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NZ Power Blows (UPDATE)

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(Re-posted and bumped from last year as an addition to GD’s electricity post.)

After the recent power blackout, which did not affect me, I took a look at Peter Creswell’s long-time blog, Not PC, for his take on the situation.

It turned out that he had nothing new to add to warnings he’d made years, even decades, ago:

if I may continue a well-worn theme of previous posts over several years (No PowerNo power, againStill No Power‘More power!’ says India. ‘No power,’ says NZPower outrage ) and remind you of several famous power outages (such as Auckland 1998, 2006, 2009 … ) this news and that conclusion above simply confirms what should have been obvious years ago: in this country the lifeblood of production, energy, is running out. Not because New Zealand is short of resources with which to produce energy. But because politicians and earth-first worshippers have declared we are not allowed to use them.

That’s from 2012, although he did include this recent comment from one Hamish Rutherford.

“Between the decision to rip up the rules on the gas market, to the difficulty consenting renewables projects, to the threat to build hydro storage at Lake Onslow, the market is simply responding to the signals that the Government is sending it.”

Running through his old posts the most detailed was Meet the Enfeebled, which had lots of graphs on power production, like this one:

... over the years from from 1980 to 1998, the growth in New Zealand’s generating capacity matched the growth in demand, growing at an averaged rate of about 150MW per year.  Despite this, regular power shortages such as the famous outages of 1992 showed that even at this time capacity was near its limits — partly because of the lack of backup generation for the occasionally fickle hydro generators.

The basic thrust of the article was that since the turn of the Millennium (up to 2008 when the post was written) production growth had not matched consumption growth. You can read the detail of power stations built and closed:

TOTAL NEW CAPACITY 1993 – 2008:   1850.5 MW .

TOTAL DECOMISSIONED 1990-2008:       1333 MW

TOTAL NETT NEW CAPACITY SINCE 1990: 949.5 MW

This while consumption grew by 2700MW. The margin was growing thin. But what’s happened since the mid-2000’s? This from the MBIE:

Luckily the consumption has also plateaued at tje same time to roughly the same level: 42,000GWh vs 44,000GWh production.

That is likely due to the steady conversion to energy saving devices such as LED bulbs and heat pumps, as well as the steady increase in insulated houses. But there will come a point where even slow economic growth of 2-3% per year will eventually outpace the improvements in energy efficiency.

But the greatest increase will come with the flip side of the renewable energy push: the electrification of everything. Below are the NZ consumption figures for 2018 in Petajoules (source MBIE report. pdf pages 14-15):

The supply figures are a little different, since we have to import most of our oil while we produce more than we consume for coal (38 vs. 25) and gas (172 vs. 74).

Current total electricity production from all sources in NZ is about 160PJ. So we’re talking about more than doubling our electrical production, and some 84% of it already comes from renewable sources. Geothermal has grown tremendously since 2005 but there are limits being approached quickly. Hydro reached its limits years ago; there have been more cancelled hydro projects to add to Not PC’s 2008 list – and most of those have been due to the Resource Management Act and the Environment Court

So that leaves Wind and Solar, which means an even greater increase needed from that slim red line below.

Basically from 8Pj to more than 300Pj – an increase of 3,750%.

I’m being generous in allowing that the remaining 82PJ might come from a mix of new hydro and geothermal, with a slight assist from residential PV (solar panels).

Moreover that’s just to replace current fossil fuel energy consumption.

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UPDATE:

Rather than looking at Petajoules which involve efficiency conversion assumptions, commentator Chris Morris suggests simply looking at TWh.

The ballpark number to electrify NZs energy demand (with a lot of assumptions) are about a doubling of the grid so 90TWhpa. Here is a 2019 MBIE analysis of it, Electricity demand and generation scenarios. Notice how they claim cost of renewables is cheaper – it isn’t as there is no cost for integration into the grid. Market distortion by credits also there. And if it was cheaper, it wouldn’t need subsidies.

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Finally it must be noted that since Wind (and solar) are unreliable, tanking to zero on a regular basis, they will need backup generating capacity – 300Pj of it. Where will that come from? A doubling of hydro/geothermal power? In the case of Hydro it has problems itself, though nowhere near as bad as Wind, but Huntly was built to back them up in drought years.

To paraphrase Sir Humphrey, these are heroic assumptions.

There is one other possibility that should not be dismissed, even as crazy as it may sound. I’m not talking about Thorium Molten Salt Reactors, Fusion reactors or nuclear power in general on the supply side.

