Wheels of Justice Grinding Slowly

Sauce For Both Goose And Gander

One of the most offensive things about Hillary Clinton is her apparent belief that sauce for the goose is definitely not sauce for the gander.  In other words, she and her “organization” seem to believe that they are above the rules and regulations to which lesser mortals must adhere.  They convey the impression that rules and regulations do not apply to them.

One of the most alarming examples was Clinton’s maintaining a private e-mail server whilst Secretary of State.  Now a Federal Judge has laid into Clinton and her cabal over the matter.

A federal judge on Thursday ordered additional fact-finding in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server to probe whether or not Clinton’s private email system, which she used during her four-year tenure as secretary of state, was a deliberate attempt to bypass the Freedom of Information Act. [The Blaze]

Judicial Watch–an organization dedicated to keeping the government subject to the rule of law–has won a case in which the Clinton machine (and the State Department) was attempting to “keep things hidden”.  This, from Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch:

Judicial Watch Victory: Court Orders Discovery into Clinton Email Scandal

I have said all along that, in their delaying, blocking, and obfuscating our attempts to get to the truth about Hillary Clinton’s email, the Justice and State Departments have been acting in bad faith by defending the evasion of the Freedom of Information Act and other email misconduct by Hillary Clinton.
Now, a federal judge is questioning their motives, as well, and ordering them to join us in rectifying this miscarriage of justice.
In a ruling excoriating both the U.S. Departments of State and Justice, U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth has ordered both agencies to join us in submitting a proposed schedule for discovery into whether Hillary Clinton sought to evade the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by using a private email system and whether the State Department acted in “bad faith” by failing to disclose knowledge of the email system.
The decision comes in our FOIA lawsuit related to the Benghazi terrorist attack.
Specially, Judge Lamberth ruled:

… the Court ORDERS the parties to meet and confer to plan discovery into (a) whether Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email while Secretary of State was an intentional attempt to evade FOIA; (b) whether the State Department’s attempts to settle this case in late 2014 and early 2015 amounted to bad faith; and (c) whether State has adequately searched for records responsive to Judicial Watch’s requests.

Terming Clinton’s use of her private email system, “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency,” Judge Lamberth wrote in his MEMORANDUM OPINION:

… his [President Barack Obama’s] State and Justice Departments fell far short. So far short that the court questions, even now, whether they are acting in good faith. Did Hillary Clinton use her private email as Secretary of State to thwart this lofty goal [Obama announced standard for transparency]? Was the State Department’s attempt to settle this FOIA case in 2014 an effort to avoid searching – and disclosing the existence of – Clinton’s missing emails? And has State ever adequately searched for records in this case?
***
At best, State’s attempt to pass-off its deficient search as legally adequate during settlement negotiations was negligence born out of incompetence. At worst, career employees in the State and Justice Departments colluded to scuttle public scrutiny of Clinton, skirt FOIA, and hoodwink this Court.

Turning his attention to the Department of Justice, the Court wrote:

The current Justice Department made things worse. When the government last appeared before the Court, counsel claimed, ‘it is not true to say we misled either Judicial Watch or the Court.’ When accused of ‘doublespeak,’ counsel denied vehemently, feigned offense, and averred complete candor. When asked why State masked the inadequacy of its initial search, counsel claimed that the officials who initially responded to Judicial Watch’s request didn’t realize Clinton’s emails were missing, and that it took them two months to ‘figure [] out what was going on’… Counsel’s responses strain credulity. [citations omitted] 

The Court granted discovery because the government’s response to the Judicial Watch Benghazi FOIA request for Clinton emails “smacks of outrageous conduct.”

Citing an email (uncovered as a result of our lawsuit) in which Hillary Clinton acknowledged that Benghazi was a terrorist attack immediately after it happened, Judge Lamberth asked:

Did State know Clinton deemed the Benghazi attack terrorism hours after it happened, contradicting the Obama Administration’s subsequent claim of a protest-gone-awry?
****
Did the Department merely fear what might be found? Or was State’s bungling just the unfortunate result of bureaucratic red tape and a failure to communicate? To preserve the Department’s integrity, and to reassure the American people their government remains committed to transparency and the rule of law, this suspicion cannot be allowed to fester.

