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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

The Democrat Party is a Clear and Present Danger to the USA

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In Ken Burn’s famous documentary series, The Civil War, one of the voiceovers from the primary narrator – the wonderfully warm, Mid-Western voice of historian David McCullough – describes one of Abraham Lincoln’s dilemmas:

To preserve the Constitution, Lincoln had for three months gone beyond it: waging war without Congressional consent; seizing Northern telegraph offices; suspending habeas corpus. To keep the border states from seceding, Lincoln sent troops to occupy Baltimore and clapped the mayor and 19 secessionist legislators in jail, without trial. Chief Justice Taney ruled that the President had exceeded his power. Lincoln simply ignored him. “More rogues than honest men find shelter under habeas corpus,” he said, and even contemplated arresting the Chief Justice.

Perhaps when the dust has settled on the Jan6 “investigatory” committee and the rest of the hysteria, especially when it’s decommissioned by the incoming GOP majority in November, the Democrats might try and align themselves with Lincoln in this argument as well; that they’ve had to go beyond the norms of law and a democratic society in order to save democracy. Here’s the latest example.

Add this to the arrest a couple of weeks ago of former Trump economic adviser Peter Navarro for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the Democrats’ Jan6 committee. No turn-yourself-in style arrest either but the full monty of FBI handcuffs in public at an airport. By contrast Mr Eastman should be grateful they only took his cellphone, even if they failed to show the warrant first as the law demands.

As that article points out, Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, was held to be in contempt of the House for his refusal to cooperate with an investigation by turning over papers he held. Obama’s “wingman” literally laughed it off, as did Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper after lying to Congress about them spying on House reps, as did former Obama CIA Director James Brennan for also lying to the House.

Suffice to say that they’re all living the good life and never even saw a search or arrest warrant, let alone a set of handcuffs, FBI agents and a SWAT team, plus an alerted (alerted by who) CNN TV crew to cover their house at 5am for the arrest.

And here is perhaps the worst aspect of this; there is not one Trump opponent, whether private or public, who is willing to call out this ends-determine-the-means evil. They hate Trump that much that they’re willing to bend or break any rules. They literally do not care about democracy or the rule of law even as they scream that they do at the top of their lungs. As President Reagan once said of similar people:

“[They] reserve unto themselves the right to commit any crime, to lie, to cheat and that the only morality they recognize is what will further their cause.”

We expect double standards in politics and “rules for thee but not for me” is pretty much an embedded characteristic of the Left. But the US Democrat Party are pushing it to the edge of civil war (perhaps that’s what they want?) and this is the worst turn of that to date. Which brings me back to Lincoln :

A house divided against itself cannot stand.

No it can’t. This is not going to stop with a devastating election defeat this year or in 2024 but only when an empowered GOP is willing to play by these same rules and forgo the civility bullshit and “We’re better than that” attitudes. Until that happens – until people like the Democrats on this committee and elsewhere are subjected to the same rules they’re imposing on others, and are hurt in professional ways beyond mere voting losses – they will continue to push the boundaries of the norms of democracy and the rule of law in order to gain more power and hold on to it.

Fascism, straight up. Or communism. Take your pick. I’ll go with Claremont’s selection of Beria as the sort of person these Committee members are.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 29, 2022 at 5:27 pm

Yes, Academics are this dumb!

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“Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them.”

There are countless examples from history – as that Orwell quote shows – as well as our present day (see Souxie Wiles and Michael Baker).

Yet I still find myself being surprised by such stupidity, as with this story of then freshly minted President Biden meeting with a bunch of US historians in March 2021.

The enlisted attendees, all credentialed progressives, included Michael Beschloss and Doris Kerns Goodwin, each of whom has written on several presidencies; Joanne B. Freeman, a Yale professor and expert on Alexander Hamilton’s life; and Walter Issacson, many of whose books touch on presidential power.

I liked Goodwin in Ken Burn’s series Baseball, where she described the agony of being a Boston Red Sox fan, especially in 1986. But it would be fair to say she’s been tarnished in recent years by (accurate) accusations of plagiarism. Freeman is excellent on Hamilton, as Issacson is on more general US history, especially when it comes to the modern Hi-Tech period.

