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Angelo Codevilla on our Ruling Class

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He was killed by a drunk driver a few days ago while walking along a footpath. He was 78 and had just recovered from Covid-19.

Life eh?

You’ve probably never heard of the man. I had not until 2010 when he wrote a seminal article, America’s Ruling Class. But he had quite a background, outlined here, as a keen critic of the Pentagon and a progenitor of the Strategic Defense Initiative that Reagan pushed.

Among his many fine books are a translation of Machiavelli’s Prince, and several books on war, strategy, and intelligence that hold up very well even at a remove of 30 years in some cases. Especially recommended is his book The Character of Nations, which holds up very well because it draws upon vast historical learning that never goes out of style. His co-authored book with Paul Seabury, War: Ends and Means, is also a fantastic primer on how to take warfare seriously. And his book on intelligence, Informing Statecraft, is also a classic that can be read to great use today, because it was less about transient facts such as the Soviet Union and more about the defective culture of our “intelligence” community.

A learned but practical man then, not ignorant of politics and bureaucracy.

But back to that 2010 article, which I strongly urge you to read in light of all that has happened since. For me these are the key excerpts:

As over-leveraged investment houses began to fail in September 2008, the leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties, of major corporations, and opinion leaders stretching from the National Review magazine (and the Wall Street Journal) on the right to the Nation magazine on the left, agreed that spending some $700 billion to buy the investors’ “toxic assets” was the only alternative to the U.S. economy’s “systemic collapse.” In this, President George W. Bush and his would-be Republican successor John McCain agreed with the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama. Many, if not most, people around them also agreed upon the eventual commitment of some 10 trillion nonexistent dollars in ways unprecedented in America. They explained neither the difference between the assets’ nominal and real values, nor precisely why letting the market find the latter would collapse America. 

Fear! The strange thing is that it was the MSM, with their usual addiction to fear pornography, plus many other political and “thought” leaders who seemed to be more frightened than the public. Moreover, when the time came to shove money at the banks, a number of the largest objected, for the simple and sound reason that they weren’t the ones who had indulged in the CDO insanity and were not in trouble. But the collective won out.

The public objected immediately, by margins of three or four to one. When this majority discovered that virtually no one in a position of power in either party or with a national voice would take their objections seriously, that decisions about their money were being made in bipartisan backroom deals with interested parties, and that the laws on these matters were being voted by people who had not read them, the term “political class” came into use. 

Then, after those in power changed their plans from buying toxic assets to buying up equity in banks and major industries but refused to explain why, when they reasserted their right to decide ad hoc on these and so many other matters, supposing them to be beyond the general public’s understanding, the American people started referring to those in and around government as the “ruling class.”

And in fact Republican and Democratic office holders and their retinues show a similar presumption to dominate and fewer differences in tastes, habits, opinions, and sources of income among one another than between both and the rest of the country. They think, look, and act as a class.

He makes it clear that the Republican’s “pivot” on some of these things was meaningless partisanship:

Although after the election of 2008 most Republican office holders argued against the Troubled Asset Relief Program, against the subsequent bailouts of the auto industry, against the several “stimulus” bills and further summary expansions of government power to benefit clients of government at the expense of ordinary citizens, the American people had every reason to believe that many Republican politicians were doing so simply by the logic of partisan opposition. After all, Republicans had been happy enough to approve of similar things under Republican administrations. Differences between Bushes, Clintons, and Obamas are of degree, not kind.

No prominent Republican challenged the ruling class’s continued claim of superior insight, nor its denigration of the American people as irritable children who must learn their place. The Republican Party did not disparage the ruling class, because most of its officials are or would like to be part of it.

But it is the following passages that are the key point about this new class, which increasingly apply across the Western democracies, and which lead to things like this, and this from our “leaders”. Codevilla contrasts the past American rulers with those of today:

Never has there been so little diversity within America’s upper crust. Always, in America as elsewhere, some people have been wealthier and more powerful than others. But until our own time America’s upper crust was a mixture of people who had gained prominence in a variety of ways, who drew their money and status from different sources and were not predictably of one mind on any given matter. The Boston Brahmins, the New York financiers, the land barons of California, Texas, and Florida, the industrialists of Pittsburgh, the Southern aristocracy, and the hardscrabble politicians who made it big in Chicago or Memphis had little contact with one another. Few had much contact with government, and “bureaucrat” was a dirty word for all. So was “social engineering.” Nor had the schools and universities that formed yesterday’s upper crust imposed a single orthodoxy about the origins of man, about American history, and about how America should be governed.

Actual diversity then, even within the ranks of the wealthy and powerful.

All that has changed. Today’s ruling class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits. These amount to a social canon of judgments about good and evil, complete with secular sacred history, sins (against minorities and the environment), and saints. Using the right words and avoiding the wrong ones when referring to such matters — speaking the “in” language — serves as a badge of identity. Regardless of what business or profession they are in, their road up included government channels and government money because, as government has grown, its boundary with the rest of American life has become indistinct. Many began their careers in government and leveraged their way into the private sector. Some, e.g., Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, never held a non-government job. Hence whether formally in government, out of it, or halfway, America’s ruling class speaks the language and has the tastes, habits, and tools of bureaucrats. It rules uneasily over the majority of Americans not oriented to government.

