Open Thread

Feeling better! Covid does take it out of you. But, now I’m down to a cough and some general tiredness – sense of taste and smell is back.

That said…

The Democrat insanity on abortion has been on display all week and I think for many people it is their first real look at how Democrats – or at least their fanatic base – views the matter: they actually held a useless vote in the Senate to write Roe on steroids into law…it failed but their plan was to federally fund it on demand to the moment of birth with no conscience exemptions for medical providers. Thing would have been ripped to shreds at the Supreme Court had it passed. But that they even tried this useless thing – on a platform that, at best, has about 20% support – shows how insane they are about it. They’ve spent 50 years defending a Court ruling which, even if you’re pro-choice, is clearly unconstitutional and just horribly immoral…even liberal countries like France only allow abortion up to 14 weeks…and then only after two medical consults.

Meanwhile, China Joe and the Democrats continue to sink in the polls…and we’re starting to see that in primary voting, GOP enthusiasm is massively outpacing Democrat. We could be on the run up to a very large GOP victory.

Not that the GOP won’t do their best to blow it. I get people being sympathetic to Ukraine and disliking Putin’s Russia. I understand a desire to help them out – but for the majority of House GOPers to vote in favor of $40 billion no-strings-attached to Ukraine is just stupid. We know huge amounts of it will be siphoned off in graft. Meanwhile, here at home we’ve got an invasion at the southern border and our supply chains are so jacked up that in some areas there are shortages of baby formula.

Our domestic problems are large enough. And our foreign problems are China and drug cartels…even Islamist extremism simply isn’t worth our while to concentrate on at the moment. We have to get our house in order…not send billions to a Ukraine war which at any moment could drag us into open conflict with Russia. But there goes the Congressional GOP, nodding along with a Democrat/MSM Narrative. Wouldn’t be so bad if we could find a principal, but you just know they’re so in the Beltway that they’re seriously afraid we’ll think they’re Putin Puppets if they don’t go along with this boondoggle.

People are furiously fighting over Oz and, now, Barnette in the Pennsylvania Senate race. Lots of ostensibly pro-Trump voices being raised against them – in both cases over statements they made or may have made in the past. As I said regarding Oz, I won’t hold anyone to statements made in the past: especially if the statements are pre-2018 or so. We’ve all had a massive education these past few years and all of us view things a bit differently. As I pointed out on Twitter – what’s worse: a person who made ant-MAGA statements in the past, or a person who talks MAGA all day long and then knifes us? Plenty of the GOPers who voted for Ukraine aid probably have impeccable Conservative GOP credentials. I take everyone at face value these days: what do you propose right now? And sure I know that con artists will try to take advantage of this…but I’m at no more risk, and maybe a lot less risk, rolling the dice on a newly-minted MAGA than I am on the GOPe which has betrayed me for decades.

In the end, it is up to the votes of Pennsylvania to sort it out – but my advice to everyone is don’t take anyone’s word for it. Look it up yourself. We know that the most fierce voices are raised against those who fight for us – Trump, Greene, etc. And that tells me something: somebody doesn’t want me to have a champion. So, my first inclination when someone is attacked from the right is to question the attacker’s motives.

Court ruled that California’s ban on gun sales to under-21 is unconstitutional. Which, of course, is “no duh”. And I hate to break it to you, but as soon as someone sues on the cigarette and booze bans, they’ll go down as well. An adult is an adult. Period. Personally, I think we should never have lowered the age to 18 – stupid mistake. But if you make 18 the age where you can vote and enter into contracts, then that covers everything an adult is able to do…so, if you want your ban on booze to 19 year olds to stick, better amend the Constitution to return the voting age to 21.

Team Pudding Brain wants to turn American health care over to WHO – in the name of fighting the pandemic, but actually because (a) they hate the American people and (b) would love to be able to shrug and say “hey, we understand your anger here, but this is a WHO decision” whenever the global elite decides it is time to crush us under useless medical mandates.

Open Thread

As I pointed out earlier, we’re governed by morons – yesterday, Pudding Brain shot his mouth off about removing Putin from power. We’re used to that sort of thing as ol’ Gramps forgets what he’s supposed to say…but when he said it, huge numbers of high end people were all “wow!” about it…here, at last, was the strength we need! America is saved! And thank God Trump isn’t in power. Of course, within minutes of Biden’s statement, his staff was out there pointing out that, no, we don’t seek regime change in Russia.

But it was astonishing how many people took what was obviously a gaffe and made out like it was the greatest oration of all times. They really believed it! People were comparing it to Reagan’s speech about tearing down the Berlin Wall!

The flip side of this was the Never Trump people who instantly saw it for a mistake but the only thing they could say was how mad they were – the helped install Biden because they had to get rid of Trump and his insane statements and this is what they got! Just stupid – Trump didn’t say insane things. He said outrageous things, but not insane. Everything he said was actually calculated for effect…Pudding Brain can only say what’s on the script and then only if his meds don’t wear off half way through.

