Ivermectin and Cancer

Ivermectin and Cancer. By David Archibald.

Ivermectin reached fame as a cure for internal parasites, yet more fame for saving countries such as India from the scourge of the Covid virus, and will likely take its place in cancer treatment. As a paper devoted to ivermectin’s potential in cancer treatment states:

Ivermectin, an antiparasitic compound of wide use in veterinary and human medicine, is clearly a strong candidate for repositioning, based on the fact that:

  1. It is very safe, causing almost no side-effects other than those caused by the immune and inflammatory responses against the parasite in infected patients, and
  2. It has proven antitumor activity in preclinical studies. …

Discussion:

Ivermectin is very cheap and very safe. Everyone on chemotherapy or radiotherapy should consider supplementing their regimen with it.

Read it all here.

No wonder the discoverer of ivermectin won a Nobel Prize. Now, what would it take for big Pharma to stop sabotaging it? Here’s the Babylon Bee’s answer:

Even Mild COVID-19 Can Affect The Brain, And We Don’t Know How Long It Lasts

Even Mild COVID-19 Can Affect The Brain, And We Don’t Know How Long It Lasts. By Jessica Bernard.

Researchers relied on an existing database called the UK Biobank, which contains brain imaging data from over 45,000 people in the UK going back to 2014. This means — crucially — that there was baseline data and brain imaging of all of those people from before the pandemic.

The research team analyzed the brain imaging data and then brought back those who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 for additional brain scans. They compared people who had experienced COVID-19 to participants who had not, carefully matching the groups based on age, sex, baseline test date and study location, as well as common risk factors for disease, such as health variables and socioeconomic status.

The team found marked differences in gray matter — which is made up of the cell bodies of neurons that process information in the brain — between those who had been infected with COVID-19 and those who had not. …

In the general population, it is normal to see some change in gray matter volume or thickness over time as people age, but the changes were larger than normal in those who had been infected with COVID-19.

Interestingly, when the researchers separated the individuals who had severe enough illness to require hospitalization, the results were the same as for those who had experienced milder COVID-19. That is, people who had been infected with COVID-19 showed a loss of brain volume even when the disease was not severe enough to require hospitalization.

Finally, researchers also investigated changes in performance on cognitive tasks and found that those who had contracted COVID-19 were slower in processing information, relative to those who had not.

So, this Chinese bioweapon ages us and makes us stupid, even in mild cases not requiring hospitalization. No wonder the Chinese took such extreme steps to stop it infecting China.

What about the vaccines — do they affect the brain? How much aging do they cause?

Why Cultural Marxism Dare Not Speak Its Name

Why Cultural Marxism Dare Not Speak Its Name. By Mervyn Bendle.

The Progressivist Left is getting very worried; their opponents are contesting the Cultural Marxism theoretical paradigm within which the Left’s ideology and much of their political activism are framed.

Consequently, they are now denouncing anyone who uses the term as far-right extremists and are even denying that anything called Cultural Marxism exists.

There is … now an extensive Wikipedia entry for ‘Cultural Marxism Conspiracy Theory’, but no entry on Cultural Marxism, as such, presumably because that would imply it did have some form of existence.  The ‘conspiracy theory’ entry verges on the hysterical:

Cultural Marxism is a far-right antisemitic conspiracy theory which claims Western Marxism as the basis of continuing academic and intellectual efforts to subvert Western culture. The theory claims that an elite of Marxist theorists and Frankfurt School intellectuals are subverting Western society with a Culture War. [The theory] is promoted by right-wing politicians, fundamentalist religious leaders, political commentators in mainstream print and television media, and white supremacist terrorists.

The entry then goes on to associate anyone using the concept of Cultural Marxism with Nazism, fascism, racism, antisemitism, the alt-right, the radical right, QAnon, the Illuminati, cultural bolshevism, religious fundamentalists, white supremacists, paleoconservatives, Neo-Nazis, terrorism, the Norwegian mass murderer, Anders Breivik, and to “a neo-Nazi child sex offender”. The entry is particularly eager to portray those who use the concept as violent anti-Semites, providing links to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Judeo-Masonic conspiracy theories, the blood libel, and even well-poisoning!

Predictably, the entry re-assures readers, “scholarly analysis of the conspiracy theory has concluded that it has no basis in fact.” Indeed, it insists that Cultural Marxism itself has no reality and is merely a conspiratorial phantasy of the far-right. …

The focus of the left has, since 1990, shifted from the working class to the fringe identity groups (or New Social Movements, NSMs):

This shift from class to NSMs as the focus of mobilization for radical change was predictable.

Viewed historically, it is clear that the modern revolutionary tradition that began with the French Revolution in 1789 has evolved in parallel with changes with its prospective revolutionary base…

During the period of the First and Second Industrial Revolutions and up to WWII, this was considered to be the Industrial Proletariat, in accordance with the economist model, while, during the ‘Long Boom’ of the post-war decades, 1945-75, it became the National Liberation movements of the Third World.

