No Minister

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The perfect Blade Runner shot

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All that video needs is music by Vangelis.

A long time ago the Soviets had a tightly controlled network of internationalists used to promote their communist model to the world. They were called the Comintern.

But Communist China has far exceeded that idea. They’ve got a group called the WEF (World Economic Forum) that’s composed of capitalists and Big Thinkers who have startling proposals for the future of humanity, such as owning nothing and eating bugs.

And you will be happy.

And they’ve got a multi-millionaire named Klaus Schwab to extoll their virtues:

World Economic Forum founder and Chair Klaus Schwab recently sat down for an interview with a Chinese state media outlet and proclaimed that China was a “role model” for other nations. 

Schwab, 84, made these comments during an interview with CGTN’s Tian Wei on the sidelines of last week’s APEC CEO Summit in Bangkok, Thailand. 

Schwab said he respected China’s “tremendous” achievements at modernizing its economy over the last 40 years. 

“I think it’s a role model for many countries,” Schwab said, before qualifying that he thinks each country should make its own decisions about what system it wants to adapt. 

How nice of him, but that last claim rings hollow given that the system he’s advocating for the West explicitly requires a party elite to do all the choosing for the people they rule over with an iron fist. 

Of course if you’re going for images of SF dystopias you need a human who fits – and Klaus fits perfectly:

“To understand events around the world today, one must think in terms of the class struggle.”

But the New Class isn’t limited to communist countries, really. Around the world in the postwar era, power was taken up by unelected professional and managerial elites. To understand what’s going on with President Donald Trump and his opposition, and in other countries as diverse as France, Hungary, Italy and Brazil, it’s important to realize that the post-World War II institutional arrangements of the Western democracies are being renegotiated, and that those democracies’ professional and managerial elites don’t like that very much, because they have done very well under those arrangements. And, like all elites who are doing very well, they don’t want that to change.

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What does repentance look like?

with 10 comments

I thought about this the other day after putting up the post, NO! I want justice, apologies – and a measure of revenge, which was a response to the call in The Atlantic magazine by a New York professor for “Pandemic Amnesty” for all those people who got it wrong on lockdowns, masks and vaccines.

The act of forgiveness lies at the core of the Roman Catholic church, all that confession stuff with a priest. It’s what differentiated it from every other religion at the time, whether Roman or Jewish. Sins could be forgiven, rather than just being a mark that you carried forever and saw you shunned from society – or worse.

Funnily enough that’s exactly what the Woke cult is all about right now. You make one slip up with that crowd, even if it’s from years earlier when you’re a stupid teenager, and you’re socially dead. No mercy and no forgiveness from them.

But in the RC the act of forgiveness is not some squishy, hippy approach where you just give the evildoer a big hug, tell him it’s okay and send her on her way.

No, the act of forgiveness requires also the act of repentance on the part of the sinner who must review their actions, examine their conscience, feel contrition or regret for the past wrongs committed – and all this with a commitment to improve by vowing not to commit those wrongs again, and following through on that vow.

Of course it’s not perfect. Nothing is. The question is whether the sign above in the Melbourne cafe window falls into that category? I mean it’s nice to see and all, but what are the odds that – knowing what they now know about how they were manipulated and “coerced” – they would not do this again?

Frankly I don’t think the British are in any position to make these criticisms of us and Canada, given that they pulled all the same shit, if not for as long, but that last is not much to hang your argument on.

Written by Tom Hunter

November 11, 2022 at 9:05 am

Sweden was right

with 4 comments

It turns out all the panic mongers were wrong. Lockdowns etc worked worse than the Swedish approach, even without taking into account all the long term damage to life expectancy, educational outcomes, economic prosperity that the authoritarian states incurred.

As of reporting date June 19th 2022, of all the countries analysed by the OECD, Sweden has the lowest overall cumulative excess deaths tally.

And New Zealand took all that pain for long term damage rather than gain.

Written by Whiskey&Pie

November 9, 2022 at 8:03 am

No, Sorry just will not be enough

with 10 comments

Outrageous, look at the spike. These people need to pay for the damage they have caused. According to the article they never tested any impact on pregnancy. We have been subject to mass formation psychosis. Note that it is a record of events reported to the Vaccine Adverse events database established in 1990, not a total of all miscarriages.

Written by Whiskey&Pie

November 3, 2022 at 7:25 pm

NO! I want justice, apologies – and a measure of revenge

with 19 comments

“We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us.” 

