UNEXPECTEDLY: Rebound in U.S. durable goods orders below expectations.
UNEXPECTEDLY: Media Silent on the Clinton Mortgage Banking Scam.
Read the whole thing.
THE WORD “UNEXPECTEDLY” MAKES ITS EXPECTED APPEARANCE IN THIS STORY: Weak U.S. retail sales, inflation data reinforce Fed caution on rates.
U.S. retail sales unexpectedly fell in March as households cut back on purchases of automobiles and other items, further evidence that economic growth stumbled in the first quarter.
Other data on Wednesday showed a surprise drop in producer prices last month as rising energy prices were offset by a decline in the cost of services.
The two reports suggested the Federal Reserve will probably not raise interest rates until later this year.
“The data solidifies the well-entrenched narrative of a very weak first quarter for the U.S. economy. For the Federal Reserve … it argues for continued caution,” said Millan Mulraine, deputy chief economist at TD Securities in New York.
But maybe this is the year we finally get that Summer of Recovery.
No really, for some this news apparently was unexpected: “UK Equalities Chief Who Popularised The Term ‘Islamophobia’ Admits: ‘I Thought Muslims Would Blend into Britain… I Should Have Known Better.’”
Flashback: “Labour’s ‘secret plan’ to lure migrants — The Government has been accused of pursuing a secret policy of encouraging mass immigration for its own political ends.”
THE NEW YORK TIMES ON WHY TRUMP’S ANTIWAR MESSAGE RESONATES WITH WHITE AMERICA.
That’s odd – Ctrl-F “Obama” brings back zero results.
New orders for U.S. factory goods fell in February and business spending on capital goods was much weaker than initially thought, the latest indications that economic growth slowed further in the first quarter.
The Commerce Department said on Monday new orders for manufactured goods declined 1.7 percent as demand fell broadly, reversing January’s downwardly revised 1.2 percent increase. Orders have declined in 14 of the last 19 months. They were previously reported to have increased 1.6 percent in January.
The department also said orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft fell by a steeper 2.5 percent in February instead of the 1.8 percent drop reported last month.
These dismal industrial numbers, plus continued weakness in consumer spending, just don’t seem to square with the official unemployment rate of 5%.
EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN! Wall Street’s latest dirty word—stagflation:
A tightening labor market and rising inflation against a backdrop of slowing overall growth are painting an increasingly stagflationary picture for the U.S. economy.
Stagflation, or conditions in which costs are rising but growth is not, last was seen in the 1970s, before then-Fed Chair Paul Volcker had to push the economy into recession to slay the inflation dragon.
Now, with a variety of factors coming together to show inflationary-deflationary cross currents, Wall Street is bracing for another battle.
Welcome back Carter! Although as someone once warned, when it comes to foreign, domestic, and economic issues, “at this point a Carter rerun is probably a best-case scenario.”
(Incidentally, note that CTL-F “Carter” brings up zero returns in the above CNBC article. “Unexpectedly.”)
UNEXPECTEDLY: Report: New Obamacare enrollees sicker and costlier.
“Correction: sicker and pricier than YOU expected,” Iowahawk responds to CNN’s coverage of the same report.
As a reminder, in the fall of 2009, CNN featured a choir of school kids harmonizing in service of our Glorious Leader and the Obamacare wonders to come.
MISTER, WE COULD USE A MAN LIKE GEORGE W. BUSH AGAIN: Obama will leave his successor more Middle East disasters than he inherited.
CHOCOLATE RATION INCREASED: Previously Owned U.S. Home Sales Decline More Than Forecast.
Closings on existing homes, which usually take place a month or two after a contract is signed, decreased 7.1 percent to a three-month low 5.08 million annual rate after a 5.47 million pace in January, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. Sales were weaker than the most pessimistic forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists.
Faster growth in residential real estate is being hampered by a limited selection of available properties that has led to higher offering prices. While mortgage rates are attractive, affordability remains an issue for potential first-time and lower-income buyers whose participation would help broaden the market’s improvement.
“This number seems to suggest the trend may be a little weaker than we thought,” said David Sloan, senior economist at 4cast Inc. in New York. “Supply is fairly limited, so that is a restraint on sales.”
The Administration’s response to the popped real estate bubble was to blow the bubble back up, and now younger buyers are getting priced out of the market.
“RECENT EVENTS,” AKA, “THIS IS KNOWN AS BAD LUCK:” Regarding “Earth Hour,” “Fads come and go,” Tim Blair writes. “This year was a little different. For a start, some Europeans cities decided against turning off their street lights due to what one official described as ‘recent events’. Explaining that ‘Earth Hour is a good and important arrangement’, Swedish politician AnnSofie Andersson nevertheless cancelled the usual lights-out ceremony in the city of Ostersund. ‘This year we chose to keep the streets lit because of the recent events.’”
By that, Andersson means a surge in sexual assaults and other crimes blamed — with good reason — on Sweden’s new and extremely numerous Middle Eastern refugee population.
“The police think it’s a very wise move and that the municipality made a good decision,” Chief Constable Stephen Jerand said of the city’s decision.
“Keeping the lights on creates security and is in line with our common efforts to increase security under current conditions. “Under current conditions” is Euro-talk for “during all of these Islamic rapes, attacks and robberies”.
They’ve got a very different way of expressing themselves over there.
Or as they say over here since January of 2009, whenever any bad news strikes that could impact our semi-retired president’s poll numbers, “Unexpectedly.”
(Classical reference in headline.)
Russian President Vladimir Putin pulled his military out of Syria for economic reasons, former U.N. ambassador Bill Richardson said during an interview with John Catsimatidis Sunday.
“I think he’s up to something again,” Richardson said. “It could be Syria is a big burden on Russia … The Russian economy is in trouble. I think he may feel overextended.”
Earlier this week Putin unexpectedly announced that Moscow’s objectives in the country had been “generally accomplished” and Russia would begin withdrawing from Syria.
But Richardson, the U.S. Ambassador to United Nations and Energy Secretary under the Clinton administration, questioned Putin’s intentions.
Keep your eye on Ukraine, and the Baltics.
Violent crime is up in New York under de Blasio? Other than pretty much everybody, who could have seen this coming?
WHAT WE NEED IS A DIALOGUE ON PUNISHING FALSE ACCUSERS AND THOSE WHO ENABLE THEM: The ‘it started a dialogue’ excuse for false accusations.
Falsely accusing someone of a crime is never okay and society should never excuse it. Sadly, today’s culture allows anyone to accuse someone of rape or racism and seek forgiveness by claiming the false accuser just wanted to “start a dialogue.”
In the recent race hoax at State University of New York at Albany, where three black women started a fight on a bus and accused a dozen white people of attacking them for being black, a professor at the school claimed they were justified because they started a conversation on race.
