Friday, September 22, 2017

New York's big-D Democrat is shamelessly yearning for the same poison pill that made Venezuela the economic basket case it is today


Just in case any more evidence was needed that today’s Democratic Party is basically socialist in all but name
notes Benny Huang,
Mayor Bill de Blasio happily provided it in a recent interview with New York Magazine. Sounding eerily like the Sandinistas he once supported, the mayor of America’s largest city declared his love for heavy-handed central planning in surprisingly unguarded terms.

When asked about the enormous gap between New York’s rich and poor, the mayor responded:
What’s been hardest is the way our legal system is structured to favor private property. I think people all over this city, of every background, would like to have the city government be able to determine which building goes where, how high it will be, who gets to live in it, what the rent will be. I think there’s a socialistic impulse, which I hear every day, in every kind of community, that they would like things to be planned in accordance to their needs. Unfortunately, what stands in the way of that is hundreds of years of history that have elevated property rights and wealth to the point that that’s the reality that calls the tune on a lot of development.
This is truly terrifying stuff. Mayor de Blasio is shamelessly yearning for the same poison pill that made Venezuela the economic basket case it is today. His remarks would be a bit more tolerable if he were an easily dismissed crank, an adherent of the CPUSA or some Trotskyite or Maoist sect. But he’s a big-D Democrat.

As bad as de Blasio’s lurid wish list is, I suspect that it’s actually a few items too long. Zoning laws already determine which buildings go where and building codes already stipulate how tall buildings may be so those non-issues can’t be what keeps the mayor up at night.

Even de Blasio’s desire to dictate rents is already a partial reality. In 1947 the city enacted a bold rent control initiative to ensure that GIs returning from World War II could find affordable housing. According to the city’s Rent Guidelines Board website, rent control still exists in several municipalities across the Empire State “that have not declared an end to the postwar rental housing emergency.” Talk about fostering a permanent crisis!

Unfortunately, rent control generally makes housing crises even worse because otherwise willing landlords often choose not to rent out rooms for what the government deems to be fair prices. … Forty years later and rent control is still alive and kicking in the Big Apple. …

So the city government still maintains some vestigial authority to dictate to its citizens how much they may charge to rent out their own stuff. Land usage and building height are even more controlled so I suspect that all three of these desires were intended to camouflage the most atrocious item on the mayor’s wish list: the authority to tell people where they must live.

The Left has an undeniable urge to herd people around like cattle. In years past they used forced busing to even out the racial composition of public schools, an experiment that left our urban centers in ruins. Now the Left has become even more audacious. I suspect that the ultimate goal is to prevent whites from forming a majority anywhere in New York, as they are in Staten Island today, or simply to drive them out of the city entirely. Progressive politicians want to render white people’s voice negligible so that they no longer have to respond to their concerns. That goal would be greatly advanced if the city government had the power to tell people where to live.

It upsets leftists that free people exercising free choice tend to unite with people of similar backgrounds to form communities. Always chafing against human nature, they think that every city block would look like the UN if only the forces of reaction could be defeated once and for all. It never occurs to them that people of similar backgrounds might choose to live together because of common values and shared assumptions.

These freely associating clusters almost always consist of people with approximately equal incomes because the rich and middle class don’t want to deal with poor people’s antisocial behavior and the poor are priced out of higher-rung neighborhoods.

Built on top of this economically compartmented landscape there are also ethnic, racial, and religious groupings. In New York, for example, the Chinese and Taiwanese live in Flushing, Dominicans in Washington Heights, and Jews in Borough Park. Leftists call these settlements “patterns of segregation” and they’ve appointed themselves the meddlesome correctors of the “problem.”

It’s not good enough for the city itself to be extremely diverse if said diversity exists mostly in enclaves. There must be diversity within the same borough, the same neighborhood, the same ward, even the same apartment building. This will require the government to intervene, to determine who must live next to whom.

De Blasio is right that shuffling people around is made substantially more difficult when they have property rights. But that’s a good thing. It’s what sets us apart from — dare I use the word? — the communists.

As suspicious as we Americans have traditionally been of communism — more suspicious than Europeans or Latin Americans, certainly — we tend to be wary of people who see private property as a barrier to their aspirations. Such people sound downright totalitarian to our ears — and they should. It was Karl Marx, after all, who confessed:
In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.
But Bill de Blasio doesn’t want to abolish private property, does he? Actually, he does. Private property, when subjected to unlimited government control, ceases to be private. Under such a regime, we own nothing. We are mere stewards of government property, often saddled with the responsibility of maintenance without the benefits of determining how that property is disposed of.

When we don’t have private property, we don’t have any turf to call our own, no refuge from the long arm of the state or simply from people we’d rather not associate with. Property rights are the foundation of our freedom, a shield that we use to fend off intrusive government. Leftists don’t want us to have that shield because then people would be able to resist their collectivization schemes.

Conservatives, I believe, have done a poor job of articulating the virtue of property rights, perhaps believing that these rights are basically secure. They’re not. While progressives have been slowly chipping away at property rights since about the late nineteenth century, they have usually been smart enough not to admit it as brazenly as de Blasio did in his New York Magazine interview. More often they have tried to reframe the issue in other terms: as a temporary means of solving a housing crisis for veterans, as a blow against discrimination, as health and safety issues, etc.

But now it’s all out in the open. No more subterfuge: Bill de Blasio is admitting that private property is the problem.

One thing is clear: the distinction between public and private, between what we own collectively and what we claim for ourselves, is becoming increasingly hazy. I, for one, would like to maintain that distinction. We have a right and duty to fight back against these tiresome tinkerers. A man’s home is his castle and he ought to be free to live where he wants rather than where Bill de Blasio wants him to live.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The media, and Democrats, wage a remorseless war to paint anyone who isn't an extremist left-liberal — as they are — as being "political"; Not at all like themselves, who are just truth-telling crusaders for Goodness and Honesty

Ace of Spades (thanks to Instapundit) has
repeatedly noted that half of the country is clinically insane, driven mad by the election of Donald Trump and the blow to their own egos, their sense that they are the Masters of the Universe and control their fellow countrymen, producing daily neurotic spasms on Twitter, and are virally infecting normal people with their toxic mental derangement.

