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The Carbon Tax Brings an Ill Wind

They call it "The Fog" but it isn't fog. Air pollution in London has become so bad, traffic is being hindered. King Edward I of England has issued a prohibition against the burning of sea-coal, demanding that people burn wood only. He threatens to put offenders to death but a King should not issue orders that the people will not obey. There is no wood to burn in London unless one burns the furniture. Parliament then passes a law, with fines (a sort of "carbon tax"), but it doesn't work because it is cheaper to pay the fine than it is to haul the wood in from miles away. Everyone seems willing to clean up their act but they can't change what they are doing without stopping what they are doing, so they pay the tax. Seventeen years later, even the King is burning coal. [1] [2] [3] [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
I was deeply suspicious when I saw this event listed in Wikipedia without a citation. Then I noticed the EPA and Wired quoting the same passage. It sounded like an urban legend but I found a source from the 1800's not tainted with the climate control hysteria of our age. Make what you will of it. I suspect it is true. I also suggest reading about King Canute holding back the tide. It is usually recited as an example of the arrogance of Kings, but in fact it is a lesson in humility. King Canute hung his crown on a cross "to the honor of God the almighty King". (FULL DISCLOSURE: I am assuming they are paying the fine because I know they can't get the wood. I know that. OK?)[5]

Philip the Fair, Unfair to the Jews

King Phillip the Fair of France has been playing funny with the money supply and it has to stop. He needs a new influx of cash so that he can strengthen his new silver coin. He decides to boot the Jews out of France, confiscate their property and take over collection on their loans. Most of the Jews will move to a nearby Duchy. They will be invited back in a few years and asked where all their stuff is. The King will be surprised when they are less than fully cooperative and expel them again. The Jews will be invited back by King Louis X in 1315 on a strictly commercial basis when the people figure out that the King's bureaucracy did not make very good bankers and they couldn't stand it any more. [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is difficult NOT to ascribe an antisemitic motive to this harsh move. On the other hand, all the dates don't match up. The "drop dead" date should be July 30th, one day after the Jewish commemoration of Destruction of the Temple, but accounts say it happened on the Feast of Mary Madelene which was one week earlier. I've also see an account where the expulsion lasted into October. Many scholars think it was done only for the money. Because of the messed up dates and the secretive way the King went about it, I'm going to say it was done for the money.

Welcome to the New War, Same as the Old War

With "12 pence and a pair of spurs" Robert the Bruce has eluded arrest and has been gathering support from the major churches in Scotland. Now he has gathered John Comyn to his ancestors. Comyn had been the one to sign away the liberty of Scotland and sacrificed Sir William "Braveheart" Wallace at the altar of a lost cause. Now, he lies dead, himself, at the great altar of Greyfriars Church in Dumfries. No good accounting can be made of what happened except that Comyn is dead and Robert the Bruce did it. Six weeks later he will be crowned King of Scotland and the First War for the Independence of Scotland will be on again. [11] [12] [13] [14] [15]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
I don't know what to think of John Comyn. He loves Scotland. He's doing his best. He's probably a better man than Robert the Bruce. But a lot of this was his own fault when he sidelined Sir Wallace in the first place. The rest cascaded from there. Sometimes we make decisions early on and we don't realize how they will force us into worse decisions later on. John Comyn now lies in a pool of his own poor choices.

See Also

  • 1304 Braveheart and Donald Rumsfeld


  1. Wheatley, Henry Benjamin. "London." "1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/London." Wikisource . Wikisource , 25 Dec. 2012. Web. 18 Feb. 2014.
  2. Holland, John. The history and description of fossil fuel, the collieries, and coal trade of Great Britain, London: Whittaker and Co. 1841, p. 313-314. (BOOK)
  3. Sea-Coal, from the Free Dictionary. It has a smokey yellow flame.
  4. Year 1306, Wikipedia
  5. King Canute: Ruler of the waves, Wikipedia
  6. 1306 July 22, PHILIP THE FAIR (France), from Jewish History
  7. The Expulsion of the Jews from France (1306), Simon R. Schwarzfuchs, The Jewish Quarterly Review, Vol. 57, 1967, pp. 482-489.
  8. Expulsion of Jews from France in 1306, from BBC. 2009-06-25.
  9. Hebrew Calendar for 1306, from HebCal
  10. Philip IV of France: Expulsion of the Jews, Wikipedia
  11. Murison, Alexander Falconer, King Robert the Bruce, Edinburgh: Oliphant Anderson & Ferrier, 1899. pp. 28-30. (BOOK)
  12. First_War_of_Scottish_Independence First War of Scottish Independence, Wikipedia
  13. Robert the Bruce, Wikipedia
  14. John Coymn: Death in Dumfries, Wikipedia
  15. Year 1306, Wikipedia

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