39 thoughts on “JUST FOR A LAUGH”

  1. Good selection today, Tris!

    The sight of Republican senators applauding and chanting “Four more years! Four more years!” when they acquitted Trump sent chills up my spine – it was far too like meetings of a Congress of Soviets under whatever name under strongmen from Stalin to Ceaușescu, or one of those choreographed public meetings of “workers and peasants” where people were bussed in to clap and cheer at predetermined points or else. Or, to adapt the metaphor one American commentator used to describe the senators, to clap “like trained seals”.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Have to agree Edd,
    The creationist one and the branding one should be together.
    As in
    ‘here is the conclusion we want’
    ‘How can we get NO facts to support the answer we want’
    Oh that’s right
    ‘We don’t have witnesses or evidence brought forward’
    No case to answer, acquittal achieved.

    OT
    The doris has a strong arm domestic, he gets to be pm.
    Ms Flack has a domestic, gets sacked by itv, media gives her a hard time, you know the rest.
    The media blame the CPS for being too hard.
    My view is
    Was she really worried about the court case
    OR
    Was she really worried about losing the job as presenter and keeping the life style.
    I think it was the second.
    Now we see the same response that Al Capone used when he bumped off someone, the mock tears, from the media, wasn’t us that did it.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The old joke about the physicist climbing the knowledge mountain for centuries and when he eventually reaches the summit,finds a theologian sitting there!
    However,the Christian fundamentalists still have a long way to go.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I hate to introduce a note of disagreement, however let me get this right..

    Obama, Clinton and Nuland instigate a brutal neo-fascist coup in Ukraine, involving the death of many innocents including the massacre of the trade unionists in Odessa, in order to sabre rattle at Russia, happy to use the poor Ukrainians as expendable canon fodder in their filthy international games.

    And that makes them….goodies?

    As a result the creature Biden sees an opportunity to work with the corrupt scum they have installed in Kiev to extract what essentially were bribes using his son to give some pretence of arm’s length…all presumably with the approval of Saint Obama or else he wouldn’t have dared.

    Trump gets interested – no doubt for narrow political reasons rather than moral – and gets a wee bit heavy handed with the puppets in Kiev.

    And that makes him a….terrible, terrible baddie?

    The people doing the impeaching were corrupter than the impeachee!

    Don’t get me wrong they’re all baddies in the end.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I disagree. There is no proof that Obama or Clinton promoted a right-wing, fascist coup anywhere. This is pure I’m-rubber-you’re-glue from the Putin propaganda playback – gaslighting on the grand scale. The only people in favour of installing a corrupt, right-wing, authoritarian, gangster-capitalist kleptocratic AND PRO-RUSSIAN regime in Ukraine is the corrupt, right-wing, authoritarian, gangster-capitalist kleptocratic regime in Russia.

      Obama slapped sanctions on the Putin regime for its clear violation of international law in invading / annexing Crimea. Russia is fighting a war in Ukraine right now against the democratically elected government in Kyiv. Ukraine is no longer governed by Moscow puppets.

      What possible purpose could it have served Obama or Clinton to have Ukraine governmed by a corrupt PRO-RUSSIAN regime?

      As for Nuland, never heard of him.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’d say that you have the facts right Ed.

        Obama making Vice President Joe Biden his point man in Ukraine made sense, but Biden should have refrained from later shooting his mouth off and playing big-shot in front of the Council on Foreign Relations. Furthermore, Biden seemed oblivious to the terrible appearance of impropriety and conflict of interest involving his idiot drug-addicted son’s job with the Ukrainian gas company, Burisma Holdings. Joe Biden is an inept politician even by Democratic party standards, and I think he’ll be out of the presidential race after the Nevada caucus and the South Carolina primary.

        Here is part of Biden’s self-important posturing before the Council on Foreign Relations in January, 2018:

        Biden: “I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars. I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch. (Laughter.) He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”

        https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2019/09/27/flashback_2018_joe_biden_brags_at_cfr_meeting_about_withholding_aid_to_ukraine_to_force_firing_of_prosecutor.html

        The New York Times described the Biden problem in an article as early as last May.
        The Times article opened with: “It was a foreign policy role Joseph R. Biden Jr. enthusiastically embraced during his vice presidency: browbeating Ukraine’s notoriously corrupt government to clean up its act.”

        But Trump was by then president, and there was trouble ahead for Biden who had obviously loved his “browbeating” role, and had a blind spot about the political optics involving his son.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. The Usual Suspects will of course do the I’m-rubber-you’re-glue thing and say that Trump was doing no more than Joe Biden had done in getting the previous corrupt fascist kleptocratic authoritarian etc. Putin-puppet regime in Ukraine to sack the corrupt, Putin-puppet prosecutor, whose name I can’t remember offhand and can’t be bothered checking up on – take pity on my sparse and greying locks – with the ever-so-slight difference that Biden did it to advance stated, public American policy objectives and for no personal gain.

          As for Hunter Biden, did Joe even know about him and Burisma until after the fact? Personally, I wouldn’t fancy my chances of getting either of my two adult foster sons to not do something they wanted to do, because I wouldn’t have paid a blind bit of notice to my dad when I was their age either, no matter how much I loved him, which I did. And they’re still in their early twenties, much younger than Hunter Biden, who, as I understand it, has a bit of a problem with impulse control, forward planning, and resisting temptation. No parent can be held responsible for the actions of their adult children unless they are themselves involved in them.

          Anyway, the Prosecutor who got the chop at Joe Biden’s instigation is one of the ones responsible for peddling the arsey-versey, gaslighting, IRYG Putin narrative, so enthusiastically peddled by the egregious Rudy Giuliani, of Ukraine being to blame for interference in the 2016 elections (in favour of Clinton), and targeting Joe and Hunter Biden with false corruption allegations (IRYG is a tried and tested propaganda technique, used by not just Putin and his KGB / Russian Spooky Security pals and trollbots but by authoritarian regimes since before the Greeks invented the word τύραννος / túrannos, or Ur of the Chaldees was built, and back and back and back… One of the reasons that prosecutor had to go was that he was refusing to prosecute one of Putin’s puppets (yet another crony- / gangster-capitalist Putin-puppet oligarch) who’d been put in a position to skim a vast personal income off the top of the revenues from the natural gas Russia was selling Ukraine at inflated prices – through Burisma.

          So if anything, you could claim that Hunter Biden was put in place to keep an eye on Burisma’s doings to satisfy himself that there was no jiggery-pokery going on. Whether it’s true or not, you could claim it, I think. Any dosh Hunter got out of the Burisma Board Member gig would have been peanuts compared to the money which Putin’s nasty little pal was stealing from everyone buying natural gas in Ukraine, which was a nice little earner for the oligarch in question – and for Putin himself, who is not known for his altruism; no rewards he hands out are without conditions.