The historic court ruling raises concerns about the Hillary Clinton email scandal and government corruption that millions of Americans share.
We look forward to conducting careful discovery into the Clinton email issue, and we hope the Justice Department and State Department recognize Judge Lamberth’s criticism and help, rather than obstruct, this court-ordered discovery.

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Why the voice came

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John 12:27-30

Joh 12:27 “Now my soul has been agitated. And what should I say– Father, save me from this hour? But that is why I came to this hour.

Joh 12:28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from the sky: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”

Joh 12:29 The crowd standing there heard it and said it was thunder that happened. Others said, “An angel had spoken to him.”

Joh 12:30 Jesus answered, and this is what he said, “This voice came, not for me, but for you.

Why the voice came

Understand this – my friend. You will have times like this. You will have times of deep soul agitation, and you will long expectantly for a response from God. All you will need is assurance from your creator that he has not forgotten you, and all this trouble is somehow part of his divine plan. Jesus cried out for God to glorify himself in the mess that was his life at that time. The voice came.

The Father reassured the Son that everything was happening according to the divine plan. The same God who parted the waters in Egypt was orchestrating the terrible events that would lead him to the cross. Both events would eventually be seen to glorify God.

But notice what Jesus said after that. When the people asked about the voice, he said it came not for him, but for them. For Jesus, the prayer alone would have sufficed. The child of God does not always need an audible answer. But it does help to make the request.

Lord, give us the wisdom to seek your presence daily, and to be satisfied with your presence, even if we don’t always get the answers to our questions.

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Brexit: A Closer Look At the Tea Leaves

Theresa May Survived, but Brexiteers Gained Ground

By John O’Sullivan
National Review Online

The vote of confidence only leaves things more unsettled.

When Sir Graham Brady, the solid Yorkshire MP who chairs the 1922 Committee of Tory backbench MPs, announced the result of the vote of confidence on Theresa May as Tory leader Wednesday night, he did so in two installments. First, he announced that she had won, producing a loud cheer from May’s supporters in a general atmosphere of good humor and even hilarity. Then he announced the figures — 200 votes for May, 117 against her. That announcement was received with intakes of breath and a surprised silence. The effect was one of shock and alarm. Thursday morning, the newspaper headlines report a Pyrrhic victory for the prime minister that has solved nothing and left most things unsettled. In fact, the vote leaves things more unsettled than before.

First, all Tory MPs, ministers, and backbenchers alike voted. But they voted in very different ways. May’s “defeated” critics, mainly on the Brexiteer wing of the Conservative party, got 37 percent of the total vote but something approaching two-thirds of the non-payroll vote (a.k.a. backbenchers). Her victory was in part a result of the “bloating” of ministerial ranks — exactly the kind of thing denounced as corruption by earlier generations of reformers. What that says, however, is that a different leader with different policies would be able to command quite a number of the same votes.

Now, compare those figures with previous challenges to prime ministers.
Much has been made of the fact that May did less well on this occasion than John Major when he contrived a similar vote on himself in 1995. That’s a fair comparison, but the disparity was not massive, and Tory divisions over the EU were not then so deep and bitter as today. Brexit introduces a new instability into this situation. It’s the kind of issue that splits parties and changes minds. Compare this result therefore with something of equal weight — namely, the vote against Neville Chamberlain in the 1940 Norway debate that led Churchill to power. As with May last night, the Chamberlain government won the debate, getting 281 votes, but what changed history was that 101 government supporters either voted against him (41) or abstained (60). Statistically, Chamberlain did better in less favorable circumstances than May — the Brits had just lost Norway — but he was still out of power a week later.

Brexit too prompted a major rebellion that took May, the cabinet, and the whips by surprise. Julian Smith, the chief whip, had been telling May and the cabinet that he would deliver the vote on the Withdrawal Agreement on Tuesday without difficulty right up to the day before. Irony piled upon irony, he had invited television-documentary cameras into the inner sanctum of the Whips’ Office to record a success that turned into a disaster. It didn’t end with that. He seems to have downplayed expectations (or simply gotten things wrong) on the scale of the rebellion last night. High-end forecasts were that the Brexiteers might go as high as 80 votes. In the event, they added 37 votes to that figures for a total of 117. The whips had lost control.

