Saturday, August 31, 2019

POLITICAL SCRAPBOOK

I note with interest John Armstrong's article here how in recent months the gloss has well and truly come off Jacinda Ardern ... a cutting comment ... 'She's been swamped by the backwash from her mishandling of matters mundane with her legacy at risk of being a long list of monuments to failure'.   

A peripheral straw to the wind.   At a charity auction twelve months ago a day out fishing with the PM's partner sold for over $20,000.   Repeated recently it struggled to reach $4k. 

And then two days ago the ANZ Business Outlook here headlined 'Nothing good to say about it' with business confidence falling another 8% to -52% with a majority of respondents reporting that they expect general business conditions to deteriorate in the next twelve months, the lowest since April 2008.   Allied with that employment intentions fell 3 points with a net 9% of firms intending to reduce staff, the lowest since mid-2009.

Finally there is WRP.   Originally off  work recuperating for a week.   Now extended into a second week with him missing the tangi of Peter Parone, the highly regarded ex NZ First MP (that he shafted).   Is this a developing story?     

Fun and Truth

I've never been a fan of Twitter as it seems to encourage the worst of human discourse. And I really wish Trump would stop using it in the manner that he does.

Having said that, it was one of his primary weapons in becoming POTUS, and certainly enables him to get around the traditional gatekeepers of the MSM, and this does seem to be the way of the political world now, judging by AOC's success from the Democrat side.

But there are moments when Twitter works and Trump is genuinely funny as he trolls the living shit out of his enemies, and this is one of those:


As usual Trump picks at the key weakness of his opponents. In this case it's Iran's technical competence and their paranoia, both real and fake, about the secret machinations of the Great Satan inside the Iranian nation. But he's also keeping Iran's ballistic missile program in front of the public.

One of the "tells" that the Iranians continue to push toward getting an atomic bomb at some point, is that missile program. If you want to deliver high explosive warheads to a target, there are far more accurate ways of doing so, and this has been the case for so many decades that the last time ballistic missiles were used for such purposes was Saddam's Scud attacks during the First Gulf War, and the Nazi V2 attacks in WWII, almost fifty years earlier. Niether of which were very effective, tactically or strategically.

With their inherent inaccuracies - in an age when combatants want to be precise enough to drop a bomb through a window from 10,000m up in the sky, and when the technology for this is easily obtainable - ballistic missiles nowadays are useful for only one thing: carrying nuclear warheads.

==================

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, Twitter's design that forces people to shorten and sharpen up a message, has resulted in this pointed and effective comment about that other great electoral upheaval of 2016 - BREXIT:


If the "serious scholars" are political scientists, then I can't see that last point even being introduced for discussion, despite there being so many parallels between the great religious upheavals of the past and what seems to be happening now across Western secular society.

Historians with a theological background will have a better chance of explaining it.

Humour or Common Sense

Stumbled across this on Facebook.

In a span of 11 years 115 people died in a weightlifting accident at a gym

In the same 11 year period only 1 person died from eating a donut

MAKE GOOD CHOICES!!!

Her majesty.....the last of her generation.

For the first time in legal history a monarchs decision is being challenged in court, not once, not twice but three times in London Edinburgh and Northern Island.

The lawmakers in Ottawa, Canberra and Wellington will be following this very closely as it will have an impact on future relationships with the crown. This has gone far beyond anything anyone could have thought possible and now the country is in a genuine constitutional crisis.

The Queen is between a rock and a hard place but is now genuinely apolitical as she loathes labour as they always pose a danger to the family firm yet she detests the present crop of Tories who had the temerity to bugger up her holiday and drag her into this mess.

Where does she sit on the EU?  Well she is the worlds oldest statesman, or is that stateswoman?  She has seen out god knows how many prime ministers and presidents, the palace intelligence system, honed since Walsingham for 300 years means she is  well informed about the current situation and always has been.

I think this photo of her opening the last parliament is definitely  worth a thousand words and is unlikely to be a fashion faux pas.



Friday, August 30, 2019

WEST COASTERS AGAIN SHAFTED BY LABOUR

Mining a dirty word; dairying under threat with the Greens wanting to shoot every fourth cow and now the latest kick in the guts for a region that was the birthplace of the Labour Party with the canning of the Morgan Gorge hydro-electric power project which would have delivered 120 GWh to the national grid and fail-safe power to the southern West Coast in the event of a transmission failure into the region.

No matter that this was a local initiative of the Greymouth based Westpower that ticked all the boxes and backed by both DOC and the West Coast Tai Poutini Conservation Board ... the Greens said jump and Labour said how high sir.    The Coasters on and off flirtation with Labour reminds one much of the battered wife syndrome ... coming back for more.

Not to mention the shear hypocrisy of a Party besotted by climate change and committed to 100% renewable energy by 2035 ... but what's a 120 GWh between friends ... well one GW is the assessed output of 412 utility-scale wind turbines ... you do the maths.

THIS LATEST VIRTUE SIGNAL SHOULD BE SHREDDED, UTTER BULL SH*T


Yesterday the Part-Time Prime Minister ventured to Rotorua to launch a piecemeal bit of tokenism.

A select few primary school pupils in disparate areas of the country will be offered a "free" lunch, at an estimated cost of a mere $35 million. Sadly it will only be the ones in some schools: around 3% of the 750 000 odd pupils is one estimate. The "rich" children at those selected places of learning will be offered the "Free Lunch" so as to avoid stigmatising the waifs and strays who had the misfortune to be delivered of parents so crap that they suffer "food insecurity".

So poor little Johnnie who lives in a ramshackle house in the midst of a wealthy region, struggling to keep warm and dry with his solo mum who has escaped a drug addled sperm donor - that child can just make do with what his loving mum can provide, while a bank manager's scion can enjoy a taxpayer-funded feed in Hawkess Bay.

The irony comes with the salient fact that the poor little rich boy will be offered some Nouveau  Cuisine designed by a childless university graduate with honours in nutrition, while the so-called under-nourished child will have to eat decent grub at her mums expense - and I have a hint that the said "underfed" might just enjoy their pie more.

Meanwhile the ploy appears to have succeeded beyond the PTPM's wildest dreams.

"21000 children to receive free lunches" screams the headline. No mention of the remaining 730 000 not so lucky - or lucky if you get my drift. "Free lunches for Kids" (baby goats apparently): will that garner the nanny votes?

Twenty one thousand lunches a year for $35,000,000. Now I barely scraped SC Maths, but by my reckoning that is nearly $1700 a year per child.  Say a child is at school for 190 days - that comes in at $9.00 a day? Six slices of $1-a-loaf wholemeal bread, a bit of butter and spread - say $2.50; an apple @ 60c; two muesli bars @ 80c each -  and we are still shy of half that princely sum.

Then there are the  weekends and holiday lunches when the little people must starve, steal or beg for   an estimated 180 days.

Did a single one, or any of the media midgets, ask any such question?

No, didn't think so. Just repeat the total bollocks and watch the headlines inform the sheeple of how lucky they are - eh Fred Dagg.

WINSTON PETERS LITIGANT

Just prior to the election Winston Peters filed suit against all and sundry accusing them of leaking details of his receiving superannuation payments he was not entitled to.    In the almost two years since then the number of persons he is taking action against has reduced to just two ... Paula Bennett and Anne Tolley.