          The new Government in Kyiv, by the way, somewhere in the chain of command – the new President, I think – made the decision that they would no longer buy any gas from Russia at all. So never forget the cui bono / follow the money principles in analysing who’s saying and doing what to and about whom, and don’t forget either that mob bosses everywhere operate by punishing people and taking vengeance, to preserve their power through fear and intimidation, and don’t in the normal run of things have the kind of humane and loving spirits that would prevent them offing innocent people in order to install a thoroughgoing reign of terror. With which old Sov Union KGB agents are weel acquent, what with Stalinism and Stalin’s purges being part of the institutional memory.

          I don’t find this kind of Byzantine, through-the-looking-glass stuff as confusing as most people in the West probably do, because I had so much experience of it through my studies of Russian and the old Sov Union, through my family connections with Poland, and my personal friendships with my remarkable and beloved Russian dissident friends. That’s one of the reasons, I suppose, why I react so violently against seeing it happen in England and America, and elsewhere in the Europe that I love. If that makes me a European patriot and a fan of liberal democracy, that’s fine by me.

          The idea that the truth of something depends on who says it and not the facts of the matter – which is a common thread in the reality-warping world of lies and political manipulation, as it also is in any personal relationship with a narcissist – is pernicious, and is a reflex of the delusion that there is no such thing as objective truth, only subjective. The anti-scientific bias common among such regimes in our times should be seen in that light – they don’t view science as having to do with the search for truth, and are happy to pervert science by pressing it into service as a pseudo-scientific propaganda tool.

          Examples of that includ the myths of Aryan racial superiority to stigmatise other groups such as Jews, gays and Roma; the belief-systems of religions perverted by propaganda of exclusivity and superiority over others in order to stimatise, to “other”, to dehumanise minority groups by exploiting the worst traits of human beings. The results in recent times and even today include Hindu / Muslim and Muslim / Buddhist conflicts such as Pakistan v. India and recent anti-Muslim legislation by the current corrupt, authoritarian Indian, right-wing regime, and the Sinhala v. Tamils in Sri Lanka; “eugenics” and mandatory contraception / sterilisation as a cover for social Darwinism; “scientific” proof that Black people are less intelligent than White Europeans or the Chinese; generally acting as if revealed knowledge were just as valid as knowledge that is based on fact… These are all things instantiated in the persons of the kind of extreme-right, gun-toting, militant, survivalist, white-supremacist, climate-change-denying, sexist, homophobic, Creationist shits who are currently the greatest threat to American domestic peace and security. Take the type, dilute it to taste, add local flavour, and you can see … let’s see who… Farage, Orbán, Manky Jaicket Man, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings, Jacob Rees-Smugg, Michael Gove, Ian Duncan Smith, Priti Patel, Andrew Sabisky…

          None of that sits particularly well with an enlightened, humane society which values the independent mind, does it?

          Liked by 3 people

          1. Ed…You would know better than I, but I have the impression that as soon as some country is freed by whatever turn of events from domination by an imperial power, such as African countries from European imperial domination, or Eastern bloc countries from Soviet domination, the result is almost never “an enlightened, humane society which values the independent mind.” What more often results is some sort of deeply corrupt strong man dictatorship.

            It took the USA quite some time to find an authoritarian strong man demagogue, but what’s going on now in the USA would be recognized in any Banana Republic. It appears that Joe Biden’s role in Ukraine was totally in line with valid American foreign policy interests, and was blessed by the EU. But at the same time, his alcoholic, drug addicted, womanizing son Hunter had a suspiciously lucrative job with the Ukrainian gas company while his dad was VP, and the optics of the thing were very bad. So when Biden announced a run for president (his third,) FOX News, right wing talk radio, and Donald Trump devised a story of Biden political corruption, such that the facts hardly mattered.

            As for as I know, how much Joe Biden knew or cared about his problem son’s activities in Ukraine has never been divulged. In a normal family, perhaps father and adult son might not have communicated very much, but those rules hardly apply when the father is running for president. Joe needed to figure out how to deal with the Trump-promoted “scandal,” and never did. He would occasionally show a flash of anger, and yet never seemed to know how to deal with it. He’s run an awful campaign, as his sinking poll numbers indicate. I don’t think he’ll be in the race much longer.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I tend to agree.

              Now, here’s a bit of a polemic and some devil’s advocacy, aka a rant. Those of a nervous disposition or who are easily bored may wish to ignore it completely

              On the subject of post-colonial dictatorships, we have to remember that democracy is a very fragile plant, and it is easily uprooted. It is hard to nurture, and easy to destroy. Where there is no history of democracy, it cannot take root either easily or immediately: it takes generations. In Europe, it was thousands upon thousands of years before any of the Ancient Greeks hit upon the idea, and even they didn’t even think of expanding the demos to include women, the poor – or slaves. Later, the Renaissance which began in Italy was not immediately followed by the Enlightenment – it took several more centuries, and by most measures actually hasn’t happened yet.

              I think it was Gandhi who, when asked what he thought of Western civilisation, replied that it would be a good idea of they tried it.

              In colonial times, Africans had no experience of democracy. Democracy, so called, was the province of the colonisers. Among them, it flourished only at Home, possibly, maybe, wherever that home country was – and let us not forget that universal suffrage in Europe is a very recent phenomenon, historically speaking, a far more recent one than the beginnings of the colonial era, and predated the end of by only a few decades – and in the wake of two catastrophic wars between the Europeans themselves. In the second one of those, the Europeans also used North Africa as a theatre for their war – I’m ignoring India and SE Asia here – which is like having a gunfight in someone else’s back yard and knocking hell out of the homeowner as well. Funny how armed robbery at gunpoint is a serious crime in most jurisdictions, but Europeans generally thought it was perfectly OK to inflict it on whole societies.

              Democracies are peculiarly vulnerable to demagogues who promise simple solutions to complex problems. Take Trump’s “Only I can fix this” as your example, or the promises all dictators make to their people to get them on side. It is hardly surprising that any society which has just been subjected to the ravages, abuses, insults, systematic exploitation and discrimination of colonialism, and the myriad problems which it left in its wake, should look to a strongman to take charge, especially when traditionally your village and tribe / nation have been ruled by chiefs, like Europeans were in feudal times: peasants and serfs, your local head honcho, answerable to his head honcho, answerable in turn to the king. To put it another way, there haven’t been many Nelson Mandelas and Gandhis in history. No, there are far more instances of people whose behaviour is enough to make one believe in the absolute reality of evil.