No, I’m talking about crushing the demand side. A policy of Zero Economic Growth, or even negative economic as all that fossil fuel energy is shut down to enable a Zero Carbon nation. Look how happy many Greens are with what Covid-19 has delivered to Fortress NZ: the huge reduction in airline flights to and from the nation and the subsequent massive drop in tourism and internal travel in general.

After all, as Robert Bidinotto explains:

Typically, the person who calls himself an “environmentalist” is really just a nature-loving “conservationist.” Appreciating the earth’s natural beauty and bounty, he is understandably concerned about trash, noise, pollution, and poisons. Still, he sees the earth and its bounty as resources–resources for intelligent human use, development, and enjoyment. At root, then, his concern for the earth is human-centered: he believes that this is our environment, to be used by people to enhance their lives, well-being, and happiness.

But the leaders of the organized environmentalist movement have a very different attitude and agenda.

Their basic premise is that human activities to develop natural resources constitute a desecration of nature–that, in fact, nature exists for its own sake, not for human use and enjoyment. By their theory of ecology, they see man not as the crowning glory of nature, nor even as just another part of “the web of life”–but rather as a blight upon the earth, as the enemy of the natural world. And they see man’s works as a growing menace to all that exists.

Written by Tom Hunter

April 24, 2022 at 12:45 pm

“That was really hard for me to wrap my brain around…”

Says a US university student undergoing a bit of a red pill experience.

She’d done all the right things to get into a prestige university in the USA, Bryn Mawr, but then Covid changed everything:

Bryn Mawr’s Covid safety precautions for Fall 2020 were announced in July. They included, but were not limited to, isolating for 10 days prior to returning to campus and quarantining for two weeks upon arrival, living alone in a single dorm room, canceling all sporting events, weekly PCR testing, eating cafeteria take-out in our dorms, and wearing masks at all times, indoors and out. The masks could only be taken off with the door closed in our dorm room, or “outside in an area where you will not encounter others.”

If you did test positive, you were even further isolated to a dorm at the edge of campus, and food would be left at a drop-off point. I wanted to be at school, but why would I spend my days 1,600 miles away from my family, with no clubs or activities, eating alone in my dorm room, avoiding all social interaction?

Sounds familiar. A miniature New Zealand. But I’ll bet Bryn Mawr has low, low Covid death rates.

Those two semesters at home hadn’t been kind to me. I didn’t really keep in touch with my Bryn Mawr friends; gazing at their mansions through a glitchy Zoom made me feel like an outsider. When we did talk, they obsessed over how scared they were of the virus and how many precautions they were taking, as though it was some kind of competition. Instead of sharing my thoughts and experiences, I stayed silent because I feared their criticism and eventually dropped off. I started sleeping a lot, but only during the day. I became scared of the dark. I lost my appetite, and 20 pounds along with it. There was nothing left to look forward to.

I stopped logging on to school, and my As and Bs turned to Fs. Ultimately, I decided to withdraw.

The stakes of leaving were high. I had to walk away from my $75,000 scholarship, my friends—everything. After a few weeks of being overcome with uncertainty, I started looking for schools that were more aligned with my values.

It doesn’t help when you’re a working class girl surrounded by mansion dwellers – or future leaders of our society as they probably think of themselves. To be fair this young woman writing the article desperately wanted to escape where she lived and you can understand why when you read this:

My family is liberal and not at all religious. Depending on where you grew up, that fact can either be a non-event or a defining part of who you are. In Queen Creek, Arizona, it meant everything.

I was regularly taunted by kids in my class who said that non-believers like me were going straight to hell. My mom took our Obama-Biden campaign sticker off our car after the second time it got keyed and I remember hearing the n-word in elementary school after Obama’s election. In sixth grade, I learned that a friend’s mom wouldn’t let her play with me if she knew I didn’t go to her church so I hid defining characteristics about myself

So religious and right-wing people can be assholes. Who knew? Unfortunately other people, like the ones she met at Bryn Mawr, people who she thought would be soul-mates, “liberal and not at all religious”, can be assholes too.

But then this happened:

I quickly discovered that almost every school that was operating even remotely normally was overtly religious. That was really hard for me to wrap my brain around given I had a somewhat fixed view of conservatives being rigid and intolerant. Yet, here I was, confronted with the fact that these religious institutions were, in practice, far more aligned with my values like individual liberty, critical inquiry, and diversity of thought than the place that explicitly claimed to be those things.

In my admissions interview for Hillsdale, a small school of less than 1,500 students, founded by Baptists in Michigan, I praised Christopher Hitchens—a staunch and unapologetic atheist—as one of my intellectual heroes. I disclosed that I was not religious. I debated with my interviewer about whether math was invented or discovered.

