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Stunning and Brave

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Apparently it’s Pride Month, our annual opportunity to subtly change what rainbows have meant for thousands of years.

I jest, but in the wake of the last four decades of progress made by the gay community in Western nations the Pride parades have become a bit redundant. There would be few gays, even teenagers, who still live in the closet and need an annual dose of public virtue signalling to tell them they can be proud of who they are. It’s very 70’s.

Certainly the gays I’ve known since the 1980’s regard it now with eye rolling sighs, but then they’re all moderate Right Wingers who just aren’t impressed any longer by their more flamboyant, “look-at-me, look-at-me” associates who are just gagging to perform Josephine Baker’s Danse banane in public.

Also the movement itself has started to split with the latest cutting edge developments around the trans movement and the outrage over why homosexual men won’t date men with vaginas and lesbians refusing to bed women with penises. The Auckland Pride parade hit the skids in 2018 “because of all those racist, homophobic, transphobic, and violent experiences with the police.

In fact the gay lifestyle is pretty much in your face on an everyday basis in the media, entertainment, and business, with the corporates eager to flaunt their “conscience” in advertising. There’s just one problem, as noted by Intersectionalist Poet, Titania McGrath:

Or this clearer comparison

Actually the “Rainbow” community may be filled with a degree of envy of the way many of those nations enforce their morality, judging by the way things are moving in the West.

Luckily there will always be Nazis to punch.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 9, 2021 at 12:23 pm

The Precious Midpoint

It’s a truism of politics that you win the centre to gain and hold political power.

But there’s a difference between acting on that and worshipping it as a religious principle that requires politicians to do nothing but sniff the winds and bend accordingly to what they detect.

Politicians and political parties that do that are doomed to accomplish nothing in power beyond managing the status quo until they tire and are voted out in favour of the next new, shiny thing. And if enough time goes by and the status quo breaks down, such a party will simply be left on the side of the road.

Strangely this seems to be the fate of the old socialist parties of France and Germany, which are facing extinction as major players, and the British Labour Party seems to be intent on joining them, as noted in this article, The Road to Hartlepool Pier:

But worst of all is that this transmogrified middle-class party views its old working-class constituency not simply with incomprehension but with contempt. “Yep”, Liddle quotes a “Starmer superfan” as tweeting about the result, “as expected the working class love a bit of nationalism and racism. Well done Hartlepool, you turkeys. I’ve never been and I never will”.

“The Labour Party we knew is gone,” Liddle concludes, “gone for good. Those votes are not coming back”. Stirring stuff and written from the depths of a Social Democrat’s soul.

But the article points out that this is nothing new for British Labour or British Socialism, as implied with the title of the article, cribbing from one of Orwell’s famous books:

“The truth is,” Orwell concludes, “that to many people calling themselves Socialists, revolution does not mean a movement of the masses with which they hope to associate themselves; it means a set of reforms which ‘we’, the clever ones, are going to impose upon ‘them’, the Lower Orders.”

That was written in 1937.

Here in New Zealand I have to wonder if the same thing is true of the National Party? Certainly Chris Trotter notes the problems that Centre-Left parties are having overseas but is cocksure that the same won’t happen to NZ Labour, with his “Four Houses” analogy:

Far from losing touch with its brown working-class base, New Zealand Labour’s liberal, university-educated middle class: the house members of Working With My Brain and Taking Care of Others; are doing everything they can to empower Maori and Pasefika New Zealanders. They are doing this by strengthening their unions; by increasing their benefits; by more appropriately tailoring health and educational services to their needs; and, most significantly, by reconfiguring New Zealand’s constitutional structures to ensure their voices are heard and their cultural needs recognised.

Ironically, this leaves New Zealand’s National Party where British Labour now appears to be standing: with insufficient allies to win a nationwide election. Of New Zealand’s four houses, only Taking Care of Business (especially rural business) is overwhelmingly loyal to National. Increasingly, the house members of Working With My Brain, once more-or-less evenly split between National and Labour, are clustering around like-minded “progressives”.

