No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘WW2

The Not-Snowflake

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One of the many things you have to worry about in a war is that you never know if you’ll have to end up fighting against people like this:

That’s Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart and according to Wiki:

He served in the Boer WarFirst World War, and Second World War. He was shot in the face, head, stomach, ankle, leg, hip, and ear; was blinded in his left eye; survived two plane crashes; tunnelled out of a prisoner-of-war camp; and tore off his own fingers when a doctor declined to amputate them. Describing his experiences in the First World War, he wrote, “Frankly I had enjoyed the war.”[4]

He was also awarded the Victoria Cross in World War One for one action on the Western Front in 1916.

The phrase “unkillable” comes to mind. But perhaps it was just consecutive throws of the dice of life coming up sixes?

Written by Tom Hunter

September 27, 2022 at 6:00 am

Posted in Britain, Humour, Military

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Germany’s a gas, man

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It was apparent several years ago to people like President Trump that Germany was getting far too hooked on Russian gas in its attempts to shut down it’s own coal-fired and nuclear generating plants. However, when Trump addressed this to Chancellor Merkel she dismissed the concerns and when he raised it again in a UN speech…

Germany will become totally dependent on Russian energy if it does not immediately change course.

…. the arrogant German representatives literally laughed at him (the video from which this is taken shows this even more clearly).

I guess the dumb bastards aren’t laughing any more, judging by the release of this analysis from Deutsche Bank.

Wood for heating? I’m cool with that for the farm, in fact I love my wood-burning fireplace. But for a mass of urban dwellers in a 21st century developed nation? How many houses would even have such a thing anymore?

And as this article points out, you can actually run cars on wood gas, and during WWII they did so in Germany and other nations.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 19, 2022 at 7:40 pm

Turning and turning in the widening gyre  

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Back in 2001 one of the best TV series to watch was Band of Brothers, put together by Stephen Spielberg and Tom Hanks, basically as a reaction to, and a companion piece to their earlier work, the movie Saving Private Ryan. Both dealt with the invasion of Normandy, with the TV series focusing less on D-Day than on the rest of the campaign leading on to Nazi Germany’s surrender and on the role of just one unit, “Easy” Company, part of the US 101st Airborne Division, which still exists today.

Auspiciously the first episode of “Brothers” screened on September 9, 2001.

As great a series as it is and as much as I like it and respect it I have grown to prefer its companion work done a decade later, The Pacific, which was based on two books, Helmet for My Pillow and With The Old Breed. I cannot yet explain why.

But I thought of both the other day when news broke that the last member of Easy Company had died at the age of 97.

Just a day before, the following video had surfaced on TikTok of a Rhode Island State Senator displaying how she enjoys the freedoms for which Bradford Freeman fought and for which many of his friends died.

Is it any surprise then that on July 4 I saw this video of a WWII US Marine on the occasion of his 100th birthday. I didn’t bother giving a NSFW for the above video because I think we’re beyond having much reaction to such things now.

By contrast the following is tough to watch.

“People don’t realize what they have … Nowadays I am so upset because the things we did, and the things we fought for, and the boys that died for it, it’s all gone down the drain. Our country is going to hell in a handbasket. We haven’t got the country we had when I was raised, not at all.”

Perhaps it’s simply an example of living too long? I recall as a kid watching three New Zealand WWI veterans (probably all in their 80’s then) being interviewed on ANZAC day and being asked if all their suffering and loss had been worth it. This was probably around 1973/74 and they joked about it a little bit, saying that when they looked around the nation they did wonder. Had they lived another twenty or thirty years they may have stopped wondering and reached the same conclusion as Carl Dekel. I’m not sure if anyone asked Bradford Freeman before he passed.

If there’s something positive to take away from what he says it’s the contradiction inherent in some of it:

“You just remember everything’s beautiful and live every day to the fullest. Just enjoy everything you possibly can. And here I sit at 100. They tell me I’m 100. I don’t believe it sometimes. Because I don’t need to worry about age. I’m not going to, I just keep on keeping on.”

“Most important thing in my life was serving my country. I don’t think I could take away from that…It was an honor for me to serve my country and if I had to do it again and I was the same age. I would do it. I guarantee you.”

He would do that again, the terrible experience of WWII combat in the Pacific. But can his words also be taken in the current frame, if he were a young man in America today? Would he?

