No Minister

Archive for the ‘Free Speech’ Category

Freedom, Consequences and Responsibility

Eighteen months ago one of the most powerful arguments in favour of lockdowns was that it would be utterly irresponsible for people to freely move around when they could catch Chinese Lung Rot and pass it on to vulnerable people – in this case the elderly – who could die from it.

The advent of vaccines in record time, thanks to President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed, mean that argument is no longer valid. While the vaccines will not prevent a person from catching the virus or spreading it, they do quash the chances that you’ll die from it even if you are one of the vulnerable.

So it’s all good. What happens now? Well it turns out that The Powers That Be (TPTB) just can’t let go of the giddy sense of power involved with controlling entire populations. Not everybody is getting vaccinated, new variants of the disease are appearing all the time and so the goalposts are changing, as Jim Treacher so aptly sums it up on Substack:

1. Absolutely do not wear a mask

2. You must, must, must wear a mask or you’re killing Grandma

3. Don’t leave the house or you’re killing Grandma

4. If you can’t avoid leaving the house, stay at least six feet away from any other human being you see or you’re killing Grandma

5. Wash your hands 20 times a day

6. Do not touch your face or anything else, ever

7. Get vaccinated so you don’t have to wear a mask

8. You have to wear a mask even if you’re vaccinated

9. When the above rules change, and then change back, and then change back again, shut up about it or you’re a stupid MAGA-head

10. Don’t forget to vote Democrat!

In that article Treacher writes that he’s vaccinated and thinks those who don’t want to be are idiots. He’s also always been anti-Trump, but not to the TDS-stage. It also turns out that it’s not the stupid MAGA-heads that are the problem…

There are other charts showing similar “not the narrative” results for young vs old, non-religious vs religious, White vs Black and Hispanic.

Combine that with the Delta variant (and others to follow), plus MSM hysteria and politicians who see long-term blood on their hands as preferable to short-term blood, and you get the inevitable:

Melbourne, a major Australian city, just entered its 6th lockdown. (Yes, you read that correctly). It joins many of the nation’s other major metropolises, such as Sydney and Brisbane, in once again restricting its economy and social life. According to the BBC, the lockdown will be in place until at least August 28 and “bars people from leaving their home except for essential exercise, shopping, caregiving and other reasons.”

It’s mind-boggling that the Australian government is practically placing its citizens under house arrest and outlawing their incomes over five deaths per day. It’s particularly bizarre given that countless studies have shown the ineffectiveness of stay-at-home orders and lockdown policies. (In fact, most COVID-19 spread happens at home.) 

In Sydney the army has been pulled in to force people to stay in their homes, even going with the cops on door-to-door compliance checks. Police helicopters are overhead, warning people in parks with police action and fines. It’s worked too; there is genuine fear over being caught outside without a permissible excuse. Nobody is allowed more than 5 kilometers from their home address, only one person per household may leave to purchase supplies once a day, and Sydney-siders are not permitted to speak to friends; they may only get what they need and return home. All this for about 250 cases from more than 100,000 tests, plus five deaths a day in a city of millions.

Then there’s Fortress NZ for ever?:

Fortress New Zealand can begin to open in early 2022 provided all New Zealanders have had the chance to be vaccinated, according to the Government’s hand-picked group of scientists advising on reopening New Zealand to the world.

But that travel should be at first restricted to vaccinated Kiwis going overseas from New Zealand for short trips, and should begin with shorter stays in managed isolation.

This is about more, much more, than the specific actions of any specific government on this specific disease.

This is about a new ruling class in the West, one that can do all these things to the people while still itself being able to have maskless fun in close proximity with friends and donors in one of the most expensive restaurants in the world (California Governor Newsom), send their family off to Florida while locking down Illinois (IL Governor Priztker), or allow their top aides escape to Florida while warning about the people of her state traveling (MI Governor Whitmer), or having a big bash 60th birthday party (former President Obama) because, as the NYT put it, he had invited “a sophisticated, vaccinated crowd” who were “following all the safety precautions.”

Back to Jim Treacher, Democrats Don’t Need Masks Because They’re Better Than You:

“The virus knows. It knows what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, and it only punishes people who don’t read The Atlantic or listen to NPR. If you can recite a MyPillow ad from memory, you need to wear a mask when you’re told to wear a mask. But if you can pick Lin-Manuel Miranda out of a lineup, you don’t have anything to worry about. That’s how COVID-19 works. That’s just the settled science.”

Or more generally:

Last year at Encounter Books, we published an admonitory book by Joel Kotkin called The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning To The Global Middle Class. Some people thought Kotkin was overstating things with his talk of an increasingly stratified society in which a tiny elite lorded it over an increasingly pauperized and disenfranchised mass. It turns out, though, that if anything Kotkin understated the trends. The weaponization of public health diktats, their enforcement by a vast and increasingly overbearing cadre of nanny-state bureaucrats, is simply the latest manifestation of the profoundly anti-democratic spirit that has taken hold in Western societies. 

In the USA I see that Senator Rand Paul, who has had Covid-19, has spoken out against what he sees coming with the Delta variant:

“I think the tide is turning as more and more people are willing to stand up. I see stories from across the country of parents standing up to the unions and school boards. I see brave moms standing up and saying, ‘My kids need to go back to school in-person.’ I see members of Congress refusing to comply with Petty Tyrant Pelosi. We are at a moment of truth and a crossroads. Will we allow these people to use fear and propaganda to do further harm to our society, economy, and children? Or will we stand together and say, absolutely not? Not this time. I choose freedom.”

For his troubles Paul got a massive kickback from the US Left on Twitter, with more than a few people praising his former neighbour who broke six of his ribs (causing a piece of his lung to be cut out). That’s where we are in the West and I can’t blame governments for this when we have so many people who think like this.

