Saturday, December 31, 2016

TrumpLand and Clinton Archipelago

Vivid Maps has created a pair of revelatory maps
using IDW (Inverse distance weighted) technique in ArcGIS.
(See also their post on the 2016 U.S. presidential election results in three maps…)

Friday, December 30, 2016

Voter ID: Apparently not allowing minorities to cheat is a form of racial oppression

We can thank Jill Stein and her hopeless recount effort for bringing about at least some positive change in our election system
writes Benny Huang.
In the face of incontrovertible evidence of voter fraud in Michigan’s most populous county, the Michigan House passed a much needed voter ID bill. Unfortunately, the Michigan Senate will probably not vote on the bill this session. Pray that they get to it in the New Year.

The bill is long overdue though it won’t fix the particular problem discovered during the Michigan recount. Here’s what happened: when state officials reviewed the Michigan vote tally they began to notice an odd trend at polling places found mostly in Wayne County, the heavily Democratic area where Detroit is located. At some polling places more ballots were cast than names checked off the voter rolls.  The problem was particularly pronounced in Detroit where 247 of the city’s 662 voting precincts counted more ballots than voters. The city was rife with broken seals on ballot boxes, a strong indicator that ballots were either added, removed, or swapped out. According to a spokesman for Michigan’s Secretary of State, election staff attributed irregularities at polling places in Detroit to human error. Apparently there’s a lot more “human error” in big corrupt cities than in other places.

“There’s always going to be small problems to some degree, but we didn’t expect the degree of problem we saw in Detroit. This isn’t normal,” said Krista Haroutunian, chairwoman of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers. I’d venture to say that she’s likely wrong on that point. This degree of suspicious irregularity is probably very normal—for Detroit.

The excess ballots should be considered the absolute minimum level of cheating. There may have been other forms of chicanery layered on top of that—voter impersonation, for example, or non-citizens voting. Those types of voter fraud are more difficult to detect especially when people in power have a vested interest in turning a blind eye. Liberals will deny that any such thing took place but of course they’re also denying the blatant ballot-stuffing, sheepishly explaining it as “human error.” The lesson to be learned here is that Democrats always deny and minimize voter fraud when they’re the ones behind it—which happens to be most of the time. Their denials are nothing but meaningless noise.

What then can voter ID law do to clean up this mess? Not much. Voter ID is intended to stop voters from misrepresenting themselves not crooked poll workers from fiddling with the ballots after they’ve been cast. Voter ID is not enough. The real solution to the problem of voter fraud is to break the backs of the corrupt urban Democratic machines that run most of our big cities.

That won’t be easy of course, and it will be downright impossible as long as Loretta Lynch and her Department of “Just-Us” is around to protect them. The current administration views any effort to restore integrity to our chaotic elections as a furtive attempt at disenfranchising minority voters. Apparently not allowing minorities to cheat is a form of racial oppression.

 … Just don’t expect the corrupt Democratic machines to go softly into the night. They will sue, they will protest, and they will slander good people with spurious accusations of racism. They will make those of us who care about electoral integrity wonder if it’s really worth the fight. I assure you, it is.

We don’t have much time. There are midterm elections in two years and another presidential election two years after that. If the Democrats learned anything from their 2016 debacle it’s that they didn’t cheat nearly enough. Next time they’ll really cheat their asses off—worse than Bill Belichick, I mean.

Cheating is a long-standing tradition within the Democratic Party dating back to New York’s Tammany Hall. Some of their world-class cheaters have included Lyndon Johnson in Texas, Richard Daley in Chicago, and Honey Fitz in Boston. They’ve elevated cheating to an art form.

In 1965 we passed the Voting Rights Act which enabled federal officials to crack down on corrupt Democrats in the rural South who engaged in voter intimidation while conveniently doing nothing about corrupt Democrats in the urban North who engaged in voter fraud—and sometimes voter intimidation as well. Though the law wreaked of northern hegemony, it was sold to the naïve public as a sincere effort to keep election officials honest.

It was the age old story of our nation—we northerners using the federal government as the means and racism as the pretext to force our will upon southerners. Sure, there was a problem in the South; but there was a similar problem in the North and the federal government didn’t post outsiders at our polling places to babysit us. We northerners were permitted to run our own elections which were then, just as they are now, hopelessly tainted with corruption. Southerners, on the other hand, were placed under some adult supervision—by which I mean Yankee supervision.

Voter fraud is very real. Anyone who tells you otherwise either benefits from it or is simply foolish. I’ve noticed that a curious kind of circular logic surrounds the crime of voter fraud that doesn’t apply to other kinds of crime. The fraud deniers refuse to consider any incidents of voter fraud because no one has proven to their satisfaction that it ever happens more than a few times per election cycle in disparate locations. Mere “anecdotes,” they say. They then cite a lack of convictions for voter fraud as proof that it never happens. I wonder if it ever occurs to them that there aren’t many convictions because no one is on the lookout for it and anyone who tries to stop it is smeared as a racist?

 …  Examples of voter fraud abound. In Indiana, the state police are investigating the Indiana Voter Registration Project for running what appears to be a massive absentee ballot scam in 56 counties. Stay tuned for some final resolution on that one. A CBS affiliate in Los Angeles found 265 deceased Californians who had apparently voted from beyond the grave. In Virginia, the Public Interest Legal Foundation discovered 1,046 non-citizens on the voter rolls in just the eight counties that responded to their request. In Wisconsin, A Hillary Clinton surrogate bragged on camera about busing voters around to vote at multiple polling places.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Who raped and trafficked teenage girls in Coventry? Evil "men," we are told

Why is it that I do not feel like I am wrong, or unfair, or racist, or guilt-ridden when (I guess that must be what I am doing) I racially profile the Five men [who] have been convicted of sexually abusing and trafficking six teenage girls in Coventry?

The "sex gang" of "evil" men treated victims "like pieces of meat," we are told by the BBC.
Waqaar Khan, Kadeem Bourne, Kenan Kelly, Marcus Woolcock and Zahid Chaudhary were accused of almost 40 offences, Warwick Crown Court heard.

Ringleader Khan befriended the girls, aged 15 to 17, on social media before picking them up and forcing them to have sex, sometimes filming it.

West Midlands Police described them as "brazen, calculating and evil".

The court heard the men took the girls, some of whom were in care, to secluded areas of the city and sometimes gave them alcohol or drugs before abusing and trafficking them for sex.

One girl, aged 17, said she was knocked out by one of the men and came round to see them watching a video of herself being raped while she was unconscious.

[Detective Chief Inspector] Ian Green said Khan came to the attention of police in March when he was a mutual "friend" on the accounts of several vulnerable young girls in the city.

When police subsequently examined his phone, officers found thousands of text messages containing "sexualised conversations and several videos of graphic sexual abuse".

The girls identified the other men and a "comprehensive investigation" was started.