Now it appears that Peters' brief is in discussions with the lawyers representing Bennett and Tolley in an effort to settle the matter out of court.

It's hard to avoid the conclusion the whole matter has reached stalemate with each side looking to exit 'with face'.    Both Bennett and Tolley have denied leaking the information and unless Peters can produce the smoking gun journo it devolves into a 'he said she said' impasse.    Problem for Peters is that no journo will ever divulge his/her sources because to do that their career is finished.

Having said that is is equally possible that the information was leaked by a Green Party activist in MSD as some sort of payback for the opprobrium heaped on Metirei Turei for her rorting of the benefit system.

But underpinning all of that is the knowledge that were the case to go to trial defence counsel would almost certainly under 'discovery' produce in Court the signed copies of the affidavits that Peters submitted year on year to MSD certifying he was living alone in order to receive the enhanced level of payment when all the while he was cohabiting with Ms Jan Trotman in her luxury Herne Bay apartment.    

No politician can afford that. 

Friday's Fulminations

There is mild moderation.  Normal rules of blogger etiquette and courtesy to blog hosts will apply.with serious transgressors being thrown out.

Unfortunately our system does not allow your comments to show up in the blog post itself.  Just in the comments section.

Visitors might consider the wisdom of using moderate language.

Regards

Adolf

Thursday, August 29, 2019

The new "socialist" enemy...well, until 2021 anyway

Every cause must have an enemy, something or somebody to dislike or perhaps hate in order to rally the troops and blame life’s ills upon. You wont hear Muslims mentioned much in the coming months as they have served their purpose.

There cant be a Muslim problem any more ‘cos Trumpo fixed it, a few laws about who can fly, a stern look with hand sidling towards the gun belt and the problem disappeared. Off course there never was problem in the first place, that’s the clever part, invent a problem then fix it.

If you look closely at the short chubby chap with the strange haircut the same thing applies. A nice holiday in Singapore, a few photo opportunities a hug and a kiss and another problem solved. Which is why the chubby chap is still firing off rockets with gay abandon…...you see there never was problem in first place, but Trumpo fixed it.

No, the new enemy are the SOCIALISTS, a rather unique species because I haven't been able to find a country that is 100% socialist. What I have found are democratic socialists with various degrees of socialism….wait stop right there….let’s define socialism as looking after the lower socio economic groups and society as a whole, a sort of balance if you like.

Take France for example, far more socialist than New Zealand but richer and if polls are anything to go by much more contented. I expect that is to do with love of communal eating. Then we run past the whole of Liberal European socialism born out of the horrors of the second world war and what do we find…...a varying degree of socialism and capitalism for each country and each country due to it’s income, geographical location and culture has adapted to it’s needs.

As my old mate Winnie said each country gets the government it deserves...that’s Winnie my car mechanic in Gloucester, from St Kitts and a diamond geezer.

So there we are… the new enemy SOCIALISM with all the horrors of the gulags and the elites driving around in top of the range Mercs…..ah sorry I forgot to tell you. Remember the yellow vests in France?…….a few people stepped forward as leaders and were promptly whipped off to Italy to meet the right wing 5 star movement….they opened their yaps and started to make political demands and then the whole thing fell apart. The bloke in the street did not like that at all...the new elite you see.

So be prepared to meet the new enemy.

The Story of The Socialist and The Unforeseen Consequence

Too funny not to share right now. I've laughed every time I've played this today.



Or as one of my kids just added with an Internet Meme:
In Soviet Union, Punching Bag punch you!

A Part Time Vegan

Adolf has discovered he has become, inadvertently, a part time vegan.    Yes!  It's true.

Ever since he was diagnosed with type two diabetes, he has been focused on diet and exercise and  was pleased to have his medication reduced not so long ago, on account of satisfactory blood sugar levels over a three month period.

So what's that got to do with being a half pie vegan?  I hear you ask.

Well, back in the day, the dietitian at North Shore Hospital gave me a booklet with all the 'good' foods in a column on the left and all the 'bad' foods on the right.

'You don't have to give up eating anything,' she said in one of the cleverest pieces of advice ever issued.  So I went down the 'good' list and ticked off fish, baked beans, green peas, fresh fruit, multigrain bread and some others I don't remember.  On the 'bad' list were ticked off white bread, butter, cheese, milk, ice cream, bacon, pork, steak, eggs, potatoes and some others I don't remember.

Over the last fifteen years or so, without consciously trying to, I've ceased eating butter and white bread or drinking milk while drastically reducing consumption of steak, bacon and eggs.

So, what's with the vegan thing?   Well, Adolf is a creature of habit and breakfast doesn't vary much from day to day.  Less than half a cup of dry Nutrigrain in a bowl with half a banana, half a mandarin, a quarter of a kiwifruit, a quarter of an avocado, half a dozen grapes or blue berries and a couple of strawberries.  That takes me through the first half hour on the net.

Next comes a thick slice of toasted multigrain bread with cold baked beans spread on top and lashings of black pepper and some salt.  Of course when one talks about baked beans 'It Must Be Watties!'  The baked beans made in Australia are an insipid, tasteless and colourless uninspiring mess best left on the shelf at Woolworths. (I happily pay $1.50 per can for Watties when the local sludge costs $0.80.)

Then, thanks to the local commercial fisherman who sells direct, lunch is a small piece of kingfish fillet ($10/kg) fried in olive oil, with steamed peas and corn, sliced raw tomato and two thin slices of dry multigrain bread.  (Bakers' Delight - you can eat it like cake.)

So that's how Adolf fell into the evil ways of veganism - for the first half of each day, at least.   I'm not sure whether vegans eat fish but if they do then Adolf is a three quarter day vegan.

HOW MUCH MORE DO THE LITTERATI THINK THE US SHOULD SURRENDER TO CHINA BEFORE ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.


The duplicitous and calculating Chicoms have for decades built an emerging economy based on a manipulated currency, dodgy trading practices and outright theft of intellectual property and sensitive developments. Free trade to a communist Chinaman is free for him and you pay bigtime.

Clinton, Bush Jnr and Obama put their reelection and job security before the best interests of the US.
Donald Trump is a Businessman and such bowing down is not a default position for him. Forget the soap you dropped, just unwrap another one or even forget the bloody shower if the price is too high.

Yes Trump's strategy is fraught with risk and some will be damaged, but what cost for free traders  to allow the little bastards to succeed? That is the cost Trump sees as unaffordable.

The rest of the free world should give their unreserved support to bring the Chicoms to see reason.

Meanwhile our excuse for a Head Of Government would rather pass inane, stupid, vacuous, throwaway lines to her adoring media sycophants, without a second thought that someone might actually read her rubbish. Instead of a friend we - as a once-favoured nation - will just be ignored.

It is not Sunday Afternoon Monopoly where a loser can upset the board and everyone goes to bed.

This is real-time, not a rehearsal. So PM, you should shut your well-decorated gob and listen a bit.

Where is Winston anyway? Must have been a bigger rugby injury than what many assumed.

GO BORIS: HER MAJESTY AGREES AND CORBYN LOOKS INEPT.


Please, can someone take hold of Journalism as it is in this once-smart, successful and great nation -  and reshape it?

