Tuesday, May 28, 2019

They Die For Us

Note: This was written yesterday but didn’t get posted, as intended, on Memorial Day. My bad, better late than never.

Today we celebrate, if that is the right word, Memorial Day. Perhaps “observe” is a better descriptor of our actions and thoughts today.

Our freedom isn’t free. Sadly, it is purchased with the blood of patriots, brave military men and women who put their lives on the line to secure and defend it.

Remembering their sacrifice reminds us of the precariousness of human liberty. Those who would circumscribe liberty pop up like weeds after a rain. And like the never ending chore of weeding, defending our liberties goes on and on.

There’s never a time when we can dust our hands together and say, “Well, that’s done.” Those who covet what we have, or resent our success, or simply adhere to alternative explanations of reality are ever present and threatening.

In a quote variously ascribed to George Orwell, Rudyard Kipling or Winston Churchill:
People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
On Memorial Day, we honor their efforts and their sacrifices.

The Absolving Power of Good Intentions

Instapundit links to a Belmont Club/PJMedia essay by Richard Fernandez, in which Fernandez says something about the left I find darned insightful.
Marxism is founded to an extraordinary degree on the absolving power of good intentions.
Consider, all the times you’ve watched socialist and communist regimes do things which failed to accomplish their goals and left their people worse off than previously. Said failures were excused because the regime’s intent was to do good.

Stumbling Chavismo in Venezuela is only the most recent example. It is basically a replay of the serial failures of the Castro brothers in Cuba. All, it is claimed, done with the very best of intentions, for “the good of the people.”

Monday, May 27, 2019

A Recipe for Failure

Roughly three weeks ago we wrote about the shortcomings of the multi-service F-35A,B,C fighter program. Those stemmed from the mostly unsuccessful attempt to do a great variety of things with a sort-of single platform.

Along comes another example, again from the DOD, of trying to do many missions with one multipurpose vehicle. This time the culprit is the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship program. The National Interest reports it is another example of trying to cut corners and ending up, billions later, with something very nearly unusable.
It took the Navy nearly two decades to realize the LCS program had failed. The sailing branch in 2014 cut LCS acquisition from 55 ships to 32. Congress eventually added three vessels, boosting the class to 35 ships.

In place of the 20 canceled LCSs, the Navy plans to buy 20 new missile frigates. The service in 2019 asked Congress for around $1 billion for the first ship in the new class.

In contrast to the LCS in its original guise, the new frigate will be a conventional vessel with a large crew and hard-wired systems.
In those few cases where it turns out something designed for task A also works well for task B, it is normally a post hoc discovery by some insightful operator of that system. Trying for this sort of synergy a priori is very nearly a foolproof recipe for failure.

The EU Votes

I’ve read several analyses of the EU vote for MEPs just concluded. Most of what I read tried to find overarching themes for the entire election across 28 nations.

Guess what? The meta-analyses weren’t vastly successful because those 28 really are separate nations.

In the U.K. the new Brexit Party did very well, as did the formerly scorned Liberal Democrats. Who did poorly? The two old mainstream parties: the Conservatives and Labour.

In Spain the Socialists did great, in Greece, France and Germany they did terrible. Macron’s newish party was beaten by one percentage point in France, by the rightist National Rally. In Italy the anti-immigrationists did very well.

If I had to generalize it would be that people had change on their minds when they went, in record numbers, to vote. In many cases the old establishment parties didn’t fare well.

The U.K. is probably closer than previously thought to doing a so-called “hard Brexit” in October. It means leaving with no deal in hand, as a result of so many voting for Farage’s new Brexit Party, saying “get on with it.”

Sunday, May 26, 2019

MEP Vote Totals Emerging

Preliminary results of the voting for Members of the European Parliament across the 28 member nations are beginning to appear. As expected, nationalists have done better than in previous elections. In most places, the old, established parties seem to have taken the biggest hits.