“My white students have said this has opened up conversations,” said Sami Schalk, an assistant professor in SUNY Albany’s English department. “Things that are inadvertent, small, but that these white students have no experience with, not being a person of color on this campus.”
The three women who claimed to be the victims of a racial attack are currently being charged with assault (as videos show one of them threw the first punch) and filing a false report.
Another recent hoax, this one involving a lesbian professor at Central Michigan University who claimed she was attacked for her sexuality by a man at a Tony Keith concert, also included the “starting a dialogue” excuse. Professor Mari Poindexter said she made up the story (and punched herself in the eye to fake evidence) “because she wanted to raise awareness about the social hardships of people in the LGBTQ+ community.”
After Rolling Stone’s article about an alleged gang-rape at the University of Virginia was proven to be a hoax, media outlets — including MTV — rushed to suggest that the article “may have unintentionally started a conversation that’s bigger than the controversy itself.”
Oddly, but not unexpectedly, that “conversation” was not about avoiding a rush to judgment when accusations check all the boxes in preferred narratives, but about accusers needing to be believed.
When they say “it started a dialogue,” what they really mean is “it enabled our monologue.”
FALLACIES DO NOT CEASE TO BE FALLACIES BECAUSE THEY BECOME FASHIONS, as G.K. Chesterton said: “Now that the Oregon legislature has hiked the minimum wage, effective this July, colleges and universities in the state have a decision to make: hire fewer student employees, cut the school’s budget, or raise tuition.”
Too bad they no longer study Chesterton or Kipling there, as the Gods of the Copybook Headings wouldn’t be at all surprised at this “unexpected” development. (aka “Bad Luck,” as Heinlein would say. I doubt he’s read much there either, at least in class.) As Richard Samuelson notes on Twitter, “If students didn’t expect $15 minimum wage to hurt jobs, University should fire entire econ dept.”
Hey, the New York Times has a Nobel-winning economist (and former Enron consultant) on staff, and Bloomberg was started by a former general partner at one of Wall Street’s biggest bond trading houses, and since January of 2009, they’ve been constantly surprised by “unexpectedly” bad economic news; why should their junior wannabe counterparts in college be any different?
UNEXPECTEDLY: Walmart’s customers are too broke to shop. Fundamentally transformed!
On the losing side of automation, globalization and the “rural brain drain” our community was powerless to stop furniture factories from closing down or Wal-Mart from coming in. And after decades of decline folks were too beaten down and disorganized to fight back when pharmaceutical companies flooded the area with OxyContin. As a result, Wilkes had the third highest overdose rate in America in 2007 and busted 50 meth labs in 2013. [Overdose rates dropped 69 percent by 2011 after North Carolina responded to the crisis.]
Now, I walk into the courtroom every week and see the faces of childhood friends in a town where 23 percent of the population lives in poverty and 25 percent never finished high school.
So if there are winners and losers in America, I know the losers. They lost jobs to China and Vietnam. And they’re dying younger, caught in an endless cycle of jail, drug charges and applying for disability to pay the child support bill.
They lost their influence, their dignity and their shot at the American Dream, and now they’re angry. They’re angry at Washington and Wall Street, at big corporations and big government. And they’re voting now for Donald Trump.
My Republican friends are for Trump. My state representative is for Trump. People who haven’t voted in years are for Trump. He’ll win the primary here on March 15 and he will carry this county in the general.
His supporters realize he’s a joke. They do not care. They know he’s authoritarian, nationalist, almost un-American, and they love him anyway, because he disrupts a broken political process and beats establishment candidates who’ve long ignored their interests.
Read the whole thing. At this point, a lot of Americans hate our political class more than they love America, and that’s not a good thing, but at this point, it’s also kind of understandable, no? I’ve been warning for a long time about the consequences of having a lousy political class.
Now other people are noticing. “The rise of Trump, love him or hate him, conveys an inescapable message: The United States’ political institutions are in decay, and voters are angry at a government that they perceive (correctly) to be broken.”
That’s true. The solution there isn’t very well thought out, nor is the anger at “tax cuts” (where’s mine?) but here’s a thought: When you have a society that can’t do things that need to be done because every change threatens somebody’s rice bowl or offers insufficient opportunities for graft, you’ve got a society that is due for a reset, not for incremental change.
The thing is, resets are often kind of ugly.
EPIC WHINE BY CLUELESS MILLENNIAL GETS HER FIRED. As Rick Moran writes, former Yelp employee Talia Jane’s “first huge mistake was moving to San Francisco. It might be nice to live in your dream city where the weather is nice and you’re close to your dad, but seriously, how could anyone expect to work a minimum wage job in one of the most expensive cities in the world? It’s incomprehensible and shows a critical lack of understanding of the outside world.”
Don’t be too hard on her, Rick. Between a looming $15 minimum wage, public nudity, gun control, their “sanctuary city” policy on illegal immigration, and treating the homeless like they were an endangered species – and then openly wondering why all these crazy homeless people keep flocking to the city, San Francisco’s elites spend their days in a world of magical thinking. We shouldn’t be too surprised when a young person there does so as well.
Related: Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman “admits the cost of living in San Francisco is ‘far too high’ as one of his employees complains she can barely afford to eat.”
But that’s just the way that San Francisco’s “Progressive” elites like it. In a 2014 article at Reason titled “How San Francisco’s Progressive Policies Are Hurting the Poor,” Scott Beyer noted, “Progressive economic policies—or at least the way they are applied in San Francisco, without apparent knowledge of government bureaucracy’s pitfalls—have…caused higher taxes and living costs, poor services, regulatory barriers to entry, and a loss of economic freedom. This creates a system that the rich can endure, and sometimes exploit to their benefit, but that poorer people cannot abide, helping to explain San Francisco’s further plunge into stark class division.”
Unexpectedly, as the house organ of a billionaire socialist technocrat would say.
QUESTION ASKED AND ANSWERED: “How can I survive in the Bay Area with $400k family income?”
The brutal, complete answer: don’t procreate. Sure, you may be the smart, thoughtful sort of person that humanity absolutely needs in its gene pool, but Silicon Valley doesn’t want you in its gene pool: you don’t make enough to own a house in a top school district. It’s sending you a clear economic signal. So, you have two options.
