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The Five Pillars

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No, not the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, the autobiographical account of the experiences of Lawrence of Arabia.

This one involves much less wisdom. So much so that it’s likely that there is no wisdom at all involved.

This is the grand plan of Chicago Democrat Mayor, Lori Lightfoot, to combat the increasing violence in Chicago this year even as the CPD find themselves on the back foot with mass retirements, funding cuts and prescriptive restrictions on how they interact with criminals.

  • Empower and heal those actively engaged in violence, whether victims or perpetrators.
  • Reclaim neighborhoods and safe spaces by directing resources to neighborhoods with most violence.
  • Improve relations between police and communities “by developing credibility, trust and authentic relationships.”
  • Consider the impact of ordinances and laws on violence and advocate for policies that will increase support for those impacted.
  • Constant collaboration, proactive planning and coordinated efforts between the city and … the justice system, community groups and private companies.

So how’s this approach been working out for the city?

As expected. At best things have not improved on 2020 and may turn out worse. Clearly the city’s District Attorney, Kim Foxx, is starting to (finally) feel the heat over all those people she’s refused to prosecute on gun laws and such, although rather than front up she sent out a minion who specialises in spin. However, after starting with a bang even he had to admit the obvious:

A top advisor to Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx told reporters last month that it’s a “misconception” to say gun violence is skyrocketing in Chicago. “2020 did have a lot of shootings in it,” Matthew Saniie, Foxx’s chief data officer, said. “But it’s also important to put this into perspective.”

“2020 was a pretty gross year for murder,” Saniie allowed. “June and July were the worst June and Julies that we’ve had going back 60 years…May was the 2nd worst May. September was the sixth-worst September.

Saniie told the reporters that there is no reliable data regarding the number of shootings from more than ten years ago. So, he looked at murder data, which goes back several decades instead.

“A good proxy for shootings is murder,” Saniie claimed.

But as the CWB pointed out:

But is it a good proxy? The city’s population has declined 25% over the past sixty years, 20% since 1970, and 11% since 1980. But Saniie did not adjust historical murder counts for population changes.

Here in New Zealand we don’t have the gun crime problems that Chicago has, but the thinking behind the Five Pillars approach is coming to New Zealand, if not already here in Andrew Little’s head. I expect it will have a similar failure.

Written by Tom Hunter

August 3, 2021 at 6:00 am

Footloose

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God, I love the Sony Walkman

Amongst GenX’rs the movie of this name from 1984 is semi-famous.

If you were into dancing then you loved it.

If you weren’t then, “meh”.

I was definitely in the latter category so avoided it like the plague at the time and since.

A couple of years ago my poor, beloved wife tried to get our kids to watch it.

Fail.

Part of my objection was that the basic plot was cliched even for its time. The story is that a “Big City Boy” – played by Kevin Bacon – moves to a small town in America that’s dominated by a Christian Preacher, played by John Lithgow, who bans dancing.

It’s very 80’s, especially in the way it plays so well to the hate against the Moral Majority and Jerry Falwell that existed on the Left and Hollywood at the time (and to this day).

There probably were some towns in USA history that did not like dancing (or booze), but they’d died a long time before the 1980’s – or even the 1950’s. But the movie was made by Boomers, so naturally they had to haul their obsessions with 1950’s American Conservatism into the 1980’s and pretend it was real.

This attitude is still here as the Boomers move closer to being beneath the earth, as shown by this comment about the Catholic Church from one such regular on Kiwiblog a few weeks ago. Still stuck in their upbringing of Fire and Brimstone speeches from the pulpit in the 1950’s/60’s they are utterly clueless as to how far the Catholic hierarchy has moved into the secular world of gay fucking plus – let alone the various Protestant faiths No wonder pedophiles headed for the seminaries after the great Counter-Culture revolution of the 1960’s.

A side-effect of this is that such people – secular atheists, and especially secular, Left-Wing, atheists – adamantly refuse to admit where their side of the fence is now moving.