And here also:

The only real questions, after Thursday’s Budget, is how long will it take National to realise how profoundly the political game has been – and is being – transformed by Covid and Climate Change? Will it be two, three, or four terms? And, how many leaders will the party have to elect, and discard, before it finally masters the new language of electoral victory?

While that’s amusing and something to think about, it must be said that poor old Chris has a long, repeated habit of swinging from orgasmic joy at Labour electoral victories followed by dark mood swings as they flail around and fail to recreate the wonders of Micky Savage’s First Labour Government. That second article might as well have been titled the same as the famous cover of Newsweek in 2008, heralding the arrival of Saint Obama and following the spending spree of the Bush Administration as they effectively nationalised a stack of financial firms.

Things turned out differently of course.

However, the reason for my post’s title was the thought that National may actually be thinking the same as Chris, and it’s been foremost with ex-Cabinet Minister Wayne Mapp, commenting on a number of blogs, including Trotter’s. Here on No Minister he has of course regularly lambasted me as being to the Right of 90% of New Zealanders and I have acknowledged as much.

But over on Kiwiblog this comment from Wayne in a DPF post on electric cars, made it clear that it’s not just me he’s concerned about:

Fourteen out of twenty four comments criticising DPF, either directly or indirectly, for choosing an EV. It does show how far Kiwiblog commenters are from the midpoint of NZ voters.

Given that the vast majority of those comments were not knee-jerk reactions but accurate observations about the cost, range, life-span and capabilities of EV’s, and given that many of those people are or have been National voters, I thought that was a foolish and reactionary comment itself.

But it does show the thinking that’s evolving here, at least with one ex-National MP, and it’s thinking that fits perfectly with Trotter’s about what’s wrong with National and where they have to go to regain power – which is basically to just cede all these fundamental arguments to the Left, roll over and awaken when the electorate eventually tires of Jacindamania.

Given that Labour and its policies were floating around the low twenty percent mark in mid-2017 before the Hail Mary pass to Jacinda yielded a massive increase in Labour’s vote share, even as the policies remained the same, I think that simply following them in those basic policies, if not in detail, is stupid beyond belief.

Having talked to countless Jacinda worshippers and having always asked them the key question, “Would you vote for Labour policies if Jacinda vanished today?”, I’ve not been surprised to find them answering that they’re not actually aware of Labour policies and a hesitant answer that they might still vote for them. In other words, at rock bottom, the popularity of Labour is still in the pre-Jacinda range of early 2017.

As the threat of Chinese Sinus AIDS retreats and the costs of being a NoRightTurn extremist on AGW mount up, especially for that “brown working-class base”, I don’t think even the magic pixie dust of Jacinda will be enough.

Instead of aping the strategic goals of Labour and sneering at their own voters, what National should be thinking about is what the votes for Brexit and Trump in 2016 and for the British Conservatives in 2020 meant, and what the changing politics of things like the recent Hartlepool election meant – rather than imagining that the forces driving them can be wiped away by defeating Trump-like politicians.

National is not going to be rewarded by simply saying that it will do the same as Labour but with better management. In the face of failing public systems, especially education, that’s no longer good enough. The 2020 election told National that when voters are presented with such a choice they’ll just vote Labour.

And the lesson is not to be like the New Zealand equivalent of Mitt Romney, Theresa May or David Cameron – all squishes who either failed to get elected or if they were, failed to grasp the actual electoral environment they claimed their “moderate” noses could sniff out.

That approach just won’t cut it anymore with Centre-Right parties. Real, practical solutions based around giving incentives to individuals – in education, healthcare and other areas – are what is required. Certainly not something that “‘we’, the clever ones, are going to impose upon ‘them’, the Lower Orders“, from the hearts of wealthy suburbs sporting myriad electric cars.

The midpoint is there to be moved, not just accommodated with as others move it.

Just as important is that all this needs to be backed by a willingness to fight with the likes of Tova and John Campbell when they use their usual emotional bullshit arguments in opposition. That’s yet another lesson that Trump has taught at least the next generation of GOP politicians. I see Nikki Halley is already being talked up, but the future actually lies with the likes of Ron DeSantis, Tim Scott, Tom Cotton, Mike Pompeo, and Kristi Noem.

