Wednesday, October 02, 2013

US budget 'shutdown' – what the pro-Obama BBC won't explain

From Brother Ivo:

The American political tensions over raising the debt ceiling have been brewing for months. They finally hit the headlines on Monday, and we awoke on Tuesday morning to learn that the US Government has been "shutdown". It is commonly said that when America sneezes Europe catches a cold, and while this is less true in modern times, it is undoubtedly the case that in an interconnected world we have a vested interested in our neighbours’ economic health. In the case of the USA, militarily they are also our keepers, so we do tend to have a special interest in that relationship.

We don't worry overly much about when Spain's economy is decimated, but we do begin to pay attention in the case of the USA.

On Monday morning, the BBC began to explain the story. We heard members of the Republican Party who did not want to risk electoral payback; we heard from Democrats; we heard a short extract from a 21-hour speech by Senator Ted Cruz in which he briefly recited a children's poem. What we did not hear, and have yet to hear from our national broadcaster, was an articulate explanation of why Congress is taking economic and political risks, or why they are taking their duties as the initiators of the budgetary process particularly seriously this year.

We have heard the President saying that "one faction of one party of one part of Government" cannot dictate to the rest. This suggests that there are important constitutional issues at stake which are inadequately explained by the BBC or its North American correspondent – thanks to its well-acknowledged culturally liberal bias.

The first thing we need to know is that the Founding Fathers drafted the Constitution with one eye on the causes of the English Civil War, which broke out through tensions between a Parliament cognisant of its money-raising function in conflict with the Monarch who regarded his authority as unchallengeable. The constitutional draftsmen accordingly divided power very deliberately in three between the President, the Senate – comprised of two senators from each of the federating states regardless of size – and the House of Representatives, whose duty it is to initiate a budget at the President's request.

In that dispersal of power they sought to avoid the President aping the Monarchy by being over-mighty.

The congressmen of the House of Representatives tend to be the most reactive to public opinion as their members are more exposed to the will of the people. The senators tend to represent habitually Democrat or Republican States and so have a greater security of tenure. Only a handful in swing states are electorally vulnerable – or necessarily responsive to public opinion. The President, having just won his second term, will never face another election, and so, excepting impeachment, is now unaccountable. That is an important factor: once into his second term, the President can exercise power without responsibility, which is why Congress has the right, power and duty to clip his wings when he aspires to fly too close to the sun.

In such a balanced system, significant bipartisan co-operation is the path of wisdom, and has been the norm. It is not irresponsible for any part of the Government to do its independent duty, especially those most exposed to current voter opinion.

The USA is $17trillion in debt. Previous irresponsibility led to legislation requiring approval of any increase in the current debt limit. Last year the US Government overspent by $1.1 trillion. The 10-year budgetary projections for Obamacare have taken into account 10 years of contribution but only six years of liability. In short, it is an unimaginably colossal additional unfunded deficit in waiting.

In this context, the fiscally responsible might consider the Congress Republicans somewhat remiss in performing their oppositional duties within a balanced system of government if they failed to oppose increasing that colossal debt through the introduction of Obamacare.

That legislation was forced through in the most partisan manner: it received not one single Republican vote. For such a significant cultural and economic change, this is unique. Also unique is the remarkable fact that the Bill was large, complex, and so timetabled that it was physically impossible for any of the legislators to have read it within the time available, and the vast majority still have not. In the current debate, Senator Cruz was able to rebuke Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid by pointing out that he, unlike Reid, had read it. It is doubtful that many in the UK appreciate this extraordinary breach of duty by the proponents of Obamacare. The then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered the breathtaking response when challenged: "We have to pass this Bill so you can know what's in it."

Can you imagine the response of the BBC if Iain Duncan Smith had brought his Welfare Reform Bill to Parliament at 24-hours notice and declared such a thing? Yet this dimension of the controversy is wholly absent from the reporting over here. It would not be hard to find intelligent commentators to explain it, but this degree of balance is never called upon.