They had all gathered at the request of another historian, one Jon Meacham, whose ethical standards shine throughout:

Meacham was credited with writing Biden’s acceptance speech at the Democratic convention; he later characterized the speech as “poetic” on MSNBC without disclosing his authorship.

It looks like Biden, like so many other Democrat Presidents, was trying for a bit of JFK magic by mixing with intellectuals as he had, reaching for his strand of the mystic chords of memory.

They had assembled to advise the President on how his presidency might be shaped to be considered “historic.” Press reports hinted that the President’s staff saw an opportunity to nudge their boss into adopting an ambitious domestic agenda by crafting an image of Biden consulting history as a guide.

The historians were fully onboard with these plans:

He was, they argued, in a special position to undertake a programmatic agenda that would transform the nation’s civic and economic life. He could achieve that which President Obama had promised but failed to produce.

The advice is reported to have come in simple phrases—go really big, go really fast. The conjured image of what Biden could achieve was a fusion of the accomplishments of FDR and LBJ, only bigger, to meet the enlarged aspirations of a woke society.

Biden had just beaten a guy with some of the highest negatives in Presidential poling history, who had almost never been above 50% approval in his term, and Biden had been helped along further by one of the biggest voter turnout operations in Democrat history, the machine fueled by some $350 million supplied from the billionaire owner of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg.

But even if the resulting 81 million votes did fool them into thinking Biden had a mandate rather than just the Trump-hate vote, the threadbare results of the Democrats in the House, where they lost seats and won none, and the Senate where they barely got the two they needed merely to get a tie, in post-2020 special elections in the state of Georgia (an unlikely-to-be-repeated fluke), surely should have been a clue that the Democrats did not.

When FDR launched the New Deal in 1933 he did so after a landslide win, plus coattails that delivered him huge majorities in the House and Senate. Same with LBJ and his Great Society programs in 1965. Obama had only slightly less power in 2009-2010.

For historians, so deeply informed not just of American history but American political history, to suddenly ignore their own knowledge because they had glittering Leftist prizes in their eyes, is almost criminally stupid.

Suffice to say that Biden, with fifty years of sometimes rough and raw political experience of winning and losing behind him, certainly should have known better as he surveyed the lay of the land. Bill Clinton post 1994 should have been the model, as it likely will soon have to be after this year’s Mid-Term elections.

But sometimes ordinary people and politicians are as stupid as intellectuals.

It sounds better in the original German

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Hot on the heels of the Democrat Party amping up the pressure on Supreme Court Justices over the anticipated overthrow of the current abortion SCOTUS rulings – with illegal protests (no arrests so far) outside the homes of selected Justices by “Ruth Sent Us” and multiple arson attacks on pregnancy centres across the country by “Jane’s Revenge” – comes this lovely little indicator of how the Democrats think when democracy doesn’t go their way:

“This is, in my opinion, a diseased Republican Party. And it needs to be cured and cleansed,” Houlahan said. “So the stakes of having a Republican, as an example, in my seat are more than just policy differences. They are democracy, in my opinion.”

Mmmmmm…. cleansing! Tasty, tasty cleansing.

Ms Houlahan won her competitive Pennsylvania seat in 2020 but is now facing strong headwinds for re-election thanks to Biden being underwater in her state, with 35% approval and 54% disapproval, according to Civiqs. Like Biden and many other Democrats this means she’s had to change her message about her opponents (and their voters) from what she said at the time:

She credited her political success to her message of “civility,” “decency,” “unity,” and “empathy.” “People ask me constantly how I flipped a seat in a competitive district. One of the reasons is that I made civility and decency a core of my campaign,” Houlahan said at the time. “Pennsylvanians want unity. They want leaders who rise above the fray and lead with kindness and empathy towards all Americans.”

😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

If you think about it long enough you’ll realise that “cleansing” your political opponents is what civil, decent people do when they’re aiming for unity – and they’ll be empathetic about the process.