But for me it’s actually this guy, Scottish archeologist and historian Neil Oliver, who sums it up:

For me, it’s all and only about freedom. For me without freedom, there is no point in anything. So take away all the numbers, all the statistics, all the models and predictions, all the promises and threats; all the steel hand in velvet glove coercion. Take all of that away. To me it all boils down into something simple.

I declare that I am a free man.

I was born 54 years ago into part of the world, just a relatively small part of the world, but I was taught that my freedom had been won for me by men and women who had fought and died to make it so. I was born just 22 years after World War II into a world, still full of those men and women who had fought for my freedom and lived to tell the tale

English writer Mervyn Peake said “To live at all is miracle enough.” It’s a good line and I’ve quoted it for years, but but now I see merely to live at all is not enough, not nearly. A caged bird is alive but without the freedom to fly the Limitless sky, it is denied everything that makes a bird in the first place. To be alive is not enough. What matters is to live in freedom. A bird is such a fragile creature. It’s really all and only about movement. Take away a bird’s movement and it’s a handful of feathers and air.

Freedom is not negotiable. You’re either free or you’re not.  Freedom is not even safe. Those who’ve been imprisoned are often terrified of freedom. All those choices, for all of our personal responsibility. This is why ex-cons often reoffend, to go back behind bars where it feels safer, out of harm’s way.

I have three children. Teenagers all. Often I think I would like to keep them close by me forever, where I can stop them doing stupid things. Dangerous things. If I kept them in the house no stranger would hurt them, but that would be no life. Not for them and not even for me. I would be their jailer and they would be my caged birds. As it happens, this past year-and-a-half has let me see what happens to children kept safe in the house. It’s not good, not good at all. And so if I didn’t know it before, I know now that I have to let them go into a world that is full of all manner of things, danger included.

Here’s the thing is, if your freedom means that I might catch COVID from you, then so be it. If my freedom means you might catch COVID from me then so be it. That’s honestly how I see it. For the sake of freedom…I will cheerfully risk catching COVID. That is a chance. One among many that I am prepared to take and happily. Life is not safe, freedom is not safe. For the sake of freedom, yours and mine together, both freedoms being of equal value, I will cheerfully risk much else besides.

The hackers strike back

In a world, incredibly the Western world, where freedom seems to be under ever greater threat than before – due less to government than to people apparently not rating it as much as they used to – it’s nice to see an example of a fightback.

In this case the story is especially meaningful because there has been much coverage in recent years of how Information Technology (IT) is now enabling The Powers That Be to spy on us in ever more detailed ways. The old East German Stasi would have given up their first-born sons for the sort of spying tech that China’s security services are employing – and likely those of the West as well.

Belarus is one such country, never having recovered from its Communist culture when it found itself a new and separate nation after the collapse of the USSR (it having been of those “Republics”). Former communist bigwig Alyaksandr Lukashenka quickly figured out how to get on top and stay there in this new world, with all his totalitarian, authoritarian instincts born of a communist life having ameliorated not one bit. He’s been the leader of the nation since the early 1990’s, complete with the usual sham elections.

Naturally one of his tools was the internal security services, former KGB types, but now with extra computer power allowing huge centralised databases containing untold amounts of personal information on ordinary people.

Of course, while you can have such centralisation of data nowadays thanks to IT, you can’t actually centralise the IT itself. The very nature of modern IT systems is that they are distributed; the amount of computer power available to ordinary people is also vast, and increasing everyday, which means these ordinary people can do things that only nations could do – like finding ICBM sites from private satellite photos.

And so…

While refraining from naming an exact number of files, the hackers claim to have obtained classified passport records for the Belarusian security forces’ leadership, members of Lukashenka’s inner circle, plus State Security Committee (KGB) employees, including intelligence officers operating in the European Union.

On July 26, the group’s Telegram channel teased passport data for KGB Chairman Ivan Tertel;

Each individual’s dossier, the hackers claim, contains passport photos and data; his or her residence permit; the name of the government body or military unit for which the person works; the names of family members, “and so on.”

“Will many KGB agents be ready to operate abroad, knowing that data about them has already leaked?” one of the hackers asked rhetorically in a bot-assisted Telegram chat with Current Time.

Aside from passport data, the Cyberpartisans claim to have accessed the records of the Belarusian traffic police, which the hackers say include information on registered cars for the KGB, the anti-corruption police, and tsikhary (“silent men”), masked muscle men in plainclothes known for brutally rounding up suspected protesters.

It’s a great example of the lack of culture change since 1991 that Belarus still has an actual KGB, they didn’t even bother changing the name, so much in love with their totalitarian past are they.

The cyber hack is yet to be confirmed, but as the article points out:

To verify the Cyberpartisans’ claim of having hacked Belarus’ passport database, Current Time submitted to the hackers the names and dates of birth of two Belarusian citizens, who agreed to the information’s release.

After a few minutes’ search in their alleged data trove, the Cyberpartisans sent the two Belarusians’ complete passport details, their official places of residence and work, and also technical information — for example, that one passport no longer has the space to affix visas.

Seems like confirmation to me. The logo below is that of the hacker group.

Written by Tom Hunter

August 13, 2021 at 10:20 am

In the future everybody will be cancelled for 15 minutes

Even scientists with a great pedigree of credentials and research papers.

Like Robert Malone.

But when he began to speak up about the potential downsides of the mRNA-“spike protein” approach to vaccines, that was not acceptable to TPTB, even though it’s his field of expertise.

First he found podcasts involving him getting pulled from YouTube, and then even the supposed business-connecting site LinkedIn took their shot:

Malone pays for the premium version of LinkedIn for the biotech and government consulting business he runs, Just the News reports. That page remains intact, but its last post is three weeks old. 

“He was given no notice, no warnings” before he was removed on Tuesday, his wife Jill said. “He has a 10-15 year old account – has never even had a warning. 6,000 followers.”

