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Free speech just twenty years ago

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One of my favourite movies is Bull Durham, the story of a Triple-A baseball catcher, “Crash” Davis, who “gets sent down to the bus leagues” (Single-A) so that he can teach a wild young pitcher, Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh, how to pitch well enough to get to the Majors.

But also in the mix is Baseball groupie Annie Savoy, who’s also trying to teach Ebby how to grow up.

It’s a romantic sports comedy and while YMMV on the actors Kevin Costner (“Crash”), Tim Robbins (Ebby) and Susan Sarandon (Annie) they had chemistry together, plus a nice backup of other characters, a good story and smart dialogue. The movie got critical raves and did well at the box office when it was released in 1988.

Then, fifteen years later, the movie was back in the news:

In 2003, the Baseball Hall of Fame planned a celebration to honor “Bull Durham’s” 15th anniversary. The two-day event, slated for April 26-27 in Cooperstown, N.Y., got canceled due to recent, anti-war remarks from the film’s co-stars Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins.

Hall of Fame president Dale Petroskey made the call, fearing the stars would turn the event into an anti-war screed. He alerted the duo, then a romantic couple, via a Fed Ex’d letter.

“There was a chance of politics being injected into the Hall during these sensitive times, and I made a decision to not take that chance,” Petroskey, who once served as White House assistant press secretary under President Reagan, said at the time.

I could kind of understand that, given how hot feelings were running about the war at the time, and certainly Robbins and Sarandon had already got a lot of hate and are both very left-wing, so there’s no doubt Petroskey’s concerns were real.

But it was still bullshit and Robbins understandably hit the roof:

“You belong with the cowards and ideologues in a hall of infamy and shame Indeed, you offer a vision of free speech that is deeply incompatible with the concept of “uninhibited, robust and wide open” debate – a concept that is basic to our democracy. In essence, your fundamental position seems to be that criticism of the President should be suspended in times of war. You suggest that, because of these “sensitive” times “in our nation’s history”, criticism of the President is irresponsible in that “it undermines the U.S. position” and exposes “our troops to even more danger.”

Your claim, however, ignores the possibility that criticism of the President in times of war might have a mediating effect which limits executive overreaching and might even save lives of Americans and Iraqis, combatants as well as civilians. The impact of dissent during times of war is, at the least, a debatable issue. But, there can be little debate about the kind of society in which we would be living if, indeed, there were no discussion and no dissent and if, instead, we all marched lock-step off to war in a paroxysm of patriotic fervor. It is not the kind of society that we would wish for ourselves or our children.”

Robbins is definitely not one of your typical, “dumb” actors, and neither is Sarandon.

But two decades on from that I can’t help thinking that they got huge support from within Hollywood and around the nation as much for being Leftist opponents of a GOP-led war, as for free speech.

Would the same happen today if Robbins and Sarandon took on the Biden Administration, especially about the C-19 measures still being imposed in 2021 and 2022, given the overwhelming Left-wing support for those measures? To be fair to Robbins he has proven more consistent when it comes to free speech. He did initially embrace the government’s pro-lockdown policies at the start of the pandemic, but later he began questioning their value.

Still, there was no outpouring of support for him from fellow progressives on that, as there had been in 2003. Free speech is just not valued as much in Hollywood/Left circles nowadays – in fact in many cases it’s the exact opposite.

Long-time Lefty journalist, Matt Taibbi, sees it as well:

“Yeah, it’s funny, I mean, I was raised in a traditional ACLU liberal, I believed in free speech all my life. That was one of the things, frankly, that attracted me to the Democratic Party when I was a kid, the idea that we were the party that believed in letting everybody have a say, and we’ll just make a better argument, and that’s how the system works,” Taibbi said.

“Apparently, something very dramatic has changed in politics in America, and there’s been a shift. There’s no question about it anymore, that now the parties have had a complete reversal on how they read these issues.”

Written by Tom Hunter

March 30, 2023 at 6:03 am

Courage under fire

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The Nashville Police have released bodycam footage of their officers taking on the woman who invaded a school and shot three adults and three little kids.

It’s an incredible six minutes from the time Officer Engelbert drives up to when he puts down the woman shooter. The last part includes footage from one of the other officers who also fired on the woman.

It’s also a massive, if implicit and unstated rebuke to the gutless Uvalde Police who loitered around for literally hours while little kids were being shot in that school and they talked of the need for body armour. You’ll not that these officers went in without it, knowing the risks but also knowing that time was of the essence.

Actually it’s also a silent rebuke to our crowd who stood around at Albert Park last Saturday watching the Trannies get their rocks off assaulting woman.

