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Archive for the ‘General Politics’ Category

Something, something, Ouroboros

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I sense that Wokism may have peaked, simply because it’s starting to devour its own – as all such revolutions eventually do.

This description seems appropriate:

Whether they realize it or not, Wokists themselves combine the lunatic loyalty of the Manson family with the hollow pseudo-joy of Jonestown residents, the racism of National Socialists, the inhumanity of Mao Tse-Tung, the bratty tantrums of Veruca Salt, the nihilism of Bakunin-style anarchists, the totalitarianism of Stalin’s Soviet Union, the child torture and sacrifice of the Mayans, the derangement of Heaven’s Gate followers, the sadistic violence of the Jacobins, and the ruthless control-freakism of the current Chinese Communist Party.

He’s missing sheer, brain-dead stupidity though.

I’d like to think that this utter cretin has seen the American polling since he wrote that bilge in early 2021? Rather like New Zealand Labour everything Biden and the Democrats have tried has turned to shit and even their own voters have turned on them, leaving behind only the hardcore fanatics, including the Woke brigades, who are the very reason for their low fortunes.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 1, 2022 at 9:18 am

Stunning and Brave

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Apparently it’s Pride Month. Again. 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 21, 2022 at 6:00 am

Failing to Scale

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It took only a few years for me to learn that in corporate environments a lot of things just don’t scale up, despite the fact that such corporations were scaled up versions of the small businesses they had once started out as, even if a hundred years ago prior to endless takeovers, buyouts and so forth.

Centralised accounting certainly scales, as does marketing, IT and a handful of other core functions. But even then there are limits, what test pilots refer to as “the envelope”, outside of which things start breaking down. Even those centralised things are built upon smaller clones of themselves in the corporation. And corporations often stagnate precisely because the small, inventive, creative parts of themselves get stifled or outright killed off.

In fact, one of the secrets to the creation of Silicon Valley and its fantastic wealth, lay in the fact that people inside existing corporations who had ideas that got flattened or ignored, were actually encouraged internally to leave and set up their own companies to develop their ideas, and where they weren’t encouraged they did so anyway as venture capitalism also grew to supply such start-ups with seed money. This “culture” took off, with one company after another spawning new companies:

With the backing of Fairchild Camera and Instrument in Long Island, NY, eight engineers from Shockley’s lab resigned, including Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce, to form Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957. Led by Noyce, Fairchild would eventually grow into the most important company in the history of the Santa Clara Valley after Noyce independently invented the Integrated Circuit along with Texas Instrument’s Jack Kilby in 1958.

And when I say I “learned” that’s only in terms of learning what specific things did not scale in corporations: even by my early 20’s I’d seen enough of life, let alone business case-studies and history, to understand the principle that big is usually not better, and often worse.

To that end, with Three Waters specifically in mind here in NZ, but also with the gigantic beast in the US known as the Federal government, I appreciated this brief “rant” in Ace of Spades, which I’ll re-produce here in full:

An oft-heard theme from preschool classrooms to corporate meeting rooms is that one should not be afraid of failure. Failure sucks and is a miserable experience – failure hurts – but it’s also the mechanism through which one learns. Failure is a great teacher, and makes you less likely to fail next time because you’ve learned from the experience. This is true, but there are limits to the concept. Sometimes failure is catastrophic.

The higher you are, the riskier failure becomes. If you’re running a small team in a corner of a large company to try to make something new and you fail, the results are unlikely to be disastrous. You might get fired and your staff might get fired, too, but the scale of the potential damage is fairly small. If you’re a senior executive who bets the business on something and that something doesn’t pan out, the entire enterprise can fail and everyone ends up fired with the owners holding worthless paper that used to be shares.

So it is with government and its failures and boy do we have a lot of government failures to consider. Fiscal policy has failed. Monetary policy has failed. Energy policy has failed. Medical policy has failed. War policy has failed. Border policy has failed. Drug policy has failed. Environmental policy has failed. Law enforcement has failed. Intelligence has failed (in every possible interpretation). Both domestic and foreign policy, writ large and in totality, has failed. Its failure across the board and at all levels.