He then contrasts this ruling class with the rest of America:

The two classes have less in common culturally, dislike each other more, and embody ways of life more different from one another than did the 19th century’s Northerners and Southerners — nearly all of whom, as Lincoln reminded them, “prayed to the same God.” By contrast, while most Americans pray to the God “who created and doth sustain us,” our ruling class prays to itself as “saviors of the planet” and improvers of humanity. Our classes’ clash is over “whose country” America is, over what way of life will prevail, over who is to defer to whom about what. The gravity of such divisions points us, as it did Lincoln, to Mark’s Gospel: “if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”

See also:

The Hunger Masks
Do as I say, not as I do
Generational Toxicity
A second American Civil War

Written by Tom Hunter

September 23, 2021 at 12:35 pm

This is why Generals don’t do Foreign Policy

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The other day I did a post on General Milley’s breach of the US military chain of command and interference in US foreign policy in the waning days of the Trump Administration, Seven Days in January: why General Milley must resign.

Because of the incredibly toxic politicisation of every aspect of life in the USA, this breach has been condemned only by retired military officers and the Republican Party. The Democrats apparently see no problem with something that they have always supposedly been in terror of for decades – the military ignoring or going outside the civilian chain of command.

President “Softserve” Biden apparently has no issue with Milley, presumably because he can’t imagine a situation where a Milley might pull the same stunt on him. Biden is completely fine with his constitutional powers being usurped. If Milley sought to substitute his judgment for that of Trump, what stops him from doing the same thing with Biden? Yet, Biden professes not to care, which shows Biden’s incompetence, yet again.

But aside from the seriously bad constitutional problems raised by all this inside the USA, there’s also the fact that Milley’s intervention may be having unintentional consequences in foreign policy, even aside from the weakness that Biden has exhibited with the Afghanistan rout.

First of all, here’s Milley’s telephone counterpart in those now-infamous calls, senior General Li Zuocheng, making himself very clear back in May of this year:

Li Zuocheng, chief of the Joint Staff Department and member of the Central Military Commission told Beijing’s Great Hall of the People: ‘If the possibility for peaceful reunification is lost, the people’s armed forces will, with the whole nation, including the people of Taiwan, take all necessary steps to resolutely smash any separatist plots or actions.’

Then on September 9 came this from the editor of China’s state-run media Global Times:

The latest came just the other day from a senior Chinese government official.

Milley’s phonecall should be put into the perspective of this speech he made in 2015:

Perhaps in 2015 I would have agreed with Milley, but they obviously view themselves as the enemy of the USA, otherwise we would not be seeing flexing shit like this. “Friends” don’t address each other the way they are talking to other nations and threatening them, including obviously now the USA.

The theory of deterrence applies not just in the realm of nuclear warfare, but to conventional warfare. Right now, between Biden and his incompetent and deluded Administration, including obviously the senior levels of the Pentagon and intelligence services, China is not being deterred.

They might well fail in a military adventure against Taiwan or in the South China Sea. But stopping them from trying in the first place is perhaps more important, and simply announcing something like the new AUKUS pact, which will not become practicable for perhaps five years, is not be enough.

On that note I did appreciate this pushback. Nice to see there are still Navy boys with a spine.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 19, 2021 at 6:00 am

Posted in China, Military, US Politics, USA

Tagged with

Minaj à trois

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There’s definitely a lot of weird shit going on at the moment around the world.

None weirder than Chinese Xi Snot’s effect on otherwise seemingly normal people, turning them into frightened, fearful souls who have become toxic to friends and family and wear masks on a beach and in parks.

With politicians it’s been quite the opposite: power mad control freaks doesn’t even begin to cover them, almost without exception.

So it should not be a surprise to see pushback coming from unexpected places. Weird places – like Nicki Minaj.

You don’t know who she is? Of course you don’t. Few people over the age of 30 would:

Onika Tanya Maraj-Petty (born December 8, 1982), known professionally as Nicki Minaj, is a Trinidadian-born rapper, singer, and songwriter. She is known for her animated flow in her rapping and versatility as a recording artist.

Minaj is one of the best selling female artists of all time with 100 million records sold worldwide. Her numerous accolades include eight American Music Awards, five MTV Video Music Awards, twelve BET Awards, four Billboard Music Awards, a Brit Award, and a Guinness World RecordBillboard ranked her the top female rapper of the 2010s, as well as ranking her seventh among the top female artists of the decade.

Nicki Minaj

She also has 22 million followers on Twitter and 175 million on Instagram. In other words she’s a very big deal in terms of youth culture. Like other celebrities she talks a lot of shit because attention is like oxygen for these people, while also feeding their vast incomes, which in turn pushes them to being even crazier.

This includes giving health advice, as actress Gwyneth Paltrow has done for years, while also selling vagina-scented candles.

Her vagina to be specific.

You therefore probably don’t want to know about Sandra Bullock’s penis facialswhere Josh Brolin got sunburned, or what’s in the Kardashians’ smoothies. But rest assured that Demi Moore only uses “highly trained medical leeches.

