No Minister

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The perfect Blade Runner shot

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All that video needs is music by Vangelis.

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

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

And you will be happy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What does repentance look like?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by Tom Hunter

November 11, 2022 at 9:05 am

I had a fortress once in Paradise

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Yes, I know it’s the memories of a California Baby Boomer, describing a lifestyle that has been utterly destroyed – except in far-off places remote from the authorities, and that is mere hope on my part.

When I showed what is described in the article to my kids they merely shook their heads in amazement, with one question being “Did people actually live like that?”

Yes, they did. And until quite recent days, possibly even into the 1980’s.

This is an achingly beautiful memorial by one man for his brother, who died in 2020 at the age of 73.

The family car at Butte Canyon, Paradise, California. Sometime in the 1950s

I was 9 and my brother 7 and we set off every summer and non-school morning with a couple of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to explore this strange landscape of lava beds, High Sierra forests, streams, and abandoned gold mines.

We hauled the box of dynamite back up the lava flow to the foot of “X.” By the time we got there we were both into a shared dream of killing waves of Heil screaming Nazis in World War 2 as we had seen in a hundred movies. I reached into the box and took out a half stick of sodden TNT and heaved it a good thirty feet at the ghost Nazis until it went splat on a boulder.

Tom said, “Isn’t that a little scary?”

“It’s fine,” I said and added (betraying my limited child’s understanding of the nature and potential of Trinitrotoluene  ), “It’s all wet. It can’t explode.”
….
One of the rare pleasures of having boys for children is that, if you are their mother, you can find yourself at the washing machine in the garage holding half a stick of TNT you’ve just found in your 7-year-old’s jacket. Now that is a feeling you don’t get every day.

More pleasant still after seeing your child has a half-stick of explosive in his pocket is the thought, “Just where is the other half?”

Written by Tom Hunter

November 7, 2022 at 6:00 am

Posted in Culture, History, USA

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Unity and Utopias

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Growing up in the 1970’s I’d read, watched and listened to sufficient propaganda that I was convinced that the Left were tolerant in many different ways. Perhaps there was an element of the old hippies involved, but I appreciated the whole scene even as I rolled my eyes at their world (punk music was the thing in my time and they had little good to say about Hippies):

“Whatever man. Let your freak flag fly. We dig it”

Of course there was communism, but as the USSR slowly opened up in the 1970’s we became aware of many very conservative things about the place that seemed incongruous with its supposed revolutionary spirit. I was too young to be aware of how narrow that definition of revolution was, with its overwhelming emphasis on the dialectal materialism of Marx and Engels. I was also yet to read about the deliberate Red Terror of Lenin, Mao and company: for whatever reason we did not connect the Cambodian horrors we read about in high school with other communist regimes, probably because we were ignorant of their own Year Zeros and that elimination of existing societies was essential to the establishment of communist rule.

But my understanding of Western Lefty tolerance came to a crashing halt on July 25, 1981 at Rugby Park in Hamilton when some 300 anti-Springbok Tour protestors invaded the pitch and forced the game to be cancelled. I was not averse to the protests in the streets that had been going on for some time by then; if they got the tour stopped that was just politics, even if not via the ballot box (The Left having failed to eject Muldoon three years earlier).

But this was something much more than a protest demonstrating opposition, with the idea of showing sufficient numbers that the government could be turned on the issue. No, this was the outright force of one group telling another that they did not have the right to watch this game of rugby and would be stopped from doing so – by any means necessary. As I wrote on KB in a 2007 post on Chris Trotter calling out John Minto’s justification for violence in certain circumstances:

As Trotter says of Pat McQuarrie – “what was he willing to do to stop the tour”. Well he was willing to threaten to crash a plane into a crowd of spectators for a bloody rugby game, and that threat was the key to achieving one of the objectives of the protest movement. In what way is the motivation different from the current crowd that Minto is running with? Presumably those people also have a cause that is going to make them, perhaps has made them, “do some very dangerous things”.