“The historic record of what I have done, stated, figured out (and when) etc. over time is a key part of establishing my credibility and track record as a professional,” Robert Malone tweeted Wednesday. “And that has been erased completely and arbitrarily without warning or explanation.” 

Well at least he can still Tweet!

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There was one piece of cancellation news that was funny. There’s an outfit called Right Wing Watch, which is dedicated to posting clips of conservatives saying things in an effort to get those conservatives de-platformed. Unfortunately they were a little too good at their job of pushing YouTube on those rules:

🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

My, how schadenfreudialicious that is. Something, something reaping.… something something sowing

But now that they’ve been kicked off of YouTube, they can simply go start their own multi-billion dollar video platform, right? I mean, that’s what the Left has continually told conservatives who complain about censorship online.

I think they’ll be fine. Once YouTube realises the political and ideological mistake of taking out one of their own, RWW will be allowed back.

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The same might also be true for actor Tom Hanks. Early in June, Tom decided to sheer his experience and feelings about racism in American by publishing an op ed in the New York Times entitled “You Should Learn the Truth About the Tulsa Race Massacre,”, in which he confessed that he’d never heard of this during his 1950’s/60’s Whitebread schooling. Hanks has been activist (a quiet one) and a donor to many Democrat Party candidates and causes over the years.

But none of that was good enough for one Eric Deggans’, who used his platform on none other than NPR (National Public Radio, basically the equivalent of the NZR’s National Program) to unload in response, “Tom Hanks Is A Non-Racist. It’s Time For Him To Be Anti-Racist”. Because you can never be good enough, especially in the eyes of a 55 year old Black man who specialises in “issues of race and social justice”:

“The toughest thing for some white Americans … is to admit how they were personally and specifically connected to the elevation of white culture over other cultures,

His work, so often focused on the achievements of virtuous white, male Americans, may have made it tougher for tales about atrocities such as Tulsa to find space.”

The revolution, like Saturn, devours its children.

Perhaps the best response to Deggan’s bullshit is this article from Frontpage by Danusha Goska. It’s lengthy but you should read it. She makes several important points but it was this one that struck me, based on her experience teaching and living in Africa and the reality of limited good:

An insight into why villagers resisted change, including change that might save their own lives, was provided by the fate of one villager, a man I knew personally. When development workers advised the locals on how to improve their agricultural output, he carefully applied every suggestion. His farm prospered and he enjoyed a much higher yield than any of his neighbors.

His neighbors burned his farm down. That’s limited good. This man, by increasing his yield, had monopolized all the good to be had in that village, and his action would result, his neighbors believed, in their farms doing poorly.

It applied to other things in the village too, even beauty. That’s what Deggan is actually putting forward for the US and other Western societies:

Deggans is back to that limited good, zero-sum worldview that insists, falsely, that one man’s success equates to the next man’s failure. If Tom Hanks has two cows, Eric Deggans can’t have any cows. If Hanks’ farm is doing well, Deggans’ farm will wither. If Hanks’ baby is attractive, Deggans’ baby must be ugly.

The “solutions” offered also amount to the same thing; burning the farm to the ground:

For Hanks to atone, he must lower himself, and elevate black people in the place he previously occupied. That’s being an anti-racist. That’s Ibram X. Kendi. That’s the “8 White Identities” chart that says that the only good white is a white who participates in the abolishment of whiteness. And it is a Maoist struggle session. Deggans calls for “Hanks and other stars to talk specifically about how their work has contributed to these problems and how they will change.” This is the self-accusation that occurred during Maoist struggle sessions. The less successful, fueled by their envy, publicly humiliate the more successful.

Goska also makes the point that should be obvious:

Deggans can read white people’s minds. White people all think alike. And Deggans can speak for them. Any similar set of statements by a white man about black people would be taboo.

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Lastly, there are places where the reverse is happening, with opposition ideologues taking over their opponent’s world, as Daniel Greenfield points out:

When Sultan Doughan signed a hateful letter falsely claiming that Israel and Zionism were based on “Jewish Supremacy”, a term popularized by Neo-Nazi leader David Duke, that ugly rhetoric wouldn’t have attracted much attention in an antisemitic time… except for one thing.

Doughan is a Muslim postdoctoral associate at Boston University’s Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies.

🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

NZ Military once more follows the Pentagon’s lead

Except in this case it is a lead that the Left will fully approve of.

A few weeks ago there was a hideous series of Q&A sessions between senior members of the US military and Republican members of Congress.

The hideousness was the revelation that Critical Race Theory and the general theory of Woke have made it into the training sessions of America’s soldiers, and that the Generals and Admirals saw no problem with that, or were denying such teaching despite evidence from whistleblowers in places like West Point.

I’ve read Mao Tse-tung. I’ve read Karl Marx. I’ve read Lenin. That doesn’t make me a communist,” Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the nation’s highest ranking military officer, said.

 “So, what is wrong with understanding … having some situational understanding about the country for which we are here to defend?”

That begs the question of whether CRT actually does provide any situational understanding of the USA. Somebody should have nailed General Milley on that and also pointed out that while past US military officers have studied Marxism in its various shades that was done in order to understand the primary enemy of the USA in order to better defend against them. It was not done with an eye to learning how Marx and Lenin’s ideas provided such a great insight into how shitty the capitalism and Republican democracy of the USA was or how it could be improved by taking onboard and applying Marxist theory.

But that is exactly what CRT does. Its condemnation of America as being packed with institutions of “systemic racism”, including the US military, plus the goal of enforcing an “anti-racism” that would set people at eachother’s throats, makes them no less an enemy of the nation than the old Marxists.

Yet rather than treating its proponents as enemies of the USA against which a fight should be made, this twit and others like him, think they’ll actually learn something about the USA and improve it:

It is important that we train and we understand … and I want to understand white rage. And I’m white,”

“White rage”.