Second thoughts?  Just get the vet to put it down and buy a new one from a shelter somewhere.

Two and a half years of Teresa May's bungling and dithering. The longest UK Parliamentary session since the English Civil War.

Sans a reset - with a Queen's Speech laying out the program - the Johnson government will embark upon first finalising the divorce from Junker and his Crat-dominated, unelected rulers of Europe, then second, rebuilding Great Britain.

So Boris goes to Her Majesty and sets out a course that is said by thinking observers of the United Kingdom to be a win-win; either get the Idjits in Brussels to understand that the marriage is over - just like Cleese's parrot from Norway, it is no more, it is deceased - and settle, or Boris is just going to depart the Matrimonial Home with what he can get into the Range Rover.

Once again the MSM is struggling to get up for the next round, facing a TKO.

Jerry is back to ground zero.

TURN GUN OWNERS INTO PARIAHS? LETS DO THIS.


The knee jerk response that demonised all law-abiding gun and rifle owners, people never deserving of the condemnation currently abounding in the eyes of the ignorant, and sadly supported by National, was stupid enough. With only Seymour of the ACT Party wanting a more measured and reasonable response to the actions of a demented foreigner - who managed to get through a system that he should not have had any chance of even applying for access to weapons - was bad enough.

Now those newly created "Aunt Sallies" face further harassment from the worst-ever government appointed to rule New Zealand.

It is widely understood that rifle and pistol clubs do not tolerate nutters of any degree. I am aware of one case where a stupid, having failed to hit anything, swung around from the mound, only to have his weapon removed and cleared, with him told with absolute certainty never to return. Sex and travel the recommended next step.

Making it more complicated and expensive will have only one certain outcome; fewer will go and join a club that could train them in safe and responsible behaviour around deadly weapons.

Every move this squadron of stupid have done will do absolutely nothing to prevent another Tarrant.

If the leaking-like-a-sieve, second tranche of oppression comes in anywhere near what is indicated, New Zealand will actually be nowhere as safe as it was on the 14th of March 2019. And as we all know it was even safer before the first effort in gun license meddling that was introduced to save money late last year - by none other than the Winston First-appointed coalition of Silver, Bronze and also-ran Losers.

Making individual licensing harder and shutting down the many clubs where youth can learn gun handling best-practice is just plain nuts.

With acknowledgements to General Anthony McAuliffe.

IHUMATAO

So reports have it that Ihumatao is a done deal with Tanui to receive a $500m interest free loan from the gummit to buy the land off Fletchers to do with it what they will. 

I have backed off the term 'Silly Little Girl' as an epithet to describe the Prime Minister in recent months but, if this is confirmed, then no more ... Jacinda Ardern, through her ill-considered intervention, will have opened Pandora's Box on the whole treaty settlement process and, in doing so, has effectively said that private freehold land is now up for grabs by the disaffected.

Might this cause Winston First to walk?    No; baubles will trump principles every time.    But there will be a backlash and next years general election will have just got a lot more interesting.  

POOR OLD WEST COAST!!


No not Piha, Dargaville, Bethells Beach, Raglan. Not Foxton or Kapiti.

A special treasure on the West Coast of the Other Big Island, mostly inhabited from Jacksons in the South to Just North of Karamea where the Heaphy Track emerges from the bush. Covered by three district Councils: Westland, Grey and Buller, "The Coast" has been largely stripped of any commercial benefits by successive governments, in the main Socialist ones. Which is rather ironic as the worst offender has been the shell-party of socialists, now Ivory Tower dominated, that owes its very being to The Coast.

Blackball, now a sad little decaying settlement on the North Bank of the Grey River, saw the NZLP emerge from Unions dominated by miners over a century ago. Apart from a couple of aberrations when protest votes sent a Nat to Wellington it has dutifully toed the socialist line ever since, including from under whatever pile of shit the increasingly divorced-from-workers Party dropped on them from great heights.

Mining, beset with economic shifts from boom and busts, and of course successive disasters leaving Dobson, Brunner, Strongman and ten years ago Pike River as signposts. Of course others died too, but often in isolated incidents.

Timber was also a dangerous activity with gazillions of cubic feet sent to build a nation: Matai, Rimu and Beech wood as building framing and floors, plus Kahikatea as softwood for boxes to encapsulate Butter and Cheese for refrigerated export. That all came to a shuddering halt when the Helen Clark-led Socialists placed a total ban on even retrieving wind-throw and dying trees, with vague - largely never delivered to the worst affected - offers of financial assistance.

Today three streams, Dairy and Tourism plus Welfare, sustain The Coast, and the first two depend on another two significant infrastructure facets both easily disrupted given the potential disruptions from weather extremes and the very adjacent Alpine fault.

The weather has several times delivered, but the Alpine Fault that runs the entire inland boundary of over 700 Kms has been an ever-present large-scale threat with smaller quakes at Murchison in 1929 and Inangahua in 1968. Neither quake was seriously disrupting as alternative access remained but once you pass South through Hokitika the traffic is North or South only. Now both tourism and Dairy not only depend upon power and road access to function, but any disruption brings it to a standstill and disaster ensues. The Waihou River washout is the latest example.

The Coasters are a resilient bunch and need a more dependable electricity supply able to function if the links to the East and South are disrupted. Apart from sea links - and they are almost non existent - the Haast Pass is the only link East apart from the valley accessing Arthurs Pass, and that is a very long way North of Haast. Several Hydro electricity options have been assessed, the latest on a river near Hokitika the Waitaha.

Well, sorry ferals (Clark's term), but after spending two million of local dosh to assess a way to hopefully mitigate a disaster that is always when, never if, the bloody Socialists have said NO.  They described one of the many many rivers that run unbelievable quantities of water streaming off the Southern Alps to be "A Mount Cook" of rivers, declining yet another Hydro development.

No mining on Conservation land; no timber extraction even when saving beautiful wind-throw trees from rotting; a threat to extinguish the Whitebait industry, both commercial and hobby; and now no hydro developments.

Just bugger oorf and cease with the constant reminders that you gave us a start as thieving politicians. Oh you can stay with the tourism thingy, although more and more people see that as carbon burning extremism that might end any day.

Think about it.....

An interesting development in my mudane life. I am pursuing a business oportunity in Germany with two potential partners both US citizens.

I cannot be too specific but they are ex military and work as civilians in the confines of  the US military at NATO and have been in Europe for ten years.... in computers.

Just received a text from them with a slight difference from previous texts.....it said....... Sent from my Huawei phone.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

TWO BOOKS AND A DOCUMENTARY

Plenty of time on my hands in Indonesia so apart from over indulging on satay and hours in water was able to catch up on some reading.    I commend two books to you.

The first  'Pearl Harbor: Final Judgement' by Henry Clausen and Bruce Lee.   I have always preferred cock-up over conspiracy and this book nails the conspiracy theory by those who would have it that Roosevelt and General Marshall (Chief of Staff) withheld vital intelligence from Admiral Kimmel and General Short (the two front line commanders in Hawaii) that would have warned them of the pending Japanese attack.

 The intelligence failure was first investigated in 1944 by the Army Pearl Harbor Board who held that Marshall (and indirectly) Roosevelt were responsible for the debacle.   The problem with that investigation was that the three general officers on the Board all had 'form' with Marshall (they hated him); that they were not cleared to view the 'Magic' intercepts (Magic being the Japanese 'Purple' Code that the Americans had broken prior to Pearl Harbor) and that some of the testimony they heard was perjured in butt saving exercises.