In twenty years time will a future Chris Trotter-type emerge from the current crop to talk of such things, absolve themselves as “good people” and “decent, caring New Zealanders” who were simply driven to desperate lengths by an oppressive state and the failure of their fellow citizens to heed the call?

It’s just the same old, ‘high-moral-ground’ bullshit that leftists cling to. Their civil rights were infringed by faceless men with batons and charges over ridiculous offences and it’s an outrage? Yes, it was. But now that it’s the police under a Labour government? Less outrage it would seem.

As for the idea that Trotter and co. trampled all over the civil rights of their fellow New Zealanders when they invaded that ground and relied upon a threat of massive violence to get a rugby game cancelled?

Naaaah – the idea that that might be ethically unacceptable and outside the bounds of democracy never occurred to any protest group – either then or later.

It was the sniffy, sneering dismissal of the civil rights of the rugby watchers and tour supporters that got to me far more than the violence. Beat National at the polling booth, become the government and ban the tour was something I had no problem with; Kirk had done it in 1973. A few years later I was impressed by the cleverness of the lawyers who used the Rugby Board’s own principles about promoting Rugby to get the 1985 All Black tour of South Africa cancelled.

But that day in Hamilton was not any of that and it was that day that began my slow turn away from the Left, or at least away from whatever I had thought it was. The 1981 Rugby Park protestor tactics were bullying, domineering bullshit, as was the victim-pleading of those who got beaten up by rugby fans, which of course only added to the stereotyping so essential to the whole project and the Left’s conception of itself:

On the contrary, most were and still are proud of that particular effort, and Trotters latter-day thoughts hardly seem like a distancing. The gap-toothed rednecks had been lectured and fully informed about the bad ethical decision they were making in attending the game and they still went ahead anyway: outrageous! As a result, their civil rights would just have to take a backseat to a higher morality – and if those people chose to fight back about such a loss of civil rights such violence could simply be called a pogrom to denigrate and deligitimise them still further – as opposed to the other sides pure and virtuous violence and threats of violence.

River of Filth anyone?

And so we come to this piece of news boasted about by David Farrar at KB, Nick Smith shows how to unite, where Nick has appointed as deputy Mayor of Nelson a young man who ran against him – for the sake of unity and collegiality:

This move surprised some as Rohan stood against Nick for Mayor (was a credible 3rd), is only 22 and his politics are on the left. But Nick has shown great sense with the appointment, as people want their Councils to work together, despite having some different philosophies.

Very hippyish of Nick – and DPF. But the caveat is in DPF’s next line:

I think it stands in contrast to Wellington where new Mayor Tory Whanau could have united the Council by appointing an experienced Councillor such as Nicola Young as Deputy Mayor, but instead she chose a relatively new Green Party Councillor in Laurie Foon.

And how it will stand in contrast everywhere that the Left gain full control. When is the Right in NZ going to realise the lesson that The Stupid Party in the US is only now coming to grasp: the Left pretends to bipartisanship (and Free Speech and Speaking Truth To Power and Afflicting the Comfortable, etc, etc) – when they’re not in power.

When they are in power they, at best, throw a few tokens to the Right – as long as they’re sure those ideas will be watered down to nothing. How do we know this? Have you not seen what a majority Labour government is doing across-the-board in the last two years? But it’s nothing new; just watch how the Left react anywhere when their ideas are truly under threat of being wiped out or when it merely looks like they’re losing on an issue(see above). Bi-partisanship? No! All out war.

The favour of Nick Smith is not going to be returned. Anywhere.

I can’t help thinking this attitude about “unity”, bi-partisanship and the Great Centrist Pursuit is a hangover from National Party people who came of age in the 1970’s/80’s world.

That was a world (1945-1990) where the National Party had been in power most of the time. By 1990 it was 29 of those 45 years – and for more than one term too, meaning real control (even the Labour count should be reduced since it includes 4 years of post-war Labour love and 6 years of Rogernomics, the very opposite of the Left’s ideas). In that world it probably made sense to cling to whatever centre Labour had created, which was massive control and influence of the State in every sphere of life.

But since then National and Labour are pretty much even – 18 years Nat vs 14 years Labour – and since 1999 Labour have 14 vs 9 out of 23 years.