Just a bunch of idiots – who have to pretend a clearly senile, old man (who was corrupt and stupid in his best days) is someone who could possibly replace Trump. And they have to try to sustain this Narrative – Trump was so bad that he had to be replaced and the only plausible replacement was good, old Joe who is a moderate and competent. It is theater of the absurd.

Ketanji Brown Jackson had her hearings this past week and some GOP Senators did hit some good points and a lot of people don’t like how soft on crime she’s been as a judge, especially as regards abuse of children but, in my view, nobody made the most telling statement about her: she’s a rubber stamp.

It doesn’t matter how smart she is or what credentials she has, the bottom line is that she’s where she is because Democrats are 100% confident how she’ll rule on any issue identified as crucial for Democrats. Some GOP Senator should have said just that: “look, Ms. Jackson, you’re a nice lady and all, but everyone here knows that when cases regarding things like gender, guns and immigration come before you, you’ll rule as the Democrats want regardless of what the law says. You’re not here to ensure Justice: you’re here to enforce a certain political ideology which you’ll dress up with legalese. All I’d like right now is for you to admit this: admit to the American people that your bias is firm and won’t be shaken and that for the remainder of your life all you’re going to do is try to advance the Democrat agenda via Judicial activism”.

The explosion would have been epic – and very useful. The main thing necessary for combating lies is to point them out. People tend to caution ( which often works out in practice to be cowardice): as long as they aren’t forced to confront an issue head on, they’ll go along with whatever drivel people are using to justify a bad thing.

The thing about Trump – the thing which most infuriated his opponents right and left – was his willingness to call things out. Recall his early speech on immigration which the Left and Never Trump cast as Trump calling all Mexicans rapists – we all know what he said and the reason his opponents twisted “they’re not sending us their best” into an insult to all Mexicans was because they knew it was true – our open border was used as a dumping ground for all manner of criminals. Everyone knew it – but nobody spoke it. But once Trump spoke it, it couldn’t be ignored…and, in general, even today the American people still go for Trumpist immigration and border security policies. Contrast this to someone like Jeb! calling illegal immigration an “act of love”: Jeb isn’t a bad guy. He was a very good, Conservative governor of Florida. The foundations of the current GOP dominance in Florida were laid down by Jeb. But we all knew from the first second he made that statement about immigration that it was bull – a lie, covering up the horrid truth. If we really want to beat these guys, we have to tell the truth. Not just about SC nominees, but about everything.

The Ukraine war does continue to grind on – I’ve mostly been using the Institute for the Study of War maps to see how things are going…and they show a very much stalled Russian offensive. OTOH, the maps put out by the Russian Defense Ministry show much more substantial gains…but, who can trust that? But then I saw a French Ministry of Defense map and it pretty much agreed with the Russian. And if the French and Russian maps are even partially correct, the Ukrainian position east of the Dnieper is turned north and south and the Ukrainians should be trying to extricate their army from the east.

Musk hopes to get an orbital test flight of his completely reusable Starship in May. My bet: it will slip. Various government agencies are foot dragging on final approvals – and the more Musk tweaks the Ruling Class, the more roadblocks they’ll throw up for him. The Starship with its heavy lift booster is certainly impressive – significantly larger than the Saturn V we oldsters remember. The payload it will lift is not just larger than anything launched before or today, but bigger than most space program plans for the future. It is a rocket which can, eventually, go to Mars. Musk will probably want to go as quickly as he can…but it is fraught with risks and expenses and, as I’ve pointed out before, until we can really work out the issues of gravity and radiation, there’s probably not much point in going except as a prestige “I did it first” sort of thing.

Open Thread

Kings and Queen is out! Very happy to release Book V of the Mirrors saga. I like some of the very human touches I was able to insert:

Trossen smiled and saluted and then dashed off. Zenia exited the carriage carrying a rather heavy bundle. She looked around in frustration.

    “Where has that fool got off to now?,” she said, impatience in her voice.

    “Which fool?,” I asked. “You’ll have to be specific as an army is made up of them.”

    “Trossen. He was to help me set up tonight.”   

    “I’m afraid he’s been called to other duties. I’ll have Aldor detail another man to help you.” There was a sudden look of astonishment and worry immediately on her face.

To me, it is by far the best of the lot. At least, so far: Book VI Heirs is also good while Book VII Empress is also coming along nicely. Meanwhile, lots of work has been done on Book VIII The Crimson Blade and Book IX, Ghost Tower. Heirs is very cool because, among other things, you get to meet Fred’s parents and Bryce’s mom. And Eddie Diggins makes a cameo. You can check out Kings and Queen here.