The first is to leave Silicon Valley. It’s expensive, exclusive, obsessed with power and success with no concern for how they are achieved, and an utterly terrible place to raise children– unless you want your kids to be the sort who bawl when you give them, as a 16th birthday present, a car that’s “only” $35,000, because the doors “open like this instead of this”. Unless you have no hope of getting a comparable income (say, $250,000 or up, considering cost of living) in Boulder, Chicago, Austin, Seattle, Boston, or New York… (ok, New York probably requires more than $300k to raise a family) I don’t know why you would stay there. The Bay Area’s fine when you’re 22 and need to establish yourself, because the benefits of being in Corporate HQ if you work at, say, Google or Apple, are pretty massive. If you haven’t made fuck-you money (so you can say “fuck you” to all the insufferable people in Silicon Valley, and even if they have more power and wealth than you, it doesn’t matter because you have enough) by child-raising age, I don’t know why you’re still there. It’s not a mark of failure to leave Silicon Valley. (Hey, I know plenty of really smart people and, statistically, most of them will never get anywhere close to $400,000.) It’s a mark of good judgment. San Francisco is just OK, and the rest of the Valley is an overrated, unattractive suburban tract. Sure, the Bay Area has an incredible 3-hour-drive radius… Napa Valley, Big Sur, Yosemite… but, let’s be honest, it takes a vacation to really enjoy a place like that and, if you lived elsewhere, the money saved on not paying Bay Area housing costs would easily cover airfare and hotels, anywhere you want to go.
And note this: “The economic signal that our society sends is that it doesn’t need or want more children.” Well, that’s certainly the signal that the Bay Area sends. It’s not a coincidence that for years, San Francisco has had the lowest percentage of children of any major US city.
“Unexpectedly,” as Bloomberg News might say, though not by anyone who’s perused the (NSFW!) back catalog of the Bay Area blogger known as Zombie.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Ex-NY Gov. Eliot Spitzer being investigated for assaulting woman.
Curiously, at least in the initial version of the Daily News’ article, Spitzer’s party goes “unexpectedly” unmentioned.
That’s so odd — CTL-F “Clinton” brings zero returns in the article text. Unexpectedly!
(Via John Nolte.)
Sen. Bernard Sanders’ surprisingly strong candidacy for president has laid bare a sharp division within the Democratic coalition, pitting its activist base against the moderate-minded establishment.
It’s a split Republicans — especially the ones focused on winning down-ballot races this fall — are now racing to exploit.
The GOP is betting that the ideological fight at the top of the Democratic ticket will filter down the ballot, exposing incumbents and establishment-favored candidates to thorny questions about their support — or lack thereof — of the self-described socialist and his polarizing agenda. The idea: Either candidates disavow support for the Vermont senator and alienate supposed progressive allies, or they embrace Sanders and suffer the consequences in November when Republicans tie them to politically problematic issues such as single-payer health care. In effect, it mirrors the approach Democrats have taken in recent presidential elections, when they have successfully tied Republican candidates to the sometimes damaging positions of their party’s standard-bearer.
The strategy has special resonance now, after Sanders’s unexpectedly strong second-place showing in the Iowa caucuses. And for a party whose candidates have been relentlessly pressed for months about Donald Trump, there’s a palpable sense of relief and delight in giving Democrats a presidential headache of their own — one they hope lasts beyond even Sanders’s White House bid.
The Democrats’ problems have been underplayed.
SHAKEUP AT CAMP CLINTON: “Having learned apparently nothing from her top-heavy, expensive, and ultimately doomed 2008 campaign, Hillary Clinton is set for a shakeup just like the one following her first unexpectedly bad Iowa result eight years ago,” Steve Green writes in his PJM Column.
And when Hillary’s lost Politico’s sycophantic Glenn “Badass” Thrush, you know she’s hit an iceberg.
NEARLY TEN PERCENT OF COUNTRY UNEMPLOYED UNDER OBAMA, BERNIE SANDERS CLAIMS:
“There’s another government statistic that comes out at the same time that does not often get reported, which looks at unemployment not only for those who don’t have jobs, but those who are working part-time when they want to work full-time,” Sanders said at an event in Manchester, N.H.
“And that’s a lot of people in this country. And those people in high unemployment areas who have given up looking for work,” he added. “When you add all that together, you’ve got 9.9 percent unemployment, which is a serious problem.”
And speaking of “All the President’s Stenographers,” naturally The Hill soft-pedals Sanders’ claim under the milquetoast headline, “Sanders lukewarm on jobs report.”
Unexpectedly — as Obama’s stenographers at Bloomberg have been saying since early 2009 whenever there’s bad economic news.
UNEXPECTEDLY: Clinton struggles again among younger voters.
UNEXPECTEDLY: “Hiring at restaurants, hotels and other leisure and hospitality sector venues slowed markedly last year in metro areas that saw big minimum-wage hikes, new Labor Department data show. Wherever cities implemented big minimum-wage hikes to $10 an hour or more last year, the latest data through December show that job creation downshifted to the slowest pace in at least five years.”
On the plus side, it’s likely doing wonders for the robotics and automation industries.
THEY’RE VAST AND THICK: The Unexpectedly Chronicles So much for GOP hating Blacks & Hispanics.
UNEXPECTEDLY: Venezuela is on the brink of a complete economic collapse.
UNEXPECTEDLY: Fourth quarter growth was anemic.
UNEXPECTEDLY: The murder capital of Britain is revealed to be a sleepy Lincolnshire town – which is also home to the highest increase of migrants in the country.
WHERE’S THE WORLD’S SMALLEST VIOLIN WHEN YOU NEED IT? The sky is falling on print newspapers faster than you think:
Nearly everyone in publishing with whom I shared the 2015 paid figures found them surprisingly low. There is no question that they are dramatically lower than the widely available 2013 numbers.
Yet another reminder, that as Reason’s Matt Welch noted in 2012, when it comes to the first draft of history, it’s largely being written by the losers.
UNEXPECTEDLY: Lookit my shocked face! Obama’s prisoner swap will help Iran arm Assad, Hezbollah.
Shot: “When South Vietnam fell…the North captured a treasure trove of American tanks, trucks and other equipment sitting in warehouses.”
—“Lessons of Vietnam — How to avoid a repeat, and why it’s crucial to do so,” Brendan Miniter, the Wall Street Journal, January 2, 2007
Chaser: “According to Reuters, the U.S.-made weaponry that fell into enemy hands including 2,300 Humvee armored vehicles, at least 40 M1A1 main battle tanks, 74,000 machine guns, and as many as 52 M198 howitzer mobile gun systems, plus small arms and ammunition.”
—“U.S. Shoots Itself In the Foot By Accidentally Arming ISIS,” the Fiscal Times, June 4th, 2015.
To be fair, “accidentally” is a perfectly cromulent substitute for the adverb “unexpectedly.”
EVEN THE GODS OF THE COPYBOOK HEADINGS SHOP AT WALMART: February 2015: Walmart Raises Wages Above Minimum; January 2016: Walmart Closes 154 Stores.
Which happened to run alongside the Alabama-Clemson College Football Playoff title game, to ensure that no one would see it, much like the DNC’s presidential “debates” this year.