Sure, some of it was probably not failure but rather was deliberate destruction, but that distinction is more important in the final reckoning than it is in the day-to-day reality. Malice or incompetence (or malicious incompetence, which I think is closer to the mark) is less important than the results. The results are similar regardless of the motivator. Poor is poor, sick is sick, dead is dead.

And those failures are increasingly catastrophic as more decision-making occurs in Washington D.C.. This isn’t just because of corruption, dishonesty, malevolence and incompetence, but because of scale. We have forgotten the valuable lesson of subsidiarity. Decisions should be made at the smallest workable scale, not the largest possible scale. A town imposing some insane and destructive policy destroys only the town. When Washington imposes some insane and destructive policy, it can destroy the entire country. Subsidiarity isn’t maximally efficient, but it is highly reliable. It’s expensive but robust. Its opposite – what we have today and will have more of tomorrow – is tremendously fragile. It isn’t even efficient because the government is populated with thieves, liars and fools (and often in combination).

Totalitarianism doesn’t and can’t work for this reason. Even assuming the starry-eyed sincerity of the totalitarians (a situation we most decidedly do not have), mistakes have perfect coverage and no one is immune from the totalitarians’ decisions. Failure not only stops being a good thing from which you learn, it becomes a constant threat and source of terror. This is compounded and made infinitely worse when the totalitarians are dishonest, lying, stupid psychopaths.

Centralization and incompetence, centralization and malice, and centralization and malicious incompetence are poisonous combinations.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 9, 2022 at 2:58 pm

Misty Mountain Hop

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Starting with something beautiful, let’s keep going on that before we plunge into the ugly realities of our world.

As I explained in a post back in January, I hate these people, and with every passing day the hate deepens as their desire to control the rest of us deepens, literally.

They even have their own police.

Among their other plans they’re big on “sustainable farming” – which means that you need to eat much less meat for a start and you may even end up loving various bug-based meals!

This is why the following is not just a flailing, failing US President trying to gaslight people about inflation, but about the same themes as the WEF; you won’t need to worry about inflation on beef, pork and chicken.

The gaslighting isn’t working, at least not for Biden. That poll result – lower than Trump – has to burn, and I don’t think Biden’s reached bottom yet.

I’m not sure that the WEF does opinion polls about themselves because I don’t think they care what anybody thinks of them or their ideas so long as global leaders like Trudeau, Biden, Ardern, Albanese and company love them.

However, unlike the WEF, politicians do have to face the voters sooner or later and there’s only so much gaslighting that can be done before reality breaks through.

More to come; the additional subsidies for Obamacare that were slotted into the Covid-19 spending bills will expire just in time for the mid-term elections, and premiums are already looking ugly. If you ever wondered why US Health Insurance companies supported Obamacare, now you know.

It’s actually hard to see any policies or anything that the Biden Administration has done that has been positive.

I wonder how many American voters (and other idiots around the globe) remember this:

The Internet does – and it has the receipts.

It’s so bad that he’s even started blaming his staff, which is why they’re leaking to their friends in the MSM, leading to that NBC report, which can barely spin it any more.

You do wonder where the bottom is for this senile old fool and his Democrat Party, but increasingly the message from Democrat insiders is “SAVE US”.

Of course some of his MSM pals are still doing their best, with the pitiful Newsweek taking Biden’s Big Soundbite and helpfully incorporating it into a story that’s not about the Republicans at all.

So in addition to the classic “Republicans Pounce” (yes, they’re so unaware of Interwebby Memes that they used that phrase) they also acted as ventriloquists for the phrase, “MAGA Republicans” that Biden first claimed he’d thought up himself – before it was revealed that Democrat focus groups had developed – and after months of “work” to boot. Like their other solutions this one fell flat, with GOP activists eagerly and proudly making it their own. Once again it’s Democrat fluff vs. the brutal reality of their man’s profound inadequacies that can be turned against him on any issue.