And they wanted me anyway.

To say that she’s happier and alive again is an understatement, especially with incidents like this:

I went to office hours—in person—the other day for one of my new classes, a required course about classic literature and I got into an interesting debate with a professor. Upon sharing an idea that directly refuted his interpretation of a line from Genesis, which I had never read before, he said, “That’s a great point. Why didn’t you share that in class?” “I didn’t want to be argumentative,” I told him. “Be argumentative,” he said emphatically.

I also appreciated this little snippet, almost an aside:

Students and staff I’ve encountered disagree on the utility of masks and the danger of Covid, but it’s rarely the focus of conversation and certainly not the organizing principle of anyone’s life. It feels like someone finally turned off the fire alarm that had been blaring for nearly two years.

Oh to have the fire alarm finally turned off. There’s much more she has to relay about her Hillsdale experience and it’s worth reading, but being able to actually think and talk openly is a big deal.

I’m glad this all happened. I know what I really believe. And I’m not afraid anymore.

Written by Tom Hunter

February 2, 2022 at 9:41 am

Posted in Education, Ideologues, Religion, USA

Tagged with

Burning Lies

Not One Corpse Has Been Found In The ‘Mass Grave’ Of Indigenous Children In Canada

There are times when I find that even my levels of distrust and cynicism about the MSM are insufficient to the task.

Thus it was when a story broke last year about the discovery of a mass grave for children at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia, a school that had been run by Catholic priests and nuns (because they cost the government almost nothing) between the 1890s and the 1970s. Given the history of the Church in Ireland and its pedophilia scandals around the world, I just assumed this was another case of callousness. So did everybody else.

CNN breathlessly reported on what it called the “gruesome discovery.” The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation appended a warning label to its coverage, saying “this story contains details some readers may find distressing.” The Washington Post declared that news of the mass grave had “dragged the horror of Canada’s mistreatment of Indigenous people back into the spotlight.” Every corporate outlet took it for granted that a mass grave containing hundreds of corpses had indeed been discovered—corpses of children, no less.

Almost every group you can think of jumped into the condemnation parade, including politicians and even Catholic bishops (in a crude replay of the Covington situation). Things got even nastier, and quickly:

Overall more than two dozen churches in Canada have been targeted over the past few weeks — and people are cheering it on. Not just anonymous people, either: On June 30, Harsha Walia, the executive director of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, responded to a story of another church arson, saying ‘Burn it all down.’

Others rallied to her defense. Naomi Sayers, a lawyer and blue Twitter checkmark, said ‘I would help her burn it all down … and also, I would help anyone charged with arson if they actually did burn things.’

Well guess what? It was all a lie. The whole thing was based on a single press release from the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation tribe and the “evidence” was a ground-radar search of two acres of the Kamloops graveyards (out of 160 acres) by a “conflict anthropologist” named Sarah Beaulieu. No excavations were ever done.

Professor Jacques Rouillard, professor emeritus in the Department of History at the Université de Montréal, recently published a detailed essay in The Dorchester Review on what has been found at this and similar sites — and what hasn’t. There is no evidence, writes Rouilliard, in any of the historical records kept by the government, that deaths of indigenous children at these schools were ever covered up, or that any corpses were ever deposited in mass, unmarked graves which were kept secret, and parents of the children were never informed, as tribal groups repeatedly charged and the media dutifully repeated last summer.

The Federalist examines all this and opines that it was a deliberate effort to:

provoke a moral panic, demonize the Catholic Church, and make global headlines by peddling historical grievances. And it worked exactly as planned.”

I don’t agree. I’d say it worked beyond the wildest dreams of Ms Beaulieu and the tribe and got out of control, but I’m not willing to think that they hoped and wanted Catholic and other churches to be burned to the ground – although perhaps that’s just me not being cynical enough again, judging by the responses of Harsha Walia, Naomi Sayers and these asshole commentators at the Daylight Atheism blog of Patheos.

The Federalist article finishes up by pointing out this lie was recently repeated (probably unthinkingly) by a NYT “journalist”, which means it’s on the way to becoming an unquestioned myth. Of the claim that the remains of hundreds of Indigenous children were found on the site it finishes with three brutal truths:

No, they weren’t. Nothing has been found there, because no one has looked. Probably no one ever will.

Written by Tom Hunter

January 21, 2022 at 8:46 am

A second answer to Why?

Why? was the title of a post by Nick K, my co-blogger here at NM, as he grappled with the “reasoning” behind the vaccine and mask mandates here in NZ and similar approaches taken in most corners of the globe.

