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9/11 and our conspiracy theory culture

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As the hours tick down to the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks – which for NZ occurred in the early hours of September 12, 2001 – there is a lot of interesting commentary about the subject.

An unusual one was recently published in the City Journal magazine, Conspiracies All the Way Down. It’s quite long but very much worth the time to read.

It’s written by James B. Meigs, who, when he was the editor of Popular Mechanics in the early 2000’s, got a story put together that examined most of the claims then floating around with the “9/11 Truth Movement”.

I hadn’t intended to join the Globalist/Bush–Cheney/Zionist/CIA cabal for world domination. And I certainly didn’t mean to become a leading figure in the conspiracy to cover up the truth about 9/11. According to my critics, though, I was all that and more.

While this article briefly revisits some of those claims, Meigs writes more about his particular history in dealing with them and in particular what has transpired since then in the world of conspiracy theories, and more importantly in our general culture that seems to have enabled them more than ever.

On the far right, Capitol-storming QAnon followers imagine vast, deep-state conspiracies involving pedophiles and pizza parlors.

Today, the Woke Left routinely portrays American institutions as engines of cleverly concealed oppression. Racism, sexism, and the like are not just biases to be overcome but fundamental organizing principles of American society.

I would bet that many on the Left would absolutely not agree that the latter assertions are a conspiracy theory, and Meigs tries to cover his ass by saying that “The Left’s conspiracy theories aren’t as obviously bonkers…”, which I don’t think will save him.

He points out that while there have always been conspiracy theories – the famous move Amadeus was crafted from a centuries old one about Mozart’s death – the 9/11 Truther movement has built something more permanent.

I now believe the 9/11 Truthers I encountered were canaries in the coal mines of American society. They were an early warning sign of a style of thinking that has only grown more common in the years since 9/11: alienated, enraged, and not just irrational, but anti-rational.

But the grassroots popularity of 9/11 conspiracy theories—and the surprising tolerance for such ideas in elite media and political circles—helped bring paranoia into the modern mainstream. I watched it happen.

He writes of the methods used to attack his old magazine’s article:

Dedicated conspiracists use a whole suite of techniques to dismiss inconvenient facts. They vilify opponents with ad hominem attacks. While refusing to engage with legitimate evidence, they zero in on a handful of anomalies they think undermine the mainstream narrative. For example, a single eyewitness’s mistaken impression becomes definitive proof against the weight of hundreds of other eyewitness accounts. Michael Shermer, then a columnist at Scientific American, called this approach “argument by anomaly” and noted that creationists and Holocaust deniers employ the same sort of selection bias. Of course, Popular Mechanics’ reporting showed that even the supposed anomalies relied on falsehoods. But that gave the Truthers little pause. If a claim became too troublesome, they would simply abandon it and move on to new, even flimsier assertions.

He also makes clear why all this seemed more solid than ones in the past:

First, it’s important to remember that 9/11 conspiracy theories were mostly embraced on the far left at that point. George W. Bush was in the White House, and antiwar sentiment was strong. Few liberal leaders and media figures actively promoted the theories, but few also saw them as a problem worth criticizing. (David Corn, then a columnist at The Nation, was a notable—and noble—exception.)

The unspoken assumption seemed to be that there wasn’t much harm in a few hotheads calling Bush a terrorist puppet master. In fact, if it convinced a few more people to hate Republicans, it might even be a good thing.

So, with a few exceptions, the media mostly gave the 9/11 Truthers a pass. That was one factor helping this minor cult become a mass movement. 

Damned right, and such attitudes led he and Popular Mechanics to be questioned as to whether they had a political agenda and were trying to help the hated Bush Administration. Those questions often came from the MSM.

This was the moment I realized journalism was changing. The evenhanded search for truth—rarely achieved in practice—was fading even as a journalistic aspiration. Now every set of facts must serve a political purpose. If it wasn’t helpful to the Left, it must be helpful to the Right. Where journalists once obsessed over the accuracy of facts, now they worried more about their utility. If some piece of information helps the wrong sorts of people, perhaps it’s best left unpublished.

He specifically makes the point about where that has led the MSM with more recent events:

Last year, we saw this logic carried to a new extreme, when virtually all major media outlets refused to cover the revelations contained in Hunter Biden’s laptop, or to explore evidence that Covid-19 might have escaped from a Wuhan, China lab.

However, Meigs fails to make the point that in both cases the suppression of these news stories, with a judicious combination of the MSM and US government “sources”, actually looks like a conspiracy theory itself, although I put it down more to the actions of a hive-mind.

The then newish Internet world of blogs and video also helped push the 9/11 Truthers along to a far greater degree than was possible even a decade earlier. I’m reminded of the crude VHS videotapes that circulated in 1990’s America detailing the dastardly plots of the Clintons, like landing drug-smuggling planes in Arkansas. Such means are not a patch on the Internet.

The technology allowed a crude but effective movie called Loose Change to be made by amateurs, and that was when the Left really took flight with the theory:

Even before Loose Change, a few prominent Democrats had begun catering to the Truther cohort. Howard Dean flirted with conspiracy claims during his 2004 presidential campaign. Van Jones had to resign as an Obama advisor when word got out that he had earlier signed a 9/11 conspiracy petition. In the House of Representatives, Georgia’s Cynthia McKinney invited conspiracy theorists, including David Ray Griffin, to address the Congressional Black Caucus. But Loose Change opened the floodgates.