But then the USSR gave up, so their economic arguments just evaporated. The mission continued by different means:

Then came the culturalist shift within Marxism and the Revolutionary Subject was identified with a coalition of various NSMs, e.g., Radical Feminism, Black Power, LGBTI Rights, etc., joined after 9/11 by Islamism, which was interpreted initially not as a medieval form of religious fascism but as an anti-Imperialism NSM, and recently by the BLM NSM in the aftermath of the George Floyd shooting.

The common thread in the last century is the power-hungry left activists, who co-opt and pretend to champion groups in order to gain support. It’s difficult to gainsay the notion that these activists are mendacious parasites who hate western civilization.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

Lithuania urges workers to throw away Chinese phones

Lithuania urges workers to throw away Chinese phones. By Natalie Brown.

A European nation has urged its civil servants to bin their Chinese-made smartphones and avoid buying new ones after experts found they contained “worrying” automatic censorship software and other security flaws.

Lithuania’s defence ministry and National Cyber Security Centre tested 5G mobiles from Chinese manufacturers including Xiaomi and Huawei.

One popular device from Xiaomi — a company that sells more smartphones in the European Union than any other manufacturer — was discovered to be capable of detecting and blanking out the terms “Free Tibet”, “democratic movement” and “Long live Taiwan’s independence”.

It was sending information about its owners’ activities — including how long they spent using different apps — to a proprietary server in Singapore, beyond the reach of the EU’s strict data laws. …

“The risks we are speaking about are real,” Lithuanian deputy defence Minister Margiris Abukevicius told AFP …

“Our recommendation is to not buy new Chinese phones, and to get rid of those already purchased as fast as reasonably possible.”

No, our phones wouldn’t spy on us, would they?

hat-tip Stephen Neil

The CIA planned to kidnap, maybe assassinate, Julian Assange

The CIA planned to kidnap, maybe assassinate, Julian Assange. By Zach Dorfman.

In 2017, as Julian Assange began his fifth year holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London, the CIA plotted to kidnap the WikiLeaks founder, spurring heated debate among Trump administration officials over the legality and practicality of such an operation.

Some senior officials inside the CIA and the Trump administration even discussed killing Assange, going so far as to request “sketches” or “options” for how to assassinate him. Discussions over kidnapping or killing Assange occurred “at the highest levels” of the Trump administration, said a former senior counterintelligence official. “There seemed to be no boundaries.”

 

 

The conversations were part of an unprecedented CIA campaign directed against WikiLeaks and its founder. The agency’s multipronged plans also included extensive spying on WikiLeaks associates, sowing discord among the group’s members, and stealing their electronic devices.

While Assange had been on the radar of U.S. intelligence agencies for years, these plans for an all-out war against him were sparked by WikiLeaks’ ongoing publication of extraordinarily sensitive CIA hacking tools, known collectively as “Vault 7,” which the agency ultimately concluded represented “the largest data loss in CIA history.”

President Trump’s newly installed CIA director, Mike Pompeo, was seeking revenge on WikiLeaks and Assange, who had sought refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden on rape allegations he denied. Pompeo and other top agency leaders “were completely detached from reality because they were so embarrassed about Vault 7,” said a former Trump national security official. “They were seeing blood.” …

There is no indication that the most extreme measures targeting Assange were ever approved, in part because of objections from White House lawyers …

In late 2017, in the midst of the debate over kidnapping and other extreme measures, the agency’s plans were upended when U.S. officials picked up what they viewed as alarming reports that Russian intelligence operatives were preparing to sneak Assange out of the United Kingdom and spirit him away to Moscow. …

In response, the CIA and the White House began preparing for a number of scenarios to foil Assange’s Russian departure plans, according to three former officials. Those included potential gun battles with Kremlin operatives on the streets of London, crashing a car into a Russian diplomatic vehicle transporting Assange and then grabbing him, and shooting out the tires of a Russian plane carrying Assange before it could take off for Moscow. (U.S. officials asked their British counterparts to do the shooting if gunfire was required, and the British agreed, according to a former senior administration official.)

“We had all sorts of reasons to believe he was contemplating getting the hell out of there,” said the former senior administration official, adding that one report said Assange might try to escape the embassy hidden in a laundry cart. “It was going to be like a prison break movie.”

The intrigue over a potential Assange escape set off a wild scramble among rival spy services in London. American, British and Russian agencies, among others, stationed undercover operatives around the Ecuadorian Embassy. In the Russians’ case, it was to facilitate a breakout. For the U.S. and allied services, it was to block such an escape. “It was beyond comical,” said the former senior official. “It got to the point where every human being in a three-block radius was working for one of the intelligence services — whether they were street sweepers or police officers or security guards.”