“Gender-based policies, rules, and practices can have the effect of marginalizing, stigmatizing, and excluding students, regardless of their gender identity or gender expression,” it states, citing “practices that may be based on gender” such as “grouping students for class activities, gender-based homecoming or prom courts, limitations on who can attend as ‘couples’ at school dances, and gender-based events such as father-daughter dances.”

The practical effect will be that such dance evenings a schools will simply be canned, or more likely abandoned due to a lack of enthusiasm. Reverend Shaw Moore could only dream of such enforcement of his morality, but then that’s true of most of the Left’s Stasi-like enforcement nowadays vs. the fears conjured about the Moral Majority in the 1980’s.

These assholes are the Moral Majority, or at least they act like and obtain the results commensurate with power.

One side note is that this is just one of many movies that led to the game, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon:

players challenge each other to arbitrarily choose an actor and then connect them to another actor via a film that both actors have appeared in together, repeating this process to try and find the shortest path that ultimately leads to prolific American actor Kevin Bacon

Written by Tom Hunter

August 2, 2021 at 6:00 am

Posted in History, Humour, Ideologues, Religion, US Politics, USA

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Tank Basement

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A vivid memory I have from very early school years – around the age of 7 or 8 years – is that I told a total bullshit story to friends on the bus that my Dad had a basement at our house containing a WWII tank.

Naturally the older kids, wise and experienced in the ways of the world at ages 11-12, subjected my claims to harsh and detailed scrutiny. I completely ignored them since I didn’t have to share their classrooms.

Then there’s this Dad, German lawyers wrangle over pensioner’s WW2 tank in basement:

Lawyers in Germany are wrangling over how to deal with a pensioner who stored a World War Two tank, anti-aircraft gun and torpedo in his basement.

The items were removed from a house in the northern town of Heikendorf in 2015 with the help of the army.

The defendant, aged 84, must also find new homes for the monumental items.

Hey! That unmarked, pristine Panther tank not only has no fuel, no ammunition, it has no tracks. What possible threat could it be?

Prosecutors and defence lawyers are now negotiating possible penalties, including a suspended sentence and a fine of up to €500,000 (£427,000).

Oh FFS. This is as bad as all those US DOJ and Democrat Party morons who’ve spent six months screaming about “INSURRECTION” and “SEDITION” at the January 6, 2021 “invasion” of the Great US Citadel Of Freedom – followed by convictions for trespassing and “obstructing an official proceeding”.

Wankers.

At the age of 84 you have to wonder if he must be sitting in a German courtroom now thinking to himself that he should have just got the tracks fitted, the engine fueled up, fully armed up with 75mm HE shells for the main gun, plus a few thousand rounds for the 7.92mm machine guns in the hull and turret – and then roared out of the basement to let rip on the quiet streets of Heikendorf.

Written by Tom Hunter

August 1, 2021 at 8:00 am

Posted in Europe, History, Humour

Tagged with

Newly discovered feet of clay

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President Harry Truman still holds the record as the most unpopular President in modern history – which is to say the era where such things are polled – when he left office in January 1953.

Since then his stock has risen in the eyes of professional historians and many other people, although the former group should be discounted a little given their overwhelming ideological bias to the Left and their partisan bias to the Democrat Party that sees such groups regularly damning GOP Presidents and inflating Democrat ones.

One of the many things about Truman that gained him new-found respect was that he didn’t try to cash in on his name in a post-Presidential life:

Harry Truman had left the White House in such straitened circumstances that he and his wife Bess needed a bank loan to pay their bills.

Nonetheless, Truman insisted he would not cash in on his name and influence. As McCullough recounted in his Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, Truman’s only intention “was to do nothing — accept no position, lend his name to no organization or transaction — that would exploit or commercialize the prestige and dignity of the office of the President.”

It should be noted that President Eisenhower did not do this either, while LBJ was already rich via various government-private sector schemes he’d engineered before he became President. For obvious reasons neither Nixon nor JFK could cash in and for all his faults, Jimmy Carter has not appeared to have done so either.

So while admirable, Truman should never have been considered that unusual for that era. He looks good in comparison with recent decades when the Clinton clan started the gold rush. There’s also this:

Moved by Truman’s seeming financial distress, Congress eventually passed the Former Presidents Act, which provides former presidents with a lavish pension, furnished offices, and lucrative staff and travel allowances.