THE HANGOVER FROM 2009 CONTINUES: Washington Post admits that, no: electric cars were NOT worth it.
UNEXPECTEDLY: Bay Area Job Growth Slows After Minimum-Wage Hikes:
The pace of hiring in the leisure and hospitality sector fell to a five-year low for the Bay Area last month, Labor Department data show. Job gains have slowed to less than half the rate that preceded Oakland’s and San Francisco’s adoption last spring of the highest citywide minimum wage in country.
After rising close to 5% a year, hiring at restaurants, hotels and other leisure sector venues rose just 2.2% from a year ago in November. Meanwhile, in the rest of California, where the minimum wage is generally $3.25 below the $12.25-an-hour level set in Oakland and San Francisco, leisure and hospitality employment rose 4.9%.
The data suggest potential employment headwinds from the higher minimum wage, which jumped 36% in Oakland and 14% in San Francisco. On top of that, Oakland’s minimum wage is set to rise to $12.55 in January while San Francisco’s will jump to $13 in July.
Also in news of fresh disaster from the formerly Golden State, What Price Will Californians Pay for Decent Roads?
Of course, all that deferred maintenance on some of the worst roads in the nation now also helps Jerry Brown sell his party-like-its-1899 fantasy of “high speed rail” to connect the state, the ultimate “desire named streetcar,” given all of its potential for graft and eminent domain abuse:
(Via Betsy Newmark.)
THESE MISCONCEPTIONS JUST KEEP HAPPENING TO HIM SO “UNEXPECTEDLY” DON’T THEY? Obama dubbed “Muslim of the Year” by Judicial Watch founder Larry Klayman.
Curiously, those grinding their teeth the loudest at Klayman’s article probably retweeted the largest number of “We Are All Muslim” hashtags last week.
Earlier this year, I read Geoff Emerick’s autobiography Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles on the Kindle, which, as the title implies, focuses on his career engineering the Beatles’ albums from Revolver to Abbey Road (with a timeout when he quit working with the group after he was fed up being their whipping boy during the tension-filled “White Album”). While the book is obviously aimed towards recording anoraks, Emerick gives a real sense of the internal politics of the group. It’s obvious that by the end of the Beatles, Harrison and Lennon chafed at essentially being sidemen for Paul McCartney. Yet, as Emerick writes, when manager Brian Epstein unexpectedly died at age 32 in 1967, it was McCartney who held the group together for their final years, with Lennon too drug-addled and dissipated to exert leadership – instead, making Yoko a near permanent fixture in Abbey Road Studios was his passive-aggressive way of pushing back at McCartney.
And while the public’s perception after the Beatles broke up is that Ringo was the least-talented member of the band, in part thanks to his goofy hangdog persona created for A Hard Day’s Night, he was — and is — an extremely competent four to the bar drummer, and worked tirelessly in the studio for the many, many takes the Beatles took to perfect their backing tracks. In reality, as Emerick wrote, it was really George Harrison who was looked down upon as the weakest member of the group, particularly by both McCartney and producer George Martin, both in terms of his songwriting and his lead guitar playing. It was so bad for Harrison that Martin ultimately had McCartney play lead guitar on Harrison’s 1966 song “Taxman.” Granted — it’s an awesome solo (so good, that as Emerick writes, it was pasted into the fade out of the song as well), but it must have stung for Harrison to not play lead on his own song. One of the great subplots of the Beatles’ history is Harrison’s growth, by the end of the Beatles’ run as a group into a musician and songwriter on par with Lennon and McCartney — you can make a pretty strong case for his 1970 triple-album All Things Must Pass as being the best of the Beatles’ solo albums.
No wonder that when the surviving Beatles reunited for their 1995 Anthology video series, Harrison demanded Jeff Lynne to be producer on the two John Lennon demos they overdubbed new parts onto, rather than McCartney ally Martin.
And speaking of Beatles videos — will we ever see Let It Be on Blu-Ray? I’d love to finally retire my early ’80s VHS cassette copy, which I copied onto DVD-R a decade ago.
UNEXPECTEDLY: Coal Downturn Hammers Budgets in West Virginia and Wyoming. It’s not like someone made it his business to bankrupt coal plants, is it?
YEAH, NICE WEATHER CAN REALLY MESS UP YOUR SHOPPING EXPERIENCE. AP Blames Warm Weather For Slow Christmas Season Sales: “This morning, Anne D’Innocenzio at the Associated Press actually told readers that this year’s relatively warm Christmas season weather is what’s hurting Christmas shopping season sales. It couldn’t possibly be the ‘slowdown reality’ USA Today cited in headlining Friday’s second straight steep stock market drop, could it, Anne? Most other Americans participating in the real world have recognized the existence of a ‘slowdown reality’ for at least the past few months…Maybe, just maybe — no, make that probably — this ‘strategic buying’ behavior, which the press would likely consider alarming if it were occurring during a Republican or conservative presidential administration, is occurring because people don’t have a lot of discretionary money to spend because of the pathetic economy of the past seven years.”
NOT THE ONION: Obama Ends Press Conference So He Can Go Watch Star Wars (Video).
Semi-retired President Chauncey Gardiner certainly is a voracious consumer of pop culture escapism, isn’t he? No wonder his handlers likely demanded that the Times expunge its reference on Thursday night that “Mr. Obama indicated that he did not see enough cable television to fully appreciate the anxiety after the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino.”
(Say it with me — unexpectedly.)
BLOOMBERG: Why This Year’s Christmas Season Is So Angry:
Yup, it’s an angry Christmas, and it’s worth thinking about why. Something has changed to create such a shift in the public’s leanings, from taking a chance on Obama’s audacity of hope to delighting in Trump’s straight-up audacity. Fear of Islamic terrorism has something to do with it. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that achieved approximately nothing* and the stunning rise of China as a rival power have also left many Americans feeling confused and vulnerable. But the most potent fuel for Trumpism is undoubtedly the sick economy. A long stretch of underperformance** has seeded mistrust in the American Dream among millions of would-be breadwinners, especially people without college educations.
* Nice use of passive voice there, champ.
Unexpectedly! Or as they say around the Politico’s water cooler, “Badass.”
UNEXPECTEDLY: Released Gitmo Detainee Now an Al Qaeda Leader in Yemen.
UNEXPECTEDLY! CBO projects 2 million fewer jobs under ObamaCare. Remember, if you predicted this back when the bill was under debate, media “fact checkers” would ask the White House if that was going to happen, then give you four Pinocchios when the White House said no. And then call you racist.
All it would have taken to keep this from happening was for the people who were in power to take these issues seriously all along.
BLOOMBERG BUSINESS: Wal-Mart Sues Puerto Rico Over ‘Astonishing’ Tax Increases.