Individuals doing something the ruling class don’t like are not really safe, are they? To say nothing of Clintoncide. In these dying days of democracy, the rule of law barely applies.

Pro-Communist Historians Systematically Misinformed Us About WWII

Pro-Communist Historians Systematically Misinformed Us About WWII. By Jakub Grygiel.

Stalin was the clear winner of [WWII]. It was his war, and he got the most out of it. This is the argument of a new book, Stalin’s War, by a prolific and excellent historian, Sean McMeekin of Bard College. …

Stalin’s plan was to conquer all of Europe by the mid-1940s, knowing that communism was inferior to capitalism at pleasing people. Stalin knew that the USSR had to conquer the capitalists, or ultimately lose. Everything Stalin did from 1930 on was aimed at conquering western Europe.

Stalin was always interested in a war, especially one that would pit the other powers against each other. The expansion of Soviet influence and control required the weakening of the other powers, in particular the Western ones that were opposed to the Communist virus. For Stalin, therefore, the growth of Nazi Germany was a great opportunity: a violent and expansionistic power in the middle of Europe that could take the first swing against the polities standing on his path. …

Hitler’s decision to invade Russia in mid-1941 was a surprise to Stalin, but not because he was expecting a lasting peace on his western frontier. Rather, as McMeekin documents, Stalin had ordered very rapid and large military preparations, building airbases and placing forces near the border with the Third Reich in the first half of 1941. None of them were in a defensive posture, and presented a vulnerable high value target to Nazi attacks. When Hitler decided to attack the USSR in June 1941, these Soviet forces were easy pickings for the well-organized, trained, and war tested German army.

McMeekin here expands and amends a bold thesis offered in 1990 by Viktor Suvorov, a pseudonym for a GRU agent who defected to the West in the late ‘70s and became a historian, that argued that Stalin was actively planning an attack on Germany but was preempted by Hitler. While Suvorov was excessive in his claim that the Red Army was ready for an offensive campaign in 1941 (because, among other reasons, the officer corps was still in shambles after Stalin’s purges) and that Stalin had plans to conquer Europe, he argued that the USSR was never a status quo power satisfied in its borders. After all Soviet Russia had already attempted to march westward in 1920 and was stopped only by the Poles in a desperate battle near Warsaw (the “Miracle on the Vistula”).

This westward vector and ambition of Moscow did not abate, and had to pause because of Hitler’s rise and the might of Nazi Germany. As McMeekin points out, the Soviet military posture in 1941 makes no sense if the goal was to defend Soviet-held lands, suggesting that Stalin was thinking of pouncing on Berlin, now the last remaining continental power in Europe. As the Soviet tyrant himself put it, the USSR no longer needed to be locked in a defensive posture, and was “a rapacious predator, coiled in tense anticipation, waiting for the chance to ambush its prey.”

Stalin, that is, was not an innocent victim of Hitler. Not only he was an active partner from 1938 until 1941, but also he had geopolitical aspirations that were more ambitious than those held by Hitler. And he pursued them methodically and ruthlessly, leaving a trail of death that dwarfed the one produced by the Nazis.

McMeekin then focuses on how the Western allies, Churchill but especially FDR, abetted Stalin’s ambitions. This part of the book is fascinating and depressing at the same time. In a nutshell, Stalin obtained from FDR more than he expected: territory, influence, and materiel. And he did not give anything in exchange for it because FDR and his advisors never asked him for it.

FDR advisor and constant companion Harry Hopkins was pro-Soviet, and probably a Soviet agent:

For instance, FDR supported the Lend-Lease program, putting his friend Harry Hopkins in charge. Under this program of military aid, the United States supplied a massive amount of weapons, trucks, airplanes, tanks, foodstuff to the Soviet Union in the months of its greatest need, as German troops were driving deep into Russia while the vaunted Soviet armies were melting away. Without such aid, the USSR would have likely been unable to stop the German onslaught and certainly would have been incapable of mustering the resources necessary to push westward. Hence, in this moment there was a good strategic rationale for the American support of Stalin’s defensive efforts against Nazi Germany.

But the problem was that FDR — and Hopkins — went much further than simply buttressing a collapsing Soviet power. The most stunning mistake — a policy willfully pursued by FDR — was that Stalin was never asked for anything in exchange for this material aid. The United States had the upper hand because the Soviets were desperate for any help and would have paid a price for these goods. As McMeekin comments, FDR “could have asked any price: payment in cash, by loan, or in kind; political concessions inside Russia; or promises from Stalin of better behavior abroad, such as abandoning his spying operations in Washington or offering token support for the US-British war against Japan. Instead, the Americans simply gave and demanded nothing in return aside from a vague, nonbinding promise of loan repayment beginning five years after the war was over, at no interest.” …