Read an article today which theorizes that Team Pudding Brain hopes that by supplying Ukraine we can bog Russia down until Putin quits. I guess it could work but our experience with limited war is pretty bad. In fact, it has universal failure as it’s hallmark. Don’t get me wrong: so far, the Ukrainians are standing up to it very well but I still don’t see any serious counter offensive while the Russians do continue to grind forward in the south and east. Mariupol may fall in the next few days – this would be a hard blow against Ukrainian morale and would free up a lot of Russian forces for other tasks.

As I’ve always said: either all in, or all out. Either it is worth fighting Russia over Ukraine or it isn’t. If it is, send an army. If it isn’t, stay all the way out. This is a semi-repeat of the Crimean War and a lot of the dynamics of it are very similar except that no Great Power really wants to put it on the line to stop Russia. That makes stopping Russia nearly impossible.

I finally got into Trump’s Truth Social app: once you get in (there still is a waiting list) you’ll find me under @Mark_E_Noonan. Its functionality is good: at least as good as Twitter’s. Traffic on it is low as it is being brought on line slowly. Matt is also there, of course. I think it will be worth everyone’s while to get an account…once it is fully up, Trump is going to light up politics with it.

The transgender debate really is heating up – Matt got banned from Twitter today, and I suspect it was over his statements about it. I’m probably fairly immune to blocking as my block list is approaching 40,000 on Twitter. I very quickly block all insane people I come across on Twitter…and by so doing, I greatly lessen the chances I’ll be reported when I state something against the Narrative. But, anyways, the issue is hot right now – and it was DeSantis plus the NCAA that got it front and center. By allowing an enormous male athlete to compete and win as a woman, the NCAA exposed the basic absurdity of it all. Then DeSantis went and proclaimed the 2nd place finisher (an actual woman) the winner. This shows good instincts on DeSantis’ part – this is a fight worth having and one we can win.

The go-along “Conservatives” are doing their usual – conceding the main point and then saying they’ll argue the details. One directly said it – going along with “I don’t think its fair that a transwoman competes against women but transwomen are women…”. (((needle scratch sound))) Stop. Once you say that transwomen are women you are accepting the entire trans agenda. That is the one thing they want you to say – because once you say it, you have no defense against anything else they want. It was the same thing in the same sex marriage debate – “love is love”. Once that was conceded – and most “Conservatives” did – then they were defenseless. Because to say “love is love” is to say that all things are the same. It was to say that a heterosexual relationship was the same as a homosexual relationship. And where is your argument against gay marriage? Poof, its gone. “Transwomen are women” means you cannot oppose transwomen competing in women’s sports. You’ve just said a transwoman is just the same as a woman.

We know that people with a male biology – even if covered by major surgery and chemical treatments – are different from people with a female biology. To say “transwomen are women” is not merely to say something incorrect, it is to state a lie. It simply isn’t possible. And everyone knows this – and that is why, if we fight it out, it is a winning issue for us. I’ll state right now that transgender people are as much human beings as anyone else and are entitled to live their lives as they see fit and all signs of unjust discrimination against them must be removed. But because I am tolerant and willing to accommodate transgenderism it must not follow that I will sustain absurdity. Men and women are different. They remain different regardless of what surgical or other medical actions are taken to make a man or woman appear as the opposite sex.

There is a basic unfairness – and Americans hate unfairness – in allowing a person with the natural attributes of a male to compete against women. If we press back on it, we will win. We will obtain laws – and even legal judgements – which make it clear that laws which define privileges and immunities for women only apply to biological women. That if we want to provide privileges and immunities for transgender people, it will have to be with separate laws. To me, standing firm here on the assertion that men and women are different is the first step on the road back to sanity. It’ll be the first time we ever successfully defended truth since at least before World War Two.

Open Thread

You read about the Great Terror during the French Revolution and from your safe, prosperous American home you wonder how people could act like that? I mean, you understand that there was injustice and even cruelty in the Ancien Régime, but you still look upon it in shock. And then you read a piece in Bloomberg opinion which has an upper class twit telling us to eat lentils and let the dog die to deal with inflation.

And then you understand.

Cruelty and injustice can be dealt with – it is having people treat you with contempt that gets the blood boiling and makes cheering as a noble’s head comes off something understandable.

And there is monumental contempt for us.

When the Hunter Biden story was actively suppressed by the MSM and the Tech Giants in 2020, do recall that 50 former intelligence officials signed a letter stating that the Hunter story was Russian disinformation. It was this letter which allowed Team Pudding Brain, the DNC and the MSM to justify spiking the story. People actually got banned from social media for bringing the story up! The MSM and Tech efforts were bad enough, but the crucial thing was the bald-faced lie by the intelligence officials…without that, the rest wouldn’t have a leg to stand on. But really grasp that: the organizations charged with protecting American national security produced 50 people to lie in print. When you add in the fact that the FBI knew all about this months before it broke and not a single person there blew the whistle you really see our problem: they are against us. They hate us. They hold us in contempt.

