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Posts Tagged ‘GOP

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.

Election conspiracy theory updates

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As a long-time observer of US elections in my lifetime, and with great interest in their history, leading to being an avid reader of books like Down For The Count (Dirty Elections and the Rotten History of Democracy in America) by Guardian writer Andrew Gumbel, I got quite a kick out of the sudden and dramatic turnaround of the US Democrat Party, the MSM and all “balanced and impartial observers” with regard to claims of election corruption in the wake of the 2020 US Presidential election.

Suddenly all those claims about corruption and cheating in the 2000, 2004 and 2016 US elections started to get memory-holed. It’s perhaps not surprising then that the book quoted above, first published in 2005 and updated in 2008, does not have a Wikipedia entry (it’s also known as Steal This Vote)!

However, perhaps the reason is that the people who won the election for Joe Biden in 2020 actually didn’t keep quiet about it, but burst forth into print just a few months later to boast about their efforts in the now infamous TIME magazine article, The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election. Rather than memory holing, the tactic was blatant spin as the election was “fortified” (not stolen you see).

There was a conspiracy unfolding behind the scenes, one that both curtailed the protests and coordinated the resistance from CEOs. Both surprises were the result of an informal alliance between left-wing activists and business titans. The pact was formalized in a terse, little-noticed joint statement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO published on Election Day. Both sides would come to see it as a sort of implicit bargain–inspired by the summer’s massive, sometimes destructive racial-justice protests–in which the forces of labor came together with the forces of capital to keep the peace and oppose Trump’s assault on democracy.

You see! It was Trump that was stealing the election and the USA was “saved” by all these brave and honest billionaires and Democrat activists.

Also “behind the scenes” since then has been a major effort by the Republican Party across the USA to fix up the process and make sure the sort of crap pulled in 2020 does not happen again, at least not on as large a scale and not in swing states. Interestingly the progress that has been made shows up the same things that the TIME article noted – except from a POV that they were corrupted things rather than good ones.

First up is a Wisconsin legal decision on ballot drop boxes:

A judge in the state of Wisconsin ruled on Thursday that the use of ballot boxes in the 2020 election was, in fact, illegal. Joe Biden was declared the winner over Donald Trump in the state by 20,682 votes.

This stunt was pulled in various places leading up to the 2020 election: various election practices not approved of by the state legislature as legally required. In this case simple instructions issued by election bureaucrats, along with no legal requirements on what a drop box could be, on protecting them or even having a chain of custody log or ballot count.

The Healthy Elections Project reports that, during the 2020 election, “only eight states explicitly permit[ed] or require[d] ballot drop boxes by statute or regulatory guidance,” but that drop boxes were nonetheless available to voters in at least 19 states. In other words, under the umbrella excuse of COVID!, at least 11 states used drop boxes without legislative authorization to do so.

By an odd coincidence, Wisconsin is one of a handful of swing states where “midnight magic” occurred on election night. These were the states where, at some point in the wee hours, massive vote dumps produced huge jumps in Biden’s, and only Biden’s, vote tallies.

Associated with this was testimony from former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, who led an audit of the 2020 election in his state, that the election was so corrupt that the state legislature should “take a very hard look at the option of decertification of the 2020” presidential election. Purely symbolic at this stage re “President” Biden of course and it’s more important to focus on future elections.

Then there’s another big swing state, Pennsylvania, where the ballot mail-in laws have been found to be unconstitutional:

This will be bittersweet news for a lot of people. A five-judge panel has ruled that Pennsylvania’s universal mail-in voting law violates the state’s constitution, an argument conservatives have been making since it was enacted in 2019. That election law went on to play a pivotal role in delivering the state for Joe Biden in 2020, who trailed on Election Night, but pulled ahead as more and more mail-in votes were counted.

Now this is not the end of the matter. Democrat Governor Tom Wolf will appeal the decision and it will make its way to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, where the Democrats have a majority so it will likely be reinstated. I’d like to think that it will then be taken to the US Supreme Court, given how important it is, both as an election-corrupting law in general and as an example of how constitutions don’t matter a crap to the Democrat party unless their ox is being gored.