              The fact that the Europeans drew African countries’ borders with no regard for or to the people actually living there compounded the problem. In Kenya alone, you have 47 different tribes / languages (approx.!) excluding the White tribe, who are often extremely problematic. Throughout colonial-era Africa, Europeans mostly had no idea at all of what they were doing. The general attitude among most of the European colonialists was “Well, they’re all Black, aren’t they?” – and because they never bothered to learn any of the local languages, they may not have understood just how many languages were being spoken and by whom, or even realised that they were different: “Well, no one [local people not counting as people] understands their jibber-jabber anyway”. (The Gaelic languages, and even Scots, come under the same linguistic umbrella, of course. Gaelic names at railway stations cause road accidents…)

              The origin of the word “mzungu” (foreigner, White person) in Swahili, I have been told, means someone who is lost, both geographically and socially, ignorant, pays no respect to the elders, to tradition or taboo. The locals must have asked themselves who the hell the Europeans thought they were, coming onto the land where they were living, claiming it as their own when any sane person knew that land was not something anyone could own, kicking people off it, treating them like slaves when they weren’t actually enslaving them, treating them like sh*it generally, constantly yelling at people and bossing them around, turning peculiar shades of pink, red and purple while claiming they were White, which made them look like dead chickens when they actually did look sort of white, were generally pretty evil-smelling, and so stupid that they didn’t even believe the evidence of their own eyes and called all Africans Black, across the whole damn continent below the Sahara, even though people had the visibly dissimilar skin tones and physiques which helped them tell which of the local tribes they were likely to belong to… and then, as the icing on the cake, they often couldn’t even distinguish one person from another, or recognise them if they met them again.

              This behaviour was so general and widespread that all people who spoke Swahili used the term “mzungu” – whatever their own tribal / local language or languages. This is natural enough in a lingua franca, but we mustn’t forget that the general behaviour of the European colonisers was pretty much the same everywhere too: they made themselves despicable with their despicable, uncivilised behaviour, and not infrequently even killed people, indiscriminately, randomly, without rhyme or reason, or for “offences” purely of their own devising.

              It is, of course, possible for tribal languages and languages used between neighbouring tribes to be different – over and above any use of more widespread linguæ francæ – which include the languages of the colonisers too. Of course.

              So, here come the Europeans, the Brits in particular, actually, demanding that everyone learn English (or whatever) because (taking East Africa as an example) they were too stupid to learn even Swahili, which anyone who was anyone had to know, in a centuries-old tradition, in order to communicate with distant tribes as a lingua franca among languages with mutual comprehensibility ranging from near-total to zero. Of course, locals usually spoke at least a couple of languages already which they had to learn in order to communicate with their neighbours, which was easy enough, especially when they were in the habit of exogamy and marrying each other’s women and men, which was obviously a good idea because everyone knew the dangers of inbreeding, expressed as general taboos on too much consanguinity.

              Why do people learn foreign languages? It seems to me that there are two fundamental human motivations that may drive it, but are not often spoken out loud: to make money out of trade, to obtain the things you need, you need to be able to haggle, to barter, to use currency – and all of those involve communication. And there’s another great motivator, and it’s one they don’t teach you in school: sex. I mean, how else are you going to chat up a sexy foreigner? Mouthing incomprehensible words at each other isn’t going to get you very far as a social lubricant, is it, not on an amateur basis, anyway.

              I could go on in the vein of European exceptionalism and appalling behaviour, extending worldwide, effectively, to the detriment of other civilisations which were frequently older, wiser, more peaceable, less arrogant and more in tune with their physical environments.

              And, to add yet another insult to injury, then those stupid, stupid wazungu had the sheer gall to claim they’re smarter than the average African – and were continuing to do so even in the 21st century, over 200 years after the birth of M. le Comte Joseph Arthur de Gobineau ((https://www.britannica.com/biography/Arthur-de-Gobineau), whose life demonstrates that it is perfectly possible to be both supremely well educated and highly sophisticated, and an evil idiotic racist sh*it at one and the same time.

              Supposedly enlightened Europeans used to say of the Bourbon kings and the ancien régime that they had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing. Europeans themselves, however, in the main, are just as bad.

              Liked by 4 people

              1. Another brilliant essay, Ed. Worthy of a wider audience than this blog.

                The Brits, French, Belgians… and to a lesser extent, I suppose, the Germans, Spanish and Portuguese drew lines on maps with no regard for tribes, languages or customs.

                In the Near East they flung diverse tribes together into single countries (I’m thinking specifically of Iraq here) and messed about with their governance … and finally when they left wondered why the only people who could keep them together were “strong men”… and then wondered when they overthrew these strong me, the place descended into chaos.

                But in a way I just repeat what you said… So I’ll shut up.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Thank you for saying so, Tris. It means a lot to me. When I feel a little stronger I’ll try and post those bits of Edwardian ranting on my own blog, which I haven’t touched for months what with being excessively wabbit and peely-wally.

                  Liked by 2 people

              2. Ed…..What an informative and entertaining read your essay is! In fact I read it (and enjoyed it) twice. I’ve often thought how odd it is that we yammer on about how the desire for freedom and self-determination burns deeply in the human soul. This does seem to be gibberish when one observes what happened in Africa when the European powers abandoned their colonial possessions. One could just as sensibly declare that history shows what ACTUALLY burns deeply in the human soul is the desire to be ruled by blood drenched dictators. Your comments place all that in sharper historical and ethnic focus than one usually encounters.

                I have my own rant that I on occasion inflict on friends and family, when they for example get all worked up and misty eyed about the latest Windsor family extravaganza being conveyed from Westminster Abbey to America by the wonders of transatlantic television. I then take pains to express my only slightly hyperbolic thesis that EVERY evil in the world today is the historical progeny of the crimes against humanity that the bloody, violent, greedy English inflicted on their colonial subjects in the days of empire. I remind people that the American republic was born in revolution, and that the lesson of history is that the only really effective way of getting rid of English domination is to start shooting at them and their army. To be brutal about it, when you’ve killed or captured enough of them, they finally get on ships, sail back to England, and leave you alone. Thomas Jefferson absolutely detested the English, and I doubt that the English character has changed all that much in 244 years. When someone corrects me by pointing out that I mean “British” instead of “English,” I reply that I say what I mean and mean what I say. “Britain” (and “United Kingdom”) might properly be viewed as euphemisms, fashioned by the English to justify and codify their subjugation of Wales, Scotland, and Ireland……while on their larger mission to rape and pillage half the world in their national self-interest.