I came across one possible answer to that question covered in the post, One answer to Why?, which looked at the control of popular thinking via language control in the modern context of Tech companies in the Webosphere.

Here’s some background to those companies and their leaders in this article from City-Journal in 2017, The Disrupters, which is all about the new Lords of Silicon Valley:

In just ten years, Facebook built a global empire that surpassed General Electric in market value—and did it with just 4 percent of the Old Economy giant’s workforce: 12,000, compared with 300,000. Whatsapp, a recent Facebook acquisition, managed an even more impressive wealth-to-labor ratio, with a $19 billion value and just 55 employees. Combined, both companies reach roughly one-sixth of humanity. Facebook’s entertainment colleague just to the south, Netflix, crushed Blockbuster’s mammoth national network of 9,000 stores and 60,000 employees with its more nimble workforce of just 3,700 employees.

Capitalism in action. Many firms have been so destroyed in the past by new competitors. The article goes on to explore what might happen next with AI, robotics and so forth, providing examples along the way involving brilliant young people, like Michael Sayman. In doing so the writer interviewed a number of the leading lights of this IT revolution and even got an opinion poll done of them to assess where they thought it was all going.

That’s where it gets sad – and scary. For a start these founders (147 were polled) don’t like talking about inequality, probably because of this:

As far as the future of innovation and its impact on ordinary people, the most common answer I received in Silicon Valley was this: over the (very) long run, an increasingly greater share of economic wealth will be generated by a smaller slice of very talented or original people. Everyone else will increasingly subsist on some combination of part-time entrepreneurial “gig work” and government aid.

Now I’ve done pretty well out of capitalism, but to me that future sounds like it sucks ass, even with a theoretical Universal Beneficiary Income (UBI). Fully Automated Luxury Communism it is not. It’s actually Marx’s “disguised form of alms”. It’s quite clear that these “thought leaders” are very leary of what may happen when they’ve built robots that can do most things better than a human.

And what of the political and philosophical attitudes that go with all this? Well it’s not actually as obvious as you might think. First with the political:

Contrary to popular opinion, most of Silicon Valley is not a libertarian ATM. The tech industry is overwhelmingly Democratic. In 2008, 83 percent of donations from the top Internet firms went to Obama, not John McCain. Many of the Valley’s household names, including Google’s then-chairman Eric Schmidt, personally helped Obama in both presidential campaigns. Republicans rarely get much money or talent from the Valley.

Yet they’re against unions and regulations (of their industry) and big on free trade of course, which is why Bernie Sanders gets no love from these people, nor would any Democrat of the pre-1990’s. Nor Donald Trump. Bill Clinton sniffed the winds well.

Then there’s the philosophical ideas that drive their politics:

What I discovered through my survey was that Silicon Valley represents an entirely new political category: not quite liberal and not quite libertarian. They make a fascinating mix of collectivists and avid capitalists…But Silicon Valley philosophically diverges with libertarians and conservatives in a key way: they aren’t individualists. 

He gives a great example of the latter:

When the libertarian icon Rand Paul began his early run for president in 2015, in San Francisco, he expected to be greeted like a hero. During the rally that I attended, Paul got rousing applause for railing against mass government spying. But when Paul asked, “Who is a part of the leave-me-alone coalition?” expecting to hear cheers, the room went silent. “Not that many, huh?” he nervously asked.

He’s not the only one who is nervous on hearing that, and it leads straight into this:

In my survey, founders displayed a strong orientation toward collectivism. Fifty-nine percent believed in a health-care mandate, compared with just 21 percent of self-identified libertarians. They also believed that the government should coerce people into making wise personal decisions, such as whether to eat healthier foods. Sixty-two percent said that individual decisions had an impact on many other people, justifying government intervention.

That is, tech founders reject the core premise of individualism – that citizens can do whatever they want, so long as they don’t harm others.

And consider that several of these fantastically wealthy men control companies that very much can aid (or oppose) a government via their extraordinary reach into influencing the lives of hundreds of millions, probably billions, of people. This is the world of “Nudge Theory”, and it’s very applicable to the last two years of the C-19 pandemic – a period that has seen their fortunes skyrocket beyond what was even thought possible in 2017, in several cases almost doubling to $150 billion or $200 billion plus.

Hold that thought.

What has all this done to the US state that is home to almost all of this wealth and genius, California?Well, as this National Review article describes, it’s not good, The Crumbling California Model. Again it’s lengthy with a lot of links to prove its points, but basically it comes down to this:

Yet it’s time now to see what California’s “success” is all about. It reflects a new kind of economy — dominated by a few large companies, with an elite workforce, a large service class, and a population increasingly dependent on wealth redistribution. This emerging oligarchic regime, however progressive it likes to label itself, is more feudal than egalitarian, more hierarchical than competitive, financed largely by the same tech giants who help fund Newsom’s successful defeat of the recall.