I pointed out on Twitter earlier that the same MSM and government agencies who assure us the 2020 vote was legit are the same people who lied about Hunter Biden.

And, yet, you still can’t get through to Never Trump on this. I’m not talking about those Never Trump who have morphed into Never Republican…I’m talking about those who remain Republican and are already largely lining up behind DeSantis for 2024: they remain impervious. One of the more famous said today that he’s backing DeSantis because he doesn’t have the character flaws of Trump. Which is a sort of reverse lie: what character flaws does Trump have? The only one’s we know about are those told to us by government and MSM sources which are proven liars. I mean, seriously: maybe Trump is an immoral man, but nobody can really know. He’s been so consistently lied about that no outsider can sift it and determine what might be true or false (though we can rely on it that Trump has never broken a law – if he had, even in the most trivial manner, he’d already have been tried for it). But, also, for all we know, he’s a moral man. Sure, he had his divorces and his playboy days when young…but young billionaires tend to do that sort of thing and in the year when we have drag queen story time, I’m going to place getting busy with a super model rather low on the moral outrage scale. And rely on this: were Trump still playing around on the side, we’d know about it…I’m sure the MSM has people watching him 24/7. So if he was a bit of a cad from 25-50, he’s not today.

Dr Oz is still rolling along in the Pennsylvania Senate race. I get the doubts about him – he’s from Oprah Universe, something I hold in utter contempt. Over the years, as part of the price of being part of that universe, he staked out positions which are pretty much anathema to anyone on the right, especially on issues like “red flag” laws for gun ownership. But, I also don’t automatically condemn him for that. Lets face it: we’ve all had an education the past 7 years. Perhaps Oz has looked around and figured a few things out? He’s presenting himself as the Trumpist candidate. So far, Trump hasn’t endorsed him – but the rumor from Trump World is that Melania, who apparently is a good friend of Oz, is pushing for him. We’ll see how it comes out – to me, the most important thing is getting the (R) to victory. Is Oz that guy? Don’t know. But I can’t see how he’d be worse than Toomey…who took our Tea Party movement to get into office and then became a colorless GOPe Establishment guy once in, going as far down as to vote to convict Trump in the second trial (and that vote sunk his career in the GOP).

The war with the Ukraine continues to drag on – and Putin, so far, shows no sign of quitting. Ukraine still stands firm and there are even reports of local Ukrainian counter-attacks. OTOH, a recent video of Zelensky in Kiev looked a little photo-shopped. Like they had him in front of a green screen that they projected Kiev on to. I still hold it isn’t our fight – but it does affect the world. In one case, over food supply. The Ukraine is one of the world’s bread baskets. The Ukrainian farmers should be starting to plant their crops right about now. If they aren’t – and it looks like they’re not – then the world is going to have some serious problems in the Fall.

In other news on that front, China and India are working deals with Putin – China and India do need Russian oil and other raw materials, after all. From a geo-political standpoint, our obsession with Putin is taking us out of the global equation while a should-be ally (India) and our definite rival (India) are cutting deals which undermine America’s overall position. My view: we should have declared absolute neutrality in the Russo-Ukrainian war, holding ourselves willing to host peace talks and providing humanitarian aid to both sides.

Open Thread

A lot of journalists are pretending to be shocked (shocked, I tell you!) that the New York Times has now confirmed the authenticity of Hunter Biden’s laptop. It is all so ridiculous – but, they’re gonna go with that. “What? I had no idea! They said it was Russian disinformation!”. Its ok to tell the story now because, well, 2020 is long over.

But as one guy I know pointed out – if the laptop is valid (and it is) then Joe Biden is compromised…lots of foreign powers have sufficient dirt on Biden’s son to pretty much force Pudding Brain to do what they want. And this goes a long way towards explaining things like the US easing sanctions on Russia so they can build a $10 billion nuclear plant for Iran. You know, Russia: the ultimate Bad Guy right now? That Russia.

China and Russia have worked out a deal to denominate their trade in yuan rather than dollars. This does put at risk the status of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency. This is a watershed moment, folks: the final end of the post-WWII system.

Do keep in mind that the US dollar became the world’s currency because after WWII it was still at least partially backed with gold, the US was economically dominant and you could rely on the American government not confiscating your dollar-denominated assets at will. Here in 2022, the dollar is backed by nothing, the US is not economically dominant and we just demonstrated vis a vis Russia that we’ll confiscate assets (and civil asset forfeiture has been leading us this way for a while). Given all this, unless you have to trade in the USA, what purpose does a dollar have? There is a non-zero chance that the US dollar goes rather Weimar here.

A look ahead to Trump’s 2024 prospects.