We live in an era where the judiciary is simply an activist wing for Democrats. While you are always holding your breath on how a Republican-nominated judge will rule, those put in place by Democrats typically vote in lockstep.

The idea that the “right to vote” only exists in the absence of any and all guardrails is moronic. But that’s the argument Democrats are making all over the country, including in Pennsylvania. By their logic, why not let people vote on their phones? Heck, let’s have a full year of early voting. If all procedures and protections qualify as voter suppression, as Democrats claim, then what’s the argument for not just blowing up everything?

As an addendum to this, recent video and audio recordings from the state’s Delaware County (3rd largest in Pennsylvania), have revealed ever more systemic problems with the voting than previously suspected:

To date, the videos have exposed a wide array of problems with election integrity, including on-tape admissions that the election laws were not complied with, that 80 percent of provisional ballots lacked a proper chain-of-custody, that there were missing removable drives for some of the voting machines, and that election workers “recreated” new drives to response to the Right to Know request.

With boxes of voting sheets lining the basement floor of a Delaware County building, the election worker tells Miller, “There were six precincts in one location and all of the machines were, all of the scanners were, programmed to accept any ballot of those six precincts.”

“It was a nightmare,” the Delaware County official explained, adding that “you couldn’t, there’s no way you could reconcile” the results.

To a certain extent what is described there is little different than what Gumbel describes in his hilarious (and hair-raising) chapters on electronic ballots, mail-in ballots and scanners, starting in the 1970’s. This is just bigger than the elections he looked at.

They’ll be more stories to come from many US States as they repair the system and with Chinese Lung Rot in abeyance the primary reason for mail-in ballots, ballot-harvesting and the like will also recede. One note not mentioned in these articles or cases is that while the number and proportion of mail-in ballots showed massive increases in 2020 the error rates collapsed:

  • Georgia: 6.5% rejections in 2016 to a mere 0.2%, more than 30 times lower.
  • Pennsylvania: 1% in 2016 to 0.03% this year.
  • Nevada: 1.6% in 2016 to around 0.75% this year.
  • Michigan: 0.5% in 2016 to 0.1% this year.
  • North Carolina: 2.7% in 2016 to 0.8% this year.

The folks at FiveThirtyEight provide several sober reasons for this incredible improvement in quality control, but given the screwups in so many other areas of the election that looks like special pleading that would not be used if Trump had won.

We’ll have to wait for the 2024 elections to see if these miracles re-occur.

Meantime I’m reminded of a line from Down For The Count where the advisor of one long-forgotten losing candidate’s said of his opponents: “They cheated fair and square”.

Written by Tom Hunter

March 25, 2022 at 3:46 pm

Now this is a stupid GOP Senator

Yes, yes, I know. There’s so many to pick from.

Earlier in the week I took my co-blogger The Vet to task for running with the Democrat/MSM screaming about GOP Senator Marco Rubio Tweeting out a photo of his Zoom call with Ukrainian President Zelensky during the meeting – when the real story of that meeting was Zelensky ripping Biden a good one; the Democrats weren’t going to let that be the lead story, not that they need worry about their MSM covering Biden’s ass.

But lest it be thought that my objection to that “story” (already vanished in history, as intended) was pure GOP partisanship, I thought I’d highlight a GOP Senator who this week said something that was truly, dangerously fucking stupid in the context of this war, something far worse than Rubio’s photo. Allow me to introduce to you, Lindsey Graham (GOP, S.C.), and his Tweet:

Lindsey Graham

Are you fucking kidding me? I’m sure a lot of people in the Western world have idly wondered that. I certainly have, but me just humble blogger and the rest of us similarly obscure. This guy is a senior US Senator with a lot of sway. Having an American government official that prominent call for Putin’s assassination is outrageously stupid.

For a start does he think it’s only a one-way street? The FSB is much better at this sort of thing than the CIA, with an entire unit dedicated to poisons.

Rather than a drone missile from 5km in the sky or a lead injection from 1500m you’re likely to get some Polonium-210 in your cuppa!

