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Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Trends: Covid Down, Dictatorial Urges Up

Silverfiddle Rant!

Q:  What did Covid say to 9/11 at the beginning of 2020?

A: "You think you caused hysteria and made air travel miserable?  Watch this!"

Progressive propaganda outlets like Salon continue to preach their hysterical Scientism-Safetyism religion like an unhinged band of Millerites and Millenarians.  Soon after the vaccination rates stalled, they organized wild-eyed, screaming digital pogroms against the MAGA sinners and heretics who dare question the Orthodoxy of Experts. 

* - btw, we are getting a glimpse of health care decisions if the Democrats ever ram through government-run universal health care:  Your personal choices become everybody else's business, with imperious bureaucrats giving a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to your request for care based on whether or not you conform to the popular morality.

From Salon...

It's time to start firing unvaccinated people: Trump fans are overdue for a lesson in consequences

This from the crowd that pushes programs that perpetually shield people from consequences...

They applaud New York state's totalitarian governor for issuing an ultimatum to health care workers to get vaxxed or get fired:
And every other Democrat who wants to see this pandemic actually come to an end (which should be all of them!) should follow suit. Staffing shortages are a pain, especially during a pandemic, no doubt. But staffing shortages are a minor issue compared to the damage being caused by the unchecked spread of COVID-19, which is increasingly due to one cause: right-wingers who have made refusal to get vaccinated a culture war and identity politics issue. 
Four points:

First off, there is no "unchecked spread" of Covid.  According to the CDC Data Tracker, this spike is on the downward slide.  

(Pssst!  C'mere and look at this!  70% of New York People of Color have chosen not to get the jab) 

Anti-Democratic progressives who have politicized every last corner of our lives are the last ones with any right to complain about culture wars and identity politics.  

Finally, these are the same true believers who nod knowingly when Biden burps out idiotic nonsense like "We're going to protect the vaccinated from the unvaccinated!"

How are you doing?

Anyhoo, what this post was supposed to be about was, how are you doing almost two years into this new era of Endless Panic Pandemic?  Something had to replace the era of Endless Wars...

I'll start:

I got the J&J vax in May once all the elderly and infirm got their pokes.  I was never worried about Covid; I just wanted to get the mask totalitarians off my ass.  My family and I have continued to live our lives as normally as we can in this nutty environment.  Colorado, although solid blue, did not get too crazy.  We had mask mandates indoors for a few months, but that was it.

Still, I look around the nation and shake my head.  Forcing people to stay indoors, shutting down children's playgrounds, quarantining healthy people, forcing people to keep germ-sodden cloths on their faces all day...  

Most grotesque of all is the abuse humorless leftists are inflicting on our nation's children, continuing to treat them as the most vulnerable, when in fact they are the least vulnerable.  If anyone should be left alone to run free during this national panic, it's children, adolescents and young adults.

What say you?  Open fire! Tell us how you and yours have fared, regale us with stories, or just rant.

Monday, September 27, 2021

A New Cold War

Silverfiddle Rant!
 The withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Biden administration’s apparent determination to end America’s open-ended wars constitute the final acknowledgment that the post-Cold War era is over. 

We are yet again in a world where for the foreseeable future great power competition and power-balancing will determine winners and losers.
(Andrew Michta - A Bitter Lesson)

Tom McTague, in The Atlantic, states the obvious:
The decision to invite Beijing into the world economic system in 2001 has not led to anything like the more liberal or democratic China that world leaders had envisaged, only a more powerful and more draconian adversary that has grown and grown while the U.S. and its allies (including Britain and Australia) were distracted in the Middle East and Afghanistan. (Atlantic - Joe Biden’s New World Order)
Can we not call it a 'War' this time?
In effect, the U.S. is having to adapt to the new world of Chinese power in order to protect the old “free and open” world of global trade and American supremacy that Washington built after the Second World War.  (Atlantic - Joe Biden’s New World Order)
Economic alliances and quiet, non-bellicose military strength is what this new era calls for. Small-bore military and humanitarian assistance where feasible, while avoiding grand projects.

I support President Biden strengthening our strategic alliances with partners old and new, including the new US-UK-AUS Alliance, which is really just an upgrade of an enduring partnership.  I also think "The Quad" is a good idea:  An informal alliance of the US, Japan, India and Australia. If we can leverage these renewed friendships to build manufacturing and supply chains among friendly nations, to include smaller, poorer nations like Mexico and Central American countries, Vietnam, Indonesian, the Philippines, etc, we will have gone a long way towards limiting China's influence, and doing it in a non-belligerent way that does not risk World War III. 