As this article makes clear however, the MSM are the same in the USA as they are here in supporting the Narrative of the age, which is apparently uncontested support – I would say worship – of Trans Activists.

While the motive is still being investigated, unfortunately Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media are already doing their thing in blaming the right and their respect for the Second Amendment along with the alleged “hate” they have for transgender persons, as evidenced by ABC News “reporter” Terry Moran’s heavily biased report pointing to legislation passed by the Tennessee legislature and signed into law earlier this month by Gov. Bill Lee that heavily restricts drag queen shows and in essence outlaws gender-affirming healthcare services for minors.

Relatedly, the Washington Post disgustingly tried to link Rep. Andy Ogles to the Nashville mass shooting (which occurred in his Congressional district) because he once posted a Christmas photo of him, his wife and children holding firearms.

Of course they did.


Written by Tom Hunter

March 29, 2023 at 11:40 am

The Twitter Files – an Index

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I haven’t covered this at all and I should have considering how big a story it has been.

Suffice to say that the MSM have almost completely ignored it, but to me that just demonstrates how increasingly out of touch they are with the public and how they’re being left behind by Internet news sources like Substack and others.

What the series of reports over the last couple of months has proven is that a group of US government agencies, Leftist NGO’s and private sector Social Media corporations, all worked together over the last few years to push US government misinformation – aka lies – on to the public while at the same time silencing any voices that tried to speak up against this.

While the primary social media proof comes from Twitter – thanks entirely to new owner Elon Musk opening up the guts of the old corporate to examination by journalists like Matt Taibbi, Michael Shellenberger, Bari Weiss and others – there’s no doubt that similar efforts were also underway involving Facebook, Google and other such corporations.

It’s a massive and likely ongoing breach of the 1st Amendment by the US government and it seems to have been led less by the politicians than bureaucracies that report to the President: the CDC, NIAID, NIH being the primary malefactors in the C-19 area, with the FBI the main one on the 2020 elections (especially with Hunter Biden) and the the January 6 Capitol riots, but the CIA is there as well.

The subjects on which this combination of censorship and propaganda have opearated have ranged from C-19 lockdowns, masks and vaccine mandates, to Hunter Biden’s laptop and the 2020 US elections.

Racket News have set up an website that indexes all of the Twitter files produced to date and updates them constantly (the latest as of this writing is Twitter #19 on March ) and also provides a summary of each one. I’ve added it to the Sidebar here under the Reference / News label.

The originals were all published first on Twitter, undoubtedly because Musk wants the traffic. But Twitter is of course not a good forum for long-firm articles, which is why the others have steadily transferred them to better formats. Unfortunately the index goes only to the original Twitter threads.

To me the most biggest ones are as follows:

  • TF 10 (Zweig), TF 13 (Berenson) & TF 19 (Taibbi) – Rigging the Covid-19 debate
    Including outright lies. Twitter personnel who’d liaised with Biden administration officials who were “very angry” that Twitter had not deplatformed more accounts. There were “countless” instances of Twitter banning or labeling “misleading” accounts that were true or merely controversial. A Rhode Island physician named Andrew Bostom, for instance, was suspended for, among other things, referring to the results of a peer-reviewed study on mRNA vaccines.

    Stanford University worked with four think-tanks (several the recipients of state awards) and multiple government agencies to create a cross-platform JIRA ticketing system called the Virality Project (VP) for seven major Internet platforms, including Twitter, Facebook/Instagram, Google/YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest, and Medium… “seeding doubt and uncertainty in authoritative voices” like Facui’s “leads to a society that finds it too challenging to identify what’s true or false.” Therefore, people need to be shielded from difficult truths. 
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Written by Tom Hunter

March 29, 2023 at 6:00 am

His posture toward adversaries was one of reflexive appeasement…

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… He seemed to equate passivity in the face of provocation with Christian virtue.”

That’s from an essay reviewing Jimmy Carter’s Presidency. It also contains links to other essays on the subject.

But it sounds very familiar.

Written by Tom Hunter

March 28, 2023 at 7:07 am

Posted in Religion, US Politics, USA

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I guess you were sick the day they taught law at law school

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It’s an old staple of comedic movies and TV shows to have a lawyer character who just isn’t very good at law, usually because they just don’t know much law. Think Dennis Denuto in The Castle (“It’s the vibe of it”)

In every case you’re always left asking how that could possibly be, since law schools are so tough and passing the bar exam is, in some ways, even tougher.

But there are law schools…. and then there are law schools like Stanford:

Stanford Law School is requiring all students to attend educational programming on free speech after protesters interrupted a speech by a conservative federal judge earlier this month. The law school will hold ‘a mandatory half-day session in spring quarter for all students on the topic of freedom of speech and the norms of the legal profession,’ Stanford Law School Dean Jenny Martinez said in a public letter to students Wednesday.