The good news is that Putin is likely to simply raise an eyebrow, as much of the GOP does whenever “Ms Lindsey” gets publicity hungry and goes full Southern Belle drama queen.

Incidentally, while looking through that Wiki page on Litvinenko’s poisoning, I noted this from his last statement before he died on November 20, 2006:

…this may be the time to say one or two things to the person responsible for my present condition. You may succeed in silencing me but that silence comes at a price. You have shown yourself to be as barbaric and ruthless as your most hostile critics have claimed. You have shown yourself to have no respect for life, liberty or any civilised value. You have shown yourself to be unworthy of your office, to be unworthy of the trust of civilised men and women. You may succeed in silencing one man but the howl of protest from around the world will reverberate, Mr Putin, in your ears for the rest of your life. May God forgive you for what you have done, not only to me but to beloved Russia and its people.

Written by Tom Hunter

March 11, 2022 at 5:00 pm

The slow blade penetrates the richest Democrats

In this post – US Government cuts spending by $5 trillion – I’d already taken a look at the fighting going on inside the Democrat Party over their insane spending plans.

Insane because these multi-trillion dollar plans came on top of previous multi-trillion dollar plans already passed and on top of the “normal” government budget of $6 trillion plus.

Since that post the infrastructure bill ($1.2 trillion) has been passed by the US Senate and signed into law – thanks to help from The Stupid Party (GOP). The majority of the money is never going to be spent on what is actually infrastructure; roads, bridges, water works and so forth. The Progressive wing of the Democrats finally, grudgingly voted for it, accepting that they could no longer hold it hostage to the bill they really wanted, Build Back Better (BBB). They accepted the promises of Schumer and Pelosi that BBB would still pass, all $3.5 trillion of it.

Pelosi did get it through the House (with eleven idiot GOP votes) but it stalled in the Senate thanks to two Democrats: Senators Manchin (WV) and Sinema (AZ), the former in particular.

“President” Biden had already screwed up negotiations before, undercutting both Pelosi and Manchin. But the latest negotiations between he and Manchin were the last straw. While Biden admitted that the negotiations were probably going to go into 2022, he claimed that Manchin had “reiterated support” for the framework’s funding level. But Manchin had never agreed to those numbers – Biden’s statement was just a straight-up lie. That became very obvious when Manchin responded: “The president put out a statement. It’s his statement, not mine,” That’s a very polite hint, but incredibly the White House doubled down on their lie.

That was it. Just to rub salt in the wound, Manchin made the announcement on Fox News.

In addition to not pissing more money against a wall to add to already worrying increases in inflation, and the national debt, there was also one more great reason to celebrate the failure of this monstrosity: no change to the SALT deductions.

SALT you ask? No, it’s not the payment to Roman soldiers (from whence we get the word, salary). S.A.L.T stands for State And Local Taxes and they were a big part of the tax reforms the GOP passed a few years ago under Trump. In the USA when you do your annual tax returns you can deduct from your income the money you’ve paid in State and Local (usually meaning city) taxes before you apply Federal taxes.

It’s basically a tax deduction from the Federal side and it can add up. In Illinois I did appreciate not getting screwed twice for the 3% State Income Tax, and since then it’s gone up to 5%. In California it’s 13% and other Democrat One Party states and cities have followed the same path in introducing and then jacking up their tax rates, all of which are flat taxes. After all, their voters could deduct all that money from the Federal side so who cared – aside from GOP-controlled states that largely have no state income taxes. Let them carry more of the Federal burden while Blue states got on with spending.

In the 2017 tax reform package the GOP finally put a stop to this bullshit by capping the SALT deductions at $10,000. The Blue states howled and have not stopped howling since. Understand that this made no difference to the vast majority of working people in those states, since they didn’t earn enough to reach that threshold and could still deduct SALT as they always had.

But the richest 1% of Democrats, big donors to the Party, were not happy and have banged the drum behind the scenes for years now to eliminate the cap. Being one of these people herself, Nancy Pelosi was eager to help and one of the dirty little secrets of the BBB bill was that it would have eliminated that cap and given them a huge tax break, along with a spending assist to their pals running California, Illinois and New York.