We Won the Cold War...

...and smashed up alot of the third-world in the process, alienating billions of people who otherwise yearn for the freedoms and economic prosperity we were supposed to be championing.

Can We Learn?

Can we learn from our strategic successes of that era, and update and apply those lessons for this new era?  More importantly, can we learn from our many abuses, failures, human rights violations and destruction of human life?

Can we conduct a quieter fight against terrorists?  

Our special operators know how to do that with a light footprint.  They also know how to partner with friendly governments and help them help themselves.  Can we understand that a 'War on Terror' is folly and can never be won?  It's eternal whack-a-mole, but doing it quietly and smartly can keep the bad guys on their heels, erode their support among the people, and gain us friendship and respect around the world.

Can we be a friend to people everywhere?  

Can we beef up our Peace Corps?  Can we open more consulates and culture centers to put on a friendly and respectful face to nations around the world?  This sounds like hippie-dippie stuff, but it works, especially when good-hearted, culturally-curious and sincere Americans are out in front.

What say you?

See Also:

Friday, September 24, 2021

Friday Funnies: Norm McDonald

Silverfiddle Rant!

Comedian and everyman philosopher Norm Macdonald has passed on.  

I loved his impressions on SNL.  Latterly, he had a show for one season on Netflix called "Norm MacDonald has a show," and it was brilliant.

For your viewing pleasure, The Best of Turd Ferguson.  His Burt Reynolds is spot on...

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Biggest Threats to our Nation

Silverfiddle Rant!

Polling from reputable organizations can serve as a barometer, but I don't put too much stock in them, since they usually reflect the panic of the moment.  Here in the US tribal territories, most people herd up around the loudest ideological tastemakers they agree with, and most polling is a reflection of that.

Rasmussen has taken the temperature of the populace to determine what we believe are the greatest threats to our nation.  Here are some results...
Fifty-seven percent (57%) of Democratic voters believe supporters of Donald Trump are a serious threat to the nation. 

56% of those in President Biden’s party also consider the unvaccinated a serious threat. That’s a higher level of concern than Democrats express about the Taliban (44% see it as a serious threat); China (44%), or Russia (37%).

For Republicans, the top concerns are the Taliban (66%), Defund the Police Activists (62%), and China (58%).

The top three concerns for Independents are the same as the GOP (though in a different order). The Taliban is the biggest concern for independent voters (46%) followed by China (45%) and Defund the Police Activists (36%).
I disagree with all of them (with one exception).  Here is my list of biggest threats to America:

The lying, wasteful, war-making political establishment that serially fails to square up on our nation's most pressing issues and instead traffics in trivialities, propaganda, and political porn designed only to continually inflame their base and extract donations from them.

The Big Education establishment that rent-seeks off taxpayer money and fails to teach the fundamentals of a classical education that are critical to our liberal democracy:  Logic, Reason, Critical Thinking, and Toleration of differing beliefs.

China. Their government is much smarter and much more serious than ours 

Our government's failure to foster economic cooperation among friendly nations that lead to robust, trusted supply chains.

Infrastructure security against hacking, EMP bursts and solar activity

The near-failed states to our south

The ever-expanding national debt

Corporate ownership of the public square and the neo-censorship that goes with it.

Loss of habitat

Our nation's water supply

What Say You?

Monday, September 20, 2021

What's going on with our generals?

Silverfiddle Rant!

General Milley Continues to Take Heat...

"Milley’s actions show that America’s top military officers have reached another level of delusion. They fancy themselves a new praetorian guard to protect the nation." (Deep State - Deep Trouble)

Much is being made of Milley's supposed usurpation of power and quiet subversion of President Trump's direction on Syria and Afghanistan, phone calls assuring Chinese generals he would warn them before we attack them, and holding a secret cabal of generals to seize ultimate control of our nuclear arsenal.  

While I think the rhetoric is a little much, here is one summary  Another one demands Gen. Milley must go for subverting of civilian control of the military

This article says Milley made the call to China at SecDef Esper's request.  If true, that means Milley did nothing wrong by making that phone call.  He was a good soldier obeying orders of the civilians appointed over him.