The President assured the electorate that if they wished to keep their existing health policies, they would be able to do so. He named the legislation "The Affordable Care Act". He was re-elected on that prospectus. The Insurance Invoices are now arriving in the homes of America's working households. Premiums are rising by 200-300% and people are being asked to pay the first $5000 of costs. The federally-mandated content of each and every policy is forcing post-menopausal women to insure against maternity cover, and Roman Catholic nuns to fund contraception. Those who will elect the Congress in 2014 are taking a closer interest, but not all of them. Only those who will pay for Obamacare are really interested.

Voters were told that it was not a tax, though they will be fined for not buying it. It was only deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court because it is a tax. It is now coming sharply into focus that this is not only financially but constitutionally significant. Never before has the US Government forced voters to buy a product.

Thomas Jefferson predicted: "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."

What is adding to the outrage are the exemptions. Over 1200 immunities have been granted, and you might be able to guess the beneficiaries..

Senators, Congressmen, their staffs and families have been granted a 75% subsidy to their existing plans so they can keep them. The Supreme Court Judges who approved its legality are exempted from the consequences. So are several unions, including SEIU in its Chicago, New York and Cleveland heartlands: they donated $27 million to the Obama election campaign. Some 300 exemptions were granted in the San Francisco area which elects Nancy Pelosi. Put simply, the elite exempted itself in the best traditions of Leona Helmsley, who famously thought "taxes are for little people."

Even those in work and on low pay who were supposed to be beneficiaries are learning that they have been duped by this political three-card trick. If you work in a company employing over 50 people your employer must comply. Plans for economic expansion are being shelved; the 50th employee is being laid off. If you work less than 40 hours you are not covered: so your hours have to be cut to keep your job in being. If your insurance plan once covered your partner, it does not now. As for your existing plan, well the Act allows you to keep it but the insurers across the country are having to withdraw them from the market as additional liabilities make them uneconomic to offer.

In this context of disaster re-appraisal, the Congress offered to fund the Government's current activities but not Obamacare. There was no need for shutdown. The President refused. He has been asked to delay the implementation for individuals to buy policies by one year – which businesses have been granted. He refused. He has been asked to rescind exemptions so that those who have most vociferously advocated the merits of Obamacare can fully share its advantages. Nobody is holding their breath.

Only the President's petulant rhetoric seems to be reported. Those obstructing his will are likened to terrorists. It is not being reported that since 1976 there have been 17 US Government shutdowns of varying, usually short, durations. 15 of these have been undertaken by Democrats; 12 alone by revered Democrat Speaker Tip O'Neill, and eight of those were in respect of funding that high national priority – abortion. Were he and his Democrat colleagues akin to terrorists?

All we are hearing from the BBC are the the terse and bitter comments of the President, as he seeks to uphold his unaffordable vanity project which will bequeath disaster long after he has left office. Both sides are seeking to blame each other for the "shutdown” of Government.

The truth is that much of the US Government will continue to be funded. Armed Forces, Police, Border Agents, Social Security etc., will all carry on as normal, though museum staff, National Park Rangers and Passport issuers will all be sent home. In every other such dispute their pay has been made up, though one would not put it past the petulance of Obama to up the ante by breaking with that convention.

The term of redundancy used is that of all "non-essential staff". They are being sent home. But some are taking to Twitter and asking why, in times of austerity, the Government is employing anyone who is not ‘essential’?

This is actually an interesting and important point. The White House currently employs about 260 staff on salaries of over $100k. Amongst those is someone to walk the President’s dogs.

We shall know the President is taking the concerns of the American people seriously when we see that post laid off.

So we have an unaccountable President in a contest with the legislators who alone are due to face the voters next year. He says he has a mandate, but so do they. He seeks to elevate the role of Presidency to disproportionate power, within a carefully calibrated system of checks and balances.