So that’s now also dead. Excellent. Well done to the GOP for having screwed the richest 1%.

In case you’re wondering, Crenshaw is referring to this piece of performative bullshit from a prominent Democrat hypocrite – although to be fair it may be that she’s too dumb to understand this since she voted for the BBB.

Written by Tom Hunter

December 20, 2021 at 12:11 pm

Bob Dole – the last full measure

Over in the USA, World War 2 vet, long-time GOP politician and 1996 Presidential nominee, Bob Dole, died this week. He was very badly injured by machine gun fire in Italy in 1945 and barely survived thanks to the then new wonder drug called streptomycin. For the rest of his life he’d hold a pencil in his right hand so that people would not shake it, so damaged still was his right arm and shoulder.

Dole had built his political reputation in the 1970’s so in the 1990’s I was largely unaware of him or what he stood for and he seemed like a man whose time had passed. It would be like voting for Muldoon.

As a result I didn’t support him for President in 1996 as I thought Clinton would do a better job, but I did agree with Dole’s comment about all of Clinton’s sexual and corruption problems: “Where’s the outrage?”. Sadly for those of Bob’s generation there was none and people merely snickered at him for being so old and square about sex instead of cool and hip like Bill.

The whole #MeToo movement – where the Left would set new and higher standards for men getting handsy (and worse) with women – was years away, although as we’ve seen, it was only ever aimed at Right-Wing men and died with the ascension of Gropey Joe.

Same with the age factor which, as you can see from this TIME magazine cover, was also a “big thing” in the 1996 race.

I now regret thinking such things about him. Dole might not have been a better President than Clinton, but he would have been a more honourable one.

As Paul Mirengoff over at the Powerline blog reminds us, looking at the gracious and generous coverage of Dole in the MSM now, portraying him as “a bridge-builder, friend of Democrats and Republicans alike, and a reminder of the good old days when the parties cooperated and the Senate got things done”:

Back then, Dole was portrayed as a nasty piece of work, a hatchet man with an acerbic wit. In 1976, when he ran for vice president, the line on Dole was that Gerald Ford selected him because of his ability to sling mud at Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale. President Ford would take the high road while Dole would ridicule and demean the opposition.

There was nothing warm, fuzzy, or the least bit sympathetic about the way the MSM portrayed Dole when he ran against Bill Clinton in 1996.

But the media didn’t abandon the “prince of darkness” narrative. It portrayed Dole as deeply divisive. There was little if any praise that I recall of his Senate skills or his ability to work across party lines.

It wasn’t just the MSM. In Chicago at the time I was on good terms with a Boomer “Liberal” who just hated Dole’s guts. Since I wanted Clinton to win and had no skin in the game I never inquired as to exactly what Dole had done to earn such hatred. It bemused me, but I now realise that almost every US “Liberal” feels this way about every GOP politician, which is why they and their MSM allies, even as the likes of Dole vanish into history and the cold ground – are always on the lookout for the next GOP Hitler. Mirengoff again:

My point, though, is the mainstream media’s serial demonization of Republicans who stand in the way of its liberal agenda. When Ronald Reagan had power, he was a right-wing zealot and menace to world peace. When George W. Bush had power, he was the evil stooge of the even more evil Dick Cheney. When it looked like Mitt Romney might get power, he was a callous, out-of-touch serial destroyer of jobs and wrecker of lives.

Written by Tom Hunter

December 10, 2021 at 12:00 pm

Advice from the peanut gallery

There’s an interesting post this morning from the Point of Order blog, David Seymour and Judith Collins meet Daniel Hannan.

The article talks of the fusion between Liberal and Conservative politics, using the British Conservative MP Hannan as one of the more clear-headed and articulate examples.

