No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘Class Warfare

Everything is Political

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That phrase grew out of the rise of the so-called New Left in the 1960’s, a movement that could no longer stomach standing with the old Marxist Left.

Not with the blood-soaked creatures like Stalin and Mao that were that faction when in power, but also not with the Western Left that insisted, as per Marx, that everything boiled down to the Class Warfare created by the economic dialectic.

No, the New Left insisted that there were other dialetics at work; sexual and gender, ethnic and racial, etc, along with all the cultural goods they created and then carted into the future as baggage.

And it would all have to be analysed, critically dismantled, deconstructed – and burned to the ground in a sort of Cultural Year Zero from which a new society would arise like the Phoenix. Incidentally the only thing unique about the Cambodian Year Zero was the proportionate death toll: from the Jacobins to Lenin to Mao the concept had always been around and pursued, for the simple reason that it was felt to be necessary to the rise of the new society.

So nowadays what job you do, the car you drive, whether you drive one at all, the house you live in, the school you send your kids to (or whether you send them at all), the steak and eggs that you eat, …. everything is political in ways beyond even the dreams of the 1960’s New Left. The reason this has to be that way is rather similar to the reason behind Year Zero and other Communist Revolutions, and that is that the resulting decisions have to be enforced politically, and they must be enforced forever; no backsliding allowed.

To that end I had to roll my eyes at this latest post from DPF on Kiwiblog, We must never go down this path, in which he links to an NBC report (of course) discussing the upcoming US Mid-Term elections, indications that it has the highest voter interest of any such election and one possible reason for that:

What’s more, 80% of Democrats and Republicans believe the political opposition poses a threat that, if not stopped, will destroy America as we know it. 

DPF comments:

I hope New Zealand never ends up like this.

I am passionate about politics. I think generally policies of the centre-right are much better for New Zealand. But we must never regard those we disagree with on policy grounds as enemies who threaten the country. The vast majority of people in politics have good intentions.

(Fortunately New Zealand politics is not in that state. There is still a fair measure of bipartisanship which I think is essential in a healthy democracy.”)

I’ve already commented on this over there to the effect that this is not new but has been developing for twenty years, that Trump’s 2016 election as President was merely a symptom of it, and that New Zealand will not be immune to it because the beloved objective of bi-partisanship cannot survive everything being political and the fact that the Left’s basic assumption about the Right – all of the Right, including National – is that they don’t have good intentions.

As for NZ, I have bad news for you; we’re moving in this direction – or have you not noticed the last two years of silencing and demonisation, courtesy of the government and their MSM allies (and academia) across a range of issues.

It could be stopped if the Right is willing to really fight back (argue back) against the rising screams of “racist”, “xenophobe”, “transphobe”, etc.

What are the odds? From my perspective both National and ACT are where the GOP was in 2003. All I think we’ll see will be tone policing of the Right from various Right-wing figures. It’s not funny to see former National Party politicians and activists use the Lefty term, “Denier” on two issues.

But I think this review of the destruction of a popular – even beloved – fifty-year old TV show tells us more about what’s going on in our societies than mere political polling, or elections for that matter. Just watch The Critical Drinker for nine minutes.

However, having introduced the topic of media culture I was sadly reminded of the fact that DPF was super-excited by the Star Wars prequels, the new Rings of Power and all the rest of this bullshit, which means he doesn’t get it either.


Protests (Good and Bad)

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Van Gogh’s sunflower, before and after the protest

As we all now know there are “good” protests and “bad” protests. The recent Van Gogh protest was so “good” that it was actually enabled by the museum, who did nothing to stop these vandals.

The litmus test is whether the protest is against something that the TPTB support (bad) or in favour of (“good”), and while the former got lots of MSM support from the 1960’s to about the 2000’s, it’s notable that with the demise of the old, square, conservative world and its replacement by the Counter-Culture, the MSM continues to align with the latter and no longer afflicts the comfortable or speaks truth to power – and all those other Nineteen Eighty Four’ish slogans that were chanted by the Left.

The latest is seen in the picture opposite and naturally receives the high praise of none other than one of those 1960’s/70’s Truth To Power protestors, John Minto, in a TDB article praising this group of people who blocked the Wellington motorway, screwing with the lives of decidedly non-powerful, ordinary people.

One of those people,”Terry”, spoke up on the post:

Okay so last week I took time off work as my elderly mother has a specialist appointment at Wellington Hospital. Due to these idiots we were late, causing a huge amount of stress…But fuck those white middle class wankers! I’ve taken my car to work all this week to spite them. And it’s turned out to be quicker and more convenient than the train at about the same price. I’m planning on using my car from now on.