That, right there is the sign that he’s not only read the likes of Ibram X. Kendi’s nasty, hate-filled little racist polemic, How to Be an Antiracist, and other such CRT pieces but that he has absorbed them into his everyday thinking as if they’re correct. Kendi and company must be over the moon at none other than the Chairman of the JCS having swallowed a piece of their agit-prop boilerplate language to such an extent that he just blurted it out in front of the Congress. And if he’s gone that far then the “solutions” proposed by Kendi and company cannot be far behind in being implemented at places like West Point.

Put it this way. The West Point graduate below had certainly studied Marx and company, but as an advocate of them within the US Army. That’s General Milley’s approach to CRT.

Incidently, the prick in that photo got booted from the US Army after the photos became public, notably because:

he tweeted them in solidarity with NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was taking heat for kneeling for the national anthem to raise awareness of racism.

“While in uniform, Spenser Rapone advocated for communism and political violence, and expressed support and sympathy for enemies of the United States,”

Of course he did and in so doing he demonstrated the oft-denied connection between Marxist theory and Critical Race Theory. He made a mistake pushing pure Marxism though. Had he kept quiet and hung on, he would have been able to push the equally destructive CRT with the approval of the likes of General Milley.

I have long argued that more attention should be paid to the USA than Kiwis are wont to do – dismissing most US ideas as “silly”, “OTT” and typically “crazy” American stuff – because sooner or later they turn up here. And so they have (H/T Homepaddock):

Can the Army Afford to go Woke, Benign Social Progress or National Security Threat?

That is the title of an essay written by a serving New Zealand Army soldier and it was submitted as part of an essay competition – which it won.

New Zealand Chief of Army Writing Competition Winner of the New Zealand Defence Force Private Writing Category May 2021.

It won despite the writer knowing what waters he was getting into, with this opening paragraph…

I write this essay fully aware of the backlash and, at times, real world consequences afforded to the authors of similar documents in the current socio-political climate. Nevertheless, I would invoke the NZ Army ethos ‘3CI’ – particularly ‘Courage’ and ‘Integrity’ – in defence of the opinion I will express herein. The open discussion of any issue must be possible without fear of repercussions on both sides of the debate if the best outcome is ever to be reached. That is the fundamental value of free speech that permits the free enquiry, self-reflection, self-criticism and peer review that underpin our scientific and academic edifices and, in fact, our entire civilisation.

… and the ending:

I appreciate that if this piece were to win the writing competition, the optics may not be as desirable as one expressing the opposing viewpoint. 

To allow itself to become embroiled in these ‘culture wars’ would be an embarrassment, especially to the older generation of veterans and to the memory of those who paid the ultimate price. The Army should stick to fighting real wars.

As he suspected, the shit hit the fan when he won, but Elle has got the full letter on her blog, just in case it vanishes from the Army’s online archives:

It was removed on Tuesday, five days after it was published following an internal backlash and replaced with a statement from Army Chief Major General John Boswell, who apologised and accepted the decision to award the piece first place was an error.

He said out of the two entries, the essay won because it was “well-written”, but the views were not compatible with the army’s values.

Looks like our Generals are right on to it. General Milley would be proud. Didn’t save them from the wrath of their political masters though:

After questioning from Newstalk ZB, Defence Minister Peeni Henare said he delivered a blunt message to Defence Force chief Air Marshal Kevin Short yesterday.

He told Short his expectations were that “we’re better than that, and have values that don’t align with the essay.”

My advice to Private Dell is that he get the fuck out of the NZ Army quick smart before he finds himself digging latrines for the rest of his career. His thinking is not welcome.

War is interested in You!

Growing up in the late 70’s and 80’s I could see the point of the Left in battling against the cultural conformity of that age, the age of Muldoon and, frankly, my parents.

A lot of it was stifling and eye-rolling. The Left, at least the New Left that sprang forward in the 1960’s, seemed to offer a lovely world free from such grim constraints.

As much drugs and fucking as you could want. Be free, Man! Don’t worry about the consequences, for without nasty old conservatives around to punish you there are no negative consequences. Just abort the result and walk away to start again in our free and liberal world.

Except that much of it was a lie. Having successfully destroyed the War Generation’s views of how the world should operate, both in terms of relatively rigid economic management and cultural norms, the New Left has gradually turned into exactly the sort of grim enforcers of conformity that they supposedly railed against.

Inside every Progressive is a totalitarian screaming to escape.

Given that the only way to enforce their desires is via such methods that should not be a surprise, yet somehow it always is for every Progressive movement, as many progressives targeted by their own forces soon discover – eh TERFS! Or perhaps the sad White children of the School Strike For Climate Auckland movement.

So I was pleased to see signs of a fightback against the Cultural Stalinists in in this article, The West’s revolutionary chickens coming home to roost, published as most decent stuff now is, on Substack:

Oriel College, Oxford, hastily abandoned its consultation on pulling down its statue of Cecil Rhodes after furious alumni cancelled £1.5 million in donations and threatened to withdraw even more.

When the National Trust started transforming its role from honouring the past to trashing it by hectoring visitors about properties said to be associated with colonialism and slavery, it started haemorrhaging members and its chairman was forced to resign. 

Cambridge University’s vice-chancellor Professor Stephen Toope, who approved a website where students could anonymously report “micro-aggressions” by dons, was forced to retreat after tutors accused him of creating a “police state”.

In Britain, the fledgling TV station GB News, whose mission is to provide an alternative to brainwashed British broadcasting, was hit last week by a campaign of intimidation designed to shut it down as soon as it was launched.

Under the impetus of a social injustice group called Stop Funding Hate, which targeted GB News with instant character assassination, various companies and institutions threatened to pull their ads on the network or were persuaded to hesitate before committing themselves to advertising there. 