Basically it’s giving advice to both New Zealand political leaders, while also taking a rather subtle swipe at them:

“We classical liberals were few enough before 2020. The median voter was always to our Left on economic issues and to our Right on cultural ones. As is often pointed out, the political centre of gravity in Britain is ‘fund the NHS, hang the paedos’. The epidemic has made us even more of a minority. Around the world, people are more frightened and therefore more authoritarian.”

“Thatcher’s brand of Manchester liberalism never colonised the Conservative Party. At best, it formed a contingent alliance with mainstream Toryism – an unequal alliance, it should be added, for the free-marketeers were always the minority.

This reminded me another recent Spectator article focusing on ructions within the US Republican Party, where the Never-Trumpers appear to be fighting a rear-guard action, but which quoted Thatcher:

At the level of principle, rhetorically and in Opposition, it opposed these (left-wing Labour Party doctrines of planning, regulation, controls and subsidies) … and preached the gospel of free enterprise with very little qualification. 

Almost every post-war Tory victory had been won on slogans such as ‘Britain Strong and Free’ or ‘Set the People Free’. But in the fine print of policy, and especially in government, the Tory Party merely pitched camp in the long march to the left. It never tried seriously to reverse it. Privatization? The Carlisle State Pubs were sold off. Taxation? Regulation? Subsidies? If these were cut down at the start of a Tory government, they gradually crept up again as its life ebbed away. The welfare state? We boasted of spending more money than Labour, not of restoring people to independence and self-reliance. 

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.

The Conservative MP’s who allowed this to happen naturally became Thatcher’s opponents and they were known as “The Wets”, a term that Thatcher herself coined that has come to describe all such Right-Wing politicians in the Western world. Thatcher’s formidable personality, intellect and the sheer brute force of election success, kept these people on the back foot through the 1980’s. They got their revenge in forcing her to step down at the end of 1990 and appeared to have “won back” the party with the rise of the hopeless John Major, followed by an unexpected close victory in the 1992 general election. Until the rise of Brexit they once again became the face of the party, as they had been pre-Thatcher.

That article also included a quick vignette of the similar opposition that faced Ronald Reagan in the 1970’s from the old guard of the Republican Party. Reading the following is a reminder of what the status quo of mainstream Right Wing parties always amounts to:

  • Vice President Nelson Rockefeller dismissed Reagan as “a minority of a minority” who “has been taking some extreme positions.”
  • New York’s Republican Senator Jacob Javits: Reagan’s positions are “so extreme that they would alter our country’s very economic and social structure and our place in the world to such a degree as to make our country’s place at home and abroad, as we know it, a thing of the past.”
  • Illinois Republican Senator Charles Percy said Reagan’s candidacy was “foolhardy” and would lead to a “crushing defeat” for the Republican Party. “It could signal the beginning of the end of our party as an effective force in American political life.”
  • Former President Gerald Ford: “I hear more and more often that we don’t want, can’t afford to have a replay of 1964.” If the Republican Party nominates Ronald Reagan “it would be an impossible situation” because Reagan “is perceived as a most conservative Republican. A very conservative Republican can’t win in a national election.” Asked if that meant Ford thought Reagan can’t win, Ford replied to the New York Times: “That’s right.” The Times story went on to observe that Ford thought “Mr. Reagan would be a sure-loser in November” and that Reagan held “extreme and too-simple views.”

I appreciated the above points being concisely summarised in this quote:

In other words, there’s nothing new here with this alarmism about “political extremism” from GOP Establishment figures about a conservative outsider and his supporters having the nerve — the nerve! — to invade what they see as their private club.

A club with the best manners and temperament too. Quiet. Civil. Good food and drink and good conversation that stimulates the mind but does not upset the stomachs of well fed and credentialed people. One can go home from the club, there to read the newspaper and chuckle about the silly things the Leftists are getting up too, while knowing that it’s really nothing important to get upset about or – god forbid – fight against.

To sum it all up? The Renew America Movement is nothing more than the umpteenth rejection of conservatives by Establishment Republicans. They stand for the socialist ratchet. They are the embodiment of what Reagan called the “pale pastel” Republicans.