He failed to pass a budget for five years and has the remarkable claim to fame as being the President who offered a budget which not one of his own legislators supported. He objects to those charged with budget prudence making a connection between the current parlous financial state and the massive unfunded liability which his legacy project will hang round the necks of future generations. He emulates the despot by offering immunities to his chosen favourites whilst lamely whining "It's the law", to which constitutionalists reply that in democracies, heads of state cannot and do not suspend laws by executive fiat.

These are big issues. Sadly we do not have a national broadcaster big enough to understand and explain them.

Brother Ivo is the Patron Saint of lawyers.


Blogger The Gray Monk said...

We do not have anyone in the BBC Political Department, or for that matter in the News sections, able to either understand any of this, or to be able to explain it if they did. The BBC is now totally staffed by people with little more than a Left-Liberal Parochial mindset. Anything to the right of them must be evil, therefore unworthy of anything but vilification. Most of our ill-informed Press Corps in the UK are under the impression that Obamacare is to create a US version of the NHS and are so brainwashed they cannot understand why anyone would think there are better ways to deliver health care.

Sadly, it will not improve until the BBC is forced to shed all its left-wing links and be truly 'balanced'. I suspect there will be an Ice Age in that hot place long before that happens.

2 October 2013 at 09:29  
Blogger Martin said...

And, of course, the BBC is only interested in entertainment, not hard questions.

2 October 2013 at 10:14  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Now imagine if it were Palin and not Obama (PBUH) who was acting like this. I wonder what the BBC reporting would look like then ...?

2 October 2013 at 10:16  
Blogger Mike Stallard said...

"Is it because Ah's black?"

Racist. Yes. But then so are an awful lot of Afro American voters who want their share of the pie.

And an awful lot of other voters who don't want them/us to get it.

2 October 2013 at 10:18  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

"why, in times of austerity, the Government is employing anyone who is not ‘essential’?"

This could be the great awakening of the wastefulness of most modern 'liberal' governments. When the government "shuts down" and life carries on as it was (or even improves) surely the light will dawn?

I like this poster seen on a prominent American politicians FB page.

2 October 2013 at 10:24  
Blogger David Hussell said...

A very necessary explanation around what is truly happening here, so thank you Your Grace.

Rebel Saint.
I like the poster you provide a link to, a lot !

If it wasn't for articles like this we really would be mushrooms, kept in the dark and fed bullshit.

The hallmark of an educated mind is the ability and confidence to look at all arguments even handedly, including the ones that one doesn't like, give an airing to the ideas and arguments, and then prove why your preferred one is best.

Mature responsible news outlets, certainly one funded by oodles of public money, and therefore relieved of the need to compete for market share to the same degree as commercial firms, should aim for this level of even handed coverage, not as thorough as in an academic process of course, but nevertheless still to a level capable of conveying the different points of valid, democratically held points of view.
I yearn for a less biased news environment. It is little wonder that the UK drifts steadily leftwards, seemingly without end.
Ukip is silent on this point at present, for obvious reasons, but I can guess which way it will go when more influence comes it's way.

2 October 2013 at 11:02  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Awesome piece Ivo. Well done Sir !

2 October 2013 at 11:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The BBC website is now leading with trivia:-

Shutdown halts Obama's Malaysia trip. President Barack Obama has called off his trip to Malaysia to tackle the shutdown of the US government, Malaysia's PM says.

This is news?

Well yes, but it's a side issue and symptomatic of their will and ability to only deal with matters at a superficial level. Thank goodness we have blogs like this for in-depth coverage.

Apparently the world is "puzzled by the shutdown". Being ill-informed and misinformed over the preceding weeks might just have something to do with that.

We are reassured (or not) that: "State department will be able to operate for limited time.
Department of defence will continue military operations." (Defense not Defence in this context, another schoolboy error.) We are forced to pay a licence fee for this drivel. At least we are not forced to view it(yet).

2 October 2013 at 11:11  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said... is interesting for those of us who struggle to get our heads around the numbers!! Don't look for too long, as it gets a bit mesmeric!

Incidentally "Green Eggs and Ham" is not just a "children's poem", any more than Big Bird is just a big yellow bird; these are culturally iconic, known here, there, and everywhere!!