That’s a humiliation for Smith, who surely is not long for this world, but also a sign of much wider dissent than previously guessed. If 117 Tories rebelled, you can be sure that many more wanted to do so — that’s the way of the world — and that the whips won’t get control back anytime soon, and certainly not on the basis of the May policy. In particular, the whips’ calculation that the majority of the Tory benches are firm Remainers is looking decidedly shaky. Last night, that realization was what evoked intakes of breath and shocked surprise from the political correspondents and media pundits in the Committee Room.

There’s a Remainer bias in the media, as is generally acknowledged, but the degree of contempt and dislike of Brexiteers such as Boris Johnson, David Davis, and Jacob Rees-Mogg goes much deeper than most media traits. It’s a blend of social resentment and (unjustified) intellectual snobbery, and it is provoked by the fact that its targets are in fact unusually talented and effective politicians. Hence the desire to make them small. But the media celebrated their downfall last night too soon, and as the figures sank in, the media realized that the Brexiteers had not lost the plot but moved up the field — which means that this is not the Remainer Parliament that most commentary describes but something much more unstable and uncertain.

How is that instability likely to play out — in Parliament, in Europe, and in Britain?

In Parliament, the first conclusion is that May cannot now get her Withdrawal Agreement bill through the House of Commons. If 117 Tory MPs have voted against her personally, she and Mr. Smith can hardly risk putting her signature dish before the House. That’s too large a Tory rebellion to be overcome by winning Labour or Liberal votes. Second, she told the Tory backbenchers’1922 Committee that she had given the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist party a veto on whatever policy she wants to pursue, and they will not be diffident about exercising it to prevent the Northern Ireland “backstop.” And, finally, since she promised to quit before the next election (in order to stay now), her clout is diminishing hourly.

In other words, May has been seriously wounded by this victory. Even though she can’t be challenged by Brexiteers in the backbenchers’ 1922 Committee, she is still in too weak a position to create a new majority for her favored non-Brexit deal or any other deal that Remainers might want. They are caught in a trap of their own making. When MPs passed the legislation to take Britain out of the EU last year, they established that Britain would leave the EU in March next year even if no post-Brexit deal with the EU had been agreed. Sure, there are various proposals for U.K.–EU deals from “the Norway Option” to “Canada++++.” But there doesn’t seem to be a ready-made majority for any one of them. And if one can’t be constructed by a weak PM, then Britain “crashes out” of the EU — as trading under the rules of the World Trade Organization, perhaps the single most successful global body since 1945, is called by, well, the globalists in the Remain camp.

It’s stalemate now, leading automatically to Brexit later — except that though the path to Brexit is clear and unlocked, it’s also menaced by rival gangs of parliamentary Remainers and soft Brexiteers who want to drag the country down one of their own highways that either stop halfway to Brexit or never get beyond the city limits. If they could agree, they might take the country somewhere, even if only to where it is and was before Brexit. But each gang is so devoted to its own trip that it blocks all the others. And since the rules of the road are that they must agree on some positive direction, Brexit may come to them even if they never go to Brexit. It seems unlikely but it can’t be ruled out.

Can Europe save May? That’s not impossible, but it seems very unlikely. Brussels doesn’t want to bend even slightly on the current Withdrawal Agreement. It’s most discussed concession — a “politically binding” declaration softening the legally binding treaty text — would not be nearly enough to satisfy the House of Commons now. There is too much distrust on both sides to make new talks successful. And if May actually does prepare for a “No Deal” outcome, as she now promises, then it would gradually seem to be a less terrifying and more practicable policy as it looms up as a likelihood.

And, finally, the country. This is probably the main problem for May and the Tory Remainers. Though Britain is said to be divided, a recent breakdown of opinion on Brexit constituency by constituency shows that, in almost every district, there is a majority for Leave. It’s a problem for both parties, but it’s especially acute for Tories because the Conservative party outside Parliament is now a thoroughgoing Leaver party. About four-fifths of its activists and 70 percent of its voters are Leavers. Many of the 200 “loyalists” who voted for May this week did so because that was the safe choice at Westminster. But they know that their own activists oppose May, want a stronger Brexit policy, and may demand a real Leaver as their next parliamentary candidate.