Reagan and Thatcher the extremists eh? Perhaps, but to borrow a phrase from our Lefty brethren, they were on the right side of history.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 16, 2021 at 9:52 am

The next GOP Hitler

This is a follow-on from the previous post about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s time as Governor of California, his betrayal of GOP principles in line with other GOP politicians, and the subsequent rise of Trump.

It’s often said that Trump represented something new and frightening about the American Right Wing:

“I think Donald Trump is an authoritarian. He’s not an ideologue, he’s not a principled man in the way that Goldwater was….I think that the times are different and I think the people are altogether different,” Bernstein tells CNN’s Don Lemon. Earlier this week, as Mediaite notes, Bernstein “told CNN’s Brian Stelter that Trump is ‘a new kind of fascist in our culture’ with an ‘authoritarian demagogic point of view.’”

That’s Carl Bernstein of Watergate reporting fame, and that’s what the US Left and the Democrats always say about a GOP President or candidate, even Mitt Romney and John McCain – and Barry Goldwater:

As managing editor of the CBS Evening News, Cronkite seemed to relish pricking Goldwater from time to time for sport. In late July, he introduced a report from CBS correspondent Daniel Schorr, a hard-and-fast liberal working from Munich. With an almost tongue-in-cheek smile, Cronkite said, “Whether or not Senator Goldwater wins the nomination, he is going places, the first place being Germany.” Schorr then went on a tear, saying, “It looks as though Senator Goldwater, if nominated, will be starting his campaign in Bavaria, the center of Germany’s right wing.”

The backstory was merely that Goldwater had accepted an invitation from Lieutenant General William Quinn for a quick holiday at Berchtesgaden, a U.S. Army recreational center in Germany. But Schorr made the takeaway point that Berchtesgaden was once “Hitler’s stomping ground.” Goldwater, trying to show off his NATO bona fides, had granted an interview with Der Spiegel in which he mentioned a possible trip to Germany soon. Some Democratic opposition researcher floated the idea that Goldwater was infatuated with the Nazis. It was ugly stuff.

Sure it was, about the man who a later Leftist journalist would describe as “principled”, decades later when Goldwater was safely dead. But then, every Republican presidential candidate, from Thomas Dewey (smeared as a Nazi by no less than Harry Truman) to the present will be attacked by the left in this fashion, no matter his temperament, or small-government policies (you need Big Government for real Fascism). In his 1984 book, Troubled Journey: From Pearl Harbor to Ronald Reagan, Fred Siegel, points out that this nasty crap started as far back as 1940:

Henry Wallace, the point man for the New Dealers, fought the 1940 election with the slogan “Keep Hitler out of the White House.” Wallace conceded that “every Republican is not an appeaser. But you can be sure that every Nazi, every Hitlerite, and every appeaser is a Republican.” Wallace glossed over the isolationism of leading Democrats like Burton Wheeler who were left-leaning at home yet impassioned appeasers…At their harshest, fervent New Dealers dropped the qualifiers and pronounced Wendell Willkie, Roosevelt’s middle-of-the-road Republican opponent, “the man Hitler wants elected president.”

Siegel should have mentioned a far more prominent name among the Democrat appeasers – Joe Kennedy. A little later, in his 1944 State of the Union address, FDR smeared the laissezfaire Coolidge era of the 1920s as “the spirit of fascism:”

If history were to repeat itself and we were to return to the so-called “normalcy” of the 1920′s—then it is certain that even though we shall have conquered our enemies on the battlefields abroad, we shall have yielded to the spirit of Fascism here at home.

Eisenhower was the only one who escaped the slur, probably because of his reputation from being the Supreme Commander of European Allied forces, the brief unanimity in facing down Communism, and the fact the he didn’t change any Democrat domestic policies.

But with Nixon’s return so came the Reductio ad Hitlerum. Those of us who are old enough also remember the same shit thrown at Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43. Here’s the same Carl Bernstein writing in 2012 about “Mitt Romney’s Radicalism”. That article also carried the same lines about the GOP and its voters that you’re hearing today in 2021:

“today’s Republican Party (and its Tea Party wing) represent the first bona fide radical political party to rise to dominance in Washington in nearly 100 years.”