 … Okay, let me talk about how to exploit that, or how it will do its own exploiting for us.

In the old days, the media liked to pretend that it was conservatives who were super-crazy-ideological, and that liberals were not even liberals at all, they were non-ideological and non-partisan creatures, who only reluctantly engage in politics, only compelled to engage with it at all by their deep inner goodness to do what's best for everyone.

But not political. Oh dear, not that.

You may remember when conservatives objected to being identified as a "conservative advocate" by the media, whereas the out-and-proud liberal they were squared off against was identified only as "an expert" in whatever policy field they were debating.

Obama pretended to be non-ideological and non-partisan, despite being rabidly ideological and ruthlessly partisan. He was forever painting those disagreeing with him on policy for being "political" in their thinking, whereas he, you see, was just thinking rationally and lucidly.

You know the pose: Some say we should kill every single Iranian man, woman, and child by launching 10,000 nuclear missiles at them without warning. Some others say we should sign over to Iran the entirety of the US gross national product. I dismiss the extremists on either side -- I say we merely give Iran $150 billion, as well as a go-ahead to build their own nuclear missiles.

There's a reason the media and left-liberals-who-don't-wish-to-acknowledge-they're-left-liberals do this. It's because people -- most normal people, anyway -- have a deep suspicion of politics and politically minded people.
 
If you can paint your opponent as political, while fighting him nail and tooth while pretending that you are yourself not political, you've taken a massive first step towards persuading an audience, because the first thing you need to do to persuade someone is seem "relatable," and basically Just Like Them, and as they themselves like to believe they're non-political, you establish something more important than logic and reason can when you pretend to match their personality and emotional state.

You don't like politics? Why that's so funny-- I don't like politics either! Now that we've established that we both are kindred spirits who don't like politics, let me tell you about my plan to convert the US into a single-payer health care system!

The media, and Democrats, wage a remorseless war to paint anyone who isn't an extremist left-liberal -- as they are -- as being "political." Not at all like Jake Tapper and Jim Acosta, who are just truth-telling crusaders for Goodness and Honesty.

In other words: They relentlessly Otherize their political opponents.

This is why every protester at a left-liberal march is depicted as Just Like You. You know the drill -- "Grandmothers. Teachers. Firemen. Welders. Whites, blacks, Hispanics, Asians. Most of them had never even thought of attending a political rally before, but [X left-liberal political claim] had finally drawn them out to the streets to make their voices heard..."

They deliberately depict the left-liberal protesters as demographically broad as possible, so that as many readers as possible can look at the description and think: Oh, that's me. These people are Just Like Me. I should agree with them!

Meanwhile, ever protester at a conservative rally is depicted as weird, intensely political, heads all filled with bugaboos, hang-ups, and #FakeNews. The media also deliberately claims that these people are as demographically narrow as possible, to make sure the smallest possible segment of the audience sees any of themselves in the crowd. They always claim conservatives are entirely white, and will actively forge video to erase black people out of gun rights marches.

With the Tea Party, there were two storylines about economic status: Half of the news stories depicted Tea Partiers as "just the rich" (and hence, Not Like You) and half of them depicted the Tea Partiers as "largely unecucated and poor" (again, Not Like You, and in fact, your Social Inferiors).

The people writing the first Narrative never bothered reconciling their stories with those writing the second Narrative. No media editor ever got the two competing Narratives to share the same story so that the report was, "People from all economic strata came to the Tea Party protest against Obamacare..."

No, it was just the very rich and uncaring, or just the very poor and easily conned, and in all events, it was only old, white people of traditional sexual roles who probably didn't even like rock-n-roll or boobs.

This is a very potent method of propgandization. Most people think they're swayed by reason and logic, but most people are wrong, and do not know themselves very well at all. Most people -- including those who are the most insistent that they are Independent Rational Thinkers -- are swayed more by emotion and the feeling of belongingness in a group.

Propagandists -- political consultants and the media -- know this.

And so they ruthlessly paint their enemies as Not Like You, while presenting themselves as Just Like You.

And one very important factor in the Not Like You/Just Like You propaganda rush is to claim that The Other Side are Too Political, and therefore Not Like You, while Our Side isn't really political at all, we're all just rational folks who want what's best. You know -- Just Like You.

So here's the problem the left (and the NeverTrumper fringe, who are now in a strong alliance with the left) has: While for years they followed standard propaganda protocol and pretended they were almost entirely non-political, they have now decided that The Moment Is Too Vital to pretend any longer, and have decided to out themselves as ferociously, obsessively political.

And that's contrary to their own career interests, as well as to their own propganda-efficacy interests.

In the old days, if the media pretended to be impartial but then leaned a story to favor their left-liberal buddies, most normal Americans wouldn't really notice the bias. They'd view the media as trustworthy, and not really all that political (Just Like Me!), and they would buy the bias.

These small pushes are more effective than aggressive shoves, because small pushes can be subtle enough to pass undetected, whereas aggressive shoves are obvious and clumsy -- and people get their hackles up when they realize the nightly newscast is nothing but a 30 minute political ad. (And people hate political ads.)

ESPN used to cover, you know, sports, and by doing so, their viewers would form a para-social relationship with the hosts. (A para-social relationship is the feeling of having some kind of rapport with someone you don't really have any relationship with -- it's an unavoidable sort of thing, because human beings are used to thinking they know someone if they see them, because, for 100,000 years of human history, you really could not see someone's face without actually coming into close contact with them -- familiarity with someone's face and voice tricks the brain (wired for pre-technological life) into thinking there's some kind of actual human connection. Trust me, for a while, I kinda thought I "knew" Bradley Cooper.)

And then, if that host made a snarky aside about Republicans, the viewers would think, "Hey, I like this guy, and he made a funny snarky comment about Republicans. Boy, Republicans really are dicks, aren't they?"