I started to ask, “is ‘astonishing’ the new “unexpectedly?”, and then realized the story was in Bloomberg Business, where bad economic news has been invariably appearing “unexpectedly” since oh, about January of 2009.
UNEXPECTEDLY: “Officials say San Bernardino shooter pledged allegiance to ISIS during attack,” Ed Morrissey writes, adding:
“Having a good amount of ammo doesn’t mean you’re planning an attack.” Interestingly, I discussed this with another attendee at the Bullets & Bourbon event I’m at this weekend, and we agree. It’s not uncommon to have a significant number of rounds in hand in order to have enough to train at a range on short notice. One person noted that he has a few thousand rounds in his house at the moment, and he’s certainly not planning an attack. However, I’m pretty sure the number of pipe bombs in his house is, oh … zero. That’s not the case with Farook and Malik, as the Washington Post noted prior to the revelation this morning about the pledge to ISIS:
Read the whole thing.
HEY, REMEMBER WHEN BILL CLINTON CLAIMED “WE’RE EISENHOWER REPUBLICANS HERE?” New Email: Podesta Rips Axelrod For ‘Totally Caving in to Right Wing Economics.’
If only that was true — both Obama and the nation would be doing better.
Speaking of which, Citibank warns of US recession next year:
As the U.S. economy enters its seventh year of expansion following the 2008-09 crisis, the probability of recession will reach 65 percent, Citi’s rates strategists wrote in their 2016 outlook published late on Tuesday. A rapid flattening of the bond yield curve towards inversion would be an key warning sign.
“The cumulative probability of U.S. recession reaches 65 percent next year,” Citi’s rates strategists wrote in their 2016 outlook published late on Tuesday. “Curve inversion will likely come more quickly than the consensus thinks.”
Unexpectedly, in other words. But have the last six years felt like a real economic recovery — “Morning in America,” to a coin a phrase — to you?
They’re probably still bitter that their efforts to draft John Cougar Mellencamp for the Senate never caught fire.
AP BLOCKED REPORT THAT PALESTINIANS REJECTED ISRAELI STATEHOOD OFFER. In 2009, “a long-time Jerusalem reporter learned of an Israeli offer that would give a majority of the West Bank and all of Gaza—including a corridor between them—to the Palestinians. But his scoop was blocked,” as former AP man Mark Lavie writes in his article at Tablet:
In March 2009, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat was interviewed in Arabic on Al-Jazeera. When I saw the MEMRI translation I immediately understood its significance: Erekat disclosed that Abbas had turned down an offer that would have given the Palestinians a state in almost all of the West Bank, all of Gaza, and parts of Jerusalem. Then I found out about the map. No one else had the story.
Excited about this scoop, I raced into my bureau chief’s office at the AP in Jerusalem. Imagine my shock when I was told it’s not a story—and I was banned from writing about it. It just couldn’t be a legitimate story, in line with the new definition of journalism.
The profession I joined in the 1960s wasn’t about helping anyone. It was about reporting and explaining the news. This new definition of journalism, apparently requires choosing sides. This became clear to me as long ago as 1988, at the beginning of the First Intifada, when I saw a reporter jump out of her car in the middle of a Gaza riot and shout at the Palestinians throwing rocks at the vehicle: “Why are you doing this? I’m trying to help you!” Like most Western media sources, she wanted to frame the uprising—the Palestinians as people—as helpless victims, to pillory the Israelis as the cruel oppressors. Stories that didn’t fit that framework had a hard time seeing the light of day. Even a peace offer.
So, naturally, despite the fact that Israel offered the Palestinians a state twice—in 2000 and 2008—the world saw Israel as the intransigent side. The 2008 proposal was largely unreported in world media.
WITH ALL EYES ON ISIS, IRAN ‘DRILLS’ ISRAEL’S DESTRUCTION.
Don’t worry, I’m sure they don’t mean it — and “unexpectedly,” neither does AP.
DEAR LIBERALS, STOP DEFENDING RACIST PROGRESSIVE WOODROW WILSON: “Surprisingly, the 28th president still has his defenders on the left,” Damon Root writes at Reason, although much like the MSM’s constant stream of “unexpectedly” bad economic news post-January of 2009, I’m not sure what’s “surprising” about Wilson’s sclerotic “Progressive” defenders:
Not everyone is quite so eager to see Wilson knocked off his pedestal, however. Writing at Politico Magazine this week, left-wing New York University professor Jonathan Zimmerman attempted to defend the beleaguered 28th president by reminding the ungrateful student activists about Wilson’s pioneering progressive agenda. Sure, Wilson may have been a racist, Zimmerman admitted, but “the Progressive doctrines espoused by Wilson” ushered in a new era of activist government that was ultimately “reflected” and enshrined in Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. Wilson was a founding father of modern liberalism, Zimmerman insisted, and therefore “deserves a good deal of credit” for improving the lives of “America’s poor and dispossessed, including minorities.”
I never cease to be amazed when I encounter this sort of liberal apologia for Woodrow Wilson. This is the same Woodrow Wilson, after all, who imposed Jim Crow on the federal government, praised segregation, glorified the Ku Klux Klan, spied on innocent Americans, censored the mail, trashed the Bill of Rights, and imprisoned multiple critics for the “crimes” of giving speeches, writing editorials, and distributing pamphlets. As H.L. Mencken once remarked about the ugly record of another unlikely liberal hero, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., “If this is Liberalism, then all I can say is that Liberalism is not what it was when I was young.”
Well, it’s not – Mencken wrote that sentence around 1930; as Fred Siegel wrote in his 2014 book, The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism Has Undermined the Middle Class, in order to put a fresh PR spin on their ideology after the horrors of the Wilson administration, the self-described “Progressives” of the 20th century’s early years began to call themselves “liberals” instead during the previous decade — a huge stolen base, considering that there’s a vast difference between the traditional laissez-faire meaning of classical liberalism and the racism, eugenics, and “moral equivalent of war” obsessions of “Progressivism.”
Apparently Hillary thought all of that baggage was forgotten by 2007, when she decided that due to the L-word’s own accumulated history from 1933 to the present, she rebranded herself as “a proud modern American progressive, and I think that’s the kind of philosophy and practice that we need to bring back to American politics.”
Mission accomplished, and then some, Hillary — a racist like Woodrow Wilson would be astonished that a black man was president, but he’d find much to admire in Mr. Obama’s own racialism, corporatism, foreign policy utopianism, and the chaos and riots that he’s sewn since 2009.
UNEXPECTEDLY: LePen Leads First Presidential Poll After Paris Killings. And note this:
Europe’s far-Right will gain a lot of strength after the Paris attacks—and for that, you can largely blame the centrists.