The Ukraine war grinds on – I was disgusted yesterday at Congressional GOP hawkishness on the issue. And, also, I don’t get it: the GOP base is entirely unwilling to go to war over Ukraine. We don’t like Putin. We favor Ukraine…but we don’t want to fight. But there was the GOP yesterday acting like it was 2001 again. It is just stupid: and the whole Ukraine issue merely provides cover for Democrat failure. Leave it alone. Let the Democrats talk tough about it.

Open Thread

At a rally on Saturday, President Trump said that the President should have the power to fire all Executive branch employees. This is crucial to the survival of the Republic.

Civil Service reform in the 19th century was in response to what was known as the Spoils System – to the victor goes, ya know? It was under Andrew Jackson that the Spoils System became the rule. Often at the change of an Administration there would be massive turnover in the bureaucracy as the new guy replaced everyone with his cronies. The system was used to garner and retain political support and it often led to a well-connected dimwit being in charge of some particular part of the government apparatus. It was also, of course, massively corrupt, with the jobs often going to whomever gave the most. The idea behind Civil Service reform was to institute competitive exams to ensure only highly qualified people were hired and then to insulate them from being fired at the whim of the President. It was, ultimately, part of the Progressive program to place Experts in charge who would ensure good, honest government no matter how corrupt or stupid the elected officials were.

What happened, of course, is that the bureaucracy became self-perpetuating and mostly interested in protecting itself. The worst example of this was Hoover and his FBI – taking a small part of of the Justice Department and turning it practically into an independent branch of government with its finger in every pie. This is just normal for human nature: people want more and always find ways to justify getting more. The trouble with this appetite is that if it is government, it can only get more by taking away from the people. Having a set of people who can’t be fired means you’ve got yourself what amounts to a colonial occupier always looking to protect itself by taking away ever more of what you have.

Oh, and as an aside, the competitive exam part of it? You know, the bit where we’re supposed to ensure that only smart people are in charge? Yeah, that bit ended in 1981. Class action lawsuit claimed that the exams adversely impacted minority applicants – a consent decree ending the exam requirement was entered into. No vote. No law change. So, now we’ve got bureaucrats who can’t be fired and to get hired they’re not required to be high quality. In case you were wondering why our government agencies seem increasingly stupid year by year.

The harsh reality is that government is force – the power to kill and to jail. We try to keep control of this power by putting into the hands of people who must face the voters. The Civil Service reforms practically placed the power of the Executive in the hands of people who are un-elected. Trump found out that this means when the Executive is held by someone the civil service doesn’t like, the civil service will attack the Executive. You know: the sole person empowered by the Constitution to hold Executive power. There are risks in the ending of civil service protections – but the greater risk is continuing to allow un-elected bureaucrats to rule us.

The war in the Ukraine grinds on. What is amazing me is that the Ukrainians, the MSM and the government all admit that they are engaged in a propaganda effort to boost Ukraine and suppress Russian views and yet it seems that most people believe they are getting the truth.

Here’s the reality: the amount of money well-connected Americans have made in Ukraine is the primary reason to oppose involvement.

As the polls cause Democrats to lift mask mandates, a lot of people are confused. This is because they were suckered by a very stupid story…and now that the truth is obvious, they have two choices: either willfully remain blind, or become Republicans. Most will remain willfully blind.

Guys, the biggest worry about a nuclear war is how it will effect climate change.

Russo-Ukraine War (Part 2)

The Russians continue to grind slowly ahead:

Not a lot, but no apparent ability by Ukraine to stop the advance. There was a story that Poland would turn its old Mig-29s over to us and then we’d hand them off to Ukraine. I don’t know who came up with that stupid idea but my bet is the Russians told us they wouldn’t go make believe on it and so the idea was scotched by DoD.

Pudding Brain banned the import of Russian oil without, of course, any effort to ramp up American production: no, he’s going hat in hand to Venezuela, Iran and Saudi Arabia to beg them to boost production. This does require him to lift the sanctions on Venezuelan oil. I guess this means that whether or not you’re a bad guy depends on the Narrative of the Moment. And right now that Narrative is Putin Bad.

Read that a restaurant in Brazil will stop offering Beef Stroganoff. This is ridiculous. But, also, think about it: this level of xenophobia against Russians has been generated globally and in mere weeks. And you know they can turn this on anyone who displeases them. Heck, we already saw it: they turned it on Trump and got the whole world to hate him. I mean, the whole world open to Western propaganda, that is. Places where this is lacking or where there remains independent press were more friendly to Trump (India, Israel, eg).

It occurred to me that while Putin is in the wrong – starting hostilities unless you are faced with obvious and imminent attack is morally wrong – we are not looking at it from his perspective. And I thought we were always supposed to do that? I guess not. At least, not in come cases. But Putin’s perspective is Russian. This doesn’t make it right, but it does make it something we should understand.