Which drew this response from one “Ross Davies” that just oozes warmth and compassion…

Perhaps this is the definition of cutting off your nose to spite your face? Obviously you were looking for an excuse to use your car without having to think about the effect on the environment. And presumably you didn’t support their cause of passenger rail or climate action? And sorry about your Mum. She must be even angrier than you about all this.

That’s the mentality that drives this; the all-encompassing fanaticism of diamond-plated self-righteousness that allows for no empathy or ordinary decency: a trait no better defined than by C.S. Lewis writing on tyranny:

The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

However, the response to this bastard was gold:

“Fuck You” doesn’t get better than that.

But there are also funny protests, as when some group called “Scientist Rebellion”, recently glued themselves to the floor in the Volkswagen factory in another climate change protest. The response of the workers was to simply leave work for the day, switching off all the lights and heating (energy conservation is big in Germany). This left the protestors whining about how they had no food, light, warmth – not even “a bowl to urinate and defecate in a decent manner while we are glued”. Oh no, the horror, the horror:

But back to the “Bad protests”, the ones that nowadays don’t get MSM coverage, as noted by the website, NotTheBee:

Has the media told you about the MASSIVE protests happening all over Europe right now? Come watch them here.

Click on that link and you’ll see plenty of the following:

The reason they’re not getting MSM coverage is that they are the opposite of The Narrative that the MSM and TPTB have agreed upon, which is that people are willing to sacrifice the loss of reliable, affordable energy to battle Climate Change and Putin.

While I’m onboard with the latter fight it’s amusing to note that The Narrative simply cannot admit the connection between them. That Europe’s energy problems are a result of it’s insane pursuit of unreliable, renewable energy sources and forcible move away from fossil fuels (and in Germany, nuclear power also) – with the resulting back-handed, hidden reliance on Russian energy sources to compensate which has led them to this pass.

Oh, Bitch-uary.

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“We’ve been watching a national American figure be forged… It’s funny how small the election feels – the Wyoming election – because she feels bigger than it now.”

Well yes, but a gentleman tries to avoid disparaging a woman’s figure.!!!

‘Tis the week for misogyny here at No Minister – because that’s so much worse than arrogant, back-handed dismissals of the people who voted for you just two years ago.

So let’s start with the fail – the Yuuuuggggee fail – of Dick Cheney’s appointed political heir, his daughter Liz, courtesy of the Babylon Bee:

Producers Confirm Liz Cheney Will Not Be Back For Season 2 Of January 6 Hearings

WASHINGTON, D.C. — After a critically acclaimed first season that was allegedly watched by some people, the producers of the January 6th Hearings have sadly confirmed that their star Liz Cheney will not be returning for season 2.

Yeah. I’ll stick with Better Call Saul, which has just completed its sixth and final season, and is already being acclaimed as equal to the show that birthed it, Breaking Bad (acclaimed as the greatest TV show of all time – which I agree with).

Not the Jan 6 commission hearings in other words.

Liz got pounded even worse than the polling had indicated, where she showed as 20-30 points behind her Republican Primary opponent.

Paraphrasing what people said after the Springboks destroyed Scotland 44-0 during their 1951 tour of Great Britain, she was lucky to get 28.9% – and that apparently was due to all those Democrats who re-registered as Republicans to try and save her ass.

Still, she’s on Easy Street even with the loss:

Rep. Liz Cheney’s (R-WY) net worth ballooned from an estimated $7 million when she first took office in 2017 to possibly more than $44 million in 2020, according to analysis from the Center for Responsive Politics and her most recent financial disclosure forms.

A 600% increase in wealth in just a few years. That’s especially impressive considering her $200k annual salary as a member of Congress. She should be advising Nancy Pelosi – and probably soon will be. This does not include a special fund as her special play toy:

Liz Cheney’s defeat ended with one silver lining: a $7.5 million unspent campaign warchest — much of it from outside Wyoming — that positions her well to run for president in 2024 if she chooses.

Yes, they’re serious. Yes, you can – and should – laugh heartily.

A brief word from former National Review contributor and cosplaying Republican, David French, who takes this opportunity to speak of virtue, and also – by a complete coincidence – is here to instruct us that he is fully possessed of the virtues he praises:

Loyalty and honor are two concepts the Trump right is turning inside-out and upside-down. What does it mean to be “loyal” when an institution betrays its fundamental principles? True loyalty holds it to a higher standard.

Uh huh. The thing is that loyalty is a two-way street, and all too many Republican politicians have shown that it’s a one-way street. A decade before the Age of Trump there were examples like Dede Scozzafava in New York, Charlie Crist in Florida (Governor) and Senator Arlen Specter. In all three cases they rode Republican support to power and despite the doubts often expressed about them by GOP voters the latter were told to suck it up and accept that they couldn’t get 100% perfect candidates – and those voters did.