Source:

What America needs is not pandemic amnesty. It needs accountability. The politicians and leaders who employed the measures that resulted in these tragedies need to face consequences, full stop. We can’t get to forgiveness if there is no accountability and repentance.

But folks like Oster know this is not going to happen. The people she supported in their efforts to use the pandemic to get the state more involved in our lives will never meet justice. Indeed, the only evil people in this equation are people who expressed opinions with which she disagreed. In the end, her piece was nothing more than a pretty way of saying: “It happened. Get over it.”

I also want some solid rules put in place via legislation that will mean our society will never, ever again pull this shit. But that’s probably being too hopeful since the future can only be mildly influenced and in any case I thought we already did have barriers in place via our now-laughable Bill of Rights.

No, I think some measure of punishment in the form of a loss of power and job prospects for the likes of Baker, Wiles and the other “scientific” fanatics who pushed the lockdowns, the masks and the vaccine mandates, will likely have a more powerful effect than rules, for it will instruct future little fanatics that there will be a price to pay personally if they go too far in their fanaticism. That’s what I mean by “revenge”.

Emily Oster is a Brown University economist and supposed “parenting guru”, and she has just written an article in The Atlantic which basically says that all these things were just honest mistakes and anybody else would have messed up. Of course you can see why that’s so appealing to our political class, which went along with almost 100%, especially in NZ, Britain and much of the West. The only real Western pushback came in the USA, and those politicians are now starting to reap the rewards. Regrettably there are others also reaping the rewards who do not deserve to do so.

From what I can see on screenshots of her Twitter timeline she spent the first months of the pandemic being absolutely terrified of the virus until school closures began to hurt her own kids. She then started to come on as a kind of “lockdown moderate”, opposing the worst of the hysteria but also constantly validating the underlying assumptions that made them possible – probably so she could retain relationships with her friends and colleagues.

April 2020, with nothing else to do, my family took an enormous number of hikes. We all wore cloth masks that I had made myself. We had a family hand signal, which the person in the front would use if someone was approaching on the trail and we needed to put on our masks.  Once, when another child got too close to my then-4-year-old son on a bridge, he yelled at her “SOCIAL DISTANCING!”

These precautions were totally misguided. In April 2020, no one got the coronavirus from passing someone else hiking. Outdoor transmission was vanishingly rare. Our cloth masks made out of old bandanas wouldn’t have done anything, anyway. But the thing is: We didn’t know.

Fucking bullshit! We did know.

It’s not like respiratory viruses, the Flu, were unknown. They’d been studied for more than a hundred years and the lessons and instructions on how to deal with them had been written into the Public Healthcare plans of dozens of Western countries, including our own MOH Influenza Pandemic Plan (2nd edition, 2017), and they did not include the concepts of Lockdowns, mask mandates or vaccine mandates.

Rishi Sunak has said the government gave too much power to scientists during Covid lockdowns – and was not honest about the potential downsides.

The Tory leadership contender and former chancellor told the Spectator ministers were banned from talking about the “trade-offs” involved… he said the negative impacts of lockdowns on society were “never part” of internal discussions, adding meetings were “literally me around that table, just fighting”. Ministers were also told not to discuss the potential downsides in interviews, he added.

“The script was not to ever acknowledge them. The script was: ‘Oh there’s no trade-off, because doing this for our health is good for the economy.'”

Rishi Sunak – British Prime Minister

Yeah Rishi. We noticed. I guess nobody in the Tory cabinet saw that graphic above! I was not impressed to see in that Spectator article that former No 10 aide Dominic Cummings said that Sunak was talking “dangerous rubbish” and that the interview “reads like a man whose epicly bad campaign has melted his brain and he’s about to quit politics”.

Obviously Mr Cummings still thinks that such intimidation and name-calling works. It certainly did for the lockdown-mask fanatics for about two years. What assholes they are.

“We” – or at least a fair number of people, including some world-leading epidemiologists (world-leading until Fauci and company went on a sliming mission against them) – knew all this from the start in early 2020. We were not ignorant and we were not hysterical in responding to the Chinese Lung Rot Pandemic. But all that calm, measured, rationality got buried by the propaganda cry of “Let it rip” (a phrase it turns out that Fauci and company crafted in emails behind the scenes to denigrate his far more expert scientific opponents).