FDR was also not well served by his closest advisors. The individual who comes out in the worst light in McMeekin’s book is FDR’s friend and advisor, Harry Hopkins. While managing the Lend-Lease program, he favored his Soviet consumers above the US Army and the American citizen. …

Hence, the United States had a butter shortage because Hopkins sent it to the USSR (the Soviets rejected oleomargarine as a substitute). American airplanes were delivered to Stalin, despite the urgent needs of the US military. A lot of technology was also transferred, some in the open, some stolen by Soviet officials who were allowed to visit anywhere in the U.S. (while American observers were not permitted to do the same in the USSR). …

Even more, Hopkins promised Stalin to keep “anti-Soviet types” away from FDR, and kept true to that promise by purging the US Department of State of its greatest Soviet experts who had a more clear-eyed view of this totalitarian dictatorship. Hopkins was both ideologically pro-Soviet and vindictive (as well as close to FDR) — a mix that silenced most individuals in the US government who knew the not-so-hidden nature of the Soviet regime and of its leader and thus were skeptical of such unconditional support for Stalin.

The left also tried to convince us that the Nazis were right wing. No, they were left wing — they were national socialists. On the individualism-collectivism spectrum, from anti-social individualism on the far right through to pure communism at the furthest left, Nazism was pretty close to the left end. Individual rights were not a thing in Nazi Germany.

Nazism was a mix of nationalism and communism, whose roots were in communists returning from WWI who noticed that soldiers fought for their nation rather than their class. Their solution: add some nationalism to communism. In 1930s Germany, the political front runners were the international communists (the Moscow line, wanting communism in all countries) and the national socialists (Nazis), because “everyone knew” the future was socialist. The former smeared the latter as “right wing,” a nonsense that persists in western academia.

Does China Rule the World?

Does China Rule the World? By John Hinderaker.

I am not sure when or how we decided to have China do our manufacturing for us, but the implications of that decision — if in fact it was ever consciously made — continue to unfold. …

One of the many reasons why transitioning to “green” energy is almost unfathomably stupid is that it would put America’s entire energy system at the mercy of the Chinese Communist Party.

They make our wind turbines and solar panels, too. They dominate solar panel production in part because they save on costs by using slave labor.

New world order: can Britain, America and Australia contain China?

New world order: can Britain, America and Australia contain China? By James Forsyth. The title should also mention the help from India and Japan, and most of China’s smaller neighbors.

Britain is no longer trying to stay neutral in the competition between the US and China. It has firmly sided with the United States. …

The new alliance is all about mutual interest. The Aussies wanted lasting protection from China, which France could not provide, so Britain stepped in, with America, ready to share nuclear-powered submarine technology. Joe Biden is looking beyond Nato, to a new coalition of the willing prepared to help it in its bid to check Chinese power in Asia. …

An alliance for the long term:

The US has secured a toughening of the UK’s line on China. And because of the institutional nature of this three-way alliance, it can be confident that Britain won’t change its mind and try to court favour with Beijing again.

‘The relationship has foundations deep enough that it can survive whatever political winds are blowing,’ says one British source. This is vital. It means that the pact doesn’t depend on any personal chemistry between leaders; that defence and technology cooperation between these three countries will now continue regardless of how well the residents of the White House, Downing Street and the Lodge get on. …

Blowback from Australia:

Australia sells more to China than its next eight export customers put together, creating an economic dependency that might — in another country — have been accompanied by political fealty. Certainly, China thought deference was owed. It reacted with fury to Australia calling for an independent inquiry into the origins of Covid-19 (it is revealing just how upset Beijing got about this). Tariffs were slapped on Australian goods and bureaucratic obstacles raised to its exports. This was an attempt to bring Canberra into line — and a way of showing others how dangerous it is to question Beijing.

Australia has faced cyber attacks which have all the hallmarks of a Chinese operation. Two Chinese spy ships placed themselves off the Queensland coast to watch the Australian military exercise with its allies. No wonder Australia — surrounded by three oceans — has decided it needs nuclear powered subs, which can travel further than the diesel-fuelled ones they had agreed to buy from the French. What started as a defence need morphed into a new military alliance.

The attraction for the US of such a deal was obvious. Washington is currently trying to construct a series of alliances in the Pacific to counter China. For Britain the appeal was that it showed how the UK could be relevant in this part of the world for decades to come. It gave new purpose to the 2007 decision to buy two aircraft carriers and it gave the Royal Navy a mission. …

Pacific technology:

The Pacific is where the future is being shaped. The US-China competition is technological as much as it is military. Countries that aren’t involved in the alliance structures of the region will find themselves being left behind technologically. Indeed, an important part of the Aukus partnership is cooperation on artificial intelligence, quantum computing and cyber warfare. …

The so-called Quad — the US, Japan, India and Australia, which started off being used for joint naval exercises — is now working together to build secure semiconductor supply chains.