Yet when the voters had finally had enough and ejected these candidates in later primary campaigns the arguments and appeals turned out not to run the other way. All three refused to suck it up, be loyal and accept Republicans who were less than perfect in their eyes. No, they began supporting Democrats: the latter two actually became Democrats and repudiated every single Right Wing ideological and political position they had sworn they believed in.

So you see, the Liz Cheney’s and the Mitt Romney’s are not new or unusual. As I have often said, Trump is merely a symbol of a civil war that has been ongoing inside the Republican Party since 2009 between the Gentry Class of the GOP and the Lower Orders, or Deplorables (also inside the Democrat Party). The Precious Midpoint, with this quote from Great Britain:

But worst of all is that this transmogrified middle-class party views its old working-class constituency not simply with incomprehension but with contempt. “Yep”, Liddle quotes a “Starmer superfan” as tweeting about the result, “as expected the working class love a bit of nationalism and racism. Well done Hartlepool, you turkeys. I’ve never been and I never will”.

“The Labour Party we knew is gone,” Liddle concludes, “gone for good. Those votes are not coming back”. Stirring stuff and written from the depths of a Social Democrat’s soul.

To that end the following rant by one Amy Curtis is on point.

I’m gonna go off because I’m just that fed up.

For years, the GOP pundit class pushed weak, ineffective candidates. Guys who talked about taxes while letting the left steamroll education, culture, news media, social media.

Those candidates lost. Repeatedly. 2012 was a very WINNABLE election. And what did Romney do when they accused him of giving a woman cancer and other horrible, not-true things? He shrugged. He didn’t fight. He just took it. “Dignity.” Fighting back was beneath him. Or something.

Every Republican, for as long as I can remember, has been the reincarnation of Hitler every election cycle. The left HATED Dick Cheney from 2000-2008. And now? He’s their hero for speaking out against Trump. But when he sheds this mortal coil, they’ll dance and spit on his grave.

Every single member of the Washington Generals of Punditry has betrayed every principle they claimed to have. On abortion. On taxes. On foreign policy. Every last one. And why? Because hating Trump is more important and lucrative than those principles.

They have literally endorsed Democrats — including the barley sentient vegetable currently occupying the Oval Office — because of their unhinged hatred of Trump. And his voters.

And instead of trying to figure out how they got Trump in the first place — because they had a HUGE HAND in it — they double down on calling voters stupid and deplorable & a slew of other pejoratives because it gets them head pats from the media/left. Who still hate them anyway.

Because while they were fawning over absolutely milquetoast candidates the left was making headway in schools and culture. Now? Your white kid is likely to learn he’s a horrible racist simply because of his skin color. Your daughter could be brainwashed into thinking she’s a boy because her teacher told her so. Good luck trying to be a white, cis, hetero person trying to break into publishing these days. Good luck trying to find kids books that don’t show fellatio or other woke garbage.

Parents were labeled terrorists — TERRORISTS — for speaking out at school board meetings. By the federal government. While Antifa and BLM and Jane’s Revenge burn your cities to the ground.

If you had your business shut down, couldn’t visit your dying loved ones, couldn’t have a funeral while you watch George Floyd get multiple ones, and BLM/Antifa march through the streets during COVID, thank the GOP pundit class. Who did NOTHING to defend your rights.

Like every other social/cultural issue, they expected you to bend over and take it. And when someone tries to stand up to the nonsense — DeSantis — they whine about dictators and the breakdown of norms.

When what they mean by norms is “doing things our way, even if it sucks.”

And when a candidate like DeSantis comes along, who is an alternative to Trump — they say he’s just like Trump because they want to go back to the McCains and Romneys and Jebs.

News flash: we aren’t.

So if you want to get rid of Trump, stop obsessing over your hatred of him. Start endorsing Republican candidates who aren’t Trump. Instead of, you know, Democrats.

And for the love of God, spend ten minutes reflecting on how we got here today, and how you played a big part in it. Maybe talk to normal people outside the Beltway about life and politics

And as with many things American, this war is not confined to the USA. It is now being waged across Europe, Canada, Australia – and here in New Zealand. Advice from the peanut gallery:

The result of this style of accommodationist politics, as my colleague Keith Joseph complained, was that post-war politics became a ‘socialist ratchet’ — Labour moved Britain towards more statism; the Tories stood pat; and the next Labour Government moved the country a little further left. The Tories loosened the corset of socialism; they never removed it.

This sounds familiar

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.

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.