                Yes, I suppose that my ire should be more properly directed at ALL the European nations and their empires. I suppose there’s even some indication that England’s colonial rule might have been slightly more enlightened than some others. What King Leopold II did for his personal financial gain in the Congo Free State is chilling. And yet the kindly peace loving Belgians by all accounts still revere the monster Leopold, and their government has in the past resisted efforts to inform Belgian school children and set the public record straight about Leopold’s Congo atrocities.

                Reflecting on Europeans generally, and the rivers of blood that have flowed in European wars in the 1500 years after the fall of Rome, I really don’t know what to make of modern Europeans who are at pains to lecture Americans about their violent warlike nature. They do this in the utmost seriousness, without a trace of irony. One does wonder if European history is taught in European schools at all. It’s hard to sort out full fledged wars from undeclared regional military conflicts, but Americans have fought only five declared wars in the 237 years that have elapsed since the revolution. There have been lots of other military actions of course, but I would love to see a count of corresponding European wars and military actions during the same period of time. When a direct military comparison becomes uncomfortable, Americans often hear a European diatribe about what we did to the Native Americans. On that point, we are presumably expected to believe that the indigenous tribal peoples of the European continent did not in an earlier time suffer correspondingly at the hands of war lords……who would become European Kings and aristocracy……..as they hammered out what would become the nation states of Europe.

                So no one has historically clean hands, but Europeans do seem to indulge in more than their share of self-deception. It’s not even that violent European history happened long ago in another age. The European powers made an abattoir of their continent TWICE in just the last century. AND in both cases were more than happy to invite the “warlike” Americans to help them sort things out. OK…..but the Europeans are the EU now, they’ve finally “got religion” (as Americans might colloquially say,) and are finally a peaceful enlightened people. As I understand it, the EU is run from Brussels, in the country of the people who so admire King Leopold. What could POSSIBLY go wrong?

                Rant over! 😉

                Liked by 4 people

                1. It wasn’t a rant, Danny. It was another well constructed essay on the hypocrisy that we practise.

                  I can’t disagree with a word of that.

                  I’d love to see you and Ed on a TV discussion programme with a good arbiter chairing ytour discussion. It would, I’m sure, be enlightening.

                  Munguin is lucky to have so many talented, intelligent and interesting correspondents.

                  Liked by 2 people

                  1. Thank you Tris. As an essayist, I can’t hold a candle to Ed, but I do my best. 😉

                    A story I’ve probably told before….but what the heck, I’d like to hear it again. 😉 I was reminded of it when I reflected about royal goings-on in Westminster Abbey that get transmitted to America from time to time. It illustrates the sense of history, or lack thereof, that young Americans may have, even if they have a media career going.

                    It was Kate and William’s wedding, and the proceedings were anchored by a young American news-person at a desk in New York City, with on-the-spot coverage by a great gray BBC eminence at the Abbey. (A Richard Dimbelby-type character in appearance and demeanor.)

                    The New York anchor-person, at the end of the service, gushed about the event just witnessed, and opined that this must have been one of the most extraordinary events in the history of Westminster Abbey. The BBC man looked stunned, but clearly felt the need to remain polite and unflappable. Finally he replied (haltingly)……”well…….this IS where William the Conqueror was crowned in 1066 you know.”

                    There was silence from New York City and a cut to a commercial.

                    Sadly, I really don’t know if the young New York reporter understood what had happened. But it certainly made my day. 🙂

                    Liked by 3 people

                    1. LOL…

                      A guy from an incredibly rich and privileged upper class family gets married to a ordinary middle class girl he met at university.

                      His father insists on inviting the world’s royals and half the aristocracy and a host of show biz people, and says he’ll pay for it (although it later turns out that his expenses were massively increased that year, so he didn’t pay for it out of the £80 billion his family has salted away over the years by waving at people).

                      They have a lavish if somewhat tacky ceremony where people wear clothes that cost an average annual salary. They throw a massive party. (Just as well we are rich)

                      The BBC gets to transmit it to the world, thereby earning a LOT of money, but not reducing its licence fee as a consequence.

                      Most people under 60 in the UK (and many over 60) watch something on another tv channel and skip the news bulletins.

                      Millions of inordinately tacky souvenirs are sold, and odd people like this, dress up in hideous union flag suits.

                      And the bride’s sister becomes famous for her ass, and decides to write a book on how to hold a party (which my 5 year old nephew could have done SO much better).

                      I think the crowning of a Norman French King was much more interesting, if not exciting, although happily that was nothing to do with Scotland.

                      I wonder if they made tacky tea towels for that

                      Liked by 4 people

                    2. LOL…..LOL……Tris…….After reading your synopsis, I’m thinking they definitely could have used you as the London wedding correspondent. You would have provided a unique slant to the coverage. 😉

                      As for William’s coronation on Christmas Day in 1066, by all accounts, communication between the French and English broke down and the resulting fire and rioting made quite a spectacle:

                      “On his coronation day William had prudently posted knights outside the abbey to deal with anyone who was not demonstrating unconfined joy at the great event. When the guards heard the shouts of acclaim from within, the vivats, they concluded that some sort of assault was under way, for which the standard response was to set fire to every building in sight. The historian Orderic Vitalis wrote:

                      ‘…as the fire spread rapidly through the houses the people who had been rejoicing in the church were thrown into confusion, and a crowd of men and women of every rank and status, compelled by this disaster rushed out of the church. Only the bishops and clergy along with the monks stayed, terrified, in front of the altar and only just managed to complete the consecration rite over the king who was trembling violently. Nearly everyone else ran towards the raging fire, some to fight bravely against the force of the flames, but more hoping to grab loot for themselves amid such great confusion. The English, believing there was a plot behind something so completely unlooked for, were extremely angry and afterwards held the Normans in suspicion, judging them treacherous.’

                      After this fiasco, it was not surprising that William was not prepared to take the formal acts of homage offered at his coronation at face value. The fort that would become the Tower of London – a stone castle of unprecedented strength – began to be constructed right after Christmas.”

                      Liked by 3 people

                    3. LOL Tris…….Oh yea, TV coverage of William’s coronation, complete with the fire and riot, is a telecast from the Abbey that I could have gotten interested in. 😉

                      Liked by 1 person

                2. I don’t believe that was a rant either, Danny!

                  You’ll not find all that much disagreement from me about anything you said, actually.

                  However, about us Europeans getting religion, as you put it, which I take to mean the humanist, liberal-democracy model which was forged – or reforged- in the fires of WWII. As you say, Europe was ravaged by two World Wars which started here – except I put it in the passive voice, which people often use in exactly the form of blame- and responsibility-avoidance you mention. Europe was turned into an abattoir twice in the 20th century, true – but many Europeans both opposed the forces of fascism, authoritarianism – the whole slew of repugnant actions and policies and ideologies, all the horrors which horrible people unleash.

