Filed under: Freedom, History, Military, Politics, The United States, United Kingdom | Tags: Assembled in Philadelphia, The Army Awaits in Boston, The Continental Congress
“When the Congress convened in the morning, John Hancock, from the chair, informed Washington of is appointment and expressed the hope of the Congress that George Washington, Esquire, would accept their choice of him as General and Commander-in-Chief of the forces raised and to be raised for the defense of America. The Colonel bowed, took a paper from his pocket and read:”
Mr. President: Though I am truly sensible of the high honor don me in this appointment, yet I feel great distress from a consciousness that my abilities and military experience may not be equal to the extensive and important trust. However, as the Congress desire, I will enter upon the momentous duty, and exert every power I possess in their service, and for the support of the glorious cause: I beg they will accept my most cordial thanks for this distinguished testimony of their approbation.
But, lest some unlucky event should happen unfavorable to my reputation, I beg it may be remembered by every gentleman in the room, that I this day declare with the utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the command I am honored with.
As to pay, sir, I beg leave to assure the Congress that as no pecuniary consideration could have tempted me to have acce3pted this arduous employment at the expense of my domestic ease and happiness, I do not wish to make any profit from it; I will keep an exact account of my expenses; those I doubt not they will discharge ,and that is all I desire.
And so it began.
“On June 23, Washington wrote a short note to his “Dearest,” and armed with his commission and instructions from the Congress, mounted his horse for the long ride northward to his army.”
from Rebels and Redcoats.
Filed under: Capitalism, Humor, United Kingdom | Tags: British Humor, Human Nature, The Same the Whole World Over
Filed under: Entertainment, Humor, United Kingdom | Tags: Burnistoun, Scottish Humor, Voice Recognition Technology
I do too have a sense of humor, though it doesn’t seem like it. Here’s a little humor to break the bad news cycle.
It’s called: Voice Recognition Lift
Filed under: Europe, Freedom, History, The United States, United Kingdom | Tags: Normandy's Five Invasion Beaches, The Great Allied Fleet, The Longest Day
Major Werner Pluskat in his bunker overlooking Omaha Beach had heard nothing from his superiors. He was cold, tired and exasperated. He felt isolated. He couldn’t understand why there had been no reports from either regimental or division headquarters. …Once more he swung the artillery glasses over to the left, picked up the dark mass of the Cherbourg peninsula and began another slow sweep of the horizon. The same low banks of mist came into view, the same patches of shimmering moonlight, the same restless white flecked sea.
Behind him in the bunker his dog Harras, was stretched out asleep. Nearby , Captain Ludz Wilkening and Lieutenant Fritz Theen were talking quietly. Pluskat joined them. “Still nothing out there,” he told them.” I’m about to give it up. But he walked back to the aperture and stood looking out as the first streaks of light began to lighten the sky. He decided to make another routine sweep.
Wearily, he swung the glasses over to the left again. Slowly he tracked across the horizon. He reached the dead center of the bay. The glasses stopped moving. Pluskat tensed, stared hard.
Through the scattering thinning mist the horizon was filling with ships — ships of every size and description, ships that casually maneuvered back and forth as though they had been there for hours. There appeared to be thousands of them. Pluskat stared in frozen disbelief, speechless, moved as he had never been before in his life. At that moment the world of the good soldier Pluskat began falling apart. He says that in those first few moments he knew, calmly and surely, that “this was the end for Germany.” Cornelius Ryan: The Longest Day
ADDENDUM: The Greatest Generation is passing into history. The youngest who turned 18 in 1943 will be 88 years old in 2013. Honor them, for they saved the world at enormous cost. Think too, of those on the home front who built the ships and planes and made the materials that won the war. They built the arsenal of Democracy.
They were slogging, unglamorous men that no one envied. No battle ensigns flew for them no horns or bugles sounded. But they had history on their side.