"It was the brazen nature of their offending that they actually thought they were untouchable and these girls wouldn't report it through fear," Mr Green said.
I wonder why on Earth these men might have thought they were untouchable?!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Economic Dependency and Feelings of Victimhood: What Exactly Is the Precise Subtext of Hope 'n' Change ?

Perhaps the best quote about Michelle Obama's hopelessness comes from Ann Althouse (thanks to Glenn Reynolds).
“Michelle Obama seems to confuse the past and the future in a strange way that relates to a criticism of Democrats one often hears: Their political strategy relies on maintaining economic dependency and feelings of victimhood. To say you must have hope is — think about it — a euphemistic way to say you must continue to feel needy.”

Yes, He Can: Yes, Obama Could Have Won a Third Term; But Not for the Reason He Thinks

Actually, it is entirely possible that Barack Obama may be right when, as Fox News reports, he says that, had he been able to run, he could have won a third term in the White House.
Describing his confidence in an America that is “tolerant” and “full of energy,” Obama said: “I am confident in this vision because I'm confident that … if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could've mobilized a majority of the American people to rally behind it.”
However, he would not, might not, have won again because of who he is, or because of what he stands for, or because of what his programs contain.

The victory would be because of decades of efforts by "neutral" and "independent" "journalists" (aka Democrats with bylines) in the mainstream media to whitewash (sic?) the Apologizer-in-Chief and members of the Democrat Party as well as the policies they stand for.
“I know that in conversations that I've had with people around the country, even some people who disagreed with me, they would say the vision, the direction that you point towards is the right one,” Obama told Axelrod, defending his assertion.
The truth is, that if reporters were generally fair and neutral and balanced, you would be hard-pressed to wonder if a member of the Democrat Party could ever win an election again.

Let's get down to basics:

What do the Democrats stand for?

Helping the victims of society while bashing and berating the members of society who don't want to help same, punishing the latter in all sorts of ways, not least by increasing their taxes.

In other words, they think of everyone as children: innocent tykes who must be protected, along with spoiled, ill-behaved brats who must be given dressing-downs and be punished by having (parts of) their allowances removed.

What do the Republicans stand for?

The Republicans don't want to help blacks, they do not want to help women, they do not want to help Latinos and immigrants, and they do not want to help gays and transgenders.

Just as the Republicans do not want to help… (wait for it)… whites and males and straights!


Because they think — they know — that the average man, woman, person, is a grown-up, an adult who can be expected to manage his or her life without dramatics and intervention by hordes of professional politicians and armies of career bureaucrats, or too much thereof.

Isn't this what the revolution of 1776 was all about?

Isn't this what the constitution of 1787 is all about?

We Americans are grown-ups!

And we expect to be treated as such.

Related: Another thing the mainstream media might have
found out about Obama's past had he been a Republican

Michelle Obama's Response Is Far Worse
Than Saying Life Under Trump Is Without Hope:
She Considers that Americans Are Kids
in Need of a Father Figure for President

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

"The only thing surprising about Barack Obama's latest blow against Israel" wrote Thomas Sowell, in… 2011 (!), "is that there are people who are surprised"

The only thing surprising about Barack Obama's latest blow against Israel is that there are people who are surprised
wrote Thomas Sowell back in… June… 2011 (Obama's general approach to foreign policy — selling out our allies to curry favor with our adversaries)!
Whether as a radical student, a community organizer or a far left politician, Barack Obama's ideology has been based on a vision of the Haves versus the Have Nots.

 … Israel is one of the Haves. Its neighbors remain among the Have Nots, despite their oil. No wonder that Barack Obama has bent over backward, in addition to bowing low forward, to support the side that his ideology favors.

Israel is not simply to have its interests sacrificed and its security undermined. It is to be brought down a peg and-- to the extent politically possible-- insulted. Obama has already done all these things. His latest pronouncement is just more of the same.

Whether at home or abroad, Obama's ideology is an ideology of envy, resentment and payback.

 … All of this is consistent with Obama's general approach to foreign policy-- selling out our allies to curry favor with our adversaries.

My four favorite memes among those chosen by Powerline's Steven Hayward to illustrate Thomas Sowell's thoughts (thanks to Ed Driscoll) are reproduced in this post.

Which brings up a question:

Wouldn't it be great if somebody in the Trump administration would nominate Thomas Sowell to become 2017's choice for the Nobel Prize in Economics?
Related: • "The poor" are the human shields behind whom advocates of ever bigger spending for ever bigger government advance toward their goal

• "If you look at the first 100 years after slavery, black communities were a lot safer"

Let's end this post with a Thomas Sowell quote from November 2008:
[Barack Obama has] accomplished nothing other than to advance his career through rhetoric
says Thomas Sowell (thanks to Frank) as he speaks with Peter Robinson (6:00),
and it reminds me of a sophomore in college who thinks he can change the world because he's never had to run anything.

Good-Bye, Princess: Carrie Fisher Is Dead at 60

Incredible: at only 60, the Star Wars movies' Princess Leia is gone…

Now, some of us are feeling really old!
Carrie Fisher had just come out with a new part-time autobiography, The Princess Diarist, besides appearing in a surprise cameo, with one brief line or two, as her younger self in the final scenes of Rogue One… (Thanks for the Instapundit link, Ed Driscoll)

(Somewhat) Related: What was the one single biggest plot hole in The Force Awakens?

Update: 14 Other Movies Featuring Star Wars Actress Carrie Fisher

Monday, December 26, 2016

Oppression Olympics: AIn't it a nice change to see the victimhood pathology eating away at the grand coalition of the oppressed rather than at our nation as a whole?

The University of California’s “Students of Color Conference” ended in disarray earlier this month
notes Benny Huang,
with various racial, ethnic, and religious groups vying for the “Biggest Victim” prize. Though it was intended to foster thoughtful discussion about issues that affect minorities, the conference devolved into a “safe space gone wrong” according to The Daily Bruin’s Jacqueline Alvarez.

Rather than hating white people, the various groups turned on each other. “[T]he conference eventually turned into a kind of ‘oppression Olympics,’ where students argued over which minority group was oppressed the most rather than finding solidarity and understanding amongst each other,” wrote Alvarez. One point of contention was the conference’s theme: “Fighting anti-Blackness.” The whole conference was geared toward America’s premiere victim group, blacks, which displeased some members of other groups. When one student asked why other groups’ issues weren’t being discussed a black student replied that blacks were the most oppressed which elicited a negative response from a Muslim student who said that her people were being bombed in the Middle East.

I don’t know about you but I find this whole story very entertaining. It’s a nice change to see the victimhood pathology eating away at the grand coalition of the oppressed rather than at our nation as a whole.

Modern progressivism is an identity politics stew consisting of divergent groups that don’t always agree. What binds them together is a visceral hatred of Western civilization which they associate with white people, Christianity, capitalism, individual rights, and “the patriarchy” (men). They’ve shown great progress in vanquishing all of these things.

