Sunday, October 19, 2014
A lot of the bad publicity surrounding Marie Antoinette emanates from the smear campaigns directed against her by the Jacobins, although incidences such as the Diamond Necklace Affair and the Madame Deficit labelling clearly pre-date the Jacobin attacks. I don’t believe that she was bad person however she does appear to be both frivolous, naive and if I have to say so not particularly bright. Her love for her husband and children is admirable and she did seem to support Jacques Necker in his bid to bring the nation’s finances under control. Historians have debated for some time as to the degree of influence that she had on her husband but I do believe that she had a significant role in encouraging Louis XVI to make his ill-fated ‘Flight to Varennes’, a turning point in the fate of the monarchy as an institution. Her connection to the arch-enemy, Austria, was no doubt a legitimate concern for the revolutionary government, and did materialize into a real threat to France with the War of the First Coalition. I think that is reasonable to compare Marie Antoinette to Catherine the Great at least with respect to their origins in the political scene. Both were foreigners (Antoinette from Austria, Catherine from the Germanic States), both were married to weak kings (Peter III for Catherine, Louis XVI for Marie Antoinette), both arrived in countries with large populations, that had strong nobilities and a gigantic poorly treated peasant/serf /third estate class. Each nation was a key centre for a brand of rigid Christianity (Eastern Orthodoxy for Russia, Catholicism for France). Both countries had a very strong war driven monarch who in the not too distant past had resurrected their countries fortunes from the doldrums (Peter the Great for Russia, Louis XIV for France). Yet one of these women went on to greatness, Catherine, while the other, Antoinette, is associated with failure. It is tempting to blame this on spending but Catherine the Great was no fiscal conservative either. What I do believe was the big difference (other than their intellect) is that Catherine successfully ‘Russified’ herself from day one. She changed her name and dropped all connection to her German background. Antoinette did none of this and was always seen as a foreigner. So that when the revolution came it was natural that she should be vilified as an enemy of the state. If Marie Antoinette had stepped down from her pedestal on day one, it is possible that she may have become the People’s Queen, like Catherine and saved the nation from some of the bloodbath which was slated to occur
Friday, October 10, 2014
It's official Justin Trudeau is an idiot...I can't believe that the Liberal leader would make such a stupid remark about the bombing of ISIS...He really is a child trying to play with adults...what an embarrassment...the Grits should have gone with Marc Garneau when they had the chance..
It seems as though some key Democrats are now dissing Obama...Leon Panetta...the former Secretary of Defense has recently blasted Barry O for his poor handling of the ISIS rise to power...He may be running interference for Hillary though as he is a one time Clinton loyalist....On another note David Axelrod just threw Obama under the bus with respect to the economy...the vultures are circling...
When push comes to shove the only real and dependable ally that the US has in the Middle East is Israel. Even the White House is sensing that Turkey, Qatar and the UAE talk out of both sides of their mouths. Joe Biden openly said what what has been obvious to those in the know that that this group of three cannot be trusted. The Turks are now one of the biggest impediments to international efforts for stability in the region. While they once strode a brave road toward secularism in the 1990s, their presence in NATO carries with it a malignancy that is lethal. Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a shrewd Islamist who plays a cat-and-mouse game to further an expanionist agenda. Future events will demonstrate this clearly.
Friday, September 26, 2014
The US Senate, which is still under Democrat control for now, looks to strengthen ties with Israel, reversing some of the damage done (at least on paper) by Obama/Kerry and co....the initiative appears to be bipartisan..Meanwhile on another front Hillary continues to take heat at the Benghazi hearings...There are so many unanswered questions that have been swept under the rug and point directly at the incompetence of this administration...The Clintons are notorious for dodgin...g scandals that would sink any other politician...a US ambassador's persistent warnings were ignored...drone reports were swept under the rug ...the ambassador was eventually brutally killed as were two Navy Seals and the Obama administration had the audacity to blame the attack on an anti-Islamic film that surfaced a month or so earlier (an excuse that has been discredited)...Obama/Hillary/Panetta/Carney blatantly lied to the American public in order to avoid taking extra heat during the Election fight against Romney in 2012....Americans of all political stripes should be ashamed of the action of this administration...which sacrificed a moral stance for political expediency...a real dark day in the history of the POTUS. Remember the time when American presidents actually stood up to the Libyans?
After much self-flagellation Obama has decided to act against the evil that is ISIS. Time will tell whether his actions will have the desired effect but he deserves the benefit of the doubt for now with respect to this particular action. Meanwhile politics in the great nation improved considerably with the resignation of Eric Holder from the post of Attorney General. Holder was a charlatan who side stepped investigations regarding obvious election fraud, used his office to promote a racially motivated agenda and too often took a soft stance against Islamist terror. His policies were consistent with an administration that limps from crisis to crisis and the US will be better served by his absence.