Following their report Henry Stimson, the Secretary of War, commissioned Henry Clausen, a highly respected trial lawyer then serving in Judge Advocate General Division, to investigate the investigation.   In doing so he furnished him with wide ranging powers requiring anyone and everyone to cooperate fully with him when interrogated and to make available any and all documents requested.     Clausen was fully briefed on Magic and indeed, on his travels to Europe and the Far East (with the war still in progress) he carried with him copies of Magic decrypts which he could use in interrogating witnesses in a special pouch strapped to his chest that would explode (him with it) were he about to be captured (such was the sensitivity of the information).    The book dissects in exquisite detail the lies and misinformation that provided the basis of the original Pearl Harbor Board report.   Highly recommended.

And then a book that is compelling reading for anyone looking for inspiration ... 'Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy' by Eric Metaxas.   Doesn't matter whether you are a person of 'faith' or not ... this is the story of an extraordinary man of God.   What I didn't know was that Bonhoeffer had been recruited into the Abwehr (Military Intelligence Service) by its head, Admiral Canaris, and thereafter was front and centre of the various plots to kill Hitler ... fascinating detail.   Again, highly recommended.

Also viewed the BBC Drama/documentary 'Chernobyl Disaster', which was reviewed here at No Minister back in early June. Five episodes lasting more than five hours. Compelling and chilling in equal measure. Cowardice, stupidity, State mandated cover-up combined with acts of supreme heroism. You accept some artistic license in the making of the dramatization but the essential truths are there for all to see in shocking detail. Must see.

The Lungs of the Earth Are Burning

I have been told - the news has worked through to my corner of the forest - the damp bit down on the right which nobody wants...
So I understand that there has been a huge outcry about some forest in Brazil being set ablaze by Homo Sapiens. I've heard this courtesy of the French President, so you know it's informed and trustworthy....

Except of course when he's not.

It took Mother Jones - yes that Mother Jones, Ye Olde Queen of the Far Left for almost fifty years now, to point out that the photo shared by Macron (and Madonna), was actually over twenty years old.

"...the photo was taken by Loren McIntyre, who died in 2003."

This among other comments as they begged the Climate Catastrophists to "Stop Sharing Those Viral Photos of the Amazon Burning".

Too late. Like photos of Melania and Justin, it seems that cretins across the world can never be bothered digging into a cool story or photo before Re-Tweeting it.

As Mother Jones noted:
The photo Ronaldo shared was taken in southern Brazil, far from the Amazon, in 2013. The photo that DiCaprio and Macron shared is over 20 years old. The photo Madonna and Smith shared is over 30. Some celebrities shared photos from Montana, India, and Sweden.
...
It’s unclear why people are circulating these photos instead of current images of the Amazon ablaze, but one thing is certain: You can’t trust everything you see on the internet. 
Umm.... Cough .... this bullshit rapidly spread to the environs of the MSM globally, not just "the internet". It's actually an excellent summary of the whole story, in the sense that when you read other aspects you realise that getting the photos completely wrong was simply how it goes nowadays in the age of "Fake News" and that the rest of it followed naturally.

The photos, especially that photo on President Macron's Twitter, reinforced the claim that the fires were burning down lush, green, virgin Amazon jungle. That was at best a 7% truth, or in other words a 93% lie. It's often said that words matter. So do photos, especially in service of propaganda, or as it's called nowadays by reporters, The Narrative.

Okay, okay. I'm being a little unfair in that even the godforsaken New York Times and CNN, managed to start debunking this shit. After a day or so.

Still, it cannot have added to the credibility of the Climate Justice Warriors and associated clowns.

Lets back up to that "Lungs of the World" shite to start with:
I was curious to hear what one of the world’s leading Amazon forest experts, Dan Nepstad, had to say about the “lungs” claim. 
“It’s bullshit,” he said. “There’s no science behind that. The Amazon produces a lot of oxygen but it uses the same amount of oxygen through respiration so it’s a wash.”
Ouch!
What about The New York Times claim that “If enough rain forest is lost and can’t be restored, the area will become savanna, which doesn’t store as much carbon, meaning a reduction in the planet’s ‘lung capacity’”? 
Also not true, said Nepstad, who was a lead author of the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. “The Amazon produces a lot of oxygen, but so do soy farms and [cattle] pastures.”
Ok then. So what about the whole burning thing? Well, here's a lovely graph of forest fires in Brazil - and remember that these are total forest fires in the country, not just the Amazon:


“It was under [Workers Party President] Lula and [Environment Secretary] Marina Silva (2003-2008) that Brazil had the highest incidence of burning,” Leonardo Coutinho told me over email. “But neither Lula nor Marina was accused of putting the Amazon at risk.”

My goodness. Looks like things are improving on that front. How could such MSM reporting have occurred?
Coutinho’s perspective was shaped by reporting on the ground in the Amazon for Veja, Brazil’s leading news magazine, for nearly a decade. By contrast, many of the correspondents reporting on the fires have been doing so from the cosmopolitan cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, which are 2,500 miles and four hours by jet plane away.
Sounds about right for modern "journalists". But then if The Narrative is already set in your mind - Amazon jungle being burned to the ground - then there's no need to waste time actually investigating the matter.

In fact the burning was almost entirely on already cleared farms, as farmers did their usual stunt of using fire to beat back various pests and set the land up for planting.

And then of course there were the associated stories that tied all this to the deforestation of the Amazon, and naturally because Brazil currently has a Right-Wing President and government it's "news" in precisely the way it was not when "The Workers Party" was in charge of the country.

So what is the story with deforestation in Brazil. Time for another lovely graph:



So in fact deforestation in Brazil, specifically in the Amazon, has been decreasing irrespective of who is in government! How could this be? Well it turns out that it's related to how wealthy a country is:
... after parsing data from 52 developing countries between 1972 and 2003, that deforestation increases until average income levels reach about $3,100 per capita.
Very interesting. And wouldn't you know it, Brazilian per capita incomes reached $3,600 per capita in 2004. Looks like the author of that article, Yi‐Bin Chiu, has another solid data point to add in support of his theory.

And in case you're wondering about how this still means that deforestation is continuing, not stopping, there is more excellent news, courtesy of a 2018 study published in Nature:
We show that - contrary to the prevailing view that forest area has declined globally - tree cover has increased by 2.24 million km2 (+7.1% relative to the 1982 level). This overall net gain is the result of a net loss in the tropics being outweighed by a net gain in the extratropics.


Yes, it's the "extratropics" that have been reforested. But what that means is that as Brazil grows wealthier it will follow the same path as the Developed World with regard to forests; that the deforestation trend in the Amazon will turn toward afforestation. It's obviously already well on it's way to that inflexion point.

So there you go! The benefits of capitalism in saving the environment - as usual.

No need for smarmy French Colonialists to be telling Brown People how to manage their nation's resources.

UPDATE: You can read a more complete article on the Amazon fires by Dr Dan Nepstad here, using what is called a URL. Given some criticisms about the length of my articles I would not like to inflict a wall of cut-and-paste on gentle readers - although if that's your preference you can link to this NoMinister article. 😁

A chocolate fish for anyone who can spot the difference.....

