No Minister

Archive for the ‘Britain’ Category

Ideas out of the Past

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Over on Britain the Tory Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has had yet another brilliant idea for dealing with the fundamental problem of real estate prices getting away from working people, preventing them from buying housing.

Putting on my Class Warfare hat I have to say that this idea is entirely appropriate for a Tory:

Wait a moment, I think I’ve heard of this idea before. From history…

Debt bondage, also known as debt slaverybonded labour, or peonage, is the pledge of a person’s services as security for the repayment for a debt or other obligation.

I can see Boris as a feudal lord: he’s picture perfect to play the Sheriff of Nottingham in some new version of Robin Hood.

Of course it’s not just Britain. Here’s a story from 2014 in the USA:

A few weeks ago, with no notice, the U.S. government intercepted Mary Grice’s tax refunds from both the IRS and the state of Maryland. Grice had no idea that Uncle Sam had seized her money until some days later, when she got a letter saying that her refund had gone to satisfy an old debt to the government—a very old debt.

When Grice was 4, back in 1960, her father died, leaving her mother with five children to raise. Until the kids turned 18, Sadie Grice got survivor benefits from Social Security to help feed and clothe them.

Now, Social Security claims it overpaid someone in the Grice family—it’s not sure who—in 1977. After 37 years of silence, four years after Sadie Grice died, the government is coming after her daughter.

But there are many forms of intergenerational debt and the major one leaves Boris’s idea (and feudal practices) far behind. The following educational video was made a decade ago in the wake of the GFC, back when US Federal debt was a mere $14 trillion toddler, compared to the moody $30 trillion teenager it is now.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 6, 2022 at 11:04 am

Sustainable Living?

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I came across this rather sweet video a few weeks ago by an English guy who has, over the last five years, built an off-the-grid lifestyle on eighteen acres in the countryside.

The video is him showing viewers all the things he has built, which is a pretty impressive list:

  • A “cob” house.
  • Miniature hydro-electric dam.
  • Solar panels and power shed/workshop for batteries, invertors, etc.
  • Woodwork shop.
  • Metalworking shop (in progress).
  • Greenhouse.
  • Saw milling machine.

He’s also done this for very little money.

I suspect that he and his unseen girlfriend, “Pip”, are vegetarians because while he’s very proud of their vegetable gardens, he only refers to their chickens as a source of eggs, and although their are sheep there’s no mention of them being sources of meat.

But here’s the thing. As impressive as all this is, the fact is that he’s done it using machinery that had to be produced in factories: all of his big 3-phase woodworking machinery; numerous other smaller woodworking and metal working tools; the very useful chain saw; various electronics, including the components of the power system.

Those factories can’t be run off solar panels and small hydro dams. While it would have been possible to do all this by hand without such tools it would have been a hell of lot harder, taken longer, and the results likely more primitive. Aside from the construction itself his ongoing lifestyle will require regular replacements of components or entire machines – like the solar panels and batteries – which he cannot produce.

In short, it’s an industrial civilisation that’s enabling him to live like this. To what extent such a civilisation can be reduced or downgraded while still being able to support hundreds of millions or billions of people to live such a poetic and rustic lifestyle is an unanswered, and perhaps unanswerable, question. Certainly in the Developing world, billions of people are moving in the opposite direction from this guy – with all that implies about their demands for energy and technology.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 9, 2022 at 7:00 am

A Very Dumb Stone Cold Loser

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(Warning! Classial journalistic reference.)

Only a very dumb stone-cold loser could describe ‘a very dumb stone-cold loser’ as racial hate speech.

Once again, Donald Trump is shown to be right in his description of the cheeky darkie who is the Mayor of London.

Written by adolffinkensen

May 14, 2022 at 5:55 pm

Posted in Britain, New Zealand

Tagged with ,

The Sublime Society of Beef Steaks

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A farmer and historian in Britain, one John Lewis-Stempel, has published an interesting article in Unherd where he argues that the rise of wheat as the most widely grown crop in the world has, over the millennia, enabled tyranny!

Wheat has corrupted humanity

I was immediately caught by the opening paragraph:

“Beef & Liberty”. Such was the slogan of the 18th century London dining club, The Sublime Society of Beef Steaks. The carnivorous Regency gentlemen were sensible in associating the scoffing of sirloin with freedom and the rights of Britons. Food, like the personal, is political.

Being a political tragic it’s ironic that I don’t enjoy the fact that everything is now political, even food, but I can’t deny it when I read of things like actor James Cromwell supergluing his hand to a Starbucks counter so he could lecture customers and staff alike for ages about the iniquity over their surcharge for vegan milk.