It’s also obvious that there’s not much talent they can draw on to replace Biden in 2024, judging by the following.

No aircraft carriers were under attack at Pearl Harbour because they were all at sea that day, especially not the USS Intrepid because it wasn’t commissioned for another two years. Adams is ignorant and more to the point, likely doesn’t care about being ignorant. Rumour has it that Adams has Presidential ambitions and he may be a good match for Democrat voters.

Just the usual double standards and hypocrisy

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It would not be politics otherwise.

So are calls to arms when a government decision doesn’t go your way. Next thing you know you’ll have people accusing you of causing an insurrection.🥺

Given how deep she is in the shit as Mayor of Chicago you’d think she’d be focusing relentlessly on that, starting with her reelection, but like most of these grifters she’s probably aiming at some future “activist” position. Certainly fixing the city she’s done so much to wreck is not even on the list.

Or how about having the new Presidential Press Secretary turn out to be a purveyor of dangerous disinformation that could destroy American democracy by tricking people into losing faith in elections.

Then there are the grifters like Bill Kristol and Jennifer Rubin (the “conservative” voice at the WaPo). After crying for years that his movement away from the GOP was all because of Bad Orange Man the mask is well and truly off, like his stance in abortion in 1998 vs today.

He was always on the other side except for when the Democrats didn’t want to have the US fighting in foreign wars. Given their enthusiasm for the Ukraine war he’s now got everything he wanted and can comfortably move back to the Dems. Plenty more like him too.

Then there are the cliches.

The thing is that cliches become so because they’re true. Love Davis’s response to Pelosi’s bullshit plea.

The “Woman and Children First” is another, with the WaPo giving the modern twist…

Still, there are times when the double standards catch up with people, like with the classic pro-abortion soundbite…

Or FBI investigations.

In yet another blow to Chicago it seems that Boeing is moving its Corporate Suite from the Windy City to Washington D.C., the tax breaks that enticed it away from Seattle twenty years ago having expired. This sums it up well.

Written by Tom Hunter

May 19, 2022 at 3:00 pm

Two must-read articles from Karl du Fresne

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Readers will be well aware that my attitude towards the MSM is that that they are, at best, shallow and useless in their reporting and “analysis”, and at worst combine that with massive ideological bias to the Left as well as the occasional bouts of outright partisanship towards, in the case of New Zealand, the Greens, Labour, or the Maori party, depending on how well each of them is doing in supporting a Left wing agenda.

The read I have on the NZ MSM at present is that, as Chris Trotter and Martyn Bradbury have often pointed out, they’ve sold their souls for capitalist money and the “neo-liberal” status quo established since 1984, in exchange for pushing every other piece of Leftist wank. I think those two gentlemen are nostalgic screamers because, at least in the environmentalist world of combating AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) they may get want they want eventually from their rather despised New Left comrades with a return of state ownership or more likely, a regulatory and tax regime that makes a mockery of the term “private enterprise”. Whether the Leftists in the MSM know where the AGW process will lead or not doesn’t really matter, but I suspect that many “reporters” do and are keen on using it to get back to the supposed Nirvana created by the First Labour Government.

As such it’s important that blogs support eachother, so here are two articles by Karl du Fresne that need as much exposure as possible:

  1. Squeeze your eyes shut, cross your fingers and hope

This post deals with the steadily growing catastrophe that is Three Waters and the Health re-structuring.

Carterton District Council, one of the smallest in the country (population 9700), expects to spend $850,000 preparing for Three Waters over the next two years. The council’s chief executive says the plan has imposed an “enormous” programme of work that the council’s not resourced to cope with it. Mayor Greg Laing describes the process as “absolutely appalling”.

The Times-Age quotes the Department of Internal Affairs as saying funding will be provided to cover transition costs, but it’s obvious that councils haven’t seen any of the money and don’t know when they will. In any case, South Wairarapa’s mayor Alex Beijen, who presides over a district with a population of only 11,000 (and one that’s already financially stretched to breaking point), says resourcing will be a big challenge even with extra government money.