Exactly what was described by that 2017 poll of those Californian tech leaders. That state was once a remarkably diverse, job-rich economy, with vibrant aerospace, oil, trade, manufacturing, business services, and agriculture sectors, as well as software and media. But aside from the IT industry those sectors have fallen away, taking with them the well-paid jobs for people who can’t program a computer. If living on wealth redistribution sounds great to you, consider this:

For most, the reality on the ground is increasingly challenging. The state is now the second-most unaffordable state for home-buyers, a particular challenge for Millennials, and it suffers the highest rate of “doubling up” — only our friend Hawaii does worse. California has the largest gap between middle and upper wage quartiles in the nation, and it has a level of inequality greater than that of Mexico and closer to that of Central American countries such as Guatemala and Honduras than to such “progressive” developed counties as Canada and Norway.

The paradox is that California Democrats, the voters as well as the politicians, adore those welfare states and wish to be more like them without recognising that there is more to “welfare” than government money.

Back to that article I linked to the other day, looking at the control of language and ideas in our modern world. It finishes with this:

During the last three decades and possibly more, Western governments working hand in glove with large corporate interests have spent enormous energy and resources on perception management techniques designed to effectively undermine citizens’ ability to oppose the policies that these same elites, in their incandescent wisdom, have decided are best for the people. 

The attacks of September 11th gave these corporate and government leaders both the additional funds and the political latitude they needed to greatly accelerate work on these culture-planning processes. The Covid crisis has put the whole game on steroids. 

We have many ways of ignoring these frightening developments, most common and intellectually lazy of these being to dismiss them without examination under the rubric of “conspiracy theories.”

The suicide of expertise

This was the title of an article written by Law Professor Glenn Reynolds for USA Today back in 2017. But what it has to say seems even more powerful as the years have passed.

According to Foreign Affairs magazine, Americans reject the advice of experts so as “to insulate their fragile egos from ever being told they’re wrong.” That’s in support of a book by Tom Nichols called The Death of Expertise, which essentially advances that thesis.

Well, it’s certainly true that the “experts” don’t have the kind of authority that they possessed in the decade or two following World War II. Back then, the experts had given us vaccines, antibiotics, jet airplanes, nuclear power and space flight. The idea that they might really know best seemed pretty plausible.

But as Reynolds points out, the last fifty years contains a rather large number of big mistakes by experts:

  • The Vietnam war and “The Best and The Brightest”.
  • The War on Poverty (still being lost the last I heard).
  • Government nutritional advice from the 1960s on.
  • Failing to foresee the fall of the USSR.
  • Failing to foresee the rise in Islamic extremism.
  • Iraq and other “democracy building” projects gone awry. (2022 added Afghanistan to that ilist)
  • The Housing and Subprime mortgage bubbles of the 2000’s, leading to the Global Financial Crisis of 2008; a failure in both forecasting and handling.

There are a whole lot more smaller ones scattered in there as well, including Brexit and the botched launch of Obamacare. Reynolds quotes Nassim Taleb, a mathematical statistician (best known for his book The Black Swan):

“With psychology papers replicating less than 40%, dietary advice reversing after 30 years of fatphobia, macroeconomic analysis working worse than astrology, the appointment of Bernanke who was less than clueless of the risks, and pharmaceutical trials replicating at best only 1/3 of the time, people are perfectly entitled to rely on their own ancestral instinct and listen to their grandmothers.”

Reynolds also points out that this class of “experts” has done pretty well for itself in this same time period, even as many of the ordinary people they tell what to do, have not. Reynolds has a suggestion on that:

If experts want to reclaim a position of authority, they need to make a few changes. First, they should make sure they know what they’re talking about, and they shouldn’t talk about things where their knowledge isn’t solid. Second, they should be appropriately modest in their claims of authority. And, third, they should check their egos.

In the last two years of the C-19 pandemic I’ve seen no sign of any of this from the “experts”, where ego has been combined with an MSM that loves “experts” (as long as they agree with the Narrative and/or “Settled Science”).

On that last I appreciated these end-of-year musings about it all in Science and Chainsaws. There’s some throat clearing at first:

I’m no virologist or geneticist, but experts I respect persuaded me of the vaccines’ safety and efficacy. I got jabbed as soon as possible and regret that others chose not to. I wear masks in some situations, and not others. I see people socially but avoid large crowds. I favored lockdowns and school closings in early 2020 but think they lingered too long.