Plus Hollywood’s Lefties. The Left’s involvement in this should not be forgotten in the age of sneering remarks about the Right and QAnon, although Meigs notes the paradox that some of the 9/11 theories orginally came from Ultra Right-Wing sources, which again leads to the situation today:

The leftists who amplified these Truther narratives probably believed they were undermining the hated Bush administration. But they were also nudging their followers along a path toward the worst sort of neo-fascist propaganda. Those who went all the way down the rabbit hole—as millions of Americans did—wound up in an ideological jungle where far-left and far-right politics become almost indistinguishable.

It is a place where the U.S. democratic system is a cynical sham; where true power is held by a merciless, secretive cabal; and where Israel is the world’s eternal villain. So while progressives either ignored it or cheered it on, the Truther movement was evolving into a kind of gateway drug for paranoid extremism.

Including the MSM before Covid-19 and Hunter Biden:

At the same time, the media became so obsessed with protecting the public from Trump’s falsehoods that it lowered its own standards of veracity. Mainstream media routinely misrepresented Trump statements, such as his “fine people on both sides” comment regarding the 2017 protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. Meantime, they eagerly repeated some of the wildest anti-Trump allegations, especially ones involving Russia. Step by step, the press surrendered any claim to being an honest broker in factual debates.

Which in turn means that political leaders cannot be held to account by the MSM:

Trump took political demagoguery to new extremes, but he certainly didn’t invent it. Asking followers to accept wild, unsupported assertions can be politically useful. And politicians no longer pay much of a price for going overboard.

Campaigning as Obama’s vice presidential nominee in 2008, Biden told a largely black audience that Republicans were “going to put you all back in chains.” Hillary Clinton and other Democrats endlessly asserted that Trump’s 2016 election victory was “illegitimate.” Their followers listened.

Even four years later, 62 percent of Democrats told pollsters they believe the 2016 election was fraudulent. That number is a mirror image of the 61 percent of Republicans who think the 2020 election was rigged.

You hear a lot about the latter but not much about the former, which included Nancy Pelosi. And some of the people playing this game are on the Right, casting themselves as “sensible, moderate, fair and balanced” voices who try to act as gatekeepers for the Right while failing to notice or perhaps deliberately ignoring the fact that their supposedly moderate counterparts on the Left – like Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton – don’t bother even trying to do the same on their side of the political and ideological fence.

While Meigs casts his eyes on the January 6 Capitol rioters, the Antifa / BLM stuff does not escape notice:

In those BLM protests that veered into destruction, it was not inner-city youths but committed political radicals instigating the most determined violence. During anti-police riots in Brooklyn in May 2020, two young lawyers were arrested after tossing a Molotov cocktail into an empty police van. NPR described them as “idealistic attorneys hoping to change the world.”

Perhaps. But, like the Capitol rioters, they seemed wedded to the view that the American system is too far gone for peaceful reform. One of the pair, Urooj Rahman, gave an impassioned video interview minutes before launching her firebomb attack. “The only way they hear us is through violence,” she said. “This shit won’t ever stop unless we fuckin’ take it all down.”

Meigs wraps this with a warning.

For now, only the most extreme activists on the right or left seek to participate in such violence. But the share of people who think political violence might be appropriate is growing. In a poll conducted prior to the 2020 election, 44 percent of Republicans and 41 percent of Democrats said that there would be “at least ‘a little’ justification for violence if the other party’s nominee won the election.”

Written by Tom Hunter

September 11, 2021 at 6:21 pm

Posted in History, MSM, Reading, Movie, Music Reviews, USA

Tagged with

Jobs for the boys

That satirical movie poster was from 2014 when Obama traded five Taliban terrorists locked up in Guantanamo for a US soldier who had deserted from his unit, then did a hideous press conference where it became obvious where Private Bergdahl’s “patriotism” had come from. His father was invited by Obama and in addition to looking and sounding like he had decided to join the Taliban himself, he used the opportunity to shit all over the US.

It’s interesting to walk down this particular memory lane and realise that despite being much smarter and not senile, Obama and his team had more than a few cluster fucks of their own that seem little different from those that Biden is having. Obama’s clowns never shifted off their backsides to look into the details of Bergdahl, his capture, his dingbat father or much else before they decided to go for the dog and pony show at the Whitehouse seven years ago.

The full details of the men released can be found here. The following is my quick synopsis of three of them:

Mullah Mohammad Fazl (Taliban army chief of staff): Fazl is wanted by the UN for possible war crimes including the murder of thousands of Shiites in 1998.

Mullah Norullah Noori (senior Taliban military commander): Like Fazl, Noori is wanted by the United Nations for possible war crimes including the murder of thousands of Shiite Muslims.

Abdul Haq Wasiq (Taliban deputy minister of intelligence): Wasiq arranged for al Qaeda members to provide crucial intelligence training prior to 9/11. The training was headed by Hamza Zubayr, an al Qaeda instructor who was killed during the same September 2002 raid that netted Ramzi Binalshibh, the point man for the 9/11 operation.

Under the traditional rules of war all five of them should have been shot at dawn on the Afghan battlefields, but I guess this way some future US President might at least drone their ass at some point in time.

Alternatively they could have been processed through a military tribunal but for Obama’s delusional desire to put them through US civil courts. Yet another failure of competence as his own party rose up against him when he tried to bring Khalid Shaikh Mohammed to New York.

Well guess what sports fans? They’re back in power. As in real power. As in being part of the Cabinet of the new Taliban government of Afghanistan.

  • Mullah Norullah Nori (Acting Minister of Borders and Tribal Affairs)
  • Mohammed Fazl (Defense Deputy Minister)
  • Khairullah Khairkhwa (Acting Minister of Information and Culture)
  • Abdul Haq Wasiq (Acting Director of Intelligence)

So the last guy got his old job back. Pretty typical of a politician who knows where all the bodies are buried.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 9, 2021 at 1:00 pm

September the 3rd, 1939

The day the greatest slaughter in history began for New Zealand and Australia.