Written by Tom Hunter

July 16, 2022 at 7:41 pm


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Today marks the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, where the US Navy destroyed four Japanese fleet carriers for the loss of one and turned the tide of the Pacific war in favour of America just six months after the disaster at Pearl Harbour.

There was still a lot of hard fighting required over the next three years, and in some respects it got harder as the US got closer to Japan, with the terrible combat in the war’s final battle at Okinawa being a factor in President Truman’s decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan rather than invading.

But after Midway the Japanese were never on the front foot again and rather than expanding into their new Greater East-Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, they were forced to fight a grinding defensive war, ultimately falling back on Japan itself.

Dauntless Dive Bombers

The victory involved some elements of good luck, but it was enabled by the bravery, skill and resourcefulness of pilots like Wade McClusky and Dick Best, and also of hundreds of men, lost to history, who showed the same abilities in places like ship yards, and the smarts of Admirals like Nimitz and Spruance.

But the real key to the American victory was that they had partially cracked the Japanese naval codes and, with some educated guesswork, were able to figure out where and when the Japanese would strike, and with what. As a result the Americans could lay a trap.

The battle technically lasted from June 4 to June 7, but the real action came on June 4 when the trap was sprung and all four Japanese carriers in their attacking fleet were destroyed, although it would take until the next day for a couple of them to sink.

Rather than reading that Wikipedia link however, you should honour this great victory by watching the movie Midway – not the plodding 1976 version which I saw as a kid, but the one made in 2019 by Roland Emmerich, who both produced and directed it. He’s better known for huge, splashy, trashy action movies like Independence Day and is also very much a Democrat and LGBT activist in the US. As such it’s surprising that this Midway is such an old-fashioned war movie, with no hidden messages about anything at all and one that openly celebrates courage, decency and honour. But apparently the movie was a passion of his and when big studios turned it down he raised the money himself. It is one of the most expensive independent movies ever made.

The surprise continues with actors like Woody Harrelson, who got his start in the TV comedy series, Cheers, in the 1980’s and who normally excels in “unstable” characters, playing Admiral Nimitz with all the sobriety and seriousness of the man himself. Similarly for singers like Mandy Moore, who portrays Dick Best’s wife with vulnerable but steely courage and love. The Japanese figures of Admiral Yamamoto , Admiral Yamaguchi, and ordinary Japanese pilots and sailors are also portrayed with compassion.

That’s not to say the movie is Politically Correct. In one scene near the end there is no hesitation in showing the cruelty of a Japanese destroyer captain as he brutally disposes of POW Bruno Gaido by throwing him overboard tied to an anchor after he refuses to answer questions.

In fact the non-PC quality of the movie slaps you in the face right from the start when it opens in Tokyo in 1937 with a British Admiral, annoyed at the “bloody ridiculous” Japanese custom of catching ducks with nets, telling his American counterpart, Intelligence Officer Edwin T. Layton, that he won’t miss Japan and that “The next time I see the little buggers I hope it’ll be over the sights of a 14 inch gun”.

That scene is also an example of one of the other great strengths of the film; it captures all the key elements of the story in quick, concise scenes that allow people utterly unfamiliar with the history to understand exactly what is going in. In that opening we see Yamamoto telling Layton that if Japan’s oil supplies are threatened they will have to go to war against the USA.

It took the awful movie Pearl Harbour (2000), three ponderous hours to cover what Midway does in about one hour as we see the attack on Pearl and the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo (and the survivors experiences in China), while also cramming in the vital scenes showing Nimitz’s appointment as Pacific Commander as he is told how grim the situation is, and Layton’s struggle to recover from the intelligence failure – his failure – of December 7, plus the little known American attack on the Marshall Islands in early 1942.

Similarly we move through scenes of the constant training of the pilots, and the risks and deaths involved in that, the effect of the Battle of the Coral Sea on Layton and his Intelligence team as they try to convince Nimitz that the island of Midway is next, and then of course the Battle of Midway itself.

The main characters are steadily introduced in these scenes in the same quick, concise manner that makes you immediately understand what drives them and what they’re like. Best is arrogant and cocky (what naval aviator isn’t?) but is softened a little as he becomes responsible for more lives than his own; his wife, Anne, passionate in her defence of him (“I often wondered what sort of woman would marry Dick Best and… well you have not disappointed”); Admiral Halsey (played by Dennis Quaid) gruff and smart; McClusky carrying the weight of commanding the likes of Best.