Stefan Baral, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins with 350 publications to his name, submitted a critique of lockdowns to more than ten journals and finally gave up—“the first time in my career that I could not get a piece placed anywhere,”

See also:

The Covid-19 Royal Commission

Lockdowns don’t work. What does? (April, 2020)

Visible Death vs. Invisible Death

Lockdowns: a nightmare of imagination

Everything in the Lockdown, nothing outside the Lockdown, nothing against the Lockdown.

New Zealand is more frightened than Britain

Failed solutions, Moral Cruelty and Advertising

“The dark night of…

Double Standards & Changing Narratives

The British Lockdown (May 2020 where opposing opinions were already quashed)


Written by Tom Hunter

November 1, 2022 at 3:37 pm

The Covid-19 Royal Commission

with 14 comments

David Farrar has agreed to post this over at Kiwiblog and since that has happened I figure I’ll pull this back from when I posted it late in 2021, with a couple of updates to allow for the time that has passed.
===========================

I doubt that the Labour government will be willing to do it but there must be a Royal Commission on this subject. Perhaps it’s best delayed until 2024 anyway; as time removes us from this situation there will be fewer concerns about criticising poor decisions by both government and its bureaucracy. People will feel able to speak up and be heard.

As Lord Sumption, a British historian and former Supreme Court judge, said about instilling fear back in April while Britain was still in the grips of another lockdown:

What we have got at the moment is a desire to instil fear in people… It’s not been a total clampdown, but there has clearly been a serious reduction in the space for debate. I get many, many emails, some of them from people in senior positions in politics and the health service, who say that they agree entirely with what I’m saying, but they don’t dare say it themselves. I hear from hospital registrars and consultants, pointing out things that are happening in their hospitals, about the misclassification of deaths or the long-term effects of lockdown on cancer diagnoses and other illnesses.

So what should the topics be and what are the key questions in each case? Here’s my list.

Lockdowns

I already looked specifically at this in posts last year here, here, here, and this one that focused on the fight by epidemiologists against the concept when the Bush Administration introduced it in 2006. But since then there have been studies done of the current situation, including 2021 data. The following article looks at a group of them, Covid-19 Lockdown Cost/Benefits: A Critical Assessment of the Literature:

An examination of over 100 Covid-19 studies reveals that many relied on false assumptions that over-estimated the benefits and under-estimated the costs of lockdown. The most recent research has shown that lockdowns have had, at best, a marginal effect on the number of Covid-19 deaths. Generally speaking, the ineffectiveness stemmed from individual changes in behavior: either non-compliance or behavior that mimicked lockdowns. The limited effectiveness of lockdowns explains why, after more than one year, the unconditional cumulative Covid-19 deaths per million is not negatively correlated with the stringency of lockdown across countries.

There’s also the open letter to the UK government signed by a large number of doctors that makes several key points, of which this is just one:

It is for this reason that lockdown policies were never part of any pandemic preparedness plans prior to 2020. In fact, they were expressly not recommended in WHO documents, even for severe respiratory viral pathogens and for that matter neither were border closures, face coverings, and testing of asymptomatic individuals.

Aside from weighing the costs and benefits it was nice to see some experts who, unlike Baker, Bloomfield and Wiles, were not autistic fanatics or publicity hounds and thus had a grasp of the non-medical side of nationwide lockdowns.

South Korea is a democratic republic, we feel a lockdown is not a reasonable choice,” says Kim Woo-Joo, an infectious disease specialist at Korea University.

New Zealand was no exception to that rule, as shown by the New Zealand Influenza Pandemic Plan, last updated by the MOH in 2017. In its 193 pages you will search in vain for the word “lockdown”, or any suggestion that standard practices such as quarantining infected and exposed people could be translated into such.

KEY QUESTIONS:

  1. What were the decision criteria that basically dumped that plan in favour of the national lockdown strategy in 2020.
  2. Assuming that one of the key decision criteria was the epidemiological computer modelling used to make forecasts of cases, hospitalisations and deaths under different scenarios, are those models being revised for future use and how can we determine that they are fit for purpose, given the huge variations in their forecasts?
  3. What were the decision criteria for the the 2021 lockdown, when it was already well understood by mid-2021 from overseas experience that the Delta variant was more infectious than the Alpha and unlikely to be stopped by a lockdown? Did the MOH and government think it would work a second time?
  4. Was there any single decision criteria for the second lockdown that overrode all others, a likely candidate being the very low vaccination rates?
  5. Was the traditional “Focused Protection” approach ever considered and if so, why was it rejected?
  6. When the extreme L4 lockdown approach was abandoned in September 2021 what were the decision criteria? Was there any beyond the simple fact that, unlike 2020, the L4 had failed to “crush” the Delta variant and that therefore Covid-Zero had failed?
  7. A complete assessment of the benefits and costs of the New Zealand lockdowns is required, given the need to move beyond a simple death count in assessing any public health strategy.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Tom Hunter