And here’s the thing with that Labour success: you never hear them or their activists, whether in public or on blogs like TDB and The Standard ever talking the same way as Nick Smith, DPF and National – going on and on and on about “The Centre is Where Victory Lies” and “unity”.

No. Labour may have won in 1999 with Clarke and Cullen’s pragmatism but they certainly pulled shit that they had not talked about on the hustings and which was cemented in so that National could not change it when they got back into government. Was the scrapping of the RNZAF combat wing or WFF or the KiwiRail purchase or any of what they did, ever sold as appealing to the centre? No! In fact their attitude was best summed up by Michael Cullen’s statement in Parliament, “We won. You lost. It goes.” They won two more elections after that bruising statement. Nothing squishy there.

In 2017, Ardern’s government got there on the basis of her freshness, telegenic abilities and the pettiness of Winston Peters. Have you heard anything about what has been done in the last five years as them appealing to the Centre?

No. And yet there we are with 14 out of 23 years in power and plenty of stuff done that the Left wanted – even if they want still more done and complain that what has been done (spending vastly more money than stingy old National) has not done any good for poverty, education, health care and such.

So why does National keep talking up – in public – things like unity, bipartisanship and appealing to the Great Centrist voter (swing voter)? There’s no longer any evidence that it’s any more successful than Labour’s True Believing approach.

I think it’s because they’re unable to make arguments for Right-wing ideas and policies outside of cuts to taxes and spending (and they’re not much chop even then). Much easier to just focus on the “process” of sniffing the winds and getting votes.

Labour don’t think like that and have never thought like that, and while you could point at them as “extremist failures” circa 1990, their electoral success in the last thirty years should be a reason to re-think the National Party approach. Nick Smith’s actions show we’re still a long way from that.

When it matters, Republicans look around and say, “Oh no we can’t do that, we’d lose a man. The Democrats would take seats.” They are virtually a majority for the sake of being a majority. They just want to polish it up, put it on the shelf, and look at it. 

To put it simply, Republicans approach politics like America fights wars: They don’t want to lose a single man. Democrats, on the other hand? They look at politics like the Russians looked at Stalingrad: The congressman in front votes now; when they fall the next man gets elected and he will vote too.

So you see a repeating pattern to American politics: There isn’t a true back-and-forth. Instead, Democrats change the country a lot while they’re in power. Then Republicans hold power and push the pause button. There’s no rollback that a new executive order can’t undo.

Maybe they cut taxes; bring back the Mexico City policy; junk a regulation that Democrats created but didn’t manage to implement; but that’s about it. When was the last time Republicans passed a huge law — one that changed America forever the way Democrats do every time they hold serve in American politics? You don’t see it.

This Sounds Familiar
The Precious Midpoint
Advice from the Peanut Gallery

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

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

Source:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fucking bullshit! We did know.

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

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

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

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

Rishi Sunak – British Prime Minister

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

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

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

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

See also:

The Covid-19 Royal Commission

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

Visible Death vs. Invisible Death

Lockdowns: a nightmare of imagination

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

New Zealand is more frightened than Britain

Failed solutions, Moral Cruelty and Advertising

“The dark night of…

Double Standards & Changing Narratives

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


Written by Tom Hunter

November 1, 2022 at 3:37 pm

A primer on US Government

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With the US Mid-term elections less than a month away (November 8) and with voting already underway in some places, it’s worth looking at what the US Government actually is and why these elections are just as important as the Presidential elections, to which far more attention is paid.

The latter is understandable. Given the military power a US President potentially wields as Commander in Chief and the media coverage of a President, people around the world assume that when they look at the President they’re seeing the US government in action.

But the President is just one component of that government – a very important component of course, but limited in power in some respects. So here’s a concise view of that government:

  • The President: Head of State & Government, Commander in Chief, Head of Govt. Departments
  • Congress – House (Legislation – detailed) and Senate (Legislation-high level, appointing Federal judges, Foreign Treaties)
  • Supreme Court (Judicial review to ensure the President, Congress and States are acting within the Constitution)
  • The States (Miniature USA’s; the primary source of day-to-day government)

Keep this in mind during the elections because the political control of each, not just one, is very important.