I anticipate we'll have a better picture of what these results mean, especially for the U.K. and Brexit, sometime tomorrow. Those should be interesting findings and we'll discuss them then.

Friday, May 24, 2019

May Resigns, Movement Likely

When we wrote on Wednesday that it looked very like something would finally happen in the long running Brexit agony, it turns out we were correct. This morning’s news brings the story that Prime Minister Theresa May has annnounced she will step down on June 7 and continue “acting” until Conservatives select a new leader.

While it has been clear for weeks that this was what had to happen, it wasn’t clear May had accepted that inevitability. Now she has, tearfully.

Nobody can say May didn’t try her hardest to pull off a Brexit that sorta, kinda met the needs of most Brits. Trouble was, they didn’t agree enough to make a compromise work.

The only way to leave the EU is to just go, and then deal with the EU the same way the U.S. or Canada does. Presumably this is what will now happen.

It is likely the Good Friday agreement between the U.K. and Ireland will be a casualty of this outcome. If that happens, a unified whole-island Ireland may be the downstream result.

If so, will there be relatively massive population migration like that when Pakistan separated from India? I judge that as less likely, since in recent years the Republic of Ireland has become much less a ‘colony’ of the Vatican than was formerly true. It has moved policy-wise in the direction of becoming a modern, pluralistic society.

On the other hand, if I were a Northern Ireland Protestant who wished to keep my U.K. residency/citizenship I’d be exploring selling my N.I. property. And sooner rather than later, perhaps on a sell-and-lease-back basis, giving me portability when/if needed.

Ironic that the end of Prime Minister May is announced near the end of the month of May, IMHO.

Thursday, May 23, 2019


When I wrote yesterday about voting for members of the EU parliament starting today, I failed to reflect that the voting continues into the weekend. So I suppose we won’t know results until perhaps Sunday ... alas.

I’m unclear why the voting is so protracted. Perhaps because the results have traditionally been of little interest to voters in most EU member countries and the longer voting period is an attempt to increase turnout to less embarrassing levels.


If you aren’t clear what the so-called European Parliament actually does, this post by Power Line regular Paul Mirengoff describes its truly limited role.
The European Parliament isn’t like the U.S. Congress. It doesn’t legislate. That would be way too democratic for the EU.

The European Parliament doesn’t elect the EU’s leader, either. It’s not like, say, the British Parliament.

What, then, does the European Parliament do? In essence, it rubber stamps that which European leaders and bureaucrats want to impose.
Mirengoff adds that for the first time it appears the pro-EU ‘Brussels consensus’ may not have a majority in that rubber-stamp body. With the consensus gone, the unscripted fun begins.


Michael Barone has been a voice of wisdom in DC for decades. Here he writes in the Washington Examiner about something called “whiteshift” which you might find interesting.

His topic is the various immigrant groups which began as the “other” and ended up being lumped with the much-scorned white majority, examples would include Catholics including his own Italian ancestors and the Irish, Jews and the Orthodox. Yet today, he writes:
Today, all these groups are lumped together as “whites,” even though there are still perceptible, though muted, differences in political attitudes and perspectives between those with different ancestries.
I predict many, perhaps most, Hispanics and Asians will over 2-3 generations merge into the supposedly white mainstream culture. Many already have done so.

Barone’s larger point is that demographic shift may not so much change mainstream American culture, but rather be absorbed by it - no bad thing. We once called whiteshift “the melting pot” and for most it worked out fine.

The Delicate Yet Venomous Crybully

Instapundit links to the text of a Roger Kimball speech at the Bradley Prize ceremony, posted at The New Criterion. Kimball riffs on the ridiculousness of the “woke” philosophy being pushed on campus:
There are two central tenets of the woke philosophy. The first is feigned fragility. The second is angry intolerance. The union of fragility and intolerance has given us that curious and malevolent hybrid, the crybully, a delicate yet venomous species that thrives chiefly in lush, pampered environments.
Wow, I retired out of academia just in time. It has subsequently mutated into something I’d hate being a part of.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Brexit Drags On

There is talk and written opinion which holds that something will happen in the U.K./Brexit mess in the next day or two. Most likely scenario involves Theresa May stepping down as leader of the Tory Party, and thus as Prime Minister.