I laughed at one of the comments where the guy sent a Letter To The Editor concisely pointing some of the problems and found his points about rents and royalties had been excised. Standard censoring of disinformation; I don’t know why he bothered but others made the point that this why blogs and other social media (to an extent, given their own censorship) are important while the MSM dies.

The healthcare problem has been hidden by C-19 Kabuki Theatre and Three Waters but if anything it’s more frightening:

As Powell points out, “With only 40 working days to go, DHBs have no more information on what will replace them on 1 July than they had on 21 April last year when the health minister announced their abolition.” You can read his damning appraisal here.

This all sounds familiar, the same as other SNAFU’s this government has made in the last few years; ill-defined plans; falling behind schedule; last-second scrambles to do something. I really hope I and my family don’t fall sick in any way for the next couple of years.

2. The Free Speech Union meeting that earned a trigger warning from Salient

This is Karl catching up on Victoria University’s response to his talk On the threats to free speech, that was delivered a while ago at the university, courtesy of the Free Speech Union.

It seems that the students have been triggered by a speech that none of them apparently attended and have used the student newspaper, Salient, to express their outrage; Karl points out that it’s prefaced with a trigger warning advising, in bold type: 

This article examines some of the racist, transphobic, sexist, and otherwise harmful content discussed at the event in question. Please exercise caution when reading.

Frightening.

You can read the sad, pathetic details of the objections to his speech and while I and a lot of other students never took much notice of such things at varsity – where the Left-wing student radicals dominated such talk via the student unions and their varsity newspapers – it’s clear that such people have much greater influence, some might say control, over their varsities than they did forty or even twenty years ago.

For me, one comment showed how far things have gone:

As a Victoria lecturer and a member of FSU (so I would prefer to be anonymous), I am sad to say this is exactly what I expect from our students. Students nowadays are extremely lazy; most of them don’t even bother to attend lectures. Critical thinking and meaningful debates are just not things under their radars. I don’t blame students but the university administration. The university administration is a bunch of failed academics who do not really care about education and research. All they care is their position and would do everything possible to pander students in order to get money from the government. As a lecturer, our constant pressure from the university is how to make students happy and get more of them, not how to train better citizens of the future.

An unexpected result of the 1990’s reforms of university is that there are a lot of people there who should not be, given their lack of brains, and that the incentives for them to go and the incentives of the universities to get bums on seats, are screwed up. Perhaps if student loans were tied directly to the universities so that they’re on the hook for payment recovery, the universities would be pushed harder to teach productive courses and “train better citizens” in real critical thinking.

To Tweet or not to Tweet?

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I don’t use Twitter except as a casual consumer. Which is to say that I don’t have an account there and even in the wake of Musk’s takeover I’m not likely to get one because I have no desire to be sucked into a world of simplistic takes based on “arguments” limited to 280 characters, followed by a thousand toxic responses.

I’m also well aware of the fact that the Leftist groups who have dominated Twitter in recent years have found themselves shocked and surprised when the real world matched up not at all with their Twitter world, from Brexit to Trump’s 2016 win to the smashing success of the Tories in former Labour seats in the last British election. This has led a number of Centre-Leftists to get stuck into the Twitter Left as being deluded idiots who’ve screwed themselves.

So Twitter is not a representative sample of politics, even at the activist or political-tragic level, let alone the voters, and as a result the Right should not be getting too excited about their suddenly increased freedom to speak on the platform.

However, it’s clear that Twitter is important, otherwise we wouldn’t be seeing the Leftie meltdown that we have witnessed in the last 48 hours. It’s also clear that something has changed, as noted yesterday by one of our readers:

Twitter has changed dramatically over the last 24 hours. Lots of high profile people that I didn’t know were there (had been shadow banned) just popping out onto my feed.

Well, well, well…Big conservative accounts reporting tens of thousands of followers being added to their accounts!!