September[edit]

The Allies and Axis powers at the dawn of the German/Soviet invasion of Poland1:

The Republic of China and the Empire of Japan are involved in the early stages of the third year of armed conflict between them during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The war is in what will be known as the “Second Period”, which starts after the fall of Wuhan in October 1938 and ends in December 1941 with Pearl Harbor. This conflict will eventually be swept up into World War II when Japan joins the Axis and China joins the Allies.[1]1:

The invasion of Poland by Germany starts at 4:45 a.m. when the KriegsmarinebattleshipSchleswig-Holstein opens fire on the Polish military transit depot at Westerplatte in the Free City of Danzig on the Baltic Sea, but the attack is repulsed.[2] At the same time the Luftwaffeattacks several targets in Poland, among them Wieluń, the first town in the war to be carpet bombed by the Germans.[3] Shortly before 6:00 a.m., the German Army passes the Polish border in great numbers from north and south, together with Slovak units.[4][5] In the same day, the Free City of Danzig is annexed by Germany.[6] Resisters entrenched in the city’s Polish Post Office are overwhelmed.[2]1:

The Italian government announces that it will maintain a condition of “non-belligerence” in the conflict.

[7]1: NorwaySwedenDenmarkFinlandLatvia and Estonia as well as Romania immediately declare their neutrality.[8]

[9]1: The House of Commons of the United Kingdom passes an emergency military budget.[10]1:

The BritishWar SecretaryLeslie Hore-Belisha orders the War Office to begin the general mobilization of the British Armed Forces.[11]1: 

In a mass evacuation effort (code named “operation Pied Piper”) the British authorities relocate 1,473,000 children and adults from the cities to the countryside. The adults involved were teachers, people with disabilities and their helpers, mothers with preschool children.[12]1:

Acting on account of their governments, the ambassadors of France and Britain demand the German government to cease all hostile activities and to withdraw its troops from Poland.[6]1:

The President of the United StatesFranklin Delano Roosevelt sends an appeal to all European powers involved in the crisis asking them to abstain from bombing civilian and unfortified cities. Germany’s FührerAdolf Hitler, answers immediately assuring the Americanchargé d’affairesAlexander C. Kirk that the Luftwaffe will only attack military targets. The British Prime MinisterNeville Chamberlain also promises to abide to the request, as does Poland’s ambassador to the US Jerzy Antoni Potocki.[13]2:

Right after Britain, the French Parliament also approves an emergency war budget.[14]2:

The British and French governments agree on issuing an ultimatum to Germany the following day.[15]2:

The Swiss government orders a general mobilization of its forces.2:

The Irish State’s Dáil Éireann approves a state of emergency, paving the way to legislation that vastly enhances the government‘s powers.[16]2:

The French Army begins its general mobilization.[17]3:

At 9:00 a.m. the British ambassador to Berlin Nevile Henderson is instructed by the Cabinet to deliver an ultimatum to Germany which expired without answer at 11:00 a.m.[18] As a result at 11:15 a.m. British Standard Time (BST) the Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announces that Britain is at war with Germany.[19]3:

The National Service (Armed Forces) Act 1939 is approved and enforces full conscription in the British Armed Forces on all able-bodied males between 18 and 41 resident in the UK.[20][21]3:

In Britain, Chamberlain forms a new war ministry with a smaller and more powerful war cabinet within composed of nine ministers (Chamberlain, Sir Samuel HoareSir John SimonLord HalifaxLeslie Hore-Belisha, Sir Kingsley WoodLord ChatfieldLord Hankey and Winston Churchill).[22] During its first meeting, the cabinet appoints general Sir Edmund Ironside as head of the Chief of the Imperial General Staff and general Viscount Gort head of the British Expeditionary Force.[23]3:

The British Viceroy of IndiaLord Linlithgow also declares war on Germany without consulting Indian nationalists.[24]3:

The Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies declares that the country is at war with Germany due to Britain’s choice, and a similar war declaration against Germany is made by New Zealand‘s government.[25]3:

At 12:00 p.m. the French Government delivers a similar final ultimatum to Germany which at 5:00 p.m. also expires unanswered, thus bringing France in the war.[26]3:

Within hours of the British declaration of War, SS Athenia, a British cruise ship en route from Glasgow, UK, to MontrealCanadais torpedoed by the German submarineU-30 250 miles (400 km) Northwest of Ireland. 112 passengers and crew members are killed. The “Battle of the Atlantic” starts.[2

Written by adolffinkensen

September 3, 2021 at 12:59 pm

Posted in History

Tagged with

“An idea is like a virus,

…resilient, highly contagious and the smallest seed of an idea can grow. It can grow to define or destroy you”.

Ideas like lockdowns of entire national populations for example, even – or should I say especially – in Western democracies, having spread from the dominant global superpower, China.

Most Western democracies in fact, since “democracy” is increasingly something to chuckle about, especially at election time, rather like the term “post-Covid-19 world”.

Widely vaccinated Britain recorded 26,852 new cases on Tuesday. For New Zealand to experience a similar infection rate, it would need to record around 1,900 cases per day.”

The NZ government, the local MSM, and probably much of the population, would have heart attacks if we had 1900 cases per day. Mind you, that would remove the source of the virus – the idea virus that is.

Future Communist leaders will surely see that claiming a Public Health Emergency is much the most effective way of screwing over every other law of the land, mainly because it’s far superior to trying to do so via cultivating envy of your neighbour’s property or demonising capitalist counter-revolutionaries. With Public Health Emergencies you can actually enlist much of the population to be help as your willing executioners.