The Left has an obsession with tearing down the status quo, a task it has been engaged in for more than two hundred years. Armed with rhetorical sledge hammers they go about smashing everything they see. Smash monogamy! Smash the patriarchy! Smash capitalism! Smash this! Smash that! Smashing is what they do best and for that the Left deserves to be called a demolition crew.

Leftists won’t admit this of course. In their own minds they are building a better, more egalitarian future. But in order to usher in that future they must first demolish Western civilization and sweep away the wretched rubble. This task has become their fixation. So focused are they on undermining the current order that they’ve almost lost sight of their supposed long term goal of building an earthly paradise in its place.

In all likelihood, they never will get around to the construction phase of their strategy because the demolition phase will never be complete. Consider for a moment their obsession with racism. Leftists perceive it everywhere and concoct phony examples of it where it doesn’t exist. Here’s a good example: Just before the election, a black church in Mississippi was torched and spray-painted with the words “Vote Trump.” Police have since arrested a man named Andrew McClinton for the heinous act. Who is this scoundrel? A klansman, perhaps? Nope. McClinton is a black member of the church. This man actually burnt down his own spiritual home just to make a point about the imaginary racists who live in his head.

In order to sustain our hysteria about racism the Left needs to provide teachable moments from time to time. The Mississippi church burning was one such moment. The lessons they wanted us to learn from it were that white supremacism still reigns supreme and that we must continue smashing it with all due ferocity. Therefore, demolition is still called for—and always will be. There’s never a good time to declare victory in the war on racism.

Unfortunately for them, a movement so tightly bound up with destruction runs the risk of devouring itself from within.

… We conservatives should take every opportunity to point out that the Left’s many strange bedfellows don’t have much in common. Sometimes we do illuminate the absurdity of a movement that counts both Muslims and homosexuals as members. Don’t “gays” know that most Muslims hate them? Many don’t. But we haven’t done a good enough job explaining to Muslims that homosexuals hate them too. We might want to mention that after the social justice warriors complete their incremental criminalization of Christianity they’ll have all the right precedents in place to do the same to Islam.

“No fair!” shout the Leftists. “That’s the politics of divisiveness!” Yes, I suppose it is. But they started it.

 Conservatives want people in this country to unite behind a common national identity—as Americans—whereas  liberals want to split the population into many different groups based on sex, sexuality, class, race, and religion before bundling the majority of those splinter groups into a coalition that will act as a battering ram against the dreaded System. They really don’t like it when we try to dilute the glue that binds their various constituency groups together.

 …/… I do believe that Trump was trying to split the Obama coalition but that’s okay because it richly deserves to be split. Black people’s interests are not the same as Hispanics’ interests and on the issue of illegal immigration blacks’ interests are in fact diametrically opposed to what Hispanic advocacy groups demand. Our unsecured borders have worked out great for dishonest employers but not for blacks who have found themselves competing for entry-level jobs with people who will work for less.

Trump was not, however, trying to drive a wedge between blacks and Latinos but rather between blacks and illegal aliens. There’s a difference. Perhaps it’s time for blacks to ask themselves where their true interests lie. What exactly do they gain from illegal immigration? Nothing, as far as I can see.

There are other reason why blacks should not rejoice in the booming Hispanic population, many of whom came here illegally.

 … Van Jones doesn’t like people messing with the “Obama coalition” because his goal is to unite black and brown against white. Am I guilty of wanting black and white to unite to against brown? No. I want Americans of all colors to come together against illegal alien invaders—not all of whom are Hispanic. This is our country. It belongs to a multiracial group of people called Americans and we decide who may enter our house.

The coalition of the oppressed is in fact very fragile. Don’t hesitate to do everything in your power to aggravate its inherent schisms. Their goal is to destroy Western civilization so don’t feel bad about wanting to destroy their contrived sense of solidarity.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

When conservatives appeal to the Bible, we hear the inevitable “you can’t impose your morality on other people”; but social critics are quick to (mis)quote the Bible when they can make it seem to support their quirky political views

Twitchy's Brett T deadpans that ABC News political analyst [is] shocked that Christians didn’t treasure his gift of politicizing the holiday (thanks to Ed Driscoll).
Why would Christians be uncivil to ABC News’ chief political analyst on Christmas Eve, of all days? It’s impossible to know for sure, but his contribution to the holiday might have something to do with it.
Ah, the gift of politicization that absolutely no one asked for! Just chuck that over in the pile with the “Joseph and Mary were homeless” lectures from Hillary Clinton and Al Gore and Jesse Jackson and …

Every Christmas, liberals who despise the Bible and the message of the Bible try to find something from the Bible in an attempt to advance some liberal cause based on the Bible
writes Gary DeMar (while ignoring
the Bible when it addresses same-sex sexuality/marriage and killing of unborn children).

As usual, they get it wrong, similar to the way they get the Bible’s “my brother’s keeper” message wrong.

At first, the Christmas story became a political message about homelessness. Then liberals claimed that when Mary and Joseph could not find a room in Bethlehem – you guessed it – it’s just like today’s refugee problem. Never let a contrived Bible story go to waste.

The problem with the refugee analogy is that Joseph was not a foreigner seeking refuge from his homeland since he was from Bethlehem, the place of his birth. He was a citizen of Israel. As we’ll see, the existing government was oppressing people. In this case, through taxes.

The latest claim has been made by ABC News chief political analyst Matthew Dowd who tweeted the following:
“Let us remember today 2 immigrants, a man and his very pregnant wife, sought shelter & were turned away by many. She gave birth in a manger.”
  … You can’t be an immigrant in your own country.

Jesse Jackson was the first liberal to turn Christmas into a political propaganda piece. It was in the December 26, 1988, issue if Jet Magazine. The title of the article was “Jesse Jackson Tells the Real Meaning of Christmas.”

He made the same claim in 1991 when George H. W. Bush was president. He repeated his “homeless couple” theme at the 1992 Democratic National Convention

Barbara Reynolds, a former columnist for USA Today, scolded the “Christian Right” for opposing government welfare programs by appealing to the birth narrative of the Bible: “They should recall,” she writes, “that Jesus Christ was born homeless to a teen who was pregnant before she was married.”

Hillary Clinton, in comments critical of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s homeless policies, sought to remind the easily manipulated and ill-informed that “Christmas celebrates ‘the birth of a homeless child.’”

Rev. William Sterrett told The Providence (RI) Journal that the true Christmas story is about the poor and needy. “We have a very clear picture about the whole thing,” Sterrett said. “But the truth is Mary and Joseph were homeless. She gave birth to Jesus in a barn. This image captures the essence of a Christmas story because you cannot get any poorer than that.” There’s no evidence that Jesus was born in a barn.

Pat Nichols, writing for The Berkshire Eagle (Pittsfield, MA), concludes, “At the core, the story of Christmas is about a homeless couple about to have a baby. It is a story about poverty that most of us never experience, people with little more than they carry on their backs and a donkey to provide transportation.”5

Have these people ever read the Bible? The Christmas story is set during a time of government control, high taxation, and political oppression (what we would be getting more of if Hillary had been elected in 2016).

