Category Archives: Totty

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Rule Five Newsom Nuisance News

Before we start, I had some thoughts on physical preparation for your annual big-game hunt over at Glibertarians.

Now then:  Issues & Insights (if you’re not checking them out daily, you should be) recently put out one of the better pieces I’ve seen on ever-more-loony California Governor Newsom’s political prospects at the national level.  Excerpts, with my comments, follow:

With a classified document scandal encircling him like a vulture waiting on a wounded animal to succumb to its injuries, Joe Biden’s chances to be a presidential candidate next year are closing in on nil. So who will be the Democrats’ flagship candidate? The smart money says it will be the foolish Gavin Newsom.

The California governor wouldn’t be the only candidate, of course. A lineup for the primaries is likely to include, at the least, current vice president and former U.S. senator from California Kamala Harris, as well as previous candidates Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Even former First Lady Michelle Obama appears in the betting lines.

The clear favorite, though, a year before the primaries, has to be Newsom. He has the backing, the teeth, the hair, the Hollywood glam – and 54 electoral votes.

Yeah, let’s be honest, at least amongst ourselves; that classified documents thing is going nowhere.  As I’ve said repeatedly, President Biden(‘s handlers) has the perfect Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card – a “D” behind his name.  But I still think his chances of being the Dem’s 2024 nominee are somewhere between slim and none, if for no other reason because of his increasingly undeniable senility.  Heels-Up Harris has approval ratings somewhere between a polecat and syphilis.  There just aren’t any good candidates currently at the national level for the Democrats.

Which brings us to Newsom.

While perfectly cast in the role as the chief executive of California, and adored in blue states on both coasts, and a few in the middle, Newsom’s appeal to red America will be less indifference than outright contempt. He is everything that those voters dislike.

Fair or not, he’s been called the governor of “Commiefornia,” “U-Haul Salesperson of the Year,” “delusional” about his claims of California freedom, and a hypocrite for going maskless at a tony Napa Valley restaurant in 2020 while he was hectoring everyone else to mask up. The majority of red state voters are not going to bother with the nuances regarding derisive labels, the governor’s tortured representation of California liberty, nor his “I made a bad mistake” apology for celebrating a friend’s birthday with this face uncovered.

They’d see, and they wouldn’t be wrong, a candidate who sneers at their values and does not have their interests in mind. What he believes are the important issues – climate change, Second Amendment infringements, pay equity, reparations, DEI policies, and comforting labor unions – red staters consider foolishness and worse. They don’t want to be “Californicated.”

This is, of course, belaboring the obvious.  Newsom is a creature of the loony Left, popular among the wealthy coastal elites in both East and West as well as the Free Shit constituency, but almost nowhere else.  In red states his candidacy would be viewed with horror (by myself, among others) and would probably drive GOP turnout through the roof.  But would it be enough to see him off?

Still, it cannot be denied that much of the country wants to be like California.

But for how long will the wish last in New York or Massachusetts or Minnesota or Washington? California isn’t what it once was, and while Newsom can’t be blamed for every ill in the state – from frightening crime, a toxic homeless problem, and punitive energy prices, to perpetual drought, raging wildfires, and a future that’s sure to “feature” regular power blackouts – he’s done nothing to turn around the decline and in fact appears to be enthusiastic about taking the state into a deeper rut with blue-state policies.

Again, perhaps belaboring the obvious – but this is not a negative with the aforementioned coastal elites and the Free Shit caucus.  Indeed, for a lot of them, much of this falls into the “feature, not bug” category.

Here’s the onion:

How Newsom would fare as the 2024 Democratic Party nominee depends a great deal on his Republican opponent. But no matter who that is, Newsom will still be a polarizing candidate. He is as close as the progressive left can get to a perfect politician, and is almost as far from being a candidate who appeals to the middle of the country as is imaginable. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Harris are a few who come to mind who might do worse.