The sense of power and control over others is overwhelming, especially when added to self-righteousness. In the case of the talking-to-your-neighbours-will-kill-granny idea, that spread faster than the Delta virus from Australia to New Zealand. It had barely emerged from the mouth of the NSW Chief health wallah than it dropped out of the mouth of the New Zealand Prime Minister.

An idea is like a virus…

So to Australia, where it seems the natives are getting a bit restless, being locked up in their homes and all.

At least they were using pepper spray against adults this time, rather than 12-year old kids.

Beria would certainly have appreciated the following, although he may have thought the uniforms a bit too clunky.

You’d think you were watching a scene from some Middle Eastern dictatorship, but no, that’s Australia.

“Beachgoers sneaking out during Sydney’s Covid lockdown to soak up some winter sun have been sensationally lambasted by a hovering police helicopter,” The Daily Mail wrote. “Footage uploaded to TikTok shows officers in a chopper demanding sunbathers pack up and leave Gordon’s Bay … or be hit with fines for breaking stay-at-home orders.”

Remember: grandma could die if you step outside your homes and talk to your neighbours.

How about Germany?

Apparently Germany is going to introduce vaccine passports. Mind you they’ve got form on this sort of thing. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff Helge Braun stated that unvaccinated people, even if they test negative for Covid, would not be allowed to go to venues like restaurants, cinemas, or stadiums, because “the risk to everyone else is too high.”

I’m sure there are other anti-vaccination arguments that could be put forward, but announcements like that are probably the most effective of all.

France:

Some 3,000 security forces have been deployed around Paris in anticipation of more protests against the “health pass”, which will be required soon to enter restaurants and other places. The system — likened to vaccine passports — goes into effect on Aug. 9.

A teacher protesting in Paris told The Guardian that the health pass policy is creating segregation in France: “We’re creating a segregated society, and I think it is unbelievable to be doing this in the country of human rights. So I took to the streets; I have never protested before in my life … I think our freedom is in danger.”

I think you’re a bit late sweetie.

Italy:

… thousands of anti-vaccine-pass demonstrators marched in cities, including Rome, Milan, and Naples. Milan demonstrators stopped outside of the city’s courthouse chanting “Truth!” “Shame!” and “Liberty!” In Rome, they marched behind a banner reading “Resistance.”

Italian authorities have also approved the implementation of a health pass to enter bars, restaurants, and other venues. Critics of the measure argue that it’s draconian and infringes on basic personal liberties.

What’s the point of civil liberties and “freedum” if you’re dead: that’s the argument right?

English writer Mervyn Peake said “To live at all is miracle enough.” It’s a good line and I’ve quoted it for years, but but now I see merely to live at all is not enough, not nearly.

A caged bird is alive but without the freedom to fly the Limitless sky, it is denied everything that makes a bird in the first place. To be alive is not enough. What matters is to live in freedom. A bird is such a fragile creature. It’s really all and only about movement. Take away a bird’s movement and it’s a handful of feathers and air.

Meh, history eh?

I assume it’s not the same helicopter!

Still, those Chinook’s must be a good design as I see they first flew in 1961. They’re getting into B-52 legendary status.

It’s not just Biden either…

Written by Tom Hunter

August 16, 2021 at 9:09 am

Posted in History, Military, USA

Tagged with ,

Afghanistan: “Who goes? And who gets left behind?”

I vividly recall the fall of Saigon in 1975 as the ARVN collapsed and the North Vietnamese swept into South Vietnam in a perfectly conventional military attack, complete with tanks, a far cry from two decades of guerilla warfare.

It was the first “current affairs news” that I ever took notice of. But then the images were unforgettable: ARVN pilots escaping with their families using any helicopter they could get their hands on, landing on any US warship with deck space; American sailors pushing the machines over the side to make room for more; other choppers landing in the sea.

The best documentary of this event is the 2014 PBS special, Last Days in Vietnam. A terrifying, heartbreaking, gripping movie that you will not regret watching. The title of this post is a quote from one of the Americans involved in that evacuation.

I don’t think we’re going to see anything quite like that from Afghanistan. The cartoon above is actually from 2009, when hopes were high that newly elected President Barack Obama would withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan since, after all, eight years was surely enough.

A decade later hopes were also high that President Trump would withdraw from that benighted tribal land, but like Bush and Obama, he allowed himself to be convinced by the State Department and the Pentagon that the USA needed to stay a while longer, lest the Afghanistan Army and government collapsed.

If they were likely to collapse after almost two decades of American training and about $1 trillion of invested effort and resources, then what difference was another four years going to make? Even a decade ago these sorts of arguments had begun to have uncanny similarities to South Vietnam circa 1973-75.

There was also a nasty little pressure campaign launched by insiders in the Intelligence and Military, to the effect that dreaded Russians were paying bounties to the Taliban to kill US troops. It was total shite and obviously so from the start, given that the Taliban were only too happy to do that job for free. But it was designed to mesh perfectly with the Trump-Russia delusion; if Trump pulled out from Afghanistan it could only be because he was doing what the Russians wanted. How much that campaign played in Trump’s decision to respect the Pentagon’s wishes is not known.