I have noticed several New Year posts from the inappropriately named Jewish Voice for Peace, making their way into my Facebook feed. Please note that this group is not a pro-peace initiative but an anti-Israel front group that gives the 'kosher' seal of approval to the ongoing campaign against the Jewish state. It puts a soft spin on the terror used by Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad and others against Israel and decries Israel's attempts to defend itself. The mere fact that it h...as prominent BDS supporters such as Desmond Tutu and Naomi Klein on its front page explains a lot. JVP resides politically to the far left of Peace Now, New Israel Fund and J Street and it is clear that many of its members don't even believe that Israel has the right to exist in the first place preferring the two state solution as a stepping stone to a one state option that would see Israel disappear off the world map altogether. Israel and the Jewish people have legitimate peace groups on both sides of the political divide that have its best interests at heart.....JVP is not one of them
Saturday, September 13, 2014
I agree that men and women should earn the same prize money for the Grand Slams in tennis but then they should also play the same number of sets - best of five not three - these are the Slams after all. One must run the gauntlet to win.
It has been over thirteen years since jihadists brought down the Twin Towers in New York. It's important that we in the West continue our fight against the Islamist barbarism in its many insidious forms. This includes being vigilant not only against the more obvious Jihadists (ISIL/ISIS, AL Q, Hezbollah, Hamas, the various Salafist groups, Boko Haram, the Brotherhood and others) but also those th...at operate by stealth such as CAIR, ISNA and the MSA.The radical left and many so-called progressives have helped empower some of these groups by muzzling free speech criticism and this has been extremely unfortunate. Obama appears to be waking up but his naivety on this front has cost America dearly. With Europe in the wake of demographic suicide the US is still the best hope for those who champion liberal democracy (although India may carry this mantra in the future)...but after six years of second rate leadership I just hope that it has not lost the belief that overall it is a force of good.
Olivia Chow is polling at 19%, a full 22 percentage points behind John Tory in the Toronto mayorial race. She claims that she can move past Doug Ford, who sits at 34%, but I doubt it. Besides even if she does there are no second place medals here for the picking. The Toronto Star will muckrack to elevate her upwards but her campaign has been lousy so far. On another note its amusing how Tory has been re-branded as a centrist ...by the nattering classes..I remember seven or eight years ago when he ran for the Premiership of Ontario my leftist collegues were likening him to Mike Harris and urging us teachers to vote for the duplicitious Dalton McGuinty (who did more to damage teacher collective bargaining rights than any other premier in recent history...). Ah, how times have changed.
Saturday, September 06, 2014
We are starting to see David Cameron adopting a tougher stance on Islamic Fundamentalism. Obama appears to have set his targets on ISIS/ISIL but he is so inconsistent in his Middle East policy that I am not sure where he is actually headed. It seems that both leaders want to re-focus NATO to deal with the threat, which must bring a smile on the face of Vladimir Putin as he extends further Russian influence westward into the Eastern Ukraine.
My sister blog Worldohistory has been in suspended animation for the best part of four and a half years...However I have plans to re-ignite this blog which will serve a resource for my posts specifically dealing with our collective history. I am excited about this as I have spent a considerable amount of time reading about the Great War over the last two months and have much to share.
Wednesday, September 03, 2014
From my blog....Its been one hundred years since the beginning of the 'War to End All Wars' and the outcome of this great conflict is still very relevant today, While the war ended the Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, Russian and German Empires it was also responsible for the rise of Fascism, Marxist-Leninism and Islamism. Vladimir Putin is an extension of the KGB apparatus that originated with Lenin's Cheka (during WWI) and ISIS - gains its intellectual capital (if you can call it such a thing) from the Wahhabism that challenged Turkish superiority in the Arabian Peninsula. As well American Intervensionism, which has critics on both the left and the right, can take as its champion Woodrow Wilson, who rejected the isolation of old to thrust America into the global theatre as never before. One would not be mistaken to conclude that the genesis of the US as a superpower has its origin in WWI not necessarily in a military capacity (where it swung the war against the Central Pact in 1918) but in its ability to finance the allied war machine. The American economic power house grew to adulthood in the Great War.
Monday, September 01, 2014
There is no more dominant teams perhaps in all of international sports than the New Zealand All-Blacks. Not only do the Kiwis have winning records against all competitors, their win percentage across all games is a colossal seventy-five percent (or so). This of course is no reflection on the quality of opposition. Each of the Australian Wallabies, South African Springboks as well as England and France, to name a few, play high intense rugby and boast admirable records on their own but it is the All-Blacks who steal the show. While the New Zealanders boast a proud history of great players - Jonah Lomu, Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Colin Meads – it is the level of teamwork, all round commitment, position play and the pride of following in a tradition that borders on the excellent that have elevated the All-Blacks to legendary status. They never seem to field a weak team and are always a force to be reckoned with. In fact it would not be out of line to say that the All Blacks are rugby union’s default champions. So what is the basis for this success? I believe that it is a consequence of the various tiers of competition that colour the panorama of the kiwi rugby world. Take the Canterbury Rugby Union, who are 11 time winners of the ITM Cup (New Zealand’s premier national competition). Amazingly, 48 Club teams feed into this particular union from three sub-unions, yet Canterbury is only one of 26 unions. The elite from Canterbury then play at the next level in the Super 15 Competition tier together with top players from the various other regional unions in an odyssey of rugby that pits the best of New Zealand against their counterparts in South Africa and Australia. The best of the best from these rarefied Super 15 teams are then selected to represent the All-Blacks on the international front. No other nation boasts such a multi-levelled structure that guarantees consistent competition on a yearlong basis (South Africa comes closest), but clearly it does the trick and is a key component in All Black success.