Okay, so it’s politics almost as usual, but you’d think she wouldn’t be so blatant, although I appreciate the honesty. Based on a reading of Democrat activists and many ordinary Democrat voters she’s merely being a ventriloquist here.

However, judging by a recent poll it would seem that voters have looked at the words of Ms Houlahan and other Democrats like Nancy “Domestic terrorists” Pelosi and Joe “Ultra-MAGA” Biden and feel that they know who the real threat to Democracy is and who is best to protect it: the Twitter response from this headline says it all.

Awwwww…. another moron who thought the Jan6 “commission” would work brilliantly as anti-GOP propaganda. I’m sure his is not the only Democrat head exploding about this result.

This feels like a teaching moment, the appropriate time to remind people of some good old Democrat/Left propaganda that has embedded itself as a myth=fact. Take it away Carol Swain, Professor of Political Science and Law at Vanderbilt University.

BTW, as an example of how far that propaganda has fallen in effectiveness – it’s peak was probably 2008 in the wake of Obama’s victory when the common wisdom was that the GOP was The Party Of Old White Southern Men and they better get with Obama’s policies just to survive – comes news from Texas….

That district voted for Clinton in 2016 by 33 points, Biden in 2020 by 13 points and had been Democrat since 1870. The district is being re-made and Ms Flores will face a tough fight against a pro-life (snigger) Democrat with a 15% + theoretical Democrat lead.

Mayra Flores

But islands are no match for tsunamis, and the Red Tsunami (GOP) is building momentum.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 18, 2022 at 10:22 am

Midway

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Today marks the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, where the US Navy destroyed four Japanese fleet carriers for the loss of one and turned the tide of the Pacific war in favour of America just six months after the disaster at Pearl Harbour.

There was still a lot of hard fighting required over the next three years, and in some respects it got harder as the US got closer to Japan, with the terrible fighting in the war’s final battle at Okinawa being a factor in President Truman’s decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan rather than invading.

But after Midway the Japanese were never on the front foot again and rather than expanding into their new Greater East-Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, they were forced to fight a grinding defensive war, ultimately falling back on Japan itself.

Dauntless Dive Bombers

The victory involved some elements of good luck, but it was enabled by the bravery, skill and resourcefulness of pilots like Wade McClusky and Dick Best, and also of hundreds of men, lost to history, who showed the same abilities in places like ship yards, and the smarts of Admirals like Nimitz and Spruance.

But the real key to the American victory was that they had partially cracked the Japanese naval codes and, with some educated guesswork, were able to figure out where and when the Japanese would strike, and with what. As a result the Americans could lay a trap.

The battle technically lasted from June 4 to June 7, but the real action came on June 4 when the trap was sprung and the four Japanese carriers were destroyed, although it would take until the next day for a couple of them to sink.

Rather than reading that Wikipedia link however, you should honour this great victory by watching the movie Midway – not the plodding 1976 version which I saw as a kid, but the one made in 2019 by Roland Emmerich, who both produced and directed it. He’s better known for huge, splashy, trashy action movies like Independence Day and is also very much a Democrat and LGBT activist in the US. As such it’s surprising that this Midway is such an old-fashioned war movie, with no hidden messages about anything at all and one that openly celebrates courage, decency and honour. But apparently the movie was a passion of his and when big studios turned it down he raised the money himself. It is one of the most expensive independent movies ever made.

The surprise continues with actors like Woody Harrelson, who got his start in the TV comedy series, Cheers, in the 1980’s and who normally excels in “unstable” characters, playing Admiral Nimitz with all the sobriety and seriousness of the man himself. Similarly for singers like Mandy Moore, who portrays Dick Best’s wife with vulnerable but steely courage and love. The Japanese figures of Admiral Yamamoto , Admiral Yamaguchi, and ordinary Japanese pilots and sailors are also portrayed with compassion.

That’s not to say the movie is Politically Correct. In one scene near the end there is no hesitation in showing the cruelty of a Japanese destroyer captain as he brutally disposes of POW Bruno Gaido by throwing him overboard tied to an anchor after he refuses to answer questions.