Who National’s future lies with I have no idea.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 6, 2021 at 10:23 am

Money. Wall. Pissing against.

You may have thought that the current NZ Labour government was a shocker when it came to spending vast sums of money to no good effect, but as is often the case now, the US state of California leads the way.

As if the high taxes, poverty, filth, crime, killer fires, water problems and energy problems were not bad enough it appears that they can’t even run a basic book keeping process.

This is Betty Yee, and she is the “State Controller” of California, which means that she is the person responsible for:

  • “Accountability and disbursement of the state’s financial resources.”
  • “Auditing all funds disbursed by the state and all claims presented for payments to [her office.]”

Given that California is the world’s fifth largest economy, that is a hell of a lot of spending responsibility. Her office issued 49 million checks in payments worth $320 billion in 2018.

Being in a public office she’s also accountable directly to the public in terms of more than just votes, being required to produce information about all this spending, subject to the usual Official Information Requests that we see across the Western world. There’s always scrapping between such offices and the people demanding the information as to timely releases and so forth – no bureaucrat is ever keen on revealing everything to the proles – but by and large the process works.

So it was no surprise when some activist group called Open the Books (OTB), requested to see the line item details of all these payments, starting in 2013. The letter they finally got in 2019 surprised the hell out of them:

“The State of California, State Controller’s Office does not maintain a centralized vendor contract database which would allow it to identify all contracts regardless of the agency awarding such contract,”

That came from Yee’s general counsel Richard Chivaro, who went further:

“In fact, many state contracts are paid for directly by the contracting agency,” Chivaro continued. “This procedure allows the contracting agency to make such payments as expeditiously as possible thereby taking advantage of an early payment discount which may be available.” 

“Moreover, the Controller’s Office receives literally thousands of claims for payment daily. Claims are batched by date received and are not segregated, logged or otherwise tracked by agency employee or payment type. Consequently, because of the way the claims are batched and processed by this office, we are unable to locate or otherwise provide you with the documents requested,”

The fuck? In other words the Controller’s Office literally cannot answer the question of where all the money went in a $302 billion spending list. They simply do not and cannot know exactly who got the money because they just don’t bother tracking that level of detail.

Incredible. Almost beyond belief.

OTB is suing the state of California but frankly I don’t how that can succeed: if the system doesn’t track this stuff at a line item level (or even a couple of levels up) then what’s the lawsuit going to produce? They have had to sue Illinois and Wyoming in the past to get such data, but they did get it in the end, and they did not need to take such action to get spending records from the other 47 states according to the OTB Chairman:

“We even get the checkbooks from the historically, systemically corrupt Port Authority of New York and New Jersey,” he said. “We do get the second set of books from there.” 

In some respects it’s hardly surprising given an earlier story that blew out of the same state a few months ago:

California Labor Secretary Julie Su told reporters in a conference call Monday that of the $114 billion the state has paid in unemployment claims during the coronavirus pandemic, 10 percent, or $11.4 billion, involves fraud and another 17 percent is under investigation. 

Nearly all of the fraudulent claims were paid through the federally supported Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. The program was approved by Congress to provide unemployment assistance to those who usually wouldn’t be eligible, such as independent contractors. 

The even got scammed by the usual suspects, criminal organisations from Russia and Nigeria, as well as 21,000 prisoners in the state who scored more than $400 million, including 100 prisoners on death row

I like to think the latter group really just did it for kicks, given that they’re not likely to be able to spend any of it.

Written by Tom Hunter

May 29, 2021 at 2:20 pm

Random Fun III

Another collection of things that don’t justify a post in themselves.

First up, what is it with Senators from Arizona? In this case Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, who has loud clothing choices and is wearing a ring labeled “Fuck Off”.

It’s not entirely a joke either considering that is exactly what’s she’s said (in more polite terms of course) to various Big Ideas from her own party, like a $15/hour minimum wage, votes for some Trump cabinet members, and ending the Senate filibuster on all legislation.

I know there’s stuff she supports that I don’t but I’m beginning to warm to Maverick II.