Truman lobbied hard for that and his circumstances added weight to the plea, including going on TV:

“The United States government turns its chief executives out to grass. They’re just allowed to starve.”

There’s just one problem.

It’s all bullshit!

Harry Truman was a very wealthy man, something that has only come to light as people dig through the personal papers of his wife, Bess, which were not made available until 2011:

In a bombshell article in New York Magazine, Campos shows that Truman lied shamelessly and repeatedly about the state of his finances in order to guilt-trip Congress into passing the Former Presidents Act, which would provide him with taxpayer-funded benefits for which he had no need.

The evidence for those jolting assertions comes from none other than Truman himself. In a will drafted in his own hand and kept with Bess Truman’s papers, Truman estimated that his net worth at the end of his presidency was $650,000 — a sum comprising $250,000 in savings bonds, $150,000 in cash, and land worth an estimated $250,000. Adjusted for inflation, $650,000 in 1953 is the equivalent of $6.6 million in 2021.

It also kept increasing:

Yet during those five years, Truman’s net worth soared. According to an accounting he made of his assets in January 1959, his wealth had climbed to $1.04 million ($9.7 million in 2021 dollars).

Aside from asset wealth he also did well on the income front:

Truman’s own private calculations show that his income was among the top 1 percent of American households. Which, in hindsight, makes sense: As president, he received one of the most generous salaries in America — in 1949, presidential pay was raised to $100,000 annually, an amount worth more than $1.1 million today.

Congress also authorized a $50,000 annual presidential expense account, on which Truman could draw at will, no questions asked. Truman stashed the money in “the little safe in the White House,” he acknowledged in the financial statement he wrote in 1953, then transferred it to a safety deposit box at the Columbia National Bank in Kansas City.

“The cash in the box . . . came out of the [yearly] $50,000 expense account that was not accountable for taxes,” Truman noted in his draft will.

Considering that today’s POTUS’s get paid $400,000 per year and that the expense account is still an inflation-shrunken $50,000 per year, it may be that US taxpayers have been too cheap in recent decades and poor old Bill Clinton and others have just been trying to close the gaps?

You can read the original New York Magazine article here: The Truman Show.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 31, 2021 at 12:16 pm

Posted in US Politics, USA

A reading from the Book of Covidicus

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Spotted this a few days ago over on Kiwiblog from commentator, Mr Tips and I thought it should be shared more widely across the blogosphere.

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1. And The Ardern spoke unto the assembled Tribe of 5: Chippy, Grunt, the Jacksonite, Ashley and the Coster.

2. “The citizen in whose skin or flesh shall arise a different colour or a blister, or as it were something shining, that is the stroke of the COVID, shall be brought to Ashley the priest, or any of his minions.

3. And if Ashley see the COVID in his skin, and the citizens hair turned white and the place where the COVID appears lower than the skin and the rest of the flesh: it is the stroke of the COVID and upon Ashleys judgment, the citizen shall be separated.

4. But if there be a shining whiteness in the skin, and not lower than the other flesh, and the hair be of the former colour, the Ashley & Coster shall shut him up seven days.

5. And on the seventh day the Ashley & Coster shall look on him: and if the COVID be grown no farther, and hath not spread itself in the skin, they shall shut him up again another seven days, with the Wiles for good measure.

6. And on the next seventh day, they shall look on the citizen. If they be non-Unionite, they shall be declare unclean, because they be but a scab: and the Little shall mess his clothes, and they shall be declared publicly unclean by Mutch as well.

7. But, if the COVID grow again, after he was seen by the Ashley and restored to nonMIQ, they shall be brought unto Me:

8. And they shall be condemned of uncleanness and cast into the Oblivion of Frown. And there shall be soundbite and kindness, and the cup shall overflow with the 1pm worm that shall not die.