But there’s also humor; the scene where Nimitz finally demands to meet Layton’s “genius” analyst, Commander Joseph Rochefort, clad in bathrobe and fluffy slippers, with his team of code-cracking “tuba players”. Similarly in scenes showing the camaraderie of the men.

Portrayed are men who strongly disagree with each other and piss each other off, but none of them are made out to be useless or a bad guy, another departure from many modern movies. For example the torpedo squadron commander Lindsey is often at odds with an angry Best who has little respect for him, but that changes as death begins to surround them, especially for the doomed torpedo bombers who completely failed, and were slaughtered, yet made a crucial contribution to the battle by completely distracting the fighter planes defending the Japanese fleet.

There’s superb special effects of course, as you’d expect from a film today. But it’s never overdone. Two terrific scenes last seconds only: one where a downed US pilot floating in the water looks up and cheers on the dive bombers as they fall upon the Jap carriers; the second where the camera looks up through the water from underneath an American submarine as it launches a torpedo while a destroyer passes overhead and depth charges descend.

And that’s another great aspect of the movie in that it introduces two small but vital stories of the battle that have been largely ignored.

The decisive moment of the battle came when McClusky and his squadrons missed the Japanese fleet and had to back-search for it. McClusky made a cunning guess and found a destroyer that was clearly trying to catch up with the main fleet, so they followed it and the rest is history, with three dive bomber squadrons arriving at the same time, in the right place and far above the defending fighters who were busy killing the American torpedo bombers.

But the reason that destroyer was catching up was that it had been driving off that submarine, the USS Nautilus (not the nuclear one of course), which had tried to attack the Jap carriers – and that too is shown in intense, quick detail. Had they not tried there would have been no destroyer for McClusky to find and follow.

The other little back-story that I was impressed to see in the film was the effort to repair the carrier USS Yorktown, which had been heavily damaged in the Coral Sea battle and was expected to take months to repair. Nimitz ordered it to be done in 72 hours – and it was. I would have liked to have seen a few shots of the artificers, machinists and welders making on-the-spot decisions on repairs and doing them, plus some reference to the brownouts that occurred in Honolulu because so much electricity was being drawn in the repairs (see Victor Davis Hansons book Carnage and Culture for the details), but that’s a quibble. The fact that it’s in the movie at all is great.

As a final tribute the film ends with the faces of each main actor morphing into the real-life men, together with a brief epilogue of each, and then ends with Annie Trousseau, getting to perform the entire song she’s briefly seen singing in the earlier Officer’s Club scene. The song was originally done by Frank Sinatra during the war but I love this version more: All Or Nothing At All is also entirely appropriate for this story; I suspect Emmerich selected it, Trousseau certainly loved the chance to be a 1940’s torch singer and she nails it.

If, on a Saturday night, you want to see a great war movie that is accurate to history, expertly told, that really does honour brave men and a famous American victory, get this one. You won’t regret it.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 4, 2022 at 1:15 pm

They’re almost all gone

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The veterans of World War 2 that is.

Just a few hours ago marked the time on a Sunday morning eighty years past when Japan launched her attack on the United States at Pearl Harbour, smashing much of the US Pacific Fleet, and bringing the USA into the war.

For decades now the US veterans of that attack have gathered for the annual memorial. Soon they will be no more as age takes its toll, but there can still be heartwarming stories like this one, Crowdfunding sends 101-year-old Pearl Harbor hero to 80th anniversary ceremony:

An Oregon family has turned to crowdfunding to send their 101-year-old Navy veteran dad back to Pearl Harbor…“Lacking organizations with bigger pockets, I can’t afford to get my Pop over there,” Heinrichs writes on the GoFundMe page. “This fundraiser will cover flights, hotel, car, food for Ike and two family caregivers to keep him safe and be honored at the Pearl Harbor Anniversary ceremonies.”

They got the $10,000 they needed and a bit more. One of the many interesting aspects of this story is that Ira has been more willing to talk about the events of that day than earlier in his life. It’s well known that veterans of wars talk very little about their experiences, unless they’re funny stories, but it also seems to be true that as they get very old they’re willing to talk more.

The estimable historian Victor Davis Hanson reflects on the day

Most Americans once were mostly in agreement about what happened on December 7, 1941, 80 years ago this year. But not so much now, given either the neglect of America’s past in the schools or woke revisionism at odds with the truth.