Privileged dickhead! I must re-watch LA Confidential so I can see him get his just deserts by being shot in the back.

In Lewis-Stempel’s article he covers the tyranny of wheat, from forcing us into factory-like patterns of tilling, sowing, weeding and harvesting, to being an easy crop for the State to inspect and tax – and confiscate – compared to animals or root vegetables, all the way to the modern tyranny of Monsanto:

…the grains were developed for their ability to cope with a chemical product that Monsanto wanted to flog. So if the farmer buys Roundup Ready seed, then he or she buys the tied-in Roundup herbicid. And Monsanto cashes in twice.

He also goes into some detail about the other chemicals needed to grow wheat and it’s not a pretty picture. The article ends on a note that will be music to the ears of NZ grass farmers:

To save the planet, pastoralism is the intelligent solution. The brain is 60% fat, and omega-rich fat from grass-fed meat is excellent for mental health. The sine qua non of free thinking. Beef and liberty! More meat, less wheat!

Agree or disagree, it’s a fun article so read the whole thing.

Written by Tom Hunter

May 12, 2022 at 9:06 am

The future of New Zealand’s Defence

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My co-blogger The Vet had a very interesting post earlier on the rather sad state of affairs with the NZDF.

This is the accumulated result of thirty years of our military suffering death-by-a-thousand-cuts via successive Labour governments who really don’t like the concept of killing people and smashing things, with “peacekeeping” as the desired goal, and National governments who have looked at the cost/benefit and concluded that a slow and steady (very slow and steady – and quiet) replacement of assets is the way to go. I should also add that when you look at things like the godforsaken LAV purchase, a case where Labour did spend a lot of money, the advice they got from our military was not very good in the face of 21st century developments. As far as I know about half of them continue to sit in splendid preservation because we don’t have enough people to man them.

To that end the following video from Reason is interesting as it looks at possible lessons that can be drawn from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine about what defending a nation and military combat may mean in the 21st century.

Key comments from the video:

Every Russian tank that gets fried in Ukraine is sending the message that traditional armies can no longer expect to dominate simply because they have more troops, weapons, and money. Russian armored vehicles are falling victim to Next Generation Light Anti-Tank Weapons (NLAWs), which can be carried by individual soldiers, unslung in seconds, and deployed with little training and fatal accuracy.

That’s the reality of contemporary warfare: Smaller, nimbler groups fighting back effectively against lumbering, dumb relics of the past. Despite being the fifth largest fighting force on the planet and starting the war with five times the number of active military as Ukraine, Russia has been stymied in what virtually all observers expected to be a cakewalk.

I’m sure my Dad would be amazed at the idea that individual soldiers could inflict fatal damage on things like tanks, helicopter gunships and even jet fighter bombers. In his day, and perhaps even as recently as the Vietnam war, a single soldier or even a group of them, would usually have to go to ground in the face of such weapons unless they had support from their own tanks, planes or helicopters, or at a minimum, anti-tank guns and SAM. But the reality of today’s technology is that an awful lot of firepower is now boiled down into man-portable missiles.

As weapons have become smaller, cheaper, more effective, and more widely dispersed, it’s harder and harder for old-style militaries and countries to quickly and effectively achieve their objectives through brute force as they meet resistance at every turn. That resistance includes “information warfare”

The future belongs not to the ignorant armies of the night who seek to command and control but to those who embrace and empower the decentralization of weapons, technology, information, currency, and individual ingenuity and courage.

Now there are several caveats to that piece. Reason is a libertarian place so of course they’re going to sneer at centralised systems. But the reality of nation-state warfare is still that the side that doesn’t centralise efficiently and effectively is usually the side that loses. In the USA there was no alternative but to centralise for the Revolution, the Civil War (the Confederates rapidly got sick of “States Rights” when that meant lack of cooperation from bolshie States), WWI, WWII and the Cold War. That was not just done for the military but for the massive industrial effort required to support them in modern warfare.

I should point out that one of the problems for society was always winding back such centralisation when the war was won, something that was done successfully after the first two wars, much less for the others even as the size of the military shrank dramatically after each conflict. It’s part of the reason for the failures of today’s US military, as covered in these two posts:

But even in Ukraine you can bet that there are some aspects of centralisation that are in place for intelligence gathering plus command and control that directs those drones and Javelin-armed men towards their targets. It must also be remembered that Ukraine is not producing these weapons but relying on a somewhat centralised system of production in other nations.

Also, with regard to New Zealand, some of this stuff just doesn’t work anyway because it’s very unlikely that we’re ever going to be invaded, so Ukraine and Swiss-style defences really don’t come into the picture here.