Hmmm,…. My guess is that Twitter is turning off the suppression software and preparing to hide the evidence.

In the meantime the “Liberal MSM” world in the USA continues to lose its mind about this issue:

Of course YouTube and the others remain as they are so we’ll see how long it takes before that link goes dark. It took YouTube only a few minutes to demonetize Cole and Savannah LaBrant’s 38-minute pro-life documentary after its initial posting. Instagram followed suit shortly thereafter.

There was probably some “hate speech” involved, otherwise known as disagreeing with “liberals.”

Written by Tom Hunter

April 28, 2022 at 8:36 am

It’s a good thing George Carlin is dead

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That was one message from Bill Maher’s take on the impact of Cancel Kulture in his world of using humour to stick it to powerful people.

I haven’t covered The Slap Heard Around The World because it’s just more of Hollywood being awful, but this time in a petty way that amounted to them eating their own as well as being yet another black mark for the Oscars. IMHO it was not as bad as the crap they churn out for us to watch. And now I have Maher referring to it anyway, except that his angle isn’t the screaming about violence, toxic males or the hypocrisy involved but what it says about how the US Left is handling humour nowadays, with another in his series of Explaining Jokes to Idiots (bonus points for the shoutout to the famous Seinfeld episode, The Magic Loogie, with “back and to the left”, itself a Black Comedy parody of Oliver Stone’s movie JFK).

If you think that it trivialises Cancel Kulture in focusing on its effects on jokes instead of Very Serious Ideas then you probably don’t know about this from 2021:

A nonprofit organization that major U.S. tech companies rely on for content moderation is expanding the scope of content it will blacklist on social media platforms.

The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism will expand its database of terrorist content to cover content shared by white nationalist and alt-right users, Reuters reported Monday. Tech companies, including Facebook, Microsoft, Google, and Twitter, rely on the forum’s database to automatically remove inappropriate content. Experts worry that the forum’s lack of transparency could cause some users to be unfairly censored.

The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism was created in 2017 to censor content from U.N.-designated terrorist organizations. The forum’s board is advised by the European Union’s Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs, which recently released a report entitled “It’s Not Funny Anymore: Far-Right Extremists’ Use of Humor.”

More in that link, although it’s mostly not about humour.

The worst is when the comics censor themselves, when they become Woke, which seems to be what’s happened to one of Maher’s famous compadres, Jon Stewart.

The liberal comic retired from his “The Daily Show” perch in 2015, spawning tributes from across the media landscape. He changed the face of late night TV, they cried, and they were right. For better and much worse.

His impact, from his liberal take on the news to his bleeped profanity shtick, became part of the late night playbook.

Hell, I used to laugh along with The Daily Show as well, even as he took shots at the Right (like Maher does) to a far greater degree than he did at the Left.

But I did not appreciate the fact that after basically destroying what was a very good show of Left vs Right political and ideological argument, CNN’s Crossfireby going on it in 2004 and attacking the folks there as unserious hacks, saying it was a show that “hurt America” by treating serious ideas in a (too) humorous way – Stewart’s own show simply carried on pushing little but the Left’s line while the rest of the media environment collapsed into the same echo chamber:

Is the media landscape Stewart helped create better for it, where Brian Williams regularly engages in Stewart-like snark (he called Ron Johnson a Russian asset the other day for reading a Federalist article into the record) and Tucker Carlson is the biggest name as a solo act in cable news?

In a context in which so much ink is dedicated to the concept of silos and the elimination of common space between right and left — and I mean the real right and left, not David Brooks and Maureen Dowd — do we honestly want a world where there is no space where these warring sides meet to do rhetorical battle?

The answer is: of course not. It’s much, much worse. The inability to have a space where such debates play out, and the inability of existing entities to provide such a space, has led directly to a degradation of our political conversation and a lack of familiarity with even the most basic version of the other side’s perspective on the world.