The Pacific war that followed Pearl Harbor was not a result of America egging on the Japanese, not about starting a race war, and not about much other than a confident and cruel Japanese empire falsely assuming that its stronger American rival either would not or could not stop its transoceanic ambitions. . .

The whole essay is worth a read as Hanson explodes a few myths, which likely won’t die even so, although he doesn’t address the famous quote from Yamamoto:

In fact that’s quite the paraphrasing of something Yamamoto wrote and it was crafted for the 1970 movie, Tora, Tora, Tora. The screenwriter claimed he got it from a letter written by Yamamoto but nobody has ever found such. But like many such movie lines it’s just too good to ignore and has been repeated in other movies such as the execrable Pearl Harbour (2000) and the superb Midway (2019). I’m reminded of the line from the movie Apollo 13“Failure is not an option” – uttered by Mission Controller Gene Kranz as acted by Ed Harris. Kranz never said that but laughingly acknowledged that he wished he had and loved it so much it became the title of his autobiography.

Hanson points out that Yamamoto, “often romantically portrayed as a mythical almost reluctant warrior”, who feared sleeping giants and felt he’d only run wild for six months, was actually the primary force behind the attack:

Yamamoto himself agitated for the surprise Pearl Harbor attack. And he even threatened to resign if a skeptical General Tojo and Emperor Hirohito did not grant him a blank check to bomb the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Hawaii, a diversion of resources many in the Japanese military felt was unjustified, especially with the ongoing and increasingly expensive quagmire in China.

Big mistake as we all know now. Hanson suggests that there was an alternative strategy:

Both France and the Netherlands had been under occupation by the victorious Germans since June 1940. Had the Japanese simply expanded their newly acquired Indochina concessions—appropriated from the Vichy French in 1940—grabbed the equally orphaned oil-rich Dutch East Indies, and been content with conquering resource-rich, British-held Malaysia and its fortress port at Singapore—while bypassing Pearl Harbor and the Philippines—there would have been little likelihood even then of the United States entering the conflict.

Thank goodness they weren’t strategically smart!

In sum, it was largely Yamamoto’s enormous ego, his tactical genius, and his strategic ineptitude, along with Japanese hubris, that explain the strategic idiocy of a brilliant but short-lived victory at Pearl Harbor.

But to be fair, no student of military preparedness, economic resources, or social organization could have ever believed that a relatively vulnerable and isolationist United States, still reeling from recurring cycles of depression, in less than four years would have fought simultaneously across the Pacific and Europe with a 12 million person military, the largest economy in history, and the world’s most formidable weapons such Essex class fleet carriers, Balao submarines, B-29 long-range bombers, Hellcat and Mustang fighters and the world’s first atomic bombs.

Even viewed from this distance in time it’s a staggering effort. I was saddened by one comment on this day, especially since I find it hard to deny:

Now 80 years later, America is at best a nation divided and at worst a nation that no longer exists. We have no borders, we have no equal justice under a just and stable law and most dangerously, we are split into two camps that not only disagree on issues but disagree on the legitimacy and nature of the nation itself. While that is happening, China and to a lesser extent Russia are making geopolitical and technological moves that threaten to leave us in the dust.

Written by Tom Hunter

December 8, 2021 at 10:59 am

Posted in History, Military, USA

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September the 3rd, 1939

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The day the greatest slaughter in history began for New Zealand and Australia.


The Allies and Axis powers at the dawn of the German/Soviet invasion of Poland1:

The Republic of China and the Empire of Japan are involved in the early stages of the third year of armed conflict between them during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The war is in what will be known as the “Second Period”, which starts after the fall of Wuhan in October 1938 and ends in December 1941 with Pearl Harbor. This conflict will eventually be swept up into World War II when Japan joins the Axis and China joins the Allies.[1]1:

The invasion of Poland by Germany starts at 4:45 a.m. when the KriegsmarinebattleshipSchleswig-Holstein opens fire on the Polish military transit depot at Westerplatte in the Free City of Danzig on the Baltic Sea, but the attack is repulsed.[2] At the same time the Luftwaffeattacks several targets in Poland, among them Wieluń, the first town in the war to be carpet bombed by the Germans.[3] Shortly before 6:00 a.m., the German Army passes the Polish border in great numbers from north and south, together with Slovak units.[4][5] In the same day, the Free City of Danzig is annexed by Germany.[6] Resisters entrenched in the city’s Polish Post Office are overwhelmed.[2]1:

The Italian government announces that it will maintain a condition of “non-belligerence” in the conflict.