Finally, earlier this year President Biden directed the US to leave, they have almost completely done so, and the Vietnam scenario that so many foresaw has begun. You’re going to soon see – probably in less than a month – similar cartoons to the one above, judging by these sorts of news headlines:

Afghan president appeals for help as Taliban close in on capital

US Embassy in Kabul directs staff to destroy sensitive documents as many diplomats prepare for evacuation

To get a picture of the acceleration of this destruction I present you with the Washington Post’s exposition of the predictions from the Best and The Brightest on August 11:

The Biden administration is preparing for Afghanistan’s capital to fall far sooner than feared only weeks ago, as a rapid disintegration of security has prompted the revision of an already stark intelligence assessment predicting Kabul could be overrunwithin six to 12 months of the U.S. military departing, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

By August 13 there’d been an update:

A new U.S. intelligence assessment has indicated Kabul could be overrun within 30 to 90 days.

Now:

It’s stuff like this that causes me to have some sympathy for President Biden when he said this weeks ago:

“The likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.”

Biden is as stupid a President as the US has ever had; bag of rocks dumb even before he grew senile, which is why he allowed himself to mouth that advice given to him by the same agencies that failed to predict the fall of the Shah of Iran, the collapse of the Eastern European Communist Bloc, and the 9/11 attacks.

By contrast many ordinary people, across the ideological and political spectrum around the world, without access to the “intelligence” and lacking PhD’s in Foreign Policy, have predicted this collapse for years now.

As such we should not let those “experts” off the hook and yet we have. Almost two years ago the Washington Post, – for once doing some real investigative journalism – and in yet another eerie echo of Vietnam, published The Afghanistan Papers, which detailed the failures of the US in that country and the lies that had been told to President’s Bush, Obama and Trump about the progress being made in Afghanistan and that the war was still worth fighting.

The papers were based on a series of massive internal investigations done by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), created in 2008 to investigate waste and fraud in the war zone. But the agency ended up going much further than that with a project called “Lessons Learned” that ran through 2015:

The Lessons Learned staff interviewed more than 600 people with firsthand experience in the war. Most were Americans, but SIGAR analysts also traveled to London, Brussels and Berlin to interview NATO allies. In addition, they interviewed about 20 Afghan officials, discussing reconstruction and development programs.

The reports were packed with bureaucratic language, but it was the interviews, with 90% of the people promised anonymity, that hit hard. Only a few were prepared to go on the record. Here are just two:

“We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan — we didn’t know what we were doing,” Douglas Lute, a three-star Army general who served as the White House’s Afghan war czar during the Bush and Obama administrations, told government interviewers in 2015. He added: “What are we trying to do here? We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.”

“If the American people knew the magnitude of this dysfunction . . . 2,400 lives lost,” Lute added, blaming the deaths of U.S. military personnel on bureaucratic breakdowns among Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department. “Who will say this was in vain?”

“Every data point was altered to present the best picture possible,” Bob Crowley, an Army colonel who served as a senior counterinsurgency adviser to U.S. military commanders in 2013 and 2014, told government interviewers. “Surveys, for instance, were totally unreliable but reinforced thateverything we were doing was right and we became a self-licking ice cream cone.”

Is it any wonder that the WaPo had to spend three years, including two lawsuits filed against SIGAR, to get access to such information:

Since 2001, the Defense Department, State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development have spent or appropriated between $934 billion and $978 billion, according to an inflation-adjusted estimate calculated by Neta Crawford, a political science professor and co-director of the Costs of War Project at Brown University. Those figures do not include money spent by other agencies such as the CIA and the Department of Veterans Affairs, which is responsible for medical care for wounded veterans.

Yet the radioactive fallout from these reports inside the Pentagon, State Department, CIA and other US Federal government institutions dealing with Afghanistan, has been non-existent.

That should not be a surprise given that the information fell upon the deaf ears of the American public, who apparently didn’t give a shit.

Certainly there was, and remains, an element of wishful thinking from those who listened to such lies, as president Bush demonstrated just the other day with these comments.

“It’s unbelievable how that society changed from the brutality of the Taliban, and all of a sudden — sadly — I’m afraid Afghan women and girls are going to suffer unspeakable harm. I’m sad. Laura and I spent a lot of time with Afghan women, and they’re scared. And I think about all the interpreters and people that helped not only U.S. troops but NATO troops, and it seems like they’re just going to be left behind to be slaughtered by these very brutal people. And it breaks my heart.”

My feelings on Bush are summed up by a couple of comments:

I don’t care how George Bush feels about Afghan girls. Did any members of the Bush family die or suffer catastrophic injury to protect those girls. How many U.S. men and women was he willing to sacrifice so that he didn’t feel bad about the plight of Afghan girls?”

“Bush can spare us all the sob stories. He had eight years to establish the conditions for success in Afghanistan, and he didn’t….for eight years he let the CIA and State Department continually screw up and fail in their missions without any consequences, beginning with 9/11. 

Let me make it quite clear that I supported the initial invasion of Afghanistan in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. In fact I saw no choice but to take out the Al Qaeda base camps, and if that meant the Taliban government fell then too bad.

That was done in a matter of months, but when I began to read stories about the likes of Bush and “Pottery Barn” Powell (“You break it. You buy it”) talking about setting up a democratic government there and building a “civil society” I absolutely disagreed.

Afghanistan is and always has been less a nation than a place of warring tribes. The idea of turning it into even an approximation of a civil society, even by the low standard of various Gulf States, seemed crazy to me. Were these people not aware of the history of Britain in two 19th century wars there, plus the USSR in the 1980’s? Here’s Churchill writing in his first book, The Story of the Malakand Field Force, of the different policy options for Britain in the 1890’s:

The “Full steam ahead” method would be undoubtedly the most desirable.  This is the military view.  Mobilise, it is urged, a nice field force, and operate at leisure in the frontier valleys, until they are as safe a Hyde Park.  Nor need this course necessarily involve the extermination of the inhabitants.  Military rule is the best rule suited to the character and comprehension of the tribesmen.  They will soon recognize the futility of resistance, and will gradually welcome the increase of wealth and comfort that will follow a stable government.