First thing: that massive nation we can see on the map looming over Europe and Asia looks a lot different from the inside. It is all frontier. Vulnerable frontier. Open to attack at scores of points at any given time. And then outside the Urals and the Volga River, Russia lacks any obvious defensive line: it is all flat, open country easy to traverse by an enemy.

Second, there have been attempts to conquer Russia from Europe. The most recent is the most telling, but prior to it there were French, Swedish and Polish efforts along these lines. Russians don’t see Europe as the home of brothers and sisters…but rather as the home of rapacious conquerors who must be kept at bay.

Third, the Russians don’t see the Ukrainians as a different nation. It was called “little Russia” in Imperial times. Here:

That is a 1904 map. And I’m not saying the Russians are right nor that Ukrainians don’t have a right to be – just pointing out relevant historic facts. In the end, it doesn’t matter what you and I believe about it – in this case, the crucial person is Putin and what he believes. And I read his article just before the war: he asserts very firmly that Ukrainians are Russians. And he further believes that the only reason there is a Ukrainian identity apart from Russia is because of influence peddling from the West. Also, he’s probably only barely heard of Stalin’s famine in the area (its not like Soviet textbooks covered it when Putin was growing up); and even if he did, he would probably view it as a sad necessity. Ukraine was liberated from the Muslims by Russians. Kiev is the cradle of Russian civilization. The Battle of Poltava which secured Russia as a Great Power was fought in Ukraine. In other words, there are solid reasons for the Russians to believe what they believe.

Anyways, that would be the Russian perspective – and now add to it the entire world becoming overtly hostile not just to Putin, but to Russians and all things Russian, and you’ve got the perfect potion to turn even Putin-doubters into loyalists.

It ain’t just oil – Russia and Ukraine both provide a lot of wheat on the global market. We here in the USA will be fine – I’m confident our wheat and corn farmers can see how things are going and are doing what they can to maximize production. But for the poor in Africa and Asia, this could spell famine.

Ilhan Omar (D-MN) made a statement against cancel culture a few weeks back and I was all, “busted clock, twice a day”. Well, the “twice” just happened when she pointed out the risks of willy-nilly flooding Ukraine with weapons without accountability and the presence of militia groups of, shall we say?, questionable loyalty. If she’s right about a third thing, I’ll faint dead away. What you’ll find strange (ie, not strange at all) is that the MSM seems to have forgotten to cover Omar’s statement on this. Almost like she went off script and is, at least temporarily, aligned with White Supremacy or some such.

Open Thread

Pudding Brain is set to surrender entirely to Iran on nuclear weapons and is now trying to curry favor or Venezuela. These guys will do anything other than pump American oil. Remember: their belief is that they must end oil to Save The Planet…and they are going to stick with that. OTOH, they are heading for a shellacking in November and so want gas prices down. Their solution is to buy the dirtiest oil in the world from two of the worst regimes in the world.

Yes, they are insane.

That’s the latest ISW map of Ukraine: the Russians have been forging ahead, but only in little bites, it would seem. The Russians, themselves, have a map showing much more Ukrainian territory under their control. I go with this as even if it is wrong, it is wrong out of caution. But you can see the Russians are clearly going for the territory east of the Dnieper River. Whether this is all Putin wants or just the prep for taking the rest remains to be seen.

Pro-Ukraine forces on social media get very mad at you if you point out that Ukraine is trying to start WWIII. I don’t think the Ukrainians want WWIII…but they are clearly willing to risk it. They pretty much have to: without outside intervention there is no way they can physically keep the Russians out: they simply don’t have sufficient weight of material for that. My bet is that they hope a bit of NATO vs Russia brinksmanship will bring Putin to the table as he won’t want a larger war. This may be correct. This may also end up in WWIII. There’s no shame in Ukraine trying this – the life of their nation is at stake. But everyone better understand what’s happening and not get all starry-eyed about Ukraine to the point where all common sense is lost.

At the University of North Texas the students (well, the idiot, Commie students) shouted down a speaker. Remember: this is Texas. Ever more Red Texas. But, its like that all over, isn’t it? No matter how Red the State, the Commies still control education and media at the bare minimum. And this is because the feckless GOP simply let it happen. Didn’t want to fight. Not the hill to die on! Well, turns out it was: and now we’re starting to see pushback against it. This is good, but it is also showing that many State GOPers are RINOs as bad as any Congressional GOPer.

This plus the Latino shift to the GOP is what terrifies the Ruling Class – and that includes the GOP part of the Ruling Class. Turns out, Latino voters are in favor of border security. This seems bizarre to Progressives, but that’s because Progressives are stupid. No sane person wants an unending flow of unvetted people coming in. And, sure, Pedro down there in south Texas doesn’t want cousin Julio deported…but he also wants good schools, well paid jobs and low crime…and he knows he can’t get that if the border isn’t secure. What do they fear? A GOP with increasingly strong working class support across racial lines starts enacting laws that working class people want: no more CRT, at least late-term abortion bans, no more teaching 3rd graders about transgender issues, secure borders, Made in America…the stuff of Establishment nightmares.