[7]1: NorwaySwedenDenmarkFinlandLatvia and Estonia as well as Romania immediately declare their neutrality.[8]

[9]1: The House of Commons of the United Kingdom passes an emergency military budget.[10]1:

The BritishWar SecretaryLeslie Hore-Belisha orders the War Office to begin the general mobilization of the British Armed Forces.[11]1: 

In a mass evacuation effort (code named “operation Pied Piper”) the British authorities relocate 1,473,000 children and adults from the cities to the countryside. The adults involved were teachers, people with disabilities and their helpers, mothers with preschool children.[12]1:

Acting on account of their governments, the ambassadors of France and Britain demand the German government to cease all hostile activities and to withdraw its troops from Poland.[6]1:

The President of the United StatesFranklin Delano Roosevelt sends an appeal to all European powers involved in the crisis asking them to abstain from bombing civilian and unfortified cities. Germany’s FührerAdolf Hitler, answers immediately assuring the Americanchargé d’affairesAlexander C. Kirk that the Luftwaffe will only attack military targets. The British Prime MinisterNeville Chamberlain also promises to abide to the request, as does Poland’s ambassador to the US Jerzy Antoni Potocki.[13]2:

Right after Britain, the French Parliament also approves an emergency war budget.[14]2:

The British and French governments agree on issuing an ultimatum to Germany the following day.[15]2:

The Swiss government orders a general mobilization of its forces.2:

The Irish State’s Dáil Éireann approves a state of emergency, paving the way to legislation that vastly enhances the government‘s powers.[16]2:

The French Army begins its general mobilization.[17]3:

At 9:00 a.m. the British ambassador to Berlin Nevile Henderson is instructed by the Cabinet to deliver an ultimatum to Germany which expired without answer at 11:00 a.m.[18] As a result at 11:15 a.m. British Standard Time (BST) the Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announces that Britain is at war with Germany.[19]3:

The National Service (Armed Forces) Act 1939 is approved and enforces full conscription in the British Armed Forces on all able-bodied males between 18 and 41 resident in the UK.[20][21]3:

In Britain, Chamberlain forms a new war ministry with a smaller and more powerful war cabinet within composed of nine ministers (Chamberlain, Sir Samuel HoareSir John SimonLord HalifaxLeslie Hore-Belisha, Sir Kingsley WoodLord ChatfieldLord Hankey and Winston Churchill).[22] During its first meeting, the cabinet appoints general Sir Edmund Ironside as head of the Chief of the Imperial General Staff and general Viscount Gort head of the British Expeditionary Force.[23]3:

The British Viceroy of IndiaLord Linlithgow also declares war on Germany without consulting Indian nationalists.[24]3:

The Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies declares that the country is at war with Germany due to Britain’s choice, and a similar war declaration against Germany is made by New Zealand‘s government.[25]3:

At 12:00 p.m. the French Government delivers a similar final ultimatum to Germany which at 5:00 p.m. also expires unanswered, thus bringing France in the war.[26]3:

Within hours of the British declaration of War, SS Athenia, a British cruise ship en route from Glasgow, UK, to MontrealCanadais torpedoed by the German submarineU-30 250 miles (400 km) Northwest of Ireland. 112 passengers and crew members are killed. The “Battle of the Atlantic” starts.[2

Written by adolffinkensen

September 3, 2021 at 12:59 pm

Posted in History

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Dame Vera Lynn

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Born March 20, 1917. Died June 18, 2020.

One hundred and three years old. What a great life.

It’s just so wonderful that one of the grand ladies of British history could have lived such a full and long life, beloved to the end, as the British people turned to her spirit again in yet another test and trial of their character.

In a televised address in April, the Queen evoked Dame Vera’s wartime message, assuring families and friends who were separated during the coronavirus pandemic: “We will meet again.” 

Just two weeks earlier, Dame Vera herself had sent a message on her 103rd birthday, calling on the British public to find “moments of joy” during these “hard times”. 

Then in May, We’ll Meet Again was used during the finale of the BBC’s coverage of the VE Day anniversary. Dame Vera appeared in a virtual duet with Katherine Jenkins, while key workers also joined in with the song. 

That led an album that had been released for her 100th birthday – featuring contributions from younger singers including Alfie Boe, Alexander Armstrong and Cynthia Erivo – to re-enter the UK top 40.