                  As I said too, democracy is a fragile plant. After WWI it was in a very bad way indeed. The Treaty of Versailles, the post-WWI settlement was inherently unstable, and any attempt at democracy is going to be doomed to ultimate failure without the institutions that are needed to prop it up. Many countries in Europe were still autocratic monarchies – Franz Joseph of the Austro-Hungarian Empire comes to mind, and Kaiser Wilhelm in Germany…

                  Then WWI in all its horror, followed by the Spanish flu which killed millions; there were famines in Germany (caused by the Allied blockade) and in Russia; the food supply was short everywhere because of the numbers of able-bodied men sent to the various fronts. The Treaty of Versailles, in the aftermath of WWI, imposed new frontiers over the conquered Powers; the Ottoman Empire was broken up and often arbitrary borders were imposed; Russia, its internal problems already exacerbated by the war and its cost in blood and treasure which impoverished Russia could ill afford, had already fallen to Bolshevism, with civil war and famine looming; the Kurds did not get their own State, with consequences which we are still living with – and the Kurds are dying for – today; the Balfour Declaration of 1917 imposed a humiliation and a series of catastrophes on the people of Palestine and the broader Near East, indeed the whole Arab world, which ricochet down to this day…

                  In other words, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – Death, War, Famine and Conquest – were everywhere to be seen, in Europe, in the Near East, throughout the empires of the various European Powers. It was a World War, after all.

                  Afterwards, Europeans called it the war to end all wars, and the League of Nations was formed to try to stop it happening again. But the League of Nations was weak. The Treaty of Versailles was a settlement that reflected the colonial mentality of the White people of the time. Nation-States were too jealous of their sovereignty to sacrifice or share enough of it for the thing to work. It fell to the forces of fascism and authoritarianism.

                  Anecdotal excursion: one of Italy’s contributions to the construction of the Palais des Nations in Geneva, now occupied by the United Nations but originally constructed to house the League of Nations, took the form of sumptuous bathrooms. Mussolini supplied, among other things, large, impressive, even monumental urinals made of Italian marble. It gave me pleasure to piss on a gift of Mussolini, but then I’m a very peculiar individual.

                  So Mussolini walked out of the League of Nations and left them pisspots in his place.

                  The cults of personality surrounding such personages as Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, and all the other stars of greater and lesser brilliance, absurdity, idiocy, murderousness and benevolence in the galaxy of kings, emperors, caudillos, presidents-for-life, walimu, sultans, caliphs, kōtei, tyrants, tsars, autocrats, khans, serene highnesses, sheikhs, huándi and on and on and on – are the antithesis of democracy. Aristocracy and elitism are the enemies of democracy, even at the least malign. The very concept of inheriting nobility is patently absurd.

                  The French rejected all that in their revolution, crying liberté, égalité and fraternité; Americans took it as self-evident in their Constitution that all men were created equal – but the French still had colonies, and universal manhood (technical term) suffrage, first declared by the Jacobins in the Constitution of 1791, had to wait until 1848 before it actually happened. Toussaint l’Ouverture, hero of the Haitian Revolution, never saw universal manhood suffrage; he died before it was introduced in 1816. America had slavery until the Civil War, and Martin Luther King could not say “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty I’m free at last!” until 23 August 1963.

                  Over on the other side of the English Channel (arrogant bastards, aren’t they, appropriating a whole shared seaway with an international frontier down the middle – with greater humility, the French call it la Manche, the Sleeve), the UK did not achieve universal adult suffrage until 1968, with the passage of the Electoral Law Amendment Act abolishing property requirements, and the business and university votes. And it still has the House of Lords.

                  I’m not going to go deeply into the history of women’s suffrage. We all know the outlines of that. Suffice it to say that the American Constitution, proclaiming “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” at that time meant only men, not women or slaves, and only some men at that: white, rich, powerful, propertied men. America is not yet a more perfect union; its electoral system and its system of government both offend against the principle of one man, one vote – such a sexist phrase, with the default gender being the male though women are the majority of the population. Let’s start with the Electoral College, which may hand the presidency to the loser of the popular vote. Then there’s the Senate, where the number of votes needed to elect a senator varies enormously from state to state, thereby handing undue influence to the voters in sparsely-populated states: if one person’s vote is worth more than another’s then there’s no one person, one vote. Then there’s the principle of first-past-the-post elections. FPTP is hardly the most democratic system, hardly the best way to ensure that the governing bodies of the country represent the full range of people’s views.

                  The UK is not just as bad, it’s worse. I think most of us Munguinites are democrats and anti-elitist egalitarians, and as a logical consequence thereof, republicans. I won’t go into those arguments here because it would be bringing coals to Newcastle. Danny, I’m not intending to single out America, but Trump shows that American democracy too is at risk.

                  My point – and I have finally arrived at it, Danny – is that post-WWII, the losers in the war (you will know more about the Japanese than I do, I suspect, Danny) had constitutions imposed on that that were superior to what had gone before; they were more democratic, more liberal, and they were expressly designed to put in place robust democracies to resist any relapse into fascism and authoritarianism. Post-WWII, the European Union came into being – a long and difficult process, as the nation-States were initially too jealous of their sovereignty to sacrifice or share it for the thing to work. The ultimate goal of certain European statesmen (yes, statesmen, not stateswomen) even back before the early days of the European Coal and Steel Community of 1951, which was today’s European Union in embryo, was to forge a more perfect Union that would save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in their lifetime had brought untold sorrow to mankind.

                  Some historians disagree with me that the European Coal and Steel Community was founded with the ultimate goal of a European Union in mind, in an acute awareness that peace and freedom as promulgated in the Charter of the United Nations were were not just desirable, not just optional, but were vitally necessary to the continuing physical existence of all Europeans. To be founded at all, of course, the European Coal and Steel Community had to have its own, evident, raison d’être – but that, in my view, does not preclude the existence of an ulterior, higher purpose.

                  Arrayed against the resistance of the conservatives and nationalists who were too jealous of their sovereignty to take part in the European project were those who recognised that after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, after Little Boy and Fat Man, Europeans could not afford to go to war against each other again or we would most assuredly destroy ourselves. But we rejected the strategy of Mutual Assured Destruction among ourselves, and The European Union has kept the States which comprise it at peace with one another for 75 years now, since 1945. The United Kingdom, too jealous of its sovereignty to sacrifice or share it, too exceptionalist, too xenophobic, did not join in the project until 1975. And now it has withdrawn from it, pulled out by a far right-wing, authoritarian political party which deliberately aggravated the social and economic inequalities which are breeding-grounds for the kind of social and political upheavals seen in the Weimar Republic in the 1920s and 1930s, and resulted in the rise of fascism.