As grateful as he is to these scientists however, he sounds some warning notes:

The history of medicine offers ample reasons to avoid smug certitude which, unfortunately, is abundant on social and traditional media. Science is always about likelihood and never about certainty, though word apparently hasn’t reached Twitter and TV news. Then there is the flagrantly political demeanor of so many COVID experts.

He makes particular mention of the way that ex-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was lionised, and the feedback of the man to that praise with comments like, “Look at the data. Follow the science. Listen to the experts. … Be smart.”

How many times have we heard that from others? But as the writer says:

Here’s why they shouldn’t. Science, like a chainsaw, is an exceedingly powerful and useful tool. But “follow the science” makes no more sense than “follow the chainsaw.” The chainsaw doesn’t know the safest way to cut a tree, and science—let alone some anthropomorphic vision of it—can’t weigh the tradeoffs between slowing COVID and shutting down schools and cancer surgeries.

He finishes by quoting from a woman Ann Bauer, who has an autistic son and in the 1990’s was hammered as the cause of autisim; a “refrigerator mother” according to the theories of Psychologist Bruno Bettelheim, who is now regarded as a charlatan but for a time was held as the holder of a gospel truth:

In October, novelist and essayist Ann Bauer wrote a poignant column, “I Have Been Through This Before,” on her discomfort with the parade of cocksure COVID experts issuing ever-changing diktats and pronouncements. When vaccines didn’t end the pandemic, she wrote, “doctors and officials blamed their audience of 3 billion for the disease. The more the cures failed, the greater the fault of the public.”

Science is ultimately about learning. I see little evidence of that at present.

Written by Tom Hunter

January 11, 2022 at 9:56 am

Karl Marx’s Christmas Present

Thirty years have passed since this wonderful moment, fittingly occurring on Christmas Day. I recall sitting in Chicago watching this on TV in amazement.

The Cold War was over.

The following two articles that seem appropriate to the fall of the USSR.

First up is Peter Hitchens amusing anecdote, The last Noël in the USSR. It captures the bleakness of the time:

But when she came to rip open her gifts, the parcels did not contain the things she had hoped for. Instead, they were full of pale, oddly coloured and sometimes faintly dangerous Soviet products, breathing the last enchantments of the 1930s. Mrs Hitchens had queued fiercely to buy these delights in the colossal ‘Children’s World’ department store which stood just across the road from KGB headquarters.

But also the little joys, as well as the knowledge that having tried so hard, the atheistic determination to wipe out Christianity had failed:

Young Pioneers no longer patrolled the wintry streets searching for subversive Christmas trees, as they had done in the early years of the Leninist state. The air no longer trembled with the sound of cathedrals being dynamited, or of great bells being torn from their towers and spitefully smashed, as it had done in Stalin’s day… The League of the Militant Godless, once a huge semi-official organisation dedicated to mockery and hatred of God, of priests and believers, had quietly vanished during the war against Hitler. God had, during that odd period, proved a useful Comrade, at least as long as the war went on.

Looking for a Christmas turkey his wife finds an old woman selling a goose in a side-street. A nervous peasant dressed all in black, fearful of the Russian Mafia that even then was appearing as the KGB faded. The old woman gets more roubles than she can imagine.

I have never in my life eaten a more delicious goose, like a giant wild duck, not greasy as western geese are, tasting as if it had been reared in a snowy forest — because it had been.

The dark afternoon and evening still glitter in my memory. Outside, the brown slush and dirt of Soviet modernity, and the yelling, fist-pounding politics of an evil state (and it truly was) flailing in its death agony. Inside, a distillation of all that was good in our culture and theirs, and crowned with a small and defiant remembrance of the greatest enemy tyranny ever had, Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

December 25, 1991: USSR down at 7:32pm – Russia up at 7:45pm!

The second is an article that shows that, Things could have ended a lot, lot worse:

On December 8, 1991, two communist apparatchiks, Russia’s Boris Yeltsin and Ukraine’s Leonid Kravchuk, and relative political neophyte Byelorussian Stanislav Shushkevich, met at a hunting lodge near the Polish border on December 8. They signed the Belavezha Accords, named after the enveloping forest, dissolving the Soviet Union…Eight more signatures were added to the agreement in the following two weeks. On December 26, 1991, the Soviet flag was lowered for the last time. 

Although the U.S.S.R.’s collapse looks inevitable today, the dissident leaders feared arrest as traitors. Indeed, years later, local KGB head Eduard Shirkovsky said he wished he had done so. Shushkevich dismissed the idea: “I don’t think there was such a threat, given Gorbachev’s cowardice; at least I didn’t feel it.”