The full article by Dr Daniel Nepstad.

 


The fires now burning in Brazil’s Amazon, which have prompted international outcry, are a classic example of a “chronic emergency”. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, after casting blame for the fires on international NGO’s, acknowledged his administration is ill-equipped to battle the flames and soon after called in Brazil’s armed services to assist in that fight. But to truly address the situation, what is needed is a systemic, long-term strategy for prevention that feeds into a broader regional development plan. The current focus on Amazon fire —within Brazil and internationally—opens an opportunity to make that shift and to postpone or even avoid what scientists refer to as the Amazon forest “tipping point”, whereby the forest is no longer able to sustain itself.
This blog draws on 30 years of research on Amazon fire, including the world’s largest tropical forest fire experiment, to propose eight recommendations for Brazil and the international community, to fight fires in the short-term and prevent them in the long-term.
Fire and drought: The biggest long-term threats to the Amazon forest
The biggest threat to the Amazon forest is large-scale displacement by scrub vegetation driven by increasingly frequent extreme drought events and associated forest fire. During years of normal rainfall, the Amazon forest extends like a giant firebreak across the landscape. Fires set by landholders to improve grass cover in cattle pastures or to burn felled trees in preparation for crops or pasture are usually extinguished when they reach the floor of neighboring forests, where the damp layer of leaves, twigs and branches in the forest’s deep shade does not readily burn. But that same fire resistance of the forest is lost during years of severe drought, when the forest’s fuel layer dries out. And when the fuel layer catches fire, the likelihood of another fire becomes greater, as we explain below.  As the forest burns repeatedly, grasses invade, and a once fire-resistant forest can be replaced by fire-prone scrub vegetation, as we described recently for our long-term forest fire experiment in Mato Grosso.
Interactions between drought, fire, logging and climate change could drive a large-scale replacement of Amazon forest by fire-prone scrub vegetation. (Source: Climate Change 2014: Impacts,Adaptation, and Vulnerability, Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press)
The loss of forest itself can also provoke drought and forest fire. This is because the rainfall of the Amazon depends upon water released into the atmosphere by its deeply-rooted trees. As we’ve demonstrated, the rainfall reduction from deforestation could even be enough to  render inviable major Amazon hydropower plants, like the Belo Monte Dam. The “tipping point”—the area of forest clearing beyond which reduced rainfall and severe drought push the forest to fire-prone scrub vegetation regionally, is not known precisely. The safest plan for the Amazon—to prevent fires, to secure rainfall, to sustain energy production in hydropower plants, and to increase our chances of avoiding catastrophic climate change—is to assume that Brazil is close to the limit now, with roughly 20% of the forest cleared.  Reforesting cleared land that is only marginally productive would further secure the Amazon rainfall regime, reducing the risk of crossing the tipping point.
Getting the story straight: We don’t know how much of the Amazon forest is burning
We know far less about Amazon fire than we do about Amazon deforestation and this hampers efforts to prevent and control forest fires.  When a satellite detects a fire, it does not tell us if that fire is burning a degraded pasture or an overgrown field or a patch of forest felled to make way for crops or cattle. Satellites do NOT detect most fires that are burning beneath the canopy of standing forests. And it is these low fires, that rarely reach the knee, that do the most damage, burning slowly across the forest floor, killing giant trees with thin bark. Once these trees die, they fall to the ground, opening up huge gaps in the forest canopy that allow more sunlight to reach the forest floor, drying the fuel layer and making the forest more prone to further burning. During years of severe drought, such as those that usually accompany El Niño events, the area of standing Amazon forest that catches fire can far exceed the area cleared with chainsaws.
What we know about the current Amazon fire emergency is that in 2019, from January 1st through August 31st, there have been about 7% more fires in Brazilian Amazon states than average since 2010 (see graph). We do not know with confidence how the area of fire compares with previous years.
It is important to bear in mind that the fire season has just begun, with most fires occurring from September to December. With forecasts of a long dry season, the number of fires could continue to be greater than usual.
We also know that it is a particularly smoky burning season. This is probably related to the large number of “deforestation fires”—fires set to burn patches of forest that have been felled to make way for cattle pasture or crop fields.  The smoke released from a fire that burns a hectare of felled forest releases far more smoke than a fire that burns a hectare of degraded pastureland.We do not know the area of standing forest that has burned. Forest fires, however, usually happen late in the dry season.
Graph of number of “hot pixels”(fires) counted by NASA from MODIS satellites from January through August, 2010-2019 (average and standard deviation), 2019 and 2018 for the Brazilian Amazon. The trends seen here are similar for the Brazilian Space Agency’s (INPE’s) hot pixel estimates for the Brazilian Amazon.

Recommendations for Brazil

1. Expand Brazil’s global forest-monitoring leadership to include annual assessments of forest fire scars
 There is an urgent need for annual maps of the standing forests that have caught fire to accompany the annual maps of deforestation produced by the Brazilian Space Agency’s (INPE’s) PRODES program. It is essential that these annual assessments continue to be made freely available, without political interference. The algorithms for mapping Amazon forest scale, such as “CLASfire” developed by Ane Alencar and Greg Asner, could be used for this purpose.
2. Short-term: better fire management, early warning and fire brigades
The tipping point can be postponed by putting out forest fires before they do much damage. We know how to do this. The fire brigade of Aliança da Terra, in Brazil, puts out fires by detecting them early through a voluntary network of landholders and communities and then putting out these fires through a rapid response brigade. They have trained hundreds of fire fighters, including indigenous peoples and farm staff. Since forest fires tend to be low—knee-high or lower—they can be contained by clearing away the fuel layer in a narrow firebreak along the forest floor.
This year, FUNAI, the Brazilian Indigenous peoples’ federal agency, did not authorize Aliança to put out fires in the indigenous park of the Xingu River headwater, and forest fires burned longer as a result.
With the high number of fires detected so early in the year, Brazil should be on heightened fire alert, preparing to detect and extinguish fires that escape their intended boundaries. Financial support is urgently needed for the Aliança Brigade and similar approaches across the Amazon region.
3. Short-term: public education on fire management
Fire is an essential land management tool for many Amazon farmers; in the near term, it is the most cost effective, efficient way to prepare land for planting crops or pastures. Typically, patches of forest or fallow vegetation are cleared, allowed to dry, then set on fire. These fires release a pulse of nutrients into the soil for young crops as they reduce populations of insect and plant pests. In most of the rural tropics, farmers will continue to use fire for the foreseeable future.  By educating farmers in fire prevention and management techniques, including when and where not to burn, how to control fires, and how to reduce the risk of accidental fire, the occurrence of fires could be greatly reduced in tropical landscapes.
4. Long-term: low-fire rural development
Long-term strategies for postponing the tipping point by reducing the incidence of forest fires should focus on the production systems of the region’s farms. When fire-sensitive orchards and agroforestry systems for producing coffee, açaí, cocoa, timber, rubber, fruits and other products are established on farms, landholders tend to invest more in fire prevention and they tend to use fire less as a land management tool. These crops can also provide higher incomes. Their adoption at a larger scale will depend upon greater investment in technical assistance, rural extension, market development and commercialization. These investments are essential to allow Brazil to continue its track record of success, that is now threatened, in slowing deforestation while increasing agricultural and livestock production.
5.Long-term: Translate Brazil’s enormous carbon emission reductions into value propositions for communities, farmers and governments
Brazil is better positioned than any other nation to lead the pathway to the low-carbon economy. Its 7+ billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions that have been avoided through Brazil’s enormous and successful effort to slow Amazon deforestation are now poised to be monetized. The “pay-for-performance” contracts between the Brazilian national government and both Norway and Germany—both recently suspended because of changes made to the Amazon Fund structure—and more recently, with the Green Climate Fund are just one manifestation of this valuation. Germany and the UK recently began a similar pay-for-performance agreement with the States of Mato Grosso and Acre. All of these contracts depend upon Brazil’s continued success in slowing deforestation—an outcome that will be hard to achieve if budget cuts to, and weakening of, critical law-enforcement agencies are maintained and if President Bolsonaro’s rhetoric continues to encourage impunity among farmers.
If Brazil succeeds in maintaining deforestation rates low, the scope for valuation will become much larger. With the completion of the Brazilian REDD+ Strategy in 2017, the path is now clear for translating emissions reductions into carbon-neutral commodities, into voluntary carbon credits, and eventually into compliance credits.