And as Jim Treacher memorably noted of Stewart’s routine:

Once I saw through his Clown Nose Off/Clown Nose On routine — “You should listen to me because what I’m saying is important, but I’ll brush off your rebuttal by insisting I’m just a comedian” — it was like the optical illusion with the cows. It might take you a minute to see it, but once you do, you can’t unsee it.

Since Treacher’s analysis in 2013 people have looked at the famous old Crossfire segment and observed that Stewart was pulling the Clown Nose On / Clown Nose Off routine there as well.

There was some of this also when he recently appeared on an episode of one of his Daily Show proteges, Late Night With Stephen Colbert, and spoke some common sense about the Wuhan Lab Leak theory, which had Colbert back-peddling fast until he finally asked Stewart how long he’d been working for Senator Ron Johnson (boom-tish for Liberal snark – see above).

Sadly he seems to have gone full Clown Nose Off as a result of savage attacks by Woke critics of his old show and more recent works:

The woke mob, which will “resurface” the past to attack people in the present, deemed his “Daily Show” writers room insufficiently diverse. And Stewart, rather than defend his team or their work, groveled for forgiveness. That must have stung, but it’s more likely another moment left a palpable scar on his psyche.

That other moment was a movie called “Irresistible” that Stewart made about politics and which lampooned both the GOP and the Democrats. That was not acceptable:

It’s cowardly to make a film lampooning Democrats as out of touch rather than Republicans as unquestionably evil, but this is what “centrism” is these days, and that’s the “both sides” ideology that Stewart espoused back during his days on The Daily Show, and that’s the shit that doesn’t fly anymore.

War, baby! Götterdämmerung. The final fight between the forces of Good and (Unquestionable) Evil.

This is why his latest show, “The Problem with Jon Stewart” on the Apple+ streaming network, had an episode titled “The Problem with White People.” that ended up with Andrew Sullivan, Mr Gay Mrriage himself, a voter of Obama-Obama-Clinton-Biden in the last few years, being attacked as a racist by Stewart’s guest, with Stewart in full, Clown Nose Off agreement:

I just assumed he wouldn’t demonize or curse at a guest; he would moderate; he would entertain counter-arguments; he would defend fair play. After all, this was the man who had lacerated Crossfire for bringing too much heat and not enough light. He believed in sane discourse. He was a liberal, right?

He is indeed, it’s just that poor old Sullivan, despite writing about Woke issues, still thinks that Liberals fit his stereotype, the comfortable picture he has of them, and of himself:

At that point, it became clear that Stewart was not conducting a televised debate, but initiating a struggle session. The point of the session was not to discuss anything, but to further enforce the dogma he had pronounced. So I found myself in the equivalent of one of those workplace indoctrination seminars â€” in which any disagreement is regarded as a form of “hate” or “ignorance.” But worse: I was in a struggle session with a live mob sitting in, cheering and jeering, which Stewart led and orchestrated. For good measure, Stewart called me a racist and told me I was not “living in the same fucking country as we are,” and went on to angrily call me a “motherfucker.”

Sullivan also got this treatment from the guest (predictably a Liberal White Woman):

I did not come on this show to argue with another white man. That’s one of the reasons we don’t even engage with white men at Race2Dinner, because quite honestly if white men were going to do something about racism, you had 400 years. You could have done it.

A key attack point. If it sounds familiar that’s because we’ve heard it in New Zealand also, in relation to White Colonialism, and you will hear more of it in the near future. Sullivan finishes his detailed piece on the history of White and Black race in the USA by drawing the obvious parallel with Stewart’s ethnicity:

… the trope of a malign racial force existing through history across time and space is one Jon Stewart might have once recognized before he joined the woke cult. I wonder what he would have said if someone had come on his old show and said, “I did not come on this show to argue with a Jew,” or “every single Jew upholds these systems,” or “it doesn’t matter what a Jew’s politics are, he’s still a Jew, and therefore a racist”. What if she had bragged that her organization wouldn’t even engage with Jews because they were so toxic. And what if that person had looked straight at a Jewish guest of Stewart’s when she said it? What would he have said?