They got more than they were bargaining for, however, when the station’s bullish founder, Andrew Neil, used his new network to issue a blistering denunciation and threatened to turn the tables by boycotting them. Faced with the fury of consumers, some of these companies immediately backed down or said with hand on heart that they had never intended a boycott anyway, perish the thought.

But on the downside was this section:

If public figures make such a stand, however, people get braver. Which is why politicians and other high-profile cultural leaders should denounce this agenda. They should show they won’t tolerate it in their own organisations and will stand against those that do.

They are, however, all-too silent, terrified of provoking the inevitable titanic rows and name-calling which they believe would court electoral disaster. What such people fail to grasp, because all they can hear is the cacophonous media screeching about unstoppable cultural change, is that millions are appalled by these developments and will flock to the banner of those who oppose them. 

I’ve highlighted that piece because a few weeks ago in the post about Karl DuFresne ripping into the National Party, former National Cabinet MP, Wayne Mapp made this comment:

Unlike the Republicans, the National Party does not do culture wars. The reason being that National is not nearly as uniformly conservative as the contemporary Republicans. As I am sure you know, National has always been an coalition of Liberals and Conservatives.

As I responded at the time, given the degree of sneering, backhanded contempt that has been exhibited on this blog and elsewhere by “Liberals” like Mapp towards Conservatives, those days of coalition may be coming to an end, especially since one would have to ask exactly what National Party “Conservatives” have conserved about NZ over the last fifty years?

But perhaps a more appropriate quote to deliver to such people would be the one from Leon Trotsky:

You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.

Die MSM, Die – Corporate dismissal

Elon Musk has become that rare but frequent creature that occasionally appears in Western society – the Public Rich Person.

Which is to say that while becoming one of the richest men in the world he has a public persona as a result of the businesses he’s developed and his own personality, unlike many very rich people who keep their heads down.

The reason of course is that two of his businesses have not only been very successful but are regarded as paradigm changing, these being Tesla with electric cars and SpaceX with reusable rockets – plus his plans for their future.

So it was with much amusement that I saw this announcement a few weeks ago: Tesla Eliminates its PR Wing:

Essentially every staffer who used to work in Tesla’s PR office has either moved to a different position at the company or left altogether, according to electric vehicle industry blog Electrek, which said the move to disband the department was confirmed “at the highest level at Tesla.”

That leaves CEO Elon Musk as Tesla’s primary public communicator since the company hasn’t answered press inquiries in months anyway. Tesla has plenty of ways to get its story out without relying on the media, and that makes the media much less important — and much less powerful, primarily because it means they lose control of the narrative.

And it’s that power part that hurts the most, as Washington Post public editor Hamilton Nolan went on to howl about:

“We are living through a historic, technology-fueled shift in the balance of power between the media and its subjects. The subjects are winning…

Subjects? That is a clue to this asshole’s view of himself and his readers – otherwise known as citizens, and I’m glad they’re winning because the MSM sucks at their job. But let’s have a look at some of his other whinging: it’s fisking time.

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the powerful have realized they don’t need the Post .. one more glaring data point showing that powerful people no longer think they need the mainstream press,

Nobody needs the Washington Post, and it’s not just the rich and powerful who are increasingly ignoring you lying bastards.

[Tesla has] effectively formalized an informal policy of ignoring reporters. Though we should all be grateful for the chance to hear less about Tesla,

Ooooo!!!! POWER SNARK. Who needs Twitter when we can turn to the WaPo Public Editor for this sort of erudite swipe! This is also a perfect illustration of why everybody should follow Musk’s lead on ignoring you!

especially critical and ethical outlets like the Washington Post.

🤣🤣🤣🤣

This presents a problem.

For you.

The internet in general—and social media platforms in particular—have destroyed one of the media’s most important sources of power: being the only place that could offer access to an audience.

You no longer hold an absolute monopoly on information because nobody trusts you anymore – especially after 2020, even though it was bad before, and it’s your own damned fault. Public Trust.

When the full flowering of the social-media age turns even the most prestigious papers into just another mid-sized Facebook page struggling to catch up to the reach of Dan Bongino? 

It already has but you’re too stupid to realise it. And as for Bongino? Tucker Carlson? No, It’s PewDiePie (110 million YouTube subscribers) and others like him that you should be worried about if you’re looking into the future. You don’t know he exists. That’s ok; his youthful audience doesn’t know you exist – and if you think he’s just lightweight pap well, he reviewed Plato’s Republic.

As journalists, we all view this as a horrifying assault on the public’s right to know…

When we see things like the full-court-press silencing routine by the WaPo, along with virtually every other mainstream outlet, of the still-undisputed Hunter Biden stories published in the NY Post ahead of the 2020 election, that “right to know” claim rings hollow. Do the people have a “right to know” things in general? Or just the things you want them to know?

People have noticed it’s the latter, which is why almost every MSM institution is in such desperate straits. But I note that you don’t mention loss of revenue and other things that flow from being snubbed by the likes of Tesla. You and your mates will pursue the Master Ring of Narrative all the way into the lava of Mt Doom.

… and on our own status as brave defenders of the public good.

You’re high on your own farts. The only time the MSM is brave is when they’re fucking over someone who they think can’t fight back. Oh look, that teenager smiled wrong. We’d better ruin his life, at least until he sues us.

We need to take some [power] back, lest the rich and powerful run away from one of the last forces restraining them. Because journalism, particularly at the highest level, is about raw power.

Too late asshole. You were only ever powerful to the extent that the citizens trusted you, and that ship has sailed. Again: Public Trust.

Besides, that whole “power” thing tells me you attended far too many university courses on poststructuralist and postmodernist analysis of “power relationships”. But you were not supposed to be about power, you were supposed to be about finding and reporting the truth. In any case you’ve spent most of the last four decades mouth pleasuring one group of the powerful societal upper crust, peaking in 2020, although I’m sure you can and will suck harder with Biden/Harris.