As another article responded:

Tea Party members oppose Big Government, excessive federal spending and debt. Bernstein is claiming that it is somehow “radical” to want to return to the founding principles of the United States and save America from financial bankruptcy and economic ruin. Who is the real radical?

Plus being tagged as racists because there was a Black Man in power, completely ignoring the fact that the groundswell of protest started with Bush’s bank bailouts in late 2008. One famous sign seen at Tea Party rallies in 2009 read “It Doesn’t Matter What This Sign Says, You’ll Call Us Racists Anyway.” As law professor Glenn Reynolds responded to “Right Wing” David Brooks of the NYT and his heavy breathing about Trump in 2016:

The Tea Party movement — which you also failed to understand, and thus mostly despised — was a bourgeois, well-mannered effort (remember how Tea Party protests left the Mall cleaner than before they arrived?) to fix America. It was treated with contempt, smeared as racist, and blocked by a bipartisan coalition of business-as-usual elites. So now you have Trump, who’s not so well-mannered, and his followers, who are not so well-mannered, and you don’t like it.”

Of course, none of this would have been possible without the stenographers of the Democrat party, their MSM operatives with bylines.

“The lowest form of popular culture – lack of information, misinformation, disinformation, and a contempt for the truth or the reality of most people’s lives – has overrun real journalism. Today, ordinary Americans are being stuffed with garbage.” – Carl Bernstein, 1992

Pre-internet you will note.

Now, the same crowds, having defeated Evil Orange Man, are gearing up to do the same thing again to the next GOP President and Nominee, as even the squishy National Review notes:

After four years spent painting Trump as a unique threat to the nation, progressive pundits have begun moving on to new villains.

“Former President Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to our nation, at least, if you support our democratic republic,” [MSNBC’s] Obeidallah wrote. “But DeSantis is more dangerous.”

That was quick.

The ironic thing is that the Democrats may see their hysterical nightmare come true, as this guy explains the theme further in Every New Republican Is the Most Evil Republican Ever:

Chimpy McBu$Hitlerburton is tolerated now that he’s snuggling with the Obamas and Clintons, stabbing his loyal supporters in the back, and doing cheesy watercolors of veterans his grotesque incompetence got mutilated. All that unpleasantness about him being in on 9/11 is just a vaguely troubling memory from long ago.

They treated Trump like some radical, but they misunderstood him as they misunderstand so much else. Donald Trump was less a revolutionary than an eccentric with an inability to hide his contempt for his fellow caste members. He grew up and prospered in elite society, and he enjoyed it – as his myriad amorous adventures splashed across the cover of the NY Post testified. What made him dangerous is that he didn’t participate in the framework of Mutually Assured Discretion.

They hated him not because he embraced a few conservative ideas. They hated him not even because of those mean tweets – they like meanness. No, they hated him because he told the forbidden truth. He told the terrible secret to those unwashed people out there in Americaland who make things for a living and sweat when they work, that our elite is not only not better than the plebs but is much, much worse in every sense.

The truth that many observers of Trump saw in 2016 was that he was still the boy from Queens, gazing across at Manhattan and determined to be accepted by it. He never really was but he carried that yearning to Washington D.C.

Yet, Donald Trump did not want to destroy the ruling caste. At least until the end, he still maintained residual respect for its institutions. He might have accurately labelled it the “failing New York Times,” but at some level, he still thought he could win over Maggie Haberman and get a sweet write-up. He didn’t want to burn it all down; he just wanted to slap some of the swells around.

Luckily the Democrats foolishly decided not to embrace him for big spending things like a trillion dollar infrastructure bill and expanded Medicare (which he would have loved), but instead went feral; 100% opposition frenzy 25/8/366. Trump’s greatest gift was that he forced his opponents to lift their masks of civility and reveal just what awful, ugly and unprincipled pieces of shit they were, and where they were located, which in some cases was inside the GOP.

The key indicator is their norm-breaking – the norms they touted for so long about free speech, due process, and self-determination were all fine right up until the outsiders started to use them to threaten the insiders’ positions and prestige.