In particular the anti-vaccine movement has been powered for years before now by the likes of Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey, Robert Kennedy Jr. and other anti-vaccine activists who were given a welcome platform by Oprah Winfrey, The View (beloved by the Jacinda demographic of women viewers in their 50’s) and other MSM places.

But all of this has usually been treated as an eye-rolling joke by both the Left and the Right, as well as by the government, even when it came to Public Health Care. The attitude was that there will always be a fringe, but they’re not going to have an effect, even with masses of followers.

Until now. The shit storm stated with this Tweet from Minaj.

While I’m no medical expert I really can’t see how an mRNA vaccine would make your testicles swell up as well as causing impotence. But as I said, this is just the usual celebrity bullshit.

The immediate pushback came from fellow media personalities, though nobody with Minaj’s number of followers. There were critical pieces about her at CNNVoxCNBC, the BBC, the American late-night comics made her the butt of their jokes. But it was MSNBC’s Joy Reid, who did a whole segment denouncing Minaj, that really got things going:

Joy Reid

“You have a platform, sister, that is 22 million followers, okay. I have two million followers. You have 22 million followers on Twitter. For you to use your platform to encourage our community to not protect themselves and save their lives, my God, sister, you could do better than that.”

Minaj did not back down. She called Reid a “lying homophobic coon” (Reid has history) and an “Uncle Tomiana”, among other things.

Minaj also revealed that she’s not vaxxed…

The Met was the fancy NYC ball party I posted on the other day, where Lefty hypocrites of all stripes gathered.

So things escalated further. Saint Anthony Fauci felt the need to go on national TV to talk this down. The awesome power of the USA Today and PolitiFact “fact checkers” went into action. Even the Whitehouse reached out, offering a doctor with expertise (not Fauci I presume).

This reaction was beyond belief considering how such people have been ignored by TPTB in the past. But things went even crazier when Tucker Carlson, the Great White Hated of the US Left, covered the story and made the following point :

“The part where she says you should pray on it. Make the decision yourself, like a free human being and “don’t be bullied”. So our media and public health officials didn’t like this because they make their livings bullying people. So they couldn’t let it stand.”

And then she Tweeted out that clip.

MELTDOWN. There was the usual Leftie Tweet Mass Attack that a reference to Carlson invites. But Minaj hit back at those too (in keeping with the rap/hip hop ethos, she fights).

If you’ve wondered why Trump’s 2020 vote share rose among Blacks and Hispanics, this is yet another example.

Minaj has crossed a line that public-health experts, the MSM, and many politicians are enforcing hard around the world. She committed a sin they cannot ignore or forgive, which is to defy them on this issue. It’s been quite a thing watching the spectacle of the entire US medical, MSM, Entertainment (in particular since she’s one of them) and political establishments bringing all of their weight to bear upon her.

That’s because they’re increasingly desperate, so every claim, no matter how spectacularly outlandish and no matter the source, must be policed by our public-health-disinformation watchers, because those gullible masses could be swayed by any blasphemy.

The thing is that’s not going to work. All of these establishment health experts and MSM fact-checkers are putting enormous effort into an attempt to persuade the kinds of people who instinctively reject the recommendations of establishment health experts and barely pay any attention to the MSM.

Beyond such sober reactions, the furious and widespread denunciation and mockery of Minaj will also not have the effect the medical, media, entertainment and political establishments think it will. It may even backfire.

Nicki Minaj is not going to be “canceled.” She’s already fabulously wealthy – she’s worth between $80-100 million – so doesn’t need money. Her fan base of tens of millions, possibly hundreds of millions, isn’t going to abandon her if she maintains a vaccine-sceptical position. She utterly rejects the moral authority of her critics and defiance of what other people think is her brand.

They need to pick another target to crush. Ordinary people should do and judging from results to date, the proles may even like it and want it.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 18, 2021 at 2:30 pm

Seven Days in January: why General Milley must resign.

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General Curtis LeMay

After the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 it became known that the famous WWII bomber pilot, General Curtis LeMay, and then US Air Force Chief of Staff, had had a very serious disagreement with President Kennedy. LeMay’s approach was that Cuba had to be bombed and the Soviet nuclear missiles taken out. The USSR would not go nuclear because they knew how badly they were outmatched in nuclear arms.

When Kennedy instead took the option of putting a “quarantine” around the island and negotiating with the Soviets to pull the missiles, LeMay and many other military men were livid.

The outrage was so strong that many Leftists of all shades, with Cold War paranoia rampant and what they believed was the militarisation of the USA, felt that a military coup was now a distinct possibility. So deep was this feeling that key people in Hollywood made a famous conspiracy theory movie about it, with Kennedy’s knowledge and approval.

Welcome to real life in 2021.

The first inkling of something weird came with this report on January 8.

The reaction on the US Right was a mixture of outrage at Pelosi’s relentlessly partisan bullshit and concern at the degree to which she had inserted herself into the chain of command. Pelosi was effectively trying to foment a coup against the legally elected president of the U.S. and interfere with his constitutional powers, when she had no right or ability to do so.