 … Politicians and social critics are quick to quote and misquote the Bible when they can twist its message to support their quirky and dangerous political views.
When conservatives appeal to the Bible, we hear the inevitable “separation of church and state,” “you can’t impose your morality on other people,” “religion and politics don’t mix.” But they are quick to impose their distorted view of biblical morality on the rest of us through the power of civil government.

The Advent story, in addition to being a demonstration of God’s love toward sinners, is also about how taxes hurt the poor and government decrees can turn productive families into the disenfranchised by enacting and enforcing counterproductive laws.

Kitten in the Breadbasket

My parents' 3-month-old cat
joins us for Christmas dinner…

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Why do American politicians on the right always make strange noises?

Why do American politicians on the right always make strange noises?
asks Dick Rich to The Economist, regarding then propensity of mainstream media types to lean left, by using weasel verbs and words for their adversaries (Charles Krauthammer "fulminating", Donald Trump launching a "ferocious" and "blistering attack"…).
Newt Gingrich “bellows”; Mitch Daniels “huffs”. Please suggest other speech patterns that those on the right should use. Or at least attribute “whines” to the words of Harry Reid, “oozes” to those of Nancy Pelosi, and “pontificates” to those of Barack Obama.
Related: Typical MSM Headline?
"Clinton wants to move past email
scandal, but voters can't seem to"

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Michelle Obama's Response Is Far Worse Than Saying Life Under Trump Is Without Hope: She Considers that Americans Are Kids in Need of a Father Figure for President

Charlie Spiering has watched Michelle Obama on the Oprah Winfrey Network and the Breitbart columnist does not seem to be much impressed:
Michelle Obama … she thinks her husband had been a calming voice for the country, comparing him to a parent calming a child that had bumped his head.

“I feel like Barack has been that for the nation, in ways that people will come to appreciate. Having a grownup in the White House who can say to you in times of crisis and turmoil, ‘Hey it’s going to be OK,’” she said.
The general response has usually been disbelief or mirth and merriment that the Apologizer-in-Chief's wife considers life under Donald Trump life without hope.

But what the former Michelle Robinson said is far worse—here are her actual words:
What do we give your kids if you can't give them hope? Y'know, our children respond to crises the way they see us respond. You know, it's like [a child] that bumps his head on the table, and they look up at you to figure out whether it hurts. And if you're, like, "oh my God, they're cryin'!", but if you're like "you know what, babe, it's okay, it's okay…"

And I feel that way about the nation, I feel that Barack has been that for the nation — in ways that people will come to appreciate. Having a grown-up in the White House who can say to you in times of crisis and turmoil, "Hey, it's going to be okay. Let's remember the good things that we have, let's look at the future, let's look at all the things that we are building." All of this is important for our kids to stay focused, and to feel like their work isn't in vain, that their lives aren't in vain… 
So the American public is not only "kids" but "our kids"; who need a father figure in the White House to stay focused and who need his benevolent intervention to prove that their work, and that their lives, are not in vain. Needless to say, this echoes her husband's contention that young Americans are "kids" until at least 26 (the age at which the "kids" can stay under their parents' health care) and quite possibly until far longer.

In fact, the wife has just said, effectively, that all citizens are children throughout their entire lives. Meaning only one thing: that, for their own good, Americans need 1) higher taxes and 2) more interventionist politicians to ride, like knights in shining armor and on white steeds, to their rescue, along with 3) more beneficent bureaucrats to intervene in their lives.

Note to both Obamas: No U.S. president is a father (or the mother) of the nation. Americans are not "kids" and Americans are not crybabies in need of a Che Guevara-like father figure to blow their noses. Americans live in a republic, founded 240 years ago by men who agreed with the Judeo-Christian assumption that all men are equal and all men are in fact grown-up adults, who, offhand, can be trusted to take care of their own lives and the vast majority of problems therein.

This is reflected in the Declaration of Independence (a message to the "you-didn't-build-that" — and won't be able to do so without our help — élites of George III), and, indeed, in every single line of the Constitution of the United States of America.

The Democrats' “political strategy relies on maintaining economic dependency and feelings of victimhood. To say you must have hope is — think about it — a euphemistic way to say you must continue to feel needy.”

Friday, December 16, 2016

Not Much Concern Among Democrats in 2008 Over Foreign Interference in Presidential Elections, When Foreign Contributions Helped Obama Amass a War Chest Twice the Size of His Opponent


I don't remind much of a concern among Democrats in 2008 over foreign interference in a presidential election, when the donkey party removed certain safety checks to donations, and it was alleged that foreign (i.e., illegal) contributions helped propel Barack Obama's war chest to the highest in history, indeed, the double of what his opponent (John McCain) had to spend…

Then, again, the same people who had cried bloody murder in 2004 when George W Bush had 10% more to spend than his opponent (John Kerry) — "See?! That proves it!! That America is not a democracy!!" — went mum four years later when the future apologizer-in-chief, as mentioned, had 50% more to spend than his opponent.

Funny, indeed…

Leftists fail to mention that what little illegal aliens do pay in taxes is dwarfed by what they cost the taxpayer both directly and indirectly

Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser says that her city can no longer continue to support out-of-towners at the city’s homeless shelters 
writes Benny Huang at
“We have an obligation to serve our residents,” said the mayor. “But we cannot serve the entire region … We’re serving everybody else’s residents. We can’t serve our own. Our own residents are standing at the back of the line.” Last month she proposed a new policy that would require homeless people to prove their residency before being admitted to homeless shelters.

Proving residency can be quite tricky when a person does not have, um, a residence. Mayor Bowser demonstrated the absurdity of her proposal when she asked, “Do they have utilities? Do they have a lease? Do they have any way to demonstrate that they live here?” No, doofus. People who live under highway overpasses do not usually have leases or utility bills.

Bowser compounded the stupidity of her comments when she categorically refused to exclude illegal aliens. “Anybody, regardless of their immigration status, would have to demonstrate that they are a DC resident,” she said. So the city will gladly take in the poor from other countries, even those who are in the country illegally, just not people from outside the District. Yeah, that makes sense.
Despite the insanity of Mayor Bowser’s proposal, I can understand the bind she’s in. Budgets are, by definition, the apportionment of finite resources. She’s determined that the social services budget is overburdened and that she has to do something about it. She doesn’t want to slam the door in anyone’s face but unfortunately she must or there will be no social services for anyone.

Naturally, she isn’t willing to take the issue head on, pretending as she does that DC’s strained budget has nothing to do with the illegal aliens who have invaded the city. She’ll blame Virginians and Marylanders because they don’t have a grievance lobby to agitate on their behalf but she’ll never blame non-Americans. It doesn’t occur to her, I suppose, that people from other countries are also from out of town—really out of town.