October 5, 2022 at 2:28 pm

On Those Who Identify As 27-Year-Old Slovakian Models

with 5 comments

Judith Collins is at her best when she flippantly mocks the worst excesses of the liberals. If grown men (complete with testicles, large hands and Adam’s apples) are able to identify as younger-looking women, well, why can’t she?

Collins said it was up to individuals to decide how they identify.

“[It’s] pretty clear to me that you are either born a male of female, or else, there are some people who are born with both genders. I have no problem with other people choosing to be whoever they like to be.”

She then said: “Personally, I self-identify as a 27-year-old Slovakian model”. 

Well, this has generated the usual shrieking from the clearly-insane Shaneel Lal, who has this to say:

By claiming to be something she is not and is incapable of being, Collins undermines, dismisses and ridicules trans identities. Likening trans identities to things people cannot change, such as age and ethnicity, implies that trans people are invalid.

Shaneel Lal tries the tired old approach of accusing social conservatives like me with making people choose to kill themselves. And how dare National Party take a line of approach other than the most revisionist, cultural-Marxist radical extremism which says that people can choose which gender they are, hormone blockers, castrations, mastectomies and fake-penises all being part of loving, “gender affirming care” with nothing but upsides.

Shaneel Lal is not the only one insisting we all get fully on board with the Woke Express, hurtling towards Gomorrah. Our taxpayer dollars are being spent like never before on so-called “Gender Affirming Care”:

Transgender and intersex health will get a small funding boost. About half a million dollars a year will go to providing more gender transition services, and improving guidelines for gender affirmation procedures. About $700m a year will go to implementing a “rights-based” approach to intersex care.

https://www.odt.co.nz/star-news/star-national/watch-budget-targets-health-cost-living

I just don’t know what to do with all of this. Up until 15 minutes ago, it was a near-universal belief that people were either born a boy or a girl, only an incredibly tiny minority truly being ‘intersex’. Transvestism was mainly practised by older males who paid a lot of money for what was clearly cosmetic surgery – castration and fake boobs didn’t turn a man into a woman, it just made him look like one. It was always more of a sexual fetish, not a gender identity.

But now we’re expected to all accept the belief that gender is simply a social construct, and if an individual truly feels that his or her gender does not correspond with his or her biological sex, then I need to agree and if I dare question it, I am threatening the safety of people like Shaneel Lal!

This nonsense is being questioned in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Europe and America to a far greater degree than it is here. The UK has shied away from anything as radical as our so-called ‘Conversion Therapy Ban’ bill, which criminalises a vicar who dares to pray with one of his parishioners if that Christian doesn’t want to be same-sex attracted, or else criminalises a therapist who tells Johnny that he really is a Johnny, and he’ll probably grow out of it.

But questioning the nonsense here is limited only to some flippant remarks by Judith Collins, and some accompanying weasel words from Michael Woodhouse and Christopher Luxon. NZ has the likes of Rachel Stewart and Ani O’Brien who are doing their best to speak up about this crap, but I fear they are fighting a losing battle.

I want to at all times practice the Commandment of “Love thy neighbour”. I do not question transgender ideology because I hate anyone, far from it – I question it because I am observing the confusion and harm that it is breeding, most especially to confused teenagers and even children. I wish nothing but the best for those who feel that they were born in the wrong body – and perhaps the healthiest treatment is therapy which reconciles their feelings with their body, and not irreversible damage through chemicals, hormones, mastectomies and castrations.

Written by Major Star

October 2, 2022 at 12:06 pm

“President” Biden: The Ghost Whisperer

with 4 comments

Since he entered the Democrat Primaries for the Presidential nomination in 2019, I’ve documented Joe Biden’s slow decline into a state of senile dementia, usually with numerous video clips where you can’t deny what your eyes have just seen or what your ears have just heard.