9. If the stroke of the COVID be a Act-ion, he shall be brought to the Jacksonite:

10. And the Jacksonite shall view him. And when there shall be a white colour in the skin, and it shall have changed the look of the hair, like the Rimmer, and the living flesh itself shall appear:

11. It shall be judged an inveterate Racist!, and grown all into the skin. The Jacksonite therefore shall declare him unclean: and shall shut him up, because he is evidently unclean and not a believer of RNZ or TVNZ.

12. But if the Racist! spring out running about in the skin, and cover all the skin from the head to the feet, whatsoever falleth under the sight of the eyes, he shall be declared the National Voter:

13. They shall view him, and shall judge that the NationalVoter which he has become is very unclean: because it is all turned into whiteness, and therefore the citizen shall be Cancelled by the Media-ite.”

14. It is I who demand this, says the Ardern. In the name of the Truth, the whole Truth and the One Source of Truth. Amen.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 31, 2021 at 9:57 am

Sucking the blood out of kids?

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It’s too bad this happened after my post the other day on President Biden’s increasingly bizarre displays of “thinking”.

In this case a reporter for once asked a decent question of the President, as to the demands of many Democrats across the USA over the last year to defund their local police forces. Demands that have come from Democrat mayors, councillors, members of Congress and Senators not to mention untold numbers of Biden-supporting Democrat activists and MSM sources.

This was his response.

This is just bizarre but, as with his incomprehensible riff on the Man in the Moon, I’m going to guess that it’s Biden’s senile attempt to connect that question/assertion with some conspiracy theory?

Written by Tom Hunter

July 26, 2021 at 12:35 pm

Hello, I’m the mayor of…

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Written by Tom Hunter

July 26, 2021 at 11:00 am

Posted in Humour, USA

The Triumph of Trunalimunumaprzure

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Back in 1896 Republican William McKinley’s presidential campaign team ran an interesting strategy that came to be known as The Front Porch Campaign. It turned out to be the bridge between old-fashioned Presidential campaigns where the candidates stayed out of sight and let others do all the work, and the modern system where candidates are front-and-centre all the time, racing around the key swing states needed to win.

The 1896 campaign was the perfect contrast of those two styles. Instead of going to the voters McKinley’s campaign brought the voters to him. Over a period of months, something like 750,000 people came in organised delegations by train to the town where McKinley lived and then to his house, where they literally met him on his front porch, from where he made his speeches. His campaign manager, Hanna, made sure those speeches got into all the newspapers, thereby reaching tens of millions of Americans.

His Democrat opponent, William Bryan, was a great stump speaker and he decided to hit the trains, covering 18,000 miles around the USA making speeches. This was also unusual in the day but it set the standard for Presidential campaigns for the next one hundred twenty four years despite Bryan losing the election badly.

Some years ago, G W Bush’s key political advisor, Karl Rove, wrote a great book on the subject, The Triumph of William McKinley. If you want to see him talk about it, and the parallels of that time with the modern era of US politics, hit this C-SPAN link, Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters.

It was completely unexpected when the 2020 Democrats ran a similar campaign to McKinley’s for their Presidential candidate, Joe Biden. The key difference was that he didn’t meet crowds even at his home, relying on the modern electronic aids of TV and the Internet to reach people. But it was a smart strategy given the constraints of the Chinese Lung Rot pandemic and Biden’s own physical and mental frailties. Let Trump do the flying and the rallies and the speeches. The Democrats would protect their aging, frail candidate and rely on the MSM, Trump hatred and their machines in key states to deliver election victory, which they did.

But now that he’s President that strategy cannot be used all the time. Sooner or later Biden has to step out and meet people. His staff has done pretty well in this regard, keeping Biden’s appearances limited to restricted gatherings and very controlled press conferences, aided by the knowledge that the MSM will baby him as they have done since he was nominated.

It seems to have been working well, so it’s a mystery as to why they decided to step out with a classic “Town Hall” event for Biden the other night.

They used CNN, about as friendly a forum as one can get for a Democrat, plus a very restricted audience…

Not even 1/3 full

… and a very carefully screened group of questioners from the audience, including several hilariously placed shills who claimed they were Republicans – who promptly asked softball questions that just happened to fit with Democrat talking points. Only one guy seemed to be a Republican, a restaurant owner and his question was to the point and not well-handled by Biden.