2 October 2013 at 11:12  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

One does recall listening to BBC Radio 5 late at night when the blighter was elected the first time. There was a party atmosphere in the studio as the presenters made it quite clear that ’one of theirs’ was now president. BBC impartiality ? Now only found in the history books...

2 October 2013 at 11:17  
Blogger bluedog said...

Good post, Brother Ivo.

And so the Syrian intervention slowly fades into a realm of total irrelevance and absolute impossibility.

One can also envisage a complete collapse in Obama's already diminished Presidential authority. Having stared him down and called Obama's bluff, the Republicans are on a roll. The Presidential ego may remain crushed for the foreseeable future and life could become hell for Michelle.

But she's a b*tch, so who cares.

2 October 2013 at 11:45  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

One suspects the relationship between the president and his legislative was not un-rosy until recent times. But then, when the American constitution was drawn up, the presidents were envisaged to come from amongst their own, the stock of European settlers. Don’t think they ever thought there would be an unquantifiable blackamoor in charge...

Time for another amendment to the constitution perhaps...

2 October 2013 at 11:53  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Just one word, Brother Ivo: Bravo!

2 October 2013 at 11:58  
Blogger Ivan said...

A well handled shutdown will show that the US government could do with less. But I do not expect Barry to do be sensible about this.

2 October 2013 at 12:29  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

The White House currently employs about 260 staff on salaries of over $100k. Amongst those is someone to walk the President’s dogs.

I like dogs. We have several. Where do I go to claim my $100k for walking them?

2 October 2013 at 12:37  
Blogger IanCad said...

Can't fault you for your constitutional and historical insights Brother Ivo.Nor your political analysis, except that it could be more concisely explained by declaring that all politicians are avaricous wretches and have little to do except ensure their own re-election.

However, the USA is not our Keeper. We had better look to our moat.

The US health care system is an expensive disaster.
They will eventually have to go to a single payer system as most of the advanced countries have already adopted.
That said, Obama's system is the most complicated, unworkable affront to common sense that only extemely brainy experts could devise.

Let me add some numbers to the thread.

In California a typical family of four will pay $1,300.00 per month for health care insurance.
That is a wage for many families.

My wife and I paid $800.00 per month with a $10,000.00 deductible.

The US has, by far, the most expensive and inefficient health care system in the world.
The AMA and the insurance industry lobbyists are mighty foes of a rational system. Thus it will continue.

2 October 2013 at 12:49  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

After posting, Brother Ivo reflected how much, at times like this, we miss the quiet originality and insights of the late great Alistair Cook.

2 October 2013 at 13:49  
Blogger Rachel Kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2 October 2013 at 14:15  
Blogger Rachel Kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2 October 2013 at 14:20  
Blogger Rachel Kavanagh said...

Brother Ivo,

The trouble is that Obama has the trappings & 'prestige' of Presidential-Imperial office, there is one of him and 435 Congressmen and 100 Senators. True there is Speaker Bohener and the Senate leaders, but they are not exactly the likes of Reagan, who could be charming, folksy and communicate in a way people could understand. A British example could be Thatcher, who explained budget deficit reduction strategy, as being akin to being a responsible family or housewife living with their means. Simple, effective communication, without the vast array of economic jargon professional economists and the elite liked to use.

Brother Ivo, your piece is academic, interesting and well written, but isn't they way politics is communicated to people and that is where the Republicans fall flat on their face, as well as the fact there are 'hedgers' and 'ditchers'.

Note- I am not trying to suggest American stereotypes of gun tootin, 'tarnation, trailer trash people, who don't have any brains, lest Carl or Avi get upset, but just the way politics gets communicated into bite sized chunks.

Writing of Hedgers and Ditchers, as Brother Ivo seems to be into his British history, might recall the last time Britain had a similar problem in 1909. The 'people's budget' of David Lloyd George spent on battleships-another memorable phrase/ campaign of the time was 'we want eight[Battleships] and we won't wait', pensions and other welfare benefits. To pay for these expenditures, there was a (by the standards of the day) a massive tax increase, hitting both aristocrats and the professional middle classes. When the Lord's vetoed this budget, the campaign in the subsequent general elections,was not about the merits of these proposals but 'Peers vs THE People'....