Leftist Myth Busting: The Democrats and Race

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One of the many reasons that the Democrat Party is in trouble in the USA is not just the short-term effects of inflation and a looming recession, but a longer term one where their grip is slipping on their traditional voting groups of Working Class Whites, Hispanics and even (to a much smaller degree) American Blacks.

By contrast, university educated Whites, who used to majority vote for the GOP, are now a very important part of the Democrats: probably too important since they’re the primary group that has swallowed whole the insanity of Identity Politics and now it’s even more diseased cousin, Woke ideology, both of which are playing a role in driving away the groups mentioned in the first paragraph.

Working class Whites are increasingly a lost cause for the Democrats, Hispanics are slipping fast, and Blacks may be next, especially when you’ve got Black Republicans increasingly pop up, like House Rep. Burgess Owens, who pulled no punches in a calm, 5 minute speech:

“Having grown up in the Jim Crow South, with Segregation and KKK, I’m familiar with the true racism, intolerance, and hate, all due to the color of my skin. I see the same thing today in 2022 as the hard Left, the so-called “party of tolerance” who bang the drum of racism, inequality, inequity, do not practice what they preach.”

Oof! That one’s got to burn. We’re not talking a Millennial Black Republican but someone who actually recalls those times now described as one where all those Souther Democrat voters suddenly turned Democrat under the spell of Nixon’s Southern Strategy.

He doesn’t let them off the hook in their modern incarnation either, given the abuse hurled at Justice Clarence Thomas in the wake of the overturning of the Roe and Casey abortion rulings:

“That’s nothing new for Justice Thomas, who has been the target of the elitist Left for 40 years. Instead of celebrating the second Black American in our nation’s history in the highest court, they declared open seasons with vicious, racist attacks. Just because he’s an articulate, confident, Black American, who loves the American tenets of God, country, and family. Just because he’s a Black man who dares to think differently than they would love for him to think.”

Thomas is on record as saying that while he’s never had any problems with people of his race, let alone Republican or Right Wing Whites, he’s always encountered burning hatred from White Liberals. Spot on. The media outlet RedState has documented some of the racist garbage fired at Thomas herehere, and here.

“So typical of the condescending racism. If these same attacks were aimed at Barack Obama it would be called out by this committee and the media for exactly what it is: Pure Racism.”

For right-wing observers that’s an “of course”, but he also points out a weird aspect of the last fifty years of abortion law:

Roe v. Wade cost us 23 million innocent lives. The pro-slavery Democrat Dred Scott decision in 1857, it was a flawed decision. Overcoming Roe did not outlaw abortions or take away the constitutional right of Americans. It put the decision in the state’s hands, in the hands of We The People, where it belongs.”

What’s he’s referring to there is that of the 64 million abortions since Roe, 23 million have been Black, which is vastly out of proportion to the Black population in the USA. If the Ku Klux Klan was running Planned Parenthood they couldn’t have done a better job.

But the mic-drop moment is this one:

“To the angry Left, it’s time to settle down, take off your mask, and show your cowardly faces. Put down your stones and firebombs and through civil debate convince us that you’re right.”

“My prediction is you have no clue.

A bonus feature is this video about the Southern Strategy, hosted by Carol Swain, Professor of Political Science at Vanderbilt University.

Ideas from the American Heartland

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New Zealand’s economic productivity has been low for decades now, in both the pre and post-Rogernomics era.

Jokes like ACT’s Productivity Commission have predictably not helped, and neither will the insanity of other government ideas like their new energy policies, especially renewable energy, which, judging from the experience of other nations, are going to result in a more unstable and expensive power system that won’t meet demand. Given that our technological and industrial world relies on having plentiful amounts of relatively cheap energy this is yet another marker of serious problems ahead.

Even a difference of 1% per annum between us and other nations productivity growth will, over years and decades, add up to large gaps in GDP, translating into us being outspent by those other nations on all manner of things – like doctors and nurses. In fact it already has, hidden by the cheap products churned out by China’s economy in the last twenty years.

With younger people fleeing the country as soon as the C-19 border controls were lifted, and possibly hundreds of thousands soon to follow, plus the current problems with staffing our healthcare system, with much talk of immigration problems with Phillippine nurses, it should be obvious that those who focus on the future are thinking that New Zealand’s is not so bright. In another twenty years we may not be able to afford those foreign nurses, for the Developing world will be able to pay more.