The Aukus deal has been met with public enthusiasm in Japan and implicit encouragement in India — suggesting that, in time, there’ll be considerable overlap between these various US alliances. It’s even possible that Aukus could be expanded. The most likely country to be added to the pact would be Canada. … New Zealand, however, won’t be joining: it doesn’t allow nuclear submarines to operate in its waters, and Jacinda Ardern takes a very different view on China. …

Is time running out for any Chinese ambitions?

Aukus has its advantages, but there are also risks, the biggest coming not from China’s strength but its weakness. The Aukus submarines will take years to arrive and the danger is that Beijing tries to get ahead of the new alliances emerging in the Pacific, and tries its hand now, perhaps tightening its control over the waters around Taiwan. In a decade’s time, the US-led world order will be better placed to check China. The worry is what happens between now and then.

The influential American strategists Hal Brands and Michael Beckley have pointed out that — like Wilhelmine Germany or Imperial Japan in the 1940s — China might conclude that its rise is slowing, and that, if it doesn’t act now, then its moment of opportunity will have passed. This is what makes the next few years so dangerous. …

China’s rate of economic growth has halved since 2007. It is increasingly saddled with national debt — now an astonishing 280 per cent of GDP, far more than any European country.

China has been a middle-income country now for a quarter of a century, and is still pretty far from graduating to a high-income country. None of the countries that avoided the middle-income trap in the second half of the 20th century — South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore — spent three decades as a middle-income country.

Communists always go for force, rather than persuasion:

Beijing’s belligerence is compounding the problems. Its ‘wolf warrior diplomacy’ drove Australia into this new alliance and will see other countries join balancing coalitions. Japan’s decision to move away from its 1 per cent of GDP cap on defence spending is a result of Beijing’s attempt to turn the seas around it into Chinese lakes. China’s idiotic border skirmish with India in the Himalayas has pushed New Delhi to seek more cooperation with Washington. India was non-aligned in the first Cold War; it won’t be in the second one. …

The US position is bipartisan:

There are few issues of bipartisan agreement in American politics these days, but the need to counter China is one of them. We can, therefore, expect this US alliance building to become as central to US foreign policy as countering the Soviet threat was during the Cold War.

Washington is deliberately ambiguous on whether it would defend Taiwan from attack. But in reality, no US president would have a choice. Revealingly, Biden recently said that the US had a treaty obligation to protect Taiwan — even though it does not. To allow China to seize Taiwan would mark the end of the US-led world order.

The Mask Comes Off in a Two-Tier Society Where There’s One Rule for Elites and Another for the Rest of Us

The Mask Comes Off in a Two-Tier Society Where There’s One Rule for Elites and Another for the Rest of Us. By James Pinkerton.

Note who’s wearing masks at the recent Emmy’s:

Hannah Waddingham

Jean Smart

And at the recent Met Gala:

Megan Fox

Jordan Roth

Soccer star Megan Rapinoe

Meanwhile, the rules get tougher for the rest of us. For instance, the University of Southern California demands that its law students — almost all of whom are young and healthy — wear masks indoors at all times. If they wish to eat or drink, they must do so outdoors. …

In ancient Rome, … the senatorial order wore one purple stripe on their togas; this was the latus clavus. At the same time, the equestrian order wore two purple stripes; this was the clavus angustus. Needless to say, the plebeians were not allowed to wear such attire, let alone slaves.So there you have it: The hierarchy made itself visible at a glance, using bits of fabric.

It’s not just masks. Facebook was recently busted for secretly allowing certain people more privileges:

Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported on Facebook’s two-tier system. As the Journal put it,

Mark Zuckerberg has publicly said Facebook Inc. allows its more than three billion users to speak on equal footing with the elites of politics, culture and journalism, and that its standards of behavior apply to everyone, no matter their status or fame.

Yet in reality, the Journal revealed, some six million Facebook users — about 0.2 percent of the total user base — are in an elite category, known as “XCheck.” According to the newspaper, XCheck means that “in private, the company has built a system that has exempted high-profile users from some or all of its rules.”

Indeed, the Journal quoted one internal memo asserting that XCheck is “a breach of trust,” and adding, “We are not actually doing what we say we do publicly.” The memo continued, “Unlike the rest of our community, these people can violate our standards without any consequences.”

Yes, how ‘bout that: A double standard. Two tiers.

If the Wentworth Report was on Facebook we would be constantly self censoring and omitting stuff.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

FBI Narrative About the Jan. 6th Capitol ‘Insurrection’ is Imploding

FBI Narrative About the Jan. 6th Capitol ‘Insurrection’ is Imploding. By Victoria Taft.

An explosive report over the weekend claims to show that two alleged Capitol riot participants were actually government informants.

The New York Times reported Saturday that “records, and information from two people familiar with the matter, suggest that federal law enforcement had a far greater visibility into the assault on the Capitol, even as it was taking place, than was previously known.”