A general election may be far off — though it’s a constant threat for a government without a working majority — but a local by-election that produces a shock electoral defeat for a Tory candidate at the hands of a new UKIP would be quite enough to shift many of May’s loyalists and all but the hardest of Hard Remainers back to the Brexit orthodoxy of the Tory manifesto.

Yesterday, the Brexiteers did not succeed in ousting May, electing a new leader, or changing policy. But they made real progress in obstructing May’s crabwise crawl to a soft Brexit and moving their party back towards the policies it allegedly champions. Both sides now threaten parliamentary trench warfare to obstruct May’s Withdrawal Agreement bill and to achieve their various objectives. As Wolcott Gibbs ended his Time parody: Where it will all end, knows God.

 — John O’Sullivan is an editor-at-large of National Review. @johnosullivannr

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Soul hating

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John 12:23-26

Joh 12:23 Jesus answers them. This is what he says, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

Joh 12:24 I honestly tell you, unless a kernel of wheat after falling to the ground — dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it produces much fruit.

Joh 12:25 The one who highly regards his soul destroys it, and the one who hates his soul in this world will preserve it for permanent life.

Joh 12:26 If anyone manages for me, he has to follow me. Where I am, there my manager also will be. If anyone manages for me, the Father will honor him.

Soul hating

Philip had been paid a huge complement by the Greeks, who had desired an audience with Jesus. They called him ‘Lord’ (12:21). I’m thinking that Philip’s ego was being stroked there. This made Jesus’ comments here so appropriate. To highly regard one’s soul is to let superfluous acclaim go to your head, and become prideful. That will wind up destroying your soul. But to hate your soul is to remain humble no matter what others think of you. Such an attitude will wind up preserving your soul for the future permanent life.

You might notice that I did not translate ψυχή (soul) as “life” in verse 25. To do so would be to lose the distinction between it and ζωή which appears in the same verse, and is the more normally translated “life.” I also translated διακονέω as “manage” rather than the usual “serve.” John had been using the term to indicate the process of managing. If Jesus had meant to emphasize mere serving, he would have probably used δουλεύω instead (Matthew 6:24; Luke 15:29). Also, if Jesus is addressing the issue of Philip’s pride, a better word to indicate the pride of someone who “ministers” for Jesus is διακονέω.

Lord, keep us from falling for the trap of getting prideful about serving you.

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Gems from Jonathan Edwards: Seeing the End in the Beginning

Jewels and Treasures From the Past
About fifty years ago the theological community was confronted with an allegedly new discipline, named Biblical Theology.  This was contrasted with the discipline of Systematic Theology.  Systematics dealt with the content and structure of biblical doctrines (e.g. divine revelation, the Incarnation, etc).  Biblical Theology, on the other hand, dealt with the progressive accomplishment of redemption and revelation.

It turns out, however, that one of America’s greatest theologians, Jonathan Edwards (working and writing in the mid-eighteenth century) was way ahead of the curve.  His book, The History of Redemption remains to this day one of the best works on biblical theology ever printed.

We reproduce his biblical-theological commentary on the Flood as a prime example.

Satan seems to have been in a dreadful rage just before the flood, and his rage then doubtless was, as it always has been, chiefly against the church of God.  He had drawn almost all the world to be enlisted under his banner.  We read that “the earth was filled with violence”; and doubtless that violence was chiefly against the church, in fulfilment of what was foretold, “I will put enmity between thy seed and her seed.”

And their enmity and violence was so great, and the enemies of the church so numerous, the whole world being against it, that it was come to the last extremity.  Noah’s reproofs and his preaching of righteousness were utterly disregarded.  God’s Spirit had striven with them a hundred and twenty years, but in vain; the church was reduced to such narrow limits as to be confined to one family.  Neither was there a prospect of any thing else but of their totally swallowing it up in a very little time; and so wholly destroying that small root that had the blessing in it, from whence the Redeemer was to proceed. 

And therefore, God’s destroying those enemies of the church by the flood, belongs to this design of redemption; for it was one thing that was done in fulfilment of the covenant of grace, as it was revealed to Adam:  “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head.”  Thus was the seed of the serpent, in the midst of their most violent rage, disappointed, and church delivered when in the utmost peril.  . . .