Now that Tom Hunter is quoting a climate change author and believer in his posts we can only assume he is either on the turn or a hypocrite

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

A picture is worth a thousand words (update) or how Trump lost a million votes....


Body language, can't fool body language and not for the first time Madam POTUS cosies up to young Justin.

Just look at the face on Trump, it looks like a slapped arse. No wonder he keeps starting trade wars with Canada.





Since this post went out this has gone viral, which presumably means everyone has seen the piccy. Well the ramifications are that he stands to lose thousands of votes, maybe hundreds of thousands votes because unlke the eastern and western seaboards where they are more European in their outlook on peoples private lives the rust belt and the midwest where his base is look upon a cuckold with ridicule and we all know what a devastating weapon ridicule is. This picture has done more damage to Trump than any other published previously because it is not about Trump...he is a spectator.

At the moment the jokes are coming thick and fast but I suspect that we will not see them on Hohoho.

This One Simple Trick creates millions of Trump voters

Or Die MSM, Die 2.1 - The Narrative Negative Feedback



In my previous article on the possibility of Trump winning relection in 2020, I focused on his increased job approval ratings and the reason behind it being millions of voters who had an unfavourable view of him in 2016, now having a favourable one.

A roaring economy and tax cuts which have actually delivered the first solid increases in years for the wages and salaries of low and middle-income people is one major factor. Another would be the fact that Trump, totally contrary to the hysterical claims of the Left in 2016, has not started or joined a war: the first President in decades not to do so.

But in addition to the usual positive impact of peace and prosperity on the success of a Presidency, I would suggest another major factor.

His opposition; the Democrat Party and the Democrat Operatives with Bylines, otherwise known as the MSM.

I thought things had been crazy enough with the Russian Collusion theory and Mueller investigation, but the past few weeks have seen the Democrat-MSM industrial complex reach new levels of crazed.

Remember all that stuff you've been told about the inflammatory shit you can read in social media, whether Twitter, Facebook or old-fashioned. The sort of stuff that might send people over the edge, that cynically divides us in pursuit of mere political or ideological goals?

Well take a wee shufti at the following.

Nicolle's unfiltered thoughts

First up is MSNBC where we have Trump "talking about exterminating Latinos" - according to MSNBC host, Nicolle Wallace.

Wallace did later retract the comment, saying that it was not what she meant to say!

Come on! It was a classic Freudian slip: of course it was what she meant to say and the retraction was that of a politician scrambling backwards to more solid, rational ground.

Too late Nicolle. Ironically she's a former "advisor" to John McCain. Typical McCain staff choice. No wonder he was beaten like a rented mule in 2008 if this was who was "helping" him.


Mika tries to engage logic


Or how about the hosts of "Morning Joe", a fairly high-rating show on the breakfast TV circuit in the USA.

Here we have one of the hosts, Mika Brzezinski:
"Isn’t it okay to deduce that at this point this is what he wants? . . . I mean, this is a President who seems to want these things to happen. How else can this be explained?"
Trump
Derangement
Syndrome

To be fair, her co-host, Joe Scarborough, did not accept that. Must have been an uncomfortable night at their place.

Meanwhile, over on CNN....
CNN host, Don Lemon interviews Rev. Bill Owens
Rev. Owens is chair of the Coalition of African American Pastors and has met with several Presidents at the White House as part of a group meeting with African-American faith leaders, including many meetings with Trump.

The interview was not "news" so much as a Seven Minute Hate, where Lemon tries every trick in the book to get Owens to agree that Trump is a racist, because it's vital that every American Black be on-board with the propaganda.

He consistently attacks black and brown elected leaders,....So why is that hard to believe, pastor?”.

Owens made a solid rebuttal that Trump attacks “leaders of all colors. … He attacks anybody, and you know it!” At which point, Lemon goes all-in by attacking Owens’ faith in the usual manner of Superior Leftists: “So as a man of faith, as a Christian.... you say he attacks anyone. It sounds like you’re condoning attacks? Is that Christianly or Godly?

Frank Figliuzzi and the horror of "88".
Then there's this guy, Frank Figliuzzi, who talked about the deep meaning that would be taken from Trump deciding to:

...fly the flag at half-mast until August 8th. That's  "88". Now I'm not going to imply that he did this deliberately but ... the letter "H" is the 8th letter of the alphabet and to [Neo-Nazi's] the numbers together stand for "Heil Hitler".

Alrighty then! You learn something new every day.

BTW, this man is the former FBI Director of Counter-Intelligence, which, together with the multiple demotions, firings and resignations from the FBI during the "Russian Collusion" hysteria, explains a lot about why Russian and Chinese cyber-attacks on the USA were so successful during the Obama Presidency.

Donny gets tough on Trump supporters

But wait! There's more!

This guy - Donny Deutsch - basically one-upped Mika's Two Minute Hate and said that "blood is on the hands" of every Trump donor and voter!

And you wondered where our commentator, "Roj Blake", gets his ideas and phrases!




Given all this rhetoric it's no surprise to find that a crowd turned up in front of House Leader, Nancy Pelosi's place the other night to protest her proposed new gun laws. They really stuck it to her  - a literal desire in the case of one protestor: "Stab The Bitch In The Heart". The MSM went apeshit over that.

Oh wait! I got that wrong. In fact the crowd was at Senate Leader Mitch McConnell's house and the screaming protestor said "Stab The Motherfucker In The Heart". But hey - at least it made RealClearPolitics.com and Breitbart. For 90% of the US MSM it was a "non-story". And for a while Twitter actually blocked McConnell's account which carried video of this, because of all the violent speech - but not the account of the creature who screamed it.

Of course.

That all of this is Kabuki Theatre becomes obvious when you consider that Trump gained something in the order of $2.5 billion worth of free advertising in 2015/16, courtesy of CNN, MSNBC and every other Cable and Broadcast News outfit, which helped him suck all the oxygen away from his GOP opponents. The MSM loved the guy, even allowing him to phone-in to talk shows and cutting away to wait for a Trump appearence, often showing only the microphone and stand for several minutes.