Excuse me? Shouldn’t people have been taught something about the 1st Amendment in Introduction to the Constitution 101 or whatever it might be called? And who will be the speakers? Will the students listen?

Will the students learn?

I think the answer is that they know very well what the 1st Amendment is and they just don’t give a shit. But judging from the following perhaps it is just pig ignorance:

That guy is already a judge, Judge Kato Crews, and he’s the Biden nominee for the US District Court for the District of Colorado. Actually that Twitter thread has a collection of other Biden legal nominees with the same problem, Article five is not coming to mind” (neither did Article II).

Who would hire such people? Aside from Democrat Party administrations of course, for whom it is only necessary to be a rubber stamp for whatever the party decides.

Written by Tom Hunter

March 28, 2023 at 6:26 am

You Say Tomato (I Say Tōmato)

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Unfortunately we can’t just call the whole thing off.

The “thing” being the war waged on speech that allows some people to get away with saying stuff that others get punished for. It’s part of the free speech fight but given that one side doesn’t give a damn about that anymore – “Free speech has consequences” (said in the best Mafia boss tone) – it’s pointless to continue to appeal to their better angels.

No, they’re going to have to be subjected to the same punishments that they mete out to others. It’s rather like when a system of law, order and justice just breaks down completely because people lose faith in it. At that point a war happens and if one is lucky the result of the war is a chance to re-build those systems now that exhausted, damaged people can once again see the benefits of not handing out “consequences” themselves and having standards that everybody agrees need to apply to everybody.

In case you’re not familiar with the events behind that cartoon, here’s the background:

Adams, who said he’s a Democrat who’s “left of Bernie,” used his whiteboard later in the episode to sketch out how he thinks the cancel cycle worked in his case.”

Last Wednesday on his YouTube livestream, he riffed off the results of a Rasmussen Reports poll that asked whether people agreed with the statement “It’s OK to be white.” Among Black respondents, 26% disagreed with the statement and 21% said they were not sure — a total of 47% who didn’t think it was OK to be white.”

The seemingly innocuous phrase “It’s OK to be white” was co-opted in 2017 for an online trolling campaign that originated on discussion board 4chan and was aimed at baiting liberals and the media, the Anti-Defamation League said in a statement at the time. The phrase also has a history of use among white supremacists.”

“If nearly half of all Blacks are not OK with white people … that’s a hate group. And I don’t want anything to do with them,” Adams said Wednesday. “And based on how things are going, the best advice I could give to white people is to get the hell away from Black people. Just get the fuck away. Wherever you have to go, just get away. ’Cause there’s no fixing this. This can’t be fixed.”

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Super Villains

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As the power of computers continues to increase, ordinary people are beginning to discover just how much of that power they have in their hands.

With the right software, imagination and a bit of practice, you can create works of art that would have only been possible for professional outfits even just a decade ago.

The Breaking Bad on Nickelodeon animation that I put up the other day being a good example.

And then there’s this guy, who portrayed all the US Presidents as if they were Pixar characters, and then decided….

Hits and misses there of course: what can you really do with Calvin Coolidge, Jimmy Carter or William Henry Harrison, who died from pneumonia after just 31 days as President?
This is my favourite cartoon villain President, although the Eisenhower one does capture the Atomic Science Fiction 1950’s look pretty well.

Written by Tom Hunter

March 27, 2023 at 7:21 am

Posted in USA, US Politics, Technology, Art

Running from Woke

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The Left is not quite at that point yet, but between the likes of Trad Lefties such as Chris Trotter and “Bomber” Bradbury slamming the whole thing as failing because…

rather than debating the material well being of citizens, we are lost in middle class identity politics virtue signalling…

… and the enormous failures of Left-wing parties around the world to improve that “material well being”, I’d say the Woke are on the verge of getting crucified by their supposed allies.

Which is entirely fair since this toxic Black Hole of an ideology will otherwise crucify the Left.

But the real tell that Peak Woke is here is that many on the Left who were extolling this term just a few years ago are now running away from it as far and as fast as possible, all while trying to pull the standard “It’s just RWNJ Scare Mongering”.

Yeah. That bullshit doesn’t even fly with honest Lefties, like US Comedian Bill Maher, who spotted the start of the turn in 2022.

“James Carville knew how to win, and he blamed the Democratic losses this November 2nd on “Stupid Wokeness”. To which AOC fired back that… ‘Wokeness is a term used almost exclusively by older people, so that should tell you all you need to know.’


This is a term folks like you brought out very recently and have been proudly displaying at every march since.

Just last year The Guardian declared ‘Woke’, ‘the word of our era’.