Filed under: Europe, History, Military, United Kingdom | Tags: Lord Lovat's 1st Special Service Brigade, Piper Bill Millin, Sword Beach June 6 1944
Reposted from 2010
Bill Millin, Lord Lovat’s personal piper, is pictured here ready to jump from the ramp of the landing craft into the icy water of Sword beach on June 6, D–Day, 1944. Lord Lovat is thigh-deep in the water just to the left of Bill Millin’s arm. As the Telegraph obituary says: “As the Cameron tartan of his kilt floated to the surface he struck up with Hieland Laddie. He continued to pipe even as the man behind him was hit, dropped into the sea and sank.
Millin said “I was so relieved of getting off that boat after all night being violently sick. When I finished, Lovat asked for another tune. Well, when I looked round — the noise and people lying about shouting and the smoke, the crump of mortars, I said to myself “Well, you must be joking surely.” He said “What was that?” and he said “Would you mind giving us a tune?” “Well, what tune would you like, Sir?” “How about The Road to the Isles?” “Now, would you want me to walk up and down, Sir?” “Yes, That would be nice. Yes, walk up and down.”
And that’s what Bill Millin did, walked up and down the invasion beach at water’s edge, blasting out a series of tunes. Bodies of the fallen were drifting to and fro in the surf. Soldiers were trying to dig in and, when they heard the pipes, many of them waved and cheered — though one came up to Millin and called him “a mad bastard.”
For many soldiers, the piper provided a unique boost to morale. “I shall never forget hearing the skirl of Bill Millin’s pipes” said One, Tom Duncan, many years later. “It is hard to describe the impact it had. It gave us a great lift and increased our determination. As well as the pride we felt, it reminded us of home and why we were there fighting for our lives and those of our loved ones.”
After the Great War the War Office had banned pipers from leading soldiers into battle after losses had become too great. “Ah, but that’s the English War Office,” Lovat told Millin. You and I are both Scottish and that doesn’t apply.” Millin was the only piper on D-Day.
Millin died on August 17, 2010 aged 88. He piped the invasion forces on to the shores of France, unarmed apart from the ceremonial dagger in his stocking. The mayor of Colleville-Montgomery, a town on Sword Beach , has offered a site for a life-size statue of Millin opposite the place where he landed on D-Day. His pipes are in the Scottish War Museum.
Bill Millin’s personal account of D-Day is found here, and the Telegraph’s obituary is here. Millin has been justly famous in all accounts of the D-Day invasion, especially his courageous march across Pegasus Bridge at the crossing of the Orne. This may have been the last time that a Scottish piper led Scottish troops into battle.
Filed under: Freedom, Islam, National Security, Politics, United Kingdom | Tags: Muslim Jihadists, Political Correctness, The Fear of Offending
After two Muslim terrorists slashed, eviscerated and beheaded a British soldier on a London street in broad daylight a few yards from his barracks, and in full view of civilians and unarmed British policemen, it took 20 minutes for armed police to arrive to do something about the terrorists.
British policemen, however, quickly arrested an 85-year-old woman for shouting “Go back to your own country” outside Gillingham Mosque, handcuffed her and took her away in a van. A Kent Police spokesman said “An 85 year old woman from Chatham was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence.”
Pat Condell is a British citizen who believes in plain speaking, and frequently speaks plainly. As Sergeant Friday used to say “Just the facts, ma’m.” Political correctness is a real problem, when the possibility of offending someone becomes more important that lives and safety. Political correctness is antithetical to a free people.
ADDENDUM: The Holder Justice Department says it will help enforce Islamic Sharia Law.
DOJ: Social Media posts trashing Muslims may violate Civil Rights
In its latest effort to protect followers of Islam in the U.S. the Obama Justice Department warns against using social media to spread information considered inflammatory against Muslims, threatening that it could constitute a violation of civil rights.
We have previously established that the Obama administration has no respect for the separation of powers in the Constitution. Add to that the Bill of Rights. Mr. Obama and Mr. Holder need to re-read the First Amendment. This is a lawless administration.
Filed under: History, Education, Environment, Freedom, Heartwarming, United Kingdom | Tags: The Industrial Revolution, Transforms Farming, Time Machine: 1880
If you have time this weekend, and need a respite from the Boston bombings, I recommend this documentary from the BBC. It is called Victorian Farm, and is an observational series following a team who live the life of Victorian British farmers for a year.