I think that’s a very harsh and unfair judgement on Gorbachev, though I understand how detested he is nowadays by his own people for having allowed an empire to be destroyed. He knew that he could have unleashed a still potent KGB and Red Army, invoking vast amounts of bloodshed as his predecessors had, not just in the USSR but in the Warsaw Pact nations. Certainly some of their scumbag leaders had been demanding such for three years, even as they went into the ash heap of history (in the case of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu into the cold soil, courtesy of Christmas Day bullets). But in the end he decided that, Marxist to the core though he was, it just was not worth it.

Nominal communist regimes still exist, but they are knock-offs, systems determined to survive by being different. There is little Marx in China. Cuba also has gone to market to try to save itself. North Korea has enshrined Asian monarchy rather than European philosophy. But no one has attempted to remake Soviet communism. For this, we should thank Mikhail Gorbachev, inadvertently or not one of freedom’s best friends

Zombie Marxism still exists in other places too, most notably in the heart of American academics and Left-wing activism, but that’s a story for the New Year.

Written by Tom Hunter

December 31, 2021 at 2:00 pm

Ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties – and Witches

Thanks to wind, rain, cold temperatures and of course the Great Lockdown, Halloween in Auckland will suck this year.

I’ve only seen a few decorations up on gateways and doorways, and of course there will be no trick-or-treating – although it looks like we have a few rule-breakers on that front in our area, to go with other such rule-breaking that’s been happening in recent weeks.

But we’re not going to see anything as spectacular as the American displays, which are hog-wild at times. The following photo is from Sleepy Hollow in Upper New York State and given its history and connection with famous literature they really put on a show for Halloween, which my wife and daughter were lucky enough to see a few years ago.

Or this one with all the dolls.

After my beloved daughter, The Artiste, had been absent for the last three Halloween’s I was looking forward to her creations. She creates, Tatuś is the one that does the bloody work.

But it is not to be this year. As with everything else I’m looking forward to 2022, unwise as that may be.

You can see some other classics that I collected two years ago on this post: the following one is probably my favourite although the work involved must have been daunting.

October 31st is also a famous religious date for another reason, because this is the day that Roman Catholic priest Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to a church door in Wittenberg, kicking off the Reformation that saw the church split and the Protestant faiths created, along with 200 years of godawful warfare across Europe.

This religious warfare and the associated propaganda is part and parcel of an aspect of Witches that we don’t naturally celebrate, even as adults and kids dress up, and this article really gets into it, The Witch Craze: Fact or Fiction. First up is the Common Wisdom:

During the Middle Ages, the misogynist Catholic Church burned nine million women because they were practitioners of a peaceful, universal, goddess-worshipping religion that had existed since the Stone Age. The woman-hating Judeo-Christian tradition and bloodthirsty Western Civilization drove this Pagan religion underground. With the coming of the Enlightenment and the primacy of science over faith, the witch hunt stopped.  

The National Film Board of Canada documentary “The Burning Times” recounts this history. Dan Brown tells this very tale in “The DaVinci Code.” You can read it on page 105 here.

I’m not fond of the term “Revisionist History” because we’re constantly chewing over history, as we should: it’s mostly revisionist. But as with many other things, there is Revisionist History that’s welcomed – such as that around aspects of European and American culture and history that was celebrated up until quite recently – and Revisionist History such as the above which is not welcome. The reason is that the former reinforces the current Narrative while the latter does not.

Here’s a fact that’s even spookier than ghoulies and ghosties. Not a single element of the above-told witch narrative is true. Even scarier: because humanity hasn’t faced up to the witch craze, we haven’t learned the necessary harsh lessons, and we are all too likely to repeat the witch craze’s demented destruction. In fact we may be all too close to that reenactment right now.

The article is lengthy and packed with links to scholarly articles and recent works of history. It won’t come as a surprise that much of the above arises from ancient propaganda wars, first from Protestants against the Catholic church, and secondly from the heroes of The Enlightenment. But some key points:

