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Posts Tagged ‘Facebook

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.

Freudian slip

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If Elon Musk’s purchase of 9.2% of Twitter caused Leftie heads to explode, his bid to buy the whole thing has resulted in a complete meltdown over the last week.

The following is a classic example of this because, even though the delivery is calm on the surface, the message is apocalyptic and tells you exactly what these people think they’re already doing to the public.

These responses are over the top not just because they smack of End Days thinking but also because, even with control of Twitter, Musk would be in no position to do anything about the censorship practiced by the rest of the Social Media universe, especially Google/Youtube and Facebook, where pulling advertisements to demonetise people and shadow-banning are at least as powerful weapons on the censorship front as what Twitter has.

The usual MSM hypocrisy is a hoot as well, as shown by these screen captures of the responses from Business Insider and Robert Reich (Secretary of Labour in Bill Clinton’s first term), writing for the Washington Post.

But the Musk-Twitter controversy is an insight into the MSM because a lot of journalists, perhaps all of them, rely on the platform for news and guidelines on the narrative they need to stick to, as well as putting their own stuff out there.

Hence the meltdown in the MSM over this, which is captured here by another journalist’s response.

Greenwald is as Left as it comes and he spent much of the last twenty years fighting what he saw as the GW Bush/Obama administration’s control or influence of the MSM narrative with regard to the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. Most of the Left were on his side because he was ripping the war mongering neo-conservatives that backed both administrations, although it was telling that many became uncomfortable when he moved straight on to Obama from Bush using the same criticisms because he felt little or nothing had changed.

Now he’s in even more hot water with “his” ideological side, despite the fact that he’s being entirely consistent in his criticism of the MSM, and now Social Media.

Even with the world of Twitter itself, as this article pointed out before Musk pulled the trigger, there are a number of big roadblocks in returning it to being the free speech platform it was a decade ago, and we know they exist because they are what changed it. The article details four steps and shows how they worked before and could work again – possibly destroying Musk in the process.

  1. Blame the platform for its users.
  2. Coordinated pressure campaigns
  3. Exodus of the Bluechecks
  4. Deplatforming

He’d have to fire most of the staff and rebuild from scratch, and I’m not sure that’s possible. Even the remaining staff could still pull stunts behind the scenes with the algorithms that throttle down the re-tweets of “disinformation”.

Also the Babylon Bee stings Twitter with this…. Nice to see Alphabet (You Tube) haven’t followed Twitter in banning Babylon Bee. Yet. My fave part with the Rorschach test:

Mandy: “Nazis…. Nazis…. Nazis….. Oh, I know that one. It’s the Indian symbol for peace. Namaste”

Written by Tom Hunter

April 18, 2022 at 11:18 am

It’s a good thing George Carlin is dead

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That was one message from Bill Maher’s take on the impact of Cancel Kulture in his world of using humour to stick it to powerful people.

I haven’t covered The Slap Heard Around The World because it’s just more of Hollywood being awful, but this time in a petty way that amounted to them eating their own as well as being yet another black mark for the Oscars. IMHO it was not as bad as the crap they churn out for us to watch. And now I have Maher referring to it anyway, except that his angle isn’t the screaming about violence, toxic males or the hypocrisy involved but what it says about how the US Left is handling humour nowadays, with another in his series of Explaining Jokes to Idiots (bonus points for the shoutout to the famous Seinfeld episode, The Magic Loogie, with “back and to the left”, itself a Black Comedy parody of Oliver Stone’s movie JFK).

If you think that it trivialises Cancel Kulture in focusing on its effects on jokes instead of Very Serious Ideas then you probably don’t know about this from 2021:

A nonprofit organization that major U.S. tech companies rely on for content moderation is expanding the scope of content it will blacklist on social media platforms.

The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism will expand its database of terrorist content to cover content shared by white nationalist and alt-right users, Reuters reported Monday. Tech companies, including Facebook, Microsoft, Google, and Twitter, rely on the forum’s database to automatically remove inappropriate content. Experts worry that the forum’s lack of transparency could cause some users to be unfairly censored.

The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism was created in 2017 to censor content from U.N.-designated terrorist organizations. The forum’s board is advised by the European Union’s Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs, which recently released a report entitled “It’s Not Funny Anymore: Far-Right Extremists’ Use of Humor.”