But again, it's the subtle aside, the pickpocket's light-fingered touch, that works. Not the pedal-to-the-metal obvious-on-its-face full-spectrum propagandizing.

That pushes people away.

It's weird. It's obsessive.

It's Not Like Me.

People don't like to feel like they're being had -- and the minute you get clumsy and impatient in your con and let your mark know you're conning him, he's not a mark anymore. Now he's an enemy.
I could go on and on, obviously. But you get it. They have decided themselves to no longer wear the mask of Just Like You, but instead to show their true face of Not Like You.

They live in a bubble and the only people they know or listen to are also showing their Not Like You face, so they don't think this is abnormal. After all, if all of my #SmartSet friends are signalling how intensely, weirdly, obsessively partisan and ideological they are, it must be a good idea, right?

Pro-Tip: No, not if the people you think are the #SmartSet are actually profoundly stupid and currently mentally unstable.

 … the left is angry -- insanely so -- and needs you to know it.

And it's weird. Not Like Me at all!

They're alienating their audience -- and shedding their audience by the thousands -- not just because the audience disagrees with their politics. That's part of it, sure.

But they're losing readers because a lot of their audience just doesn't really think of themselves as one of those Not Like Me intense partisans always nattering on about fringe political issues.

They're turning themselves from "relatable" -- and therefore worth giving a fair hearing to -- to very unrelatable and weird in their single-minded obsessive political propagandizing.

The media used to know this -- a woman's magazine would mostly just serve up beauty tips and celebrity interviews, and just slip in the occasional "Republicans are weird" message.

Now they're pushing, in almost every issue, the Not Like Me idea that teenagers should have anal sex and that women who don't consider "trans women" to be women are not women themselves.

But they've forgotten. Or, more likely, they've just gone so insane they don't care what actually works as far as propaganda any longer.

They're now just engaging in primal-screaming public displays of hyperemotional venting -- and they don't care that this is Not Like Me as far as their audience is concerned. A lunatic who thinks he's Napoleon knows the hospital staff disagrees with him about his Transitioning to a French Emperor, and thinks he's weird and senseless because of it.

But he can't stop himself from identifying his pronouns as Bonaparte, Bonaparteir, Bonapartem, because his psychological deformity crowds out any reason.

The daily Twitter freak-outs are toxic and psychologically damaging for those non-insane people who have to deal with lunatics on a daily basis, but they are very good indeed for us, the normal people, the Just Like You crowd (or, at least, we're Just Like You in comparison to these maniacs).

They're destroying themselves, and sabotaging their own propaganda operations, because they're just too crazy to think or care about such things any longer.

And I gotta tell you: I love it.

Destroying the media is a thing to be dearly wished for -- but watching them destroy themselves is tons better.

They're now Othering themselves, and I think that's just fine.

People don't want to associate with weirdoes -- and now that they've decided to fly their freak flags proudly and put their Full Metal Weird on display for the world, I can only sit back and cheer.

 … The media has gone Full Trigglypuff -- and you never go Full Trigglypuff.



Monday, September 18, 2017

Republican Expatriate Anntoinette Lorrain on French Radio Show: "Trump Did Not Run in Order to Govern as a Moralistic Leader"

Anntoinette Lorrain, vice-president of Republicans in France (RIF), was a guest on 's RFI radio show, debating about American politics and policies in the Donald Trump era (click the link to hear the audio).
Antoinette [sic] Lorrain, vice-présidente de Republicans in France, la représentation en France du parti républicain américain, est l’invitée du matin de RFI. Elle s’exprime sur l’actualité politique américaine au micro d’.

Monday, September 11, 2017

The America-Bashers' Use of Symbolism on September 11

As Le Monde commemorated 911 on the tenth anniversary of the attacks, Plantu was back in his usual style, with a full page inside Le Monde Magazine bringing back 10 years of cartoons that belittle the human toll; or that suggest that Uncle Sam deserved whatever it had coming; or that compare the 2011 attacks of September 11, 2001, to Pinochet's coup d'état in Chile on September 11, 1973.

(This causes him to make —intentionally? — a colossal whopper, saying that 3,000 people died on September 11, 2001, just as 3,000 people died on September 11, 1973; in reality, 3,000 lives were lost during Pinochet's 17 years in power (not one day but close to 6,000 days) — nothing to be proud of, for sure, but facts need to be gotten right and in addition, whatever the toll is, it needs to be compared to those of neighboring régimes, like the 20,000 dead in Fidel Castro's Cuba.)


So No Pasarán is looking back at 10 years' worth of posts (six or seven, really) as well and checking out what it has been saying on the subjects so dear to the hearts of leftists everywhere.

1) Let's first take a look at the "legend", according to which,
in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 the US enjoyed the heartfelt sympathy of the world, only to see this capital of goodwill frittered away by the successive faux pas of an inept and arrogant Bush administration and then definitively exhausted by the launching of an illegitimate war on Iraq in defiance of “world public opinion.”

The Legend of the Squandered Sympathy

(October 10, 2004)
John Rosenthal's Transatlantic Intelligencer article ought to be mandatory reading for anybody studying September 11 and anti-Americanism. In The Legend of the Squandered Sympathy, John Rosenthal notably mentions the cartoon that Plantu saw fit to reproduce on the weekend of the 10th anniversary.
Such was the tenor of Le Monde’s coverage, in effect, just one week after the attacks. The monotonous drone of denunciations continued as the prospect of a military strike against Afghanistan materialized in the weeks ahead, with distraught “New York Jews,” Pashtun warlords and the estranged son of the “O’Dea,” the archetypal all-American family, all chiming in to register their protest and all sounding surprisingly like “third-worldist” Parisian intellectuals – or even indeed like the publisher of Le Monde. (Among other things, the legend of the squandered sympathy occludes the fact that even while a substantial majority of Europeans polled, including in France and Germany, showed spontaneous understanding for American military actions in Afghanistan, large swaths of Europe’s socialist and social-democratic intelligentsia opposed any American military response to the 9/11 attacks whatsoever.) The “boomerang” image went on to become the favored heuristic device of Le Monde and its affiliated publications in their treatment of 9/11. Thus the first issue of the monthly Monde Diplomatique to appear following the events bore the thematic headline “Boomerang Effect” [it also has an article by Maureen Dowd]. In a pictorial variation on the same theme, a special insert in Le Monde itself featured a cartoon depicting a little wind-up Taliban doll, “Made in USA” emblazoned across its back, carrying red, white and blue explosives and circling back toward Uncle Sam.
2) Now let's take a look at the state of democracy and human rights in Chile in 1973 by looking at the (very real) similarities between the overthrow of Manuel Zelaya and that of Salvador Allende

Notice the Similarities with That Other "Coup", the One That Overthrew Leftist Saint© and Martyr™ Salvador Allende?