I’ve included possibly her most well-known song, We’ll Meet Again, in two versions.

The first is the one used at the end of Stanley Kubrick’s 1962 Black Comedy, Dr Strangelove. But instead of the Black & White images of the original film this one is updated with video clips from material declassified at the end of the Cold War and used in the brilliant 1995 documentary, Trinity and Beyond.

The second version is from an actual performance in the field for the British troops, which she did many times, and one of the great things from these recordings is the way the men join her in song.

I’m not going to say R.I.P. because to me that implies a life of hardship and pain from which she has now been released, and that was never Vera Lynn’s spirit. Instead I’ll choose this quote from somebody who had almost nothing in common with her:

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

Written by Tom Hunter

June 18, 2020 at 10:09 pm

It’s Time To Kick Back …. and Relax

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Menthol, Eucalyptus…. and Cocaine

More as an amused take on The Great War being turned into WWI by the even bigger Great War that turned up twenty years later, there has been Interwebby Thingy chatter about Great Depression II.

But focusing more on WWII and the sacrifices made caused me to come across this wonderful piece of American wartime art / propaganda below – possibly from one of the same artists who did Rosie The Riveter (they were all already employed by FDR as propaganda artists for the New Deal).

How true could this become? Of course in that situation the idea was to focus all resources on winning a traditional war, whereas a post COVID-19 NZ economy will be screaming for money to be spent in classic Keynesian fashion, so the exact opposite of “Me Travel?” is probably going to be recommended.

Meanwhile, here’s the great Norman Rockwell’s image of “Rosie the Riveter” from the cover of the Saturday Evening Post on Memorial Day, May 29, 1943.


And finally, here’s one of that war’s sweethearts, Gracie Fields, singing about what she’s doing to build the Thingumabob that’s going to win the war.

Perhaps a ska version with Gwen Stefani, set on a vaccine production line is next?

Written by Tom Hunter

April 16, 2020 at 11:51 pm

Posted in Art, History, New Zealand

Tagged with ,

Die MSM, Die – Tingles Bites The Dust

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The year of 2020 just keeps getting better and better with the news that one of the most well known TV journalists, Chris Matthews, better known to the US Right as “Tingles”, has been fired from MSNBC after twenty years of hosting the current affairs show Hardball.

I’m as creepy as hell and I’m not gonna’ take it anymore!

The reason he got the nickname “Tingles” derived from this infamous comment on live TV in 2008:

“I have to tell you, you know, it’s part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama’s speech. My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don’t have that too often.”

It would be comforting to think that even dedicated Democrat watchers threw up in their mouths a little over that, but it was very much part of the worshipful insanity of Barack that was 2008, although Tingles would repeat the phrase in 2010. Ick!

Over the years the US Right found plenty of reasons to despise the little prick, as summarised here in a collection of a few TV moments that are The Worst of Chris Matthews, from which I’ll take just two quotes:

“But he [Newt Gingrich] looks like a car bomber. He looks like a car bomber. Clarence, he looks like a car bomber. He’s got that crazy Mephistophelian grin of his. He looks like he loves torturing. Look at the guy! I mean this, this is not the face of a president.”

Big props for getting the word “Mephistophelian” in there. I’m going to miss that.

“Hardball is absolutely non-partisan.”

Sure. Who are you going to believe, Chris Matthews or your lying eyes? And this was the guy that NZ TV hauled up for an interview a year or two ago on US politics. Of course they did. Tucker Carlson of FOX News was probably unavailable and who wants to listen to his Far-Hard-Extreme-Right bias anyway?

Tingles’ claim in his farewell spiel was that he was “retiring”, but nobody believed that for a moment, and he alluded to the reason in his little speech:

After my conversation with MSNBC, I decided tonight will be my last “Hardball.” So let me tell you why. The younger generations out there are ready to take the reigns. We see them in politics, in the media, in fighting for their causes, they are improving the workplace. We’re talking here about better standards than we grew up with—fair standards.
A lot of it has to do with how we talk to each other. Compliments on a woman’s appearance that some men, including me, might have once incorrectly thought were okay, were never okay. Not then and certainly not today, and for making such comments in the past, I’m sorry.

With that he went to an ad-break and when the camera returned he had simply left his chair and somebody else was in it. Hell of a way to leave a show after two decades.