To hear the Left tell it, the flood of immigration from the third world is a boon to the American economy. They don’t like to distinguish between the illegal and legal varieties of course, and they became incensed whenever anyone else does. Immigrants, they say, contribute to the economy and even pay taxes. They fail to mention however, that what little illegal aliens pay in taxes is dwarfed by what they cost the taxpayer both directly and indirectly.

Despite the fact that it’s illegal for them to collect welfare benefits, they do it nonetheless. They send their children to our public schools—some of whom are also illegal aliens and some of whom are anchor baby citizens. (Yes, I said anchor baby. Get over it.) They demand ESL programs. They displace other workers who then turn to public assistance for their daily bread. They commit all sorts of crime then make use of court-appointed interpreters and public defenders. Keep this in mind the next time someone tells you that enforcement is just too expensive. We’ve tried non-enforcement and it’s costing us out the butt.

My initial reaction toward Washington’s budgetary crisis is schadenfreude. Serves them right. Washington is a boastful “sanctuary city” located within a country that is for all practical purposes a sanctuary nation. Immigration enforcement is a joke and has been for quite a long time. If some big city Democrat mayor can’t make ends meet because of stupid policies that she supports then too bad for her. But of course it won’t be Muriel Bowser who suffers the most when there isn’t enough money to keep the homeless shelters open, it will be homeless Washingtonians.

I often wonder if the burdening of our social services by illegal aliens is in fact an intentional effort—a “conspiracy,” if you will—to bring the whole system down. Recall the infamous Cloward-Piven strategy, first articulated in a 1966 article in The Nation magazine. Drs. Cloward and Piven were a married couple, both professors and sociologists, who argued that there just weren’t enough people on the welfare rolls and that those who were on the welfare rolls were only accessing a fraction of the benefits they were qualified for. They advocated a mass movement to enroll more people for the purpose of collapsing the system.

Why would they want to do that? I’ll let them tell you:
“A series of welfare drives in large cities would, we believe, impel action on a new federal program to distribute income, eliminating the present public welfare system and alleviating the abject poverty which it perpetrates. Widespread campaigns to register the eligible poor for welfare aid, and to help existing recipients obtain their full benefits, would produce bureaucratic disruption in welfare agencies and fiscal disruption in local and state governments.” 
The basic idea was to federalize all anti-poverty policy, to redistribute wealth, and to institute a minimum guaranteed income. It was a socialist’s dream.

From this 1966 article was born the so-called welfare rights movement. Activists combed the slums in search of people who weren’t receiving all of their benefits or any benefits at all. Welfare recipients marched for more handouts. A lot of time and energy that would have been better utilized looking for jobs was instead spent on organizing and making demands.

But the Cloward-Piven strategy showed a surprising lack of ambition. They were “thinking small,” confining their movement to poor Americans when in fact there was a bottomless well of impoverished people in our backyard. I’m speaking of Latin America, of course. Fifty years after the article was published it appears that the Left has overcome its provincialism. These days they’re trying to get Latin Americans here by the boatload and to care for their every need. And why stop there? There are plenty of poor people in exotic places like Somalia and Syria. Just keep importing more and more of the third world’s most desperate people until the system heaves and gives way under the strain. Then replace it with something a little more Venezuelan.

Is this the 21st Century version of the Cloward-Piven strategy? In recent years I’ve asked myself that question with increasing frequency. Illegal immigration has swelled, states have granted drivers’ licenses and in-state tuition to people who shouldn’t even be here in the first place, and “sanctuary cities” (lawless zones) are now commonplace. The center cannot hold—and that may be the point.

It’s schemes like this that remind me of just how dumb it is for anyone to vote Democrat, even poor people. Especially poor people. I’m sure this will be a tough sell but I believe that it serves the best interests of America’s poor to show the jackass party to the door. Why? Because the welfare system as we know is it unsustainable, burdened a little more everyday with illegal aliens, the children of illegal aliens, and people who are just trying to get over on the system. For people who really need those services the prospect of collapse ought to be frightening. They should be telling their elected officials to stop importing wards of the state but they never do. Perhaps they believe, as many poor people do, that there’s some rich guy out there who can and should be squeezed a little harder. But there isn’t a rich guy in the whole world who could keep our social services afloat in the long run even if the government seized every penny he owns. The answer isn’t more taxes it’s less spending.

But don’t Republicans want to slash social services? Not really. For as long as I’ve been observing politics, Republicans have generally favored the status quo, opposing Democrats’ attempt to expand social services while doing little or nothing to undo what’s already been done. … 

For people who really need those benefits it makes no sense to continue to vote for a party, the Democrats, that is wittingly or unwittingly crashing the system. The first victims of the coming implosion are those Americans who actually need the benefits that government will no longer be able to provide.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

It used to be that we poked fun at the Chicken Littles; In the era of the drama queen, every "The sky is falling!" is taken as holy writ

Referring to the fact that The president-elect’s EPA head may not believe in climate change, a Trump Appointments article in The Economist is entitled A fox for the henhouse.

I respond as follows:

Not only do you assume that leftists alone take a "serious view of the environment", you have adopted the disparaging "denier" expression for their opponents as well ("A fox for the henhouse", December 10th).

There are those among us who have not failed to notice that, over the decades, the "coming ice age" of the 1970s morphed into "global warming" before such inconvenient phenomenons as freezing winters led — conveniently — to the coinage of a one-size-fits-all "climate change".

Like cartoonists around the world, your Kal has drawn GOP elephants mocking activists' fears even as they are forced to climb onto the rooftop of such buildings as the US Congress (soon to include the White House) because of the rising waters.

Think of Los Angeles and New York, of Aberdeen and Brighton, of Capetown and Sydney: Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it true that in the past five weeks, the past five months, the past five years, and the past 50 years (even the past 500 years?), the oceans do not seem to have risen by as much as a single inch?

Thousands of The Economist readers are howling in outrage as they read this letter and as I go on to ask: So who are truly the irrational people here? Isn't science supposed to require the challengers of the status quo to prove their contention?

It used to be that we poked fun at the Chicken Littles and the other boys who cried wolf. In the era of the drama queen, every "The sky is falling!" is taken as holy writ, used to clobber clueless citizens (aka "racists", "deplorables", etc, not least… "deniers"), even as taxes are raised ever higher to increase the size of the administrative state so that politicians and bureaucrats alike can rush to our "rescue".

Hasn't it occurred to you that this snooty (not to mention self-serving) attitude is precisely what, over the past year, skeptical citizens have started to vote against?
Related: Disastrous Claims About Rising Sea Levels Run Into One (Un?)fortunate Fact

Related: Editorial Cartoons: Are They Humor or Are They Propaganda?