Somehow I don’t think it would be: “If I could finger snap, I would finger snap right now.”

Amid all this fighting was news of a stunning counter-attack. After asking his 80 million Twitter followers what they thought of the status of free speech on the platform, and receiving an overwhelming response that it was poor, Musk bought a 9.2% stake in the company for US$ 2.9 billion dollars, making him the largest shareholder and likely catapulting him onto the Board of Directors.

We’ll have to wait and see what influence he has. While significant, the shareholding is far short of control and BOD members are not management; they don’t manage the day-to-day functions of the company. On top of that, as this article pointed out before Musk pulled the trigger, there are a number of big roadblocks in returning Twitter to being the free speech platform it was a decade ago, and we know they exist because they are what changed it. The article details four steps and shows how they worked before and could work again – possibly destroying Musk in the process.

  1. Blame the platform for its users.
  2. Coordinated pressure campaigns
  3. Exodus of the Bluechecks
  4. Deplatforming

Still it was nice to see that it triggered an immediate meltdown across the Lefty Social Media Sphere, especially among the Twitter workers themselves.

Maybe they should hire Bill Maher to provide worker tension-relief exercises once a week. They might even learn to laugh.

Right and Left wing support for Putin

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One of the strangest aspects of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has been the support given to it, or at least the excuses made for it, by elements of the Western Right wing.

This has been claimed as merely another example of the “Alt-Right” or “Far-Right” in action, although the former slur seems to have died away in the last couple of years, apparently having failed to have much impact, probably because it was never well-defined in the first place.

In an example of the classic donut representation of ideologies the Far Right appears to have matched up with the Far Left, at least on this issue, although the same observations have been made of the recent anti-mandate protests in Wellington. I’ve always thought the elements of the donut that would do so would be the various brands of Anarchism, with only a hair’s breadth difference between the Anarcho-Communists and Anarcho-Capitalists – a wide, deep canyon in other words.

But perhaps this meshing is based on a faith in a vast, centralised state? After all, Lefties like Chris Trotter have quite happily identified themselves as “tankies”, – a term of abuse apparently used within the Left, of which I was unaware until he used it a few weeks ago:

Tankie” is a pejorative label for communists, particularly Stalinists, who support the authoritarian tendencies of Marxism–Leninism…Specifically it was used to distinguish party members who spoke out defending Soviet use of tanks to crush the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and later the 1968 Prague Spring uprising, or more broadly, those who adhered to pro-Soviet positions in general.

As such Chris has often defended Putin’s Russia using all the now-standard arguments: the threat of NATO, the West in general and especially the USA, the corruption of Russia by capitalism, etc, etc, plus the massive propaganda war against Russia. He and others have also pointed out the hypocrisies and double standards involved when looking at events like the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the attack on Libya in 2011.

To be fair Chris has nevertheless condemned the latest Russian invasion as a crime.

But what of the Western Right who are defending Putin’s actions? A rather dejected sounding classical liberal from Britain, Daniel Hannan, someone whose arguments I’ve very much admired over the years, posed that question in The Examiner: How can any American patriot support Putin?

How can people who call themselves nationalists be so blasĂ© about the asphyxiation of a nation whose sole offense has been to assert its independence?

But what is it that Trump and his followers see in Putin in the first place? This is where I start to worry. For a Reagan conservative, Putin’s flaws are obvious. He does not respect elections. He believes he can make up the rules as he goes along. He defines some of his people as “traitors” and encourages others to go after them. The sole principle of his foreign policy is Machtpolitik — let the stronger take from the weaker. He has replaced multiparty pluralism with a cult of personality. He can’t tolerate criticism.

Are Trumpsters as repelled by these things as Reaganites? Considering that list in an American context, I wonder. Things have changed since the Gipper’s time. In a polarized age, people are readier to overlook the shortcomings of politicians who specialize in “owning” the other side. Instead of wanting to limit the state as a general principle, modern conservatives are happy to make use of it when it suits their ends. And whereas they used to support candidates who shared their principles, they now tend to shift their principles whenever their champion does.