More in that link, although it’s mostly not about humour.

The worst is when the comics censor themselves, when they become Woke, which seems to be what’s happened to one of Maher’s famous compadres, Jon Stewart.

The liberal comic retired from his “The Daily Show” perch in 2015, spawning tributes from across the media landscape. He changed the face of late night TV, they cried, and they were right. For better and much worse.

His impact, from his liberal take on the news to his bleeped profanity shtick, became part of the late night playbook.

Hell, I used to laugh along with The Daily Show as well, even as he took shots at the Right (like Maher does) to a far greater degree than he did at the Left.

But I did not appreciate the fact that after basically destroying what was a very good show of Left vs Right political and ideological argument, CNN’s Crossfireby going on it in 2004 and attacking the folks there as unserious hacks, saying it was a show that “hurt America” by treating serious ideas in a (too) humorous way – Stewart’s own show simply carried on pushing little but the Left’s line while the rest of the media environment collapsed into the same echo chamber:

Is the media landscape Stewart helped create better for it, where Brian Williams regularly engages in Stewart-like snark (he called Ron Johnson a Russian asset the other day for reading a Federalist article into the record) and Tucker Carlson is the biggest name as a solo act in cable news?

In a context in which so much ink is dedicated to the concept of silos and the elimination of common space between right and left — and I mean the real right and left, not David Brooks and Maureen Dowd — do we honestly want a world where there is no space where these warring sides meet to do rhetorical battle?

The answer is: of course not. It’s much, much worse. The inability to have a space where such debates play out, and the inability of existing entities to provide such a space, has led directly to a degradation of our political conversation and a lack of familiarity with even the most basic version of the other side’s perspective on the world.

And as Jim Treacher memorably noted of Stewart’s routine:

Once I saw through his Clown Nose Off/Clown Nose On routine — “You should listen to me because what I’m saying is important, but I’ll brush off your rebuttal by insisting I’m just a comedian” — it was like the optical illusion with the cows. It might take you a minute to see it, but once you do, you can’t unsee it.

Since Treacher’s analysis in 2013 people have looked at the famous old Crossfire segment and observed that Stewart was pulling the Clown Nose On / Clown Nose Off routine there as well.

There was some of this also when he recently appeared on an episode of one of his Daily Show proteges, Late Night With Stephen Colbert, and spoke some common sense about the Wuhan Lab Leak theory, which had Colbert back-peddling fast until he finally asked Stewart how long he’d been working for Senator Ron Johnson (boom-tish for Liberal snark – see above).

Sadly he seems to have gone full Clown Nose Off as a result of savage attacks by Woke critics of his old show and more recent works:

The woke mob, which will “resurface” the past to attack people in the present, deemed his “Daily Show” writers room insufficiently diverse. And Stewart, rather than defend his team or their work, groveled for forgiveness. That must have stung, but it’s more likely another moment left a palpable scar on his psyche.

That other moment was a movie called “Irresistible” that Stewart made about politics and which lampooned both the GOP and the Democrats. That was not acceptable:

It’s cowardly to make a film lampooning Democrats as out of touch rather than Republicans as unquestionably evil, but this is what “centrism” is these days, and that’s the “both sides” ideology that Stewart espoused back during his days on The Daily Show, and that’s the shit that doesn’t fly anymore.

War, baby! Götterdämmerung. The final fight between the forces of Good and (Unquestionable) Evil.

This is why his latest show, “The Problem with Jon Stewart” on the Apple+ streaming network, had an episode titled “The Problem with White People.” that ended up with Andrew Sullivan, Mr Gay Mrriage himself, a voter of Obama-Obama-Clinton-Biden in the last few years, being attacked as a racist by Stewart’s guest, with Stewart in full, Clown Nose Off agreement:

I just assumed he wouldn’t demonize or curse at a guest; he would moderate; he would entertain counter-arguments; he would defend fair play. After all, this was the man who had lacerated Crossfire for bringing too much heat and not enough light. He believed in sane discourse. He was a liberal, right?