Related: Devotees of Science Versus Followers of Religion —
Are Only the Latter to Be Taken to Task for Their Alleged Superstitions?
(dispassionate in-depth chapter-length article
which examines the subject from all perspectives)

Related: Artists Unite: In this era of integrated information, we
are witnessing the most concerted attack on freedom in world history

Bloggers Feast at French Bistro Deep in the Heart o' Texas

Wonderful dinner with Instapundit's Ed Driscoll at Christina’s Bistro. Enjoyed the Southern/Texan hospitality to the utmost…

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The U.S. must care more about whether it commands international respect than whether it is loved by international elites

Incredibly, the New York Times, or at least its international version, has given the left column of its front page to one Mark Moyar. The opinion piece penned by the director of the Center for Military and Diplomatic History at the Foreign Policy Initiative is entitled: The World Fears Trump’s America. That’s a Good Thing.
Among global elites, Donald J. Trump’s recent phone call with Taiwan’s president has induced fear on a scale seldom matched since Ronald Reagan’s “Evil Empire” speech. The Sydney Morning Herald warned that the phone call “risks provoking a cold war between the United States and China with potentially catastrophic economic and security implications.” The fright appears to confirm the narrative formed earlier this year by headlines like “Donald Trump Terrifies World Leaders.”

The fear is real. Mr. Trump has indeed terrified foreign leaders with his “America first” mantra, his promises to enlarge the American military and his tough talk on everything from the Islamic State to Air Force One. The good news is that his administration can turn this fear to the benefit of the United States.

During the last eight years, President Obama showed what happens when the world’s greatest power tries strenuously to avoid giving fright. He began his presidency with lofty vows to conciliate adversaries, defer to the opinions of other countries and reduce America’s military commitments. Consequently, he received rapturous applause in European capitals and a Nobel Peace Prize. In the real world of geopolitics, however, the results have been catastrophic.

Mr. Obama’s passivity in the face of provocations and his failure to enforce the “red line” in Syria led Russia, China and other adversaries to seek new gains at America’s expense. His promises to “end the wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan satisfied the cosmopolitan chatterers of Stockholm, Paris and New York, but they deflated American allies in Baghdad and Kabul, and emboldened adversaries in Iran and Pakistan. So severe was the damage that he had to send troops back to Iraq in 2014, and had to abort his plans to withdraw all American forces from Afghanistan before leaving office.

The Obama presidency is but the latest chapter in a post-1945 saga that has been dominated by international fear of the United States, or lack thereof. In 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea because Harry S. Truman’s exclusion of South Korea from America’s “defense perimeter” removed fears of intervention. By contrast, Dwight D. Eisenhower employed rhetorical threats and high military spending to fill the Communist powers with fear of nuclear Armageddon, an approach that kept the Communists from launching further invasions.

Lyndon B. Johnson tried to avert a major war in Vietnam by showing restraint, in expectation of North Vietnamese reciprocation. Hanoi responded by pouring troops into South Vietnam. Richard M. Nixon revived fears of the United States with his “madman theory,” whereby he took seemingly reckless actions to convince America’s enemies that he just might be crazy enough to do it. Those fears, and the caution they instilled in the Communist powers, dissipated when the Watergate Congress kicked the legs out from under South Vietnam. The world continued to live without fear of a strong America under Jimmy Carter, whose timidity caused nations to fall to Communism and the United States Embassy in Iran to fall to anti-American extremists.

In 1980, as in 2016, Americans elected someone who made clear his intent to put fear back in the nation’s enemies. Nowadays, even liberal Democrats applaud Reagan for bringing the Soviet Union to its knees. Back in 1980, however, Reagan’s tough, nationalist stances on foreign policy aroused the same condemnation of “fearmongering” currently emanating from the world’s enlightened critics of Mr. Trump.

The trembling of the rest of the world does not ensure that American foreign policy will be successful. Like any other strategic advantage, it works only when properly exploited through sound strategic decisions. Tough talk must be used judiciously. As the Syrian red line debacle demonstrated, the White House should issue specific threats only when it is prepared to follow through on them.
In its diplomacy, the new administration must seek the proper balance between fear and more positive motivations like respect and admiration. Under Mr. Obama, and his like-minded predecessors, American foreign policy created plenty of fear among some of America’s allies — fear that the United States would let them down. The Trump administration will need to reverse those expectations, so that fear of the United States is once again stronger among enemies than friends.

At times, nevertheless, even allies ought to have cause to worry about White House decisions. They must know that the world’s most powerful nation is prepared to practice tough love if they take actions inconsistent with the strength of the United States or the stability of the international system. Without such worries, they are liable to keep doing as they have often done in recent years — skimping on military spending and international commitments in expectation that the Americans will reflexively pick up the slack.

As the world’s most powerful country, and the only one whose leadership can safeguard the world order, the United States must care more about whether it commands international respect than whether it is loved by international elites. The incoming administration appears poised to return the United States to this precept after an eight-year drought. Americans and America’s allies should be relieved. America’s enemies are right to be afraid.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Castro's totalitarianism generates less outrage than Trump’s tweets; with Fidel's death in Havana, the same media that openly congratulates itself for its lack of balance in covering Trump, suddenly turn sedate and nuanced

notes George Neumayr at the American Spectator.
He is a “fascist,” a dangerous “strongman,” a “tyrant” in waiting, and so forth. But when an actual tyrant dies such as Fidel Castro the left quickly adopts more measured rhetoric. Its hysterical editorialists suddenly turn sedate. They urge people to see a reviled figure in perspective. Castro’s legacy is “divisive,” as the New Yorker hesitantly put it. “Cuba today is a dilapidated country, but its social and economic indicators are the envy of many of its neighbors.”

Casting about for a circumspect word to describe a mass murderer, Barack Obama hit upon “singular.” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered the slightly more daring description “remarkable.” Pope Francis called him a “deceased dignitary,” in a telegram that the Vatican normally doesn’t send (it typically only sends telegrams for leaders who die while still in office, according to the Catholic press).

Careful not to mourn his death too obviously, the press peppered its stories with similarly evasive and hedging language: Castro was a “controversial” and “charismatic” figure who, in the laughably neutral words of the New York Times, “transformed Cuba.” Many newspapers made reference to his repression but didn’t want their readers to forget his “achievements” either, as if “free” access to crumbling hospitals balanced out his slaughtering of tens of thousands of people and displacing more than a million people. Under Castro, said the BBC, “Cuba registered some impressive domestic achievements. Good medical care was freely available for all, and Cuba’s infant mortality rates compared favorably with the most sophisticated societies on earth.”

The nods to his monstrous crimes by leftist pols, to the extent any came, were quick and breezy. British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn deserves first prize in this category: “For all his flaws, Castro’s support for Angola played a crucial role in bringing an end to Apartheid in South Africa and he will be remembered both as an internationalist and a champion of social justice.” In that “for all his flaws” lie how many murders?

Naturally, Donald Trump’s honest reaction to Castro’s death generated criticism for its “tone.” In the Washington Post, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers called it “highly problematic.” This, of course, comes from the same media that now openly congratulates itself for its lack of balance in covering Trump. The other day, CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour was pleading with her fellow journalists to abandon the sham pretense of objectivity and adopt the “Edward R. Murrow standard” for Trump. She believes in “being truthful, not neutral.” She will not stand idle during this “post-truth,” “post-values” age. She will “fight against normalization of the unacceptable.”