Unlike Hannan I’m well aware of plenty of Trump supporters who are very much against Putin’s invasion and wish to see him fail, including especially seeing the back of him as the leader of Russia. I did laugh at his take on Leftist support for Putin:

There is nothing surprising about dissent on the Left, chunks of which will align with any cause, however vile, provided it is sufficiently anti-American. If H.G. Wells’s novel came true tomorrow and Martian invaders launched their spaceships at Earth, there would be a New York Times op-ed arguing that the invasion was an understandable response to former President George W. Bush’s foreign policy.

But I don’t think it’s as simple as Hannan’s claim that it’s just siding with those who “own” their personal opposition, and a better answer may be found in this analysis of the apologetics for Putin, one that’s more subtle, and more disturbing:

“Both the liberal center-Left and the conservative center-Right are basically committed to upholding the global liberal order. Putin, by invading and attempting to conquer a sovereign state, challenges that order. If Putin succeeds, even modestly, it represents a failure for the U.S. establishment figures who tried to stop him. And establishment failures equal insurgent opportunities. Both the rightists and the leftists here are fighting against the Fukuyaman end-of-history idea that gives their own movements little space to move up.”

I think that’s it, but he’s also clinging to a very slim reed in thinking that these groups are frightened by the idea that the Fukuyamian world of the 1990’s is going to return, especially when he pinpoints its failures himself:

… the rightists and leftists must now see their shared nightmare unfolding before them — a great muddling-through, a slow revivification of the institutions that failed in Iraq and the Great Recession and the Trump Era. 

Ummm… No! The failures of the institutions that created the disasters of Iraq and the GFC, and before them the 9/11 attacks, are what led to the Trump era, and the continued public failure of them during Trump’s presidency – most vividly on show now with the slow revelation of coverups by none other than the CIA and FBI themselves, plus their handmaidens in Big Tech and the MSM in things like the Russia Collusion nonsense and Hunter Biden’s laptop of corruption, all working to bring Trump down – have only reduced public confidence in them further, worsened the situation and pulled us further away from that fabulous 90’s world that the author pines for.

He also doesn’t even mention the catastrophic Biden withdrawal from Afghanistan and the authoritarian over-reaction to the Chinese Lung Rot pandemic in almost all Western nations which saw our Public Health institutions and a good chunk of the public gleefully turning themselves into modern-day Stasi agents.

The End of History is dead and something new will take its place.

Written by Tom Hunter

March 25, 2022 at 10:22 am

Bryce Edwards visits the Anti-mandate protests

with 10 comments

Bryce has been quite the Leftie all his life, though rather an old-fashioned kind focused on economics even as he lectures in politics at Otago University.

Looks to be a bunch of fairly ordinary New Zealanders with a few nutters thrown into the mix, as is always the case with such protests.

Notably the NZ MSM ignored the the Antifa/Burn Loot Murder wannabes in the 2020 BLM protests here in NZ, plus some of the Extinction Rebellion folks, and going all the way back to that fabulous Communist Party banner unfurling at the Springbok Tour ground invasion at Hamilton’s Rugby Park in 1981.

All taken in stride by the MSM and those politicians who supported, and support those protests – of course.

The mandates, especially the vaccine mandates, were an “emergency measure” taken by the government in order to achieve their arbitary and world-beating goal of having 90% of the elligible population vaccinated.

“The traffic light system won’t help us very much because it was never designed to dampen down transmission, it was only designed to nudge people towards vaccination,” – Professor Baker

It would be interesting to know how many protestors are actually vaccinated. After all, we were repeatedly told that vaccination would set us free from all these controls. Even the vaccinated people I know (not one-eyed Labour fanatics of course) are now beginning to question this. It is therefore entirely appropriate for National and ACT to also begin questioning the usefulness of mandates now and asking when they will be eliminated, and to do so via Parliament and the MSM of which they are so frightened.

Written by Tom Hunter

February 13, 2022 at 11:02 am