Admittedly even before senile dementia set in, Biden made gaffes. In one infamous clip from 2008, then-Senator Biden, who by that point was also Barack Obama’s vice presidential running mate, urged a Democrat member of the Missouri state senate to “Stand up Chuck, let ’em see you.” The man was in a wheelchair. But that’s probably just ignorance and a failure of his staff to brief him.

I was hardly alone in making this assessment; during the 2019-2020 Democratic presidential primary campaign season, a number of his Democratic opponents and even some in the mainstream media raised questions about Biden’s fitness to serve as president and commander in chief considering how he looked and sometimes acted confused and out of sorts while on the campaign trail.

However I’ve stopped pushing this in recent months simply because there’s almost one every other day now (“You go this way”) and it seems pointless to keep hammering a fact that’s accepted by all except partisan fanatics and shit-posting trolls.

But what occurred last week is in a class by itself.

A month ago a Republican member of Congress, Jackie Walorski, died in a car accident when her driver passed another car at high speed on a two-lane road in Indiana. As per normal the President sent his condolences to her family. As it happens Walorski was the co-chair of the House Hunger Caucus and the White House decided to have a conference on hunger, nutrition, and health, with Biden giving a speech during which he would honor her. He had notes and a teleprompter set up and even a video that would play in tribute to her. Then this happened:

You might make the same excuse here as for the “Chuck” incident in 2008, since statements of condolence are drafted up by the staff and it may not be something that a busy person remembers, or even saw.

Except that it turns out that Biden actually spoke to her family by telephone about her death back in August. How the fuck do you forget something like that just a month later?

“It’s par for the course,” Keith Walorski told The Post of Biden’s bizarre gaffe. “I feel sorry for him, really.”

“He made a phone call after my sister was killed and he was very sincere in his relaying the grief process because he’s been through that grief process, he knows all about it,” he added.

“All I’m saying right now about the president is bless his heart for trying... I don’t know what else to say. He is doing the best he can do with what he’s got right now.”

That’s an incredibly generous assessment and I suppose Joe is “trying” to cope with his dementia – with a lot of help, especially from his wife, Jill “Edith Wilson” Biden. But that doesn’t cut it as President of the United States. He’s trying to do the job – and failing – and “the best he can do” is just nowhere good enough for what the job demands. This guy has the nuclear launch codes and right now there’s a shooting war in Europe involving Russia, a nuclear power. Recall all the Lefty attacks on Reagan with the same arguments back in the 1980’s? Now it’s crickets.

Or perhaps not entirely crickets. The WH Press conference in the wake of this “gaffe” turned into a shitstorm as even the MSM reporters went after the hapless and hopeless press secretary, Jean-Pierre, and her repeated babbling of the talking point that Biden only said this because Walorski had been “at-top-of-mind” for Biden, which she clung to like a drowning woman and which demonstrated the extent of The Stupid in this WH.

For once the press wasn’t buying it. According to a lengthy video thread from Newsbusters managing editor Curtis Houck, at least six different reporters, including some from CBS News and CNN, wouldn’t let the issue go, flustering Jean-Pierre. Key reporter quotes:

“I have John Lennon top of mind just about every day but I’m not looking around for him anywhere.”

“Why don’t you just apologize? Sounds like you’re making excuses.”

“These moments of confusion are happening with increasing frequency.”

That last one is the killer line, and as another reporter noted:

It feels significant that this incident isn’t just getting the Twitter viral video treatment, but is actually getting written up in the New York Times. Joe Biden’s mental fitness is an issue and it’s time the press takes it seriously. No amount of briefing spin can change that.

Still, the MSM coverage of this was minimal, even as some of their own WH reporters hounded the Mop-Topped Muppet at the podium, and part of the reason for that minimal coverage was due to the pool reporter. That’s a rotating position and the person selected writes up a press conference for the use of all media outlets who could not be present – thousands of local media across the USA and around the world. Turns out that they were not even informed that this happened in the pool report about the actual event.

The White House print pool reporter today is Alex Nazaryan. This incident does not appear in the White House pool reports for this event. Why is that, Alex?

Oh I think I can guess why, based on Mr Nazaryan’s history:

So there he claims that he’s not saying this to defend socialism. Oh, no, no, no. He just wants to be accurate. But not accurate in his pool report about Biden showing his scary dementia. Another suckhole defender of the Democrats.

Still, after this incident the self-imposed media moratorium on questioning Biden’s mental health and state of mind appears to be officially over, because the incident was just too concerning, too eye-opening even for those in the press who had previously operated from the “insensitive” perspective on questions that have been raised about his mental fitness for over three years now.