She conceives of journalism as a high priesthood that defines good and evil for the unenlightened masses. But not long after cheering her comments, journalists returned to their keyboards to normalize the evil of Castro with evasive pieces on his passing. Even Amanpour got into the act, interviewing international figures about the “unclear” legacy of Castro. She can find nuance in Castro but not in Trump.

Journalists who wouldn’t have survived a day in Castro’s Cuba treat Trump as an enemy of press freedom (for such grave offenses as not informing his press pool that he was going out to dinner). They gasp at Trump’s health care plans, while praising Castro’s hospitals. They freak out over Trump’s “Muslim ban,” while minimizing Castro’s suppression of religious freedom. They couldn’t have voted in Castro’s Cuba but demand a recount in America (Jill Stein called Castro a “symbol of the struggle for justice”).
After Trump won, the New Yorker’s David Remnick nearly fainted from fear. It was a “sickening event,” a “tragedy for the American republic,” and a victory for “authoritarianism” at home and abroad, he wrote. But Castro never elicited such breathless denunciations from his magazine. Castro was merely a “controversial” figure. His totalitarianism generated less outrage from it than Trump’s tweets.

Now the media, never too worried about the jingoism of Castro, is harrumphing over Trump’s flag-burning comments. It can forgive nationalism in foreign leaders but not its own.

Meanwhile, the press continues to push the storyline that Trump’s coming administration is causing the great and good of the world to tremble, a claim to which the American people rightly shrug, especially since many of these international luminaries appalled by Trump’s inauguration will soon turn up at Castro’s funeral.

At work the day after the election, a woman was SOBBING over the election, telling total strangers of her personal agony, as if others were obliged to offer her condolences

From a fellow who has been, shall we say, uh, a regular reader of No Pasarán for the past 12 years comes this piece of post-election news:
Coming up the elevator at work today [November 9], a woman was SOBBING over the election, telling total strangers of her personal agony, as if others were obliged to offer her condolences.  Its a cult.  What's worse is that most of the other floors in this building are occupied by political operators - whose living is derived by politics.

It's a cult with parasites living off of the productive part of society, in need of having their hurt feelings and connection to reality managed for them.

I also had to listen to people at work insist that this isn't a democracy because the popular vote doesn't rule the day.  It was said fishing for affirmation as some sort of salve 

I occasionally have to mention that I lived in east Germany which really was 'not a democracy', and that they have no idea what they're talking about.

Normally, I don't watch election coverage, but I did watch Steven Crowder watching the Young Turks, and it was pretty funny.

From the official Milo Yiannopoulos Facebook page

From the official Milo Yiannopoulos Facebook page (merci à Wynn):
The fag captured their flag.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Because It's France, That's Why: Populist Marine Le Pen Not Likely to Benefit from Brexit and the Trump Election

In France, the protest vote is less attractive now that the Americans and Brits have already pulled the trigger
write Jacques Lafitte and Denis MacShane in Politico (merci à HC).
The British and American press are full of alarm and excitement. After the triumph of the nationalist populism that swept Donald Trump into the White House and Britain out of Europe, the next big win in this new political era will be National Front leader Marine Le Pen’s election as France’s next president.

Two years ago we were accused of excessive pessimism and scaremongering because we said and wrote that Brexit would happen. Now we will no doubt be called naïve, wishful thinkers for saying the French won’t elect Le Pen.

The French love to do things differently. And more than anything, they hate to be told they will copy someone else, especially if that someone happens to be “Anglo-Saxon.”

In the early 1980s, when the United States and the U.K. embraced radical liberalism, the French embraced radical socialism. Today, France exports Thomas Piketty but remains immune to political input from across the Channel or Atlantic. Le Pen likes to claim she is the real brains behind Brexit and Trump. The suggestion that ideas may flow the other way would be preposterous.

The French Left turned the Third Way — a hollow slogan from the Blair-Clinton era — into an obscenity, in large part because it was coined outside France. Even François Mitterand’s open-minded prime minister Michel Rocard never referred to it.

Le Pen basked in the media spotlight after the Brits voted to leave the EU on June 23, but polls show she has not benefited from Brexit, not even in the short term. She is still stuck at 25-30 percent support, a remarkably similar level to the French Communist Party in the 1950s and 1960s.

At the time, French communists wanted to shut the borders to foreign workers, attacked European integration as an American capitalist front, and called for the French state to take charge of the French economy. Sound familiar? Le Pen’s National Front agenda is eerily similar. 
Related: Is the Le Pen Party Extreme Rightist or
Is It Actually a Reincarnation of the Communist Party?

A Liberal Hillary Supporter in a Uber Car Prior to the 2016 Election Screaming Expletives During the Entire Trip

After the results on election day, a part-time Uber driver had this experience to share:
Last week [early November 2016] I had an Uber passenger, a young-ish female school teacher who asked me who I was voting for.  

I normally avoid the subject , but just came out and told her.

For the remainder of the ENTIRE TRIP she was screaming expletives.  I couldn't wait to get her to her destination and out of my car.  Raising your voice in a VW Golf is rather unpleasant, I might add.
She also seemed rather too obsessed with unconcenting sodomy to be regarded as mentally grounded for a sober person.

Really, I pity the children, even though she is one of them.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Ditching Electoral College would allow California to impose imperial rule on a colonial America

Ditching Electoral College would allow California to impose imperial rule on a colonial America
warns Michael Barone in the Washington Examiner (cheers to Instapundit's Stephen Green).
 … for the first time in the nation's history the most populous state was a political outlier, voting at one extreme in the national political spectrum.

 … Well, yeah, you might say. California has been called the Left Coast for quite a while. Just about everyone in Silicon Valley except Peter Thiel and in Hollywood except Pat Sajak supported Clinton. White middle class families have been pretty well priced out of the state by high taxes and housing costs, and the Hispanic and Asian immigrants who have replaced them vote far more Democratic.

 … In the nine elections before that and after California passed New York to become the most populous state in 1963, the average of California's Democratic and Republican percentages was never more than 5 points off the national figures.

 … In this respect it resembles New York, the most populous state in every Census from 1820 to 1960. In elections 1856 to 1960, New York's Democratic and Republican percentages seldom varied more than 5 points from the national average.

 … The fact that New York voted much like the nation as a whole meant there were few elections when the popular vote winner lost in the Electoral College. In the two exceptions, 1876 and 1888, the popular vote winner was a New Yorker.

If California continues to occupy one extreme of the national political spectrum, there may well be more such splits. At least unless and until the Democratic Party figures it needs more to make a case with more appeal beyond California if it wants to win 270 electoral votes.

All of which prompts renewed arguments about the Electoral College. The case for abolishing it is simple: Every American's vote should count the same. But it won't happen. Two-thirds of each house of Congress and 38 of the 50 state legislatures will never go along.