But even when Biden was being guided as gently as possible by the host, the oleaginous Don Lemon, he did not do well.

If anybody can understand what the hell he was saying there please comment with your explanation. Some poor, sad political tragic actually did try and transcribe it:

”And the question is whether or not we should be in a position where, you, er, um, are why can’t the, um, the experts say we know that this virus is in fact, er, er, um, uh, its this its going to be or, excuse me, we, we, we know why all the drugs approved are not temporary, temporarily approved, but permanently approved.”

That’s about what I thought; it makes no more comprehensible sense when written down than when spoken.

Nothing new there of course. The last word in the title of this post is actually from a desperate attempt to produce a transcript from something Joe Biden tried to say in a 2020 campaign speech.

Things got no better as he rambled on about “Whether or not there’s a man on the moon”: I assume he was trying to connect vax conspiracy theories with faked moon landing theories but screwed it up as usual because his old brain is broken. He also unveiled a new economic theory in which the tsunami of government spending will actually “reduce inflation, reduce inflation, reduce inflation”. Then there was his defence of the idea of raising the corporate income tax, where he boasted that his home state of Delaware has more registered corporations “than all the rest of America combined. Combined. Combined.”. That state, which he represented for almost forty years as a Senator, has no corporate income tax.

Extended comments like those are why his handlers give him note cards with detailed sentences he can read out (but which he still screws up) and keep his free-“thinking” repertoire simple with soundbites he can remember; they make sure that he mutters “Jim Crow” at least once every time he’s allowed out of the house. In this case the Senate filibuster standing in the way of all their fabulous legislation is “Jim Crow”, which I guess does make sense when you consider that the Democrats have used it hundreds of times in recent years. As one commentator noted:

The case could be made that this wasn’t that big of a train wreck because it happened on CNN and therefore had an audience only slightly larger than I do when my cat wanders in and watches me while I shave. Still, why can’t they just leave this guy in the White House with his coloring books and spare the country the embarrassment? Television appearances by Biden are probably the only American shows the ChiComs allow to air uncensored so their beleaguered citizens can finally have something to laugh at.

This is both hilarious and pathetic. The brain trust currently running the USA – mainly Co-President Jill Biden (wife) and Co-President Klain (Chief of Staff) – thinks that letting this senile old clown babble incoherently is going to eventually be what changes hearts and minds on issues of the Covid-19 vaccine, spending, taxes or anything. Whenever sane people who aren’t heartless hear Biden speak, they just want to wrap a blanket around him and help him to his chair. This guy isn’t going to be convincing anyone to do anything.

Ever.

Given the ages of President Biden (78) , House Speaker Pelosi (80), Senate Leader Schumer (71), and more than a few of their equally aged compadres, the USA is really start to look like the USSR in the 1980’s with Brezhnev and the rest of the Politburo.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 25, 2021 at 3:00 pm

No Chips, no motion

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A couple of weeks ago in The Veteran’s post on Taiwan, I included a graph showing the degree to which the world relies on Taiwan for silicon chips.

I also made the point that the world would likely not even be able to feed itself if there was a major, lengthy disruption to the production of silicon chips, given the degree to which tractors and other farm equipment depend on them to work nowadays.

Here’s the latest evidence, from The Truth About Cars:

Have you heard the one about the dead cars? No, not the ones we find in junkyards, but the ones that haven’t had life yet, thanks to the chip shortage.

These so-called “dead” cars are vehicles that have rolled off the assembly line, otherwise ready for sale, sitting in fields or on lots near the factories that produced them, just waiting for chips.

… that number is set to grow, as GM announced that plants in Indiana, Michigan, and Mexico that produce the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra will halt next week, thanks to, you guessed it, the chip shortage.

GM had so far avoided chip-related shutdowns by skipping some features, and by … building some trucks and adding the chips in later

Written by Tom Hunter

July 24, 2021 at 11:55 am

Liberté, égalité, fraternité

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Fortunately history tells us that nothing bad has ever happened when the French people were starved.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 23, 2021 at 7:56 am