At least one headline suggests the last remaining pro-Brexit member of her cabinet has resigned since yesterday. And MPs who have supported her in the past are announcing they will do so no longer.

How much more elegant, and dignified it would have been for her to have resigned as P.M. when Commons first failed to endorse her compromise Brexit plan. What she's done instead has been embarrassing for her, for her party, and for the United Kingdom. That collective embarrassment has accomplished exactly nothing.

On the other hand, the U.K. is fully capable of dithering for another 3-4 months without making a decision. That outcome wouldn't particularly surprise anyone who has watched the debacle of the past 3-4 months.

One thing to watch for is the distribution of U.K. votes in the election tomorrow for its MEPs, Members of the European Parliament. The more disastrous the results are for Conservative and Labour candidates, the more likely something will happen sooner rather than later.

Hidden Motives?

A variety of sources are reporting a renewed interest in impeachment on the part of House Democrats. The source of that interest, frustration at the White House’s unwillingness to cooperate in the endless ‘investigations’ (think “harassments”) which they planned. A reluctant Speaker Pelosi is being dragged toward impeachment, seemingly against her better judgment.

I suspect that, much as he protests against it, prodding the Dems into impeachment is exactly what President Trump wants. If the Clinton impeachment is any guide, the party in charge of pushing impeachment loses electorally by doing so.

An impeachment along near-party lines, to which exactly no one believes the Senate will return a guilty verdict, should stir up the Trump base to a near fever pitch. And The Donald is a master in getting opponents to shoot themselves in the foot, while he complains about their recklessnes.

Actually keeping the Dem-led House busy with impeachment may work out well since it is unlikely the Senate will pass any legislation they come up with. We live in interesting times.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Right Wins in Australia

Various sources are reporting that Australia’s incumbent government, led by the Liberal Party who are in fact Oz’s conservatives, has won reelection. Media down under predicted they would lose, media was wrong once again.

The phenomenon of what the Brits call “shy conservatives” has surfaced in yet another country, voters telling pollsters one thing and voting the opposite way. We saw this peculiarity in our 2016 presidential election where Trump was predicted to lose, but in fact won. It also showed up in the U.K. with regard to Brexit where polls were once again wrong.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Odds and Ends

The “ship’s cold” the DrsC came home with has morphed into bronchitis for both of us. Much coughing going on, much staying quiet and giving the bodies time to heal happening at Casa Cotton. Our house sounds like a TB ward, for the moment at least.

This is normally the time when we migrate to our Wyoming home for the balance of spring, the summer, and the early fall. We’d like to be doing that now, but can’t until we are well.


Meanwhile the world continues to foment chaos and misery, doing its normal “Murphy working overtime” shtick. We watch, bemused.

Some rays of optimism happening in Britain where the odds of a “hard Brexit” seem to be rising, along with the odds of Boris Johnson becoming PM. He would be fun to watch in that role, I daresay.


One thing I’m looking forward to is the supposedly imminent release of the Department of Justice Inspector General report on malfeasance in the DOJ and FBI. IG Horowitz is expected to do it right, or perhaps we’ll be disappointed.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Conrad Black Pardoned

One of my favorite voices of reason on the right, Conrad Black of Canada, features in the news twice in the last couple of days. First, he has received a full and complete presidential pardon for the gimmicky, political conviction he suffered earlier. An excellent decision by President Trump.

The second comes from a Black column in which he writes an epitaph for the largely failed Obama presidency. Black’s verdict on Obama:
Apart from the admirable and necessary shattering of the bar of color, his entire legacy has been discredited.
And who knows what will turn up as the links of Spygate to the Obama White House are probed post-Mueller?