Not surprisingly, figures like Marine Le Pen are making hay. Just after the attacks, Le Pen called for the “immediate halt” of the admission of refugees. Hungarian President Viktor Orban crowed that he was right all along. But in doing this, the far-Right is essentially doing what it’s always done. And what gives it oxygen is also the same thing as ever: The centrists declare any discussion of immigration (other than “it’s wonderful!”) off-limits, and so drive concerned voters to where they otherwise would not go.
Even in the wake of Paris, Euro-centrists couldn’t seem to stop preening, impugning their own citizenry, and generally insisting that all must go on as before. Less than a day after the attacks, EU President Jean-Claude Juncker declared that, “there is no need for an overall review of the European policy on refugees.” And while President Hollande has taken an admirably tough line on foreign policy and European matters, on November 18 he declared that France would increase its refugee intake over the next two years, to 30,000, in a speech whose upshot was that “France should remain as it is. Our duty is to carry on our lives.” Everything can go on the same as before, at the very least.
There may be both strategic and humanitarian arguments in favor of continuing to admit refugees, but the rhetorical tone on display from several of Europe’s highest-profile centrists, before and after the attacks, has seemed almost designed to alienate concerned citizens.
Hope is not a plan, and virtue-signalling is not a policy. American political elites have enabled the rise of Trump in much the same fashion.
SWEET HOME, CHICAGO:
…And here we go:
—Allahpundit, at Hot Air.
—Steve Bartin, Newsalert. (And a reminder to a suddenly and “unexpectedly” incurious MSM: “This ‘Mayor of Chicago’ who suppressed Laquan McDonald tape was Obama’s WH Chief of Staff, Chairman of House Dem Caucus, & Chairman of DCCC.”
—Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit.
—Ace of Spades.
And finally, good advice from John Nolte, as the media gets ready to whip up a hot fresh riot in time for Thanksgiving (and in honor of the one year anniversary of last year’s holiday season riots): “Praying for my many family members in Chicago. Told them if they see any CNN trucks, they need to run.”
UNEXPECTEDLY: Clock Kid Ahmed Mohamed Wants $15 Million in Damages.
Iowahawk suggests that the city of Irving, Texas “Pay him in 50% off Radio Shack coupons.”
Most importantly for Colbert, he’s found a niche in offering what the Jimmys can’t really offer (particularly Fallon): consistent political satire and more substantive interviews with big political guests (his interview with Joe Biden as the vice president openly displayed his inner conflict on running for for president was widely-praised in this space and pretty much everywhere else). But therein lies the rub: most sit-downs with politicians don’t exactly result in riveting television (outliers like Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton to a lesser extent notwithstanding). And Colbert has shown almost no willingness to hit both sides of the aisle even close to equally… it’s simply not in his DNA.
Consequently, according to a Hollywood Reporter poll just released, Colbert has successfully alienated self-described Republicans who see what’s being offered on a nightly basis and exploring or staying with other options. And with the country as polarized as it is, the host is thereby saying goodbye to half his potential audience, which can’t be a sound business model.
Per The Hollywood Reporter‘s survey of 1000 late-night viewers aged 18-65, only 17 percent of those identified themselves as Republican watch Colbert, while attracting 47 percent of those who identify as Democrats, a 30-point gap. But more liberals watch late-night TV than stuffy, old conservatives, right? Guess again. In Kimmel’s case, the split is 34 percent Democrats, 33 percent Republicans. In Fallon’s case, it’s 36-31 Democrats.
Why so even-keeled? Because Kimmel and Fallon go through great lengths to be apolitical. To equally mock or simply find other props and topics to use for comedy outside of political humor and (oftentimes in Colbert’s case) commentary on how stupid/awful/inept Republicans are. It’s a smart approach if the goal is to reach as broad as audience as possible, something Colbert never cared to achieve going back to his Comedy Central days and The Colbert Report. In character, out of character… Colbert is Colbert. And that’s fine on Comedy Central, even downright expected. But network TV? Not so much…
The ratings result of said approach is now beginning to come to fruition as the bloom comes off the rose ten weeks since his debut.
Who could have seen this coming? Err, lots of people — including me. As I wrote a year and half ago when Colbert was first announced as Letterman’s successor, CBS forgot the lessons of the 1996 HBO movie The Late Shift, based on the best-selling book by the New York Times’ Bill Carter on how NBC forced Johnny Carson’s hand and pushed the increasingly isolated and emotionally brittle king of late night TV into retirement, and chose Jay Leno, rather than Carson’s hand-picked successor David Letterman to replace him:
What particularly makes The Late Shift such an interesting film is that when it was originally shot, it looked like CBS got the better of the deal, with Letterman dominating the ratings. As it turns out, according to the Internet Database:
Subsequent airings after the initial release have added an additional epilogue on how the Hugh Grant interview boosted Jay Leno’s ratings past David Letterman’s.
Thus Littlefield and Agoglia [the NBC executives who chose cheerful lovable Jay Leno over the cranky neurotic David Letterman to replace Carson], despite being portrayed as Machiavellian manipulators on massive scale, end up looking like rather smart guys, in spite of themselves.
* * * * * * * *
Letterman’s retirement would be the perfect time for CBS to find a host to replace who connects with Middle America, the massive audience that Letterman and CBS’s late night division chose to abandon. Instead, by going with Colbert, CBS chose to continue to alienate this large group of viewers. Or worse, “CBS Declares War on Heartland of America,” as Rush Limbaugh said yesterday. “Why would CBS hire such a divisive host who is already failing in Late Night?”, John Nolte pondered yesterday. “All about the left holding on to the culture.”
As I wrote last year, “The early-1990s CBS executives portrayed in The Late Shift left the former ‘Tiffany’ network shortly after hiring Letterman. Too bad their successors seemed determined to live out their predecessor’s mistakes, in a seemingly unending ideological loop.”
WHAT COULD GO WRONG? “Obama administration counter-terrorism officials have trained domestic Homeland Security law enforcement officers to focus on the behavior of people entering the United States, rather than their political, ideological or religious background,” Kerry Picket writes at the Daily Caller:
“‘Are you a member of the Muslim Brotherhood? What school of Islamic law do you follow? Where do you go to mosque? Do you believe someone who insults Islam deserves to be killed? Would you like to make America an Islamic country?’ All of these questions — the most important ones — are off-limits,” Reaboi said.
UNEXPECTEDLY: “The three candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination had different ideas at Saturday night’s Iowa debate about what to call terrorists — but they wanted to leave ‘Islamist’ out of any descriptor.”
But as his time as a CBS correspondent, anchor of Face the Nation and writer for Slate and Time magazine Dickerson has advised Barack Obama to “destroy the GOP,” told Hillary Clinton she was “transparent” on the e-mail scandal, and urged the ultra-liberal Elizabeth Warren to join the 2016 race.