(July 07, 2009)

In Latin America, José Piñera, armed with evidence including "the momentous Agreement of 23 August 1973 … widely unknown outside Chile", opines that because
President Allende became a tyrant when he broke his solemn oath to respect the Constitution and the Chilean laws [and because] his government [had] fomented the creation of armed militias … the origin of the Pinochet government is that of any revolutionary one, in which only the use of force was left in order to remove a tyrant [and to] "put immediate end" to these constitutional violations . It must be agreed that this was, in fact, an unequivocal call to remove by force the President who had initiated the use of force with the purpose of imposing a communist dictatorship.
…the truth demands recognition that former President Pinochet led a legitimate rebellion against tyranny and that the origin of Chile's civil war --and its victims-- lies with former President Allende and his marxist Socialist party. … The Economist said it clearly at the time: "The temporary death of democracy in Chile will be regrettable, but the blame lies clearly with Dr. Allende and those of his followers who persistently overrode the Constitution" (September 15, 1973).
Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God

Read also about Allende's purported suicide

And check out Romanticists Overlook Allende's Many Faults: Senator Ricardo Núñez Muñoz added in a NYT interview (emphasis mine) that
It’s wrong to say that the CIA, the armed forces, and the bourgeoisie alone brought down the Allende government. It’s obvious we need to admit we made critical economical and political errors that were as decisive if not more decisive
No less a figure than the president of the Partido Socialista, Núñez went on to conclude that
we know another Allende-like experiment would only be a collossal failure.
(Then again, that NYT report was back in 2001…)

3) … isn't it true that one of the most pervasive superstitious beliefs of the ever-so-rational leftists concerns the attacks on September 11?

Isn't One of the Left's Fundamental "Rational" Beliefs About the Events of 9-11 Closely Related to Superstition? 

(Part 3 of Devotees of Science Versus Followers of Religion — Are Only the Latter to Be Taken to Task for Their Alleged Superstitions?, October 25, 2016)

How many times did we hear after 9-11 that this was America's comeuppance, its punishment, notably for what happened in Santiago on September 11, 1973? Ils l'ont bien mérité!

This is what is referred to as poetic justice. But isn't it true that you have to wonder what poetic justice means actually, and not bring it out whenever you feel that argument can serve your designs?

Allow me to give you a personal example of poetic justice. In a plane waiting on the runway one day years ago, I witnessed a passenger who loudly demanded, in no uncertain terms, to be allowed to change seats immediately. The flight attendant was busy for preparing the plane for takeoff, and to wait until the plane was in the air, but the youngish man said he could not stand crying babies, there was one a few seats behind him, and he wanted a change of seats — now. Finally, she gave in and placed him in another seat. What she hadn't realized, as the plane was preparing for takeoff, was that another baby would start crying just then — far louder and far closer to the man than the other toddler had been. And as the flight attendant walked down the aisle, she couldn't help it, she was grinning from ear to ear. As were I and all the passengers who had witnessed the exchange.

This is poetic justice. Poetic justice is not the passenger's sister happening to sit next to a crying baby five months later. Or the passenger's son missing a flight five years later. Nor is it another, totally unrelated in any fashion, passenger from the same city as the arrogant young man, albeit neither family member nor friend or acquaintance, being forced to sit next to a vomiting fatso 20 years after the fact.

For the question needs to be asked, then, who, or what, is/was behind this revenge, this poetic justice?! This is the question you are not supposed to ask! Or even think about!

Was it Osama Ben Laden?  Is there any reason to think the leader of Al Qaeda thought any better of the Chilean unbelievers than of the American unbelievers (whether the Chileans were/are Allende followers or whether they were/are Pinochet supporters or whether they were/are apolotical) and didn't treat them all as the infidel dogs the whole bunch of 'em were/are?

Besides, September 11 holds no meaning for Muslims as not only do they not live under the West's calendar year, they don't even live according to the same type of calendar, the solar year.  They live according to the shorter lunar year — meaning (besides the fact that over the course of several years [both lunar and solar, take your pick], a given month will end up falling during a totally different season), the chances for the equivalent of September 11 for 2001 (1422 for the Muslims) falling on the same day for 1973 (1393 for the Muslims) are extremely low (not 1 in 365 but 1 in 354) and indeed turn out to be, as expected, unfounded. (9-11 in the "year or our Lord" 1973 turns out to be 8-13 in the year of the Prophet 1393 for the Muslims while 9-11 of 2001 turns out to be 6-22 of 1422.)

Who, then, or what, is this entity that wished to punish America for 9-11?

I ask this of people, remember, who scoff at the existence of (a) God and of the Devil.

Is it Mother Nature? Gaia?

Alright, if Gaia and/or Mother Nature is/are so wise: answer me this: Why use Muslims in the four planes?  Why Muslim fundamentalists? Why not Chileans? Or at least Hispanics?

Why wait 28 years?  Why not bring vengeance two years later?  Or 28 minutes later? Or 28 days later?  Or 28 weeks later?  Or 28 months later?  Or 280 years later?

Why punish people in the World Trade Center, the vast majority of who probably knew little to nothing about South American history (recent or old)? 

How about this, Gaia?  Why not punish… (wait for it) General Pinochet?! That same year?  Or, if you insist on punishing Americans, why not punish… Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger?  Or, if you insist on a plane crashing in the Pentagon, why wait for 2001 instead of… 1973 or 1974?