In fact the non-PC quality of the movie slaps you in the face right from the start when it opens in Tokyo in 1937 with a British Admiral, annoyed at the “bloody ridiculous” Japanese custom of catching ducks with nets, telling his American counterpart, Intelligence Officer Edwin T. Layton, that he won’t miss Japan and that “The next time I see the little buggers I hope it’ll be over the sights of a 14 inch gun”.

That scene is also an example of one of the other great strengths of the film; it captures all the key elements of the story in quick, concise scenes that allow people utterly unfamiliar with the history to understand exactly what is going in. In that opening we see Yamamoto telling Layton that if Japan’s oil supplies are threatened they will have to go to war against the USA.

It took the awful movie Pearl Harbour (2000), three ponderous hours to cover what Midway does in about 30 minutes as we see the attack on Pearl and the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo (and the survivors experiences in China), while also cramming in the vital scenes showing Nimitz’s appointment as Pacific Commander as he is told how grim the situation is, and Layton’s struggle to recover from the intelligence failure – his failure – of December 7, plus the little known American attack on the Marshall Islands in early 1942.

Similarly we move through scenes of the constant training of the pilots, and the risks and deaths involved in that, the effect of the Battle of the Coral Sea on Layton and his Intelligence team as they try to convince Nimitz that the island of Midway is next, and then of course the Battle of Midway itself.

The main characters are steadily introduced in these scenes in the same quick, concise manner that makes you immediately understand what drives them and what they’re like. Best is arrogant and cocky (what naval aviator isn’t?) but is softened a little as he becomes responsible for more lives than his own; his wife, Anne, passionate in her defence of him (“I often wondered what sort of woman would marry Dick Best and… well you have not disappointed”); Admiral Halsey (played by Dennis Quaid) gruff and smart; McClusky carrying the weight of commanding the likes of Best.

But there’s also humor; the scene where Nimitz finally demands to meet Layton’s “genius” analyst, Commander Joseph Rochefort, clad in bathrobe and fluffy slippers, with his team of code-cracking “tuba players”. Similarly in scenes showing the camaraderie of the men.

Portrayed are men who strongly disagree with each other and piss each other off, but none of them are made out to be useless or a bad guy, another departure from many modern movies. For example the torpedo squadron commander Lindsey is often at odds with an angry Best who has little respect for him, but that changes as death begins to surround them, especially for the doomed torpedo bombers who completely failed, and were slaughtered, yet made a crucial contribution to the battle by completely distracting the fighter planes defending the Japanese fleet.

There’s superb special effects of course, as you’d expect from a film today. But it’s never overdone. Two terrific scenes last seconds only: one where a downed US pilot floating in the water looks up and cheers on the dive bombers as they fall upon the Jap carriers; the second where the camera looks up through the water from underneath an American submarine as it launches a torpedo while a destroyer passes overhead and depth charges descend.

And that’s another great aspect of the movie in that it introduces two small but vital stories of the battle that have been largely ignored.

The decisive moment of the battle came when McClusky and his squadrons missed the Japanese fleet and had to back-search for it. McClusky made a cunning guess and found a destroyer that was clearly trying to catch up with the main fleet, so they followed it and the rest is history, with three dive bomber squadrons arriving at the same time, in the right place and far above the defending fighters who were busy killing the American torpedo bombers.

But the reason that destroyer was catching up was that it had been driving off that submarine, the USS Nautilus (not the nuclear one of course), which had tried to attack the Jap carriers – and that too is shown in intense, quick detail. Had they not tried there would have been no destroyer for McClusky to find and follow.

The other little back-story that I was impressed to see in the film was the effort to repair the carrier USS Yorktown, which had been heavily damaged in the Coral Sea battle and was expected to take months to repair. Nimitz ordered it to be done in 72 hours – and it was. I would have liked to have seen a few shots of the artificers, machinists and welders making on-the-spot decisions on repairs and doing them, plus some reference to the brownouts that occurred in Honolulu because so much electricity was being drawn in the repairs (see Victor Davis Hansons book Carnage and Culture for the details), but that’s a quibble. The fact that it’s in the movie at all is great.