He is indeed, it’s just that poor old Sullivan, despite writing about Woke issues, still thinks that Liberals fit his stereotype, the comfortable picture he has of them, and of himself:

At that point, it became clear that Stewart was not conducting a televised debate, but initiating a struggle session. The point of the session was not to discuss anything, but to further enforce the dogma he had pronounced. So I found myself in the equivalent of one of those workplace indoctrination seminars — in which any disagreement is regarded as a form of “hate” or “ignorance.” But worse: I was in a struggle session with a live mob sitting in, cheering and jeering, which Stewart led and orchestrated. For good measure, Stewart called me a racist and told me I was not “living in the same fucking country as we are,” and went on to angrily call me a “motherfucker.”

Sullivan also got this treatment from the guest (predictably a Liberal White Woman):

I did not come on this show to argue with another white man. That’s one of the reasons we don’t even engage with white men at Race2Dinner, because quite honestly if white men were going to do something about racism, you had 400 years. You could have done it.

A key attack point. If it sounds familiar that’s because we’ve heard it in New Zealand also, in relation to White Colonialism, and you will hear more of it in the near future. Sullivan finishes his detailed piece on the history of White and Black race in the USA by drawing the obvious parallel with Stewart’s ethnicity:

… the trope of a malign racial force existing through history across time and space is one Jon Stewart might have once recognized before he joined the woke cult. I wonder what he would have said if someone had come on his old show and said, “I did not come on this show to argue with a Jew,” or “every single Jew upholds these systems,” or “it doesn’t matter what a Jew’s politics are, he’s still a Jew, and therefore a racist”. What if she had bragged that her organization wouldn’t even engage with Jews because they were so toxic. And what if that person had looked straight at a Jewish guest of Stewart’s when she said it? What would he have said?

Somehow I don’t think it would be: “If I could finger snap, I would finger snap right now.”

Amid all this fighting was news of a stunning counter-attack. After asking his 80 million Twitter followers what they thought of the status of free speech on the platform, and receiving an overwhelming response that it was poor, Musk bought a 9.2% stake in the company for US$ 2.9 billion dollars, making him the largest shareholder and likely catapulting him onto the Board of Directors.

We’ll have to wait and see what influence he has. While significant, the shareholding is far short of control and BOD members are not management; they don’t manage the day-to-day functions of the company. On top of that, as this article pointed out before Musk pulled the trigger, there are a number of big roadblocks in returning Twitter to being the free speech platform it was a decade ago, and we know they exist because they are what changed it. The article details four steps and shows how they worked before and could work again – possibly destroying Musk in the process.

  1. Blame the platform for its users.
  2. Coordinated pressure campaigns
  3. Exodus of the Bluechecks
  4. Deplatforming

Still it was nice to see that it triggered an immediate meltdown across the Lefty Social Media Sphere, especially among the Twitter workers themselves.

Maybe they should hire Bill Maher to provide worker tension-relief exercises once a week. They might even learn to laugh.

Kill Big Tech – and the CIA, DHS

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The next GOP President needs to treat Google, FaceTwit and the rest of the Silicon Valley biggies the same way that Teddy Roosevelt treated Standard Oil.

Bust them up.

People thought oil was a dominant energy as early as the 1900’s, when we were less reliant on it than we are now.

But these people control the information flows of the world, and in the wake of the 2020 election and the shit they pulled with Hunter Biden’s laptop, plus other things about Joe Biden that should have been put before the American voter, it’s obvious that such dominance in the field is far more powerful.

Also, the next GOP President needs to take a hammer to US intelligence agencies, as GW Bush did not do in the wake of the massive failure of the CIA, FBI and the rest on 9/11. Instead he threw yet another blanket of bureaucracy over the top of them called The Department of Homeland Security that supposedly would tie them together more effectively.

They’ve always been political, but now it’s reached levels that are not acceptable for a democracy. They’re not so good at stopping the US getting screwed by its enemies but they’re very good at playing political games in Washington D.C.

Read the Powerline article for the specific list of these assholes and what they’re saying now about Hunter Biden’s laptop in response to follow-up questions. Note also their jobs: there’s no consequences for members of The Establishment.

Another Powerline article sums up the response more accurately

The New York Times expresses no regret because it doesn’t regret what it did. The Times isn’t a newspaper, it is a mouthpiece. Its purpose was obvious. It was the same purpose that animated many other news outlets, Twitter, and the 51 lying spies: they were trying to get Joe Biden elected president.