2 October 2013 at 14:20  
Blogger Nick said...

"we miss the quiet originality and insights of the late great Alistair Cook. "

Indeed. his "Letter from America" broadcasts were part of my introduction to the world of politics. I am sure we would have got an insightful and engaging analysis from the great man.

BBC news is generally drivel these days - more like News-ertainment. And that is despite the bloated salaries of its staff. I look forward to the end of the licence fee.

Great post and very informative. Parts of it reminded me of DC pushing through his SSM bill as quickly and undemocratically as possible

2 October 2013 at 14:29  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Brother Ivo,

Apologies from me, I thanked the Archbishop and I should have thanked you. Inexcusable !

Uncle Brian,

We have some "professional "dog walkers in our village, all excellent types. However if I let it be known what the rate is in Washington, think what mischief I could cause. I will store that one as my "nuclear" option. Hope you can find a very time poor, money to excess, dog owner to oblige you at those rates. C.S. Lewis hazarded an opinion, without much conviction it has to be said, that there may be a place in the beyond for our canine pets. I usually like his thoughts, but not sure about his conjecture on that..... Any advice from Rome on it ?

2 October 2013 at 14:54  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

David Hussell,

I'm afraid we're going to have to agree to disagree about C.S. Lewis. I can't say I ever cared for his writings in the twentieth century, and I care even less for the Hollywood adaptations in the twenty-first. However, if that's what he said about dogs, which I didn't know, maybe it's time for me to revise my opinion of him.

2 October 2013 at 16:09  
Blogger richardhj said...

There could be great possibilities here.

If Obama has to walk his own dogs, is there any chance he will like it so much that he will give up his job and start a dog walking business?

Uncle Brian may think that this wouldn't be fair on the dogs, but it would be great for the rest of us.

Brother Ivo. Great article again.

2 October 2013 at 16:48  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...


Oh no, Richard, that's not my objection at all. It's just that a$100k job in the dog-walking industry is what I want for myself, not for some millionaire alumnus of the Mayor Daley School of Chicago Politics.

2 October 2013 at 17:47  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

the elite exempted itself

As Mark Steyn observes, the élite is doing very nicely all round:

According to the Census Bureau’s latest ‘American Community Survey’, from 2000-12, the nation’s median household income dropped 6·6 percent. Yet, in the District of Columbia median household income rose 23·3 percent. According to a 2010 survey, seven of the nation’s 10 wealthiest counties are in the Washington commuter belt. Many capital cities have prosperous suburbs—London, Paris, Rome—because those cities are also the capitals of enterprise, finance, and showbiz. But Washington does nothing but government, and it gets richer even as Americans get poorer.

2 October 2013 at 18:31  
Blogger David Hussell said...

I cannot claim to have through knowledge of the US political system, but from my understanding of their origins and their Constitution, it seems as if Obama is attacking the very nature of that fine constitution, morphing into a distortion of itself.

I muse, does the ordinary, loyal, patriotic citizen have to be ever ready to, if necessary, fight for the same points of freedom as their ancestors thought that they had achieved ? Are we on some some kind of rotating carousel in which rights and freedoms are secured after a struggle, followed by a period when they are respected, but after that comes another one of decline when an elite of some nature undermines it all, until the point is reached when the people must rise again to restore their understanding how it was supposed to function ? Or am I being too fanciful ? Fanciful is not really my style at all.

2 October 2013 at 18:47  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Uncle Brain,

How about something on the Theology of Dogs ? We do have pet services after all, but I avoid them like the plague. Damn silly in my opinion.
But we do have a fine mouse eating cat, to save me setting traps in the barn's lofts, which is most tiresome.

2 October 2013 at 18:50  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Uncle Brian,

Apologies for misspelling your fine name. Not my day for accuracy is it ?

