Thursday, August 4, 2016


I think not.  I’m old enough to remember 1979 and the aftermath.

But I’m reminded of the Danegeld.  Now that was ransom bigtime.  The English tried baptism, danegeld payments, built huge fleets that were destroyed, they built burrhs, even tried ethnic cleansing (St Brice’s Day Massacre).  None of it worked.

The master at Danegeld was Cnut Sveinsson, aka Cnut the Great, or more commonly Canute.  He, or his predecessors started out small, then 16,000 pounds, then a few years later incrementally ran it up by 50% to 24,000, then later to 36,000, then 48,000, then to 72,000.  Don’t recollect where he stopped.  But eventually he got the entire treasury when he became King of England.   He was also King of Denmark, Norway, a huge chunk of southern Sweden, and parts of northern and western Scotland.

His reign as King of England started a thousand years ago in 1016 AD and lasted for 19 years to his death in 1035.   At least one historian has called him <i>"the most effective king in Anglo-Saxon history"<i> even though he was a Dane and not English.  Too bad his sons were not as wise as he.  With infighting they only lasted another seven years before the Saxons took back the crown.  I have to wonder if Duke William of Normandy would ever have invaded England if Cnut was still around?

Too bad the History Channel series ‘Vikings’ does not cover Cnut's era instead of Ragnar’s.  Or perhaps the author Bernard Cornwell should write of Cnut instead of the so-called Alfred the Great in his Saxon tales.


  1. No, mike.


    This is about as much like "Danegeld" as the Trump University lawsuit was about selling real estate. This cash was paid by the Shah's government for weapons that were then not delivered because of the 1979 revolution. It's a simple business deal; the Iranians paid for goods that they never got. A court ruled that they should get it back. They did.

    To assume that this was a "ransom" is to confuse coincidence with consequence.

    Oh, and for all the usual GOP suspects fulminating about you screwheads REALLY want to open the "trading stuff for hostages" memory hole? 'Cause I seem to remember something about the ol' Gipper and the ayatollahs...

  2. As I said above Chief, "Ransom? I think not". Meaning it was not ransom in my book. I also said I was old enough to remember 1979. Perhaps I should have been more direct about Ronnie Reagan's treason. It was he, Raygun, who paid the Danegeld to the Ayatollahs. But I thought you of all commenters would get it. Instead you go off half-cocked. I hope you are not referring to me as a screwhead?

  3. The "screwheads" are the "usual GOP suspects" that are trumpeting this as the Ransom Deal of the Century. That was what set me off when I first read this. I totally didn't get that you were drawing a line between the present furor over the 400 million and Iran-Contra...

    That said, I don't think I'd call Iran-Contra "Danegeld". I don't think that Reagan was paying the Iranians off to get them to "do" anything in particular other than use their pull with Hezbollah (which it doesn't seem like they really did, much...) I think that the original idea may have been something like that, but the whole magilla only really took off after Ollie North, Poindexter, Cap Weinberger and the rest of the Merry Pranksters figured that it would be a dandy way to fund black ops in Central America...

    So that's what I think of when I think of "Iran-Contra"; not so much paying off Iran but funding super secret wars, which the recent mess isn't...

    I apologize - I didn't mean you to think I was pissed off or calling YOU a screwhead. It's the idiotic newsmorons and the Usual GOP Suspects that have me pissed about this...

  4. No apologies necessary Chief, I should have composed a better lead-in to make the SNARK aspect more visible.

    Reagan and his boys did in fact pay ransom for hostages. That may not be strictly Danegeld by definition. It was ransom however. But then an idiot like me never hesitates to pile on with historical examples (especially examples of Sassenach dupicity). Of course they may never fit exactly.