THE PRESIDENT:

A four year term, limited to two terms. FPP elections by voters in States then enable “Electors” from the Electoral College to select the President. The number of Electors for each State equals the number of House Reps they have, plus the two Senators each State has, e.g. California has 53 Reps so 55 EC votes. The EC forces Presidential candidates to contest more widely than just the highest population centres, thus hopefully widening representation. President’s can veto Congressional legislation but their veto can be over-ridden if the numbers are present in Congress.

  • Commander in Chief:
    The Founders wanted this because you can’t run a war by committee, but they never could have seen the CiC controlling such a vast, permanent military, least of all thousands of nuclear weapons.
  • Foreign Policy leader:
    There was a time when this didn’t matter much, and when it became more important in the 20th century the US Senate was quite aggressive in getting involved. It’s why President Woodrow Wilson’s League of Nations effort died in the USA. It’s also why FDR could not make much progress in getting the US involved in WWII, against the bi-partisan Isolationists in the Senate, until Pearl Harbour made it a moot point. In the 3rd volume of his biography of LBJ, Master of The Senate, Robert Caro makes a convincing argument that the Pearl Harbour attack caused the Senate to permanently retreat from trying to lead foreign policy initiatives, to the detriment of America in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, plus the Cold War in general. Sure, they’ll argue inside the Senate against Presidential ideas and efforts on this front, but you never see a group of Senators leading the charge.
  • Domestic Bureaucracy:
    The Founders absolutely never saw this coming. Domestically the Presidency was designed to be very weak because of the fear of a new King or Emperor or outright dictator rising to power. But through the 20th century the Congress has created one huge bureaucracy after another and they all report to the President. Even though the President can’t make or change laws, there is now enormous scope to use American Sir Humphrey’s to push the envelope out with rules and regulations that effectively act like legislation. Not to mention the simple directives to just not enforce the law – or perhaps enforce it in detail – to push party political and ideological positions. Bush’s “War on Terror”, Obama and Biden on Immigration and now Biden with his Department of Justice injustices.

THE CONGRESS:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Tom Hunter

October 17, 2022 at 6:00 am

Paul McCartney’s Strange Brain

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I and a couple of high school mates went through a Beatles phase in our late teens, a decade after the band had broken up. One friend even steadily accumulated every album of theirs. At the time we were saturated in disco which, like all show business, had started fresh and then been done to death. Punk was only just arriving in our little Kiwi world via record stores – radio stations often refusing to play it – so the Beatles were fresh and different. It was a more limited version of today’s kids resurrecting “old music”.

As such we also got into reading about the band and its members. Yet in all that reading I never found out about Paul McCartney’s rather amazing brain:

His father, who was frustrated by his son’s refusal to buckle down at school, couldn’t help but marvel at the way Paul was able to complete his homework perfectly while watching TV. It wasn’t just that he did the homework, said Jim, it was that he remembered everything about the TV programme too. McCartney’s teachers remarked on how quick at learning he was, and at the same time, how little he paid attention. Even when McCartney isn’t paying attention, he can gather a lot of information, whether factual, visual, or musical, apparently without effort.

The author of the piece is Ian Leslie but he is telling the story relayed to him about McCartney by a music journalist called David Wild: the video is at the link and the story is about Wild merely being on the fringes of McCartney’s world.

The article itself points out that McCartney has talked about how he came up with the famous song, Eleanor Rigby, and especially the name. But as Leslie points out, the gravestone pictured above is in the graveyard of a Liverpool church that both McCartney and Lennon knew well, having walked through it many times as young teenagers, but it was not until the 1980’s that some fan discovered this:

When McCartney found about this he dismissed it, at first. Later on, he conceded that he may have subconsciously picked up the name from the gravestone. I can understand his reluctance – he knew his own story! – but really, it’s not even a question. Of course he got it from the cemetery. The idea that he coincidentally landed on the name ‘Eleanor Rigby’ – for a song about a woman who “died in the church and was buried along with her name” – is wildly implausible.