That effort succeeded. Lying about the laptop was just one of many corners they cut to achieve their desired objective, but poll data suggest that it was one of the most important. If voters had realized how demonstrably corrupt Joe Biden is–no one has ever bribed Hunter Biden–polls suggest that Donald Trump would have been re-elected. Liberal news outlets are proud of the fact that they acted together to prevent that awful possibility. If it took some lies to accomplish the mission, so what?

Thus, I attribute little significance to the New York Times’ casual acknowledgement that it blew the Hunter laptop story–really, it blew the 2020 election, if you think the Times is trying to report objectively on the news. But of course no one thinks that. For the Times, Twitter, and countless other liberal institutions, their lies about Joe Biden and Donald Trump accomplished the intended mission. There will be no apologies, no regrets–only, behind the scenes, discreet high fives.

The same is true of every person around the world who supported Joe Biden.

Written by Tom Hunter

March 21, 2022 at 7:42 am

NORAD tracks Brandon

You’d think that the US MSM had bigger fish to fry, what with the arrival of the dreaded and deadly ZOMG OMICRON mutant of C-19 and all sorts of economic problems in America.

But no.

No, it’s far more important that they rally around their designated godhead to defend him against the slings and arrows of outraged citizens. Or in this case, an amused citizen who decided to have a bit of fun with “President” Biden.

It’s been the tradition since 1955 for NORAD to use their radar systems to track Santa on his way from the North Pole, and this year the “President” decided to join in the fun as little kids across America called in to find out where Santa was. Then this happened:

Oh dear. Over the years we’ve had films and plays centered around the assassinations of Dubya and Trump, and Kathy Griffin posing with Trump’s bloody severed head and a thousand “Fuck Trump” calls from celebrities.

But what this guy did to Biden was far worse; he actually showed that Joe Biden is non compos mentis and in doing so revealed that someone(s) else is running the show. Naked emperor or Frank Morgan behind the curtain. Take your pick.

Or perhaps it’s his wife Jill. You can see the shock register on her face: she knows what the phrase means even if the dementia-ridden old wreck beside her does not. Seriously, do all these people have to keep Soft-Serve Joe insulated from the real world?

The US media promptly had a meltdown and swung into action. Rather than making the lead story about Biden not knowing what the hell is going on, they huffed and puffed about how horrible this was. NBC actually described it as “a Right-wing slur”, which is ironic because it was an NBC reporter who coined the phrase after she claimed she “misheard” chants of “Fuck Joe Biden!” at a NASCAR race, and set the meme in motion.

They were going to find out who this asshole was – and make him pay – and they have. Video of the other end of the call was located on Social Media and the guy was identified as one Jared Schmeck from Oregon:

folks on the left have now used that video to doxx the guy, put a name to the face, and are trying to hurt him at his alleged place of employment. They have his alleged name, the local government job he supposedly has, and that he works for a family business. They’re trying to out him to the government job so that job will take some action against him.

[They] have even posted his real address, the name of his wife, and the names of members of his family. Given the way that people fold like cheap suits when faced with the mob, I don’t doubt that they might be able to get this guy punished in some way by his employer or even fired. They’re also talking about trying to hurt the family business.

Actually this is nothing new. Years ago during his Presidential campaign, Obama was doing the usual neighbourhood meet-and-greet and got into a debate with some guy throwing a football around his front yard with his kid. Barack was in full spread-the-wealth-around mode and the guy did not agree. The guy got doxxed to hell.

A couple of years later some rodeo clown wore an Obama mask (as he had with the masks of other Presidents). Obama could have made a public reference to how it’s a fine old American tradition to mock their leaders but he didn’t, letting his worshippers apply “public pressure” to the rodeo and getting the guy fired. Apparently you can unify a nation while “getting in people’s faces” and “punching back twice as hard.”

Schmeck, is now getting death threats:

“At the end of the day, I have nothing against Mr. Biden, but I am frustrated because I think he can be doing a better job,” said Jared Schmeck, who works for an electric company and was previously a Medford police officer for six years until he resigned in July 2018. “I mean no disrespect to him.”

Oh buddy. If you’re going to go on Social Media the first thing you need to understand is that apologies and explanations are just throwing blood in the water to these SJW assholes. Better to go on the attack by telling these people that they’re just pissed because he pulled back the curtain on a truth they deny.