And this, True Believers, is the crux of the matter.  I know it’s trite to claim, as you see so often, that “this is the most important election in our history.”  It’s not; the 1860 election comes to mind as one that was almost certainly more consequential.  But it’s a big one, no doubt, and much will depend on who the GOP nominates, and how broad their cloak spreads.  But no matter what happen in 2024, no matter who controls Congress, I’m still of the opinion that the nation has likely gone too far down a dark fiscal path, and nobody – nobody – in the arena is talking seriously about fixing it, except maybe Rand Paul.

Ron DeSantis would be my first choice, as I’ve often said.  But he would be fighting a holding action.  Nothing more.

Plan accordingly.

Rule Five Ukraine Friday

The Hoover Institution’s David Goldman has some interesting things to say about the United States’ strategic interest (or lack thereof) in Ukraine.  This is a couple of weeks old, but it’s still worth reading and taking a little time to digest.  Excerpts, with my comments, follow.

In furtherance of what strategic interests has the United States acted in Ukraine? Is Ukraine’s NATO membership an American raison d’état? Did American strategists really believe that sanctions would shut down Russia’s economy? Did they imagine that the trading patterns of the Asian continent would shift to flow around the sanctions? Did they consider the materiel requirements of a long war that is exhausting American stockpiles? Did they consider what tripwires might elicit the use of nuclear weapons? Or did they sleepwalk into the conflict, as the European powers did in 1914?

I would argue that it’s largely sleepwalking, although not on the part of the European powers – and yes, it’s a bit ironic these days to call any country in Europe a “power” as they can now exercise very little of that.  But in this case it’s mostly sleepwalking on the part of the Biden(‘s handlers) administration, partly through incompetence, partly wanting to preserve the flow of grafter dollars from Ukraine (one of Europe’s most corrupt nations) to the Bidens (one of the United States’ most corrupt political families.)

Regime change in Russia has been on the agenda of some senior Biden Administration officials for a decade. As Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland, head of the State Department Eastern European desk, told a Congressional committee on May 6, 2014: “Since 1992, we have provided $20 billion to Russia to support the pursuit of transition to the peaceful, prosperous, democratic state its people deserve.”

Bribes, in other words, to another of Europe’s most corrupt governments.  None of this money went to any sort of “pursuit of transition,” but rather into the Swiss bank accounts of Russian oligarchs.

What Moscow saw was not the America of 1983, which pursued peace through strength, but rather provocation from weakness. It miscalculated on an invasion with just 120,000 troops. If regime change was not Washington’s agenda before February 24, it became so explicitly afterward. On March 26, President Biden declared that Putin “cannot remain in power,” defining America’s goal as regime change. This was a grave miscalculation. The Russian elite has rallied behind the regime, aware that its privilege and position will disappear if the regime falls, and the Russian people stoically follow their orders. December opinion polls show near-record 81% support for the regime.

This shouldn’t be too surprising.  If you look back to, oh, September 12th, 2001, you’d notice that for a while the United States was, briefly, a pretty damn united country.  George W. Bush, a mediocre President at best, was riding pretty tall in the saddle in the days following the attacks.  It didn’t last – but attacks from outside powers, be they real or perceived, tend to make a nation’s citizens rally behind their leadership, for better or worse.

The most likely outcome is a humiliating armistice. Paradoxically, that may redound to the long-term benefit of the United States. North Vietnam did the United States a favor by humiliating us before the Soviet Union did. It destroyed the limited-war illusion that possessed American military planners from the late 1950s onward. Our humiliating withdrawal from Vietnam in 1975 made possible a radical re-thinking of American military strategy, beginning under Defense Secretary Harold Brown in 1977 and continuing through the Reagan Administration. The United States undertook a revolution in defense technology that produced modern avionics and precision weapons, reversing the advantage that Russia enjoyed in conventional weapons in the early 1970s. The Russian military concluded after the 1982 Beqaa Valley air war and the initiation of the Strategic Defense Initiative that it could not keep pace technologically with America.