As you can see, to call the 911 attacks the revenge, or the poetic justice, of Gaia or of Mother Nature — or even (why not?) the vengeance of God the Father as described in the Bible — doesn't make much sense when one spends some time thinking about it.

4) Finally, we have this similar post for Plantu:

The America-Bashers' Use of Symbolism on September 11

(September 12, 2005)
When confronted with the tragedy that occurred on September 11, 2001, it has become a tradition for some to recall another event that occurred on another September 11.

On that date, in 1973, General Pinochet overthrew Chile's President Allende.

This is supposed to make us think. Hard.

The problem with this, of course, is that there have occurred 500 September 11s in the past 500 years (to take the first round number that came to my mind), with varying occurrences on various continents, in various countries, in various regions, in various cities, in various neighborhoods, and in various personal homes around the world, and just about any one of those occurrences could have been picked to make a comparison with (and provide matter for reflection on, and some kind of metaphysical lesson for) September 11, 2001 (or September 11, 1973, for that matter).

As I have written elsewhere,
If looking down their noses, [America-bashers] ask "Do you know what other event occurred on September 11?", answer "Yes, a terrible tragedy." Pause while they nod approvingly, then add "George Washington lost the battle of Brandywine" (in 1777) or even "Brian De Palma was born on that date" (so was Ferdinand Marcos, by the way), although I'm not sure to what extent that counts as a tragedy. If they object that they are referring to something more recent and more tragic than that, agree and say "you must be talking of Hitler ordering reinforcements to Romania" (1940) or "FDR ordering any Axis ships in U.S. waters shot on sight" (1941) or even "wasn't it the first TV broadcast of a Miss America beauty contest?" (1954). How about, "that was the date (in 1962) that the Beatles recorded their first single at EMI Studios (you know, 'Love Love Me Do')".
This symbolism makes as much sense as noting with alarm that our 40th president sported three names with six letters each, supposedly marking the alleged number of the beast.

(If any association with September 11 should be made — with regards to the 2001 attacks, that is, not the 1973 coup — as several readers have pointed out to me, it would perhaps make more sense to call up the 1669 defeat of the Muslim armies besieging Vienna, bringing an end to the Ottoman advance into Europe.)

But what it all boils down to this: for symbolism to have any kind of meaning, it needs to stay close to its subject and, in my opinion, reflect on the better angels of our nature. What it should especially avoid is collective guilt, not least because that collective guilt is necessarily one-sided, i.e., used exclusively against Americans and their allies (or, historically, by any group against any group's alleged enemies).

For instance, it would probably not be too difficult to search through Chilean history and find some kind of tragedy (nation-wide or otherwise) on a September 11 that proved that the 1973 coup d'état was the Chileans' punishment for the earlier disaster (notwithstanding the fact that many believe that Pinochet's coup averted a far worse catastrophe for the country). In another example, which is actually far more coherent than simply noting a similarity of dates, many state that every setback by Bush or by a Bush ally amounts to (well-deserved) punishment for sending troops to Iraq, but because members of the Coalition of the Willing keep winning elections, this symbolism is discretely ignored. (I call this the wait, wait, wait syndrome.)

The use of symbolism says far more about those who wield it than about those the symbolism is meant to describe (and judge).

So, anyway: we know the date that Pinochet grabbed power in 1973.

Bien.

But what was the date that he relinquished power?

What was the date in 1990 that Pinochet handed power back to a civilian government?

The answer is: March 11.

Now, we all remember what happened in Madrid on March 11, 2004, don't we?

So what is that supposed to mean? What is that supposed to symbolize?

Somehow, we are led to believe, the wholescale murder of 3,000 people in New York and Washington would not, or might not, have occurred had a strongman with no link to (and probably wholly unknown to) the perpetrators not grabbed power on that same date 28 years earlier.

What is the wholescale murder of 191 people in Madrid supposed to mean? That it would not have occurred had that same strongman not handed power back and had he remained in power 14 years earlier?

Your guess is as good as mine…
FURTHER READING:
Le Monde's 911 Commemorations

• Looking Over TV Shows Inspired by 9-11, Le Monde Discovers (Surprise!) "a Culture of Fear"

• Hubert Védrine: Castigating Bush and the Neo-Cons, Former French Foreign Minister Says that the War on Terror Should Have Been Carried Out "With Discretion"

• André Glucksmann: Bin Laden Is Gone, Not The Strategy of Radical Hatred Without Quarter

The French Will Never Forget

The Legend of the Squandered Sympathy

Friday, September 08, 2017

Have the Police Become Nothing But Bureaucrats with Weapons — Cracking Down on Petty Criminals Instead of Preventing Murders, Rapes, and Significant Property Crimes?


Are police necessary?
asks the Underground Reporter (thanks to Bojidar Marinov).
Although this existential question often produces a knee-jerk ‘of course they are, who would protect us?’ a growing call for the abolition of police — and working examples to back it up — deserves more than scornful dismissal, particularly amid epidemic-level violence by agents of the state.