Only one real objection has been advanced against this plan. But it is a crushing one, and it constitutes the most serious argument against the whole “Forward Policy.”  It is this: we have neither the troops nor the money to carry it out.

If they had not read Churchill – and I recall that he was all the rage with the Bush Whitehouse – surely they had read Kipling’s war poetry:

When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
and the women come out to cut up what remains,
jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
and go to your gawd like a soldier.

The likes of Bush claimed that they were aware of such history. Not just Bush but Obama-loving voices like David Brooks in the NYT, writing of spreading progressive values, because:

“at their core the liberal powers radiate a set of vital ideals — not just democracy and capitalism, but also feminism, multiculturalism, human rights, egalitarianism, L.G.B.T.Q. rights and the dream of racial justice.”

FFS!. Insane. Quite utterly insane, and now here is the result of that insanity staring us in the face.

Having said that, and even holding Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump responsible for what they failed to do in Afghanistan, there’s no question that Biden has fucked this up badly.

For a start, he announced the order to withdraw in Spring – right at the start of the annual fighting season, when the Taliban are always gearing up to fight. Had he waited until Winter the Afghanistan government and military would have had six months to prepare to fight on their own.

In other “Lessons Not Learned”, according to the Wall Street Journal article:

“… about 5,000 civilians and military personnel are based at the embassy and Hamid Karzai International Airport.”

What the hell are 5,000 people still doing at the American embassy and airport offices? Can they be extracted? Apparently Biden has sent some 5000 US Marines and soldiers back in for that reason. Will they be able to extract the even greater numbers of Afghanis who helped the USA for years? There are more than 18,000 of them still in the country. They could have, and should have, been evacuated starting back in May. How hard can that be: you land planes, put people in them, and fly them out?

Finally, Biden has been reduced to pitiful displays of “diplomacy” and “military actions”:

  • Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. diplomat who negotiated a withdrawal deal with the Taliban last year, is back in Doha, Qatar, desperately trying to cobble together some kind of face-saving agreement for the Afghan government that would allow them to leave the country aliveKhalilzad will press for “a reduction of violence and ceasefire and a commitment not to recognize a government imposed by force,” and will urge the “Taliban to stop their military offensive.”
  • American B-52H bombers are understood to be conducting an attack on the largest Afghan air force base in order to destroy the aircraft based there. They don’t want A-29B & AC-208B attack aircraft remain in hands of Taliban.”
  • Press Secretary Jen Psaki: “The Taliban also has to make an assessment about what they want their role to be in the international community.”
  • State Department spokesman Ned Price:  “If this violence continues, if the Taliban continues down this path, we are likely to see a prolonged, protracted period of violence, of instability, and that is not in anyone’s interest.”

FFS! Like the North Vietnamese in 1975, the Taliban’s only interest is in victory.

In this Biden is unified with the equally useless and pathetic creatures of NATO and the EU, who have threatened the Taliban with “isolation” if they seize power.

You have to laugh or you’d cry.

Over on the US Powerline blog, Paul Mirengoff, made the following statement:

“Great nations don’t betray entire populations or the sacrifices of their own servicemen.”

Oh yes they do, Paul. They have always done so, and you as a former Vietnam War protestor should know that better than most. All we can hope for now is something less than a bloodbath. The following woo is not encouraging.

Written by Tom Hunter

August 15, 2021 at 5:36 pm

Footloose

God, I love the Sony Walkman

Amongst GenX’rs the movie of this name from 1984 is semi-famous.

If you were into dancing then you loved it.

If you weren’t then, “meh”.

I was definitely in the latter category so avoided it like the plague at the time and since.

A couple of years ago my poor, beloved wife tried to get our kids to watch it.

Fail.

Part of my objection was that the basic plot was cliched even for its time. The story is that a “Big City Boy” – played by Kevin Bacon – moves to a small town in America that’s dominated by a Christian Preacher, played by John Lithgow, who bans dancing.

It’s very 80’s, especially in the way it plays so well to the hate against the Moral Majority and Jerry Falwell that existed on the Left and Hollywood at the time (and to this day).

There probably were some towns in USA history that did not like dancing (or booze), but they’d died a long time before the 1980’s – or even the 1950’s. But the movie was made by Boomers, so naturally they had to haul their obsessions with 1950’s American Conservatism into the 1980’s and pretend it was real.

This attitude is still here as the Boomers move closer to being beneath the earth, as shown by this comment about the Catholic Church from one such regular on Kiwiblog a few weeks ago. Still stuck in their upbringing of Fire and Brimstone speeches from the pulpit in the 1950’s/60’s they are utterly clueless as to how far the Catholic hierarchy has moved into the secular world of gay fucking plus – let alone the various Protestant faiths No wonder pedophiles headed for the seminaries after the great Counter-Culture revolution of the 1960’s.

A side-effect of this is that such people – secular atheists, and especially secular, Left-Wing, atheists – adamantly refuse to admit where their side of the fence is now moving.

“Gender-based policies, rules, and practices can have the effect of marginalizing, stigmatizing, and excluding students, regardless of their gender identity or gender expression,” it states, citing “practices that may be based on gender” such as “grouping students for class activities, gender-based homecoming or prom courts, limitations on who can attend as ‘couples’ at school dances, and gender-based events such as father-daughter dances.”

The practical effect will be that such dance evenings a schools will simply be canned, or more likely abandoned due to a lack of enthusiasm. Reverend Shaw Moore could only dream of such enforcement of his morality, but then that’s true of most of the Left’s Stasi-like enforcement nowadays vs. the fears conjured about the Moral Majority in the 1980’s.