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Pondering Venezuela

President Trump has advisors who are encouraging him to authorize U.S. military assistance in toppling the Maduro government in Venezuela. If this warmongering is window dressing to make that government nervous, fine. If it is serious, it needs to be ignored.

The people of Venezuela need to do one of two things: live with the government they elected, even though it was 'reelected' fraudulently, or get rid of it themselves. On reconsideration, they have a third option ... leave the country, which approximately 1 million have already done.

I believe our government is entitled to sanction nations which extend assistance to Maduro, notably Cuba and Russia, and possibly China. Sending U.S. troops has a bad look that we don't need.

Venezuelans haven't demonstrated the requisite commitment to change. Ultimately any nation's populace are responsible for the government they answer to. A hard-eyed cynic would say people get the government they deserve.

Weird Gut Biome Science

ScienceAlert reports findings of an enormous study which shows a fascinating relationship. Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.
Sheriff and his colleagues sifted out 488,190 patients who'd undergone an appendectomy. Of those, they found 4,470 also developed Parkinson's disease.

Comparing these with the 177,230 Parkinson's cases who still had their appendix revealed a startling contrast.

Based on these figures, having your appendix removed makes it three times more likely you'll be diagnosed with Parkinson's disease some time later in life.
The findings are correlational, which is to say they show a relationship but not what that relationship might be. A might cause B, B might cause A, or some third unknown C might cause both, directly or indirectly.

One thing is beginning to be clear, we’ve paid too little attention to the complex microbial goings-on in our intestinal tract. It appears they may influence other apparently independent bodily processes.

CA ... A Place to Wait for God

CA political maven Dan Walters writes for the Sacramento Bee. He looks at recent California demographic trends and finds the prior boom is definitely gone. Some key thoughts from an Outline ‘echo’ of his column.
California added just 186,807 souls in 2018, the department’s demographers calculated, just a .47 percent gain, the slowest in recorded history and only a quarter of the state’s growth rate during the 1980s, which was its last great population boom period before a long-term slide began.

We lose more people to other states than we gain (Texas is the No. 1 destination for our expats), foreign immigration is close to nil, births have dropped to well under 500,000 a year, and deaths are increasing as members of the post-World War II baby boom generation become elderly.
CA’s future appears to be as a retirement home for affluent geezers, cared for by foreign-born medical professionals. Instead of being the place where our national future is invented, it will become the place our (successful) past goes to retire. Hat tip to the British sitcom for loan of its title.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Dodging the Problem

Vanity Fair has an article asking the question “Why Can’t Kamala Catch Fire?” If you can believe it, the story leaves out her most significant drawback in the eyes of black voters who are the Democrat’s most loyal identity group.

Kamala Harris was famously a prosecutor, at the local level and at the state level in California. What do people seek in a prosecutor? The three word answer is “tough on crime.” Apparently she was that, if media accounts have any validity.

How do black voters feel about the criminal justice system? You wouldn’t describe those feelings as “warm” or “supportive.” For many complicated reasons, only one of which is racism, a disproportionate number of black Americans end up ‘enjoying’ the system’s tender mercies. And who leads the system’s attack on those arrested? Who offers the guilty plea bargains? The prosecutors, people like Harris.

So there are major reasons why the very Democrat constituency to which her candidacy would be inclined to most appeal - black voters - may have lingering discomfort with her role in stashing too many brothers (and sisters) in prison for too long.

Travel Blogging VIII

Schiphol International Airport, Amsterdam, the Netherlands: The cruise has ended, we disembarked this morning ... very painless and quick. Now we wait to board a plane that takes off maybe 23 hours from now.

We didn’t fly out today, though many pax will, because the ‘good flight’ to our destination takes off too early to connect to directly from the ship. So we overnight in an airport Sheraton and try to regain our “land legs” before leaving tomorrow a.m.