Second is one of those Big Ideas. There’s a Democrat party activist group that has decided to learn from history and try and avoid another Supreme Court pothole such as the one that happened with Justice Ginsburg hanging on grimly, only to die while a Republican was President.

The “Demand Justice” group has therefore decided to focus on the next oldest Democrat Justice – Stephen Breyer – and as you can see from the van driving around D.C. they’re very blunt about what they want.

Third is an interesting screen capture of some chatroom involving folk from the Middle East discussing the best ways to escape from where they are to head for Germany. You can see the recommended routes marked out, but what amused me was the nations the group thought should be avoided on the trip North, although I’m a little surprised that they think Greece is one path, since none other than the EU Commission President called it “our European shield”.

Fourth is a juicy item for all those folk who can’t argue a point and use links to “Fact Check” sites, like that of Politico’s “Truth-O-Meter”.

On its website, PolitiFact splits its Biden verdicts into “Facts Checks Of Biden” and “Fact Checks About Biden.” Our review of the first 100 days shows 13 fact checks “of Biden,” and 106 fact checks “about Biden.” That’s an eight-to-one disparity.

In other words, they’re much more sensitive about someone “lying” about Biden than they are about Biden lying. 

That’s hardly a surprise. As people’s trust in journalism has declined over the last twenty years, the same journalists started to form “Fact Check” groups where they could write the same stuff and exhibit the same bias that had caused the loss of trust in the first place.

It’s a scam that should have ended long ago, especially when you dig into their “Fact Checks” and find that most are simply arguing a different opinion, not a fact. The reason it has not ended is that Lefty politicians, activists and supporters love the sort of cheap, one-URL-link, argumentum ad verecundiam, gaslighting they get from the likes of Politico.

Following on from the post about New Zealand’s woeful productivity the other day I was reminded of this classic Dilbert question.

Of course there is the situation known as No Money – and irony too.

Written by Tom Hunter

May 19, 2021 at 9:27 am

Die MSM, Die – A blast from their lying past

Anybody who has followed US politics over the last few decades will remember a minor kerfuffle that occurred during the 1992 Presidential election.

Earlier that year the GOP primaries were happening and while not as exciting as the Democrat ones, because the incumbent President usually has no real challengers, people did pay some attention.

While conducting one of the usual election campaign photo opportunities President Bush dropped by a National Grocers Association convention in Orlando. One of the exhibits Bush visited was a demonstration of NCR’s checkout scanning technology, and he’s seen here at that point.

Following the triumph of Desert Storm, Bush was still riding reasonably high in the polls, even if they had declined a bit as a shallow recession appeared in late 1991 and pushed on into early 1992. But like most incumbent Presidents he was expected to win, so much so that several Democrat heavy hitters decided not to run that year, leaving the field to unknowns like some guy from Arkansas called Bill Clinton.

Still, the recession was seen as Bush’s weak spot and the Democrats began to chew away on this, along with their faithful lackey, The New York Times. The chosen narrative was that Bush didn’t really care about ordinary people, which was why he wasn’t doing anything to end the recession, so the idea was to produce endless articles showing how he was “out of touch” with the average American after decades in Washington D.C.

As you can see from the MSM coverage today of the current POTUS, an even more long-term incumbent of Washington D.C., narratives can be turned 180 degrees when the political and ideological need arises.

So when this photo and story appeared it was a gift to the NYT, and one of their lead reporters jumped all over it:

Today, for instance, [Bush] emerged from 11 years in Washington’s choicest executive mansions to confront the modern supermarket.Visiting the exhibition hall of the National Grocers Association convention here, Mr. Bush lingered at the mock-up of a checkout lane. He signed his name on an electronic pad used to detect check forgeries.

“If some guy came in and spelled George Bush differently, could you catch it?” the President asked. “Yes,” he was told, and he shook his head in wonder.

Some grocery stores began using electronic scanners as early as 1976, and the devices have been in general use in American supermarkets for a decade.