Gas here at my local Vegas gas station went from $4.09 a gallon on Monday to $4.69 a gallon today. And it was something like $3.79 a gallon about two weeks ago. This is an economic killer – we’re getting into a risk of hyperinflation. Still a low risk, but what is normally a 0.01% risk in the USA is now about a 10% risk. These prices (and the massive spikes in wheat and corn prices) are going to ripple through the economy over the next six months and I do expect a very sharp recession out of it.

Team Pudding Brain and the MSM are blaming Putin for this.

Open Thread

In general, these days – and long before Putin invaded Ukraine – I have been opposed to alliances and supra-national organizations (NATO and UN, eg). They tend to hamstring national policy and, especially as they’ve been construed after WWII, they are usually a one-way street: we take on an unlimited obligation to defend other nations without reciprocity. We can see what that has got us: weak “allies” in Europe and around the world. We are committed to the defense of nation after nation and they are not committed to rise to our defense. So, on the whole, I would end all alliances and withdraw from all international organizations.

But if we are to retain them, then they have to be iron-clad and reciprocal. If we’re going to rush to Poland to defend them from Russia, then I want the Poles to send an army to help us fight China. Any such alliance should really be spelled out: how much GDP is spent on defense, what sort of military force each party is to maintain as a bare minimum and plans already made for deployment anywhere around the world as circumstances warrant.

Furthermore, if we go to war with any nation, then I want us to impose the full financial cost of the war on them after they are defeated. No more free rides: no more forcing us to go to war and then after putting us through death and destruction, we rebuild them. No: they can rebuild themselves while also shelling out 10% of their annual GDP to us for 50 years after the war.

Aside: I’m tired of the American Empire.

As for Ukraine: the Russians seem to still be grinding ahead with some big gains in the south and nearly none in the north. I think the Russians took too big a bite of the apple: going after geographic locations rather than seeking to destroy Ukrainian military power. But I suspect there’s a reason for this: Putin wants the Ukraine physically intact as far as possible. A great deal of Ukraine’s military force is concentrated in point defense of major cities: to quickly destroy this military power would have taken massive, destructive bombardment of the cities. This is cruel, but clever tactics on the part of the Ukrainians – they are essentially using their civil population as a human shield, knowing that any civilian killed by Russia will be written down as a war crime, thus increasing sympathy for Ukraine internationally. But I suspect we are getting close to the end: the increasingly shrill calls for a NATO no-fly zone over Ukraine (which would amount to a de-facto declaration of war by NATO against Russia) indicates that the Russians do have air supremacy and the Ukrainians are simply being ground down by superior weight – unless the pressure can be removed, it is only a matter of time.

On the other hand, some are saying that Russia is running out of first-rate material. Not so sure about that: and in second-rate material, Russia is well supplied – but that second-rate stuff is old style artillery, the use of which would cause immense destruction and loss of life. Meanwhile, there is some growing domestic opposition in Russia. Putin better wrap this thing up pretty quick. I don’t think his power is at risk, but the longer the war drags on, the more difficult it will be for him.

What has astounded me is the number of voices on the Right who are taking Ukrainian propaganda at face value. All of a sudden, they’re quoting MSM sources as if they are reliable. I think this is psychological for some of them: being overtly pro-Ukrainian provides distance from the allegedly pro-Russia Trump and supporters (a ridiculous view, but it exists out there). In short, it allows these people to make friends with their Progressives pals again. There is one thing which can save the Democrat’s political bacon in November: the GOP signing on to a Biden war for Ukraine. I think some on the right are willing just that: they fear the sort of GOP which is likely to emerge after the mid-terms…far more Trumpist, far more America-First, far more conservative (they despise GOP moves to enact pro-life and ant-CRT laws at the State level). They hate people like Greene and Boebert; and they can see in the GOP candidates more and more like them. And they hate them because the more we get people like that, the more the GOP will be forced to enact laws the GOP base wants. A war with Russia may deflect or at least delay that.

The joke of the week is that Putin is going to get the Nobel Prize for medicine for having cured Covid. Its like it dropped off a cliff, isn’t it? People were asking where the ubiquitous Fauci had got to and one guy looked it up: basically reduced to appearances on public access cable. The (political) Science has spoken: Covid is political death for Democrats and so we won’t be hearing much about it. At least, not right now: if Ukraine folds in the next week to ten days, they might have to bring it back to distract us from rising prices. We’re up a bit more than 20 cents a gallon for gas in the past week while oil and food staples climb to near-record highs.