I’ve already covered some of the basic economic things that could be done to kick-start the NZ economy after our lockdowns and general malaise, using the lessons from Germany in 1948 (A different economic starter motor)

But in the superb web site, City Journal, is a recent article that suggests ideas aimed at something other than theories about economics, taxes and spending. A Heartland Manufacturing Renaissance looks at recent growth in businesses and jobs in the American Mid West, which had the crap kicked out of it decades ago:

Out in the rolling country just east of Columbus, Ohio, a new—and potentially brighter—American future is emerging. New factories are springing up, and, amid a severe labor shortage, companies are recruiting in the inner city and among communities of new immigrants and high schoolers to keep their plants running.

Not long ago, Ohio was a classic Rust Belt state, with high unemployment, massive outmigration, and a prevailing sense that time had passed it by. Between 1990 and 2010, Ohio lost more than 420,000 factory jobs. Then things started to turn around, as the state gained back nearly 100,000 industrial positions over the next decade, until the pandemic interrupted that growth.

It’s not just Ohio either:

Almost all the states with the fastest industrial growth are outside the coasts, led by Texas, Michigan, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arizona, Ohio, Minnesota, and North Dakota.

In Ohio, new plants are popping up in numbers second only to Texas. To put this in context, Ohio is booking new capital projects on a per capita basis at a rate almost 14 times that of California, 

Notably this success does not include the old industrial centres like Detroit and Chicago. There are many factors involved here, starting with governments that don’t treat business and business people as greedy, grasping assholes that need to be regulated on every aspect of their existence.

The Buckeye State, notes Rick Platt, president and CEO of the Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority, “never skipped a beat on funding development.” More than 60 such authorities in Ohio work to attract industry with capital financing, infrastructure investment, land preparation, and speculative building development. Such efforts often tend to be largely expensive money-wasters, but in Ohio they have proved more successful.

Many companies created as a result including the world’s first organic baby food company. I thought New Zealand was into organics, and baby food? Why weren’t we the first on this?

There are other factors involved of course and at least two of them should be applicable to New Zealand:

Many Ohio firms, like TDK and Ariel, use cutting-edge technologies like 3-D printers, robots, and computer-controlled machine tools that allow them to produce better and often cheaper products. John Wilczynski, executive director of America Makes, a manufacturing consortium funded by the U.S. Air Force and based in Youngstown, says that these “additive manufacturing” processes open new possibilities for companies to lower costs and craft parts that, in many cases, were previously available only in China or other countries. Wilczynski believes that “digitally distributed manufacturing” is key to helping U.S. firms compete more effectively.

But no matter how clever the technology there’s also the people needed and how they’re educated and then trained.

“We really need practical skills more than anything for our business,” notes Andrew Lower of TDK Manufacturing, which makes components for Tesla as well as for semiconductor and medical-equipment firms. 

As in the USA there has been far too much emphasis in NZ on university education, with frequent reference made to the lifetime income of university graduates being much higher than those who merely finish high school. Those references too often looked at the past, ignoring the rapidly increasing cost of university, leaving young people mired in debt for years:

The up-front investment of college is extraordinarily high—tuition has increased 213 percent in the last 30 years—and returns for many students are not guaranteed.

There’s also the reduction in standards caused by universities aiming for government funded bums-on-seats, with the degradation showing most clearly in qualifications so esoteric that they could only end in low-paid work, with Welfare For Families as a never-ending, dead-end supplement to try and keep the whole creaking structure working.

The conventional wisdom among pundits and politicians is that the big labor shortages are concentrated in fields employing well-educated professionals. President Biden has talked about having factory workers and oil riggers “learn to code.” But companies are crying out most for skilled, dependable workers who can act as drivers, machine-tool operators, and welders. 

Due largely to an aging workforce, as many as 600,000 new manufacturing jobs this decade will go unfilled. The shortage of welders alone could grow to 400,000 by 2024. By May 2021, amid a mild economic recovery, an estimated 500,000 manufacturing jobs had no takers. Overall, manufacturing jobs pay over 20 percent more than typical service or retail jobs.

And that’s before we consider the demographic problems that we’re about to hit, as others are also being hit:

One of the main obstacles to reindustrialization is a massive labor shortage. U.S. population growth between ages 16 and 64 has dropped from 20 percent in the 1980s to less than 5 percent in the past decade. The shortage is afflicting most industrial economies worldwide. China, with a population expected to shrink by half in less than a half-century, is already seeing a decline in its under-60 population. A lack of new workers is slowing Germany’s formidable manufacturing sector.

Fewer workers means increasing wages as competition for skilled people rises. Young people need no economics knowledge to see this, only the employment advertisements in Australia and further afield, and often enough it’s for jobs that have seemingly little connection to what they studied here in school.