Utopian illusions about exporting democracy motivated America’s great blunders of the past generation, from Afghanistan and Iraq to Libya and Syria, and ultimately Ukraine. Perhaps we require another national humiliation on the scale of Vietnam to bring us back to the drive for technological superiority that ultimately won the Cold War.

I’m skeptical about that last.  It’s true that the humiliation in Vietnam, even though it was much more a failure of political will than a failure of arms, did result in a reshuffling of our entire military culture that resulted in a peaceful and successful (for us) end to the Cold War.  I was in Uncle Sam’s colors at the end of the Cold War, served with a lot of Vietnam vets, so I can affirm having seen this happen.

But I’m not assured that it will happen again.  The US in the late Eighties and early Nineties was a much different place than it is now, culturally and economically.  The country was in the later years of the Reagan boom, race relations were frankly better than they are now, and the cultural was much less, well, loony.  I’m skeptical that the US has the cohesiveness to make this transition in military culture again, at least not while invertebrates like General Milley are involved.

Read the whole thing.  It’s thought-provoking and presents some great analysis, whether you agree with the conclusions or not.

Rule Five 2023 Outlook Friday

The Mises Institute’s put this out a while ago, but I just stumbled across it; it’s worth reading the whole thing.  Excerpts, with my comments, follow.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned about the optimistic estimates for 2023, stating that it will likely be a much more difficult year than 2022.

Why would that be? Most strategists and commentators are cheering the recent decline in price inflation as a good signal of recovery. However, there is much more to the outlook than just a moderate decline in price inflation rates.

Price inflation is accumulative, and the estimates for 2023 and 2024 still show a very elevated level of core and headline inflation in most economies. The longer it remains this way, the worse the economic outcome. Citizens have been living on savings and borrowing to maintain current levels of real spending. But this cannot last for many years.

Politicians all over the world are trying to convince us that an annual inflation rate of 5 percent is a success, when it is a calamity.

The slight reduction in the inflation rate to 5% is being ballyhooed by the Biden(‘s handlers) Administration and the political Left as some kind of victory, which strikes me as a sick joke.  The middle class is being pinched worse of all – too prosperous to get on the Free Shit gravy train, but without the resources to comfortably sit out a significant economic downturn.

The outlook for 2023 is widespread impoverishment while governments continue to spend and raise taxes, which means an even worse destruction of real disposable income.

What is happening in the so-called recovery from the pandemic is nothing else but a global destruction of the middle class at an unprecedented speed.

The worst policies have been implemented and all have decimated real savings and wages. Money printing and tax hikes have not made the rich poorer and they have certainly not damaged the wealthy. The entire negative impact of the widespread increase in taxes has fallen, yet again, on the shoulders of the middle class.

To which I would ask:  “What are the odds that this is deliberate?”  Now, you might say, “Animal, that’s just a little paranoid, isn’t it?”

But is it, really?

Anyone who has read these virtual pages for any length of time knows that I have little patience for nutbar conspiracy theories, but it’s worth reflection that the recent Davos conference that we just discussed last week saw none other than Jane Goodall advocating for a dramatic reduction in Earth’s human population.  While that is perhaps extreme even for the Davos crowd, is it hard to imagine that some of the “elites” would find an impoverished population much easier to control, to coerce, to force into the kind of “green” rabbit warrens they are advocating.

Even if we set aside the hypocritical elites at Davos, it’s easy enough to see how the political Left in the United States has worked for decades to increase the population’s dependency on government, which gives the government more power, which enables them to place further controls on our behavior, which increases dependence still more…  It’s an evil, self-perpetuating cycle, and we may be seeing it come to a head in 2023.  The question is:  Will the citizenry of the USA figure it out and chuck the bastards out?  I’m skeptical; the siren song of Free Shit is very seductive, and plenty of people will react to any serious downturn by buying into that guarantee for comfort, even at the expense of their liberty.