Strange how the human brain works isn’t it? But read the whole article and watch the video for more examples of how McCartney’s works, especially in the form of music.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 12, 2022 at 6:23 am

Oh and Sug, Don’t Forget to Say Your Prayers*

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So four days ago the US Presidential Brain Trust actually saw fit to allow President Ambulatory Root Vegetable to make yet another speech while loaded up on Risperidone, Lomotil and god knows what else.

Big mistake as he proceeded to say the following:

“[Putin was] not joking when he talks about the use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons… We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis.”

Ha ha ha…. Nuclear Armageddon against the Rooskies. Who had that on their 2022 calendar? How many of you actually had Ron Klain giving the “go-code” on their score cards? Or Valerie Jarrett, Susan Rice or Barack Obama – or whoever is controlling President Non Compos Mentis. He only has flashes of rationality when he can reach into his nasty old long-term memory of hurling toxic invective and threats at his political enemies – which now constitute at least half of the citizens of the USA. That revolting display in front of Independence Hall was pitch perfect on his part: when the jackboot fits.

As has happened before US allies were none too pleased:

Asked about Biden’s remarks, French President Emmanuel Macron said it was crucial to speak with care on the nuclear threat.
“I have always refused to engage in political fiction, and especially … when speaking of nuclear weapons,” Macron said at a EU summit in Prague. “On this issue, we must be very careful”.

Sanna Marin, Finland’s [hot] Prime Minister, later appeared to rebuke Mr Biden over his “off-ramp” comments. Asked about the remarks, Ms Marin said: “The way out of this conflict is for Russia to leave Ukraine. That is the way out of the conflict.”

Well yes. But remember: Biden will get [the Alliances] working again. Shorter Macron and Marin to Biden.
Shut.
Up.

Of course it didn’t take long for the Whitehouse to walk this back, as usual.

Of the threats now being chucked back and forth, there’s a very interesting analysis by a guy who spent a good chunk of his US military career dealing with nuclear command systems and targeting – What if Putin nukes Ukraine? – and he makes a good point that applies to both Putin and Biden:

Contrary to what most Americans think (including, inexcusably, some members of Congress), the US president does not have sole authority to order a nuclear strike. The president must originate the order, but there are carefully-constructed and very deliberate checks and balances in place that are not optional and in fact are required for the launch to take place.

I find it almost impossible to believe that even Putin can simply tell his chief of the general staff to fire a nuke at Ukraine, even such as I have described above, and it simply gets done, no questions asked. And Putin of course knows that and knows equally well that to force the issue could lead to a coup. 

I had not explored that aspect of the threat simply because I figure that MAD still applies and as in the ending of the movie Wargames, there is no “limited” nuclear attack scenario that does not lead to an all-out nuclear exchange.

That author is also not impressed by the latest blurt from retired General (and ex-CIA head) David Patreaus, to the effect that if Russia did launch a nuke against the Ukraine then NATO would use conventional weapons to take out most the Russian military on their Western front:

I’m sorry, but that is crazy and dangerous. No nuclear power would refuse to escalate as another one attempted to obliterate its armed forces and government. (Notice as well that General Petraeus does not say the president will go to Congress to seek a declaration of war — in his mind, the president apparently just gives the order.)

See this also: War Gaming a Nuke attack on Ukraine.

Perhaps it’s not just Biden and Putin that need to STFU?

*Classic film allusion in the title.

BTW, running people like Biden seems to have become a Democrat thing. The following creature is trying to get elected as a Senator for Pennsylvania

And of course we can’t forget…

‘Decadence vs. Vitality’

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With the onset of the Great Chinese Snot Pandemic in 2020 one of the things I decided to do was finally get into reading a number of books that had been collecting dust around the house, but also watching three great TV documentaries that were fifty years old.

These three were related, in that they were driven by the BBC, and in one case its American cousin, PBS. They were:

Civilisation – by Kenneth Clarke (1969)
The Ascent of Man – by Jacob Bronowski (1973)
America – by Alistair Cooke (1973)

All three programmes made it quite clear from the start that they were the personal view of each man, and as such I think they can be forgiven for the things they missed or perhaps paid too little attention too. But that is true of all stories.