Every time we see him out in public we are subjected to images of the US President stumbling, walking with the fragility of a man who isn’t quite in control of all of his bodily functions, trying to shake hands with people who aren’t there, looking to handlers to help him find his way off a stage or out of a room…the list just goes on and on.

But if you think we’re finally approaching the stage where even the Democrats might remove him from the Presidency I would remind you of the problems using the 25th Amendment to get rid of Biden. There’s also this problem:

She did not catch her own mistake. Kamala Harris is everything about a Vice President that the Left swore would be the case with Sarah Palin if McCain had won in 2008. If Joe is yanked and this idiot takes her place perhaps she can pull Press Secretary Jean-Pierre in as the new VP. Imagine that: not one but two Women Of Colour in the two top power positions in the USA.

And it would make Harris look smarter.

See also:

Written by Tom Hunter

October 1, 2022 at 9:49 am

Who’s in charge of the USA?

with 8 comments

Because it sure as hell does not seem to be “President” Biden.

Last week he got interviewed on the long-running American current affairs show, 60 Minutes on CBS, by one Scott Pelly, one of the friendliest Democrat interviewers around.

Predictably Pelly asked lots of softball questions and crucially, did not follow up on the answers – especially after delicately raising the matter of Hunter Biden, where Pelly allowed the President to put only his spin on it (it’s just GOP trouble-making)!

Yet even with such a soft touch, Biden got himself repeatedly in trouble.

First, with dismissive snark about the rate of inflation, denying that it’s a problem (“You’re acting like all of a sudden ‘my God it went to 8.2%’”). When it comes to bad economic news, there are two ways to handle it as a president. The right way is to admit the truth and then lay out a plan – preferably one with numbers – for how you’re going to improve things. Americans are very forgiving of politicians who speak plainly to them, as the likes of JFK, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton knew. On the other hand, the wrong way is to simply pretend that everything is just peachy and that anyone who doesn’t think so is an idiot. Guess which strategy Biden has chosen?

His skin is so thin you can see through it.

He also bragged about using the oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which is at its lowest level since 1984, and which was established after the Second Oil Crisis (1979/1980) for strategic defense purposes – not to lower gas prices to ease the pain for the Democrat Party during elections.

Biden says he’ll refill it once things have improved, but that’ll be at $80 barrel. It should be noted that when Trump wanted to top it up at $24/barrel the Democrats stopped him in Congress.

But, incredible as it may seem, those weren’t his worst gaffes. He had two doozies.

Taiwan

Pelly: But would US forces defend the island?

Biden: Yes. If in fact there was an unprecedented attack…

Pelly: So unlike Ukraine – to be clear, Sir – US forces, US men and woman, would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion.

Biden: Yes.

Holy shit! The Whitehouse rapidly walked this back, making it clear that US policy has not changed – and that policy is one of strategic ambiguity where they officially will not say whether they would, or would not, defend Taiwan.

The thing is that the WH had the opportunity to wave a big stick at China almost two months ago when Nancy Pelosi (Speaker of the House and basically the third-most powerful US politician) visited Taiwan (Nancy Pelosi is doing the right thing)- resulting in a flurry of threats from China, one of which implied that they might shoot her plane out of the sky.

That last was always an empty threat, but still, in the world of diplomacy it’s harsh and should have been condemned by the Biden Administration – but it wasn’t,

John Kirby (National Security Council): “The Speaker has not confirmed any travel plans and it is for the Speaker to do so, and her staff. We won’t be commenting or speculating about the stops on her trip…Congress is an independent branch of government…the Speaker has a right to visit Taiwan.”
============================
CBS’s @NancyCordes: Why was the Speaker being urged not to go [to Taiwan]?
Kirby: I don’t know that she was…Who urged her not to go?
C: [Biden] said on July 20 that the military doesn’t think it’s a good idea for her to go.
K: [She] makes her own decisions.
====
Reporter: “Why did the president bother w/ this drama…why not call the Chinese bluff or tell them to pound sand?”
Kirby: “What’s the drama?”
R: “Have you watched the [Chinese] briefings the past couple weeks?”
K: “I haven’t seen any drama…you’re manufacturing it with your question.”

So weak as dishwater back then – now yammering about US troops defending Taiwan against a Chinese invasion. It’s schizophrenic.