This is not ‘reality TV’. In Britain, the Acton Scott estate in Shropshire is a world frozen in time, the time of Victorian rural England. The buildings and grounds are cluttered with antique tools and machinery collected by the Acton family, who have lived on the estate since the 12th century.
The team consists of two archaeologists, Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn, and historian Ruth Goodman who go back in time to relive the day-to-day life of a Victorian farmer. The team moves into a Victorian smallholding on the Acton Scott estate that has not been used in nearly half a century. Their first job is restoration of the cottage. As incoming tenants, they help thresh the previous summer’s wheat crop, their first experience of steam-powered machinery. Alex attempts to sow a wheat crop using horse power. Ruth and Peter install a range in the cottage and take a trip to the canals to load up on coal.
They have as a guide, an 1844 guidebook explaining Victorian tools, and local folk knowledgeable in traditional country ways come by to help them with unfamiliar tasks. It is very professionally done, and if you have no interest in history, probably not your cup of tea. The full documentary is six hours long, but broken up into manageable segments. I enjoyed it immensely. Not Kim Kardashian, but serious scholars discovering the past by doing. Watch a little, you’ll get hooked.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, History, United Kingdom | Tags: A World Historical Figure, Baroness Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of Britain
President Obama has decided to give the funeral of Baroness Margaret Thatcher the same treatment he gave to the funeral of Hugo Chavez, dictator of Venezuela. He has opted for a presidential delegation including no current politicians to be led by George Shultz and James Baker both of whom served as U.S. Secretary of State when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister of England. Mr. Obama has gone out of his way regularly to demonstrate his ideological opposition to the United Kingdom and his small, crass, lack of manners. He forgets that he represents the country and assumes that, as usual it is all about him.
Whether he approved of Mrs. Thatcher or not, she remains a towering world historical figure who stood firmly with American President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul to bring down the Soviet empire. Lord Powell, her private secretary and friend wrote:
She was a remarkable woman, a true leader, relentless in her determination to improve the condition of Britain.” Lady Thatcher had faults, but to acknowledge them “does not diminish the unmatched scale of her achievements as prime minister. She killed off socialism in this country, changed the face of Britain and rescued us from being a nation in retreat.”
John O’Sullivan a long time confidante wrote that she was a mix of the meritocratic and the charismatic, “combination of towering world-historical figure and ordinary middle-class housewife”. The ordinariness is important: Lady Thatcher proved that a woman from a non-privileged background could rise to the top of the Tory party and become prime minister. But her flair and determination to win was what made her a true leader rather than a run-of-the-mill politician. Nothing better reflected that than the courage she showed during the Falklands conflict – her insistence upon liberating the islands rather than negotiating with the invaders. There was a similar refusal to compromise in her dealings with the Soviet Union, offering moral leadership abroad to millions resisting the tyranny of communism.
She was a great lady, and the world was better for her stubborness and determination.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, History, Politics, United Kingdom | Tags: A Most Significant Figure, Free Markets/ Free Speech, Lady Margaret Thatcher
Filed under: History, Economy, Environment, United Kingdom | Tags: BBC's Edwardian Farms, Sisal Weaving, The Rope Walk
In the BBC series Edwardian Farm, archaeologists Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn and historian Ruth Goodman work on a British farm for an entire year in the manner it would have been run during the Edwardian era (1901–1919). In this clip they demonstrate how rope was made from sisal fiber, and the tools that were used to make it.
The whole Edwardian Farm documentary is available here. It’s twelve hours long, so save it and watch it over time. Great fun, and worth your time. It’s very well done.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Economy, Election 2012, Health Care, Politics, Statism, United Kingdom | Tags: Inexorably Rising Costs, ObamaCare Exposed, Understanding Insurance
There has been a flood of articles recently on the forecasts of increasing costs for healthcare. The Society of Actuaries has said that health claims will shoot up an average 32% under ObamaCare. Some states will see claims rise as much as 80%, while only five states could see them drop a little. The reason is that millions of the uninsured will get coverage, or be forced to get coverage, and that will cause them to double their health spending. That will create upward pressure on premiums.