All this followed nine days of escalating demands that he be fired because of various comments he’s made to woman over the years and more recently. This past was wrapped up last Friday in a piece in GQ magazine by freelance journalist Laura Bassett. Bassett had previously made some of the accusations back in 2017 about a “much older, married cable-news host” who flirted with her “inappropriately” before an interview, but she didn’t name the person. This time she did and it was Chris Matthews. She also connected this with other, similar past comments.

As a result The Daily Show put together a “supercuts” look at Chris drooling over various woman through the years: Lookin’ Good With Uncle Chris.


As is usual with Democrats all this was forgiven for a long time, and to be fair this stuff falls far short of the sexual abuse scandals of MSM Lefty heavyweights Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose. Still, it’s entirely typical of men who came of age during the Swinging Sixties and have never escaped that era – which also leads to stuff like this:


That is not a good idea in the age of #BelieveAllWoman (except Bill Clinton’s accusers of course).

That exchange with Warren had already resulted in demands that Matthews be fired.

But what actually got the “Fire him NOW” ball rolling in the first place was when Tingles made the terrible mistake of getting on the wrong side of the tidal wave of Berniemania that followed Bernie’s win in the Nevada primary elections.

Tingles had been doin’ some of that readin’ historical an’ stuff, and on his show he decided to free-associate that with the problems facing the Democrat Party in dealing with Bernie.

Big mistake when you’re not that smart:

Prime Minster – not General – Reynaud

“I was reading last night about the fall of France in the summer of 1940,” Matthews said during MSNBC’s live coverage of the caucuses on Saturday. “And the general, Reynaud, calls up Churchill and says, ‘It’s over.’ And Churchill says, ‘How can that be? You’ve got the greatest army in Europe. How can it be over?’ He said, ‘It’s over.'”

And just like that, the Bernie Bros exploded with claims that Tingles was basically saying that they were You-Know-What, with Sanders in the lead as You-Know-Who, crushing France. And no, not the Wehrmacht and General Guderian.

An actual General – Guderian

Yes. Really.

I must admit feeling a delicious sense of Schadenfreude, given how often MSNBC hosts and guests make reference to Fascists in relation to Trump and Republicans.

It’s not a surprise that Tingles was so Tollpatschig. He was among his Zeitgenosse in the Zeitgeist and so got a little die Ahnungslosigkeit. But he really should have known better because while he may not have been interested in the Gleichschaltung, the Gleichschaltung was interested in him and….

…. Fuck! You see how easy it is to fall into this world!

Calmer Bernie supporters merely said that it was a terrible analogy to use against a Jewish guy who’d lost family members in the Holocaust. Actually it’s an analogy about things being over before people are willing to acknowledge that. Tingles quickly grovelled out an apology, but the Woke Monster was now on the loose.

If Tingles did want to use WWII history I’d have suggested the DNC as the Japanese government still arguing over surrender in the wake of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Admittedly this might have caused Bernie snowflakes to wonder if this meant their guy was being compared to the Enola Gay. To be fair that could also work, given what his policies would do to the USA.

Tingles’ real sin was that he clearly represented the non-Kool-Aid-drinking part of the Democrat Party and that was not acceptable to the Sanders-Warren-AOC wing which is the wave of the future that MSNBC wants to surf on. His bosses knew he had to go and as usual in a Social Media shitstorm the reasons didn’t really matter and the crime sheet could simply be pulled from the bottomless drawer of past transgressions that the NKVD hold for such moments.

One regret I have about his fall is that I had been looking forward to his defence of Joe Biden. Anyway, it will be some time – years perhaps – before Tingles can be replaced with someone of equal gravitas and seriousness.

Written by Tom Hunter

March 4, 2020 at 10:13 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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Starting 2020 with a Bang

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With some luck we may see something of Auckland’s fireworks tonight, but I doubt it will be as spectacular as the annual Big Sandy Nightshoot near Wikeup in Arizona.

More interesting to me was the following stand at Big Sandy where – for a price – you get a turn controlling a Ball Turret from a B17/B24 bomber with the original twin 50Cal machine guns.

Oh well. Beloved wife and I will see in the 20’s at a friend’s place and abandon our house to the teenagers. If you think this is risky I can assure you that teenagers – at least the crowd we know of – are a very different bunch to what I was like and what I suspect most readers here were like. Online multi-player gaming around the TV seems to be the order of the day – and it’s not even stuff like Halo or Dawn of War!

Written by Tom Hunter

December 31, 2019 at 8:17 am

Posted in New Zealand

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