No, for better or worse our defence strategy remains as it has for over a century; partnerships with friendly, allied nations that pull the focus of our defence into projection overseas before anything can get close enough to hurt us. Sure, as the Left will point out (and perhaps an Isolationist Right?) that means we may get dragged into foreign wars, but if we’re talking about stuffing up China’s Navy and Air Force than that is something we want to have happen well away from our shores – unless you thrill to the idea of trying to shoot at such things as they patrol off our beaches and fly in our skies?

So what does all that mean for actually doing military things in NZ. I’m going pick up three points from a NZDF commentator’s suggestions, with one additional point from Wayne Mapp:

  • A deployable combat brigade.
  • A combat navy well-geared against submarines;
  • Both supported by an air force for tactical airlift and aerial reconnaissance / surveillance – and submarine attack.
  • The rule of three to be applied to all of these: the army needs to be at least three times as big as a brigade, to allow for training and respite posts, the navy needs three frigates to be able to sustain the deployment of one at a time.
  • Special Forces providing high quality maritime surveillance and protection.

Still, the Ukraine lessons could be applied to such home defence as well, noting the Reason commentary above that “it’s harder and harder for old-style militaries and countries to quickly and effectively achieve their objectives through brute force as they meet resistance at every turn..”.

In other words, even if we think a direct attack on NZ is unlikely, it wouldn’t hurt to provide some military capabilities that show even the Chinese that they’ll take a lot of damage, forcing them to ask themselves whether it’s worth it or not. Sad to say I’m sure a blockade and/or cyber warfare against us would be just as effective, but still:

  • Long and short-range, land-based, mobile anti-ship missiles.
  • Long and short-range mobile anti-aircraft missiles.
  • Remote and possibly autonomous air and submarine drone forces (there’s some references and links about this in my old post on the Aussie-US submarine deal).
  • Cyber warfare, both offensive and defensive: as with other capabilities the best we can do is demonstrate that we’ve got smart people and systems that can integrate attack or defense with our allies, something we’re undoubtedly already doing with the GCSB in Five Eyes.

Written by Tom Hunter

March 28, 2022 at 12:25 pm

Failed solutions, Moral Cruelty and Advertising

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“the perceived level of personal threat needs to be increased among those who are complacent, using hard-hitting emotional messaging. Without a vaccine, psychology is your main weapon.You have to restrict ways in which people mix and the virus can spread… You need to frighten people.”

Those words were part of the response from the SPI-B (Scientific Pandemic Insights) group that was advising the British government on dealing with the C-19 pandemic, and that response was a specific answer to the government’s question, “What are the options for increasing adherence to the social distancing measures?” 

As the Great Chinese Xi Snot pandemic finally grinds to an end after two years there are a lot of people digging back into the measures that were taken to combat it, and one of those people is  Laura Dodsworth, who has written a book about SPI-B and the larger science group they advised, SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies). The book is A State of Fear, and her essay is The Moral Cruelty of the Pandemic Response, which examines the tensions between the individual and the collective that bubbled up during the pandemic. She has many examples of this played out in light of the government’s decision to follow the advice of SPI-B and terrify people, but none better than this:

As she points out about that Labour Party tweet:

The intention was to shame the Conservative party for ‘Partygate’, but instead it revealed how morally adrift and lacking in compassion people became. Jenny followed the rules, but maybe she shouldn’t have.

But that was merely the fear created in the individual vs. collective struggle over just one tactic, lockdowns, whereas the same thing happened for masks and ultimately the vaccines.

This and other solidarity-based messaging stemmed from the advice of behavioural scientists that appeals made to the collective conscience are more effective than appeals based on the threat to ourselves.

Science in general took the lead, and still does as countless people (many of whom dumped science at the age of 14 in high school because it was too tough) continue to scream “But The ScienceTM, when in fact decisions were made everyday that were not connected to the science. Here in NZ, the sudden reduction in weeks between the first and second shot was a classic example, done not because of a change in science but because the government found itself well behind on vaccinations when C-19 Delta hit in 2021.

Dodsworth points to Carl Jung’s famous book, The Undiscovered Self, and his take on science in our society:

“…one of the chief factors responsible for psychological mass-mindedness is scientific rationalism, which robs the individual of his foundations and his dignity. As a social unit he has lost his individuality and become a mere abstract number in the bureau of statistics.”