The revelations in The Times reveal that there was no conspiracy on the part of the Proud Boys to storm the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021, as alleged by the Department of Justice.

It’s already known that the Proud Boys leader, Enrique Tarrio, had been an FBI informant. The Times report concentrates on yet another FBI informant in the right-leaning group who reportedly warned his handler in real-time that some bad stuff was going on at the Capitol.

Though several Proud Boys are charged with a conspiracy, this latest informant maintains that there was never any plan by the group to violently storm the Capitol and, indeed, there’s evidence to back that claim.

Indeed, the paper concludes the obvious: that “the new information is likely to complicate the government’s efforts to prove the high-profile conspiracy charges it has brought against several members of the Proud Boys.”

Huh. You don’t say?

The report, based on documents seen by reporters, also raises questions about whether FBI Director Chris Wray lied to Congress about the FBI’s lack of foreknowledge of the melee. It also begs the question of why the FBI and other police agencies failed to harden the Capitol in advance. …

The Proud Boys story is an unusual act of journalism by The Times. But the mainstreams are just catching up to the story published in June in Revolver News about another alleged FBI informant, the head of the Oath Keepers.

Revolver News claims that Stewart Rhodes used his position as head of the Oath Keepers to capture others in a conspiracy of his own making and then skated away from any charges. Oddly, despite the “shock and awe” prosecutions, Rhodes hasn’t been indicted in the Capitol riot case, but, as the publication noted, it was his actions leading up to the Capitol riot for which his underlings have been charged with conspiracy. …

At a time when Americans have discovered that the FBI lied about the Trump-Russia hoax and tried to seed the story in all layers of political Washington, it would come to no one’s surprise to learn that the FBI’s fingerprints were all over plans for their self-styled “insurrection.”

Disband the FBI. It’s become a partisan organization that meddles in politics.

Daniel Andrews’ contempt for citizenry might explain loss of trust

Daniel Andrews’ contempt for citizenry might explain loss of trust. By Nick Cater, on the alarming state of violence in Melbourne Victoria.

Why is this happening in Victoria, but not elsewhere in Australia?

Something has changed since officers could send bad guys scarpering simply by turning up. Today, they crouch in formation behind armoured vehicles dressed like extras in a Marvel movie armed with semiautomatic rifles imported from Al Capone’s home town of Chicago.

The tactics employed on the streets of Melbourne last week were the result of a steady decline in respect for the uniform. As their authority has fallen, the police have turned to force. Consent has been replaced with coercion as policing’s main currency. Fixed-length batons and megaphones have been upgraded to extendable batons, riot shields, body armour, capsicum spray and Tasers.

That is where the use of non-lethal force stops in Australia, except in Victoria, where the level of deference to the men and women in blue has fallen furthest. In recent years, the decline in respect has become so critical they can’t shut down a rowdy Airbnb party without calling in the riot squad. …

The Pepperball VKS semiautomatic rifle is modelled on the M4 carbine. The round objects attached to the top are hoppers that feed 200 rounded kinetic impact projectiles into the barrel without stopping to reload. Magazines attached to the bottom contain 15 rounds of tapered projectiles with an accuracy of 50m.

 

As it says on their website, “non-lethal has never been this powerful”.

 

It would have been nice to have a debate before police decided to deploy this weapon. Why, for example, might an officer on crowd-control duty need the capacity to fire a high-velocity plastic bullet at a person 50m away? What are the operating procedures and what precautions are taken to avoid blinding, maiming or otherwise injuring someone, as can happen if a shot is misdirected?

In Victoria, however, public debate on matters of importance was abolished after the coup of March 2020, when the Premier grabbed hold of emergency powers and refused to let go.

Other premiers have exercised varying degrees of restraint, conscious of the natural limits that apply to extra-parliamentary authority in a liberal democracy. Not so Daniel Andrews, who has displayed outright contempt for the “principle of proportionality” in the Public Health and Wellbeing Act, which stipulates that decisions should not be arbitrary. Persons administering the Act, such as political leaders, bureaucrats and the police, are lawfully obliged to exercise power in a transparent, systematic and appropriate manner, so far as is practicable. We never would have guessed it judging by the way Andrews carries on.

Pandemics test society in unusual ways. Here it’s laptops versus utes (utility vehicles, Australian for pickups):

Seldom in our lifetimes have governments demanded more trust from their citizens than during this pandemic. Seldom has a government failed to honour that trust so badly as the Andrews administration. Yet he remains the poster boy for the laptop class, who were as quick as ever to defend the indefensible last week.

The ABC’s Patricia Karvelas blamed “toxic masculinity” while Bill Shorten blamed kindergarten fascists, or “man-baby nazis”. Others blamed the Murdoch (yawn) media. Few summoned the will to suspend disgust at the mob and ask if their grievance might perchance be related to the Premier’s high-handed contempt for the citizens of Victoria.