The butt-kissing of Trump by none other than Mika and Joe in 2015 is fairly well-known, but Donny Deutsch had also been mates with Trump for years, and in this video clip from April 2016, predicts that he will win both the GOP nomination and beat Hillary. Kudos on his prescience, but if you watch the piece you'll note that he's quite pleased about that, as are Mika and Joe.

Understand that by then all of the key points of a Trump presidency were well known. Immigrant rapists bringing drugs across the border; a global ban on Muslims entering the U.S. until we can “figure out what the hell's going on”; hints that riots might ensue if he lost a floor fight for the nomination at a brokered convention; gloating that the military would obey his orders even if they were illegal. This was all common knowledge, yet “Morning Joe” was still awed by the rough outsider who was upending the system.

Blood on your hands indeed.

And for those you still in "But Orange Man Special Evil" mode, you should note that in 2008, the same Don Lemon at CNN tweeted out this debate question:
Do you think the McCain campaign is creating a political environment that is inciting hate and hate speech?
While in 2012, the Washington Post published an op-ed headlined:

 “Romney and the RNC: Stoking the Racial Politics of Yesteryear.

Nobody should forget all that bullshit as they listen to the screaming now from the same MSM. And it would seem that millions of voters have not forgotten, while millions more now just tune this stuff out, or even get hostile, as this woman did after two idiot local Democrat politicians in El Paso called for Trump to stay away after the shootings:
I lost my brother and sister-in-law on Saturday. My family and I are living a horrible nightmare. The visit from our President will be more than comforting to my family. He will not be here for a political agenda. The two monsters from El Paso, who do not deserve to be mentioned by name nor even the nicknames I have for them, are just pure evil.
Holy shit! That there is hostile Trump-like language. What are the odds she'll vote Democrat in 2020?

A big reason for these reactions is the other part of this One Simple Trick - unlike McCain, Romney and Bush, Trump fights back against this MSM stuff - hard. In doing so he has driven most of the US MSM so insane with rage that they've revealed what they were all along.

Democratic Activists with Bylines.

A picture is worth a thousand words.....

Body language, can't fool body language and not for the first time Madam POTUS cosies up to young Justin.

Just look at the face on Trump, it looks like a slapped arse. No wonder he keeps starting trade wars with Canada.

Monday, August 26, 2019

WHY THE SURPRISE?


I would be gobsmacked if the opposite was in discussion!

Complete with frowny face and sad eyes the PTPM is saddened that the suicide rate has joined the spiral out of control, and rising youth rates are even more distressing.

Kiwibuild languishes in a respite-care facility awaiting a decision on voluntary euthanasia.

Child poverdy rates escalate with no hint of any diminishing factor.

Business confidence is waiting on an elective surgery for a bone marrow transplant, but no doctor or donors in sight.

Mental Health continues to suffer a perception that the money is failing as a treatment.

The wonder hoped-for cannabis referendum seems to be in a chronic disease phase, possibly with terminal prognosis.

LTSA has an embarrassing case of obesity in that money extorted from rising fuel levies/ taxes and imposts lies unspent while the mess of now-cancelled roading contracts are excised from the body of motor vehicle infrastructure.

Wait times for state-funded medical interventions are becoming depressing if the anecdotal evidence I hear in my age-group is correctly measuring an increasing alleged failure.

Little children are presenting at A & E with injuries of truly horrific proportions. Another three year old succumbed last weekend. Police investigating?

The Puppetmaster is in hospital recovering from an old Rugby malaise.

Ihumateo festers, the poultice applied by the Part Time Prime Minister (PTPM) before her latest Pacific break seems to have had  no restorative effect.

Sexual assaults at a Labour summer camp 19 months ago await surgery on the alleged perpetrator, possibly on September 2nd. Meanwhile there are eight allegations from women claiming another  perpetrator - this only weeks ago in or very adjacent to the ninth floor Triage centre - which seems to be looming as a threat to the CoL

Big Oil is now diagnosed as a threat to good order at the pump according to the specialists at the Com Comm - but no drugs or cure available as yet. This is complicated by a secondary infection coming from IRD failures to assist in alleviating the pain - in any way.

A string of local councils and other NGOs declaring a climate emergency, with no cure within reach to bring relief from claimed existential threat from the climate catastrophe: "Prepare, the planet is doomed, only 12 short years to repent".

All while the local media masquerading as bringing "News" to you while still maintaining the failing CNN lines for information supply, surely knowing that that outfit is now ranked in 15th place for Cable news-viewed sources in the US. Fox has four of the top five shows, with CNN only having two in the top thirty; Cuomo at 27th and Don Lemon sneaking in at number 30.

People are increasingly seeking respite by topping themselves.

What is on the Horizon to solve the impending disaster?

One certainty is that it is not an autistic 9 year old girl sailing a multi-million dollar yacht across the Atlantic: that will need a few tons of CO2 to retrieve the boat by flying a crew to fetch it back to Europe. And certainly not a few private jet trips to iconic Mediterranean holiday spots by a media-obsessed new Duchess and her ginga, or even a jet-setting PTPM, driving a once-revered economically successful South Pacific food producing country into penury.

Suicide rates increasing??? See the title.

I Give You The Fake Media At it's Finest

So you think the forest fires in Brazil's amazon basin are an unprecedented disaster?   You would if you took any notice of the headlines in the Fake Media of the west.

Here's the BBC.


Thousands of fires are ravaging the Amazon rainforest in Brazil - the most intense blazes for almost a decade.


A long way down they tell you 2004 saw fires of much greater intensity in the region. My goodness me, that's fifteen years ago, so we'll cherry pick the ten year period because that'll make a better story.

But why was there no international media outcry in 2004?   What's different in 2019, fifteen years later?

Why of course.  Silly me.   Brazil has just elected a conservative president.  In 2004 their government was an unpopular cabal of socialists.

Then there is America's 'paper of discord' the New York Times which describes the Brazilian fires as 'a global crisis.'  Apparently similar fires in Siberia, Uganda, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Paraguay and Argentina don't present any risk.

Amazon Fires

This map shows every fire that has started burning since August 13 across central South America.

Movie Review: The Highwaymen

The riots had lasted two days in the little Texas town. The Sherriff and his deputies had been disarmed and beaten up. Desperate, the mayor telegraphed the Governor and asked for help. The mayor was told not to worry; the Texas Rangers would be there the next day. Thankful, the Mayor was at the train station first thing next morning. The train stopped and a Texas Ranger got off it. The Mayor looked around in despair and cried out, "They only sent one man?". The Ranger looked at him and replied: "One riot. One Ranger".

The Highwaymen tells the story about how one of those iconic Texas Rangers, Frank Hamer, (pronounced "Haymer") hunted down Bonnie and Clyde.

I first found out about his role in this not via any book about him or the Texas Rangers, but in the pages of Robert Caro's book, Means of Ascent, the second volume of his much-praised LBJ biography. Hamer played a small but incredible role in the infamous 1948 Texas Senate Democrat primary election that LBJ won - by 87 votes out of 988,295. A story for another day.
Frank Hamer, circa 1908

But in leading up to this event Caro established Hamer's background. He'd first pinned on a Ranger's star in 1906, when he was twenty two years old. He stood six-foot-three, weighed two hundred pounds, had broad shoulders and was a superb shot with rifle and pistol. 

