Quote of the Day

Richard Fernandez:

President Obama was right when he said that the coming years would be about fundamentally transforming things. Ironically Trump both understands and fails to articulate it. He claims people prefer him because he is “more competent” than his rivals. But he’s wrong. They are supporting him because he’s leading, however indirectly and uncertainly, a kind of rebellion against the status quo. The source of his appeal lies in his revolutionary aspects rather than his public administration qualities.
The spotlight is therefore in the right place. The tragedies unfolding in the world are for the moment a side-show. The real drama is the crisis of Western social democracy and the international security framework that has obtained since World War 2. People are still acting like it can be business as usual when in fact business is most unusual. The forces causing whole regions to implode or destabilize themselves are not the cause but the result of a revolutionary dynamic in the globalized world.

Worth reading in full.

29 thoughts on “Quote of the Day”

  1. Fernandez and Codevilla are my daily philosophers.

    I try not to be Cassandra, but sometimes these things seem inevitable.

    Obama’s quiet because the war is not going well … One of our most gifted generals predicts the conflict will last “10 to 20 years.” And now comes news that the Pentagon is investigating whether intelligence assessments of ISIS have been manipulated for political reasons.

    I sometimes feel as though we are living The Masque of the Red Death with the young worried about “marriage equality” while the threat creeps in the windows.

    I’m just too pessimistic, I guess.

  2. Obama’s too busy renaming mountains, to worry his pretty little head about ISIS, or race wars, or nuclear Iran and stuff.

  3. As I drove my wife to the bus stop this morning, she reminded me once again, that I should maybe oughta modify my reading content, choose lighter fare, something that will make me laugh…I nodded and said “have a good day dear” I wish I could focus on other things. I have no idea how serious it is, but I know it ain’t good. No idea where this Trump thing is going either. Sure, great boorish fun to watch him upbraid another hack, but it smells of another game, another joker.

  4. I was about to add another comment to my July post the change from our Greek trip, but the comments are closed there so I thought I would add an update on the latest in the Europe story.

    Chaotic scenes and 16 hour delays hit London-bound Eurostar services overnight as migrants climbed on to the roof of an 186mph train and attempted to break into train carriages.
    Passengers on board one train stranded near Calais are understood to have threatened to smash the windows after a power outage left the sweltering carriage in total darkness for five hours.
    The power failure also saw those on board left without air conditioning and unable to communicate with Eurostar staff before the stricken train eventually returned to Paris.
    As they searched in vain for the migrants, Eurostar staff went as far as making the bizarre move of appealing to passengers to listen out for the sound of movement on the roofs of the trains.

    Here’s hoping the surface ferry from Dover to Dunkirk is OK. I expect that Waterloo is not on the “migrants” itinerary.

  5. Took a few hours off for work, but I’m back to my old habits. Fernandez’ column today isn’t much more sunny than yesterday’s. I’d go with the ferry as well, for obvious reasons. Off the lee side, Mike…

  6. The MSM and the progressives claim Trump is the new “Hitler”.

    Actually Obama is much more like Hitler than Trump.

    1. Neither Hitler was not born in Germany; Obama was not born in the US. Hitler was born in Austria.

    2. Both Hitler and Obama are Socialists. Hitler founded his party and named it the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei – the NationalSocialist German Workers Party. Lenin believed Socialism could work only if the entire world was Socialist. Musolini and Hitler argued that Socialism could work in one country as long as capitalists and other unbelievers were controlled or eliminated.

    3. Both Obama and Hitler started out in politics as “community organizers”.

    4. Both Hitler and Obama were great at giving speeches in which they claimed their followers were victims of oppression.

    5. The only lsws Hitler and Obama respects are the laws they like. They ignore the rest including the constituion.

    6. They used their followers to infiltrate the military in order to make sure the military followed orders.

    7. They called the opposition “terrorists”.

  7. “how do you plan to reach Dover, Mike? The train should be OK I suppose.”

    Our friends, retired Royal Army, are meeting the plane and will take us to their home for a couple of days. Then they are driving and we will take the car ferry over. Coming back from Brussels, they will drop us at the train station in Dover and then they will go home to Chichester and we will go to London for a few more days. She is a descendent of one of the officers at Waterloo who attended the Duchess of Richmond’s ball the night before the battle. They are old friends and we have traveled with them before. I showed them California about five years ago when they were here and I think they want to return the favor.

    He does military tours as a retirement sideline and we will probably go to some WWI battlefields as well if weather permits.

    He got my daughter and me into the Westminster Abbey RAMC ceremony for Remembrance Day a few years ago. We were seated in front of the RAMC window . Greatly outranked, I must say. We had dinner with the commanding general of the RAMC, a nice lady GP.

  8. I gave a talk for him at the RAMC Museum a few years ago where the talk was on “The Medical History of the American Civil War.” I need to make a blog post of that talk as it is a Powerpoint presentation and I have given it a number of times since.

  9. If you’re interested in WW1 the Mons area in southern Belgium has some interesting sights. I enjoyed my visit there a few years ago. Since then they’ve opened the Mons Memorial Museum which may also be worth a look.