On the other hand, he chided the Benghazi committee for “fighting like cats and dogs” and called CNBC editor Rick Santelli’s rallying cry that inspired the Tea Party movement “clownish.”
Nope, no bias there.
UNEXPECTEDLY! TERRORIST LEADER CAUGHT HIDING AMONG ‘MIGRANTS’ — “Angela Merkel is probably the only person in Europe who didn’t know this would happen.”
UNEXPECTEDLY! New Yorkers Face Hard Decisions After Collapse of Health Republic Insurance. “If anyone could manage to obtain treatment under the Affordable Care Act, it should have been Liz Jackson. With a severe nerve condition that forced her out of a job, Ms. Jackson did not just qualify for a government-subsidized plan, but she also knew her way around the new system, having been trained as a volunteer ‘health care navigator’ to help others sign up. Yet the collapse of her insurer, Health Republic Insurance of New York — the largest of 12 health care co-ops nationwide set to close this year — has left her and more than 200,000 others in a panic over medical coverage after their plan ceases on Nov. 30.”
Plus: “’I’m an advocate for the health care law,’ said Ms. Jackson, who lives in Harlem. ‘And if I can’t navigate this, who can?’”
It’s as if the whole ObamaCare thing was just a politicized Potemkin village.
UNEXPECTEDLY! Cost Of Cheapest ObamaCare Plans Is Soaring.
Contrary to expectations, the mandate really doesn’t seem to be doing much to get people to buy insurance, at least yet (the penalty is set to go up again this year, and that may get people to pay attention). The subsidies, on the other hand, clearly have a large effect, which is why the customer base for the exchanges is so disproportionately composed of folks who are getting large amounts of taxpayer assistance to buy insurance. Anything that increases the gap between the cost of the insurance and the subsidy they are getting is therefore worrisome, if you want the exchanges to get and stay healthy.
It is possible to find out what different rates are being charged by insurers in many states; I have a giant spreadsheet of the 2016 rate increases for those states that make them available, and boy does that make me popular at cocktail parties. Unfortunately, we still don’t know what rate increases people are facing, because we don’t know what individuals had in 2015, or what they’ll buy in 2016.
This is frustrating. But a consulting company, Avalere Health, has provided at least slightly more data than we had before, supplementing the administration’s release of the information on benchmark plans by looking at the cost of the cheapest Bronze and Silver policies. It’s still far more limited than one would like, but looking at those rates does give us additional information.
The biggest thing they tell us is that, as I suspected when I wrote about the CMS release, the whole bottom of the market is undergoing a fairly massive repricing. In most states, the cost of the cheapest Silver plan, relative to the cheapest one last year, rose even more than the benchmark rate. And in most states, the cost of the cheapest Bronze plan went up by more than the cost of the cheapest Silver plan.
Good news! You’re now required to buy health insurance that you can’t afford! Also, the deductibles are huge. . . .
TRUTH REVEALED ABOUT ‘RAZOR BLADE’ FOUND IN LITTLE GIRL’S HERSHEY BAR:
It appears as though the little girl was not the only one to make a false report about dangerous objects in their candy bars.
In the greater Pennsylvania and New Jersey area, numerous reports were made to police, stating that sewing needles were found lodged inside Halloween candy:
t turns out that Robert Ledrew of Blackwood, who made the initial report, had fabricated the story as well, reports CBS3.
Ledrew, who posted needle-filled candy bars to his Facebook, claimed he was trying to teach his children a lesson to be careful with their candy. He was later arrested and charged with making a false police report.
MILLENIALS EVEN SEE TRANSPORTATION DIFFERENTLY, Nicole Gelinas writes at the New York Post:
It’s all wonderful, then, that people are changing their behavior — except for the fact that the country needs for people to keep driving ever more miles so that it can fund its highway and transit infrastructure. Remember: Just as not everyone needed to default on his mortgage to cause a housing bust, not everyone needs to take the bus instead of a car to cause a roads bust.
To wit: Without money from gas taxes pouring into federal highway coffers, taxpayers have had to bail out the nation’s highway fund for the past half-decade. I-95 from Florida to Maine needs at least $8 billion in bridge repairs — and we don’t have the money to make them.
Transit infrastructure is falling apart, too, even as people increasingly crowd trains and buses.
It’s tempting to want to keep bailing out the highways, just as we bailed out our housing market seven years ago.
It’s also foolish. Just as the 2008 housing crash was a necessary market signal that our way of life — bigger houses and bigger cars, all paid by bigger debt — was unaffordable, the traffic crash is a necessary market signal, too.
More people want to spend their lives working or with their families, not sitting on their butts behind a steering wheel.
Need another market signal?
You can buy a big house anywhere in the country, dirt cheap — as long as it’s nowhere near an efficient mass-transit system.
It’s also an opportunity for pols to say that we need a new way of funding our infrastructure. Sure, we should raise the gas tax — to what it would be if it kept up with inflation.*
Over time, though, charging people by the amount of gas they use or even the amount of miles they travel may be a losing game, as people travel less. Nearby real-estate owners who benefit from keeping up a highway may have to kick in.
In August, the London Independent claimed “Millennials are no longer going to night clubs,” with a take that presumably is applicable to American Millenials as well, given that on both sides of the pond, “once costly high-end audio equipment can be easily and inexpensively sourced online, meaning that the house party represents a better value option, as indeed do the entertainment offerings from Netflix, Amazon Instant Video or games companies.”
And as we noted back then, at least in America, that house party is likely to be in mom and dad’s basement. “More young adults are living at home than five years ago, despite the economic recovery, according to a new report by Pew Research Center that crunched U.S. Census bureau data from 2010 to 2015,” Forbes reported.
So they’re not going out to night clubs, they’re not driving, and they’re staying home watching TV. Congratulations, Millenials – you’re already leading the sedentary lifestyle my parents led in their 70s and 80s; have we got an exciting, wild and crazy candidate whose boundless sense of fun matches yours!
* It’s always time for Democrats and the MSM (but I repeat myself) to call for new gasoline taxes.
UNEXPECTEDLY! “It’s like every Canadian just got a pay cut” as dollar plunges after Trudeau’s win. Hey, it’s only a few percent!
UNEXPECTEDLY: Obama Justice Dept.: No criminal charges for ex-IRS official. “The department also announced that Lois Lerner, who headed the division that processes applications for tax-exempt status at the time, would not face any charges.”
UNEXPECTEDLY: Dan Rather and Robert Redford’s paradoxically-named “Truth” bombs at the box office:
The movie — starring Robert Redford as Rather and Cate Blanchett as his longtime producer Mary Mapes — has grossed a paltry $66,000 in limited release. But its prospects are dim as it goes nationwide on Oct. 30, because “Truth” will have to compete with “Suffragette,” “Burnt” and a few other new features.