The idea that Trump, the first President since Eisenhower not to launch a war, would suddenly launch a nuclear attack on China seemed, and is, trumped up political insanity. Pelosi may have actually believed this or it may have been yet another of her endless political attacks resulting from her intense partisan hatred of the GOP combined with an ever more personal hatred of Trump. Either way it was a nonsense.

Still, the story did not go anywhere. People shrugged it off as just another crazy Beltway story to go with many others in those days.

Then, in July, a book was published by Washington Post reporters Phil Rucker and Carol Leonnig, “I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year” that carried more details. The authors wrote that Milley and his deputies feared that people close to Trump would advise him to take rash military action such as launching an armed strike, quickly withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan or deploying troops in a way that was related to the election results.

“They may try” but won’t succeed, Milley told his deputies about a possible coup, according to the book. “You can’t do this without the military. You can’t do this without the CIA and the FBI. We’re the guys with the guns.”

Milley declined to comment and Trump haughtily dismissed the claims. Again the story vanished into the ether in about 48 hours. Even the NYT’s Chris Caldwell stated bluntly that “General Milley had no direct evidence of a coup plot”. No he didn’t and of course all this vaunted intelligence that supposedly had Milley preparing for a coup, showed no preparation at all for the “insurrection” of January 6, which raises the question of whether it was just all in his head.

Caldwell titled his piece “What if There Wasn’t a Coup Plot, General Milley?” and put forward this warning:

While some might greet such comments with relief, General Milley’s musings should give us pause. Americans have not usually looked to the military for help in regulating their civilian politics. And there is something grandiose about General Milley’s conception of his place in government. He told aides that a ‘retired military buddy’ had called him on election night to say, ‘You represent the stability of this republic.’ If there was not a coup underway, then General Milley’s comments may be cause more for worry than for relief. Were we really that close to a coup?

For all Mr. Trump’s admiration of military officers, they wound up especially disinclined to accommodate his disorderly governing style

We might be grateful for that. But our gratitude should not extend to giving military leaders any kind of role in judging civilian ones.”

I think Caldwell gives Milley too much credit. I’d already seen enough of the man during his “White rage” Congressional testimony in June to conclude that he was a mediocrity as a political thinker and a drama queen besides. The Afghanistan debacle reinforced that in spades. In fact the degree of “intelligence” and “military preparation” in that situation reminded me very much of Milley in late January.

But in the last few days the biggest blockbuster of them all has come out. A book by the famous Watergate journalist Bob Woodward, which revealed even more details, including claims that Milley had conducted direct phone conversations with his Chinese counterpart because of his fears about Trump:

“In a pair of secret phone calls, Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, assured his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Li Zuocheng of the PLA, that the U.S. would not strike, according to a new book by Bob Woodward & Robert Costa.”

This report claims Milley pledged to alert his CCP counterpart in the event of a U.S. attack, quoting Milley as saying: “General Li, you & I have known each other for now five years. If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise.”

I held back from writing a post simply because I don’t trust Woodward, who has coasted on his Watergate reputation while seeming to invent “quotes” and other “facts” that support his reporting, none worse than his completely implausible claims decades ago about a deathbed confession by former CIA director Bill Casey. Also this could have been reported months ago but Woodward waited until there was a book to sell, so he’s likely adding a lot of spin to help flog it and make money.

That said, he is right much more often than wrong. Woodward seems to use the tactic of the late Robert Novak, who gave people the choice of being sources for his reporting or the target of that reporting – which also leads me to think that the source of this story is fucking Milley himself.

I wanted to see what Milley’s response would be. His denial finally came a couple of days ago from his spokesman Col. Dave Butler. Or was it a denial?

“The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs regularly communicates with Chiefs of Defense across the world, including with China and Russia

These conversations remain vital to improving mutual understanding of U.S. national security interests, reducing tensions, providing clarity and avoiding unintended consequences or conflict…”

His calls with the Chinese and others in October and January were in keeping with these duties and responsibilities conveying reassurance in order to maintain strategic stability…”

Yada, yada, yada. All this did was fan the flames. Here’s the thing with denials. It’s typically useful when giving one to actually deny the thing you are being accused of. This statement doesn’t do that. Instead there’s a bunch of qualifiers and weasel words that any political spin merchant would be proud of.

What we don’t see is any reassurance that he followed the proper chain of command by notifying the president of his actions. Milley also does not deny what Woodward says he told the Chinese. In other words, this denial isn’t a denial at all. Rather, it’s confirmation that he did do what he was accused of.

The key point here is not what exactly was said or not said. It’s the fact of the calls themselves.

Milley claims that he was assuring the Chinese understood our national security interests. But those are not his interests to dictate. A US president is elected to be the civilian head of the military and to lead the nation’s foreign policy. Milley was not elected and he had no right to do what he did, exactly as Caldwelll warned.

In trying to cover for him the Axios media site reported that there were actually two calls from Milley – one on October 30 and one on Jan. 8, the first with 15 people on the line. Supposedly the former was a follow-up to a communication made to the Chinese by Secretary of Defence Mark Esper, because of Pentagon concerns in October that the Chinese were getting bad intelligence about our intentions. However, once again there’s no report that Trump was told about any of this. And the same rule applies to Esper as to Milley:  it isn’t the responsibility of the Secretary of Defence to conduct foreign policy.