As a final tribute the film ends with the faces of each main actor morphing into the real-life men, together with a brief epilogue of each, and then ends with Annie Trousseau, getting to perform the entire song she’s briefly seen singing in the earlier Officer’s Club scene. The song was originally done by Frank Sinatra during the war but I love this version more: All Or Nothing At All is also entirely appropriate for this story; I suspect Emmerich selected it, Trousseau certainly loved the chance to be a 1940’s torch singer and she nails it.

If, on a Saturday night, you want to see a great war movie that is accurate to history, expertly told, that really does honour brave men and a famous American victory, get this one. You won’t regret it.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 4, 2022 at 1:15 pm

Have you ever met a high ranking officer and were unaware of their rank?

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A nice military story out of Canada in answer to this Quora question.

The response was from a former Canadian soldier and concerns “an older gent” called Lew who jumps into the back of the M-113, training and boxed lunches – like really shitty boxed lunches.

Yes, and it was one for the ages…Let’s dial the way-back machine to 1987. The place was the gigantic Wainwright Training Area at CFB Wainwright, Alberta…It was far enough out it would easily take our little heated crackerboxes (M-113’s) nearly an hour to reach our training area.

So anyway, there we were – 9 guys crushed into the back of a gruntbuggy all opening our boxed lunches with all the enthusiasm of a homeowner opening window mail.

“Lew” – the older gent – opened his too, and looked at the result with distaste. His lunch – like mine and everyone else’s – was a cheese sandwich. That’s ONE piece of processed cheese between two pieces of bread. No butter or anything. “Well, THIS is a little sparse, don’t you think?” he asked.

He got a chorus of complaints in return.

At which point “Lew” gets on the radio and turns the M-113’s around back to base, which immediately gets the grunts asking amongst themselves (quietly) who the fuck this guy is that can pull such a stunt!

Read the whole thing.

Written by Tom Hunter

May 28, 2022 at 11:00 am

Posted in History, Humour, Military

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Breaking News for those who lack self-awareness

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When I saw this I almost could not believe it. Even though I’ve long been very down on the MSM and its “journalists”, the following piece is still breathtaking even for me.

Is it a lack of self-awareness? Or perhaps just a lack of awareness in general – like of recent history and current affairs?

Really, Mr Melber of MSNBC? Really? It sounds terrifying! What would that look like, because I’m having a tough time even imagining it – but I’ll give it a shot?

I’m seeing…. a tech monopoly suppressing a major story about a corrupt POS presidential candidate who spawned a son who is an even bigger POS with booze, drugs and the ladies and who grifts millions of dollars from Chinese and Russian oligarchs and corrupt Ukrainian front companies?

No? Okay. How about this?

I’m seeing …. a tech monopoly using secret algorithms to throttle speakers of one political bent while boosting those of another political bent? Or using its algorithmic power as a publisher (not a platform) to falsely claim that some unpopular stories are “Trending” and to falsely claim that some actually-trending stories are not? And all this to crush the reach of news that hurts one political party and one political ideology?

Crazy no?

Where the fuck has this prick been in the last two years? Or perhaps he’s just fallen so far into gaslighting mode that he wipes his memory each night so that he doesn’t go insane with all the cognitive dissonance?

And also right on schedule is this….

Complete with talk about “reforming section 230” and “anti-trust reform” and all the crazy stuff that a goodly (and growing) portion of US right-wingers have been pushing for several years now.

My goodness, where did that suddenly come from? What a coincidence that it came just a day after Musk takes over Twitter.

That’s government intimidation, isn’t it? That’s the government saying, “You will enforce our chosen narrative on a range of issues via censorship of your users – or we will act punitively against your monopoly position.” Sure sounds like it to me, and the response of the GOP to this will be to say how they’re not like that, even as the owners and employees of those companies snigger at their desks, curse the GOP, donate overwhelmingly to the Democrats, curse the Right even more and do everything with their considerable online power to screw them over.