As some handful of those Republicans who had opposed Trump in 2016 later acknowledged; if you looked at policies, the guy was governing much like any GOP President, as well as doing some things previous GOP Presidents had promised and never delivered. But it didn’t matter to the Never Trumpers; nothing does. And so.

The next victorious Republican – one will come even if we detour back to another squish for a cycle or so – will be ruthless. He will understand that the enemy is serious about holding on to power and that means holding us by our throats. He will understand that to win means to take the fight to them, to ignore the whining and howling

He will not care about earning their favor. He will care about payback. He will be woke, conservative woke, and for the first time in a long time, Democrats will be right about something, for they shall fear him.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 9, 2021 at 12:00 pm

Total Recall – or why Trump arose

With the recently concluded recall election in California that resulted in a thumping win by Governor Newsom, I was intrigued to find an old book review that covered the aftermath of a previous recall election in the state in 2003 against Governor Gray Davis.

That election resulted in a loss for Davis and more importantly a win for the former actor and Republican, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who would go on to win election in his own right and was Governor for two consecutive terms (eight years), the maximum mandated. In 2012 he published a memoir of that time, Total Recall (the title of one his hit movies). In the same way, he titled himself The Governator, after his most famous movie role as The Terminator.

I’m less interested in the review itself or the book than some of the tidbits that fell out of it (and some that did not) regarding his ideology as a Californian Republican governing in a state that’s about as Deep Blue as it gets. Here’s just three, the first two coming courtesy of his then wife, Maria Schriver: she was Democrat royalty (Kennedy family) and the force behind the Governator’s picks for key offices.

  • Given the awful condition of California’s finances at the time people expected somebody with a record of budget reform. Instead, thanks to Shriver, they got Ana Matosantos, a Puerto Rican with an undergraduate degree in political science and feminist studies. She easily moved on to become as chief budget advisor in Democrat Governor Jerry Brown’s administration. The state bled billions for years and the improvements were done by Brown himself. Naturally she failed up and is now Newsom’s “energy czar”.
  • Another was appeal court judge Tani Cantil-Sakauye, billed as a “moderate Republican.” In 2015, an illegal alien gunned down Kate Steinle on a San Francisco pier, but Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye was untroubled by Democratic sanctuary policies that protected the shooter. In 2017 he charged that ICE agents were “stalking” criminal illegals in courthouses.
  • Even without his wife, Schwarznegger called Fabian Núñez, a very Left former state assembly speaker, “one of my closest allies among the Democrats.” The pair worked together on AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act, which the governor claimed would be good for the economy. It wasn’t. What’s not in the book is that, in 2008, Núñez’s son Esteban was involved in the fatal stabbing and sentenced to 16 years in prison for manslaughter. How he avoided murder and life I don’t know but Ms Núñez tried to get that sentence reduced further. A judge refused. During his final hours as governor, Schwarzenegger commuted Esteban’s sentence to seven years. He did not notify the victim’s family and Judge Lloyd Connelly called the action “distasteful and repugnant.”

So there you have it. After the disastrous Gray Davis, voters expected a true reformer. Instead they got a climate change fanatic, a collaborator with corrupt Democrat politicians, and a coddler of violent criminals. In short, Arnold Schwarzenegger governed not just as a Democrat, but a quite Leftist one. About the best you can say of him was that he vetoed some awful bills.

You add in people like Mitt Romney, John McCain and Arlen Specter (a Senator who would switch to the Democrats after years of being touted as a solid Republican), plus the complete failure of GW Bush to rein in the size of government (hell, he pumped it up), his Liberal Internationalism that saw wasted nation-building war efforts, plus the obvious, post-political, cosiness of them all with their Democrat “opponents” and one can see why Trump won the GOP nomination in 2016, then the Presidency, and maintains a lot of influence in the GOP to this day.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 8, 2021 at 11:02 pm

Posted in US Politics, USA

Tagged with , ,

Angelo Codevilla on our Ruling Class

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 sounds familiar

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