But there’s also another problem here. If this report is accurate, they lose their excuse about this being about the election and the fears arising from Jan. 6. But the bigger problem is that Esper wasn’t even Secretary of Defence on Jan. 8 since he was fired in November 2020 and replaced by Christopher Miller. So whose authority was Milley operating under? It wasn’t from Trump or Esper. Miller has since jumped into the story:

Former acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, who led the Pentagon from the period after the 2020 election through Inauguration Day, said that he “did not and would not ever authorize” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley to have “secret” calls with his Chinese counterpart, describing the allegations as a “disgraceful and unprecedented act of insubordination,” and calling on him to resign “immediately.”

In a statement to Fox News, Miller said that the United States Armed Forces, from its inception, has “operated under the inviolable principle of civilian control of the military.”

“The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the highest-ranking military officer whose sole role is providing military-specific advice to the president, and by law is prohibited from exercising executive authority to command forces,” Miller said. “The chain of command runs from the President to the Secretary of Defense, not through the Chairman.”

That last point will probably come as a surprise to many, who just assume all senior military are the same. They’re not and they have very circumscribed roles. The CJCS is not permitted to tell senior military officials that no action should be taken without him being involved.

Retired Army Colonel Douglas McGregor, made that point explicit in a TV interview:

“[The CJCS] has no statutory authority over operational forces of any kind. That means that he is not in a position to order anyone in the armed forces to say or do anything. Can’t do it. He is preeminently the senior military advisor to the president. That’s what he is.”So in theory, before he would make such a phone call, he would discuss the subject of the phone call with the president, the Commander in Chief. He certainly would not do something without coordinating with the National Security Advisor and the Secretary of State because this is beyond defense, this is foreign policy statement he is making.”

What Milley did in conjunction with Pelosi is the biggest breakdown of US constitutional order in modern history. This is a general essentially declaring himself a military dictator (without using the words), calling up foreign adversaries to let them know he had their back and would sell out his own country to give them information. And for what? There is no evidence Donald Trump was going to order an attack on China. Rather, Milley’s actions were driven by his delusional god complex (something hinted at by the NYT’s Caldwell months ago).

But even if you assume Trump was going to do something dangerous, Milley’s obligation would be to refuse the order, resign, and notify Congress. It would not be for him to make secret calls to the Chinese to let them know he’s going to feed them information.

And to have the two most senior Democrats – Pelosi and Schumer (with whom Milley also talked) – be so involved with this means they were committing the very thing of which they accused Trump; a coup.

As is often the case with the Left, their fears have proven to be their desires projected on to their enemies.

As for Milley, a large group of retired Generals and Admirals had already signed a letter demanding that he resign. Some went further and explained why a Court-Martial would be more appropriate. And that was over the Afghanistan rout.

This is far worse than that. He needs to resign or be made to resign right now. Biden won’t do it of course but there are other courses of action.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 17, 2021 at 11:03 am

“Unforeseen” Consequences

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The foremost concern of environmentalists is, of course, the health and well being of the environment.

It’s in their name and all.

So it’s always funny and sad when environmentalists do stuff that blows up in their faces. There are countless examples but in terms of large scale screwups Germany’s decision to shut down its nuclear power stations while also trying to switch the system to wind power is probably the winner. Some €500 million over less than twenty years and all they got was an unreliable network, power prices that have more than tripled, a lot of coal still being burned, plus constantly falling short of their GHG reduction targets. On that last it should be noted that the 2020 Chinese Xi Snot lockdowns and restrictions were a huge help, but that’s not going to be true of 2021 and beyond.

That chart is from 2017 but it’s 2020 forecast of 45 cents per kilowatt hour is not far off where it is right now.

But the latest news from another group of wind farm fanatics, California, is what is really delicious.

As more renewable power has crowded the state’s power grid with traditional power sources switched off, the grid has become more unstable and also unable to meet electrical demand even when its up and running. This has resulted in increasingly frequent summertime calls for people to lay off using power in the crucial 4-9pm slot.

Faced with this, companies and even individuals have begun to turn to, of all things, diesel generators. In fact the state itself has 2,773 stationary and mobile generators in its inventory. Now you would think that the uncompromising Eco-Stasi authorities would crack down on that quick smart. But of course they know if they forced people into that corner even the Liberal Luvvies would revolt. So instead, they’re allowing this to expand and continue. In fact, they’re even helping all this fossil fuel burning along, California wants air pollution rules suspended:

The state’s main grid operator wants the U.S. Department of Energy to suspend air-pollution rules for some natural gas-burning power plants in case their output is needed “to meet demand in the face of extremely challenging conditions including extreme heat waves, multiple fires, high winds, and various grid issues,” according to a filing. The last time California received a waiver of such length and breadth was 21 years ago during the Western Energy Crisis.

Genius. And here you were thinking that the following was just a joke.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 16, 2021 at 6:00 am

When You Think Things Can’t Get Worse……(Updated)

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They do.