The whole essay is as much about philosophy as anything else (hence Jung) but, like him, she points to the weak spots of our modern society that will enable this to happen again:

Religion did not save us. Churches closed their doors at Easter, when Jesus Christ’s resurrection is remembered. Some of the faithful died without last rites…. Going further, the Archbishop of Canterbury told Christians it was immoral not to be vaccinated. “Vaccine Saves” was emblazoned on Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. People sat spaced 2 metres apart in cathedrals awaiting vaccination, both medical miracle and ritual act of biomedical transubstantiation. Masks were more than totems in the latest culture war, they became the vestiture of the faithful, signalling belief and obedience. They emblemised a moral code based upon extending life, not securing your place in the afterlife.

I found the attitude of priests and pastors on that last point particularly evil given the overwhelming reason for the existence of their Christian faith, of which the last rites are supposed to be more than just a symbol. What must those dying people have thought awaited them, given their beliefs about the need for last rites? You can laugh at them as being insane to believe in such a thing, but would you be happy to torture an insane dying person precisely on the point of their belief?

Our societies not only did but got religious leaders to do it for them, enabling the rest of society to create the required social pariahs, when the Christian church was built upon the rock of appealing to social outcasts. This was perhaps the most obvious marker of how the secular world has triumphed over the religious in the West; the Church’s reason for existence was to save souls, not bodies.

I am not confident that her final call will be met either:

Lockdowns and restrictions squashed exactly what we need to flourish as human beings in order to counteract a psychic epidemic. As that crisis recedes, other dangers endure. Bad actors and paternalistic libertarians alike lack humility when they brazenly exploit our nature. We are buffeted by nudge, propaganda, and our passions. For the good of the collective, we must recapture meaning and values as individuals. 

Aside from re-thinking the morality involved it seems that some scientists who were in the middle of dealing with it have also begin to question their scientific analysis and conclusions, starting with Professor Mark Woolhouse, a member of SPI-M, the modelling group on SAGE, who has also written a book, The Year the World Went Mad. As he describes things in The Telegraph:

“We knew from February [2020], never mind March, that the lockdown would not solve the problem. It would simply delay it,” Woolhouse says, a note of enduring disbelief in his voice. And yet in government, “there was no attention paid to that rather obvious drawback of the strategy”.

Instead, lockdowns – which “only made sense in the context of eradication” – became the tool of choice to control Covid. The die was cast in China, which instituted ultra-strict measures and, unforgivably in Woolhouse’s book, was praised by the World Health Organisation for its “bold approach”. “The WHO,” he suggests, “got the biggest calls completely wrong in 2020. The early global response to the pandemic was woefully inadequate.”

Watching on, the rest of the world found itself following the same template, even though no work had been done to assess the costs of lockdowns. After swine flu, modellers had studied the knock-on consequences of many elements of infection control, but they had never envisaged “an instruction for most of the population to stay at home”.

But a big part of why they got it wrong was that they felt that organic fear of the disease was not enough. Back to Dodsworth:

The doom-mongering modelling which catalysed lockdowns does, by its nature, treat humans as social units. But by depriving us of individuality the modelling also deprives itself of accuracy. Professor Graham Medley who chairs the modelling group SPI-M reported to MPs that it is impossible to predict human behaviour and therefore the most pessimistic outcomes were offered to government….

According to Professor Woolhouse the doom analysis was only on one side of the lockdowns:

What he does know is that while extremely detailed modelling was being done “on what the epidemic itself might look like and the harms that novel coronavirus would cause… on the other side of the scales, we had pretty much nothing at all. There was never at any stage, even by the following year, any form of analysis of the harms caused by lockdowns. Were they even considered? I haven’t seen any evidence that they were and that is very, very troubling.”

But the article points out that the SAGE itself got a report in April 2020 that assessed how many years of quality life would be lost to lockdowns. The best guess was that suppressing the virus would cost three times more years than the disease itself. At the same time similar calculations were done here in NZ by Economics Professor John Gibson from Waikato. In addition the Swedish epidemiologists had already made clear that lockdowns were not an option for the same reasons. Even by late April there was analysis of the specific lockdowns used in France, Italy and Spain that showed they didn’t work.

Feeding into the doom models was, as Woolhouse says, a “fact” about the virus that was already known to be wrong:

Woolhouse, from his position on the inside as government policy was formed, saw something very different: the disease being described as a universal killer, when it was clear from the beginning some were very much more at risk than others.

“The first good data on this started to emerge in late February 2020,” he says. And as Britain endured the first Covid wave, this data was borne out in the facts. Those over 70 had at least 10,000 times the risk of dying as those under 15 years old. “This is a highly discriminatory virus,” Woolhouse says, still exasperated today. “It’s ageist, it’s sexist, it’s racist. And we certainly knew [that] before we went into lockdown.”