This hotel room has to be twice the size of our cabin on the Nieuw Statendam. The ship cabin had a balcony which went entirely unused as the weather was too cold to be outside. The only balconies we’ve ever gotten any serious use of were the interior balconies aboard the Anthem and Oasis of the Seas in the warm Caribbean, where we ate breakfast on them daily, looking down on ‘Central Park.’

We had amazingly calm water during this cruise, only one day in 3 weeks found us in water rough enough to feel the ship movement. A definite plus. But we both had colds and “the miseries,” a definite minus. Honestly, not one of our best cruises.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Hiring the Right Man

Reacting to an article about serious Christians having no difficulty voting for President Trump, Instapundit quotes a reader response to the article.
I wasn’t hiring a pastor, I was hiring a Patton.
Georgie P’s ‘sermons’ tended to feature profanity and violent imagery.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Call It Spying

Former FBI Director James Comey keeps claiming the FBI doesn’t “spy” on people. Few on our side of the aisle pay him much mind.

Let’s try a thought experiment. Suppose the FBI got permission from a FISA judge to surveil an American, and suppose they did so fraudulently, with intel they knew to be bogus. In other words, the FBI pulled the wool over the judge’s eyes.

What would Comey call the surveillance under those circumstances of insufficient predicate? If not “spying,” then what? Would he prefer “snooping” or “invasion of privacy” or what? I believe he needs to answer this question in an unambiguous fashion.

The politicization of our law enforcement and intelligence agencies is entirely unacceptable, very much Third World behavior.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Strange Greatness

Grady Means writes for The Hill that Trump is a strange kind of great president, but great nevertheless. The whole thing is worth reading, see Means’ conclusion:
What should we demand of our president? If we’re looking for dignity, manners, grace and orderliness, Trump is vulnerable. If we’re looking for strong leadership to provide real opportunity for economic advancement for all Americans and a strong defense of America and its interests, then Trump has a claim to greatness over his current opponents and his predecessors.
Exactly right.

Travel Blogging VII

Somewhere in a fjord: If you’ve wondered why there have been few posts recently, both of the DrsC have caught the “ship cold” and have been coughing and miserable. Posting stuff hasn’t been our number one priority. I think I’m past the worst of it but the other DrC still has the “feel uglies” and I’m a long way from well.

Multipurpose Is Mostly A Bad Idea

The DefenseOne website carries an article predicting the next generation of fighter aircraft will not be shared among the three services which fly them. Thus, it will not follow in the footsteps of the F-35 program whose A, B, and C variants are designed for the Air Force, Marines, and Navy respectively. I write to say I’m not surprised.
When the F-35 was conceived in the 1990s, it was thought that three variants for Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force might share about 70 percent of their parts, saving money. Almost 30 years later, the jets are only about 20 percent the same.
In other words, the compromises are still there causing trouble and the supposed savings basically are not. No service got exactly what they wanted or, more to the point, needed.

The F-35 program has been fraught with difficulties, and isn’t completely solid at this writing. That is the problem with systems which are ‘cleverly’ designed to do several things. Inevitably, they do none of them as well as a purpose-built device designed to do one thing and do it well.

This is a lesson the DrsC have learned the hard way ... twice. The first was a mini motor home, a so-called Class C that we bought over 40 years ago. It had a sofa that folded out into a bed and became our dining nook with the deployment of a fold-up table. The sofa was okay, the dining somewhat iffy, and the bed was pretty bad, but we used it.

It also had a fold-up toilet in a room that was also a shower. The toilet was a joke, totally unsuited for ‘solids’ and semi-okay for urine. The shower worked okay if you remembered to take the toilet paper out before showering.

You’d think we would have learned our lesson but a couple of decades later we bought a Shopsmith, another “does everything” device loaded with compromises. It was supposed to function as a table saw, a lathe, a drill press, and a disk sander, and with attachments which we bought as a bandsaw and a joiner-planer.