So-called investigative journalist Bob Woodward has released a new book in which he claims the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, one General Milley, opined his Commander in Chief was insane. It is further claimed Milley twice phoned his Communist Chinese counterpart to inform him that if he, Milley, thought President Trump was going to order an attack on China, he would give him a call and let him know.

Elsewhere, it is reported a number of Pentagon officials were privy to those phone conversations and are prepared to testify under oath.

On the one hand, one needs to take anything Bob Woodward says with more than a few grains of salt. His record for accuracy has been second only to that of Baghdad Bob since he was spoon fed the Watergate details by a knowledgeable insider.

On the other hand, it is telling that Milley has not issued a denial.

My money is on Woodward this time. Never trust a military man who carries more armour on his chest than you can find on a Sherman tank.

Watch this space.

I was right. https://www.jcs.mil/Media/News/News-Display/Article/2775541/statement-by-joint-staff-spokesperson-chairmans-conversations-with-chiefs-of-de/

Written by adolffinkensen

September 15, 2021 at 8:12 pm

Posted in US Politics

Tagged with

This sounds familiar

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Having put up a message from the embattled National Party I feel obliged to also post a piece on what I think is their central problem in this time, even more so than poor candidate selections and the extreme MSM bias against them.

The problem is almost a philosophical one, though it is often cast as a managerial and political one.

What is National to do in government?

I thought about this while reading an article in the US magazine, The Federalist, There’s A Reason DC Democrats Are Always Winning, Even When They Lose. First the “good” news:

Washington Republicans are excited for the 2022 elections, and they have reason to be — they’re going to do well. They’re heavy favorites to take back the House of Representatives; and despite a very bad Senate map, it’s a coin flip they’ll retake that too.

There’s a certain amount of “so-what” about this since the Presidential party almost always loses seats in the mid-terms after they win a Presidential election (the Bush 9/11-powered mid-term of 2002 being the exception), and since 1994 when the GOP finally broke the forty year stranglehold of the Democrats on the House, those mid-term election results have meant not just slimmed down majorities but the Opposition party coming into power.

As a side note, I’m always amazed that people who think they know American politics have no idea that the Democrats held the House between 1954 and 1994, which meant they controlled the Budget and all the legislative mechanisms of internal state power via their subsequent control of House Committees. With forty years in the saddle the leadership of those became almost like a royal family, with power passed down like an inherited nobility. The Senate and the Presidency get some input into those areas, and they have their own domains of Constitutional power, but if you control the House you control the machine.

But it’s what you do with that power that matters. Nancy Pelosi knows this:

She’s thrown away a House majority before, back in 2010. But guess what? Before she did, she changed the entire country with Obamacare. That was her exit bomb; that was the sacrifice she made. And now she’s back, Obamacare is still the law (because of the Republicans and the legacies), and the temptation is going to be to return to laughing at her when she loses again in 2022.

Except that if she gets her $3.5 trillion spending bill that GOP laughter will be hollow.

But if she gets this budget through, well then who cares. Her legacy will be remaking the role of government and its interactions with an increasingly dependent class of citizens in the most major way since President Lyndon B. Johnson and his Great Society 60 years ago.

At this stage it’s hanging by a thread – not because of the Stupid Party, which has effectively voted for it – but because of a handful of “moderate” House Democrats and two moderate Senate Democrats (with a few others hiding behind them). The likely driver for those Democrats is that they come from so-called “Purple” districts or States, but that’s the point of this article:

Democrats know that if they can get those policies implemented now, many of them will remain forever. They’ll lose Democrats in the process, but so be it — there will be more Democrats in the future. It’s impossible to watch politics professionally for over a decade, through some of its liveliest battles in a long time, and not come to the understanding that Democrats in general do politics differently.

Here’s how this dynamic plays out: When Democrats are legislating on something major, they look around the field and say to themselves, “Yeah, we’re going to take some casualties on this one, but we’re going to change America.”


And then they blast right through it. Pelosi is going to lose members for this overhaul of our country and she knows it — she’s just decided that given the trouble they’re already heading into, it’s worth it.

By contrast what does the GOP do with its time in power?

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.

I loved Bob Hoskins as Nikita Khrushchev in Enemy At The Gate (not a great movie) and I can see Pelosi with that mindset.

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.

Similarly here. The one “big” pro-active thing I recall from the Key National government was flogging off 49% of an SOE power company, but that was merely the last gasp of the reforms of the 4th Labour government. Also note that it was only 49%; the cultural and political winds had shifted and National have a great nose for such.

The problem is how much longer this can continue, especially given the love of Big Business (and Big Government)? As another article, The Revolution Will Be Bureaucratized, pointed out:

It’s boring and sounds tired, I know, but ballooning state power is not a silly fear of “Zombie Reaganites” and insufferable libertarians. It’s a vehicle of cultural tyranny as much as economic. It’s a tool for the political establishment to bulldoze our culture from their sad office buildings here in Washington.

Elites love corporate power, but they also love federal power. (Unless, of course, Donald Trump is exerting it.) Note that the Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable both supported Biden’s vaccine requirements.

That last will be true here also, although in New Zealand’s case it doesn’t matter because we really don’t value our freedoms and civil liberties as much as most Americans do. We’ve proved that in the last eighteen months.