We need a better emphasis on training for skills and the next National-ACT government could do worse than to take a look at things like this:

The Ohio Association for Career and Technical Education boasts a 98 percent graduation rate, and the vast majority of its graduates find jobs or advance to higher education. Local efforts are important, too. C-TEC (Career and Technology Education Centers) of Licking County collaborates with local companies, high schools, and colleges to train skilled workers. Students who often struggled in high school study subjects such as medical technology and welding and learn to operate complex machinery, including 3-D printers and robotic arms.

We all knew kids like this in high school. They weren’t dumb, they just weren’t interested in academic crap. The same kids now are buried in even more of it, and right through to Year 13 (the old Form 7) which was once the world only of those likely to go on to university but which now consists of almost the entire wing that started high school in Year 9. There’s also this:

Skills-education programs like these do more for working-class families, minorities, and immigrants than any array of “diversity” initiatives. 

Terrence Hayes, who runs Ariel’s 125-person operation in Licking County, suggests that the biggest struggles tend to be not at the top—after all, foreign engineers are plentiful—but closer to the factory floor. “There’s been a period of at least twenty years where we have moved away from practical skills,” he notes. “We would have been better off if there were machine shops in schools like when I was a kid.”

Education has been treated as a backwater by successive governments, with tweaking on qualifications like NCEA and never ending fights about funding being the main topics – yet with increasing truancy rates as high as 40% and significant percentages of people leaving school with little or no qualifications, plus the free market of seemingly endless numbers of “Higher Education” places producing empty qualifications.

It can’t go on as it is and it needs the same focus and energy applied as does Healthcare – and the lessons from places like Ohio. Read the whole thing.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 16, 2022 at 1:04 pm

You will own nothing

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Back in 2020 I was working for an agricultural contractor, driving huge chunks of metal, plastic and rubber around roads and farms (Big Toys for Old Boys). It was a lot of fun – and a lot of hard work.

I discovered how computerised and complex these modern tractors were, incIuding this interesting aspect:

I saw that the big John Deere “choppers” had two thick, heavy plastic “wands” mounted to the central prow of the header and that these could be used to drive the machines through maize fields on automatic pilot. However, when I asked one of the drivers about this feature he scoffed and said they didn’t use it because it meant paying some $US 1500 per year to JD for the related software in the computer system and “It’s not worth it”.

Then today I saw this news.

I’ve heard BMW owners joke that they don’t actually own their cars but merely rent them for an annual service fee, but the above is ridiculous.

It’s also a look into the future, and as I pointed out in that article it may not just apply to cars and tractors:

All of which has had me wondering, as I watch the Big Pharma companies like Pfizer and Moderna gleefully make serious coin from their Covid-19 vaccine shots and now talk of booster shots every few months to maintain immunity, whether the drug industry has moved to the subscription model as well?

“We create our own reality”

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That’s a famous quote from early in the War on Terror, taken from an advisor to GW Bush, the very key advisor Karl Rove (aka “Turd Blossom” as labeled by Bush himself). Rove would later dispute the quote and given that it was a NYTimes Magazine reporter, Ron Suskind, who extracted it there’s a very real possibility that it’s as much bullshit as the famous Vietnam War-era “It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.” quote from New Zealand’s own Peter Arnett.

The full Rove quote:

”We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” 

The Left had a lot of fun with that, somehow missing the fact that to a large extent, that’s exactly what Rove, Bush and company would go on to do, the real blowback only arriving years later and coming in the form not of more Jihadi terrorists but Donald Trump and his tens of millions of American voters.

And of course the Left were never in a position to lay claim to a solid understanding of reality anyway, and even less so nowadays:

Hawley: Why are you using the term “person with a capacity for pregnancy” instead of “woman?”

Bridges: “Your line of questioning is transphobic and opens trans people to violence.”

Hawley: “You’re saying I’m opening up people to violence by saying women can have pregnancies?”

The thing is that the Left is really pleased with the responses of Berkeley law professor Khiara Bridges:

If you check in on Twitter today, the left is uniformly thrilled that UC Berkeley law professor Khiara Bridges has put a couple of white Republican Senators in their place. Seriously, they are over the moon about this performance, especially for her exchange with Sen. Josh Hawley.

Not just square, old, conservative White GOP Senators either, but Black, female singers like … Macy Gray:

…who defended the traditional definition of woman (versus transgender revisionism) on British TV the other day, and told her critics to stuff it. But then

Wonder how they got to her and forced her to confess? It’s chilling, isn’t it? Macy Gray is a big star, a Grammy winner, even. They broke her in a day or so. We all know what she really thinks … and we all see her humiliation. Actually, I hope that we are only seeing humiliation here. The scary thing would be is if she accepted what Orwell called “the Party’s final, most essential command”: that she should stop believing the evidence of her own eyes.