These assholes are the Moral Majority, or at least they act like and obtain the results commensurate with power.

One side note is that this is just one of many movies that led to the game, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon:

players challenge each other to arbitrarily choose an actor and then connect them to another actor via a film that both actors have appeared in together, repeating this process to try and find the shortest path that ultimately leads to prolific American actor Kevin Bacon

Written by Tom Hunter

August 2, 2021 at 6:00 am

Posted in History, Humour, Ideologues, Religion, US Politics, USA

Tagged with

Tank Basement

A vivid memory I have from very early school years – around the age of 7 or 8 years – is that I told a total bullshit story to friends on the bus that my Dad had a basement at our house containing a WWII tank.

Naturally the older kids, wise and experienced in the ways of the world at ages 11-12, subjected my claims to harsh and detailed scrutiny. I completely ignored them since I didn’t have to share their classrooms.

Then there’s this Dad, German lawyers wrangle over pensioner’s WW2 tank in basement:

Lawyers in Germany are wrangling over how to deal with a pensioner who stored a World War Two tank, anti-aircraft gun and torpedo in his basement.

The items were removed from a house in the northern town of Heikendorf in 2015 with the help of the army.

The defendant, aged 84, must also find new homes for the monumental items.

Hey! That unmarked, pristine Panther tank not only has no fuel, no ammunition, it has no tracks. What possible threat could it be?

Prosecutors and defence lawyers are now negotiating possible penalties, including a suspended sentence and a fine of up to €500,000 (£427,000).

Oh FFS. This is as bad as all those US DOJ and Democrat Party morons who’ve spent six months screaming about “INSURRECTION” and “SEDITION” at the January 6, 2021 “invasion” of the Great US Citadel Of Freedom – followed by convictions for trespassing and “obstructing an official proceeding”.

Wankers.

At the age of 84 you have to wonder if he must be sitting in a German courtroom now thinking to himself that he should have just got the tracks fitted, the engine fueled up, fully armed up with 75mm HE shells for the main gun, plus a few thousand rounds for the 7.92mm machine guns in the hull and turret – and then roared out of the basement to let rip on the quiet streets of Heikendorf.

Written by Tom Hunter

August 1, 2021 at 8:00 am

Posted in Europe, History, Humour

Tagged with

The Triumph of Trunalimunumaprzure

Back in 1896 Republican William McKinley’s presidential campaign team ran an interesting strategy that came to be known as The Front Porch Campaign. It turned out to be the bridge between old-fashioned Presidential campaigns where the candidates stayed out of sight and let others do all the work, and the modern system where candidates are front-and-centre all the time, racing around the key swing states needed to win.

The 1896 campaign was the perfect contrast of those two styles. Instead of going to the voters McKinley’s campaign brought the voters to him. Over a period of months, something like 750,000 people came in organised delegations by train to the town where McKinley lived and then to his house, where they literally met him on his front porch, from where he made his speeches. His campaign manager, Hanna, made sure those speeches got into all the newspapers, thereby reaching tens of millions of Americans.

His Democrat opponent, William Bryan, was a great stump speaker and he decided to hit the trains, covering 18,000 miles around the USA making speeches. This was also unusual in the day but it set the standard for Presidential campaigns for the next one hundred twenty four years despite Bryan losing the election badly.

Some years ago, G W Bush’s key political advisor, Karl Rove, wrote a great book on the subject, The Triumph of William McKinley. If you want to see him talk about it, and the parallels of that time with the modern era of US politics, hit this C-SPAN link, Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters.

It was completely unexpected when the 2020 Democrats ran a similar campaign to McKinley’s for their Presidential candidate, Joe Biden. The key difference was that he didn’t meet crowds even at his home, relying on the modern electronic aids of TV and the Internet to reach people. But it was a smart strategy given the constraints of the Chinese Lung Rot pandemic and Biden’s own physical and mental frailties. Let Trump do the flying and the rallies and the speeches. The Democrats would protect their aging, frail candidate and rely on the MSM, Trump hatred and their machines in key states to deliver election victory, which they did.

But now that he’s President that strategy cannot be used all the time. Sooner or later Biden has to step out and meet people. His staff has done pretty well in this regard, keeping Biden’s appearances limited to restricted gatherings and very controlled press conferences, aided by the knowledge that the MSM will baby him as they have done since he was nominated.

It seems to have been working well, so it’s a mystery as to why they decided to step out with a classic “Town Hall” event for Biden the other night.

They used CNN, about as friendly a forum as one can get for a Democrat, plus a very restricted audience…

Not even 1/3 full

… and a very carefully screened group of questioners from the audience, including several hilariously placed shills who claimed they were Republicans – who promptly asked softball questions that just happened to fit with Democrat talking points. Only one guy seemed to be a Republican, a restaurant owner and his question was to the point and not well-handled by Biden.

But even when Biden was being guided as gently as possible by the host, the oleaginous Don Lemon, he did not do well.

If anybody can understand what the hell he was saying there please comment with your explanation. Some poor, sad political tragic actually did try and transcribe it:

”And the question is whether or not we should be in a position where, you, er, um, are why can’t the, um, the experts say we know that this virus is in fact, er, er, um, uh, its this its going to be or, excuse me, we, we, we know why all the drugs approved are not temporary, temporarily approved, but permanently approved.”

That’s about what I thought; it makes no more comprehensible sense when written down than when spoken.

Nothing new there of course. The last word in the title of this post is actually from a desperate attempt to produce a transcript from something Joe Biden tried to say in a 2020 campaign speech.