2 October 2013 at 18:51  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

The theology of dogs, David? I didn't know they had one.

2 October 2013 at 19:23  
Blogger meema said...

Thank you, Bro Ivo, great piece!

For the record, most intelligent Americans opposed Obamacare from the beginning, regardless what the MSM reported. It was clear from the outset that it was in no way about affordable health care. It was and is about tightening government control over individuals because the first thing that must be stamped out when Marxism overcomes capitalism is individualism. To place the IRS in charge of overseeing was the first clue. It doesn’t take a law degree to know what all the ins and outs and open-ended rules buried in convoluted language means.

The agenda is to make sure everyone is completely data-based and therefore better controllable. Obamacare was crafted to make private insurance so expensive only the richest of the rich could afford it, and since the mandate demands everyone be covered, the masses would be obligated, by law, to sign up. Once signed up, the “navigators” can decide whether or not one is following the proper diet and exercise programs and dictated lifestyles, and has the correct BMI, so that, in the event of an illness, medical care can arbitrarily be withheld. There was a huge uproar over the “death panel” language found in the first Bill that was vehemently denied, MSM talking heads making jokes and scoffing at the very idea. But, in truth, the provision is in place to deny health care to those deemed ‘too old’ or too terminal. It's part of Agenda 21.

Ultimately, this is a diabolical plan, devised and implemented to cripple and enslave the American people.

And in regards to the ‘shut down’, I personally don’t know anyone who cares because most of the furloughs represent DC bloat anyway. If you want to look at the numbers I recommend you read Daniel Greenfield’s blog:

2 October 2013 at 19:27  
Blogger bluedog said...

David Hussell @ 18.47 asks, 'Are we on some some kind of rotating carousel in which rights and freedoms are secured after a struggle, followed by a period when they are respected, but after that comes another one of decline when an elite of some nature undermines it all, until the point is reached when the people must rise again to restore their understanding how it was supposed to function ?'

The Greco-Roman historian and philosopher Polybius has an answer for you in his theory of anacyclosis. Wikipedia is your friend.

2 October 2013 at 21:26  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Bro Ivor,
Interesting observation. As far as the BBC, Par for the course.
At present I am in the US watching it all unfold on both CNN and Fox News. I am non the wiser despite these knowledgeable reporters and poloticians pontificating about it all. American politics are incomprehensible at the best of times but no one is giving a clear explanation of the situation, just blame being thrown everywhere.
If the issue is about the debt ceiling, why hasn't the Democrats who have the majority, as I understand it, just done what they want?
Isn't this just typical of left politicians running up debt only to criticise the opposition when they have to sort it out. Visit the NOM (Notional organisation for Marriage) site to see how Democrats and the Obama administration have breached rights to attack SSM opponents.

2 October 2013 at 23:01  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

By your leave, Brother Ivo, I would like to mention that Tom Clancy, an author of techno-thriller novels I'm quite fond of, passed away today in Baltimore, Maryland, at the age of 66.

To my fellow colonialist, imperialist, war-mongering right-winger friends here who have just returned from Mars and never heard of him or read his military thrillers, I recommend The Hunt for Red October, The Sum of All Fears, Red Storm Rising, and Patriot Games.

Rest in peace, Tom, and thank you for the many hours of thrilling pleasure your books gave me. We salute you...

Open gun access hatch. Gun crew on deck. Deck gun commence firing.
Gun captain, ready one, fire one, check fire. Cease firing. Secure the deck gun. Clear the deck.
(From Submarine Telephone Talkers' Manual, NAVPERS 1617, Commander Submarines, Atlantic Fleet, New York, N. Y.)

3 October 2013 at 01:27  
Blogger Maxine Schell said...

To inform: "Obama Care" bill is 2700 pages, and a correct printing of it was not completed until after the bill was passed by the Democrat Congress. The regulations for the law is now about 20,000 pages, and estimated for another 20,000 pages. No member of Congress, no lawyer, hospital, doctor, (or our Supreme Court) can fathom what the law is, or how to comply with the law.
Our President takes power that our Constitution does not allow him. Our government is now bowering .40 of every
1.00 it spends!
What a rosy future we have!