This is why the GOP is often called by its own voters The Stupid Party.

In fact those voters been begging the GOP for some time now to get their useless backsides into gear and rip away the cover of Section 230 from the likes of Twitter, Facebook and their ilk, given the fact that, despite the well intentioned motives of protecting the fledging Web in the 1990’s, they’ve been acting as publishers not platforms for quite some time now in their censoring zeal:

No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.

The grass-roots have also begged the GOP to go full Teddy Roosevelt and start using trust-busting measures against Google and their ilk – only to be greeted with whinging about the “principles” of the libertarian, pro-corporate Right-Wing when it comes to the state and private sector companies – well, giant private sector companies at least. Look at the recent moans from the National Review crowd (and others on the Corporatist Right) about the Florida GOP actions taken against Disney.

Now that the Democrats have breached that particular dam perhaps the GOP will jump on the issue. Still, it would not be surprising if The Stupid Party decides that defending Google, Facebook, Twitter and company against such outrages is a winning issue in 2022, thereby condemning themselves to a tiny win or perhaps even a tiny loss this year, rather than the Red Tsunami they’re currently on target for.

China and its problems – two videos

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We hear the phrase about the 21st century being the Chinese Century that it can come as a bit of shock when this is not just questioned but attacked on it’s fundamental premises.

There are some negative projections of the nation that have not aged well, of which my well-thumbed copy of Gordon Chang’s, The Coming Collapse of China, published in 2001, is one. Like The Great Depression of 1990, Chang nailed a lot of China’s problems but extrapolated them too far. However, there have been many more books pushing equally silly boosterisms of China and they’re not looking too good either.

The current negative takes are not a shock to me because I’ve adhered to the phrase first coined by Mark Steyn (who takes a great interest in demographics) around 2005 that, “China will get old before it gets rich”.

However, there are always new surprises coming out about this and they’re explored in the following video from geopolitical analyst Peter Zeihan. You can find a bullet point synopsis of it at the Battleswarm blog, of which the following three points are worth quoting:

  • They were going shrink in half by 2100. “Then they realized that they had been overcounting people for some time.” Then new data moved the date moved up to 2070. And now they’re saying it will be 2050. “For that to be true, the Chinese would have overcounted the population by 100 million.” And all of those missing people are of childbearing age. Their population actually peaked 15 years ago.
  • Xi’s instituted a cult of personality, and silenced anyone capable of independent thought. “He knows that the country’s current economic model has failed. And he knows he can’t guarantee economic growth, and he knows he can’t keep the lights on, and he knows he can’t win a war with the Americans.”
  • Xi’s solution? “Naked, blatant, ultra nationalism. Ethnocentric ultranationalism of the Nazi style.”

I don’t agree with all his points (I’ve always thought Stratfor, his former employer, is over-rated) but they’re interesting, and the increasingly extreme nationalism has been noted by everybody.

This second video focuses on that nationalism, especially in how China’s approach to the outside world has changed so dramatically from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Gamers to today. One of the strangest aspects has been Chinese diplomats the world over, hurling insults at their host countries, from Brazil, Canada, France, India and (of course) the USA. This is the exact opposite of what diplomats are supposed to do.

The video thinks it knows why and it’s summed up in three words, “Wolf Warrior Diplomacy”, designed to stir up nationalism as a way to control internal security problems. At the end it refers to the demographic problem – but also makes references to two other problems I was not aware of:

=====================================================

UPDATE

Based on comments, and as a balance to the above there’s also this book mentioned in the latter video, China: The bubble that never pops.

The Chinese economy appears destined for failure, the financial bubble forever in peril of popping, the real estate sector doomed to collapse, the factories fated for bankruptcy.

Banks drowning in bad loans. An urban landscape littered with ghost towns of empty property. Industrial zones stalked by zombie firms. Trade tariffs blocking the path to global markets.

And yet, against the odds and against expectations, growth continues, wealth rises, international influence expands. The coming collapse of China is always coming, never arriving.