I guess they didn’t get the message from the Mean Girls Club: ‘We don’t use that emoji anymore. Huh! Woke? Please. We say fetch now.

I’ve covered the rise of this crap in posts like, The Democrats are not learning (which also looked at the associated BS of Critical Race Theory in schools), and the varied roots of it Where did Wokeness come from?

Left with a set of theories that don’t seem to work on their own but complement each other well, one could embrace a synthesis: a perfect-storm viewin which all these different phenomena happen at once. Thus, a certain brand of overprotective parent raised a generation of kids susceptible, in an era of declining religiosity, to morally urgent ideologies. The theory-suffused academy was happy to supply such an ideology, which these kids took up with gusto upon arriving on campus, despite its evident shortcomings.

But it’s always good to see it reviewed again, and with a different angle, as with Commentary Magazine’s Dear Wokesters, You Named Yourselves, which covers the current excuse-making about “RWNJs” but brings more receipts for the Left:

In 2014, after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the #staywoke hashtag became a digital rallying cry around Black Lives Matter activism. Then, in the Trump years, progressives freed the slogan from its BLM context and deployed it wherever needed. Which is why you’d see pieces in the New York Times such as, “In Defense of ‘Woke,’” by Damon Young. In 2017, a photo of a baby wearing a “stay woke” sign at a Women’s March event went viral.  Stacey Abrams spoke at something called the “stay woke” rally in 2018. When the pandemic hit in 2020, #stayhome #staywoke hashtags appeared on liberal Twitter. By the time George Floyd was killed by Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, every white liberal interested in signaling his revolutionary sympathies was advertising his wokeness.

As Aja Romano noted candidly in Vox in October 2020, “‘woke’ has evolved into a single-word summation of leftist political ideology, centered on social justice politics and critical race theory. This framing of ‘woke’ is bipartisan: It’s used as a shorthand for political progressiveness by the left, and as a denigration of leftist culture by the right.”

I guess our denigration of the term has been a success, judging by the way the Western Left is dumping it:

Sorry, wokesters. Live by the hashtag, die by the hashtag. It’s not our fault that you made yourselves easy targets of parody and derision. You took every scattered strain of ill-considered social-justice leftism—from defunding the police to erasing biological sex—put it in a box, wrapped it in a bow, and labeled it “woke.” And it turned out to be a gift to the right.

As always read the whole article.

More than half (56.3%) of liberal white women…

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…. age 18-29 have been diagnosed with a mental health condition. That’s more than DOUBLE the percentage (27.3%) of conservative white women in the same age bracket.

Not self-diagnosed, like people do on Instagram, but actually diagnosed by a medical professional as having a mental health disorder.

Complete with a chart (you should always have a chart)

It explains a lot, from the recent explosion of Trans, to the worshipful, uncritical support of Jacinda Ardern by this group of woman in New Zealand, to what I wrote about the other day in The Sabbath and The Experience Machine:

Could it be that the modern world — the Western world, and every world dominated by modernity (e.g., Japan, South Korea) — has become disenchanted, feels itself dissolving in Chaos, and is choosing to die by not reproducing? It’s commonly observed that primitive tribes often do not survive contact with modern men. It’s not a matter of disease. It’s that those societies, and the individuals within them, can’t withstand the psychic shock of having their religious worldview shattered, even if they stand to live better materially as modern people.

But why? Why are these “Liberal” (US meaning Left-wing or Progressive) woman so miserable? What about Progressive Men in this age group?

Written by Tom Hunter

March 22, 2023 at 11:40 am

Black Country Woman

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So Disney has fired one Victoria Alonso – Marvel’s 2iC and Woke Lesbian Hispanic – after a string of flops at the movies and on Disney streaming.

I mention her race, sex and sexual preferences because it was believed these were the armour that made her unfireable, no matter how shit her performance.

I don’t think this will rescue Marvel or Disney. There are plenty more like her and while they might keep their heads down a little more, they’re going to continue to push their crap into every movie and TV show they can.

There may be self-imposed limits to this however.

And now a word from the old world that Ms Alonso and company are trying to destroy.

Of course one of the weird things about the new world that these progressives are trying to build is how similar it is to one older than ours that I grew up being told needed to be destroyed, and had been by the 2000’s – a world of misogynistic sexists who hate woman and want to bend them to their will.

Some feminists did see the obvious.

Of course there are some very old things that I too think need destroying…

Still, I must thank Mitch McConnell for stopping Merrick Garland’s nomination for the Supreme Court. I didn’t realise at the time that America dodged a bullet when this nasty Democrat partisan got shit-canned.

Actually they did eventually find the shotgun – about twenty feet away from where the body fell.