Thursday, December 21, 2017

Assorted

     Happy Yuletide to all the Druids out there. Have a smattering of random observations and references.


     Via Power Line, we learn that German economic forecasters are able to perceive what American Democrats deny:

     German investment in the US is expected to rise by €39 billion because of lower US corporate taxes.

     While Americans are anxiously awaiting full details of the tax bill now being finalized in Congress, German economists are warning that the changes sought by President Donald Trump mean that significant amounts of new investment and jobs will shift from Europe to the United States.

     “The tax competition will have a new dimension,” said Christoph Spengel, chairman of the corporate tax department at the University of Mannheim. Mr. Spengel, who is also a research associate at the Center for European Economic Research, and a group of tax experts at the university have done a detailed comparison of the two countries’ tax systems and published a report under the heading, “Germany loses out in US tax reform.”

     Clemens Fuest, who heads the Ifo economic think tank, also said he believed German business would suffer. “Investments and jobs will migrate to the US,” he said.

     Why yes, they will. The U.S. corporate environment of the Trump Era is appreciably friendlier than it was a year ago. Greatly reduced taxation and regulation will render American enterprises better able to compete with their foreign counterparts. But be not afraid, Germany. It’s not as bad as all that, really: the net increase in American economic activity will make possible increased consumption of goods no matter where they’re made. Atop that, Americans with a little more cash in their wallets might just find it worthwhile to invest in foreign firms. That, of course remains to be seen.

     But of two things we may be quite sure:

  1. There will be accelerated economic growth in these United States;
  2. It’s making the Left absolutely furious.

     (Giggle cackle snort!)


     The antics in the United Nations, long a source of puzzlement to many men of good will, have made their basis plain with the recent Security Council vote to censure the U.S. for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The animus against the Jewish state, the only reasonably free nation in the Middle East and America’s sole reliable ally, is no longer concealed in any way. To those nations that seek to castigate us for siding with Israel’s right to declare its own capital city, there will be consequences:

     U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to cut off financial aid to countries that vote in favour of a draft United Nations resolution calling for the United States to withdraw its decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

     "They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us. Well, we're watching those votes. Let them vote against us. We'll save a lot. We don't care," Trump told reporters at the White House.

     The 193-member U.N. General Assembly will hold a rare emergency special session on Thursday - at the request of Arab and Muslim countries - to vote on a draft resolution, which the United States vetoed on Monday in the 15-member U.N. Security Council.

     The remaining 14 Security Council members voted in favour of the Egyptian-drafted resolution, which did not specifically mention the United States or Trump but which expressed "deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem."

     U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley, in a letter to dozens of U.N. states on Tuesday seen by Reuters, warned that Trump had asked her to "report back on those countries who voted against us."

     Seldom have there been any consequences – any negative ones, at least – for the U.N.’s habitual kowtowing to its Islamic bloc. This is long overdue. I hope President Trump follows up sharply. As it’s in perfect keeping with his “America first” guideline, I expect he will.


     I’ve been probing various groups connected to the Alt-Right and white identity movements, and I find a disturbing commonality among them: anti-Semitism. Whereas at one time I thought I might align myself with those communities, I cannot do so as long as hatred of the Jewish people is part of their ethos.

     Granted that American Jews are generally left-aligned. That’s not because they hate America, American principles, or American norms, but because the Jews’ own history of relentless persecution has made them highly sensitive toward (and overly accepting of) claims of oppression or persecution made by other groups that have even a shred of historical justification for them. The Left claims – dishonestly – to champion oppressed groups. The political consequences should be obvious.

     The Jewish people aren’t just the group with the longest and most sorrowful history of persecution. They’re also the most accomplished and resilient people on Earth. And they are nearly all Caucasian -- white. To deem them enemies of the “white race” is to commit an unacceptable redefinition and an unforgivable injustice.

     I will have no truck with any person or group that commits that fault.


     Today, December 21, is the winter solstice: the date on which the sunrise comes latest and the sunset comes earliest. It’s the historical reason for many a festival. What many people aren’t aware of is the place of those historical festivals in the religions of the pre-Christian era.

     The winter solstice was at one time also called the dark of the year. The Sun, it seemed, had receded from the Earth. To peoples who held that the behavior of astronomical bodies was actively controlled by sentient superhuman entities – the deities of those times, though not of the sort we recognize today – it was a spur to the propitiation and petition of those imagined persons. Thousands upon thousands of our ancestors joined in fervent prayer to whichever “god” determined the motion of the Sun to bring it back again, that life might continue.

     We don’t pray for that today. Instead we celebrate the feasts of the Christian and Jewish traditions. I can’t say why Chanukkah was sited at this calendric locale, but I do know why Christmas was put near here: to replace the feast of Saturnalia, one of the great revels of the pagan Roman calendar. Saturnalia replaced even earlier sun-propitiation rites, which is why it was positioned at this time of year:

     In Roman mythology, Saturn was an agricultural deity who was said to have reigned over the world in the Golden Age, when humans enjoyed the spontaneous bounty of the earth without labor in a state of innocence. The revelries of Saturnalia were supposed to reflect the conditions of the lost mythical age, not all of them desirable.

     Even if only subconsciously, we recognize the importance of the Sun and the light and warmth it provides. Many persons, especially in the more northern latitudes, are acutely aware of this because they suffer from sunlight deprivation that they must take care to treat with sunlamps or other supplements during the winter months.

     Christians, of course, celebrate the coming of the Son rather than praying for the return of the Sun. (We’re fairly confident about both.) Yet there is a parallel there, for He who opened the gates of salvation for Man shed a great light over the world, a light that had been known only indistinctly and to a small number before His coming. Our joy at that light shines brilliantly in the most beautiful Christmas hymn of all:

“A thrill of hope,
The weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks
A new and glorious morn...”

     My posting will likely be sparse until after the New Year, so allow me to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. God bless us, every one!

2 comments:

mobius wolf said...

Very nice.
Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Stacey said...

Merry Christmas! Thank you for enlightening me, almost daily, throughout the year.