Written by Tom Hunter

December 28, 2021 at 10:04 am

Being Mean

Inflation is likely to become the number one priority over the next year, judging by the price rises to date on various consumer items and the fact that there’s nothing on the horizon that would stop it. Oil looks to be going higher, supply chains are still in bad shape, and governments continue to pump money into their economies to compensate for lockdowns.

It also looks like it will be a global event rather than just a few nations, since almost every nation has followed the same path and is having the same problems.

On top of everything else, the MSM has begun to take notice by interviewing not just the usual economic “experts” but ordinary people, which is what CNN did the other day:

“To demonstrate the ‘squeeze’ of inflation and supply chain issues on everyday Americans, CNN’s ‘New Day’ featured the Stotlers, a Texas couple looking after nine children – two of whom are their biological kids, while they’ve adopted six more and have one foster child. Krista Stotler said she started seeing prices rising this summer and it was costing them an extra $100 a week on groceries….  ‘A gallon of milk was $1.99. Now it’s $2.79. When you buy 12 gallons a week times four weeks, that’s a lot of money,’

For their troubles of appearing in a CNN interview the Stotler’s got these reactions from “Liberal” voices, including any number of journalists and Democrat activists (but I repeat myself). Here are just two but there’s plenty more where they came from:

That last one shows the usual situation of people reading a headline and not the whole article. As you can see above, only 2 of the children are the natural offspring of the parents. The Stotlers have opened their home to 7 more children. And he’s sneering at them!

On top of that the mockery is based on the gut reaction that 12 gallons of milk a week is absurd. But with 11 people in the family, it’s an average of two and a half cups of milk per person per day.

It shows how out of touch these critics are, but that won’t stop them being invited by their MSM mates onto talk shows to explain away recent Democrat election losses and how to get in touch with The People again.

It also shows that they’re assholes, which brings me to this article about Alec Baldwin’s recent shooting and killing of an innocent woman:

Alec Baldwin got to play his dream role last week, and unfortunately for an innocent woman, it was a method-acting version of Ted Kennedy. Now, you note that I am mocking a guy whose probable gross negligence killed a lady and maimed a man, and this raises an important question – do we really want to live in a world where our reaction to a tragedy caused by an enemy is not sorrow and compassion but mockery?

The article goes on to explore the pros and cons of being enough of an asshole to mock Baldwin in this situation:

In the world I would want to live in, we would all be at Option A, whispering a silent prayer for the hurting – and I did. But this is not the world we live in, and none of us are under any moral obligation to pretend we do.

Alec Baldwin is a bad person, but more than that, he is a bad person who hates us – with a mortality rate thanks to his hypocrisy. And now he is vulnerable, and the rules say he is fair game – his rules.

Not only that but this is not “punching down”, which Baldwin has done on Twitter countless times to ordinary people, in keeping with his Lefty peers as seen above with the Stotler family. By contrast, ripping Baldwin is punching up across the shields of his fame, wealth and the moral superiority that comes with the high levels of self regard his class of people have.

The conclusion is that it’s down to individual choice but that the writer is not going to condemn you if mockery is the route you take.

Think of it as the Cold War. Option B is mutually assured destruction – if you launch social media cruelty at our misfortune, you will pay in spades, so don’t. Option A is unilateral disarmament. Nice people on our side want us to disarm to make us better people; our enemies want us to disarm to make us better targets.

Those are the rules we’re playing by today. I didn’t make the rules. I don’t like them. I’m even willing to return to the old ones, once enough pain has been inflicted to teach the necessary lesson about changing the rules. But I am not willing to play by a different set of rules that limits me at the expense of my opponents.

Written by Tom Hunter

November 16, 2021 at 10:04 am

Your Brain on Murder – and Covid-19

A year ago, during the insanity of the BLM/Antifa riots across US cities that killed dozens, caused billions of dollars of property damage and screwed up a number of Central Business Districts (CBD’s), I came across a statistic that should not have surprised me but did.

The number of unarmed Black men that the public think are killed by the police in the USA in 2019, broken down by political ideology.

Putting that into an even simpler form:

Very Liberal respondents:

  • 14.29% said ‘about 10,000’
  • 31.43% said ‘about 1,000.’

Liberal respondents:

  • 6.67% saying ‘about 10,000’
  • 26.67% saying ‘about 1,000.’

According to the database at Mapping Police Violence, the number was actually 27 in 2019.