 … David Graeber of the London School of Economics … writes:
“The police spend very little of their time dealing with violent criminals — indeed, police sociologists report that only about 10% of the average police officer’s time is devoted to criminal matters of any kind. Most of the remaining 90% is spent dealing with infractions of various administrative codes and regulations: all those rules about how and where one can eat, drink, smoke, sell, sit, walk, and drive. If two people punch each other, or even draw a knife on each other, police are unlikely to get involved. Drive down the street in a car without license plates, on the other hand, and the authorities will show up instantly, threatening all sorts of dire consequences if you don’t do exactly what they tell you.
“The police, then, are essentially just bureaucrats with weapons. Their main role in society is to bring the threat of physical force — even, death — into situations where it never would have been otherwise invoked, such as the enforcement of civic ordinances about the sale of untaxed cigarettes.”
 … Loosely in line with the law of the instrument, citizens have become opportunities for revenue generation, as police patrol the streets searching for anyone stepping out of line with some misbegotten code. We are little more than adversarial dollar signs to these roving bands of armed enforcers of extraneous laws — targets to be plundered and pillaged, harassed and shaken down, to generate revenue and therefore justify the continuation of Big Government.
In the absence of policing, justice, prison, and criminal code reform, several viable options present themselves for consideration — perhaps most imperatively among them, the complete abolishment of police.
To posit the populace would devolve into chaos and violence without police departments ignores the chaos and violence wrought by police — not to mention the very real historical proof a correctly and fully-functioning society can and will police itself.
First, consider the sizable financial feedback loop perpetuated by an excessively intrusive nanny state and its armed agents of enforcement. Taxpayers shoulder the cost of disproportionately large police forces, which crack down on petty criminals instead of preventing murders, rapes, and significant property crimes. Then taxpayers fund overburdened public defenders and backlogged courts, prisons, probation officers, and legislators in their effort to criminalize yet more ridiculously innocuous behaviors. It’s neverending. It’s unsustainable. And it’s not going to fix itself — not in ways significant enough to warrant further discussion.
 … Abolishing police entirely might reek of radicalism to a nation cowed by constant government fear propaganda … 

 … Police aren’t serving the people who pay their salaries — and are under no obligation to do so — but if they aren’t solving crimes or protecting the citizenry, whose purposes do they serve?

 … Notice none of these arguments for abolishing police criticize officers as individuals — except for an obviously growing number of bad apples, many officers chose policing as an occupation with protecting and serving in mind. But that arguably laudable goal is a vapid remnant of what has become policing for profit at the expense of communities nationwide. …

Sunday, September 03, 2017

"What real democracy involves," according to Reagan: "liberation of the captive people from the thralls of a ruling elite that presumes to know the people's good better than the people"


"We know what real democracy constitutes; we understand its implications. It means the rule of law for the leaders as well as the people. It involves limitations on the power of the state over the people. It means orderly debate and meaningful votes. It means liberation of the captive people from the thralls of a ruling elite that presumes to know the people's good better than the people."
Ronald Reagan,
Remarks on Soviet-United States Relations at the Town

Hall of California Meeting in Los Angeles, August 26, 1987

Saturday, September 02, 2017

The urge to denigrate is an attempt to establish your own superiority by imposing humiliation on someone else—as well as a naked admission that you have no other way to demonstrate your personal merit


On The Tracinski Newsletter, the always accomplished Robert Tracinski has a post about Moral Equivalents. It is his look at the "Antifa" riots in Berkeley, following up on his coverage of the upheaval in his own town of Charlottesville. Also take a look at his take on what happened, President Trump's reaction, and how the event unhinged the left and made the Confederate statue controversy even more nonsensical.
The media spent the last two weeks, after the deadly riot in Charlottesville, denouncing the notion that there were two sides responsible for the violence and specifically praising the far left’s black-clad “Antifa” brawlers as freedom fighters who are saving us from Nazism. Then, on Sunday, Antifa was filmed attacking random people on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley, looking and acting exactly like a fascist militia bent on imposing rule by force.

This is a timely warning that the media is using the shock and horror of one evil, a newly brazen white nationalism, to panic us into submission to the horror of another evil.

This media trope was established by criticism of President Trump for condemning violence on “both sides” in Charlottesville. Since anything said by Trump must necessarily be wrong, it therefore became unacceptable for anyone to say that there was violence on both sides in Charlottesville.

But there was violence on both sides. That was clear from videos and photo essays and was described by reporters at the time. That even includes reporters who, in the process of factually describing the violence on both sides, still imposed the narrative that both sides weren’t to blame.

For example, New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg acknowledged the “hatred” with which the black-clad Antifa attacked their opponents, but then the Twitter mob pressured her to recant. In the old days, we used to speculate that reporters and commentators tailored their views based on what they thought would get them invited to DC and New York cocktail parties. Now they tailor their views to avoid the amplified gossip of random people on a social media platform. Decide for yourself which is worse.

But the new edict had been delivered by the vox populi of political Twitter, and everyone fell in line. The left has given up violence, having “cleansed itself through a painful process of introspection,” according to an opinion piece in the Washington Post. And even if they are violent, it’s just not the same thing, because they’re not motivated by “hate” when they club people over the head. They’re violent in a good way, and only against the bad guys. In fact, come to think of it, they’re just like the GIs who stormed Omaha Beach!

No, really, this actually became a meme, the most famous version of which came from The Atlantic‘s Jeffrey Goldberg.

Funny, I must have missed the part in Saving Private Ryan where Tom Hanks’s character is a radical socialist. Maybe it’s in the director’s cut.

After the media worked so hard to establish this new dogma, Antifa thugs repaid their courtesies by staging what can only be described as a violent takeover of the campus at the University of California at Berkeley. Ostensibly this was in response to a “No to Marxism in America” rally that never even happened. But it didn’t matter whether it happened or not. Antifa used it as an excuse to attack any passersby suspected of being white nationalists or merely conservatives or Trump supporters.

 … Some of us have long warned that college campuses are becoming like one-party dictatorships, intolerant of any opinions or culture opposed by the left. But up to now, this cloying monoculture has largely been accepted and enforced through voluntary means. They chose conformity. Now the universities are becoming literal pockets of totalitarian rule—zones in which those with dissenting political opinions face the prospect of being beaten by an angry mob.

Actually, it’s more anarchic than that. The Antifa mobs weren’t stopping people to interrogate them about their political opinions. In one video a middle-aged man and his college-aged son are being attacked, and he starts by asking, in a bewildered tone, “What are you guys beating us up for?” The only answer he gets is a fist in the face, and that’s the only answer any of us are liable to get when Antifa comes for us.

That’s what gives Antifa the genuine stamp of a totalitarian movement. They have gone from attacking “fascists” to attacking anyone who is not them, anyone who is not a member of the party.
 
Some in the media are starting to wake up. The same Washington Post that had recently explained to us how nonviolent the left is, suddenly is blaring unambiguous headlines like “Black-Clad Antifa Members Attack Peaceful Right-Wing Demonstrators in Berkeley.”