The case against abolition is one suggested by the Framers' fears that voters in one large but highly atypical state could impose their will on a contrary-minded nation. That largest state in 1787 was Virginia, home of four of the first five presidents. New York and California, by remaining closely in line with national opinion up through 1996, made the issue moot.

California's 21st century veer to the left makes it a live issue again. In a popular vote system, the voters of this geographically distant and culturally distinct state, whose contempt for heartland Christians resembles imperial London's disdain for the "lesser breeds" it governed, could impose something like colonial rule over the rest of the nation. Sounds exactly like what the Framers strove to prevent.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

A system where people who dissent from the proper framing of a story are attacked by mobs of smugly incredulous pundits: The press takes Trump literally, but not seriously; his supporters take Trump seriously, but not literally

 … we … missed the story, after having spent months mocking the people who had a better sense of what was going on
writes one Will Rahn of CBS (thanks to The Federalist's Stella Morabito via Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds)
This is all symptomatic of modern journalism’s great moral and intellectual failing: its unbearable smugness. Had Hillary Clinton won, there’d be a winking “we did it” feeling in the press, a sense that we were brave and called Trump a liar and saved the republic.

So much for that. The audience for our glib analysis and contempt for much of the electorate, it turned out, was rather limited. This was particularly true when it came to voters, the ones who turned out by the millions to deliver not only a rebuke to the political system but also the people who cover it. Trump knew what he was doing when he invited his crowds to jeer and hiss the reporters covering him. They hate us, and have for some time.

And can you blame them? Journalists love mocking Trump supporters. We insult their appearances. We dismiss them as racists and sexists. We emote on Twitter about how this or that comment or policy makes us feel one way or the other, and yet we reject their feelings as invalid.

 … We diagnose them as racists in the way Dark Age clerics confused medical problems with demonic possession. Journalists, at our worst, see ourselves as a priestly caste. We believe we not only have access to the indisputable facts, but also a greater truth, a system of beliefs divined from an advanced understanding of justice.

You’d think that Trump’s victory – the one we all discounted too far in advance – would lead to a certain newfound humility in the political press. But of course that’s not how it works. To us, speaking broadly, our diagnosis was still basically correct. The demons were just stronger than we realized.

This is all a “whitelash,” you see. Trump voters are racist and sexist, so there must be more racists and sexists than we realized. Tuesday night’s outcome was not a logic-driven rejection of a deeply flawed candidate named Clinton; no, it was a primal scream against fairness, equality, and progress. Let the new tantrums commence!

That’s the fantasy, the idea that if we mock them enough, call them racist enough, they’ll eventually shut up and get in line. It’s similar to how media Twitter works, a system where people who dissent from the proper framing of a story are attacked by mobs of smugly incredulous pundits. Journalists exist primarily in a world where people can get shouted down and disappear, which informs our attitudes toward all disagreement.

Journalists increasingly don’t even believe in the possibility of reasoned disagreement, and as such ascribe cynical motives to those who think about things a different way. We see this in the ongoing veneration of “facts,” the ones peddled by explainer websites and data journalists who believe themselves to be curiously post-ideological.

That the explainers and data journalists so frequently get things hilariously wrong never invites the soul-searching you’d think it would. Instead, it all just somehow leads us to more smugness, more meanness, more certainty from the reporters and pundits. Faced with defeat, we retreat further into our bubble, assumptions left unchecked. No, it’s the voters who are wrong.

As a direct result, we get it wrong with greater frequency.

 … There’s a place for opinionated journalism; in fact, it’s vital. But our causal, profession-wide smugness and protestations of superiority are making us unable to do it well.

Our theme now should be humility. We must become more impartial, not less so. We have to abandon our easy culture of tantrums and recrimination. We have to stop writing these know-it-all, 140-character sermons on social media and admit that, as a class, journalists have a shamefully limited understanding of the country we cover.

 … We have to fix this, and the broken reasoning behind it. There’s a fleeting fun to gang-ups and groupthink. But it’s not worth what we are losing in the process. 

In an interview with his TV station, CBS's Will Rahn mentions "a great observation from a reporter":
The press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally
is how USA Today's Noah C. Rothman quotes Salena Zito as writing about the Republicans' candidate in The Atlantic, as she distills
why Trump's appeal was so strong and why so many professionals missed it.

Monday, December 05, 2016

"But we are also slaves to this system“: Tailoring education, work habits, and aspirations, almost unconsciously, to state benefits

An Alissa Rubin article on France's social system on the front page of the International Herald Tribune a few years ago was pretty far-reaching for a New York Times journalist.
The pervasive presence of government in French life, from workplace rules to health and education benefits, is now the subject of a great debate as the nation grapples with whether it can sustain the post-World War II model of social democracy.

The spiraling costs of cradle-to-grave social welfare programs have all but exhausted the French government’s ability to raise the taxes necessary to pay for it all, creating growing political problems for President François Hollande, a Socialist. The nation’s capability to innovate and compete globally is being called into question, and investors are shying away from the layers of government regulation and high taxes.

But on the streets of this midsize city 325 miles southeast of Paris, the discussion is not abstract or even overtly political. Conversations here bring to life how many people, almost unconsciously, tailor their education, work habits and aspirations to benefits they see as intrinsic elements of their lives.

“You cannot take away guns from Americans, and in the same way you cannot take away social benefits from French people,” said Louis Paris, the 25-year-old son of a couple who live on the Rue Louis Braille, a typical neighborhood in St.-Étienne, which has deep working-class roots and historically has leaned Socialist.

“They won’t stand for it,” said Mr. Paris, who is unemployed and has been searching since leaving college for a full-time job that offers benefits. 
  … The median household income in the city is $25,000, about half the national figure for the United States and slightly lower than the average for France. But that figure does not capture how many things the government pays for here.

In France, most child care and higher education are paid for by the government, and are universally available, as is health care, three of the most costly elements in the budgets of most American families.

The cost of health care in France is embedded in the taxes imposed on workers and employers; workers make mandatory contributions worth about 10 percent of their paycheck to cover health insurance and a total of about 22 percent to pay for all their benefits.
 … The tension between the pressure for budget cuts and the deeply embedded nature of government programs is playing out in individual lives.
 … Just down the street, [Patrick Jouve], the owner of the game store Tapis Vert, or Green Carpet, believes that the reason the government is in such dire straits is that there are too many civil servants. Government spending accounts for about 56 percent of France’s gross domestic product, in contrast to 44 percent in Germany and 40 percent in the United States, according to Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics arm.

“There are too many government functionaries,” Mr. Jouve said as he demonstrated magic tricks to a customer. Referring to the city officials who come to measure the dimensions of his storefront painting, he said, “They make up jobs for themselves.”
 … “The state has put in place a system,” said Salvatore Garaffa-Botta, a butcher and the deputy secretary of the largest union in St.-Étienne, the C.G.T. “But we are also slaves to this system.”