By all accounts, General Milley was a heroic soldier on the battlefield and many who served under him praised his leadership as a battalion commander when he was a lieutenant colonel.  

Something has gone wrong since then...

Desert Storm tank commander H. R. McMaster (he won a Silver Star for his brilliant leadership in a decisive battle) wrote a book in 1997, Dereliction of Duty, making the case...
"that during the 1960s, the Joint Chiefs of Staff betrayed their constitutional duties by failing to provide their honest military judgment to President Lyndon B. Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara as they plunged into the quagmire of Vietnam. When McMaster’s book was published in 1997, during the Clinton administration, Gen. Hugh Shelton, then the JCS chairman, ordered all his service chiefs and commanders to read it and follow its lessons to the letter—to express disagreements to their superiors, even at the risk of getting yelled at." (The Revolt against Donald Rumsfeld)
Lt Gen (Ret) McMaster has been lauded by leaders and peers as the kind of innovative thinker we need in the flag officer ranks. His book has been required reading in the officer ranks.

Mackubin Owens made an opposing case back in 2006, mounting a defense of Rumsfeld and civilian control of the military.

The Ghost of Don Rumsfeld

I caught Hugh Hewett on the way to work a few days ago.  Retired Admiral James Stavridis was singing Milley's praises and bragging about appointing him to brief Rumsfeld back when Stavridus was an admiral at the Pentagon and Milley was a Colonel serving under him. He gushed over Milley, calling him stubborn, highly intelligent and brave, one of the few officers able to go one-on-one with with Rumsfeld.  The admiral was essentially lauding Milley's high-level bureaucratic skills, and that is when it hit me... 
What's "wrong" with Milley is what went "wrong" with warrior generals Franks, McChrystal, Petraeus and so many other flag officers of their generation:  Rummy tainted and broke them.

I am not damning those men. They did the best they could with what the civilians handed them.  Whether at one point or another they should have thrown their stars on the table is not an easy judgment, but once you've been made to eat shit and like it, or once you have been "made," as in a mafia made man, justification mechanisms must kick in.  It's human nature.

Some men did push back:  Generals Shinseki and Newbold while they were still on active duty, and Generals Zinni and Eaton after retirement.

So, we are left with an age old question:  What do senior generals do when handed an impossible mission cooked up by the ignorant fools appointed over them?

Friday, September 17, 2021


Silverfiddle Rant!

I stumbled across an archived interview with Carter National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, first published in a French newspaper in 1998.

Below is an interesting excerpt...

Q : When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against secret US involvement in Afghanistan , nobody believed them. However, there was an element of truth in this. You don’t regret any of this today?

B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter, essentially: “We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war." Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war that was unsustainable for the regime , a conflict that bought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

Q: And neither do you regret having supported Islamic fundamentalism, which has given arms and advice to future terrorists?

B : What is more important in world history? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some agitated Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

War on Terror II

Silverfiddle Rant!
The Election of Donald Trump encrazened the left, and they keep getting crazier:

Trump is Hitler, Jan 6th was the US Beer Hall Putsch, the Jan 6 MAGA mob launched a more horrible attack than 9/11, Trump voters are domestic terrorists, rightwing anti-vaxxers are endangering America (Fact Check:  They're Not, and they make up about half the unvaxxed cohort, but anyhoo...) 

What's going on?

The left's use of hysterical hyperbole and apocalyptic language make them today's millenarians:
"The Jim Crow Republican Party and larger neofascist movement are escalating their war on democracy by passing laws across the country designed to stop Black and brown people from voting."

"Fascist violence continues unabated."

"The Taliban, all of them together, plus every Al Qaeda fighter in the world, do not pose the threat to the United States that Trump or Trumpist extremists do."
Facts like this don't matter to the left screaming that Jan 6th was an attempted coup, or terrorist attack, or insurrection, or whatever...
It's pure fantasy, especially when one considers Jan. 6 wasn’t even the worst attack on the Capitol building. Indeed, between the 1915 Capitol bombing, the 1954 shooting by Puerto Rican nationalists, the 1971 Weather Underground bombing, and the 1983 M19 bombing there's stiff competition for the title of "worst" attack on the People's House.
The Infotainment Media Complex blares out exciting new revelations:
Former CIA Director Halspel:  The US was 'on the way to a right-wing coup' after Trump lost the election!