Because the NYT was regarded as the lead on any story, this one gave other editorial writers the chance to pile on and amplify the narrative (always an essential part of a propaganda campaign), like the Boston Globe

President Bush, according to reporters who followed him around Tuesday at the National Grocers Association convention in Orlando, Fla., had never before seen a supermarket cash register on which the name of the item and its price flashed on a screen when the item was dragged across an electronic scanner.

The scanner was introduced at supermarket checkouts in 1980, the year Bush was elected vice president, and is just one of the many aspects of everyday life from which a president (or vice president) is shielded in the private life of public office.

As opposed to this cool guy and his trumpet saxophone.

Then a small piece of truth emerged:

Andrew Rosenthal of The New York Times hadn’t even been present at the grocers’ convention. He based his article on a two-paragraph report filed by the lone pool newspaperman allowed to cover the event, Gregg McDonald of the Houston Chronicle, who merely wrote that Bush had a “look of wonder” on his face and didn’t find the event significant enough to mention in his own story.

Moreover, Bush had good reason to express wonder: He wasn’t being shown then-standard scanner technology, but a new type of scanner that could weigh groceries and read mangled and torn bar codes.


Bob Graham of NCR, who demonstrated the scanner technology for President Bush, said, “It’s foolish to think the president doesn’t know anything about grocery stores. He knew exactly what I was talking about.”

But by the time this truth leaked out it didn’t matter because it was buried on the back pages with one-time printing and then forgotten. To be fair there were some other MSM sources in the day that were more honest and less partisan than the Globe, NYT and others:

Newsweek screened the same tape and reported: “Bush acts curious and polite, but hardly amazed.” Michael Duffy of Time magazine called the whole thing “completely insignificant as a news event. It was prosaic, polite talk, and Bush is expert at that. If anything, he was bored.” 

Those semi-balanced days seem even longer ago than 1992.

But despite the likes of Time and Newsweek, The Narrative had multiple front-pages and therefore stuck – which was the intention of the NYT and other Democrat-supporting MSM sources. In fact it stuck so well that it’s still repeated, as it was with an ordinary 2009 NYT story about the history of the bar code scanner:

They even played a role in the 1992 presidential race, when then-PresidentGeorge H. W. Bush, at a campaign stop, seemed surprised by what had already become a technological staple of everyday life.

Also with a scathing NYT attack on John McCain about his supposed ludditism in 2008:

She even does my boarding passes – people can do that now,” Mr. McCain marveled. “When we go to the movies, she gets the tickets ahead of time. It’s incredible.”

Mr. McCain’s sense of wonder evoked the episode in the early 1990s when George H.W. Bush became overly impressed upon seeing a price scanner at a supermarket check-out counter.

As opposed to this cool guy and his Blackberry.

Yes, you’re seeing yet another standard pattern in the MSM, all the way to Cool Britannia and our own “Youth Adjacent” PM.

Written by Tom Hunter

May 18, 2021 at 12:47 pm

The Song Remains The Same

This is outstanding news:

Tens of millions of dollars have been spent on Auckland light rail since Labour came to power, despite there being no shovels in the ground to build it. 

Information released by Waka Kotahi-NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) shows $34.8 million has been spent since October 2017 on business cases, project management, legal costs, office space and equipment, and Ministry of Transport funding. 

With more projects like this we’re going to able to stand up and proudly proclaim to the world all the wonderful things we’re doing to halt Global Warming… whilst actually doing abso-fucking-lutely nothing about it.

Plus there’s the wonderful Keynesian effect of all that money passing through the hands of lawyers and consultants and into the pockets of Mercedes and Tesla dealerships and Auckland real estate companies.

Now be honest. What more could you want from a government?

The only problem is that they’re showing signs of becoming restrained:

The Government was left with a $47 million contingency in its $6.8 billion NZ Upgrade transport package after $211 million worth of rail projects were put into the package at the last minute.

This was despite repeated warnings from officials the contingency might be too small to pay for any cost blowouts.

Those warnings were prescient, as new cost estimates for the transport projects have led the Government to back away from promises to build everything they proposed a little over a year ago – something that could have been avoided had the projects been given larger contingency funding.