However, “Truth’s” real damage will be when it’s available for essentially zero-cost streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime, and in endless repeats in the bowels of cable TV, where it will pollute the historical record in much the same way as Oliver Stone’s JFK, 20 years ago.
SURE, AND NEXT YOU’RE GOING TO TELL ME THAT THERE’S GAMBLING GOING ON IN RICK’S CAFE, TO BOOT: The American boy arrested for making a clock meets Sudan’s president, an accused war criminal:
Bashir is no ordinary world leader. He has an outstanding arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court, for example, for allegedly orchestrating genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur. The country he leads is under a variety of U.S. sanctions. His government harbored Osama bin Laden for five years in the 1990s. A leaked U.S. diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks even suggested he may have secretly stolen $9 billion in oil money.
I’m shocked — shocked! — by this oh, so “unexpectedly” occurring development, aren’t you?
UNEXPECTEDLY! Russia’s Military Prowess Surprises Western Analysts.
Russian air and missile strikes in Syria over the past two weeks have surprised military analysts, who did not appreciate Russia’s sophisticated capabilities. . . .
The capabilities on display in Syria are surely sending shudders up Eastern European spines, but Washington should worry too. Although the United States remains a far more powerful military power than Russia, the speed with which Russia has managed to significantly upgrade its military equipment indicates the perils of resting on one’s laurels in an age full of rapidly-developing high technology. Armchair analysts who pooh-poohed the Pentagon budget cuts created by sequestration ought to revisit their arguments.
A greater worry: if Russia is startling us with its military might, how much might we be underestimating China?
Remember, the Administration wants to underestimate their strength, because a correct estimate would require them to do things, and make spending changes, that they find unpalatable.
UNEXPECTEDLY: Another Anti-Gay Hate Crime Turns Out to Be a Giant Hoax.
THERE’S THAT WORD AGAIN: Unexpectedly, The Middle East Meltdown Continues. “Some of President Obama’s critics accuse him of lacking a strategy for the Middle East. This is far from the truth. From where the President sits, the Administration has a Middle East strategy, and it is just given him a huge success.” Well, you know, it all depends on what your goals are.
CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE — THEN SEND THAT CHECK TO THE IRS!
A political humorist named Mark Dice took a camera to the streets of San Diego and decided to interview Hillary Clinton supporters, acting as if he was one of them.
He told them that Clinton planned on instituting a “white privilege” tax.
In other words, she planned on taking money from each and every Caucasian and distributing it among the other races.
Guess what? They not only bought it, they agreed with it.
UNEXPECTEDLY: How Dodd-Frank explains our weak recovery.
“INADVERTENTLY” IS THE NEW “UNEXPECTEDLY!” The Immigration Act That Inadvertently Changed America: Fifty years after its passage, it’s clear that the law’s ultimate effects are at odds with its original intent. “Seven out of every eight immigrants in 1960 were from Europe; by 2010, nine out of ten were coming from other parts of the world. The 1965 Immigration Act was largely responsible for that shift. No law passed in the 20th century altered the country’s demographic character quite so thoroughly.”
In academia, we say that personnel is policy. Does that hold for nations, too?
UNEXPECTEDLY: Vermont — The Land of Bernie — Is Seeing a Mass Exodus of College Aged Students Because There Are No Jobs.
But there are plenty of ways to kill the pain: “Heroin epidemic hits Vermont community hard,” CBS reported last month.
David Brooks, call your office — it just might be time to update that “Latte Town” thesis.
FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED: “Today it is my sad duty to report to you the death of the Pax Americana. This isn’t shocking news, as though the Pax had died unexpectedly in a car accident. No, this has been a long and lingering death — but the end now has come,” Steve Green writes — and I think I need to borrow a cup or 20 of Steve’s vodka after reading it; the photo accompanying the article says it all.
Still though — look on the bright side: Mr. Obama assured us that we would have “peace in our time” during his second term’s inauguration speech. With a keen knowledge of modern history like that, what’s the worst that could happen?
UNEXPECTEDLY! US sees ‘surprising’ spike in border crossings.
The United States saw a spike last month in the number of unaccompanied minors and families illegally crossing the southern border, the White House said Monday.
“We have seen, just in the last month, in the month of August, a surprising uptick,” press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.
Earnest did not provide exact an exact number but said it was “far below” last year’s peak level, which initially overwhelmed U.S. government resources.
The spokesman said the increase was unusual because the number of unaccompanied minors who cross the border usually falls in August due to extreme heat.
“That is something that is concerning,” Earnest said.
The increase in crossings could raise fears about a repeat of last year, when the U.S. faced a border crisis spurred by people from Central America fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries.
At the crisis’s peak, as many as 10,000 children per month, and 16,000 adults with children, came to the U.S.-Mexico border, according to CNN, which first reported the news about the August figures.
Earnest said administration officials would brief members of Congress on the latest details. And he said the U.S. is redoubling its effort to warn people in Central America about the dangers of the journey.
Call me crazy, but I don’t think they really mind all that much. Now if these illegal aliens were likely to vote Republican. . . .
UNEXPECTEDLY! Cascading Border Closures Rock Europe.
Europe is experiencing a series of cascading border closures, rippling outward like circuit breakers tripping during a power surge. A week ago, Denmark suspended its rail link to Germany. On Monday, Germany closed its border with Austria. Austria, Slovakia, and the Netherlands all clamped “temporary” border restrictions into place.
On Tuesday, Hungary sealed its border with Serbia; yesterday, Hungarian border guards used water cannons, tear gas, and truncheons to beat back a sea of migrants. This in turn forced more than 5,000 people to seek an alternate path through Croatia north to Slovenia and Germany. Croatian authorities indicated that while they want to help, Croatia’s capacity for handling migrant flows was limited to the thousands, not to the tens of thousands. And then Slovenian authorities today announced that they would reinforce their border with Croatia, potentially creating another dead end for the thousands of migrants massing in the Balkans.
This was inevitable when Brussels and Berlin signaled a determination to treat the immigration problem—which is a hybrid refugee crisis and migrant moment—in purely humanitarian terms. Those languishing in the south of Europe or even in refugee camps in Turkey heard the official declarations as an open-ended invitation to the generous, prosperous, new Germany; they rushed northward and overloaded the system.
European leaders had no practical plans to deal with the wave of migrants they were encouraging. While some of the border shutdowns—such as Hungary’s—were triggered by ideology, many are a matter of logistics. Germany, it turns out, has absolutely no legal immigration mechanism. It hasn’t enforced a land border since 1995. Is it any wonder it wasn’t able to process the inflow into Bavaria, despite the government’s best intentions? Now, border controls are now rippling from the desirable destinations in Europe (Germany and Scandinavia) outward to its more remote borders.
The Gods of The Copybook Headings smile and nod.