Here’s the onion:

When you demand more government, this is what you get. An extractive and confiscatory view that always blames those who invest and create jobs for the problems yet creates a larger bureaucracy to administer the so-called benefits you never get.

On this point the late Robert Heinlein was prescient when he wrote these words:

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.”

Amen.

Rule Five Davos Friday

Issues & Insights gives us a Davos wrap-up profiling two of the most insufferable, pompous pricks on the planet.  Excerpts, with my comments, follow:

John Kerry, former senator, former secretary of state, and now chief climate alarmist for the Biden administration, said in so many words Tuesday during his World Economic Forum rant that it’s too late to save the planet from global warming. Yet he claimed climate programs still need more “money, money, money, money, money, money, money.” The only reason he’s not the worst person in the world is because he has so much competition at Davos.

What Kerry actually said was that he is “not convinced we’re going to get there in time to do what the scientists said, which is avoid the worst consequences of the crisis,” meaning that he doubts that the global temperature will stay under the cap of 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial temperature set by scientists (though it is actually a random figure with no scientific support).

Of course the cap of 1.5 degrees is arbitrary; it’s also rather arrogant to assume that we humans, who have been around for about 300,000 years (3 million or so if you count the totality of genus Homo) should know what the planet’s ‘correct’ temperature is.  Throughout most of the planet’s 4.55 billion year history it has been warmer than it is now.  As recently as the Miocene earth had little or no in the way of polar icecaps.  And these assholes want you to eat bugs – I’m not kidding about that – for 1.5 degrees.

Yet he continues to crusade for a cause that hopes to strip Westerners of both their wealth – yes, according to the United Press International, he said “money” seven times – and freedom to move about.

With absolutely zero self-awareness, the man who flies in private jets, has multiple homes (which most of us would consider mansions) and more cars than most families, and up until a few years ago owned a yacht, preached about “the way we live,” and thundered against “the incredible sort of destructive process of growth the way we interpret it.” He called it “robber-baron growth.”

John Kerry can fuck right off.  This insufferable prick jets around the world lecturing other people on their carbon footprint, and clearly has no intention of giving up his own Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous.

But his luxurious lifestyle and those of the other wealthy men and women fighting global warming must be OK, because he assured members of his fawning audience that they are all special, “a select group of human beings” who “are able to sit in a room and come together and, uh, actually talk about saving the planet.”

Yes, and we all are just plebs who need to be forced into line, for our own good.

No less nauseating was the performance of another failed presidential candidate, Al Gore, the mother of the global warming cult. He came off like the crazy uncle that the family tries to keep away from the outside world. Author and columnist Michael Walsh said that Gore is a man who appears to need help. During his tirade, Gore gesticulated “wildly, his face reddening, his voice rising,” said Walsh. “The former vice president of the United States became a man in the deadly grip of a panicked, violent, superstitious reaction to … the weather.”

The video of Gore confirms that Walsh was not exaggerating. Gore is a man whose pot is cracked. Once just a hypocrite, he’s now an all-out headbanger.

Now Al Gore is more than just an insufferable prick – although he is that.  He is unhinged, and has been since losing the 2000 Presidential election by the skin of his teeth.  Although he hasn’t been unhinged enough to prevent him amassing a fortune from preaching climate terror.

This kind of thinking, this kind of activism, this kind of condescending prickery, is precisely why I’ve been preaching for liberty all these years.  Forget making government act more the way we want it to – the only way to handle this kind of thinking is to strip government of the power to make these kinds of decisions.  As Barry Goldwater famously said, “I have no interest in making government more efficient; I mean to make it smaller.”  Make it smaller and weaker, move most governance to as local as it can be, devolve power to the states, devolve state powers to counties or cities as much as possible, cut, cut, cut, make people responsible for the consequences of their own decisions and actions.

Then let people like John Kerry and Al Gore blather all they want.  They have First Amendment rights too, after all.  But if there is no government with the ability to implement their tyranny, we can rest a little bit more easily.