I’m sure they’ll learn from this and put in a bigger contingency for next year’s budget. About a billion dollars should do it.

On the other hand their extreme restraint in achieving anything may actually start being translated into spending as well, with that contingency problem perhaps not being the usual Labour screwup as an indicator of where they’re going, as Chris Trotter points out:

Let’s begin with the Labour Government’s decision to impose a three-year wage freeze on three-quarters of the Public Service. Under the old Political Rule Book, such an action would have been deemed extremely unwise. That rule book would have explained the sheer folly of effectively decreasing the purchasing power of some of the Labour Party’s most loyal supporters. This is hardly surprising: “Look after your electoral base.”; has always been the first and most important rule of electoral politics.

Chris thinks that this is all part of keeping onboard those National voters who crossed the aisle last year, but it’s more likely that Robertson has taken a look at the deficits and debt and finally got the wind up about blowing more money on stuff, especially as he considers how much of the spending to date has produced nothing of consequence or, in the case of poverty and healthcare, seen things go backwards.

To me it therefore seems quite a natural and logical progression for Labour to start down the He Puapua route of separate Maori development. As I have pointed out several times Critical Race Theory, which is currently shredding the USA, was always going to make it down here to New Zealand where it would be gleefully taken up by Maori activists and academics as an even more extremist extension of what used to be called Political Correctness (now “Woke” Politics).

But the reason why the political and activist Left have glommed on to it is that the traditional Left ideas have failed Maori, just as they’ve failed Blacks in the USA.

Public education. Public Healthcare. Social Welfare. And still Maori are suffering worse in education, health and poverty than other ethnic groups in our society.

What else has the Left got to offer Maori? Nothing, which is why this new ideology has taken hold so quickly on the NZ Left. I think it will ultimately prove to be even more useless than traditional Socialism, but for the moment it’s a salve for Maori activists and a possible electoral winner for White Leftists who otherwise have no idea what to do to improve their public institutions beyond simply dumping in more money.

There’s also increasingly a lot of moaning from the Left about why their wonderful Labour government can’t get anything done. Certainly a lot of this is due to their shambling incompetence; they are the most useless shit shower of a government that I’ve known in my lifetime.

But the simple fact is that you can’t build the same thing twice. Is Adern’s Labour government going to build another Social Security system? Another Public Healthcare system? Another building to house the bureaucracy for them? The low-hanging fruit was plucked by the First Labour government. There may be equally revolutionary things like a Universal Basic Income that they could try to implement, but I see no signs of such things from this government.

Which, as a Right-Winger, suits me just fine. I may even vote for them in 2023 on the sound basis that the more useless a government is the better it is for the individual.

But then I recall that even a government that’s too useless to build anything can still stuff things up badly by constantly saying “No” and stopping people doing things, and that’s so easy that even this government can do it. In fact it seems to be their speciality.

Labour 2023: Vote For Nothing.

If I could have just one extra promise from Labour though it would be that their post-2023 government spend less for nothing.

Always Scotch. Always drunk. Always critical. Always brilliant.

A few days ago I put up a post about the catastrophic collapse of TV viewership ratings for Hollywood’s annual, ritual orgasm of self celebration, The Oscars: Die Hollywood, Die.

Once again here are the figures for yet another industry that’s destroyed itself by going full Woke (and New Left).

But as an update on this I thought I would throw in this wonderful piece from The Critical Drinker, drunken Scottish movie critic par excellence. Watch, laugh, and then check out his reviews of individual movies.

My only difference of opinion with him is that I’d be quite happy for Hollywood to burn to the ground. Fortunately, they’re apparently determined to make the wishes of Right-Wingers like me come true.

And I say that as someone who loves the movies.

A free bag of Chocolate Fish for anybody in the comments who can identify even 50% of the movies whose clips he shows: WARNING: they’re fast.

Spot The Difference (updated)

Masksists

Marxists

Marxists - GUSRC

The difference is about a hundred years.

Joe Biden, the New Brezhnev | Chronicles

Written by adolffinkensen

May 1, 2021 at 10:51 am

Posted in General Politics, Ideologues, US Politics, USA

Tagged with

Well, this is depressing

No need for this level of complexity

Specifically the news that the race is on to build killer robot armies.