As you can see from the above chart, it’s the Moderate, Conservative and Very Conservative thinkers who have a much better grip on reality in this case.

Is it any wonder that these “Liberal” and “Very Liberal” people were all in on the BLM violence in 2020. I suppose you can at least say they’re genuine in their rage.

But then I ran across the same gap between reality and human minds on another issue, Covid-19, this one from a Gallup poll and splitting only by US political affiliation (Democrat, Independent, Republican):

Again making it even simpler, the percentages of those groups who think that the unvaccinated have a 50% chance of being hospitalized because of COVID:

  • 41% of Democrats believe that
  • 26% of Independents believe that
  • 22% of Republicans believe that.

The correct answer: Fewer than 1% of unvaccinated people infected with COVID will have to go to the hospital.

The good news, sort of, is that at least all three groups had a near majority thinking that the chances of vaccinated people being hospitalised is less than one percent, which is the correct answer for the USA:

The hospitalization rate for both vaccinated and unvaccinated COVID patients is under 1%:

  • The hospitalization rate for vaccinated COVID patients is 0.01%, or 1 out of every 10,914 patients
  • The hospitalization rate for unvaccinated COVID patients is 0.89%, or 1 out of 112 patients.

While it’s easy to be snide about the political and ideological mindsets that lead to such conclusions, if we like to think that most people, maybe more than 50%, are intelligent and rational enough to accept factual data – and god help me I want so much to believe that – then the fault for these massive differences from reality must lie with our MSM, Social Media and governments, who have such great influence in telling people what’s going on.

Written by Tom Hunter

November 7, 2021 at 6:46 pm

Social Media Topsy Turvy

I awoke this morning to news from Beloved Wife that she could not even access Facebook let alone get to the places she visits.

At first I thought it was just the usual FaceTwit shadow-banning or worse, but a quick check on Ye Olde Internet revealed that Facebook was actually down and out in the worst such failure they’ve had since 2008 (when they only had 80 million people in their walled garden).

My heart skipped a beat. Perhaps Putin’s outsourced cyber-crime units had finally struck a blow for freedom. As the Babylon Bee put it:

Sadly this did not turn out to be the case.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 5, 2021 at 6:58 pm

Politics as Religion

As religion, at least traditional Christianity, declines across the Western nations, other beliefs seem to be filling the resulting vacuum.

Strangely enough it’s not Atheism, which continues to amount to perhaps 2-3% of the population. It would be fair to say that the space is being filled with Agnostics, people who don’t specifically say they don’t believe in a god or gods, but who merely say that they don’t practice any religion.

More specifically perhaps it’s people who just don’t bother to think about religion and god much from any POV: it’s just not part of their life.

However, there do seem to be just as many “spiritual” believers around as ever, people who believe in, have faith in, something beyond themselves, something not always corporeal. For example I’m always surprised at how many crystal worshippers I encounter: I thought it was a hippie thing that died out with the 1970’s. Imbuing nature with spirituality seems to be a thing as well. Attend any Tangi in this country and you’ll soon learn how spiritual Maori are.

Unfortunately it seems that politics is one of those growing religions, as outlined in this clever essay published on substack, Fanatics:

It’s not hard to see why wokeness is so frequently compared to a religion. The metaphors are everywhere: the washing of feet, the prostrations, the proclamations of faith, the sacraments, the martyrs, the confessions, the heretics, the hallowed ground, the Original Sin, the evangelism. Last summer’s protests for racial justice often had the look of a religious movement. Many of its practitioners saw it explicitly in those terms.

The article has links for each of those specific examples if you want to check. There are broader comparisons that work just as well and are more important:

If religion gives meaning to the lives of the faithful, there are a lot more Americans now who lack that meaning than there used to be, and they’re concentrated on the left side of the political spectrum. It’s not difficult to imagine these people seeking the kind of meaning that religion would otherwise have provided them  — a sense of belonging to a larger community; a feeling of collective purpose; an affiliation with a temporal reality that transcends the duration of a single human lifespan — in other things. In their politics, for example.