  10. Thanks for the suggestion although I think I’ll pass on the Eurostar.

    ” take a Eurostar train to Lille and onwards to Brussels. In a high-speed blur, you will cross both the Franco-Belgian border and the line of the Western Front – a century ago, the bloodiest, most miserable corridor of conflict in the world.”

    “Eurostar passengers are facing another day of disruption after migrants claimed onto the roofs of Channel Tunnel trains.

    The operator said it was removing people from the tracks as warned customers of delays.

    Police were called to the site at Calais in France after disruption was first reported just before 9pm last night.

    Eurostar tweeted: “Trains are waiting to enter the tunnel as trespassers are on the tracks at Calais, the authorities are on site to help. Updates to follow.”

    We will take the car ferry, thank you very much.

  11. It was a great mistake for the United States to ever have become involved in the myriad conflicts of the Middle East. If Truman had only heeded the advice of people like George Marshall to stay out of these conflicts. As for the neocon policy of deliberately destabilizing the Middle East it can only be described as “bat-shit crazy”.

    Becoming involved in the internal conflicts of the Ukraine is also nuts. We have enough internal conflicts in our own country to deal with.

  12. When Assad falls the Gates of Hell may truly open. The Middle East is inherently very unstable even left to itself but our foreign policy in that region has been like lighting matches in a ship loaded with gunpowder.

  13. US policy in the Middle East is more like lighting a bonfire rather than a match in a ship loaded with gunpowder. I see now that the White House has just warned Russia that it’s aid for Assad is destabilizing. We are the last people on Earth to warn the Russians against destabilizing the Middle East. Maybe our warning will cause Putin to die of laughter.

  14. Jonathan, I started and WordPress doesn;t like all those slides but I am going back and do it as several posts on my blob. The first one is here.

    It must be a bug in WordPress because it kept dropping half the post and I would have to go back to previous autosaves and restore the material. I’ll just do it as a series.

  15. I’m up to #3 as it starts dropping the last few lines when it seems to be too big although I have saved the slides as photos, not Powerpoint.

  16. “Our friends, retired Royal Army…”: ooh, do not abuse our constitution. There is no Royal Army: the monarch is not trusted with an army. It’s Parliament’s army, at least until Parliament ceases regularly to renew its existence, in which case it will evaporate: a standing army is a threat to liberty, and all that. We had quite a stishie in the 17th century to sort these matters out.

  17. Of course it’s the medical corps that’s royal. The RAF and the RN are royal. But there’s no Royal Army. If you reflect on it, you’ll discover that they are always referred to as the British Army and the Royal Navy, for very good reason.

  18. “they are always referred to as the British Army”

    Ok. Why does the RAMC call itself that ? Why not British Army Medical Corps?

    I’ll have to discuss this with my friend next week. I shocked him one time by saying maybe we should have stayed out of WWI.

    I took pity on him and added, we both should have stayed out. I think most of the pathology of the 20th century began on July 28, 1914.

    Had there been another Franco-Prussian War, I’m not sure the world would not have been a better place. Even Churchill had his doubts. In his “The World Crisis” he writes of all the steps that the Kaiser took to rupture the friendship with Britain. He describes the fall of Bismarck as the calamity that led to the brink. The Naval Law of 1900 set the clock ticking.

    I think all the talk and writing of what has happened to Iraq and Syria and so on really must consider that 914 set all this in motion.

  19. “Why does the RAMC call itself that ? Why not British Army Medical Corps?” Because at some point (I assume) the Corps enjoyed Royal sponsorship. The WKPD account makes it sound as if the army medics were seriously annoyed by the treatment they had had prior to 1898; maybe the sponsorship was meant to placate them. Be that as it may, the “royal” qualifies the corps, not the army.

    “For over two years after 27 July 1887 there were no recruits to the Army Medical Department. A parliamentary committee reported in 1890 highlighting the doctors’ injustices. Yet all this was ignored by the Secretary of State for War. The British Medical Association, the Royal College of Physicians and others redoubled their protests. Eventually, in 1898, officers and soldiers providing medical services were incorporated into a new body known by its present name, the Royal Army Medical Corps; its first Colonel-in-Chief was H.R.H the Duke of Connaught.”

  20. Thanks, Dearieme. I didn’t know that history.

    Another interesting item is the fact that Florence Nightingale, in addition to nursing the wounded at Scutari Barracks in 1856, she took over the Royal Commission on the Health of the Army, and used that power to redo the medical corps entire logistical system, which had been abysmal in Crimea.

    The RAMC was actually formed in the Boer War.

    The RAMC was formed in 1898 by joining the Medical Staff (officers) and Medical Staff Corps (men).

    Each brigade of infantry or cavalry upon a war footing has attached to it a medical section, comprising generally three officers and about fifty-seven men, with fifteen various vehicles, of which ten were hospital wagons. In Battle, the wounded were conveyed to the dressing stations by the ambulances and ambulance men. After receiving treatment they were either returned to their unit or referred to a field hospital for more care. Each division had its own field hospital. An army corps had 10 field hospitals, each with a capacity of 100 men.