Vox took a peculiar middle path, declaring that beating up political opponents is bad, but not because it’s repellent in and of itself. It’s bad because it could lead to bad publicity: “such violence can reinforce right-wing views about the left.” Imagine that.

 … [What the antifas' wider program is] is lust for power in its most elemental form: beating self-designated “enemies” as an end in itself, for the thrill of exercising physical power and coercion directly on the body of another person. It is how Orwell described the steady state of the perfect totalitarian system: a boot stamping on a human face, forever.

The conventional liberals have toyed with a similar motive in a much more diluted and genteel form. They have indulged in the ritual of casting everyone who disagrees with them as a racist and fascist in order to establish their own sense of moral authority by comparison. What they haven’t figured out yet is that this seemingly benign thrill of self-congratulation is just a weaker form of the same impulse, a diluted form of the lust for power. It starts with enjoying being part of a social-media mob that gets some guy fired from his job or forces some other guy into a groveling public apology in order to enjoy your own sense of power and authority as the imposer of these humiliations. But if you keep indulging this impulse, it ends with seeking the sense of control over others that comes from smashing your fist into someone’s face.

 … The urge to denigrate people from other racial and ethnic backgrounds is a similar attempt to establish your own superiority by imposing humiliation on someone else—as well as a naked admission that you have no other way to demonstrate your personal merit.
Read the whole thing. And while you're at it, consider subscribing to The Tracinski Newsletter.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Radio Interview: L’été de Trump et la presse désinformatrice


Au sein de Radio Courtoisie, le thème du Libre Journal du Nouveau Monde du 30 août, c'est “L’été de Trump ; La presse désinformatrice”.
Evelyne Joslain, assistée de Stanislas, reçoit Erik Svane, scénariste de bandes-dessinées, journaliste, blogueur et Paul Reen, homme d’affaire. Thèmes : “L’été de Trump ; La presse désinformatrice”.

Blogue cité à l’antenne : No Pasaran

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Is There Anything Trump Can't Do?! An Unbelievable Trip to the DMV


A recurring meme on Instapundit is: IS THERE ANYTHING TRUMP CAN’T DO?

In December, four or five weeks after Donald Trump's election upset, a faithful reader of No Pasarán knew he could no longer put off a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles in the Dallas area to get his driver's license renewed.

Fully expecting something like a 3- to 4-hour stay, he let out a long sigh, set aside half a day to the task, prepared a ton of reading material to bring with him, and, carrying a heavy bag filled with magazines and books (no, not War and Peace), took off with a strong sense of foreboding.

He parked his car, did the sign of the cross, and walked the last few steps to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

When he opened the door, he did a double take: could he have chosen the wrong building? He stepped out again, and checked the address again. Inside, there were no crowds, no chairless people standing around in the aisles, no noise, no nothing — the DMV waiting room was virtually empty.

Almost before he had a chance to sit down, there were only two people in front of him. Not five minutes later, his name, or his number, was called.

Indeed, the time to process the information for the driver's license renewal took longer than the waiting time, and within 10 to 15 minutes, he was exiting the vehicle, on his way to his car.

He was giddy, he testified. Almost teary-eyed.

Wasn't this a sign? Wasn't this a sign that Donald Trump's presidency promised to be a success?

PS: Knowing that nobody would ever believe the tale without evidence, he managed to snap out of his disbelief and snap a photograph of the waiting room…

(We can't promise anything, but if you live in the Dallas area, this DPS office is on Jupiter Road, South of Interstate 635…)

Friday, August 25, 2017

Punching Back Twice As Hard: A Mainstream Christian Ministry Files a Lawsuit Against the SPLC for Calling It a "Hate Group"


A prominent evangelical ministry has filed a federal lawsuit against the left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)
writes Elizabeth Llorente on Fox News,
saying it defamed the Christian organization as an “active hate group” because it endorses the biblical view of homosexuality.
See also: It Doesn't Matter What Republicans Do or Say;
The Left and the Press Will Call Them Racist Anyway
The clash marks the latest chapter in a growing feud between those who embrace historic monotheistic beliefs, whether Christian, Jewish or Muslim, and progressive activists who have begun targeting mainstream Christian groups that hold traditional beliefs about sex and other issues.

Officials of the D. James Kennedy Ministries, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., accuse the SPLC of deceptive practices, saying that it wrongly asserts that some organizations breed or fuel hate because of their religious positions on such things as same-sex marriage and other social issues.

“It’s completely disingenuous to tag D. James Kennedy Ministries as a hate group alongside the KKK and neo-Nazis,” Kennedy Ministries spokesman John Rabe said to Fox News. “We desire all people, with no exceptions, to receive the love of Christ and his forgiveness and healing. We unequivocally condemn violence, and we hate no one.”

“It’s ridiculous for the SPLC to falsely tag evangelical Christian ministries as ‘hate groups’ simply for upholding the 2,000-year-old Christian consensus on marriage and sexuality,” Rabe said. “It’s nothing more than an attempt to bulldoze over those who disagree with them, and it has a chilling effect on the free exercise of religion in a nation built on that. We decided not to let their falsehoods stand.”

 … SPLC critics say its original mission was a commendable one, setting out in 1971 to fight the Ku Klux Klan. The SPLC went after several Klan leaders, driving them into bankruptcy after court losses.

But increasingly, especially since Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election, both liberals and conservatives say that SPLC has grown overzealous – bringing down its huge and very high-profile “hate-group” hammer on not just people and organizations that actually encourage hate and violence against certain groups, but also on those who simply don’t fall in line with liberal positions on hot-button social issues.
As Elizabeth Llorente notes, "Members of other religious groups – including non-Christian groups -- … are also feeling pressure from the SPLC" — as Ben Carson and Ayaan Hirsi Ali can testify, and which Maajid Nawaz in fact did on Real Time with Bill Maher.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Is it not strange that migrants from Syria and Iraq move to places like Germany and Sweden instead of to neighbors like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait?