Recent events have caused me to look in particular at this final section from the last episode of Alistair Cooke’s America. As the man himself says in the opening:

A wise historian usually stops twenty or thirty years before his own time because, like the rest of us, he can’t see the wood for the trees.

Watch it and see what you think about the key question: Is America in its ascendent or its decline? That question still stands, but most of his observations remain brilliantly prescient.

Just three years earlier, Kenneth Clarke had discussed much the same thing, at least by implication with his starting point or Rome.

Civilisation does require a modicum of material prosperity — enough to provide a little leisure. But it requires confidence far more. Confidence in the society in which one lives, belief in its philosophy, belief in its laws, and confidence in one’s own mental powers. Vigour, energy, vitality: all the great civilisations have had a weight of energy behind them. People sometimes think that civilisation consists in fine sensibilities and good conversation and all that. These may be among the agreeable results of civilisation, but they are not what make a civilisation, and a society can have these amenities and yet be dead and rigid.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 3, 2022 at 3:57 pm

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

Tagged with

Trump is no longer so evil – New York Times

with 4 comments

Exactly as I predicted in last year’s post – The next GOP Hitler.

Also known as Strange New Respect, though they’re not quite there yet with Trump.

The cycle of demonising the next GOP President by rehabilitating the previous ones who were condemned in their time as Evil, Moronic Scum Who Would Destroy The Nation:

“Some Democratic opposition researcher floated the idea that Goldwater was infatuated with the Nazis. It was ugly stuff.”
Sure it was, about the man who a later Leftist journalist would describe as “principled”, decades later when Goldwater was safely dead. But then, every Republican presidential candidate, from Thomas Dewey (smeared as a Nazi by no less than Harry Truman) to the present will be attacked by the left in this fashion, no matter his temperament, or small-government policies (you need Big Government for real Fascism). In his 1984 book, Troubled Journey: From Pearl Harbor to Ronald Reagan, Fred Siegel, points out that this nasty crap started as far back as 1940:

Even back then I noted some of the commentary from rather obscure, nasty corners of the Democrat Internet was aimed at DeSantis, but in the wake of his rising tide in Florida and across the nation – particularly with things like his delivery of fifty illegal aliens to the quiet, wealthy Lefty streets of Martha’s Vineyard – he’s become enough of a threat in 2024 to make the pages of one of the Democrat Party’s media organs, the NYT:

Yes, when viewed from the perspective of partisan media, DeSantis looks almost unstoppable. But to a typical person — someone who may have heard about these stunts but doesn’t know much about DeSantis otherwise — he looks a lot like a bully, someone willing to play high-stakes games with people’s lives for the sake of his own ego and advancement.

Well, you might say, Donald Trump is a bully, too. Yes, he is. But Donald Trump is also a lifelong celebrity with a public persona that is as much about “The Apprentice” and even “Home Alone 2” as it is about his political career. What’s more, Trump has the skills of a celebrity. He’s funny, he has stage presence, and he has a kind of natural charisma. He can be a bully in part because he can temper his cruelty and egoism with the performance of a clown or a showman. He can persuade an audience that he’s just kidding — that he doesn’t actually mean it.

Wait? What? “Trump’s funny“; “natural charisma”?

Oooooo… Trump’s rough edges are being ever so slightly sanded down and softened – with caveats about cruelty and egoism of course – so that the comparison can be made to The Next Evil GOP Threat.

Again.

In case you missed it, “bully” is the word that’s been programmed into the Democrat Media NPC’s to describe DeSantis and will it remain until they or the public get bored with it and want something fresh.

At some stage a word will have to be invented to also describe his “cult-like” followers, although after working for six months the Democrat marketing research group that finally squeezed out “Ultra-MAGA” from between their butt-cheeks may just decide to stick with that and try to attach it to DeSantis. You don’t throw away something you’ve workled so hard to create and to which you have attached so much usefully political slime.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 25, 2022 at 1:00 pm