Might there be reasonable grounds to resent the theft of personal liberty by the world’s most lockdown-happy leader? Could there be plausible grounds for complaint when a premier shuts down an industry employing 300,000 people on a whim at an evening press conference? Few construction workers, after all, have the luxury of sitting at home on full pay ordering stuff on Amazon and augmenting the #istandwithdan thread on Twitter.

The enmity between those who carry their work in a laptop and those who carry it in a ute has a history that predates Covid and is not limited to any particular jurisdiction. The breakdown in trust has been accelerated by the abuse of power that allows the professional class to control social, as well as mainstream, media. The establishment will pay a heavy price for perpetuating a lie as big as the one about the origin of Covid-19 and censoring the reporting of what now turns out to be an account nearer the truth.

Sensible people once tended to resist theories of global cover-ups and conspiracies. Today they don’t, having seen one exposed with their own eyes. … Once the gatekeepers have been exposed for having deliberately withheld the truth about something so important, how can we be confident of anything beyond the world we can see and touch?

Like, say, climate change? The left need “crises” to effect change — as they say, “never let a crisis go to waste”.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

War, civilization, and the left

War, civilization, and the left. By Roger Kimball.

Frank Buckley, a prolific author and law professor at George Mason University, … does not predict a second American secession, exactly, but he shows, convincingly, I think, how it might come about. “The bitterness” of our life together, “the contempt for opponents, the growing tolerance of violence, all invite us to think that we’d all be happier were we two different countries.”

There is something to that. And something to Buckley’s admonitory conclusion: “In all the ways that matter, save for the naked force of the law, we are already divided into two nations, just as much as in 1861.” …

There’s a lot of talk of force today, as discussion and elections are replaced by rulers just doing whatever they want to and daring anyone to do anything about it. Elections are a mock civil war, where we count up how many would be on each side — but one rigged election shattered that safety mechanism in the US.

Thinking about our situation puts me in mind of Walter Bagehot’s cheery but clear-eyed masterpiece Physics and Politics (1872) …. Bagehot traces the evolution of civilization from its rude and violent beginnings to his age, what he calls “the age of discussion,” when making a point typically counted for more in political life than the point of one’s sword.

Bagehot’s subject was not “natural selection” in any technical sense but rather “the political prerequisites of progress, and especially of early progress,” where by “progress” Bagehot meant both advancement in knowledge and technical know-how and advancements in the institution of liberty.

Accordingly, a lot of Physics and Politics is concerned with beginnings: with the slow, hard first chapters of civilization. It is difficult for us, the beneficiaries of many centuries of political ingenuity, to imagine with what difficulty a polity of any sort was forged and maintained. In early times, Bagehot wrote,

the quantity of government is much more important than its quality. What you want is a comprehensive rule binding men together. . . . What this rule is does not matter so much. A good rule is better than a bad one, but any rule is better than none. . . . How to get the obedience of men is the hard problem; what you do with that obedience is less critical.

This first step — inaugurating law, custom, and habit — is the hardest, but history proper begins with the next step: “What is most evident,” Bagehot observes, “is not the difficulty of getting fixed law, but getting out of a fixed law; not of cementing . . . a cake of custom, but of breaking the cake of custom; not of making the first preservative habit, but of breaking through it, and reaching something better.” …

Organized violence is necessary for the formation and protection of civilization:

He has many politically incorrect things to say about the civilizing — or at least order-inducing — effects of violence and the hard road any population faces in forging a national identity.

The perennial problem — and the admonitory theme of Physics and Politics— is that man, the strongest and smartest of the animals, “was obliged to be his own domesticator; he had to tame himself.”

Consequently, Bagehot says in an observation that I often quote and that ought to make us pause and think, “history is strewn with the wrecks of nations which have gained a little progressiveness at the cost of a great deal of hard manliness, and have thus prepared themselves for destruction as soon as the movements of the world gave a chance for it.”

This was an insight that Kipling expanded upon in his great poem “The Gods of the Copybook Headings.”

            . . . They promised perpetual peace.

They swore, if we gave them our weapons,

that the wars of the tribes would cease.

But when we disarmed They sold us and

delivered us bound to our foe,

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings

said: “Stick to the Devil you know.” …

There is a great deal in Physics and Politics to shock readers inclined to a pacific view of human development or a politically correct understanding of life. “Let us consider,” he writes in a famous passage,

in what sense a village of English colonists is superior to a tribe of Australian natives who roam about them. Indisputably in one, and that a main sense, they are superior. They can beat the Australians in war when they like; they can take from them anything they like, and kill any of them they choose. As a rule, in all the outlying and uncontested districts of the world, the aboriginal native lies at the mercy of the intruding European. Nor is this all. Indisputably in the English village there are more means of happiness, a greater accumulation of the instruments of enjoyment, than in the Australian tribe. The English have all manner of books, utensils, and machines which the others do not use, value, or understand. And in addition . . . there is a general strength which is capable of being used in conquering a thousand difficulties, and is an abiding source of happiness.