3 October 2013 at 06:08  
Blogger David Hussell said...


Polybius, hmm, yes there are lessons there. Thank you.

Maxine Schell,

The EU uses similar tactics. It's rules are so labyrinthine that few humans, if any truly, can follow it. It allows those who wield its powers to come at, what they consider to be a desirable course of action, from multiple different directions, thus always getting what they want. There was a WW2 saying, a toast in fact, which said,

"Confusion to the enemy".

which just about sums it up.

It seems to me that the essence of a good law is clarity, conciseness and simplicity, say like the Ten Commandments, an early but totally clear set of rules for life. But simplicity is not something valued by the so called Liberals.

3 October 2013 at 08:32  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

Sister Maxine,

Thank you for putting the flesh on Brother Ivo's bare bone recollection.

3 October 2013 at 09:01  
Blogger Julia Gasper said...

The funding of the BBC through taxation is plainly against EU policy on the free market and open competition. The subsidy given by the state to the BBC is a form of unfair privilege that disadvantages other media providers!
Write to your MPs and MEPs in strong terms telling them that this is not to be tolerated and use it to demolish the Biassed Broadcasting Corporation, whose slant towards all things left-wing, global-warmist and PC is such a scandal.
If EU policy is enough to force the selling of the Royal Mail (which is it is) then logically it must compel the dismantling of the BBC.
Why should we pay for a propaganda campaign under the name of a "licence fee"?

3 October 2013 at 09:26  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr Hussell, the current woes of the United States are not without considerable irony in terms of the influence of Polybius.

Both in the Scottish Enlightenment and during the deliberations that lead to the drafting of the US Constitution, the thinking of Polybius was kept in mind. After all, the aim of the founding fathers was perpetual democracy, without regression to aristocracy or progression to ochlocracy.

Arguably the US is simultaneously acquiring the attributes of aristocracy among its governing elite while the masses descend into carefully controlled ochlocracy. Where that leaves US democracy remains to be seen. Indeed, the changing composition of the US population and the political consequences thereof should be keenly observed by every comparable democracy.

One wonders whether the Shut-down is not the harbinger of something cataclysmic in the US, some kind of internal Berlin Wall moment.

3 October 2013 at 09:30  
Blogger IanCad said...

David Hussell & bluedog,

Sorry to play the pedant here but as no one in my home plays even scant heed to me I find the temptation, when it arises, too hard to resist.

I believe this statement on the cycle of democracy may be to what you were referring:

"The average of the worlds great civilizations before they decline has been 200 years. These nations have progressed in this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; from faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to Complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependency; from dependency back again to bondage."

Some question as to the source but it is generaly attributed to Lord Woodhouselee.

3 October 2013 at 09:53  
Blogger bluedog said...

Thank you, Mr IanCad @ 0953. The underlying source of Lord W's remark will almost certainly be Polybius. What Lord W says is merely a reworking of earlier P's thought. Lord W is original in his timetable of a 200 year cycle in the national clogs to clogs stakes. It's neat but like so many dictums (dicta?) of its type, a certain degree of latitude is required in interpretation. For example:

UK - 1689 + 200= 1889
USA - 1776 + 200= 1976
France- 1789 + 200= 1989
Germany-1870 + 200= 2070
USSR 1917 + 200= 2117
EU 1957 + 200= 2157

Ageing Tory Europhiles will throw their hush-puppies in the air on reading the last entry.

3 October 2013 at 12:03  
Blogger IanCad said...

Excellent! bluedog.

Reality can be inconvenient.
There is nothing new under the sun.

3 October 2013 at 12:53  
Blogger non mouse said...

Interesting discussion on Polybius, etc. Thank you Mr. bluedog. Of course, while developing what present-day
'filosofers' call "the Marxist Dialectic," our friends Marx and Engels borrowed heavily from predecessors like those you describe.