They won’t look anything like James Cameron’s famous images from his dystopian hell of The Terminator movies.

(By the way, watch only the first two of the series. After the 1991 sequel they’re totally derivative crap designed only to pull money from your wallet, a warning from friends that I had already guessed at as I avoided them.)

Blonde and here to kill you.

Still less is it going to look like the Cylons in Battlestar Gallactica’s (BSG) such as “Six”, more’s the pity.

No, as is often the way of reality vs fantasy they’ll look a lot more mundane, probably not too different to the sort of drones you can buy off-the shelf nowadays.

And that’s what really frightening about them. Unlike nuclear weapons it doesn’t take a lot of infrastructure or resources to build large numbers of these things.

Also, don’t imagine that an “AI killer robot” is going to have some sort of human-level intelligence, or need to.

That’s not what Artificial Intelligence is really about, despite decades of SF stories like BSG.

The “AI” in this case will amount to little more than the ability to do the following:

  • Recognise a human target, which could be just any human or perhaps using facial or body recognition (or your cellphone)
  • Control flight and/or other movements towards the target.
  • Trigger a lethal munition to kill the target. Lethal meaning something as small as a single bullet.

It should be noted that all these capabilities are here now.

The temptation to open Pandora’s Box is irresistible. In early March, the U.S. National Security Commission (NSC) on Artificial Intelligence completed its two-year inquiry, publishing its findings in a dense 750-page report. Its members unanimously concluded that the United States has a “moral imperative” to pursue the use of lethal autonomous weapons, a.k.a. “killer robots.” Otherwise, we risk bringing a rusty knife to a superhuman gunfight.

Citing the threat of China or Russia leading the global artificial intelligence (AI) arms race, the commission’s chairman, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, urged President Biden to reject a proposed international ban on AI-controlled weapons. Schmidt rightly suspects our major rivals won’t abide by such a treaty, warning U.S. leaders, “This is the tough reality we must face.”

If other superpowers are going to unleash demonic drone swarms on the world, the logic goes, the United States should be the first to open the gates of Hell.

Of course we already have things like the General Atomic Predator drones (“General Atomic”, how 1950’s is that?) and others which have been launching missiles at and killing people for over a decade now. But they have humans in the decision loop and they’re still big and relatively expensive, although much cheaper than a human-piloted fighter bomber.

The attack drones currently on the market are plenty dangerous as is. A good example is the KARGU Loitering Munitions System, currently deployed by Turkish forces. This lightweight quadcopter “can be effectively used against static or moving targets through its … real-time image processing capabilities and machine learning algorithms.”

KARGU’s mode of attack is full-on kamikaze. It hovers high in the air as the operator searches for victims. When one is located, the drone dive-bombs its target and explodes. If the concussion doesn’t kill them, the shrapnel will. Just imagine what a thousand could do.

That last is the future. What we’re talking about here is a swarm of such machines and again – not like SF – these don’t need any centrally organised intelligence, human or AI, to operate. For twenty years now computer simulations have mimicked the swarming movements of schools of fish and flocks of birds with just three rules.

Once you get into such swarms we’re no longer talking about just picking off a few selected targets:


To raise awareness of this imminent threat, the Future of Life Institute produced the alarming, if poorly acted film Slaughterbots. The finale shows dissident college students having their brains blown out by bird-sized quadcopters.

In a 2018 study conducted for the US Air Force, drone specialist Zachary Kallenborn correctly argued that lethal drone swarms should be declared weapons of mass destruction.

Cheap weapons of mass destruction, too.

Even without that miserable conclusion from the USNSC I would have found it hard to believe that various nations could be held back from pursuing development of these things.

In the future how tempted would some future POTUS be by the idea that the entire North Korean nuclear team, military and scientists, could be taken out in one hit by such a swarm, leaving nobody to launch a nuclear counter-strike? Or imagine an Israeli leader looking at the Iranian nuclear group? And that’s in democratic nations. What brakes might there be on the likes of Xi Jinping, Putin and Erdogan?