Yes. Known. So why did the government’s go for lockdown and the other harsh measures? Dodsworth’s analysis echos again:

Yet the Government decided that telling half the population that they were at extremely low risk would dilute adherence to the harsh rules it was imposing, and instead ramped up the threat warnings. “We are all at risk,” noted Michael Gove in March 2020. “The virus does not discriminate.” But it did then, and it does now.

Exactly. Science got trashed, even as we were being screamed at every day that politicians were following the science. I almost feel sorry for Woolhouse and I will read his book, but frankly I’m in no mood yet to forgive sinners, even deeply repentant ones.

Finally there’s this article looking at another aspect: the massive advertising campaign launched by the US government to promote the vaccines:

So, the federal government decided to market vaccine acceptance, but not by distributing information through the official pathway of public health departments.  Instead, the U.S. government hired the media to become their marketing agencies to sell vaccine acceptance to the US population.

According to Blaze Media’s Chris Pandolfo’s report on March 3rd, “The federal government paid hundreds of media companies to advertise the COVID-19 vaccines while those same outlets provided positive coverage of the vaccines.”

That advertising was spread across a huge range of media companies: ABC, CBS, and NBC, as well as cable TV news stations Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC, legacy media publications including the New York Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post, digital media companies like BuzzFeed News and Newsmax, and hundreds of local newspapers and TV stations.

As the article bluntly states:

The entire media apparatus of the United States became the Voice of America to sell a positive, COVID-19 vaccine image to Americans. Congress appropriated $1 billion to buy the ads and obtain the placements of “influencer” personalities to appear in the media to sell the program.

Under this arrangement, the questioning of whether vaccines were effective or safe disappeared from the official narrative seen by Americans. Only the outlets that were not part of the marketing effort continued to cover the reservations of the academics; and these were then almost universally labeled as “fake news” by social media censors.

Most of these outfits never informed their viewers of this bought-and-paid-for work. For the average consumer of the MSM – for the average consumer of Fox News – it all would have seemed like normal news coverage or at worst “Public Service Announcements”.

Powerless Europe

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No, not powerless in the face of Putin over the Ukraine, although there is a link between the topic of this post and that.

Powerless in terms of energy, although there is both bad and good news.

The Bad News.

Electricity for delivery next year surged as much as 6.4 per cent to an all-time high in Germany, Europe’s biggest power market. France, which usually exports power, will need to suck up supplies from neighboring countries to keep the lights on as severe nuclear outages curb generation in the coldest months of the year.

The crunch is so severe that it’s forcing factories to curb output or shut down altogether. Aluminium Dunkerque Industries France has curbed production in the past two weeks due to high power prices, while Trafigura’s Nyrstar will pause production at its zinc smelter in France in the first week of January. Romanian fertilizer producer Azomures temporarily halted output.

That was in December when 10% of France’s nuclear was taken offline for various minor reasons, with 30% expected later in the winter. As a result French power was already trading at 1,000 euros a megawatt-hour for the month of February.

All of this has been a long time coming, driven mainly by Germany’s mania to appease the Global Warming Gods:

Germany continues its “disastrous” Energiewende transition to a low-carbon or net-zero future by shutting down reliable, resilient, and affordable natural gas, coal, and nuclear plants. In early 2021 German federal government auditors found the “country would need to spend over $600 billion between 2020 to 2025 to maintain grid reliability.” This is on top of the $580 billion already spent by the Germans on Energiewende while closing the Brokdorf, Grohnde, and Gundremmingen zero-carbon nuclear reactors on December 31, 2021.

That last was an especially stupid decision in light of the desire for a zero-carbon future – but it clashed with German politicians living in a 1970’s/80’s anti-nuclear past:

It was only 10 years ago that nuclear power made up almost a quarter of the electricity generated in the country. Following the impact of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown – German Chancellor Angela Merkel took the decision that same year to phase out the country’s nuclear power stations by 2022.

It’s not surprising that France and Germany also ban fracking, as do several smaller western European countries, including Ireland. Britain has also joined the insanity:

Despite the ongoing energy crisis in Europe, the British Oil & Gas Authority (the same government department that banned fracking in 2019) has ordered resource company Cuadrilla to “permanently seal the two shale gas wells drilled at the Lancashire shale exploration site, with the result that the 37.6 trillion cubic metres of gas located in the northern Bowland Shale gas formation will continue to sit unused.”

British politics site Guido Fawkes points out that this self-sabotage is utterly insane since “just 10 percent of this volume could meet U.K. gas needs for 50 years [and] U.K. imports of Natural Gas are expected to skyrocket to over 80 percent by 2050.”