Politicians and officials and business leaders don’t want to talk to the press, subjecting themselves to the possibility of being made to look bad; they do it because they have always felt they had no choice.

They felt that way because papers like the Post could offer the carrot of great exposure to those who needed it, but also, always, the stick of negative coverage to those who spurned it.

So you’re Tony Soprano standing in the door saying, “real nice life you’ve got there. Be a real shame if something bad happened to it”. Which is actually pretty accurate in that you don’t tell the truth but twist reality to conform with the narrative you’ve already written, and fucking over anybody you want with near total impunity – except the powerful ones that you’ve chosen and favour – like Joe Biden.

… you only get those interviews when your subject fears what will happen if they don’t do the interview. Today, that fear is disappearing. We all need to figure out what to do about that. 

Like Musk losing the fear. Excellent. Only bullies want people to live in fear. You corrupt losers shouldn’t be feared, you should be kicked in the balls on a regular basis, or at least mocked. But assuming you really want to be “figure out” how to be fair in deploying your fear maybe you could tell the truth and expose issues regardless of political affiliation. Again: Public Trust.

It is about bringing important people to heel, on behalf of the public.

This is where all that flexing about negative coverage and fear falls down. When it comes to those important people called politicians you’ve clearly chosen one side. The Democrats have no fear of you because they know you’ll cover for them, because you want the same societal things they’re pushing for. In the USA the only Democrats you bring to heel are the ones who have strayed off the range and who must be punished – or those who are no longer useful and can be safely disposed of, see Clinton, Bill, DeBlasio, Wilhelm.

There is nothing devious or ignoble about this; a powerful press, for all its flaws, is good for democracy, and tends to promote equality by holding the big shots in check.

Right now, you’re covering for a President with a lifetime history of racism, female fondling, dirty family deals, crap decisions in 50 years of government, and low-IQ stupidity wrapped in a thin-skinned defensiveness about it, all now compounded by rapidly advancing senility. You make excuses for him or simply refuse to cover that shit in precisely the way you wouldn’t if he were a Republican.

The Washington Post and its competitors—the elite level of national news…

🤣🤣🤣🤣

the places that have traditionally set the agenda are the most vulnerable to this shift.

For “agenda”, read “narrative”. Very telling. Your job is to report, not “set agendas”. Vulnerable? Two words for you again: Public Trust. You pissed it away and people will, like Musk, just use Big Tech instead, now that you’re no longer useful to them, or us.

[We] are the relatively small portion of the media that is able to command both access and editorial independence.

Watching these boot licking pricks talk about their “independence” while actual independent journalists routinely get deplatformed and demonetized is bile inducing.

All I know is that there is only one way the press maintains its power in society: By metaphorically putting the heads of powerful people on pikes.

Except we all know none of those heads will belong to useful Democrats. There’s plenty to pick from here but the latest is Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and his decades-long membership in an all-white, all-male private club in his state of Rhode Island, even as he bills himself as a progressive and prominent critic of “systemic racism”. Come on WaPo; if was a Republican you’d run this story for months on the front page and with the most evil conclusions about the man himself. But he’s a protected species for the WaPo; a person with a (D) after his name.

We all know who those severed heads on pikes will belong to. It’ll be Republicans or worse, ordinary people who got out of line with your narrative. The ordinary dude who questioned a democrat politician a little too sharply. The teenager who “smirked”.

Democracy dies in dumbness.

Yeah, yeah. Keep digging that grave. Make it long, wide and deep.

The question for the Post is: What are you gonna do about it?

Not us. You. Three words: learn to code.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 27, 2021 at 4:26 pm

Never go full Twitter

A couple of weeks ago I was rather saddened to learn that one of my co-bloggers had fallen into the world of Twitter during the Great Wuhan Lung Rot pandemic.

I’ve never used Twitter and never will. From what I’ve seen it reinforces the worst aspects of human communication. The restricted text space should encourage people to be concise but seems to lead to poorly thought out, stupid comments that blow up in their face because they lack context and nuance. That is compounded by its addictive quality that pushes people into hammering out Tweet after Tweet when time off for reflective thought would be a better response. The cherry on top is that it enables one of the worst aspects of humanity – abusive pack behaviour.

I’ve lost track of the number of activists, journalists and ordinary people who have found themselves having to delete Tweets or even their entire account because of something stupid they said. The most recent example was one Richard Taite, founder of a Biden PAC (Political Action Committee) who responded to an incident where a Chicago man and his wife were dragged out of their car in a Black neighbourhood and shot.

The man was Gyovanny Arzuaga and he died. His wife, Yasmin Perez is still in critical condition. They were with their two kids, aged one and three, and were celebrating in the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade that’s been a feature of the city for decades. The flag sticking out of their car was, naturally enough, a Puerto Rican flag. How the hell anybody could mistake it for the old Confederate flag I don’t know, but he makes it quite clear that he’s cool with murder as long as the victims deserved it. Yet again, Twitter enabled the worst, not the best, of a human being. Mr Taite’s Twitter account has gone dark.

Twitter is a cesspool.

Recently a US survey was done that might explain some of this: it should certainly be shown to any members of PR or HR sections of public departments, ministries, NGO’s, corporations and any group with a public face that thinks it needs to do something or change something because a meme is “trending” on Twitter.

It’s not really a surprise. In the wake of the British Labour’s disasterous 2020 general election result one of the criticisms made of Labour activists was that they were so buried in Twitter that they thought it reflected the general population. Then there’s the growing censorship of the platform.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 25, 2021 at 8:55 am

It’s just an academic theory

I see there has been some ruction here in New Zealand about a high school activist group (School Strike For Climate Auckland or SSFCA) breaking itself up because of its inherent White Supremacy.