In fact, the importance of military prowess in binding a population into a society is a leitmotif in Physics and Politics. …

Bagehot was undeceived about the exigencies that face a nation at war. “So long as war is the main business of nations, temporary despotism — despotism during the campaign — is indispensable.”

“Civilization begins,” Bagehot writes, “because the beginning of civilization is a military advantage” — an unflattering thought that many will find shocking. …

Our societies in the west are the winners in a long series of wars. If our ancestors hadn’t formed societies that were better at fighting wars, we wouldn’t be here, obviously.

The difficult insight that Bagehot is everywhere at pains to communicate is that not all things are possible at all times and all places. If political liberty is a precious possession, it is forged in a long, painful development of civilization, much of which is distinctly, and necessarily, illiberal. …

Virtue signalers not helpful:

Bagehot had some equally piquant observations about the moral limitations of the unbridled philanthropic impulse. “The most melancholy of human reflections,” he writes,

is that, on the whole, it is a question whether the benevolence of mankind does most good or harm. Great good, no doubt, philanthropy does, but then it also does great evil. It augments so much vice, it multiplies so much suffering, it brings to life such great populations to suffer and to be vicious, that it is open to argument whether it be or be not an evil to the world, and this is entirely because excellent people fancy they can do much by rapid action — that they will most benefit the world when they most relieve their own feelings.

There are two things to note about this passage. One is Bagehot’s observation about those “excellent people” who believe, mistakenly, that they benefit the world most when they flatter their own feelings of virtue. How much pain and misery this spirit of do-goodism has spread throughout the world!

Discussion, free speech, and parliaments make for better governance:

And the second, an important theme throughout Bagehot’s writings, concerns the advantages of what he calls elsewhere “slow government.” It was the American socialist Norman Thomas, I think, who cheerfully described communism as “democracy in a hurry.” Socialism’s velocity, Thomas thought, was a major part of what recommended it. Bagehot disagreed. “The essence of civilization,” he wrote in an essay on Matthew Arnold, “is dullness.” …

Bagehot’s point was that, in an advanced civilization, deliberateness, circumspection, and adherence to process are virtues that save us from the myopia of impulsiveness.

In 2008, when the Great Recession was just beginning, Rahm Emanuel, then Barack Obama’s chief of staff, gleefully said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” What he meant was that a crisis makes people anxious and therefore vulnerable, and that it is easier in periods of crisis to exploit that vulnerability and push through initiatives to enlarge government and usurp freedom. …

How often have you heard a politician or government bureaucrat tell you that “Doing nothing is not an option”? In fact, as [Daniel] Hannan rightly observes, “Doing nothing is always an option, and often it is the best option.” This was something that Calvin Coolidge, one of my favorite presidents, acknowledged when he said to a busybody aide: “Don’t just do something; stand there!” …

Parliamentary government is valuable not only because it facilitates action but also, and increasingly, because it retards it. “If you want to stop instant and immediate action,” Bagehot advises, “always make it a condition that the action shall not begin till a considerable number of persons have talked over it, and have agreed on it. If those persons be people of different temperaments, different ideas, and different educations, you have an almost infallible security that nothing, or almost nothing, will be done with excessive rapidity.” …

Don’t know what you had ’til it’s gone:

That is not the end of the story, however, for, as Bagehot notes, if government by discussion is “a principal organ for improving mankind,” it is also “a plant of singular delicacy.” The question of how best to nurture this delicate plant is Bagehot’s final problem. Part of the answer is in facing up to the unpalatable realities about power that make civilization possible. The other part lies in embracing that “animated moderation,” that “union of life with measure, of spirit with reasonableness,” which assures that discussion will continue without descending into violence or anarchy. It seems like a small thing. But then achieved order always does — until it is lost. …

As we look around at the many assaults on free discussion today, the prospects for the continuation of our regime of liberty seems up for grabs in a more fundamental way than at any time since World War II. It was only a few years ago that the United Nations pondered an international law against blasphemy — against blasphemy! — to defend Islam against its detractors. …

Free discussion is an integral ingredient, a veritable pillar of liberty. But that freedom is under serious threat today by religious fanatics, overweening government bureaucrats, and a complacent populace.

The politically correct have completely lost sight of these facts. Religiously convinced of their righteousness and informed by a media that panders to their point of view and guides their thoughts, they are recklessly messing with the governance of what has been, to this point, the most successful civilization ever. It’s a train wreck.

Some libertarians have also lost sight of these facts. Libertarian societies fare poorly in war and pandemics, which is perhaps why there aren’t any.