Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Last Boat Home

The Daily Telegraph reports that Harry Patch, last or next-to-last surviving British veteran of the First World War, died yesterday at the age of 111. I had a long post prepared on Mr. Patch, his wounding near Ypres in 1917, the deaths of his friends, and some thoughts on the First World War as the agent of ruination of modern civilzation. However, on second though I'll leave you with his Telegraph obituary (and another from the New York Times this morning) which together cover the ground well enough; as well as these words from one of Patch's fellow soldiers:
When the Last Long Trek is Over
When the last long trek is over,
And the last long trench filled in,
I’ll take a boat to Dover,
Away from all the din;
I’ll take a trip to Mendip,
I’ll see the Wiltshire downs,
And all my soul I’ll then dip
In peace no trouble drowns.
Away from noise of battle,
Away from bombs and shells,
I’ll lie where browse the cattle,
Or pluck the purple bells.
I’ll lie among the heather,
And watch the distant plain,
Through all the summer weather,
Nor go to fight again.
Written near Arras, France, by Alec deCandole, Lieutenant (4th Bn., Wiltshire Rgt., attached 49th Coy., Machine Gun Corps) on 2 September 1918. Killed in action near Bonningues-lès-Ardres, France, 4 September 1918, age 21.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Why Does Obama Side With the Liberals? Well, Duh...

If Obama offends the left, what are they going to do apart from whine? Let them whine. If he offends the center, he loses votes and is deeply wounded electorally. . .

Obama could fix this problem so easily. . . But he has to start disappointing the party's liberals. He has to pick a fight or two, and takes sides with the centrists. In choosing the party's liberals over the party's moderates, he is repudiating one of the most brilliant campaigns ever seen. I simply don't understand it.

Mr. Crook needs a visit from Captain Obvious. This doesn't take an Ivy League degree, or a job at the Atlantic to comprehend. What's hard to understand here? Maybe Obama sides with his party's liberals because he is. . .um. . .a liberal?
Just a thought.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

China Must Pay Eh? How's that?

According to Reuters, yesterday , US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke told the Manufacturing Council (what Reuters calls a private sector advisory group) that China must help pay for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming:
"They've got to step up. They've got to pay for the cost of complying with global climate change. They've got to invest in energy efficiency and conversation, but also [take] very definitive steps in reducing greenhouse gas emissions" Locke decreed.
I must have missed it -- when did the US Army occupy Beijing? When does Hu Jintao go on trial? What else do we want from China besides their "stepping up" on global warming? Cancellation of our debts, maybe? Dream on.
Mr. Locke is not alone on the homily circuit. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, when in India recently, was telling that country to step up also: “It is essential for major developing countries like India to also lead because over 80 percent of the growth in future emissions will be from developing countries."
The Indians have been unimpressed with US arguments, but the Chinese have been making cooperative noises on global warming lately. Since the present depression has hit their manufacturing sector rather hard, it could well be that the Chinese leadership is simply making happy talk that costs them (at present) absolutely nothing.
But, seriously, just what are Mr. Locke, Ms. Clinton and their pals thinking? Mr. Locke and Ms. Clinton aren't newspaper columnists, bloggers, actors or other nobodies, they are cabinet members of the United States government, speaking for that government -- making public demands of the sovereign governments of great powers; of the type normally made only at bayonet-point, after an unconditional surrender ceremony on the deck of a battleship? This is particularly pertinent in the case of China, which has its own dire internal problems, and is apt to stand very much on its dignity when it comes to being ordered about in its own house by foreigners.
Is it any wonder that on so many issues, the Chinese are telling us, in diplo-speak, to piss-off? Is it any wonder that the Indians, aware that we need their help on Iran, and other matters, are somewhat dismayed at the talk coming out of Washington? Hopefully the government's representatives moderate their public tone somewhat; and we should hope, also, that the government which they represent moderates its fantasyland objectives.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


The former President of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, is, or is about to be, on his way by air to Honduras, aboard the President of Argentina's official aircraft. Mr. Zelaya is accompanied by a crowd of do-gooders and right-thinking people, including the Nicaraguan Sandinista U.N. General Assembly President, Miguel D'Escoto.
The position of the United States government -- specifically, President Obama -- on events in that country has been most disappointing and troubling. Former President Zelaya was about to hold a "referendum" on amending the country's constitution to allow him to seek another presidential term. Mr. Zelaya was told to cease and desist from doing so by Honduras's Supreme Court and by the Congress -- but Mr. Zelaya -- figuring he could find some group of people willing to anoint him Jefe, got himself some ballots and advice from Hugo Chavez and was planning to go ahead anyway. At this point, the army, with the support of the rest of the Honduran government -- aborted Mr. Zelaya's coup and quite properly removed him.
Now Obama is standing with Chavez and the Castro brothers and the United Dictators club to tell Hondurans they can't do this -- that the rest of the world has more to say about who is President of Honduras than Hondurans do.
Honduras has been one of the USA's best friends in Central America, particularly in the hard times of the Soviet, Cuban and leftist Nicaraguan backed insurgency in El Salvador and the years of the confrontation with Nicaragua's Sandinista regime. The Obama administration's stand towards events in Honduras is despicable.
Hopefully, the Hondurans turn Mr. Zelaya's plane away. If it actually lands in Tegucigalpa, here's hoping they give the accompanying do-gooders the boot and put Mr. Zelaya where he belongs -- in jail.