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.”

Obama’s disdain for his political opponents: Republicans now have the opportunity to pass the agenda they campaigned on in large part because the Obama progressives were so uncompromising and condescending to Americans beyond the coasts

Donald Trump’s victory is already inspiring reflection about the future of the Republican Party, and rightly so 
writes Wall Street Journal,
but Democrats don’t seem to be undertaking any similar introspection.

 … Too many liberals, and some conservatives, simply cannot imagine how great numbers of Americans think and perceive their own interests. Thus wrong opinions must be the result of cognitive limitations or character flaws. Mrs. Clinton called Trump supporters “deplorables,” “irredeemable” and “not America,” as if there could be no other explanation.

These failures of empathy are also a staple of Mr. Obama’s rhetoric, with his moral lectures about who we are as Americans and the arc of history always bending toward—well, his point of view. For the President, and most prominent Democrats these days, opponents who debate policies and principles never do so in good faith.

For eight long years Mr. Obama’s belief that he holds the mandate of heaven has guided how he has used and abused presidential power. He was elected in 2008 on a message of hope and centrist unity, but he was soon ramming through 40 years of pent-up progressive priorities. Recall his famous 2009 brush-off of Republican Eric Cantor, who had proposed some bipartisan ideas for the stimulus: “Eric, I won.”

Democrats imposed ObamaCare on a straight partisan majority, though the polls showed there was no political consensus about a new entitlement among the oft-invoked, rarely consulted American people. National health care is no more popular today and is now misfiring in all the ways the critics predicted. The GOP was frozen out of all major economic decisions in 2009-10, and one price was the weak recovery that persists to this day.

Democrats did have a historic supermajority, but that wasn’t a mandate to do whatever they could get away with, and they lost a record 63 House seats in the midterms as punishment.

 … In his second term, Mr. Obama adopted his “pen and phone” strategy of executive rule to bypass Congress and avoid accountability. He unleashed the EPA to impose carbon cap and trade without basis in law. The Education Department rewrote Title IX to erode due process on campus. The Paris climate deal and Iran nuclear accord should have been submitted to the Senate as treaties for ratification.

 … Mr. Trump and Republicans … now have [the opportunity to pass the agenda they campaigned on] in large part because the Obama progressives were so uncompromising and condescending to Americans beyond the coasts. The tides of American politics mean Democrats will inevitably make a comeback, but that return will arrive stronger and maybe sooner if they learn the lessons of Mr. Obama’s disdain for his political opponents.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

With the A380 Selling Badly, Airbus to Slash 1,000 Jobs Across Europe

As Airbus gets ready to cut 1,000 jobs among its European workforce, Le Monde's Guy Dutheil informs its readers that, because airlines are dissatisfied with the A380 (due to its high cost), built to compete with Boeing's 747 jumbo jet, its flagship is selling badly and the company is to slash its production by half.
Clap de fin programmée ou atterrissage en douceur pour l’A380 ? Le plus gros avion commercial du monde, chouchou des passagers, connaît des heures difficiles.

A la surprise générale, en juillet, en plein Salon aéronautique de Farnborough (Royaume-Uni), au moment où les avionneurs mesurent leur puissance à la longueur de leurs carnets de commandes, Fabrice Brégier, le PDG d’Airbus, annonçait un coup de frein dans la production des A380. L’entreprise veut la réduire de moitié. Dès 2018, il ne sortira plus des chaînes de montage qu’un seul exemplaire du superjumbo contre deux aujourd’hui. La raison en est simple : le navire amiral d’Airbus se vend peu ou mal.

A sa création, les cieux semblaient pourtant cléments pour le futur quadrimoteur. C’est le 18 décembre 2000 qu’Airbus frappe les trois coups de l’A380. Singapore Airlines devient alors la compagnie de lancement du nouvel avion. Selon ses vœux, le projet « 3XX », nom de code de l’appareil, se transforme officiellement en A380. Singapore Airlines a choisi le 8, un chiffre porte-bonheur en Asie. La mise en chantier du futur gros-porteur fait grand bruit.
In a twin article, Guy Dutheil writes:
C’est que, depuis des années déjà, [les compagnies aériennes] ne sont pas pleinement satisfaites par cet avion, qui, s’il est l’un des préférés des passagers, se révèle coûteux (son prix catalogue est de 428 millions de dollars).