There’s also an interview with him on this subject:

Written by Tom Hunter

April 21, 2022 at 6:39 pm

Death, taxes… and inflation

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Tomorrow will see the release of the latest inflation stats for New Zealand, and they are expected to be bad.

Inflation is not a new phenomena created by the Industrial Revolution, paper money, or digits in a computer, whether backed by a central bank or a decentralised cryptocurrencies. No, even back in ancient times money was being debased:

Evea our kinsman Gratidianus failed on one occasion to perform what would be a good man’s duty: in his praetorship the tribunes of the people summoned the college of praetors to council, in order to adopt by joint resolution a standard of value for our currency; for at that time the value of money was so fluctuating that no one could tell how much he was worth. 

That was the Roman statesman and philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero and he wasn’t writing an economic analysis but about some Roman magistrate taking credit for the work of others. Still it was an interesting, if vague and obscure, reference to possible financial problems in that Roman period (44 BC) and the frustrating thing was that there was not other evidence to support it.

Until now:

In part of an ongoing project, Butcher and colleagues analyzed the composition of the coins minted during these years. They used minimally invasive sampling techniques to prevent damaging the precious silver relics, bearing the heads of gods and Roman leaders, that were first introduced as currency in 211 BCE, valued at ten bronze assēs coins.

The researchers found before 90 BCE the denarius was composed of pure silver, but that dropped 10 percent only five years later.

“The denarius first dropped to under 95 percent fine, and then it fell again to 90 percent, with some coins as low as 86 percent, suggesting a severe currency crisis,” concludes University of Liverpool archeologist Matthew Ponting.

There were also other quantitative measures:

A massive increase in coin production also took place in 90 BCE, with 2,372 dies – the molds to make the coins – compared to 677 the previous year, and 841 the following.

You have to wonder what they’d have done with computers!

Still, it comforts me somehow to know that Grant Robertson is following in the footsteps of the Romans. Perhaps he should wear a toga during his press interviews tomorrow. Sadly we cannot expect anything from him as dramatic and effective as the solutions obtained from Gratidianus.

“It is all the more noteworthy that around the time Gratidianus published his edict, the standard of fineness rose sharply, reversing the debasement and restoring the denarius to a high-quality currency.”

Written by Tom Hunter

April 20, 2022 at 7:35 pm

The MSM through the ages

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Well the 20th and 21st centuries anyway.

As usual our former National Defense Minister has proven to be a goldmine for … interesting comments… in this case about the MSM coverage of the current nastiness in Ukraine:

However, BBC (I know, part of the dreaded and corrupt MSM) has been able to find satellite photos that show the bodies have been lying in the streets for at least 10 days. BBC, NYT, CNN have huge numbers of staff able to undertake this sort of research, they have teams of journalists, not just one or two, on the ground. And unlike some on this site, I don’t think the journalists employed by these outlets are corrupt and venal dupe

And later…

I know some commenters here view TV1 as simply the propaganda arm of Labour, but I am not one of them.
.

Okay. While I’ve long thought that Putin was an un-reformed KBG thug (and have argued with the likes of Andrei on this point across multiple platforms over the last decade), and while I think his invasion of Ukraine is total bullshit… (throat clearing done)…. Andrei is not entirely wrong about what goes into the MSM coverage of the conflict.

Which is to say that while they’re more than happy to diss Russian propaganda, they’re a lot less likely to do this with Ukrainian propaganda.

Here’s Ye Olde Leftie Chris Trotter – a self-confessed “Tankie” , who pretty much sides with Russia and China whenever they’re against the West and especially the Great Satan, but to his credit has said that Putin has committed a crime in launching the invasion – unloading on the MSM coverage of the war here and here. But it was that last from which I’ll pull a quote:

What you are watching is a carefully constructed narrative which, in its essentials, does not change from broadcast to broadcast. We are supplied with a cast of heroes and villains to cheer on and condemn. An occasional nod in the direction of fairness and balance may be inserted, but any serious challenge to the dominant narrative will be contradicted more or less immediately. Nothing is permitted to blunt the emotional impact of the coverage. The journalism to which we are nightly subjected is not intended to supply information, it is intended to be affective – that is to say it is aimed almost exclusively at arousing our feelings.