Gen Milley feared President Trump would "go rogue," so he convened a secret meeting of senior military officials.  (If anything looks like a potential coup, it's generals meeting secretly) 

Stan McChrystal and other 'experts' have compared Trump voters to Al Qaeda and radicalized home-grown terrorist insurgents.
Finally, firebug dunce George W. Bush--while desecrating hallowed ground this past 9/11--made similar disgraceful comparisons that had no place at that Shanksville ceremony.  What was his point?

Prepping the Battlespace

Bush spoke for the establishment, writes Rod Dreher:
Bush is legitimizing the US turning the vast intelligence and surveillance apparatus he built to fight Islamist terror onto American citizens who dissent.

It is the duty of we who are old enough to remember what happened in the year and a half between 9/11 and the launch of the Iraq War to remember how the US Government and a compliant media manufactured public consent for that war. 

We have to tell our children about it — about how the people in power told lies to make us deathly afraid of the people they wanted to punish, even though those people (the Iraqis) had nothing to do with 9/11. ... It’s starting to happen again — and George W. Bush yesterday laid down an important marker in that speech.
I agree. What say you?

Monday, September 13, 2021

Impatience and the Totalitarian Urge

Silverfiddle Rant!
Friedrich Hayek:
"'Emergencies' have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded -- and once they are suspended it is not difficult for anyone who has assumed such emergency powers to see to it that the emergency persists." (Hayek, Law, Legislation and Liberty, Vol. 3, 1979, 124)

Joe Biden, announcing his totalitarian vaccine decree:
"We've been patient, but our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us." (Yahoo News)
There is zero evidence that the unvaccinated are a danger to the vaccinated.
This means that to entrust to science - or to deliberate control according to scientific principles - more than scientific method can achieve may have deplorable effects. (F.A. Hayek)
Another point of fact:  Those over 50 are the cohort with the highest rate of vaccination.  They are also the cohort that is overwhelmingly filling our hospitals and dying of covid

New Normal?

Hayek also observed (apologies, I cannot find the exact quote) that the problem with government programs of persuasion is that if the people cannot be nudged and cajoled into cooperation, the program will end in dictatorial coercion.

Post 9/11 hysteria spawned the golden age of the panopticon surveillance state and gargantuan bureaucracies--unaccountable to We The People--violating our liberties all in the name of keeping us "safe."

COVID has ushered in an age of Safetyism and Scientism Uber Alles.  Can We The People claw back our freedoms?

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Never Forget

For some of us, at least, the images and sounds of that day are seared into our memories. 

A few of us, at least, recognize that the soldiers of Allah in the name of Allah, according to the teachings of the Quran, committed those murders.

And a few of us, at least, also recognize that our enemies remain ready to attack again.  For example: Taliban Commander vows jihad against the whole world.

Perpetual Islamic "holy war" against the infidel (any non-Muslims).  Weep for the West.

Some reading for today (Washington Post, September 3, 2021): My father was killed on 9/11. I still struggle to understand how he just disappeared.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

More Covid Nonsense

Silverfiddle Rant!

Government messaging on covid has never been coherent.  Do the vaccines protect you from covid? If so, why do the vaccinated need masks?  If not, why push them?  If the purpose of the vaccine is to lessen the severity of covid if you get it, then tell us that and advertise it as such.

This absurd statement caught my eye from Grandpa Joe's tough guy propaganda show on Thursday: 
“We’re going to protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated co-workers.”
WHAT???  Why do the vaccinated need protection from the unvaccinated?  

According to data from the field, over 95% of the hospital cases are unvaccinated.  This spike appears to be the unvaccinated infecting other unvaccinated.

Joe's propaganda ministers are brilliant.  Current data indicates we are probably on the downhill side of this latest peak, which was one-half the magnitude of the January spike, which was the greatest peak of the pandemic.  So Joe's handlers dress him up, give him a script and put him at the front of the parade.  The spike continues its inevitable downward trend and Joe is a hero.

What say you?

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Labor Day Week Open Thread

Silverfiddle Rant!
Three federal pandemic benefits programs have ended as of Labor day.

They are the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, and a weekly $300 in Federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.