    The organization is interesting in comparison to the US Army medical services in the Civil War which I discuss here and in other posts.

    The British had a pretty poor record in the Boer War with Typhoid.

    Lord Roberts said: “Under Surgeon General Wilson this department has laboured indefatigably both in the field and in the hospitals. Some cases have been brought to my notice in which officers have proved unequal to the exceptional strain thrown upon them by the sudden expansion of hospitals, and in the earlier stages of the war the necessity of more ample preparations to meet disease were not quite fully apprehended. These cases have been fully reported on by the Royal Commission, and will no doubt receive the attention of his Majesty’s Government. I am not, however, less conscious of the unremitting services of the great majority of the officers of the Royal Army Medical Corps. There are many instances, indeed, recorded of great gallantry having been displayed by the officers in carrying on their work of mercy under heavy fire, and in the face of exceptional difficulties their duty has been ably performed. My thanks are also due to the distinguished consulting surgeons who have come out to this country, and by their advice and experience materially aided the Royal Army Medical Corps. The services rendered by Sir William MacCormac, Mr G H Makins, Mr F Treves, the late Sir W Stokes, Mr Watson Cheyne, Mr G Cheatle, Mr Kendal Franks, Mr John Chiene, and Sir Thomas Francis Fitzgerald, were of incalculable value. The abnormal demand upon the RAMC necessitated the employment of a large number of civil surgeons, and to these gentlemen the army owes a debt of gratitude. The heavy strain on the Army Medical Department was further much relieved by the patriotic efforts of the several committees and individuals who raised, equipped, and sent out complete hospitals”.

    They lost 10,000 soldiers to typhoid.

    perhaps the most desirable consummation is that our fighting generals should realise that in a campaign of any duration their own power will greatly depend on the observance of sanitary rules. Medical officers should not be discouraged from urging and compelling the frequent changing of camping-grounds, and, in the selection of these, wholesome water-supplies must ever be a sine qua non

    The Typhoid epidemic killed more men than the Boers did.

    The medical organisation of the British Army would have been effective, had it not been for a major difficulty which arose fairly early in the campaign in the form of typhoid fever. After the battle of Magersfontein, there was a long period during which troops were static at Modder River and, later, at Paardeberg. The situation in which vast numbers of troops were massed using a contaminated water supply, created ideal conditions for a massive outbreak of typhoid fever. The army was already stricken with this disease when it had to march on to Kimberley and Bloemfontein in LordRoberts’ flanking movement away from the Orange River and the Kimberley railway line.

  21. I wonder whether the typhoid problem would have been better coped with if the commanding officers had been drawn from the Indian Army rather than from the British Army. We’ll never know. There are limits to what the medics can achieve if the fighting men pay no attention.

  22. Typhoid was a problem anywhere the army spent considerable time. By World War I there was a typhoid vaccine.

    Wikipedia is confused about Typhoid and Typhus, unrelated disease.\

    In 430 BC, a devastating plague, which some believe to have been typhoid fever, killed one-third of the population of Athens, including their leader Pericles. Following this disaster, the balance of power shifted from Athens to Sparta, ending the Golden Age of Pericles that had marked Athenian dominance in the Greek ancient world. The ancient historian Thucydides also contracted the disease, but he survived to write about the plague. His writings are the primary source on this outbreak, and modern academics and medical scientists consider epidemic typhus the most likely cause. In 2006, a study detected DNA sequences similar to those of the bacterium responsible for typhoid fever in dental pulp extracted from a burial pit dated to the time of the outbreak.[38]

    I doubt that reference. The description of the Athens plague is closer to Typhus, which is nothing like Typhoid. There is also speculation that it was a disease that died out.

    Typus is transmitted by lice, usually carried in clothing and is seen where washing is difficult. The organism is a Rickettsia, an intracellular organism similar to a virus although it is actually a relative of the eukaryote mitochondrion. It is an important step in the study of evolution.

    Typhoid is water borne or carried by animals like reptiles. It causes diarrhea, not a feature of Typhus.

    Mary Mallon (“Typhoid Mary”) in a hospital bed (foreground): She was forcibly quarantined as a carrier of typhoid fever in 1907 for three years and then again from 1915 until her death in 1938.

    The cause of the plague has long been disputed and other scientists have disputed the findings, citing serious methodologic flaws in the dental pulp-derived DNA study.[39] The disease is most commonly transmitted through poor hygiene habits and public sanitation conditions; during the period in question related to Athens above, the whole population of Attica was besieged within the Long Walls and lived in tents.

    The British Army had problems with water sources and sanitation in spite of John Snow’s work 50 years earlier.

    Snow’s firsthand experience of the disease in 1832, combined with studies of respiration, led him to question miasma theories and to publish the first edition of On the Mode of Communication of Cholera in 1849, in which he proposed that cholera was attributable to a self-replicating agent which was excreted in the cholera evacuations and inadvertently ingested, often, but not necessarily, through the medium of water.

    Snow’s work was 30 years before Pasteur. He has been called the greatest physician in history.

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