Things got no better as he rambled on about “Whether or not there’s a man on the moon”: I assume he was trying to connect vax conspiracy theories with faked moon landing theories but screwed it up as usual because his old brain is broken. He also unveiled a new economic theory in which the tsunami of government spending will actually “reduce inflation, reduce inflation, reduce inflation”. Then there was his defence of the idea of raising the corporate income tax, where he boasted that his home state of Delaware has more registered corporations “than all the rest of America combined. Combined. Combined.”. That state, which he represented for almost forty years as a Senator, has no corporate income tax.

Extended comments like those are why his handlers give him note cards with detailed sentences he can read out (but which he still screws up) and keep his free-“thinking” repertoire simple with soundbites he can remember; they make sure that he mutters “Jim Crow” at least once every time he’s allowed out of the house. In this case the Senate filibuster standing in the way of all their fabulous legislation is “Jim Crow”, which I guess does make sense when you consider that the Democrats have used it hundreds of times in recent years. As one commentator noted:

The case could be made that this wasn’t that big of a train wreck because it happened on CNN and therefore had an audience only slightly larger than I do when my cat wanders in and watches me while I shave. Still, why can’t they just leave this guy in the White House with his coloring books and spare the country the embarrassment? Television appearances by Biden are probably the only American shows the ChiComs allow to air uncensored so their beleaguered citizens can finally have something to laugh at.

This is both hilarious and pathetic. The brain trust currently running the USA – mainly Co-President Jill Biden (wife) and Co-President Klain (Chief of Staff) – thinks that letting this senile old clown babble incoherently is going to eventually be what changes hearts and minds on issues of the Covid-19 vaccine, spending, taxes or anything. Whenever sane people who aren’t heartless hear Biden speak, they just want to wrap a blanket around him and help him to his chair. This guy isn’t going to be convincing anyone to do anything.

Ever.

Given the ages of President Biden (78) , House Speaker Pelosi (80), Senate Leader Schumer (71), and more than a few of their equally aged compadres, the USA is really start to look like the USSR in the 1980’s with Brezhnev and the rest of the Politburo.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 25, 2021 at 3:00 pm

Inflation you say?

Why are people surprised?

Back in 1993 the newly installed Clinton Administration was mad keen on a “stimulus plan” that would revive the US economy from the “terrible” recession of George H W Bush. The plan was classic Keynesianism but it was strangled in the crib for two reasons.

First of all the recession, which was a fairly mild one starting in late 1990, had already finished by mid-1991, as is usually the case. Things like unemployment lagged of course, which was why the MSM was able to make such a meal of it. The crown in the jewel were TV scenes of a four-wide line of job seekers stretching around a city block in the snow in early 1992, applying for jobs at some new Chicago hotel. Had it been filmed in Black & White by Dorothea Lange it could not have been better.

As a result, by the time Bill became President in January 1993 the entire economy was really picking up a head of steam on all fronts, and it was obvious to everybody and their blind dogs that no “stimulus” was needed.

Incidently, having done it’s job up to the election in getting a Democrat elected, the MSM promptly began painting sunny headlines about how well the economy was doing under the youthful leadership of Bill, even while everybody again knew that no credit could be given to an administration that had not passed any legislation, let alone anything that could affect the economy in less than six months.

Second was that Bill made a crucial mistake in appointing Senator Robert Byrd to lead the stimulus bill effort in the Democrat-controlled Senate and House. In addition to being a former Grand Kleagal of the KKK (and whose death years later would result in an ecstatic eulogy by then Vice President Joe Biden), he was also known as the Porkiest of the Porkmasters of Congress. There was hardly a highway, courthouse, outhouse or doghouse in his state of West Virginia that didn’t have his name on it as a result of the money he’d extracted from Congress. Even Democrats rolled their eyes at what a stimulus package in Bryd’s hands would mean.

The effort rapidly faltered and that was a good thing for the USA, which economy did not need a “stimulus” from the Federal government: the 1990’s would go on to be one of the great economic times in recent US history.

But lessons are not learned. While there might have been some justification for the 2009 stimulus spending plans in the wake of a financial meltdown far worse than that of 1987 (which also led to another such failed effort by the Democrat Party in the face of Reagan’s opposition), it was obvious by the end of that year that it had not spiced up the economy. Obama regularly bemoaned the reports that landed on his desk showing only moderate improvements, bluntly asking his experts and fellow Democrats why all the spending was having no effect.

But in the face of a government-induced lockdown of a roaring economy there was never a need for the insane amounts of spending to continue as the Chinese Lung Rot pandemic waned and the lockdowns and other restrictions were lifted. All that was required was for the government to simply allow the economy to come back to life, as it had in 1992/93 and earlier recessions. Yet each of the subsequent recessions of 2001/2, 2008/9 and 2020 have been met with ever greater stimulus efforts.

Yet, far from helping, there’s good evidence that government efforts in 2021 have caused unemployment to stick in the face of massive welfare incentives not to return to work. Then there’s the rapidly rising inflation in the USA, as all that created credit chases products and services that are not increasing as fast as the tsunami of money. The incredible number of business destroyed by the Covid-19 pandemic response will not be magically re-created by Federal spending.

So we have that graph of US debt, piling onto trillions of already existing debt, even as the spending it allows fails to do its Keynesian job.

This cannot end well, and is already not going well. As the economist Hebert Stein once wrote: “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.”

Brace for impact.

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

See Also:

Stagflation and Pretty Graphs – May 2021

This is not going to get better – Feb 2019

The Great Crash of 2034 – June 2020

$5,630,859,000,000 – August 2020

Written by Tom Hunter

July 17, 2021 at 3:00 pm