An interview with Daniel Pipes was republished by the German website Achse des Guten.
Mr. Pipes, You have written that Angela Merkel's decision to open the border to over a million migrants in 2015 "will likely be seen as a turning point in European history." You are a historian, so, what do you mean by this expression?

I expect that when the evolution of European civilization is studied in the future, August 2015 will be seen as a key moment. The decision to allow unlimited immigration into Germany has had profound implications for Europe by raising this issue in a more acute way than ever before, creating divisions both among native Europeans who are for and against large-scale immigration and between native and new Europeans.

 … Why are relations between Europeans and Muslim immigrants so fraught with tension?

They are fraught because Islam is an imperialist faith and many Muslim immigrants want to replace existing European civilization with Islam. Exacerbating matters, Europeans and Muslims are opposites on several key issues: Europeans have a low birthrate, Muslim immigrants have a high one. Europeans have a weak religious identity, Muslims have a strong one. Europeans feel guilty for their historical sins; immigrants have boisterous confidence in the superiority of their civilization.

Many Germans argue that as a rich nation, they morally must open their doors to people in need.

I admire that humanitarian impulse but it is unrealistic. Can Germany take in, say, 2 billion people? If not, how does it morally pick the tiny percentage it does allow in?

What, then, is the answer?

Practically speaking, see the world in terms of cultural and geographic zones: Westerners in need should stay in the West, Middle Easterners should stay in the Middle East, and so forth around the globe. Is it not strange that migrants from Syria and Iraq move to places like Germany and Sweden? They would be better off going to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, where the climate, the language, the religion, and the mores are all like their own; plus, these countries are much closer to Syria.

 … Many Muslims of immigrant origins point to discrimination as a factor hindering them from fully integrating into German society.

Yes, discrimination is a problem. I would not want to be named Muhammad and look for a job in Hamburg. But that supports my argument that it is better to be named Muhammad in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait. Why push together peoples who, as the last 55 years have shown, cannot live easily together? As Thilo Sarrazin has showed, the experiment of Muslim immigration has failed; continuing it will increase tensions.

 … How do you view Europe's response to Islamism?

Compared to 20 years ago, a great leap in awareness has occurred – but not enough yet to make a difference in policy. Virtually everywhere in Europe, political parties exist that make immigration and Islamism a priority, but almost none of them has been in power because these groups tend to be staffed by amateurs, contain too many extremists, and are ostracized. As a result, they cannot reach 51 percent.

 … Asked in 2015 to address the German fear of Islamization, Chancellor Merkel suggested that instead of fearing Islam, Christian Germans should learn more about their own religious roots and go to church more often. Your response?

Merkel's infuriating reply is typical of the elites in western (not eastern) Europe who remain defiantly unaware of the problems that Muslim immigration creates. The reasons are several-fold: guilty feelings, living in a bubble, looking for votes, political correctness, and fear of being called "Islamophobic."

 … Why guilty feelings?

The cover of Pascal Bruckner's "The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism."

Because, as French novelist and essayist Pascal Bruckner explained in his 2006 book, La tyrannie de la pénitence, many Europeans feel deep personal remorse about the trio of imperialism, fascism, and racism, even when they themselves are not implicated in those evils. For some Europeans, white skin itself signals guilt. Accordingly, they feel compelled to show unlimited tolerance and goodwill to non-Westerners. The fact that non-Western peoples also sin does not register – which implies a certain arrogance, even racism: only white sins count.

This sense of guilt is the more striking considering Europe's great advances. I remember visiting Finland in 1987 and thinking as I walked its streets: "This prosperity, freedom, rule of law, and democracy is what humanity has always worked toward and now it's been achieved." How strange that a Europe which attained such success today drowns in guilt, has too few children, and chooses not to protect itself from a rival civilization. As an historian, I say: Such weakness has no precedent.
 





Sunday, August 20, 2017

"Is Trump personally racist?" asks the NYT; "The few African-Americans in his inner circle respond with an emphatic No"

After reading an article in the New York Times, Ann Althouse comments that
“It seems apparent that the NYT set out to find out if there’s any evidence that Trump is a racist. Read the article. They found strong evidence that he is absolutely not any sort of a racist. The headline ought to come out and celebrate his excellent record.”
This leads Glenn Reynolds to laconically comment:
Naturally, it doesn’t.

Indeed, YAMICHE ALCINDOR and MAGGIE HABERMAN's entire report, entitled Circling the Square of President Trump’s Relationship With Race, can be summarized in this couple of sentences:
  … more than ever, the question is being asked: Is Mr. Trump personally racist? The few African-Americans in his inner circle respond with an emphatic no.
The New York Times article goes on to give a plethora of details:
 … Kara Young, a model who dated Donald J. Trump for two years before he married another model named Melania Knauss, remembers clearly bringing up her race with the real estate tycoon early in their relationship. As with so many issues, he steered the conversation to celebrity.

“I didn’t hide my race from Donald Trump. He knew,” Ms. Young said in a rare interview. “He would say, ‘You’re like Derek Jeter.’ And I would say, ‘Exactly.’”

“I never heard him say a disparaging comment towards any race of people,” she added.

 … when asked whether she thought Mr. Trump was racist or supported white supremacist ideals, Ms. Young said, “That was not my experience.”
 … Lynne Patton, who heads the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s New York and New Jersey office and is black, said Mr. Trump had a diverse set of people around him that included some close African-American associates, like Mr. Carson and Omarosa Manigault-Newman, a White House aide.

The president “doesn’t see color the way the average person does,” she said. He assesses people based on “their successes and their failures.”

Ms. Pierson [seated, in white, at far right in the photo above] said she was proof that Mr. Trump was not a racist because as soon as he decided to run for president, he hired her as a national spokeswoman for his campaign and encouraged her to speak on multiple television networks.

“A racist does not pick a single black mother to represent his entire freaking presidential campaign,” Ms. Pierson said. “A racist would not endorse Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaign in the ’80s twice. [At one point, DT gave free office space to Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition.] A racist would also not spend his time and his resources to bring African-Americans into Wall Street.”