Of course every weapon system has been countered sooner or later. In this case it may be that in future we’ll each be guarded by a small swarm of counter-drones, starting with the wealthy members of society like Eric Schmidt:

In 2019, PAX published a list of the global corporations most likely to develop lethal autonomous weapon systems. Among the U.S. companies ranked as “high risk” are Amazon, Microsoft, and Oracle, as well as Intel, Palantir, Neurala, Corenova, and Heron Systems. It’s worth noting that the top members of the National Security Commission on AI—all of whom support using these murder machines—include chiefs from Amazon, Microsoft, and Oracle.

Written by Tom Hunter

April 27, 2021 at 12:26 pm

Posted in General Politics, Science, Technology

Tagged with

Resistance is futile?

One of the main themes of the Left has always been that the future is theirs and that it’s inevitable.

For a long time this was wrapped up in the whole “scientific” approach claimed by Marxism. But even as that theory collapsed in the 20th century the Left in general has not been able to stop making this claim, implicitly and explicitly.

Naturally this ties in with the endless claim that “The Youth Are With Us“: nothing says owning the future like claiming that the demographics are on your side, starting with a generational argument and layering on top of it racial aspects as well.

One of the problems is that this great demographic tsunami somehow never shows up in the form of permanent political gains by Left-wing parties, let alone their wilder ideas. The first evidence of this came in the 1980’s with the support from “The Youth” like me for the likes of Reagan, Thatcher and Roger Douglas, not just in terms of them personally, but their ideas.

To say that the “youth” of the 1960’s were horrified by this “Reactionary Counter-Revolution” is an understatement. The meltdowns were epic and they’ve never really ended. They foolishly thought that their late 1960’s Counter-Culture revolution had been all-encompassing and across-the-board: easier going attitudes towards sex and drugs would just automatically translate into support for other Leftist social and economic polices.

A classic example of this was a book called The Emerging Democratic Majority, which was published in 2002 and forecasted a bright future for the Democrat Party due to the growing percentage of ethnic minorities, unmarried working women, and the college-educated.

While its dreams seemed to come true in 2008 with overwhelming Democrat wins in the Presidential, House and Senate Elections the fact is that twenty years after the book’s publication the GOP is still very much with us and talk of them constantly losing the popular vote for President as supporting the book’s theory ignores the fact that they’ve won control of the House and Senate a couple of times since 2000, as opposed to the forty years (1954-1994) when they never controlled the House.

Moreover despite the huge popular vote against Trump in 2020 the GOP actually gained seats in the House across the country, lost not one seat they were defending, and against all expectations of losing multiple Senate seats, kept it close, only finally losing the Georgia run-off elections in January thanks to Trump’s claims of a rigged election persuading enough GOP voters to ignore the race. Even the Democrats admit that there’s a good chance the GOP could win the House in 2022.

The Democrat majority apparently needs more emerging.

In fact there are other big problems with those demographic factors that forecast unending Leftist political control, but that is for another article.

However, when it comes to the specific issue of youngsters and the current Leftist Woke culture pandemic, I recently came across a piece that provided further evidence that the future is not as predictable or as bright for the Democrats and the Left in general as they think.

The article detailed the steps parents need to take, and apparently are taking, when their kids get screwed over in the Chicago school system: How to Respond When Your Child is Canceled in Chicago Schools. The detail is fairly specific to the system there, but it was this section that caught my eye near the end:

“What is ironic about all of this,” says a male student at Whitney Young, is that “all my friends have liberal moms and dads who don’t care, but the absurdity of the school is making my friends and I conservative.”

Another Lane Tech student, who marched in the original BLM protests, opines: “I hear more about race now than I ever did from teachers, and the more it’s brought up, the more I don’t think anyone should be treated differently. So much of this is [expletive] … They (these teachers) are the ones who are racist and discriminate based on skin color and pronouns, not me.”

Which should not at all be a surprise. Teens will always rebel against people telling them how to think and what to think, even against the sermonisers of the radical left with their racist Critical Race Theory.

Written by Tom Hunter

April 11, 2021 at 2:58 pm