Moreover the emissions from all that imported gas will be greater than for domestically produced gas. To make things even worse the current British Conservative government has decided to follow in the German footsteps on renewable energy, with a goal of Net Zero-Carbon by 2050, with no detail on how CO2 emissions might be absorbed, leaving it all to a 100% production decrease by going all electric with renewable energy. In Britain (not the sunniest of places) that means wind farms – lots and lots of windfarms. How impractical is this?

Renewables just can’t carry this load, as is seen around the world, with this example from Alberta:

At the same time, Alberta’s entire fleet of 13 grid-connected solar facilities, rated at 736 megawatts, was contributing 58 megawatts to the grid. The 26 wind farms, with a combined rated capacity of 2,269 megawatts, was feeding the grid 18 megawatts.

The biggest joke of all of this is that the wind and solar (The Unreliables) result in nations like Germany having to burn more coal and import more gas to run the old parallel energy system, making them dirtier than nuclear-powered France.

But it gets even worse. Modern, industrialised countries that refuse to produce sufficient energy will not survive as independent countries and in the case of Europe it’s produced a geopolitical nightmare:

Gazprom [a Russian state-run energy company] supplied almost a third of all gas consumed in Europe in 2020 and will likely become an even more important source in the short term as the continent shrinks domestic production. Some of the biggest economies are among the most exposed, with Germany importing 90% of its needs.

Which is why Germany has been so keen on working with Russia to build the Nord Stream II gas pipeline (764 miles under the Baltic Sea and costing $11 billion). More Russian energy to the rescue! That pipeline will double the volume of gas pumped by Russian-controlled gas giant Gazprom directly to Germany. And Germany’s largest supplier of coal? Russia, of course.

No wonder Putin felt he could invade Ukraine, that seeming energy stranglehold on the dominant Western European power must have seemed like a trump card.

The Good News

The Ukrainian invasion has done to the Germans what Trump could not do: convince them of their strategic folly.

In a landmark speech on Sunday, Chancellor Olaf Scholz spelled out a more radical path to ensure Germany will be able to meet rising energy supply and diversify away from Russian gas, which accounts for half of Germany’s energy needs: “We must change course to overcome our dependence on imports from individual energy suppliers,”

This will include building two liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, one in Brunsbuettel and one in Wilhelmshaven, and raising its natural gas reserves… Germany has 24 bcm of underground caverns of gas storage, which are currently around 30% full, according to industry group Gas Infrastructure Europe data.

That’s great news, especially since the USA’s fracking revolution has unlocked vast reserves of gas in the last fifteen years. So much that it crushed LNG prices, resulting in a massive shift from coal to gas for electricity generation, enabling it to beat its Kyoto Treaty targets (a treaty it never signed anyway) and most of the rest of the developed world for CO2 emission reduction. It also caused the USA to convert numerous LNG coastal terminals from import to export capability – just in time to send huge LNG carriers across the Atlantic to Europe.

The Germans have also halted the Nord Stream II project.

But it’s not just gas, as the country’s economy minister Robert Habeck, a member of the Greens, said,

“There are no taboos on deliberations“.

Germany is also weighing whether to extend the life-span of its remaining nuclear power plants as a way to secure the country’s energy supply, the country’s economy minister Robert Habeck, a member of the Greens, said.

Habeck also said letting coal-fired power plants to run longer than planned was an option, throwing into doubt Germany’s ambitious exit from coal, which is planned for 2030.

A GREEN said that! Jesus! Talk about a Road To Damascus conversion. Amazing how war can do that. And it’s not just the Germans:

Italy will increase the domestic production of gas and may reopen coal-fired power stations under plans to ensure energy security, Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Friday.

The news gets even better:

Soaring energy prices and a geopolitical crisis over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are looming over the European Union’s attempts to agree a raft of tougher climate change laws, raising concerns that some could be delayed or scaled back.

That passive voice is just to make Global Warmist readers not feel too downhearted, but when you look at the impact even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine you can place a sure bet on “delayed or scaled back” – and not just “some” either:

A UN-backed green investment fund is on the brink of failure three months after its launch during the Glasgow climate summit because institutions including big banks never delivered expected seed funding.

Chuckle. Even the dark clouds of Vlad The Impaler have silver linings.

Written by Tom Hunter

March 3, 2022 at 6:00 am

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks – fights no more.

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According to the Guinness World Records it was England’s oldest pub, possibly as much as 1200 years if one counts it from when the first bricks were laid there in 793.

Was being the operative word since it has been forced to close:

Christo Tofalli, who took over the lease of the heavily beamed pub in 2012…said The Christmas season, Tofalli, was his “last chance” to rescue the Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, which, like much of the hospitality industry, was hit particularly hard by lockdowns, social distancing and capacity restrictions imposed by the government to stop the spread of the virus.