One think tank estimated that the programs' ending affects 7.5 million unemployed Americans. (MSN - Business Insider)

Our nation has been in one of those weird Frankenstein places only a government could create:  

People unemployed while we have a simultaneous worker shortage.  Paying people not to work has never worked.  The extended bennies and the eviction moratorium are ending.  I think we'll see those jobs get filled.

What say you?

Monday, September 6, 2021

Heading West

(For politics, please scroll down)

This week, I leave NorthernVirginia, where I was born and bred (as was my father before me), and become a Hoosier.

I'm done with Virginia.  The Progressives have taken control, and my life is miserable here.  Not to mention too expensive for me to retire here.  

The county's theft of footage from my property was the last straw: any new build on a corner lot has to cede to the county 1600 square feet (40 in the front and 40 down the side).  This new edict took effect on July 1, 2021, by fiat with no notice, and very nearly upended the sale of this lot because this property, 2/3 of an acre, is no longer a buidable lot!  My family has lived for 75 years here on this property, with all the required sacrifices to hold onto what should be a very valuable piece of land, and the county destroys our investment with the stroke of a keyboard!  Bastards.

Thank the Lord that my neighbor of 44 years, immediately to my west, was selling her property and put it onto the market about two weeks after Mr. AOW's passing.  I decided that, no matter the bad timing, I had better piggyback with my neighbor's sale.  Her agent, her son whom I known since the day he was born, found a buyer wanting both lots so as to join them as one big lot (so Muhammad says, anyway).  Otherwise, the financial hit of selling this family homestead would have upended my retirement.

Once in Indiana in our new home, Warren will get the Internet up and running as soon as possible.  Establishing the connection, however, will take a little time, amount unknown.  

My good friend Silverfiddle remains in change of this blog.  Thank you, Silverfiddle, for helping Warren and me keep this blog going.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Some Songs are Timeless

Silverfiddle Rant!

Goodnight Saigon has been playing in my head these past few weeks...

I first heard the song at the 123 Club at Ft Clayton, where I'd get drunk with the other young guys and then get in fights with them.

When the song came on, a huge mob of soldiers jumped up to the front, threw their arms around each other and belted out the chorus. That always stuck with me (I know, the song is about Marines, not soldiers, in Vietnam, way before our time, but I guess that didn't stop them from strongly identifying with the song).  A year later, many of those young men would be taking down Noriega's forces in the invasion...

Every generation gets its turn...

Enjoy the long weekend!

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Endless Pandemic...

Silverfiddle Rant!
... brought to you by the same people who brought you endless wars!

“If you favor university vaccine mandates for low-risk American and European students, when there is not enough vaccine for older high-risk people in Asia, Africa and Latin America, please remove your #BLM tags from your Twitter/Facebook profiles.” -- Martin Kulldorff, Harvard Epidemiologist

John Tierney has written an excellent essay at City Journal:  Keeping Fear Alive.  It has some great links to scientific information on masks, etc. (Spoiler alert!  There is scant evidence they do any good).
Children are being sentenced to another round of unnecessary mask mandates and probably more school closures based on evidence-free warnings from Anthony Fauci and others that the Delta variant will be more deadly to them than the original virus. While the variant is more infectious, the evidence does not show it to be any more lethal. In fact, the current mortality rate among American children with Covid is lower than it was last year—and last year many more children died of the flu than of Covid. One of the most thorough studies, in England, shows that the survival rate for those under 18 with Covid is 99.995 percent. But instead of emphasizing these reassuring statistics, public-health officials like Jerome Adams, the former surgeon general, keep looking for new ways to scare parents and children.
Please, ignore the screaming headlines and shabby morality tales peddled by the Infotainment Media Complex.  

Instead, go to this interactive CDC website:  CDC COVID Tracker

You can click on areas like deaths, cases and hospital admissions.  They are graphed over time, so you can compare current numbers to the past 18 months.  Click on Trends in Cases and Deaths by Race/Ethnicity, Age, and Sex, and you will see that Covid cases have gone up, even among children and adolescents, but then look at the death rates.  Thankfully, barely a blip.  

What about all those deaths in Texas and Florida?  They are still way down the list

Meanwhile, covid rages in Japan where everyone has always been masked up.  Australia and New Zealand are finding that even on an island, eradicating covid is impossible.

Please read the short essay and see the links that show no correlation between mask wearing and covid rates.  Tyrannical lockdowns did nothing but inflate the egos of the dictators.

What say you?