Many employers will dump their coverage for workers once ObamaCare kicks in, and those people will be more expensive to insure than people already in the individual market. In other words, higher premiums for almost everybody, and the “Affordable Care Act” will become much less affordable.
Back in 1960, people paid almost half the nation’s health care tab out-of-pocket. By 22012, that figure had dropped to just over 10% with the rest paid by government health programs or increasingly generous (tax subsidized) workplace health benefits. Natural reaction by ordinary people: when it’s free, you use more of it. And today there are far more inducements to use health care than there have ever been.
There have been campaigns for fitness, campaigns against obesity, with the intent of addressing “rising” health care costs, but is the awareness of fitness, good health, strength, diet, dental health, not to mention all the diseases that may strike that are causing the rising.
Saturday and Sundays on the radio are given over to paid programming for alternative medicine and alternative potions. “Health Food stores” offer goods free of any suspected unhealthy ingredient; and all things “natural,” and “organic” for you and your pets.
Each special ingredient is the one thing that, taken religiously, will give you a longer, healthier life. The latest seems to be green coffee beans, it was white tea for a while, and pomegranate seeds before that, and some Inca berry. And if all that weren’t enough, the First Lady of the United States and the Mayor of New York will remind you that they are keeping official tabs on what you do.
This intense focus on your potential health will drive you to ever-increasing use of the health care establishment. Increasing prices? The administration responds with a yawn. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), in charge of administering ObamaCare and its mandates and waivers, said those who are paying more will get more generous coverage, so what’s the big deal.
“Some of these folks,” Sebelius said, referring to those hit by ObamaCare’s price spikes, “have very high catastrophic plans that don’t pay for anything unless you get hit by a bus. They’re really mortgage protection plans, not health insurance.”
Astonishing. The HHS Secretary, a former state Insurance Commissioner, does not understand the principle of insurance.
Insurance operates on the principle that you pool the cost of the big risks that don’t happen often, but would be difficult for most people to pay. It is the big catastrophe that makes insurance a good deal. Insurance for every little thing that you could reasonably easily pay for out-of-pocket raises the cost of everything because you are paying administrative fees in addition to the cost. If you expect to spend $10,000 for groceries next year, you wouldn’t buy grocery insurance, nor would you expect your auto insurance policy to pay for new windshield wipers or oil changes.
What Obama and his administration are attempting to force down everyone’s throats is not insurance, it is massively expensive prepaid health care.
Attempting to drive down all out-of-pocket spending simply pushes up the cost of health care in its entirety. At the same time it creates an incentive to use more health care. That’s not all the incentives though. As increasing use raises the cost of health care, the government will be forced to devote more effort towards cutting costs, and forcing doctors and suppliers to cut their costs — seeing more patients in less time, ordering fewer tests, using fewer supplies, cutting back on personnel, and destroying the quality of medicine.
The incentive for doctors and hospitals becomes not only cutting costs, but finding a way to be adequately reimbursed. This is where Britain’s National Health Services (NHS) find themselves. Old people die sooner because of inadequate care, linen not changed, drinking water not supplied. Doctors retire early, fewer of our best and brightest go into medicine. Doctors have to be imported from other countries. We are already seeing the effects of the tax on medical devices. They are laying off workers, cutting back. The United States leads the world in new technology in medical devices, but when they are forced to cut back, it is innovation that gets cut.
ObamaCare began with a lie, that medical costs were rising inexorably. Not true. Costs were declining as new diagnostic tools and new medicines saved lives and expense. Democrats, behind the closed doors where they were constructing the plan, were not concerned with improving American health care, they were concerned with gathering in more Democratic votes by more voters dependent on Democrat largesse. Their admiration for Britain’s National Health Service spoke of the ability of NHS to capture British votes for the Labor Party, while Democrats told themselves how wonderful it would be when poor people could get health care for free.