In the world of unintended consequences: people around the world are looking about for alternatives to financial securities which can be frozen or seized. You know: like the Russian assets have been. A lot of people thought it cool the way Apple Pay was shutdown for Russians with a flip of the switch at Apple…but a lot of us were like, “WTF – they can freeze me out of my money if they decide they don’t like me”. America is kept going financially by people buying our bonds…and they will keep doing that, at least for now. But if you’re a foreign government or rich guy, do you want your money tied up in an asset that the United States can destroy at a whim? If the world does stop buying our bonds, then we’re financially ruined. And I mean completely. It would make the Great Depression look like a minor correction: one of the strength of Rule of Law societies is the security of wealth under it…that no matter what happens, your property is safe unless you actually break the laws of your host nation (or the host nation of your assets). Now, its funny to watch them seize yachts of Russian oligarchs…but where was the law in that? Some decree of some official. No court. No charges. No conviction: just stroke of the pen, your property is gone.

And that brings me to a point I’ve made recently and for years: national wealth is not dollars. It is what you make, mine and grow. Russia doesn’t just provide us oil, but also fertilizers and other crucial materials. Of course, a huge amount of our manufactured goods come from overseas. Suppose these people decide not to take our dollars in payment? What do we have then? We don’t even seem to make basic things like screwdrivers and scissors any longer.

Gold standard, guys: we have to get back on the gold standard. If our money is backed by gold, everyone on God’s green Earth will accept it no matter how much they hate us. And we must go back to Protection. No more of this “free trade” chimera…massive tariffs to force a rebirth of American farming, manufacturing and mining.

Open Thread

Why haven’t the Russians finished off the Ukrainians? Short answer: they’re Russians.

Anyone who knows a bit of history knows the Russians have never been first rate at offensive operations, especially early on. It took some real effort for the Russians to produce Tannenberg with the Russian 2nd Army being essentially wiped out in a few days, but it does give the flavor of how Russia goes to war. It is part of the Russian natural character, I guess: being slipshod.

A guy who claims to be an expert on logistic matters (and he seems like he knows what he’s talking about) took a look at all that Russian transport that got bogged down in the mud and noticed that it was the tires causing the problem – they had fallen apart. He then noted that when he was in charge of the American version of such vehicles, they had to be continually maintained to avoid just that: tires blowing out the minute you go off road or otherwise hit something rough. Now, you can bet on it that the commander of those Russian vehicles reported himself 100% ready to go…which means he gundecked his readiness reports and had his fingers crossed when they invaded. This, to be sure, isn’t a disease just of the Russian army – all peacetime military forces suffer from it. But sorta double it for the Russians (and I’ve also heard tell that their Defense Minister is a Court favorite…another common failing in Russia is putting the lives of soldiers in the hands of the guy who can best entertain the Tsar).

So, Ivan did his usual. He did this in 1940, too, and got whacked from pillar to post by the Finns. The Russians left about 150,000 dead on the field there. And I think what a lot of people up high were expecting was for the Ukrainians to do the same as the Finns. Rely on it: our military intel people know the capability of the Russian army: in between lectures on pronoun usage, they still actually gather and assess data. Because of this, we and our allies went rather whole hog for Ukraine. But the Finns didn’t show up. The Ukrainians did. And, hate to break it to everyone, they’re just Russians with a different accent. With juicy, road-bound targets all over the place, the Ukrainians made no real move against them. And now the Russians have sorted out their issues and are starting to roll ahead – latest map I saw from UK MoD indicates a rapidly unfolding offensive which seems to be set on taking over all territory east of the Dnieper. Whether the Russians will go further remains to be seen.

Pudding Brain gave his speech. I didn’t watch. From reactions, it didn’t go over well. You know that if the Morning Joe people are praising it to the skies, it was a dud. Here is Joe’s problem:

The Mrs went out to get gas today and it was more than $4 a gallon. When she got to Ross to shop, she saw a man waltz out of the store with an armload of stolen goods…right past the security guard who is under instructions not to interfere. So, our budget is getting stressed by high food and energy costs and I’ve got to worry that my wife will be rubbing elbows with criminals when she goes shopping.

That is the State of the Union. There is no other State of the Union. And no amount of Pudding Brain/MSM gaslighting will change this.

After my wife told me that, my blood went into slow boil. I admit to actually getting feelings of hatred for those responsible. This was un-Christian of me and I’m sorry for it. But it was there. And I at last realized that even someone as relaxed as me has a limit. Our opponents have ruined this nation…and it is just getting worse and worse. Can you imagine what things will be like after 3 more years of this? I can’t – and I wonder just when those vastly less patient and merciful than me will get to their limit?

Manchin sat with the GOP during Pudding Brain’s speech. My guess: he switches either right before or just after the mid-terms.