Apparently the group was “advised” about this problem by Maori and Pasifika groups also engaged in “fighting Climate Change”. I was amused that Chris Trotter covered this story with the title, Losing The “Struggle-Session” Over Climate Change:

The statement released by SSFCA was heart-breaking. To find an historical precedent for the document’s abject self-negation and unqualified acknowledgement of guilt it is necessary to go back to the “struggle sessions” of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution of the late-1960s. Or, even further back, to the “confessions” tremulously delivered by the broken victims of Joseph Stalin’s show trials in the 1930s. The shaming and vilification required to reduce these idealistic young people to a state of such utter intellectual prostration proves conclusively that human viciousness is not a trait peculiar to those whose skins are white.

That’s because I’ve covered this insanity in a series of posts over the last year titled The Struggle Sessions, and yes, its treatment of humans is “heart-breaking”, although it’s hard to hold back the schadenfreude as the theory now hits some of the very people who wielded it not five minutes ago.

In the light of such occurrences as SSFCA’s it’s quite amazing that we’re suddenly seeing people, particularly the MSM, suddenly blathering about how this is “just an academic theory” that perhaps is being used badly by “fringe groups”.

Bullshit! This is spreading fast and wide through mainstream institutions and pushed by supposedly mainstream groups like teachers, and it is hitting your kids and grandkids. They know it better than you, as shown by the following two examples.

First up is a short speech by some 15 year old kid at a school board meeting for Rosemount High School, located in a suburb of Minneapolis.

At least he had the good sense to tell them he was quitting the school and going elsewhere to be educated in how to think critically.

The next example is a lot sadder. It’s a letter written by a high school student to his former English teacher, who recently resigned from Dwight-Englewood School in protest to the introduction of Critical Race Theory. The letter was released by Columbia university professor of linguistics, John McWhorter (whose take on “systemic racism” I wrote about earlier)

Dear Mrs. Stangel-Plowe,

I truly hope you do read this email, but I understand if you are too busy to. I am extremely grateful that you were my teacher this year, and for the ideas you finally brought to light recently. I hope you realize how big of an impact you made on our community. Unfortunately, all of what you said is true; I know many students that are scared to speak out on their opinions in fear. I have reluctantly prohibited myself from saying certain things in class also in fear of sounding politically incorrect. I see the negative effects of this toxic community in my fellow students and faculty every day.

Namely, my eighth grade English teacher taught us for the first two weeks about pretty much how awful white men are. For two weeks, I did not speak a single word in her class. My fellow white male classmates left the classroom every time feeling the same way. For lack of a better word, those teachings made me feel like horse shit, like worthless scum undeserving of living.

Later during that year, in my history class, my white classmates were constantly using the pronoun “we” when talking about slavery. Eventually, I had to raise my hand and remind them: that “we” were not and are not a part of these despicable acts. Most of our parents were refugees from foreign countries, whose ancestors were also oppressed and persecuted. This year, I have battled with countless generalizing and oppression towards white men. There are girls, whom I am friends with, that genuinely believe that all men are misogynistic. I see movements on social media like #KAM which stands for “Kill all men”; people don’t realize how strongly that affects boys in an extremely negative way.

Even now, I am struggling and frightened to fully express my opinion to my girlfriend, who believes that most white men are oppressive beings. Everyone is talking about your letter, many many students including myself are extremely grateful for what you’ve done. My friends and classmates feel much more comfortable expressing their voices and many minds are changing. So I am once again thanking you for trying to improve our school. I wish I could put into words the extent to which I admire and thank you. I wish I could describe to you the good that you have done. I aspire to be as brave as you some day.

With endless amounts of love and respect,

-Your former D-E student

You can see how this sort of “education” could produce sad, frightened young teenagers like the ones who formed SSFCA, whose actions show that it’s not just US high school kids who are imbibing this garbage.

Oh, and the first thing that second boy needs to do in terms of “bravery” is dump that toxic POS “girlfriend” before she fucks him up permanently.

“Even North Korea is not this nuts”

That’s not from this Babylon Bee tweet, despite it being another of their wonderful pieces of satire.

Now you may be thinking that photoshopping North Korea’s Kim Jong Un into a modern American university lecture theatre is over-the-top, even for a satirical story.

But that would be before you read this article about a North Korean defector named Yeonmi Park, who has recently graduated from Columbia University.

Park is one of the more famous defectors, having written a 2015 memoir called “In Order to Live”, in which she chronicled her life in the repressive regime of North Korea and her eventual escape with her mother. At the age of 13 she saw people die of starvation right in front of her. When she and her mother managed to get across the border into China they were captured by human slavers. Having been freed by Christian missionaries she still ended up having to walk across the Gobi desert before she got to South Korea.

Then she moved to the USA and went to one of the great Ivy League universities.

“I expected that I was paying this fortune, all this time and energy, to learn how to think. But they are forcing you to think the way they want you to think,” she said. “I realized, wow, this is insane. I thought America was different but I saw so many similarities to what I saw in North Korea that I started worrying.”

Her money quote:

“Even North Korea is not this nuts. North Korea was pretty crazy, but not this crazy.”

When you read the details she supplies about her education you can understand why she came to this conclusion.

Like in North Korea, Park said she witnessed example after example of anti-Western sentiment and guilt-tripping. During her orientation, for instance, a staff member scolded her for liking classic literature, such as the writings of Jane Austen.

“I said ‘I love those books.’ I thought it was a good thing,” Park said of her orientation. “Then she said, ‘Did you know those writers had a colonial mindset? They were racists and bigots and are subconsciously brainwashing you.’”

Heh. I encountered a number of feminists in the 1980’s with a very low opinion of Jane Austen, because she did not fit their conceptions of what a feminist was. To say the least their opinions of the woman were primitive and reductive, but by the late 1990’s things had turned around, with increased celebration of Ms Austen’s feminist traits.