By the deluge, the enemies of God’s people were dispossessed, and the whole earth given to Noah and his family to enjoy in quiet; as God made room for the Israelites in Canaan, by casting out their enemies from before them.  And God’s thus taking the possession of the enemies of the church, and giving it all to his church, was agreeable to that promise of the covenant of grace:  

For the evildoers shall be cut off,    but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;    though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.                 But the meek shall inherit the land    and delight themselves in abundant peace. [Psalm 37:9-11] 

[Jonathan Edwards, The History of Redemption (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1836), p. 42f]

The essence of biblical theological exposition is seeing the end in the beginning, and the beginning in the end–along with all point in-between.  When the Bible is taught and expounded in such a way, the hearts of God’s people “burn within them” as it were–and as was the case on that road to Emmaus so long ago.

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You Don’t Get To Do This Every Day

Seizing the Mace

There is something magisterial about the passing of time.  Traditions imbedded over hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of years cannot lightly be laid aside.

Here is one of the latest examples from the UK:

The gold ceremonial mace which is carried into the House of Common’s debating chamber each day was wielded in the chamber Monday evening, as tempers frayed over Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.  The Member of Parliament for Brighton, one of the United Kingdom’s most clearly left-progressive cities, Lloyd Russell-Moyle marched up the centre of the chamber and took the golden mace from the table, before holding it aloft and walking towards the exit.

Speaker of the House John Bercow, who is responsible for the proceedings of the chamber and has the power to punish members for unruly conduct, was seemingly taken aback by the move by Russell-Moyle.  Bercow repeated the word “no” until the mace was taken off Russell-Moyle by a uniformed usher, who ceremoniously returned the item back to the chamber.  Bercow then ordered Russell-Moyle out of the chamber, barring him from the rest of the day’s sitting — which was already close to completion.


Embedded video

Charlie Proctor

@MonarchyUK

BREAKING: Utterly extraordinary scenes as Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP is expelled from the House of Commons after grabbing the Mace. #BrexitVote #BrexitShambles

449

4:01 PM – Dec 10, 2018

Here is the chaser:

The mace is a gold-gilded silver symbol of the monarch’s authority in Parliament, and without it, the house cannot sit.  The mace has been seized on a handful of occasions in history, including during the English Civil War, and more recently by Michael Hesseltine in 1976. 

Such drama!  Such theatre! Such fun!

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When they call you ‘Lord’

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John 12:17-22

Joh 12:17 That was why the crowd (which had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead ones) was testifying.
Joh 12:18 This is the reason that the crowd met him, because they heard he had done this sign.
Joh 12:19 That was why the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you’re getting nowhere. Look, the world has gone after him!”
Joh 12:20 But some Greeks were among those who went up to worship at the festival.
Joh 12:21 That was why they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and say to him, “Lord, we want to see Jesus.”
Joh 12:22 Philip goes and says it to Andrew; then Andrew and Philip go and say it to Jesus.

When they call you ‘Lord’

Philip finds himself serving as an emissary to Jesus here. The Greeks honor him with the designation Lord (κύριε) – the same title that they use for Jesus himself. John apparently provides this information to his readers for two reasons: it highlights what the Pharisees had complained about – that the whole world had gone after Jesus, and it establishes a context for Jesus’ teaching about self (soul) denial in vss. 23-26.

As children of God, followers of Jesus, we do have a certain status and serve as emissaries of Christ. It is right for those serving Jesus to honor us as his representatives. We don’t always receive that honor. Often those who reject Christ take out their animosity for him on us. That is all part of the job. We should be prepared for either reaction, and recognize that our connection to Christ may put us in the limelight, or send us to the cross.

Lord, whether they love us or hate us, may it be because of you.

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Developments in North Korea

Emerging Duplicity
Reports are coming out that North Korea has never stopped its nuclear weapons development.  It threw the US administration some “bones” and whilst there was much barking and happy salutations in the kennels, way in the back blocks Kim Jong Un was busy on another even more advanced, secret development.  

North Korea has been keen to show it has been conforming to both the spirit and the word of the agreement its leader, Kim Jong-un, reached with US President Donald Trump in Singapore earlier this year.   Media and investigators have been invited to oversee the dismantling of missile test sites and facilities. 