Well, too good to be true describes our experience. It was a semi-okay table saw, a not good lathe, an okay disk sander, and I don’t think we ever tried the drill press. The bandsaw kind of worked on relatively thin stock and the joiner-planer wasn’t much either. We’d have been far better equipped if we’d bought a good table saw, and perhaps a bandsaw, which is about what we needed. We recently gave the Shopsmith away.

The moral of the story is this: something designed for one specific task will almost always do it better than something designed to do many different tasks. The Navy has different fighter needs than the Air Force and the Marines do mostly close ground support missions. Each need aircraft designed for their set of tasks.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Drudge Excited

I’d share with you this morning’s headline on the Drudge Report ... verbatim.
I’m not sure what I could add. If that isn’t enough excitement for you, you’re an adrenaline junkie.

Travel Blogging VI

Zebrugge, Belgium: We are in port today in Zebrugge, it is the port for Bruges in the Flemish (ethnically Dutch) northern part of Belgium. The south of Belgium is ethnically French and yes, the two regions speak different languages, vote for different political parties, have separate school systems, etc. In this sense, Belgium is like Canada.

The capital Brussels is a mix of the two ethnic groups. The country might split in two except neither will cede Brussels to the other, both claim it as their capital. In that sense, it resembles the Arabs and Jews fighting over Jerusalem. We humans don’t get along together very well, do we?

A sad sign of the times, our ship served as a training ground for Belgian and Dutch marines this a.m. as they practiced retaking a ship underway with terrorists aboard. Details are classified, there were supposed to be helicopters and fast boats involved. I slept through it so all I know is what we were told.

Remember I wondered if there were any remnants of WW II fortifications and destruction in Cherbourg? I didn’t go ashore to make a careful survey but from the vantage point of the top deck of the ship, which was the tallest thing in town, what I saw were two little “forts” at the entrance to the outer harbor.

My guess is the last time they were garrisoned was by the Nazis, and they are truly in tumbled down condition - likely bombed all to heck during the attack to oust said Germans. Other than that, everything looks like it had never seen hostilities which is what I expected.

Cherbourg seems mostly a busy ferry port, I saw several large car-carrying, ocean-going ferries enter and depart while we were there. One was from Ireland, likely runs between here and Dublin. Others probably went to Britain and the Channel Islands.

Putting your car on a ferry and heading out is a real thing here in Europe; the Mediterranean is overrun with these big floating boxes. Most have a giant trapdoor for a stern, which drops down to become a drive-ashore ramp for cars, trucks, and buses.

Ferries have never caught on in the States, I’m not sure why. I’d think there would be a market for them running up and down the east coast between the Northeast and Florida. You’d put your car on board, retire to your cabin, and a day or so later debark in Ft. Lauderdale or Port Everglades.

Maybe also between Vancouver and Seattle and, say, San Pedro or San Diego, to accommodate “snow birds.” Ships chug along at about 20 mph but they do it 24 hours a day. A day’s cruising = 8 hours driving at a 60 mph average, in distance covered roughly 480 miles.

Friday, May 3, 2019

A Hint of Huntington

The journal Foreign Policy has an article about what they’ve deduced is the “Trump Doctrine.” As comedian Arte Johnson would deadpan long ago on Laugh-In, it is “verrrrrry intheresthing ... but not fonny.”

Author Paul Musgrave believes he sees strong indications of the Trump Doctrine being shaped by the 1993 views of Samuel P. Huntington who wrote of “the clash of civilizations.” Basically, Trump viewing China as coming from a non-Western philosophical milieu, and perhaps therefore being the “other” to a degree the Soviets and Russia didn’t quite reach.

This makes some sense, civilizational clash particularly helps us understand the Long War we’re having with political Islam. It may also give insight into divergent Chinese policy rooted in the thoughts of Confucius, Sun Tzu and Lao Tze.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Caution Urged

On Monday last we wrote about Joe diGenova‘s comments on the Laura Ingraham show on Fox News. He was, to say the least, very optimistic about the chances of nailing those who misled the FISA court into issuing the Carter Page wiretap authorization.