From Biden’s “child tax credit” extension, which conditions nearly all families to depend on the federal government every month for aid, to his extension of the federal eviction moratorium, this president and his elite champions are not worried about these power grabs. The blueprint for Democrats’ infrastructure bill is more proof of that. Their goal is to create a leftist elites’ utopia, blending cultural leftism with neoliberal economics and imposing it on America by any means necessary.

I did appreciate the last two sections of that second article:

Mocking libertarians is a conservative tradition, made all the more fun in recent years as many reflexively defend Big Tech and woke capital. But reflexively dismissing their dry warnings about liberty does not serve conservatives well in this perilous moment.

Simply put, we’ve let our government become very big as its stewards have become very radical. It’s a vehicle for their cultural revolution, not a distraction from it.

A vehicle for cultural tyranny is exactly right, even when it presents as supposed economics – measures on control of water and “fighting Climate Change” likely being the focus of such here in NZ.

We didn’t used to be like that but now that we are, any future “Right Wing” government that claims it’s a “Big Tent” for conservative, classical liberal and perhaps even a slight tint of libertarian thinking, owes its voters to not just slowly reduce government employee numbers but reduce the number, size and regulatory power of the state institutions they inhabit.

If they don’t then they’ll just be weaponised further with vast sums of money and bodies by a future Labour-Green government. Incidentally – for those National people who only care about government spending as a % of GDP and taxes – that will also put paid to any future tax cuts. Actually that’s almost the case now: the giant spend-fest of lockdowns means you can probably look forward to new taxes and tax increases from a future National-ACT government. They’ll have no choice because they’ll have allowed Labour-Green to make the big choices for them.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 15, 2021 at 4:26 pm

Biden’s Advance Team sends a message

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Either that or they’re as incompetent as the rest of his administration was in planning the great Afghanistan bugout.

In politics an Advance Team is sent ahead of a politician to the areas where photo ops and such are going to be held after speeches and other political events. Sometimes the photo op is the political event.

In any case the idea of an Advance Team is to scope out the best areas for the photographs and avoid things that will make your candidate look bad. One of the classic faux pas happened in 1988 when the campaign staff of Democrat Presidential candidate Michael Dukakis thought he’d look tough riding around in a tank. Instead he looked like Mickey Mouse and the drumbeat of laughter helped send him on his way to a loss against the goofy George H W Bush.

Here in NZ it’s hard to forget the equally boneheaded effort by the political naif, Don Brash, trying to squeeze his clumsy, gawky frame into a dirt track race car. I shared in the hideous chuckle of laughter that went around the nation.

And so we come to this photograph of Biden during a recent visit to Idaho, a state he lost by 30 points and therefore a place where a Democrat needs to be on his toes to not get cornered by Republicans.

My favourite among the MAGA kids is the boy on the right of the picture with a tee-shirt showing Donald Trump as The Terminator (“I’ll be back”).

Written by Tom Hunter

September 15, 2021 at 11:45 am

Do as I say, not as I do

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Frankly there’s an almost endless list of such things when it comes to politicians and bureaucrats because this attitude of theirs is applied on almost every issue you care to think about.

What’s more they just keep doing it, even when they get caught out. That’s because they never suffer any real consequences. Given that the MSM are part of this crowd there’s not even any harsh coverage with days of relentless front-page stories about the double standards and hypocrisies.

Still, these things are worth bookmarking. Starting with AOC.

The following photos were taken via the modern means of cellphones, while it would appear that these politicians are still stuck in the era when they think “photographs” only mean professionals with big cameras and special lenses.

Big mistake. This was a 9/11 ceremony in NYC and while the official photographers are working it’s all masks and social distancing. Once they thought the photo op was done it was back to normal in the top photo.

Meanwhile here’s Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) festooned with “Equal Rights” as she stands maskless in front of identically-dressed underlings who, unlike the celebrity guests, are all wearing masks. They should have been wearing the outfits from The Handmaid’s Tale.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 15, 2021 at 7:05 am

Posted in US Politics, USA

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Just as crazy up the coast

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California continues to be the pacesetter for Leftist insanity in the USA, and since most people outside America usually pay attention to New York City and California, likely because of their enormous cultural influence around the world, it’s easy to forget the similar things are happening in other parts of that vast nation.

Oregon is next door to California, facing the Pacific. If anybody thinks of the place at all they think of forests and mist. But a lot of things have been happening there that are better guides to where Democrat rule in the US is leading than in California, which is protected somewhat by its wealth, or NYC and Chicago, Illinois, where thick layers of corruption complicate matters.

Oregon is seeing the results of its Democrat rule come fast and clear.

First up, Antifa have had a free run in the place for a long time now, to a far greater degree than anywhere else in the US. The result has been lots of violence, mostly directed at the police but occasionally at private citizens who got in Antifa’s way. The group has been especially hard on anybody who tries to film their activities, knowing the power of visual propaganda they don’t want it used against them, and also in keeping with their need to not be identified beneath their Black Bloc outfits.