Just in time to now be a “colonialist” and a racist.

Yeonmi Park

Her professors gave students “trigger warnings,” sharing the wording from readings in advance so people could opt out of reading or even sitting in class during discussions, Park told The Post.

“Going to Columbia, the first thing I learned was ‘safe space,’” she said.

“Every problem, they explained us, is because of white men.” Some of the discussions of white privilege reminded her of the caste system in her native country, where people were categorized based on their ancestors, she said.

The similarities with North Korea mounted up, but at least the North Koreans had some rationale in defending their system, which they did partly by hating on Americans. As Ms Park points out there seem to be rather a lot of Americans who also hate America.

When it came to gender pronouns and manipulation of the English language, Park was even more confused.

“English is my third language. I learned it as an adult. I sometimes still say ‘he’ or ‘she’ by mistake and now they are going to ask me to call them ‘they’? How the heck do I incorporate that into my sentences?” she remembered asking herself. “It was chaos. It felt like the regression in civilization.”

It is a regression in civilisation. And it comes from being in a “safe space”.

“Because I have seen oppression, I know what it looks like,” she said. “These kids keep saying how they’re oppressed, how much injustice they’ve experienced. They don’t know how hard it is to be free.”

The paradox of supposedly being taught about “oppression”, “injustice” and being “free” is that it’s producing graduates who actually don’t know anything about them.

Park said as a child she had thought dictator Kim Jong Un was “starving” and overworked until she was in South Korea and was shown pictures that showed how large he was in pictures compared to other people who looked thin and hungry.

“That’s what it does when you’re brainwashed …. Oh my God, why did I not notice that he was fat?’ Because I never learned how to think critically. That is what is happening in America, people see things but they’ve just completely lost the ability to think critically.”

More paradox, this time courtesy of “Critical Theory”. Or perhaps irony is a better term?

“You guys have lost common sense to a degree that I as a North Korean cannot even comprehend,” she said. “Where are we going from here? There’s no rule of law, no morality, nothing is good or bad anymore, it’s complete chaos. I guess that’s what they want, to destroy every single thing and rebuild into a Communist paradise.”

I don’t agree with that last, although I can see why she would think that. The fact is that outside of a tiny fringe of real Marxists there are few who believe in that, mainly because there are so many grifting, money hungry Leftists tearing things up just to make a buck for themselves:

But that doesn’t mean they can’t cause an awful lot of damage to American society as they claw in the money while forcing everybody else to bend to their whims.

Eventually, Park stopped arguing with her professors and “learned how to just shut up” so that she could graduate.

“I literally crossed the Gobi Desert to be free and I realized I’m not free, America’s not free.

Well she did still graduate, and she got to talk to reporters about this – but only once she escaped from the university, and to paraphrase Andrew Sullivan, once we all live on campus…

What is censorship?

With the rise of Social Media websites that have created vast public spaces for discussion this question has been arising more frequently that it has in the past when censorship simply meant a government preventing you from speaking.

At present, because the likes of FaceTwit have banished President Trump from their spaces along with other Right Wing voices, the Lefty luvvies assume that Zuckerberg and company are on their side, so are more than happy to play the whole “Private Sector rights” back on to the Right – baking celebratory gay wedding cakes etc. In this they’re still being joined by the NeverTrump fanatics and the Libertarians.

You would think that the inconsistencies of the bans, with the likes of Iranian and CCP voices being allowed to remain while they punch out their propaganda, would cause the Left to think more deeply about this, but at present partisanship rules in the USA and as long as OrangeManBad is banned it’s all good.

Even the Socialist Workers Party had their access restored so they were probably quite happy to drop the subject.

I covered a fair bit of this double standard bullshit on a previous post, The Purge, back in February, including this quote aimed at the hard-line, private-sector-rulz Right Wing:

To be frank, anyone still defending big tech is part of the problem. You are going to “muh private company” yourself until every semblance of freedom is lost on these monopolistic “public squares.” And while some may be naive enough to think the ban monster isn’t coming for them, the next four years are going to get worse. Twitter, Facebook, etc. have no fear anymore. Trump is gone. The GOP lost the Senate and no longer control the committees. It’s a free for all, and everyone except those who are in hock with social media monetarily (i.e. The Dispatch crew) are vulnerable.

On that last, you should also refer to the counter-argument about such “private” spaces in the post, Answers to Bad Anti-Free Speech Arguments.

Of course there are some governments that, as Tatinia McGrath spotted, FaceTwit are comfortable with, given that they slobber at the prospect of hundreds of millions of new customers.

But now the government of Nigeria has gone after Twitter.

This follows on from the government of Uganda doing the same thing to Facebook and Twitter back in January (Not Literary Folk), fearing that they might also choose political sides in their upcoming election as they had in the USA. The FaceTwit response then was to reveal that they have no idea what irony is.

“Access to information and freedom of expression, including the public conversation on Twitter, is never more important than during democratic processes, particularly elections.”

This time their reaction was a little different, if equally stupid:

Wait! What? Access to them is “an essential human right in modern society”. ?

I know a guy named Donald Trump and 75 million Americans who might want to dispute the commitment of you assholes to that “right”. Or those who want to report on Hunter “Cocaine” Biden’s laptop. Or discussing gender vs. biology. Or comment on some CCP prick lying about the Chinese Sinus AIDS virus. Or discuss Chinese lab leak “conspiracies”.

Yeah, it’s a “human right” unless, apparently, you say something that FaceTwit/Google/Amazon don’t like. Then you’re gone, or certainly what you had to say is gone or dumped into a cyber Black Hole from which it can’t spread.

Yeah. That’s not the way “human rights” work, fuckers.

Still, it’s nice to know that FaceTwit have willfully denied Trump an essential human right.

I say we burn them to the ground. Well, their server farms at least.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 16, 2021 at 6:00 am