Marxism explains just such a cycle of transformations, which leads from revolution to revolution.

Trouble is, the only revolutionaries we see about us now are the "politicians" who practice what they hope is inflammatory rhetoric about "change."

I say they're the ones who need to learn the meanings of both revolution and change.

I wonder how Americans in general are reacting to this mess? Do they care? Or - like so many Brits - do they just carry on and dismiss it all as meaningless, pointless, immaterial "politics"?


4 October 2013 at 00:33  
Blogger non mouse said...

Apologies, Brother Ivo --- I also addressed you as His Grace.

4 October 2013 at 00:34  
Blogger bluedog said...

Thank you, non mouse @ 00.33. Perhaps we should blame Mahatma Ghandi for the current obsession with 'change'.

It was he who said 'Be the change you want to see in the world'.

Instant cliché!

4 October 2013 at 11:44  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

How interesting. Take Ian Cad's and Blue Dog's astute commentary and throw in Brother Ivo's excellent analysis and what you have is an Obama as a mindless "crash accelerator," a tool created by the cyclical, deterministic forces of history with the sole purpose of tanking its tenacious economy, weakening US's geopolitical position and credibility in the world and destroying any social and racial amity that has been achieved by Americans to date. "I am the Obamanator, the destroyer of Worlds."

4 October 2013 at 11:51  
Blogger bluedog said...

Well, Mr Avi Barzel, the clock is ticking and the bomb goes off on 17th October.

There are times when personality is important, and this is one of them. In the judgement of this communicant, Obama is not bluffing when he says there is nothing to negotiate, the Republicans are wrong. The US is in a serious constitutional crisis, and Obama is too weak a personality to recognise that as President he has the capacity to fix it. Instead he's playing the victim, but then he's a human rights lawyer.

Bill 'Big Dog' Clinton is possibly the only person who can stop Obama blowing US society to smithereens, as you infer. Let's hope Bill tells Barry to get a grip and stop being so precious. The rest of us can only watch and wait in appalled fascination.

Anyone seen, Carl? Nope, thought not.

4 October 2013 at 12:26  
Blogger IanCad said...

Don't mean to belabour this bluedog, but a second reading of the quote in question reveals the key word as "Decline," not necessarily the final fall.

It would be hard for me to believe that both the USA and our own fair land are other than in the seventh stage of the cycle. Perhaps even flirting with the eighth.

France and Germany are peopled by sturdier folk than we. Their distinct ethnic characteristics may protect them from the prospect of complete bondage.

4 October 2013 at 16:14  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr IanCad, we don't have to accept Polybius as holy writ, we can make a conscious decision to prove him wrong. But as Brother Ivo points out in his excellent post, our political masters sometimes seem to have forgotten that they are servants of the people. US commentators have themselves pointed out how their nation is coalescing along lines of clear division. Witness Charles Murray's perceptive study 'Coming Apart'. One for the kindle.

You say, 'France and Germany are peopled by sturdier folk than we'. It was De Gaulle who unkindly said words to the effect that pure English blood never produced greatness. Being of Franco-Scottish descent, although English born and bred, this communicant is inclined to agree!

4 October 2013 at 21:21  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ IanCad (16:14)—According to a French politician, the sturdy French don’t exist:

«la France n’est ni un peuple, ni une langue, ni un territoire, ni une religion, c’est un conglomérat de peuples qui veulent vivre ensemble. Il n’y a pas de Français de souche, il n’y a qu’une France de métissage.»

‘France is neither a people, nor a language, nor a territory, nor a religion, it’s a conglomerate of peoples who want to live together. There are no indigenous French, there is only a France of miscegenation.’

And according to Thilo Sarrazin in his book Deutschland schafft sich ab, the sturdy Germans, by voting for pro-immigration political parties, are abolishing their country.

4 October 2013 at 22:41  
Blogger Naomi King said...

Excellent post Brother Ivo, thank you.

5 October 2013 at 09:26  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older