The MSM has largely ignored them, leaving coverage to unaffiliated journalists like Andy Ngo, who has naturally taken the brunt of their online tracking and abuse, as well as physical attacks. But the other day a perfectly normal photographer, Maranie Staab, working for a perfectly normal outfit called “News2Share” (loves Dems, hates the GOP) made the mistake of doing some actual journalism on Antifa

This finally spurred the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) to speak up:

Assaulting journalists runs counter to the ideals of our democracy. SPJ Oregon stands by journalists’ First Amendment right to cover incidents and demonstrations and to provide clear documentation of these events to keep everyone informed.

As Ngo pointed out this is nothing new, having alerted SPJ years ago to this Portland Antifa poster, which they ignored.

The fact is that Official Portland has basically taken Antifa’s side across the board. Police have often failed to intervene when Antifa have attacked other groups – and not just their favourite boogeyman, The Proud Boys – but groups of Christians holding prayer vigils (“Where is your God now”).

Recently they chased a 65 year old man and started shooting at him. He shot back and was arrested. The Antifa shooters were not. Back in 2016, before most people had heard of Antifa, they beat up a reporter named Andy Strickland, who finally pulled a gun which got them to back off. No shots were fired but he was arrested and did 40 days in jail. His attackers were not arrested. Even though he’s been free a long time he continues to pursue the case, since he was ordered by the court to not record Antifa, which seems to me a pretty clear case of infringing his 1st Amendment rights, the thing that SPJ mentioned. As his lawyer said:

[R]ight now if you’re in the black bloc what do you think? I can harass somebody and get them arrested if they try to defend themselves.

And then they want people not to defend themselves so that they feel terrified, so that the[y] feel scared, so that they feel frightened, so that their behavior can be publicly and privately coerced. And that’s the danger. And that’s why this case is bigger than one person.

If this can happen to him here it can happen to anyone, anywhere, and it means that nobody is safe. And that’s why this case is so significant.

The MSM has simply followed along. Reporters “allowed” to cover them must give the group their explicit allegiance. They must be fellow travelers. The arrangement works just fine for Antifa. They loved the fashion spread done by The Washington Post in 2020 with dressed-up black-bloc Antifa members receiving glowing blurbs about how wonderful and virtuous they are. It was a disgusting display of gaslighting.

Antifa were also in the forefront of the Defund The Police effort, and they had some success, with the inevitable results of a massive increase in shootings and murder in Portland, plus a breakdown in the 911 system with callers waiting minutes to get through. The city did finally yield to reality and re-created the special gun-violence unit they had shut down in 2020, only to find that few cops wanted to join it. That’s the cops that remain; many have retired and not been replaced. One detective’s exit interview gave an insight as to why:

“The community shows zero support. The city council are raging idiots, in addition to being stupid. Additionally, the mayor and city council ignore actual facts on crime and policing in favor of radical leftist and anarchists’ fantasy.”

The city was recently sued by the family of Trump supporter, Aaron Danielson, who was stalked and murdered by an Antifa activist who was himself killed days later in a shootout with police trying to arrest him. The lawsuit claims that the death was preventable and was due to the hands-off policy of the city. Normally I would not expect such a lawsuit to win but in the case of Portland they’ve got a strong argument based on what city “leaders” have said and done:

Shortly before the filing of the lawsuit, Mayor Wheeler admitted the “hands-off strategies” for dealing with rioters was “not the right strategy,” Fox News reported.

“It is clear, based on the public outcry, on the media outcry, on the national front, that that strategy was not the right strategy,” the mayor said during a city council meeting last week, according to the Associated Press. “I think we can all acknowledge that. I take full responsibility for it.”

The lawsuit alleges that the police department’s Rapid Response Team, responsible for crowd control during protests and riots, was less than two blocks away from the shooting. The team was given orders to not get involved between dueling demonstrators.

A few months ago, with Trump safely out of office, Wheeler finally spoke out against Antifa:

“My good faith efforts at de-escalation have been met with ongoing violence and even scorn from radical Antifa and anarchists,…It’s time to push back harder against those who are set on destroying our community.”

Too late, idiot.

But he’s in good company. Just the other day the Governor of the state, Kate Brown, announced sweeping new mandates, masks in all indoor and outdoor settings, regardless of vaccination status, plus the now-standard vaccine mandates for paramedics and firefighters. She’s been warned as to what will happen across the state:

Williams also noted that 25% or more of the firefighters in his district would also quit to avoid a vaccine mandate. He said this would devastate the ability of the Aurora Fire Department to respond to emergencies.

In Baker City, the firefighters’ union rep testified to the city council that 100% of the department would resign over the mandate.

“We had nursing staff testify in droves. They will walk. We will not have enough staff locally to handle anything at the hospital. I have heard from two Oregon Department of Forestry offices that they will be gutted. No response crews left for wildfires. And I could go on and on about the rest of the state departments.

But it’s the small cities that are going to be destroyed. Comply with the mandate and lose all of our staff. Spend hundreds of thousands of dollars re-recruiting and training. Let people die. Or don’t comply and spend at least tens of thousands of dollars fighting it in court, and probably losing our city manager and fire chief anyway because they can’t be held personally responsible for fines. She’s killing us.”

No wonder parts of the state want to secede and join Greater Idaho.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 14, 2021 at 5:59 pm