By the 1920's he had been involved in more than fifty gunfights, killing at least a dozen men while being shot seventeen times himself. Twice he was left for dead. He only ever lost one prisoner; a Black man whom the KKK was attempting to lynch: Hamer disobeyed orders and shot two of the KKK, but they burned down the courthouse around the men, the prisoner dying in the fire and Hamer and three other Rangers barely escaping with their lives. 

He became the most decorated Texas Ranger in history. He hated publicity and never gave interviews, yet became a legend throughout Texas. One Hollywood writer said:


It's embarrassing to describe Frank Hamer in these days of Westerns. One can hear about him ... and then one realizes that Hamer is the real character all casting directors are striving for.
By 1934 he was retired but working in private security, when Lee Simmons, chief of the Texas Dept. of Corrections, requested him to return to duty to hunt down the Barrow gang, who by then had been on a robbery and murder rampage for three years, and had just broken some of their gang out of a Texas prison, killing one guard. Even though working for Corrections, for political reasons they can only be brought in under the Texas Highway Patrol, an irony that Hamer appreciates and which supplies the title.

That prison breakout is where the movie starts, and one of the things you immediately notice is that this movie shows the victims rather than the infamous pair of killers, who are little seen. There have been three movies made about them and they have always been portrayed as beautiful creatures who make murder and robbery sexy. But here there's no interest in exploring the sexual, ethical and moral mores of the murderous sociopaths, let alone glamorously contrasting them with the "square" society they enjoy attacking. 

This aspect of the myth is addressed early on when the Governor of Texas, played by Kathy Bates, has a reporter ask in the midst of a press scrum, what she thinks of the fact that members of the public have likened Bonnie and Clyde to Robin Hood:
"Robin Hood never shot a store clerk point blank in the face for four dollars and a tank of gas".
Hamer is played by Kevin Costner, and his old friend and fellow Texas Ranger, Manny Gault, is played by Woody Harrelson. Both actors bring a lot to the table: Costner unusually laconic and grim, Harrelson as his determined friend who - as he tells Hamer at one point of the decisions they make that lead to killing - feels the weight of it a lot more than Hamer does. There's a chemistry between them, an element always necessary to a good movie.


While there's the standard trope of being both a "buddy" movie and a "road trip" movie, that's actually how it happened. As a result there are comedic riffs on their age: chasing a teenage boy carrying messages for the Barrow gang, who easily clears a fence, Hamer finds himself a little too hefty to do the same; Gault complaining that Hamer snores more than he remembers; Hamer's riposte that Gault pisses more!

The two men do wonder at times if they're simply past it as they miss intercepting the outlaws on several occasions. But they do not suffer from angst: they're old but they bear that fact and master it. They push ahead, with a steadily growing conviction that they understand both the methods of their criminal targets, and the mentality that lies behind their killings, as when they investigate the gang's murder of two highway patrolman:
"She used her foot to turn him over so that he could see what was about to happen".
As a result none of the characters have any illusions about this ending in an arrest, but these parts of the movie make it clear that Hamer was not just a gunman but a detective. He'd already proven that earlier in his career when he exposed a scheme where men were setting up deadbeats and two-bit outlaws to be killed by complicit police officers to get rewards from the Texas Banker's Association; the officers would collect the rewards and pay the men their finder's fees. The cops refused to work with Hamer so he just wrote it up and handed out copies in the Texas State Capitol, which blew up the whole scheme and added yet another mark to his legend.

In this case he figured out the vast routes that Bonnie and Clyde were following around Western and Southern states. Nowadays they'd last barely a couple of days, but in the age of limited police communication, small towns and empty back roads, they managed to evade the law for years.

The Highwaymen does not show its story with flourishes. Even the final shootout - filmed on the actual road where the killers were ambushed - is not an artistic rendition. While stunning and dramatic, this Bonnie does not slow-dance in a rain of lead.  Instead the movie beautifully captures the empty landscapes of America's SouthWest, as well as the pace, culture and humanity of the times. Here are just three examples.

The first is where Hamer walks into a run-of-the-mill gun shop to arm up for the pursuit. With a thick sales brochure in hand and his choices already circled, he tells the owners to select the various weapons, and they place on the counter a couple of brand-new Thompson sub-machine guns, shotguns, rifles and even a Browning automatic rifle (BAR). It's all very matter-of-fact yet shockingly transgressive to modern eyes, even modern American eyes.


The second scene is where Hamer talks to Clyde's father, Henry, a motor mechanic: a small part wonderfully played by William Sadler. Henry is in anguish about his son, admitting that he knows he has become an almost animalistic killer, and how this is going to end. But he bluntly tells Hamer that he recognises another killer when he sees him, talks of how his son has been targeted by the law from early-on for minor crimes like stealing a chicken, "... when everyone was hungry", and asking what the difference is between the one man and the other.


Hamer does not berate Henry, he understands the times they live in, something the movie shows in unrelenting grimness; Gault himself lives like a poverty-stricken sharecropper. But Hamer tells of when he was a teenager, offered money by a known, violent criminal to kill another man - only to refuse it and then be shot and almost killed himself by the criminal. Recovered weeks later, he kills that man in turn and later joins the Texas Rangers. But he does not accept the suggestion that he and Henry's boy are the same: when presented with a choice between a life of good and a life of evil, he turned away from evil, even as he walks close to it every day. As Henry regretfully responds, it was "One turn on the trail" for each man. It's a scene that could be ripped from Solzhenitsyn's literary explorations of the idea that, "... the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being."

The final scene at first seems the opposite of understated; a classic case of hysterical Hollywood hype, except that it actually did happen. After the ambush, Bonnie and Clyde's shot-up car is towed into the nearest town - with their bodies still inside. A crowd gathers and turns into a mob, fighting past the escorting cops to grab souvenirs; snatching shattered parts of the car and pieces of the killer's clothing, hair and anything else they can tear away. Watching this through the windows of a nearby cafe, seeing it as we see it, as some strange, detached vision, Gault wonders aloud:
What the hell is the world coming to?

We know the answer to that. Even the world of 1934 is too modern for these men. We are seeing celebrity worship. The final denouement is when a reporter walks up to the men and offers Hamer a $1000 for an interview. Hamer turns away in disgust while Gault simply tells the reporter that he should be ashamed of himself. I admit that I laughed at the expression of that ancient notion, especially given the irony that one of Harrelson's breakout TV-to-movie roles was as the male half of Natural Born Killers, an updated B&C for the 1990's that played Black Comedy out of the MSM's worship of such creatures.

Although it's a movie it won't be playing in any theatre screens as it's a Netflix production and they don't need the cinema complexes to gain viewers and make a good profit. It's yet another indicator of how TV and Movies have blurred together, and what a sunset industry cinema movies are, propped up mainly by endless remakes and super-hero/SF franchises. So if you don't have Netflix you'll have to either wait for Broadcast or Sky TV to catch up or a Library DVD or have a friend who knows how to download.

Whatever your option of viewing, this is a great movie that should not be missed. It tells a story that should have been told a long time ago and if we're lucky, might lead to an entire mini-series based on Frank Hamer. Certainly the stories are waiting there to be filmed.