The Daily Wire helpfully compiled a chronology of world-threatening crises that Ye Old Fighting Cocks had survived:

[T]he other natural disasters…[include]

  • famines (1235, 1315-1317, 1623-1624, 1740-1741, 1816, 1845-1849),
  • bubonic plague (1347-1350, 1563, 1592-93, 1603, 1625, 1665-1666),
  • influenza pandemics and epidemics (1557, 1729, 1775-1776, 1836-1837, 1847-1848, 1889-1890, 1918, 1957-1958, 1968-1970, 2009-2010),
  • cholera (1831-1833, 1848-1854, 1865-1873),
  • smallpox (1837-1840, 1870-1875)

It just shows you how incredibly dangerous and lethal the C-19 pandemic has been.

There is some good news however. The pub has been closed before for various reasons and the current owners, Mitchells & Butlers, reckon they will re-open – although it would be a brave and well-funded person who’d take on the lease in the face of how the government has acted. Tofalli himself won’t be taking on the challenge again for financial reasons but…

… he is confident the Ye Olde Fighting Cocks will have a long future. “Look, the pub’s not dead,” he said, describing the closure as “shutdown sleep.”

I’ll raise a pint to that.

Written by Tom Hunter

February 10, 2022 at 9:29 am

The China Syndrome

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Since the movie was made in 1999, has come to be regarded as a cult classic and viewed by tens of millions of people, I don’t think readers will mind if I give up at least one of the plot spoilers from the end of Fight Club.

The skyscrapers owned by the credit card companies do get blown up by Tyler Durden’s team of anarchists – all while the classic Gen X band, Pixies, have their song “Where Is My Mind?” playing in the background (inside joke).

I didn’t watch the move until the mid-2000’s and that final scene is a lot more shocking than it would have been pre 9/11, especially since the way those buildings fall is eerily realistic.

But that’s not the problem that the Chinese censors had with the scene.

No, their problem was that a bunch of anarchists (somewhat organised anarchists I must say) cannot be seen to be demolishing The Powers That Be, being the modern tangle of state and corporate power. So if you’re streaming the movie in China the screen fades to black just before the explosions begin, and the following text appears on screen:

Through the clue provided by Tyler, the police rapidly figured out the whole plan and arrested all criminals, successfully preventing the bomb from exploding. After the trial, Tyler was sent to lunatic asylum receiving psychological treatment. He was discharged from the hospital in 2012.

I don’t know about releasing old Tyler: it seems to me that the solution employed by Edward Norton’s character was the only one that could work.

The Washington Free Beacon had some fun imagining similar re-workings of other classic movies:

Gladiator 

The Praetorian Guard surrounded fallen emperor Commodus, saving him from certain death at the hands of his treasonous slave. The crowd cheered as Maximus was slaughtered and dismembered with his fellow gladiators. Their bodies were reassembled, crucified, and displayed at Roman Forum as a warning to common citizens. On the emperor’s orders, the bodies of Maximus’s dead wife and son were exhumed and re-executed.

Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi  

Following their arrest for incest, among other charges, Luke and Leia were subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques, providing crucial intelligence. Imperial Forces launched a preemptive strike against the Ewoks, killing most of the furry terrorists. Survivors were relocated to education camps on Zeitooine Autonomous Planet. The Death Star destroyed what was left of the Rebel Fleet, and order was restored to the galaxy.

But before you laugh too hard at the Chinese Communist obsession with speech and mind control you should check out what’s happening on Airstrip One:

A number of skits from classic comedy shows have been memory-holed entirely by the BBC, with the UK’s national broadcaster quietly editing re-broadcasts of old programming to remove supposedly offensive elements of the shows.

Shows such as Dad’s ArmySteptoe and Son and I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again have been hit by censorship according to the publication, with some sketches being stripped from rebroadcasted programmes entirely… Frequent targets of censorship are jokes revolving around sexuality, gender relations and race.

“Listeners enjoy a huge number of old comedies from the archives on 4 Extra and on occasion, we edit some episodes so they’re suitable for broadcast today, including removing racially offensive language and stereotypes from decades ago, as the vast majority of our audience would expect,” the spokesman said.

Of course. Incredible. There are now, in the BBC, real-life Winston Smiths, quietly altering the past in order to match the present. It is beyond irony! It is beyond fucking parody. Speaking of which:

Meanwhile, a 1970 episode of I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again had an entire sketch cut that involved a gag about scantily dressed women seen on Top of the Pops.