Now another source I normally trust suggests a reason to be cautious about diGenova’s predictions, see what Scott Johnson of Power Line writes.
DiGenova asserts certain nonpublic information as a matter of fact: “The FISA court has already communicated with the Justice Department about its findings,” and so on. DiGenova is not just a former United States Attorney, according to Parry, he is also former counsel to the FISA court itself. He may well have the knowledge he claims to possess, some of which involves imminent developments. Looking around online, however, one can see that diGenova made a similar prediction a year ago (video here at RealClearPolitics). With respect to his current preview, one can only say let it be.
As real journalists formerly would say, “Don’t go to print until you’ve located a second independently credible corroborating source for the info.” Caveat duly noted.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Travel Blogging V

At sea one day’s sailing out of Cherbourg: I’ve always heard the Bay of Biscay has rough water. I probably got the idea from the Hornblower and Aubrey novels of the Royal Navy in Napoleonic times.

Who knows, it may at times be fearsome. If the conditions we’ve experienced the past day or so are any indication, it is also sometimes calm as a millpond. I can’t say I’m disappointed though, rough water is no particular thrill.

The other DrC and I, plus a friend from FL who is along for the cruise, have a standing dinner reservation at a table which seats six. Each night the other 3 seats get filled with walk-ins, people who have “anytime dining.”

Last night’s three were nice folks and the other DrC asked if any of them were going to see the Bayeux Tapestry in Normandy. It turned out they’d never heard of it and showed no particular interest therein.

To be fair, the tapestry’s subject matter - the Norman conquest - is thousand year old news. It is sort of amazing no nation has successfully invaded Britain since 1066. The Spanish Armada tried, and we know that failed. Napoleon couldn’t do it. Hitler planned Operation Sea Lion, but never made it happen.

If you’ve never seen it, the thing should probably be called the Bayeux ‘Tapestry’ since it doesn’t resemble a true tapestry, it is far from ornate. Think of a roll of whitish muslin or linen cloth a couple of hundred feet long with a linear narrative of the steps involved in the 1066 Norman Conquest embroidered on it in colored yarn.

It resembles a Hollywood film maker’s storyboard of cartoon-like sketches of various scenes in sequence,  as though sketched by a competent but not particularly gifted draftsman. The background is left natural, not filled in with stitchery.

You see armed men and horses assembling, boarding ships, attacking, and fighting. It covers a period of weeks, perhaps longer. I suppose it was intended as a history teaching aid for non-readers, much as the cathedral frescos of various Biblical stories were.

A Coup in Venezuela?

At COTTonLINE we try to keep track of important happenings in the Western Hemisphere, or as President James Monroe thought of it, our ‘backyard.’ Our go-to guy for commentary on Latin America is the Miami Herald’s Andres Oppenheimer.

Oppenheimer weighs in on the most recent developments in Venezuela. He finds we should not think of what is happening there as a coup. See his reasoning:
First, Maduro became a full-blown dictator in January 2016, when he stripped the opposition-controlled National Assembly, Venezuela’s congress, of virtually all powers.

Second, Maduro single-handedly stacked the National Electoral Council with cronies to prevent future opposition election victories.

Third, Maduro re-elected himself to a new term in a fraudulent May 20 election, without allowing any credible international observers and after banning Venezuela’s top opposition leaders from running against him.

Fourth, Maduro illegally proclaimed himself president for a new full term in office on Jan. 10, 2019, despite international warnings that such a move would be unconstitutional.

Almost immediately, more than 50 world democracies — including the United States, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and virtually all 28 members of the European Union — declared Maduro an illegitimate president and recognized National Assembly leader Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim leader, in charge of convening new elections.
And Oppenheimer concludes:
It’s not clear whether Guaidó’s military uprising will succeed or whether it will be crushed, its leaders arrested or even killed. But one thing is clear: A military rebellion against a full-blown dictatorship can be called many things, but calling it a “coup attempt” is wrong.