Actually there’s a specific religion the author has in mind; good old American Calvinism, whose 18th and 19th century aspects he notes before delving into today:

All of these tendencies fit as comfortably into American left-wing social justice culture as they did in right-wing Christian evangelical culture in the 1990s. Liberal Twitter in 2021 is one big digital Calvinist village, everyone trying to out-virtue-signal one another to prove their ever-tenuous membership in an amorphous club of the morally elite, picking over everyone else’s tweets for signs of political heresy, and calling them out to the mob in a desperate attempt to deflect scrutiny from themselves. The same political culture prevails on college campuses, media outlets, and the non-profit industrial complex. Increasingly, it is becoming the norm in Congress.

It does seem awfully familiar, especially when explicit examples of modern political behaviour are seen in Social Media, but:

The problem is that politics is, in important ways, the very antithesis of religion, and in a democratic society, the more politics takes on the shape of faith, the more intractable and dysfunctional it becomes. That’s because politics, when put to its proper use, is the search for what disparate groups share in common, and the bargaining over their differences. Religion is practically its inverse; at its root, it’s tribal. And so as our politics have taken on the character of religion, they have become tribal, too.

He goes on to specifically look at the tribal/religious aspects of Australia’s Aboriginals but also how blending this with politics can only end badly. It’s a lengthy article but worth your time to read.

He’s also not the only one saying this, but unfortunately the trend is speeding up rather than slowing down. Most religious arguments have ended in wars sooner or later, only after which did things settle down in new patterns until the next great uprising. Perhaps that’s the fate of the West again?

Written by Tom Hunter

June 26, 2021 at 9:23 am

What journalists don’t know

An interesting article on the topic of how increasingly disconnected journalists are from the societies they live in and report on.

It’s from a US perspective but I think the same thing applies in NZ. Sure, there are journalists for Farmers Weekly and the like, but the dominant faces and voices are concentrated in Auckland and Wellington.

This is Charles Cook in National Review; Have Journalists Ever Met the People They Write About?

This isn’t a conservative-vs.-progressive thing. It’s not a Republican-vs.-Democrat thing. It’s not a coastal-elite-vs.-flyover-country thing. It’s not even a Trump thing. It’s a journalists-vs.-normal-people thing. Outside of the narcissistic and incestuous Thunderdome that houses the American media, it remains the case that people simply do not think in the way that the Beltway-media class believes they do.

They are not traumatized by the daily news. They do not make key life decisions based upon the behavior of the president, nor wait for him to leave office before deciding that they are so disturbed that they no longer wish to work. They are not fixated upon the latest congressional MacGuffin or the implications of a given riot or the occasional mistakes of the police. And when they are looking to enjoy a good “cultural drama,” they do not look for it in the same places as the editors of the Washington Post do.

Only journalists and politicians do that. Why? Because they’re freaks. I mean that quite seriously, and I happily include myself in the description.

Cough … freaks … cough. Yes, well the difference is that freaks like moi don’t have a platform reaching vast numbers of people, and I’m well aware of where I sit in society:

People who argue about the national news every day are straight-up oddities — doubly so when they do it from New York or Washington, D.C.; triply so if they do it in pursuit of a comprehensible political ideology; and quadruply so if they do it using the digital funhouse we call Twitter. Don’t mistake me: There’s nothing wrong per se with being a weirdo. It’s a free country.

But there is a lot wrong with being a weirdo who is totally unaware that he is a weirdo. And there’s even more wrong with being a weirdo who spends his days projecting his own interests, obsessions, anxieties, pathologies, and ideologies onto an unwitting and normal population that is nothing at all like him, while claiming that he is giving a voice to that same unwitting and normal population. Increasingly, I see it accepted that “Twitter isn’t real life.” Well, journalism isn’t, either, I’m afraid.

It reminds me much of Englishmen Clive Crook, who wrote a very interesting article in 2015 analysing the rise of Trump by contrasting the area he lived and worked in – Washington D.C – with the area he was going to retire in, West Virginia, Donald Trump, Class Warrior:

I’m a British immigrant, and grew up in a northern English working-class town. Taking my regional accent to Oxford University and then the British civil service, I learned a certain amount about my own class consciousness and other people’s snobbery. But in London or Oxford from the 1970s onwards I never witnessed the naked disdain for the working class that much of America’s metropolitan elite finds permissible in 2016.

That’s a hell of statement coming from a product of the English class system. And the US MSM are right in with those attitudes. Back to Cook’s article:

Once again, I must ask: Has the average member of the press corps ever actually met anyone in America?