                  But we must distinguish between British Austerity and Weimar between the wars. British Austerity was deliberately inflicted by a far-right, authoritarian, elitist and economically illiterate political party. In fact, their economic illiteracy might be their only plea in mitigation, as most Tory MPs are indeed economically illiterate – but their leaders are not necessarily so. I for one am sure they knew exactly what they were doing, and are therefore responsible for the premature deaths of many, many people, at least 100,000 of them. There is no need for an impact assessment when your intent is to aggravate the impact rather than cushion it. The louder the opposition and the greater the outrage, the happier you are.

                  Here in Scotland, though, there is resistance. We are fortunate that the Scottish Government has had enough power to mitigate the worst effects of the austerity inflicted by the Westminster regime, which has helped make Scotland a much better place to live in than many parts of England now. I am more convinced than ever that Scotland needs its independence – but England needs a revolution and a constitution.

                  The proximate causes of the social and economic chaos in the Weimar Republic between the wars, however, were external, not domestic. The first of those were the crippling reparations demanded of Germany under the Treaty of Versailles, which had been deliberately inflicted by the Allies. Both the real-world and the psychological effects of the conquest and the reparations among the German population won over just as many hearts and minds as you would expect. Instead, people were radicalised by them. Hitler was radicalised by, among other things I am sure, a sense of national humiliation following the loss of a war in which he had himself served (as a Gefreiter, or Lance-Corporal). Lose a war started by Kaiser Wilhelm, humiliating enough to a blood-and-soil nationalist, but then have the victors rub your face in it by punishing the whole population – even though collective punishment is not just illegal, in war it is a war crime. To put it less emotively, perhaps, exacting revenge does not help achieve rehabilitation.

                  I think that’s quite enough from me. Tris, I’m sorry I have gone on so long yet again, but I too am finding this discussion very interesting! (I don’t know about a televised debate, though: I’d have to consult my agent.)

                  Liked by 2 people

                    1. Ed….I’m always impressed with your knowledge. I wish I knew a tenth as much about international affairs and history as you do about the USA. Languages are a lost cause for me however.

                      The key compromise at the constitutional convention that resulted in equal representation of the states in the Senate and proportional representation by population in the House was called the “Connecticut Compromise” or “Great Compromise.” It is undemocratic in any modern sense of the word, but it allows sparsely populated states like Wyoming and Montana to have some influence in Congress, whereas they would be next to invisible compared with California or New York on the basis of population. The “undemocratic” Senate is surely set in constitutional stone.

                      A change in the electoral college might however be a little more acceptable, even by some of the smaller states, since no one much likes the idea of someone becoming president who didn’t win the popular vote. Since the constitution says little or nothing about how the states choose electors, a change from the electoral college to a system that tracks the popular vote for president could be done without a constitutional amendment. In theory it would only take an agreement between enough states with enough electoral votes, to choose electors based on the national popular vote. One version proposed for such a plan is called the “National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.”

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Popular_Vote_Interstate_Compact

                      I was sure you actually knew the proper attribution of the Declaration of Independence quote, but many people do confuse the “When in the course of human events” document with the “We the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect union” document……LOL.

                      In the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom of the National Archives, in all their yellowed hallowed glory, the four pages of the US Constitution have the place of honor in the center. To the left is the Declaration of Independence, and to the right is the Bill of Rights. If the English ever write a constitution, the Americans can certainly show them how to show it off; although I suspect a modern constitution would be longer than four handwritten pages. Probably a thick book! 😉

                      The dark, strangely empty looking space on the wall between the flags and the marble columns (that sort of looks like it could house a shrine) was where the Declaration of Independence used to be located, with the constitution just below it. I’m told you used to have to walk up a few steps to the elevated position. But when new sealed cases were built, they brought them down to the floor to better allow for disabled and wheel chair access.

                      The way it used to be:

                      A scene from the TV show “The West Wing.” I like the constitutional questions for the arrogant federal judge who’s being considered for a Supreme Court appointment.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    2. Excellent clip from the West Wing, Danny!

                      I can’t see how it’s acceptable for administrations, with the connivance of the Senate, to be able hold up appointments so as to pack the Supreme Court with ar*seholes like Brett Kavanaugh.

                      I understand the original rationale for granting new, underpopulated states a minimum number of senators, but the electoral college was always a bit dubious, as far as I can see.

                      You know more about English history than I do, Danny. History was never my thing at school – my History teacher in secondary school was a sadistic bastard – and I was more interested in things European when I started reading and thinking about the subject again at university.

                      I’m going to stop now, for want of anything much more to say, and too effing feeble to say it.

                      Liked by 2 people

                  1. Ed, I cold read it, if you wrote a book on it.

                    There was a lot I didn’t know (certainly about the pissoirs de Mussolini in the UN building in Genève), a bit that I had knows from history at school, but had forgotten (Mr Manly, our history teacher spent most of his time looking at the girls with his hand in his pocket), and some that I really did know.

                    It was fascinating. I just fear that because we are on the second day of this post, it will be underread.

                    Liked by 1 person

                  2. Thank you Ed for a marvelously informative and entertaining essay. A great read, and nothing that I could add to it, without simply repeating what you wrote that I found especially compelling. I do BTW love the story of the monumental Mussolini urinals……LOL.

                    What I WILL do, is write a few words on the issue you raised about one man-one vote and why and how our eighteenth century constitution gave the United States governing institutions that are so far from a modern one man, one vote ideal. This is particularly interesting to me as I recently noticed media commentators who seem to have only just now discovered the institutionally undemocratic nature of the United States Senate. The Senate got a lot of scrutiny during the impeachment trial of course. Your comment about cults of personality are especially striking in the era of Trump too.

                    American institutions are surely in danger from Trump, and the full-fledged cult of personality that has grown up around him; a cult status that blurs the distinction between the stupid, odious, con-man and demagogue that he is, and the major political party that he has taken over. Two political parties have defined American politics for 165 years, and in this current politically polarized time, the Republicans will swarm to the polls this November to vote the only choice they think they have. They seem quite oblivious to what he is, or are at least certain that whatever he is, he’s preferable to the Godless, demonic Democrats that the big money right wing media machine of FOX News and right wing talk radio describes to them. This is very troubling, and I don’t see how to fix it right now. I fear that angry, hateful right wing super-nationalists are with us for the foreseeable future.