Admittedly Pelosi was not much better; with her back-and-forth media announcements and initial hesitation in the face of the Chinese threats, she added to the strategic confusion at the White House and Pentagon who opposed her visit, and she never really explained why she was visiting, saying that as a child she used to like China and at the beach would dig in the sand to reach Beijing. Seriously? As historian VDH summed up, her diplomacy was childlike:

In other words, in her eight decades since infancy, Pelosi has not yet learned the difference between Chinese Taiwan and the Chinese Communist mainland and has come up with no greater affinity with the Chinese than remembering as a child vainly digging in the sand to reach them.

The internal administration discord reminded the Chinese that the Biden Administration can still become even more inept than it has been since its inaugural humiliation in Anchorage, Alaska. 

And lastly, Pelosi showboated with loud freedom rhetoric while carrying a mere twig.

So, yes, ostensibly, it was silly for Nancy Pelosi to freelance in foreign policy by going to Taiwan. She has no record of any foreign policy accomplishment. Ever since her first speakership 15 years ago, Pelosi has always seen foreign policy as an arena to embarrass her political opponents.

We remember her dishonest post-9/11 public reversals about enhanced interrogations, and her all-but-rooting-for the surge in Iraq to fail.

We remember her lunatic visit and glad-handing with the murderous, children-killing Assad government in Syria (i.e., “The road to Damascus is a road to peace.”)?

While in Damascus in 2007, Pelosi legitimized the Syrian dictatorship right after it had helped start the 2006 Lebanon war, right during the U.S. surge in Iraq, and right during the influx of Syria’s jihadists across the open border to Iraq to kill Americans. 

The cherry on top was getting snubbed by the South Korean president when she dropped in to visit there.

But Pelosi’s incoherence is no excuse for that of the Biden Administration’s, so the South Korean snubbing of her should not be a surprise. It was aimed at the whole US government.

Covid-19

The other remark that got him in big trouble was his declaration that “the pandemic is over.”

Aside from totally pissing off that part of the Democrat base that never wants to see an end to mask mandates or any other aspect of government control for the disease, it also threatened to blow up his recently announced Student Loan forgiveness program.

Why? Because that relies on an existing piece of legislation, the 2003 HEROES Act, which was passed to relieve the loan burden from university students who might get called up for military service during their studies (these are people already signed on to the military and who have likely done training or even service but are studying at present).

Obviously it was a stretch to use that Act for all students, but the key word was “Emergency” written in the Black Letter law; as long as the Chinese Lung Rot is an “Emergency” the loan forgiveness plan might stand up to court challenges.

But if “the pandemic is over.” then the whole thing collapses. Not a good look with the Mid-Term elections coming up fast. So the The Powers That Be had to throw Biden under the bus on that one too.

You feeling all that experience and competence yet? All the stuff that Biden supporters screamed that Trump had none of but Biden had in spades? Back to “norms” – and no Mean Tweets.

Ace of Spades had a good take on what’s actually going on here:

It is clear to me that he is not fronting any one person or even a small, tight-knit cabal that is actually in charge. What he’s fronting appears to be an enormous complex of competing committees. There have been many examples, but the two big ones in my mind are the Afghanistan withdrawal and the COVID wind-down.
….
COVID has been slower-motion but similar. What I call the “COVID is over” faction starting sending up trial balloons just before Delta hit. The “COVID forever” faction won that round. The “over” faction tried again in December(ish) of last year, just as Omicron was hitting. They were more successful and went harder at it. They have ultimately won the war, though the occasional battle is still being fought.

And Biden has been right there saying that both sides are right all the while. Sometimes COVID is over, sometimes COVID is never over. Sometimes Afghanistan was just bad luck and Trump’s fault. Other times, it all went according to plan and was the Afghan government’s fault. It likely depends on which faction is feeding him his talking points.

That sounds about right. You see such faction fights in all parties, and when the leadership is lost the fights are obvious and destabilising (see Labour 2008-2017 and National 2020-2022).

But being that New Zealand is such a pipsqueak of a nation such things only hurt us. When it’s a US Presidential Administration a lot of people around the world could get hurt badly.

Aliens

with 3 comments

The Left and Right to each other that is.

I was struck by this thought in crafting a comment for Lucia’s latest post – Never-ending Emergency Powers – and it seemed to deserve a post rather than a comment.