I’ve already responded to this, pointing out the parallels that could be made to the NZ MSM’s coverage of the whole Chinese Lung Rot story for two years now – with his full approval of all the things he condemns in that paragraph. But since Chris has a habit of dumping my comments with no explanation I’ll put this here.

This is nothing new. The Narrative is what’s been taught to journalism students for decades now: the idea that even before starting to write an article, a story must be created, a narrative the reader will receive, after which anything that goes against The Narrative – facts, witness testimony, anything – gets dumped, while the same things that support The Narrative are included.

But it’s even older than that. Here’s Tom Wolfe in The Right Stuff in 1979, writing about the US MSM coverage of NASA’s Mercury astronauts:

It was as if the press in America, for all its vaunted independence, were a great colonial animal, an animal made up of countless clustered organisms responding to a single nervous system. In the late 1950’s (as in the late 1970’s) the animal seemed determined that in all matters of national importance the proper emotion, the seemly sentiment, the fitting moral tone should be established and should prevail; and all information that muddied the tone and weakened the feeling should simply be thrown down the memory hole.

In a later period this impulse of the animal would take the form of blazing indignation about corruption, abuses of power, and even minor ethical lapses, among public officials; here, in April of 1959, it took the form of a blazing patriotic passion for the seven test pilots who had volunteered to go into space.

In either case, the animal’s fundamental concern remained the same: the public, the populace, the citizenry, must be provided with the correct feelings! One might regard this animal as the consummate hypocritical Victorian gent. Sentiments that one scarcely gives a second thought to in one’s private utterances are nevertheless insisted upon in all public utterances. (And this grave gent lives on in excellent health).

They/Them certainly does, and in fact the training of The Narrative in journalism schools plus Post-Modernism, PC, Identity Politics, and Woke has pushed the singularity collapse further and faster. “White male power structures”, “objectivity is bullshit”, “advocacy journalism” and so forth. Insert those viruses into the Gent and we certainly have something from the Victorian era – Mr Hyde.

Later in the same chapter Wolfe gave a specific example of how this narrative control worked in a situation when facts confronted the proper emotion, in this case when one of the greatest American test pilots (and a rocket pilot), Chuck Yeager, casually screwed the MSM’s message:

As a matter of fact, today, in Phoenix, what was it the local reporters wanted to ask Chuck Yeager about? Correct: the astronauts. One of them got the bright idea of asking Yeager if he had any regrets about not being selected as an astronaut.

Yeager smiled and said: ‘No, they gave me the opportunity of a lifetime, to fly the X-1 and the X-1A, and that’s more than a man could ask for right there. They gave this new opportunity to some new fellows coming along, and that’s what they ought to do.’ ‘Besides,’ he added, ‘I’ve been a pilot all my life, and there won’t be any flying to do in Project Mercury.’

No flying?

That was all it took. The reporters looked stunned. In some way that they couldn’t comprehend immediately, Yeager was casting doubt on two indisputable facts: one, that the seven Mercury astronauts were chosen because they were the seven finest pilots in America, and two, that they would be pilots on the most daring flights in American history.

The thing was, he said, the Mercury system was completely automated. Once they put you in the capsule, that was the last you got to say about the subject.

Whuh! –

‘Well,’ said Yeager, ‘a monkey’s gonna make the first flight.’

A monkey?-

The reporters were shocked. It happened to be true that the plans called for sending up chimpanzees in both suborbital and orbital flights, identical to the flights the astronauts would make, before risking the men. But to just say it like that!…….Was this national heresy? What the hell was it?

Fortunately for Yeager, the story didn’t blow up into anything. The press, the eternal Victorian Gent, just couldn’t deal with what he had said. The wire services wouldn’t touch the remark. It ran in one of the local newspapers, and that was that.

And so it ever has been.


Written by Tom Hunter

April 8, 2022 at 6:30 am