                    As for “undemocratic” institutions like the US Senate and the Electoral College, they are the way they are for reasons that seemed compelling at the time the constitution was written. We can argue that the American Constitution is a hopelessly anachronistic and outdated document for the modern egalitarian age, but it was the creation of prominent men of wealth and property who met in Philadelphia at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and hammered out some really difficult compromises between big states and small states, slave states and free states.

                    But before getting into that, it’s worthwhile to recognize the bitter American colonial experience with the British Parliament just a few years earlier. Americans had seen what happens when political power is totally vested in a single body. Jefferson wrote the revolutionary document, the Declaration of Independence, and filled it with denunciations of the “tyrant” King. But as a practical matter, the British Parliament was the real problem; and having no colonial representation in Parliament, they saw it every bit as dictatorial……probably more so……than the Crown.

                    So the constitutional convention set about separating and distributing the power of the American government among constitutionally separate branches and bodies having “checks and balances” on each other. Leaving aside the Judiciary branch and the Supreme court……..which through the extra-constitutional principle of Judicial Review became the “supreme” constitutional power, the power to make and enforce laws, and carry out the administrative executive functions of government, were divided into two “Branches”……the Executive, and the Legislative. And the Legislative Branch was further subdivided into two constitutionally separate bodies…….the House of Representatives (the “democratic” body elected by popular vote…..and therefore called the “People’s House”)…….and the Senate, which is the body that represents the states equally within the federal system.

                    The 1787 Constitution specified that the Senators be elected by the State legislatures. This remained the system that was in place until 1913 when the Seventeenth Amendment was adopted, which provided for the direct popular election of Senators. So what we now have is a compromise of the original federal system, and an unequal allocation of the number of voters represented by different Senators from different states. The Senate is and always was undemocratic in this sense, and the popular election of the body has somewhat muddied the waters in the minds of people who don’t remember (or care) how it was before 1913. An “undemocratic” Senate BTW can be a very good thing when the Congressmen in the House pander to the hysteria of the rabble in the streets and pass bills making the burning of the flag in protest a criminal act for example, and then the flag burning bill goes to the Senate, where cooler heads with six year terms prevail, and the bill dies a richly deserved death. (Saving the time and expense of judicial action to get the law declared unconstitutional at a later date.)

                    People have been arguing about how to best elect the US Senate since the very first days of the republic:

                    “The Controversy over the Direct election of Senators”:

                    https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/the-controversy-over-the-direct-election-of-senators

                    Finally, as to the “undemocratic” election of the president……

                    Wiki: “The Constitutional Convention in 1787 used the Virginia Plan as the basis for discussions….The Virginia Plan called for the Congress to elect the president.”
                    A majority of states initially agreed to this, but the idea ultimately lost favor based on “separation of powers” concerns. Some delegates, including James Madison (“Father of the Constitution” who penned the Virginia plan) preferred popular election of the president. Madison acknowledged that while a popular vote to elect the president would be ideal, it would be difficult to get consensus on the proposal given the institution of slavery in the Southern states.

                    From the records of the Convention:

                    “The right of suffrage was much more diffusive [i.e., extensive] in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of Negroes.”
                    In other words, in a direct election system, the North would outnumber the South, whose many slaves (more than half a million in all) of course could not vote. But the Electoral College—a prototype of which Madison proposed in this same speech—instead let each southern state count its slaves, albeit with a two-fifths discount, in computing its share of representation in the House, and therefore the number of electoral votes the state is allotted in the Electoral College.

                    In my grade school Civics class, I remember being taught that the reason for the electoral college was because travel and communication in the 1780’s was very poor, and they needed prominent men who had the means to travel and the personal connections to know and understand who might make a good president. This is mostly gibberish, and specifically does not take into account that the electoral college system as we know it today is NOT the constitutional system of 1787, but the system defined in the Twelfth Amendment of 1804, by which time an American political party system had formed which had made a debacle of the election of 1800.

                    I found a TIME article which explained that the REAL reason for the electoral college had more to do with slavery and the bitter political rivalry that developed between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and their parties, the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans respectively. The Democratic-Republicans were sometimes called the Jeffersonians (or Republicans,) but in time morphed into the Democratic Party of today, (sometimes identified as the oldest continuously active political party on earth.) As I understand it, the British sometimes argue that the Tories are older. The argument seems to be about whether today’s Conservatives (AKA Tories) are a direct line back to the seventeenth century Tories.

                    “The Troubling Reason the Electoral College Exists”:

                    https://time.com/4558510/electoral-college-history-slavery/

                    Finally Ed….a very small historical quibble…….

                    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” are the opening words of the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution.

                    Thomas Jefferson largely penned the Declaration, and his first draft actually read: “We hold these truths to be sacred and un-deniable….” Jefferson then asked Ben Franklin to proof read his draft. It was Franklin who suggested changing “sacred and un-deniable” to “self-evident,” making a much stronger sentence.

                    “All Men Are Created Equal”:

                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_men_are_created_equal

                    When Bible-thumping right wing Republicans claim, as they love to do, that America is a “Christian” nation, they invariably quote some of Jefferson’s rhetorical bullshit about “Creator,” and “God” and other references to a deity, and claim that it’s in the Constitution. I do love pointing out to them that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are different documents, and that the United States is in fact a secular constitutional republic, in which the word “God” (or any reference thereto) does not appear even once in the constitution; and in which the word “religion” appears only once…..in the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment……for the express purpose of forbidding the establishment of a state-sanctioned religion.

                    Take care Ed! Thanks again. 🙂

                    Liked by 2 people

                    1. Great stuff, Danny! My view of the American sides of the question is very broad-brush compared to your more detailed and intimate knowledge… and as for Declaration of Independence v. Constitution error, that was a rookie mistake. I did actually know better, but it’s good to be corrected and reminded, and taken down a peg or two.

                      I’m shutting up intellectual shop for a bit now, as I’m feeling excessively feeble.

                      Liked by 2 people

                  3. Och, I forgot something germane. My point way back as we started this discussion was that we Europeans “got religion” post WWII after the sheer awfulness of it and in the knowledge of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I wanted to add that, inspired and imposed by the Americans, the Brits and the French, spanking new constitutions were put in place that would, it was hoped, stopped us falling back into fascist / Soviet-style communist hells. This included, naturally enough, Japan and Germany being constitutionally bound not to use their armies outwith their own borders. The point I failed to mention was that the victors in WWII saw no need for the kind of self-examination and introspection which the Axis Powers’ losing forced them to undergo, with or without external pressure from the victors

                    Turning the clock forward a bit, back in plucky little Britain Margaret Thatcher got very cross with Germany in particular, as I recall, for refusing to have anything to do with offering military support for her Falklands / Malvinas excursion, which I hold to this day she engineered to boost her own political property, which by that time had fallen catastrophically low. The very request she made to Germany proved that the woman knew far less than she needed to about history, or was abusing matters of utmost seriousness for her own cheap, xenophobic, short-term, political gain – which she was already doing with the Falklands / Malvinas war in the first place.