“We have noticed that it is possible to see right up to the girls’ knickers, owing to the shortness of their miniskirts, so we’ve asked the girls to drop them,” legendary actor John Cleese said while parodying a spokesman for the BBC during the bit.

If you didn’t laugh at that you know which camp you belong to.

Twenty years ago the idea of free trade with China was that it would enable the West to also export its ideas to China. Instead, we’re importing their ideas, and their values.

I can’t even!

Written by Tom Hunter

February 2, 2022 at 10:58 am

As a nation of free men we will live forever or die by suicide.

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Freedom is slowly beginning to break out again in the Western democracies.

Not all of them of course, but let’s start with Britain from January 19th.

“Next week mandatory [vaccine] certification will end… We will end the compulsory use of Covid status certification in England… From now, the government is no longer asking people to work from home and people should now speak to their employers about arrangements for returning to the office… [T]he government will no longer mandate the wearing of face masks anywhere… we will trust the judgement of the British people and no longer criminalise anyone who chooses not to wear one [mask]… There will soon come a time when we can remove the legal requirement to self-isolate altogether – just as we don’t place legal obligations on people to isolate if they have flu… We will set out our long-term strategy for living with Covid-19, explaining how we hope and intend to protect our liberty and avoid restrictions in future by relying instead on medical advances…”

The thing is that Johnson made this seminal declaration at the height of the flu season during which Britain has been posting record numbers of Covid cases: 92,000 per day, with 266 deaths per day, the highest daily rate since March 2021. Yet he just up and cancelled the “pandemic”.

Forget his argument about the booster shot program; compared to the double-dose campaign we’re not going to see 90% rates of the eligible population (translating into 70-80% total population) or anything close to that.

Admittedly Boris is in deep shit over his 2020 parties, held when everybody else was locked down, so desperately seeking a circuit breaker that will get him onside with the public again. But Ireland is on the same path too:

Ireland is to scrap almost all its COVID-19 restrictions on Saturday after coming though the storm of the Omicron variant that led to a massive surge in infections, Prime Minister Micheal Martin said in a national address.

However, we appear to have created a class of people who wish to live with lockdowns, restrictions and endless boosters forever. The following is from the USA but I see no reason why it would not equally be the case in most other Western democracies.

In the USA it’s causing a fight on the Left, with Bill Maher and guest Bari Weiss – no friends of the Right who have been scathing about those fighting against lockdowns, masks and the General Tso Sickness vaccines – starting to get red-pilled on the issues. Maher even compares Florida to New Jersey / New York, asking why the former has done so much better than the latter despite having a huge population of elderly people and not following the Blue State path of restrictions.

Two years late but I’ll take it

This did not sit well with the ladies of The View. Now normally I wouldn’t reference this show because it’s one of the lowest IQ things on TV and has been for two decades: dumb does not even begin to describe it. Yet a few months ago I found out that a person I know, a woman who has always seemed fairly intelligent, gets all her information about the US from the show. Check it out for yourself.

FFS. These woman actually think it will be a repeat of what happened post-9/11 world (which brought us the kabuki theatre of TSA checks in airports among other things), and they want these new restrictions to be permanent.

One last example of such people. Some Canadian reporter from Quebec – where they’re using security guards to escort the unvaxxed into stores for food and pharma only – decided to escape for a holiday. He went to Florida and reports back that, Florida feels like another planet compared with Quebec.

Except he doesn’t mean that as a compliment! It’s incredible, but having soaked up the freedom and the sun he does nothing but bitch about it.

While Quebec is in full confinement mode, Florida is Cowboyland, where you barely know COVID is happening, despite much higher new case and hospitalization rates than ours .

It’s lunacy by Canadian standards, but an eye-opening experience. For starters, everyone’s out and about, filling bars, restaurants, movies, gyms, and jam-packed sports arenas.

Stores and supermarkets don’t require masks but some cashiers and customers wear them, though often under their nose or chin — Florida-style. It seems a way of announcing: “Look — I’m masked!” when they’re not.

The Horror. The Horror.

You can see the difference in the media, too. In Quebec, COVID totally dominates the news, because there’s almost nothing else happening. In Florida, it’s the reverse.

Oh Noes! There are many LOL moments in the piece but I’ll leave you with this:

It’s easy to spot Canadians at restaurants, as we’re the ones properly masked and nervously sitting on the terrace, even in the rain.

We Montrealers live in a tense, depressing pandemic bubble — all-COVID, all the time — which is why many people avoid following the news.

MUHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAH.

Though perhaps I should give him credit for going to Florida. Most of New Zealand would be too terrified to do so.

Written by Tom Hunter

January 28, 2022 at 8:09 am