Going back to the previous article I saw this among the various Twitter clips collected:

The argument that words are violence went from a few small elite colleges to appearing in a US Senate hearing in what, eight years?

Which will be the basis of “hate speech” laws that will be enacted here in NZ, as they have been in places like Great Britain.

About the only good news out of this is that the likes of Macy Gray could be broken so quickly because all her life she’s cruised with the “in-crowd”, surfing on the leading edge of all their causes while she sold them her music, and that the Woke Left will, like the French Revolution, devour itself (and appears to be in the process of doing so).

Having said that I go back to Rove’s quote – “We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” – and note that the likes of Professor Bridges absolutely see themselves as doing that, as they always have in their Whiggish view of history.

This quote from feminist Bari Weiss is right on the money too:

Disinvitation—now called deplatforming—has become a regular feature of American life as the politics of censoriousness, forced conformity and ideological obedience have taken hold…

These incidents are not discreet little firestorms. They are deeply interconnected. They are the result of a zealous and profoundly illiberal ideology that has infiltrated our largest companies, our media, our universities, our medical schools, our law schools, our hospitals, our local governments, our elementary schools. Our friendships. Our families. Our language…

[T]his is a revolution of culture. A revolution of ideas.

For far too long, it resisted description. The revolution’s proponents went from pretending it didn’t exist and insisting that those who suggested it did were wearing tinfoil hats . . . to declaring it was here, and it was excellent, and that if you didn’t get on board you were a bigot and a bad person.

The other day my wife got an email from an old friend of hers. The friend’s note was like a missive from the Soviet Union in that it demanded that my wife prove her purity of politics by disavowing . . . me. This is not the first time she or I has been asked to do something of this nature.

A politics that forces its adherents to put their most intimate relationships to a litmus test is a politics of totalitarianism.

Secessionitis and Greater Idaho

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Intrigued by my co-blogger The Vet’s post on problems in America (Where to USA?) I thought I’d re-visit this post from last year which offers one solution, albeit with a wink because I can’t see it happening.

Of course that’s not to say that it’s impossible, given this recent information to add to this post.

In the last twenty years, every time a Republican has been elected President, there has been a squall of voices from Lefty celebrities about how they’re going to move to Canada or some other clime more hospitable to the Left.

Because of their lightweight nature, few people take any notice of them, especially since it’s been heard three times now (2000, 2004, 2016), but with no appreciable followup actions on their part, aside from crashing the Canadian Immigration website on election night 2016.

Still, the calls are growing louder with each subsequent Republican victory. After the 2016 election no less an august personage than Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, reflected that she might have to retire to New Zealand. I’m sure she would have appreciated our lack of a written constitution since she never seemed overly impressed by the US one.

But these calls have often applied to individual states, and it does go the other way, though in a more joking form. Hence the occasional cracks from Texans when a Democrat gets elected President. In their case they have more history behind them, since Texas stood as an independent nation for a few years before joining the Union.

More often, and more seriously, California is regarded as the state that could secede. It’s the world’s fifth largest economy on its own, it has long regarded itself as quite different to the rest of the USA (and vice versa – even the Lefties of Chicago and New York consider California to be “weird”), and given its natural resources and gifts it could theoretically stand on its own. I say theoretically because its government and people seem determined to screw their gifts up with government policies.

The thing is that while the Californian Left may talk of this occasionally, there actually have been plans made by their fellow Californians for a different proposal; for parts of the state to secede from California and form new states:

Frankly I can’t see “Northern California” doing too well with San Francisco and all its insanity still embedded. Better to let that belong to the coastal state, along with LA. It’s what most people think of when they consider the current state anyway. One billionaire venture capitalist has taken that into account with his proposal for six states to be carved out of California:

Admittedly getting six rather than three states is a tougher deal, but for various reasons none of this is likely to happen, as with this proposal for the state of Oregon, although it’s counties themselves making the push, and they’re hoping to pull in surrounding neighbours to Greater Idaho:

The grassroots group Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho wants to move Oregon’s mostly rural eastern and southern counties into Idaho, believing they’d be better served in the neighboring state’s more conservative political environment.

That would leave a small portion of Oregon, including Portland, Salem, Eugene and Bend.

Phase 2 of the plan would bring in parts of southeast Washington and northeast California. The California counties under consideration, the group says, are Siskiyou, Shasta, Tehama, Modoc, Lassen, part or all of Plumas, and parts of Butte and perhaps Sierra.

The California area includes Redding, which would become Idaho’s fourth-largest city.

There’s always a boundary that cannot be crossed and such was observed by a South Carolina politician during the increasing arguments over secession prior to the Civil War:

“South Carolina is too small for a Republic and too large for an insane asylum”.