                    Either way, I have always held that Margaret Thatcher was stupid (and of course “gratuitously offensive”, in the words of the then Taoiseach, Garret FitzGerald, in another context) . And look at the company she kept: having Pinochet to dinner just as a Spanish judge is issuing an international arrest warrant against him for crimes against humanity! The crimes against humanity guy takes tiffin with the war crime woman who ordered the Belgrano (sold to Argentina by the Brits) sunk as it was steaming away from the war zone with hundreds of young conscripts aboard…

                    Back in the aftermath of WWII, those nice new constitutions were of course all very good and well for Johnny German Japanese Foreigner, to stop him behaving badly, but the victors in WWII – the ones which had not been occupied, rather – saw no reason to change. Constitutions are for wimps and foreigners, proper Englishmen don’t need’em because of Fair Play and gentlemanly behaviour, and the Americans had already got one which they worshipped and saw no need to update it.

                    The best that came out of the post-WWII – legally and politically speaking – in my view was the United Nations and its Charter, supposedly with more teeth than the old League of Nations. It’s why I went to work for them, really, but of course I’m a lefty liberal snowflake and peacenik.

                    But then along come two of the old victors in WWII with their permanent seats on the Security Council which is supposed to act preserve world peace and security, but who decide they can’t be bothered with the restrictions they themselves imposed on not just the losers in WWII, but on the rest of the world – including themselves – in Chapter VII of the Charter, which you can read yourself here: https://is.gd/cCAokn. So, George W. Bush starts saying that the the Security Council and the United Nations are “irrelevant”, and the Brits under Tony Blair go along with him and wouldn’t you know it, suddenly we’re at war in Iraq over non-existent weapons of mass destruction.

                    Meanwhile, Yours Truly is one of the team writing the records of the Security Council meeting at which Colin Powell presented the package of lies produced in support of going to war. The one he himself had been conned into presenting (my editorialising). So, if you were ever to read the verbatim record of that meeting, there’s a chunk of it that was written by me (verbatim records are not actually verbatim; we clean them up to make things clearer and so as not to embarrass speakers who’ve made verbal whoopsies, and we don’t put in every er and um and muttered curse).

                    By that time I had already lost all sense of Britishness. It had been destroyed by the Westminster regime’s behaviour over the Rwandan genocide in 1994. I had a flicker of hope at the outset of the Blair regime and the prospect of a more ethical and less destructive regime at Westminster, and with the referendum on re-establishing a the Scottish Parliament, but Blair and the Second Gulf War put paid to that for good.

                    Liked by 2 people

                    1. Thanks Ed……what an interesting account! A few points that come to mind in no particular order or narrative flow:

                      Eleanor Roosevelt took a great personal interest in the United Nations (that FDR did not live to see) and served in some official capacity on the American delegation until booted off by the Eisenhower administration (the first Republican Presidency in 20 years.)

                      A co-worker told me that the new (postWWII) Japanese constitution that was imposed by the USA outlaws warfare as a means of settling disputes, and prevents Japan from maintaining a traditional military force. But it does allow what they called a “self-defense force.” He told me that when he encountered uniformed Japanese men who were tourists in San Francisco many years ago, he asked them if they were Japanese Military. The answer was quick and carefully worded…..along the lines of: “NO! Not military! We are self-defense forces!” It appeared to him he said that the Japanese recruits……probably on their first day…….were carefully indoctrinated about what exactly to say if they are ever asked the “military” question.

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_9_of_the_Japanese_Constitution

                      I just saw this old Guardian article, about the subject of which I actually know almost nothing. It does seem that Thatcher wanted war in the Falklands. Apparently, when the war started, the US first adopted a neutral stance, but a short bit later, Ronnie Reagan provided his friend Maggie with crucial intelligence from the super-secret American spy satellite system that blankets the globe. So the Brits had a crucial high-definition view of all the naval and land operations from high above, from a spy satellite network that at the time (I think) was not even confirmed by Washington to exist. I think that at some point, when Royal Navy supplies ran low, American naval stores in the South Atlantic were made available to the Brits. (Although later, the Royal Navy went to great pains to point out that they paid the American Defense Department cash for every item…..LOL.)

                      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/apr/01/us-feared-falklands-war-documents

                      Fascinating about the part you played in documenting Secretary of State Colin Powell’s presentation to the Security Council of the pack of lies about Weapons of Mass Destruction being promoted by Bush and Cheney and their CIA.

                      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/feb/16/colin-powell-cia-curveball

                      It’s too bad that Trump is such a blatant posturing con-man, that his more or less routine corruption for personal financial and political gain has made DubYa Bush and the despicable warmonger Cheney look better by comparison. Trump is more or less an isolationist who’s generated cries of anguish from the Pentagon when he’s sought to do what he said he would do…..namely, end Bush’s and Cheney’s wars and bring troops home. There have been few casualties in any new military operations of the Trump administration, whereas Bush and Cheney lied about Weapons of Mass Destruction and pursued war on a grand scale. Bush and Cheney were infinitely worse than Trump is…….on the basis of body count alone, if nothing else. Bush and Cheney killed more than 5,000 Americans and untold numbers of Iraqis and others in their wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

                      Liked by 1 person

  5. My goodness what a lot of verbiage.

    Vlad the Lad had nothing to do with the defeat of the hideous Hilary except in the minds of fantasists, however if he had he would have done us all a favour !

    Like

      1. Thank you for taking the time to post these these links. However my gut reaction is to be suspicious of anything published by the NYT just as I would be of anything published by the Guardian or BBC for instance.

        Like

        1. It wasn’t actually written by the New York Times, Mr. Galt, it was issued by the US Department of Justice, but here are some alternative free sources for it anyway. It’s not an easy read, I warn you. All URLs are shortened for everybody’s convenience.

          Barnes & Noble: https://is.gd/tEMGYj
          CNN: https://is.gd/tEMGYj
          Fox News: https://is.gd/Ucs5rc
          NPR: https://is.gd/ojr5Qt
          openmuellerreport.org: https://is.gd/Whu5c9
          The Washington Post: https://is.gd/pFqudZ

          If you want it straight from the horse’s mouth, though, you need the US Department of Justice website http://www.justice.gov, as that is where all the other sources got it from, I believe: https://is.gd/WXHCqb.

          Liked by 1 person

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