But new commercial satellite photos obtained by CNN reveal that as he’s been dismantling with one hand, he’s been rapidly assembling with the other, reports news.com.au.”Whatever Kim says about his desire for denuclearisation, North Korea continues to produce and deploy nuclear armed missiles, ” an analyst for the US Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey says.  [NZ Herald]

The heat begins to be turned upon the US administration.  President Trump,  it may be argued, is a great showman.   Throw this circus dog a bone and he will happily scamper around the ring.  At least it appears pretty clear that such is the view Kim Jong Un holds with respect to the US President.  For all the bluster and big-noting, it appears that the North Korean leader may well be emerging the winner.  That is not something anyone should take a perverse pleasure in, regardless of the opinions which they hold about the US President.


Middlebury Institute@MIIS

“Construction on the previously unidentified site has continued even after the Singapore Summit,” @ArmsControlWonk of @CNS_Updates tells @CNN. “Whatever Kim says [re: denuclearization], #NorthKorea continues to produce and deploy nuclear armed missiles.” https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/05/politics/north-korea-satellite-images-missile-base/index.html?fbclid=IwAR0e9i2dVOkrsG5LOR7s2FnAO5ksPGTyL4YtC_2tnYrmR_JCnlKIurMlwl8 

134:50 PM – Dec 5, 2018

Apparently the US and North Korean presidents have another face-to-face talkfest scheduled early in the New Year.

President Trump recently said he is likely to hold a second summit with Kim in January or February. Ban said he hopes the summit will occur at a time when the international community feels confident about North Korea’s commitment to denuclearisation. 

However, if North Korea all along has been continuing its nuclear and missile development programmes, albeit in greater secrecy than ever, Trump has few choices.  To maintain credibility he will be forced to return to the track of universal trade sanctions against North Korea.  Kim Jong Un is effectively calling Trump’s bluff.

“Your move, Mr President.”

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Very, Very Strange

Theresa May’s Words Evoke the Style of Soviet Propaganda
For our readers who remain deeply puzzled over the antics of British Prime Minister, Theresa May we commend your attention to a couple of articles by John O’Sullivan of the National Review.

In the first article entitled “Theresa May’s Brexit Plan Is Likely to Hit the Wall”  O’Sullivan addresses May’s strange, almost Soviet-like contradiction between her words and reality.

The prime minister has tried to trick Brits into believing that her Brexit is the one they voted for.  On December 11, after a year of secret negotiations and political prestidigitation (or conjuring), Theresa May’s attempt to craft a Brexit will be put to its final test.  . . .

In keeping with the progress of May’s very own, very own Brexit so far, this final test is now said by the Downing Street smoke-and-mirrors machine to be only the first final step, because May’s EU deal now seems likely to end in a Commons defeat. That defeat, if it happens, will be mainly at the hands of rebels from her own party.

. . . . There is some debate as to whether May maneuvered herself into this position or was maneuvered by others into it. She says the latter. The WA [“Withdrawal Agreement”] is the Brexit she always wanted. Also, it’s taken most of the year for the consequences of her Brexit strategy to play out. In fact, they haven’t fully played out yet. Given the strong coalition of Cabinet Remainers, establishment worthies, and media enterprises supporting a less-than-Brexit outcome, or even an outright Remain, we can’t rule out a come-from-behind victory for May, the EU, and their WA deal. But it seems unlikely for two reasons.

The first is that the WA is a terrible, terrible deal, as even many of its backers privately admit (notably an unfortunate manager at the Confederation of British Industry whose candid email went awry).  . . .  It can be summed up, however, in these terms: The WA keeps the U.K. inside the Customs Union, retains almost all the regulations of the single market, and is subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice; it also removes Britain’s vote from all EU institutions and makes its withdrawal from this iron cage of EU institutions dependent on the EU’s consent. Everyone except May and her cabal admits that this is worse than simply remaining in the EU as a member state.

Almost the sole Brexit aim that May has achieved is the end of “free movement of labor,” or EU open borders. One plausible explanation of May’s priorities is that she is a Remainer who wanted to dilute Brexit all along but calculated that any solution would have to satisfy voter anxieties on immigration. Remainers have consistently explained away the Brexit vote as driven by racist opposition to free movement. But polls at the time of the vote showed that a desire to restore the U.K.’s status as a self-governing democracy was a far more powerful motive for Leavers. And public reactions to the WA plainly demonstrate the same concern: Brits don’t want to be governed by a European coalition even if they are influential members in it.