But the real stumbling block to all this is that the originating state has to approve of such things. This has happened in the past, perhaps most notably with West Virginia. It was originally part of Virginia until it was admitted as a new state in 1863 after the General Assembly of the “Restored Government of Virginia” (heh, heh, heh) magically consented to the request in 1862. Now you may wonder how Virginia consented since it was one of the Confederate states. What happened was that anti-secessionist Virginians formed a government in exile during the Civil War and were recognised by the Federal Government, which then approved the state’s partition.

I doubt the Democrat leaders of these states, nor their partners in crime in Washington D.C. will allow this to happen to them again, especially since it would lead an influx of new, and decidedly non-Left Wing senators. However, since such accommodations were made in the past perhaps several such things could be negotiated across the nation so that things are kept even at the Federal level.

But further down in the grassroots of the US left it turns out that these proposals may actually get some traction:

Basically they think it’s a great idea for their Democrat Controlled One Party cities to detach themselves from all those useless rural areas that create no IT billionaires and other Super Smart People but produce food, oil, gas, timber, and minerals, as well as being fiscally conservative along with having healthy communities and little crime.

Nothing would make me happier than to divide all urban areas from all non-urban areas and separate entirely.

Let’s do it.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 8, 2022 at 4:50 pm

Breaking News for those who lack self-awareness

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When I saw this I almost could not believe it. Even though I’ve long been very down on the MSM and its “journalists”, the following piece is still breathtaking even for me.

Is it a lack of self-awareness? Or perhaps just a lack of awareness in general – like of recent history and current affairs?

Really, Mr Melber of MSNBC? Really? It sounds terrifying! What would that look like, because I’m having a tough time even imagining it – but I’ll give it a shot?

I’m seeing…. a tech monopoly suppressing a major story about a corrupt POS presidential candidate who spawned a son who is an even bigger POS with booze, drugs and the ladies and who grifts millions of dollars from Chinese and Russian oligarchs and corrupt Ukrainian front companies?

No? Okay. How about this?

I’m seeing …. a tech monopoly using secret algorithms to throttle speakers of one political bent while boosting those of another political bent? Or using its algorithmic power as a publisher (not a platform) to falsely claim that some unpopular stories are “Trending” and to falsely claim that some actually-trending stories are not? And all this to crush the reach of news that hurts one political party and one political ideology?

Crazy no?

Where the fuck has this prick been in the last two years? Or perhaps he’s just fallen so far into gaslighting mode that he wipes his memory each night so that he doesn’t go insane with all the cognitive dissonance?

And also right on schedule is this….

Complete with talk about “reforming section 230” and “anti-trust reform” and all the crazy stuff that a goodly (and growing) portion of US right-wingers have been pushing for several years now.

My goodness, where did that suddenly come from? What a coincidence that it came just a day after Musk takes over Twitter.

That’s government intimidation, isn’t it? That’s the government saying, “You will enforce our chosen narrative on a range of issues via censorship of your users – or we will act punitively against your monopoly position.” Sure sounds like it to me, and the response of the GOP to this will be to say how they’re not like that, even as the owners and employees of those companies snigger at their desks, curse the GOP, donate overwhelmingly to the Democrats, curse the Right even more and do everything with their considerable online power to screw them over.

This is why the GOP is often called by its own voters The Stupid Party.

In fact those voters been begging the GOP for some time now to get their useless backsides into gear and rip away the cover of Section 230 from the likes of Twitter, Facebook and their ilk, given the fact that, despite the well intentioned motives of protecting the fledging Web in the 1990’s, they’ve been acting as publishers not platforms for quite some time now in their censoring zeal:

No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.

The grass-roots have also begged the GOP to go full Teddy Roosevelt and start using trust-busting measures against Google and their ilk – only to be greeted with whinging about the “principles” of the libertarian, pro-corporate Right-Wing when it comes to the state and private sector companies – well, giant private sector companies at least. Look at the recent moans from the National Review crowd (and others on the Corporatist Right) about the Florida GOP actions taken against Disney.

Now that the Democrats have breached that particular dam perhaps the GOP will jump on the issue. Still, it would not be surprising if The Stupid Party decides that defending Google, Facebook, Twitter and company against such outrages is a winning issue in 2022, thereby condemning themselves to a tiny win or perhaps even a tiny loss this year, rather than the Red Tsunami they’re currently on target for.

A chart worth a thousand words

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The Vet had a cartoon with this title the other day. This one is an equally powerful chart.

It’s out of the USA of course, but knowing some Wellington bureaucrats as I do, it’s likely that the same results would be found here in New Zealand

Written by Tom Hunter

December 23, 2021 at 3:26 pm