  • The witch burnings happened not in the Middle Ages or the Dark Ages, but in the Early Modern Period c.1500-1700.
  • Most of the witch burnings happened in Protestant Germany, not Catholic Spain, Poland, Italy, Ireland or Orthodox Russia. One weird fact was that “Scottish witch-hunting was ‘twelve times more intense’ than witch hunting in England.” I’d no idea my Scottish ancestors were quite such assholes, nor that Witches were a thing in the glens.
  • The nine million figure came by extrapolating those numbers across Europe, courtesy of a guy called Voigt who was sucking up to German Protestant hero Frederick The Great.
  • The real figure appears to be a still horrific 40-60,000 victims over 200 years across the entire continent.
  • “The term “Dark Ages” is a misnomer, invented to serve polemics, not accuracy. During the so-called “Dark Ages,” significant advances were made in the arts, mass literacy, and agriculture”.
  • Placing the witch burnings in those earlier times aids the whole Enlightenment ethos that people just get better, smarter, and more ethical as time goes on, especially after the “Enlightenment”.
  • The Inquisition had bugger all to do with these trials. In fact the likes of Alonso de Salazar Frias, an actual Spanish Inquisitor, became known as “The Witches’ Advocate” because his investigations so often found the evidence to be crap, which fitted in nicely with the Catholic approach that whether one was the accused or the accuser the claims of such magic had no merit.
  • A German Jesuit priest, Friedrich Spee, was present at the Wurzburg witch trials, one of the worst, and he published a book in 1631 called Cautio Criminalis that helped bring such trials to an end (no Dan Brown story or movie for that I’ll bet).
  • “Witch hunts were a collaboration between lower-level authorities and commonfolk succumbing to garden-variety pettiness, vindictiveness, superstition and hysteria …”
  • Witchcraft trials and burnings seem to be multi-casual, covering pagan beliefs that hung on about fertility and agriculture, The Little Ice Age, and old woman (whom young woman often accused).

There are two small quotes that should be highlighted. The first involving the Nazis:

Top Nazi Heinrich Himmler was obsessed with manufacturing a Nazi-friendly history of the witch trials. In 1935, he began the Hexenkartothek. This project’s goal was to discredit the Catholic Church, and prove that the witch craze was a manifestation of Catholic hatred for German women. The witches, Himmler believed, were survivals of an authentic, indigenous German Paganism. Nazi theorist Alfred Rosenberg mentioned the witch trials repeatedly in his classic Nazi text, “The Myth of the Twentieth Century.”

The second a reflection on our current world:

German scholar Rainer Decker discovered, “much to his surprise,” that “the papacy” and “the Roman and Spanish Inquisitions” “functioned as forces of skepticism and restraint.” Decker’s work resists the fake witch narrative “that mistakenly portrays the papacy as fanning rather than quelling the flames of the witchcraft mania sweeping northern Europe from the mid-sixteenth century onward.”

Decker’s book currently has zero reviews on Amazon. “The DaVinci Code,” that tells the fake witch narrative, has over 8,000 reviews.

As the darkness closes on All Saints’ Eve, you should kick back and enjoy a little revisionist reading.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 31, 2021 at 5:02 pm

I was informed that these were OTT comparisons to NZ

Vaccine certificate will be central to the new ‘traffic-light’ system – RNZ

It is that sort of comparison that causes the opponents of the current Lockdowns to be ridiculed. And no, you won’t be able to convince me that basically I am (and just about everyone I know) is just the same as the Nazi SS.

It’s certainly time to re-visit this goodie, even if she has resigned, because luckily you’ll still be able to laugh without a vaccine certificate.

TV ONE … PRISONER TO WOKE?

Rhetorical question … don’t bother answering unless you’ve sold your soul to St Jacinda of Woke. So, in the item regarding the murder of Conservative MP, Sir Richard Amess, no mention at all that his killer was a Brit who had converted to Islam … edited out … just that it was being treated as a terrorist attack.

Is TV One so cowed by she who would pull on the hijab at the slightest opportunity and who dishes out largess to public broadcasting that they are incapable of telling it how it is.

New Zealand … the way you’ve got it.

Written by The Veteran

October 16, 2021 at 6:33 pm

We’re never going back to normal

At least according to a senior Australian health official.

It won’t matter if you’re vaccinated, double-jabbed or whatever apparently, even to levels of 80% or more in the eligible population. The future will be one of Covid-19 booster shots forever, masks indoors and outdoors, social distancing, and with the occasional lockdown thrown in anyway – just in case.

We’ve had similar language used here in New Zealand by Professor Michael Baker

“University of Otago epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker told Stuff we may never return to level 1, with mask wearing becoming a feature of our lives for the foreseeable future.”

“Unfortunately this is the new reality,” he said.”

“There isn’t a utopia of living with the virus in the future. It may be quite grim.”

… so I guess the following could be our future as well.

What’s the limiting principle here? How much tyranny is acceptable in the name of “saving lives,” and where does it end?

Based on what I’ve seen and heard of our politicians here, our Public Health leaders, senior police and 75% of the voters, plus the uselessness of our Bill of Rights and the courts who make judgements on it, I think what we’re seeing in Australia is in our future as well.