings College of Law, was subject to a law school policy that required it, in order to avail itself of law school facilities, to accept “all comers” as members of the organization–whether they are Christians or not. The CLS believes that this requirement violates its members’ First Amendment right to freedom of association.

McConnell argued that under Supreme Court precedents, a public agency like the University of California can ban discrimination based on status (e.g. race or gender), but not based on belief, since in many cases the whole point of freedom of association is to band together with those who share one’s beliefs. As is often the case in Supreme Court arguments, the justices pelted both lawyers with hypothetical questions, sometimes involving rather far-fetched scenarios. At one point Justice Stevens asked this question:

JUSTICE STEVENS: What if the belief is that African Americans are inferior?

MR. McCONNELL: Again, I think they can discriminate on the basis of belief, but not on the basis of status.

As is often the case with these matched stories, I’ll leave the comparison and analysis to you. After all, put enough dots together and most of us should end up with the same picture.

This next pair isn’t really a matched set of news stories.  Instead, the pairing shows that, no matter how extreme we think a hypothetical is when it comes to environmentalism, someone will make it a reality.

First, enjoy a video of Penn & Teller examining just how far people will go to save the environment. (Since this is Penn & Teller, does the blue language alert go without saying?  Eh, I’ll give it to you anyway:  Blue Language Alert.)

As you can see, what P&T are imposing on people is ridiculous — or is it?  England’s bureaucrats, apparently inspired by Penn & Teller’s manic ideas, are putting a massive recycling regime change in place across Britain:

In a regime set to spread across the country, residents are being forced to juggle an astonishing nine separate bins.

There has already been a storm of protest with warnings that the scheme is too complex and homes simply don’t have the space to deal with the myriad bins, bags and boxes.

The containers include a silver slopbucket for food waste, which is then tipped in to a larger, green outdoor food bin, a pink bag for plastic bottles, a green bag for cardboard, and a white bag for clothing and textiles.

Paper and magazines go in blue bags, garden waste in a wheelie bin with a brown lid, while glass, foil, tins and empty aerosols should go in a blue box, with a grey wheelie bin for non-recyclable waste.

[snip]

Pressure on councils to enforce recycling schemes includes rising taxes on everything they send to landfill and the threat of European Union fines if they fail to hit EU targets from 2013 onwards.

Compulsory recycling is commonly enforced by bin police who can impose £100 on-the-spot fines for breaches like overfilled wheelie bins, extra rubbish left out, or bins put out at the wrong time.

If people do not pay the fines, they can be taken to court, where they face increased penalties of £1,000 and criminal records.

[snip]

Under the previous recycling system in the borough, householders had to juggle with the five containers that have become common in compulsory recycling and fortnightly collection schemes throughout the country.

The new system was introduced by the local council to help boost recycling rates from 26 per cent in 2008 to a target of 50 per cent by 2015.

It means only food waste is now taken each week. All other rubbish has to be stored for a fortnight before it is collected.

I won’t add anything here. You’ve got all the information you need.

The Obama administration and England

England is not one of my favorite places anymore, because of the raging antisemitism that characterizes her politics and her street.  Nevertheless, she is our ally and has been our staunch ally for more than a century.  For Obama to abandon her over the Falklands is disgusting.  At Power Line, in a few words, John nails Obama’s policy vis a vis England (emphasis mine):

So, once again, the Obama administration has sold Great Britain, formerly our #1 ally, down the river, along with the inhabitants of the Falklands, whose opinions would seem to count for something. We are past the point where anyone could doubt that the Obama administration’s hostility toward the U.K. is intentional. Obama seems to have substituted personal pathology for national policy.

I’m careful about calling someone evil, which I think is in an entirely separate class from misguided or ignorant or any other negative adjectives.  With this kind of excuse for foreign policy emanating from the White House, though, I’m increasingly inclined to imagine that appellation attached to Obama’s name.