March 17, 2017

Peronism, fascism, and socialism

Filed under: Americas, Politics — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

David Warren is in fine form:

Peronism came to Argentina and never left. Not only have the Partido Justicialista and its avatars dominated Argentine electoral politics, through their various iconic husband-and-wife acts over the last seventy years, but they have contaminated the thinking of the whole country, which adhered to their arbitrary and contradictory doctrines even during the sixteen years they were banned, and adheres to the present day when once again they are nominally out of power. Actually it is a century, now, since Peron’s “Radical” predecessors first won election (dating from Hipólito Yrigoyen, 1916). Moral, intellectual, and material squalour is their chief legacy to a country which was once among the world’s most prosperous and most free. The spiritual equivalent has now migrated to Rome.

This, at least, is the impression I have formed from afar. “Justicialism,” so far as one can read, embodies every sort of rhetorical populism, across the political spectrum, but with a heavy and perfectly consistent bias towards centralized power. It stands for “social justice” — an absolutely imaginary and therefore unattainable ideal. It is on the side of labour and of management, it is Catholic and anti-Catholic, racist and anti-racist, isolationist and aggressive, leftist and rightist and dogmatically nationalist with all the contradictions nationalism entails. Yet it is not unique.

Socialism is leftwing Fascism; Fascism is rightwing Socialism. Other than that, they are the same. They vie for the same voters, and politicians may move comfortably back and forth between their symmetrical (i.e. identical) extremes. The principle underlying both is that the government should control everything, for the government’s idea of the common good. Whether the government technically owns everything is neither here nor there. Indeed, Socialism/Fascism works better, for the government, if private actors can be made to take the blame and the losses for all of the government’s goon-show mistakes. Any “excess” income on which they fall in their government-assigned monopolist stations can then be impounded.

The Tsar Abdicates – Baghdad Falls I THE GREAT WAR Week 138

Filed under: Europe, History, Middle East, Military, Russia, WW1 — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 16 Mar 2017

The protests that emerged in Russia this week are growing stronger and the Tsar is increasingly isolated until even his generals are pushing for his abdication. And after 300 years of Romanov rule, Tsar Nicholai II abdicates and when his brother refuses to take up the throne, the dynasty is no more. Meanwhile in the Middle East, the British are taking Baghdad effectively seizing control over a large area.

Vikings free agency 2017 so far…

Filed under: Football — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 03:00

After a pair of big name/big $$$ signings on the first few days of the 2017 free agency period, things got very quiet in Minnesota, leading fans on Twitter to get quite restive. Tempers didn’t improve as free agents moved on from the Vikings to join other NFL teams. Then, inevitably, the Vikings started to sign more free agents, splitting the Twitterati into multiple fractured groups of well-wishers and nay-sayers.

Here, in rough chronological order, are the arrivals, departures, and retentions as reported in the Twin Cities media and on various Vikings fan sites:

  • Retained – OL Zac Kerin (1 year extension). Kerin was an exclusive rights free agent (ERFA), so he had the choice of signing the tender or not playing this year. [Story]
  • Retained – OL Jeremiah Sirles (1 year extension). Sirles was also an ERFA who signed his tender.
  • Departed – LT Matt Kalil (to Carolina). Kalil needed a fresh start, so the attraction of playing on the same offensive line as his older brother Ryan was sufficient inducement for him to sign a big-money deal ($55.5 million over five years, with $25 million guaranteed) with the Panthers. [Story]
  • Departed – P Jeff Locke (to Indianapolis). Although Locke had his best year as a punter in 2016, he did not repay the investment the Vikings made by drafting him. He signed with the Colts for $3.45 million over two years. [Story]
  • Departed – TE Rhett Ellison (to NY Giants). Ellison was the Vikings’ best blocking tight end, but the Giants were able to offer significantly more money ($18 million over four years, with an $8 million guarantee). Ellison’s father, perhaps envying the media attention being lavished on Adrian Peterson’s father, tried to raise a stink about a toxic management/coaching environment in Minnesota. Sorry to lose Rhett, who was almost Kleinsasser-ish in his blocking abilities, but no regrets that we’ve probably heard the last from the senior Ellison. [Story]
  • Arrived – LT Riley Reiff (from Detroit). With Kalil definitely gone, the Vikings had to find someone to man the blind side for Sam Bradford (and hopefully at a later date, Teddy Bridgewater), and that man will be Reiff. Fans may have salivated at the hopes of signing a perennial All-Pro left tackle, but the Vikings really just need something closer to league average, competent play at this position. If Reiff can provide that, the Vikings are a significantly better team in 2017. In exchange for that hoped-for OL improvement, the Vikings are giving him $58.75 million over five years, with $26.3 million guaranteed. [Story]
  • Departed – WR Charles Johnson (to Carolina). The Vikings chose not to tender Johnson, which meant he became an unrestricted free agent (a second-round tender, as the team offered fellow wide receiver Adam Thielen would have guaranteed about half a million less than the $2.2 million/year the Panthers were willing to give him). [Story]
  • Departed – CB Captain Munnerlyn (to Carolina). Many had hoped that the Vikings would retain Munnerlyn (especially after watching his theoretical replacement get exposed in a few games), but Minnesota’s offer could not compete with the Panthers, so the Captain returns to the team that drafted him in 2009. The deal was reported to be a four-year, $21 million contract including a signing bonus of $6 million and $10.5 million guaranteed. [Story]
  • Arrived – RT Mike Remmers (from Carolina). After trying a one-year rental on former Bengal Andre Smith (and getting only a couple of games’ worth of sub-par play), Minnesota needed to upgrade the right tackle position and picked up one-time Viking Mike Remmers from the Panthers. Remmers will earn up to $30 million over five years, with $10.5 million guaranteed. [Story]
  • Departed – LB Audie Cole (to Jacksonville). Cole achieved pre-season superstar status with Vikings fans for back-to-back interceptions returned for touchdowns in a game against Buffalo. Unfortunately, he didn’t get as many opportunities during regular season games, and did not manage to become a regular starter. Still, it’s a very rare thing for a seventh-round draft pick to even make a pro roster, so Cole has done better for himself than most late-round picks ever manage. [Story]
  • Departed – WR Cordarrelle Patterson (to Oakland). Despite lobbying on social media for a return to Minnesota, Patterson eventually signed a deal with the Raiders. He had a rocky career in Minnesota, but started and ended on a high (we can just ignore the other two years). As a kick return specialist, he was the best in the business, but league rules to make kickoffs safer also blunted the impact he could have on a game from that position. As a wide receiver, he really only started to show his abilities last season but might have been more effective used as an occasional running back. [Story]
  • Arrived – DE Datone Jones (from Green Bay). Minnesota has completed their collection of UCLA linebackers, signing former outside linebacker Jones to join his college teammates Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks. Jones will compete for a job on the defensive line rather than at linebacker. [Story]
  • Departed – RT Andre Smith (to Cincinnati). Smith was a phantom figure on the Vikings’ offensive line, playing (badly) for only a few games before going onto the injured reserve list. He now mysteriously returns to the Bengals … and there’s not many who will miss him. [Story]
  • Retained – CB Terence Newman (1 year deal for $3.25 million). Coming back for one more year at age 39, Newman may be asked to fill in for the departed Captain Munnerlyn at the nickel or even to move to safety, depending on the development of Mackensie Alexander. [Story]
  • Retained – WR Adam Thielen (3 year extension for $17 million that could escalate to $27 million). Thielen absolutely earned his contract, having started as an undrafted free agent, joining the practice squad, then the regular roster as a special teams player, then gradually earning playing time at wide receiver. His breakout year in 2016 made it imperative for the Vikings to retain his services. [Story]
  • Arrived – RB Latavius Murray (from Oakland). After toying with former Packer Eddie Lacy, the Vikings signed Murray for a three year deal at a reported $5 million per year (which can void after one year). Hopefully this ends any more speculation about Adrian Peterson returning to Minnesota, although Murray said he will not be requesting jersey number 28 out of respect. [Story]

This leaves, as far as I can tell, the following free agents as yet unsigned with the Vikings or other teams in the league:

  • QB Shaun Hill
  • RB Adrian Peterson
  • FB Zach Line
  • LT Jake Long
  • RB Matt Asiata
  • DE Justin Trattou
  • RG Brandon Fusco
  • RG Mike Harris

Jeremy Clarkson’s view of off road cars – Clarksons Car Years – BBC

Filed under: Britain, Humour — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Uploaded on 21 Sep 2008

Jeremy has his say about 4x4s and his novel take on the school run.

QotD: No True Irishman

Filed under: Europe, Humour, Quotations, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

I speak for every true potato-loving mick on the planet when I say that St. Patrick’s Day is a genuine Irish holiday that’s been corrupted into Amateur Drunk Day by us filthy Americans. Nobody in Ireland really cared much about it until dumb American tourists started going over there every March, demanding green beer and tunelessly bellowing “Danny Boy” out of their vomit-encrusted cakeholes. St. Paddy’s Day is fake. It’s Kwanzaa for white people.

Jim Treacher, “No True Irishman Loves St. Patrick’s Day”, The Daily Caller, 2016-03-17.

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