May’s endorsement of the WA shows an almost catatonic inability to grasp this point. Her willingness to subordinate U.K. sovereignty to the EU has gone to the extent of placing Britain, the single largest military power in Europe, in the EU’s defense structures (which Britain has traditionally opposed as harmful to NATO), even though the EU is saying plainly that London will have no say in their decisions. May embarked on this aspect of U.K.–EU relations with her advocacy a year ago of a “deep and special relationship” with Europe. But as I wrote at the time, this exaggerates the specialness of Britain’s ties with Europe:  they are not as important strategically as ties with the U.S., or as culturally important as ties with Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, or even as economically important as ties with non-EU countries, which now account for 56 percent of U.K. trade.

Elite Remainers, such as Tony Blair and the editors of the Financial Times and The Economist, are more candid. They accept these restraints on U.K. sovereignty because they have already made the psychological leap from allegiance to the United Kingdom to loyalty to an emerging European state. They are in fact EU nationalists, or as Yoram Hazony would plausibly argue, EU imperialists (since despite its name the EU is a polity with no natural boundaries and a universalist aspiration). They wrap up that transfer of loyalty in claims that there is no contradiction between a European and a British identity. But a conflict between such divided loyalties always arrives, and thus a time always comes when a choice has to be made between them, as in 1861. The current willingness of Remainers to help the EU weaken and wrong-foot the British side of the Brexit negotiations suggests they have made that choice but are still deceiving themselves about it.

. . . . The second reason for doubting that the WA can survive is that it can be sold to voters and MPs only by the most outrageous lies — precisely because it’s a terrible agreement. An important article by Gerald Frost (full disclosure: an old friend and ally in many a political battle) in the current New Criterion establishes beyond any doubt that the European project in Britain has advanced since the 1960s by systematically deceiving the British people about its ultimate purpose, which is to build a European state of some kind with its own foreign and defense policy. (Its theorists bicker continually about exactly what kind.)

That said, the scale of falsehood and dissimulation in the current U.K. debate is of a higher (or lower) order entirely. May stated a year ago that she would not cross a series of red lines: A customs union was out, the single market was out, and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice was out. All those red lines have now been erased, or at the very least rubbed out in places, but May insists they are still clearly marked in neon on the map. There is something eerie and unsettling about someone stating facts in a public forum such as the House of Commons when the treaty she is advocating plainly contradict her description of it. [Emphasis, ours]

. . . Yet the message that May is taking around the U.K. for the next 14 days is that her Withdrawal Agreement is the realization of what Britain voted for in June 2016. It surely can’t persuade the voters — and certainly not to the extent of inspiring them to press their MPs to imprison the country inside its tight regulatory corsets. Most MPs and commentators are reaching this conclusion and starting to consider seriously what will replace the WA after its parliamentary defeat — and perhaps who will replace Theresa May. But the signs are that the lies and deception will continue to play a major role in determining the question of what comes next — and to that I will return tomorrow.  [Emphasis, ours.]

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All a blur

abstract art background blur

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John 12:12-16

Joh 12:12 The next day, after hearing that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, the numerous crowd that had come to the festival

Joh 12:13 took palm branches and went out to meet him. They kept screaming: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who is coming in the name of the Lord– the King of Israel!”

Joh 12:14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just like what is written:

Joh 12:15 Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion. Notice, your King is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt.1

Joh 12:16 His disciples did not understand these things at first. But when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and that these things were done to him.

All a blur

Usually we understand things when we experience them, and then they get blurry when we try to remember them. But for the disciples, the last days of Jesus in Jerusalem were the opposite. While they were experiencing Jesus’ final debates, trials and crucifixion, things were all a blur. Later, after his resurrection, when Jesus was glorified, the Holy Spirit lifted the fuzzy film from their consciousness, and helped them to understand exactly what had happened. I can think of two reasons for this. First, the disciples needed to allow Jesus to experience the cross without their interference. Secondly, they needed clarity after the resurrection in order to communicate the gospel and lead the church.

Lord, give us the wisdom to keep following you even when we do not clearly understand what is going on. But give us clarity when we need to share your gospel and lead your people.

1Zechariah 9:9.

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