And then there are people like those at The Standard, The right is weirdly gleeful about the end of the mask mandate. The writer of that post – the infamous “MickySavage” (named after Saint Micky Savage), who is almost as much of ban-hammerer (even according to other Lefties) as his mate iPrent – did what I’m doing here and referenced Kiwiblog’s post on the topic, Freedom, along with the usual cautionary warning:

I did something that I do not recommend.  I went to Kiwiblog and read David Farrar’s take on the issue, as well as that of the commentators.

The right have celebrated it happening which is quite weird.  Was it an existential attack on New Zealanders fundamental rights or was it something that was quite a good thing to do in the midst of a global pandemic and something that was strongly recommended by medical experts

Seriously? Only the Right? You mean people loved wearing those fucking things for two years? Well, yes, judging by some of their comments:

Masks are a reminder of the ideological nightmare of big government working, and working well, on behalf of the people. They want to see a return of the dominance and celebration of the hyper-individualised selfish arsehole,

Bearing in mind that mask wearing is/was for one’s own good and the good of society I have always had a great deal of difficulty understanding, let alone accepting as a valid view, the anti mask wearing brigade. I am sure that the same people would mostly always fasten their seat belts or drive on the correct side of the road, send their children to school etc. Such a simple, safe move.

Right Wingers fighting to the end for their rights to endanger other peoples lives.


Considering that mask-wearing to prevent the community spread of disease is a long-established practice in East Asia, one that, in Western society, was consistently derided as an illogical and unproven cleanliness fetishism until someone actually bothered to test it, I’m inclined to believe that many people’s resistance to it is rooted in the NIH sentiments of the unreconstructed, reflexively racist shithead.

But of course.

This is hardly new of course. Here’s the hideous NKVD agent, No Right Turn, bitching about being abandoned by Labour when the lockdown restrictions were lifted in late 2021

So, having saved us from Covid for 18 months, our government has just surrendered to the virus, announcing a “transition plan” to loosen restrictions while Covid is still spreading in the community. This is exactly the sort of insanity which has led to outbreaks and mass death in the UK and NSW, and there’s no reason to think it will end any differently here.

Meanwhile, I guess Aotearoa’s days of being a “model Covid response” are over. The government has just decided to surrender to the virus, because they were sick of the whining from the Auckland business class. They’ve basicly become quislings for the virus, just like Boris Johnson and Gladys Berejiklian. And we’ll be paying the price for their cowardice in deaths and long Covid.

This unbending, fanatical desire for limitless control over people until “the problem” is reduced to zero, highlights something that looks like thinking but is not and was perhaps best described by an American writer in Minnesota while battling against the same bullshit (What’s Normal Again):

What really strikes me is how wedded many people are to having the epidemic and its restrictions last forever. What kind of mental illness is this? But I have made the point many times before that I have no intention of trying to change these people’s minds.

This is belief and religion on their part, not data or science or logical analysis. I don’t even want to engage with these people. And they are a serious impediment to trying to get our society back to some kind of rational policy on the epidemic.

I’m tempted to say the mirror-image of the implication of these claims – which is that we Righties are basically Aliens to the Left, and vice versa. We don’t actually “get” each other’s basic frame of reference (Right = individual, Left=collective):

The push by the political right to frame mask wearing as a signalling of leftie political persuasion (rather than protecting yourself and those around you) is both pathetic and dangerous.

Well, I think it more signals frightened, ignorant people who cannot or will not ask any questions or do any research themselves but just do whatever the “authorities” and “experts” tell them to do, but sure, there does seem to be an element of mask-wearing as self-identifying Lefties – especially when you read those comments.

What these people are gagging for – what they’re always gagging for – is an “emergency” so vast that only the Great Collective can deal with it and that Great Collective is not a Team Of Five Million or Seven Billion all cooperating together. No, it’s The State, that almighty and all powerful organism which, if it fails, only does so because it’s not powerful enough.

Such people scare the shit out of me far more than any unmasked, unvaccinated person who’s standing close to me – and to be fair, there were and are all too many on the Right who think the same way when push comes to shove, their definition of individual freedom seeming not exist beyond the boundaries of whatever you can trade and be taxed for.

Just define something as an “Emergency” or a “War” and the State can seemingly do anything it wants, and you can take your Constitutions (written and unwritten) and your Bill of Rights and shove them where the sun doesn’t shine.

And let’s watch some evil, selfish, Righties being weirdly gleeful about being freed from masks.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 15, 2022 at 1:33 pm