FOR THE LEFT, SOCIALISM DENIAL IS HOLOCAUST DENIAL: We’re supposed to remember the horrors of the Holocaust so we’ll never let it happen again. But we haven’t done the same for the horrors of socialism.
UNEXPECTEDLY! Venezuela’s socialist hell.
Venezuela cannot wake up from its socialist nightmare.
The Venezuelan opposition just staged a massive protest against the government, which the government repressed with military force, leading to at least three deaths, The New York Times reports. Detained opposition activists say the authorities tortured them, according to Reuters. Meanwhile, across the country, people are starving.
Venezuela, a beautiful, oil-rich country, once one of the wealthiest nations in the Southern Hemisphere, is only sinking further into economic devastation and chaotic, corrupt authoritarianism. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro increasingly looks like a “Bolivarian” version of Vladimir Putin, holding power through corrupt patronage, fear, and the smothering of alternative voices and power centers. The protests were triggered by further moves by the executive to consolidate power. Maduro has banned a main opposition leader, Henrique Capriles, from holding political office.
Meanwhile, the economy keeps rotting. Venezuela has topped Bloomberg’s Economic Misery Index, a benchmark whose title is self-explanatory, for three years running. The economy shrank by 18 percent last year, with unemployment at 25 percent, and inflation slated to be 750 percent this year and 2,000 percent the next, according to the International Monetary Fund (Venezuelan government statistics are, of course, made up, so third-party figures are more reliable).
But it’s other statistics that show the real extent of the misery, and make one’s stomach truly churn. Over the past year, 74 percent of Venezuelans lost an average of nearly 20 pounds each, reports The Economist. The military controls the country’s food supply, and the result is widespread malnourishment and, of course, corruption. Venezuela’s hospitals have more in common with those in Aleppo than with those of an oil-rich, emerging economy. As the Guardian reported last year, children are suffering from malnourishment for the first time in the country’s modern history; there are outbreaks of scabies, a disease easily prevented with basic hygienic practices; hospitals are running out of even basic drugs. Caracas is the murder capital of the world. Corruption has infected the country wholesale even as it has created a new class of kleptocratic oligarchs linked to the security services.
This is what happens under socialism if it’s not stopped. And yet stupid, evil people in the West will make excuses for socialist dictators, every time.
HOARDERS AND WRECKERS: General Motors Quits Venezuela After Officials Seize Plant.
The seizure, in the country’s industrial hub of Valencia, comes amid a deepening economic and political crisis that has sparked weeks of deadly street protests.
General Motors Venezolana, GM’s local subsidiary, said it “strongly rejects the arbitrary measures taken by the authorities and will vigorously take all legal actions, within and outside of Venezuela, to defend its rights.”
The auto giant did not provide any details about its plant being seized, other than saying it “was unexpectedly taken by authorities, preventing normal operations.” It said other assets, “such as vehicles,” had also been stripped from the site.
“Unexpectedly,” GM? Really?
RIP ALLAN HOLDSWORTH; the brilliant jazz-fusion guitarist died unexpectedly at age 70.
His early album I.O.U. was a favorite of mine and my guitar teacher when I first started playing, and I still play it on a regular basis. I had hoped to see him play live at least once, but I did get to interview him by phone for a piece Guitar World assigned me a decade ago on the history of Carvin guitars, which he endorsed. Incredibly charming and understated man — you had no idea that you were speaking with a guitarist so good, he influenced Eddie Van Halen and about whom jazz-fusion pioneer John McLaughlin (also equipped with monster chops) was quoted as saying, “I’d steal everything Allan was doing, if only I could figure out what the heck it was that he was doing.”
QUESTION ASKED AND ANSWERED: Can Presidents Take Credit for the Stock Market?
—Headline, the Atlantic, today.
Not if he’s Republican, no, of course not. But if he has a (D) after his name, then all bad economic news is reported by the DNC-MSM as happening “unexpectedly.”
THAT MEANS IT’S WORKING: Wellmark to halt sales of individual health-insurance policies.
Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield’s decision means more than 21,000 Iowans who bought health-insurance policies from the company in the past three years will need to find another carrier — and it’s not clear all of those people will have another choice.
Wellmark President John Forsyth said his company’s decision was painful but necessary, because the carrier had lost $90 million over three years covering that group of people.
“We’re an Iowa company, we’re here for Iowans, we want to do the right thing for Iowans, but we can’t allow a small subset to put the broader group in jeopardy,” he said in an interview Monday.
Forsyth said the overall problem is too few healthy, young consumers are buying health insurance.
Say it with me now: “Unexpectedly.”
“I NEED WIDER POWERS!” Venezuela’s Maduro Wins Power Over Oil Despite Court Reversal.
The Venezuelan Supreme Court may have amended part of its explosive decision to take over the opposition-led congress, but it still gives embattled leftist President Nicolas Maduro broad new powers over the OPEC nation’s vast oil wealth.
The reversal on Saturday came after political leaders worldwide and street protesters at home accused the pro-government court of effectively making Maduro a dictator.
While the court backed off its Wednesday decision to fully take over the legislative branch, it left in place sweeping new authority for Maduro to cut oil deals on behalf of PDVSA, the state-run oil company, without congressional approval.
Maduro’s cash-strapped government now has the autonomy to sell stakes in Venezuela’s oil fields, which contain the world’s largest reserves, or launch new joint ventures with foreign firms.
Venezuela’s socialist government can’t drill the oil profitably itself, and — I’ll put this gently — the country’s political situation makes it somewhat risky for foreign firms to enter into joint ventures.
All unexpectedly, of course.
Venezuela’s powerful attorney general on Friday rebuked the judiciary’s takeover of congress, breaking ranks with President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government as protests and international condemnation grew.
“It constitutes a rupture of the constitutional order. It’s my obligation to express my great concern to the country,” said Luisa Ortega, usually considered a key ally of the Socialists who have ruled Venezuela for the last 18 years.
While various prominent political figures have leveled criticism after leaving the government, it is extremely rare for a senior official to make such criticism. It may be interpreted by opponents that Maduro’s internal support is cracking.
Maduro, 54, a former bus driver and self-declared “son” of late leftist predecessor Hugo Chavez, was narrowly elected in 2013 amid widespread support for the ruling Socialist Party’s oil-fueled welfare programs.
But his ratings have plummeted to just over 20 percent as Venezuelans struggle with a fourth year of recession, scarcities of food and medicines and the highest inflation in the world.
BLESS HIS HEART — LEFT-WING ‘HISTORIAN’ ACCUSES TRUMP OF ‘TREASON,’ ‘ASSAULT’ ON ENVIRONMENT:
Appearing on MSNBC’s 3 p.m. ET hour on Tuesday under the guise of being a “presidential historian,” left-wing pundit Douglas Brinkley accused President Trump and his associates – without evidence – of committing an act of “treason.” He went on rant that the President’s new executive order rolling back onerous Obama-era environmental regulations was “an assault on the public lands.”
Anchor Kate Snow started off the discussion by inviting Brinkley to elaborate on recent comments he made to the Washington Post about the administration betraying the country: “You told the Washington Post last week that, quote, ‘There’s a smell of treason in the air,’ when it comes to this [Russia] investigation. Why did you say that and has anything changed about your view in the last week?”
Brinkley’s “not worried” about appearing biased, he tells the New Orleans Times-Picayune in a “wide-ranging interview in the soaring lobby of his Uptown home” published August 27. Sure, he says, “I’m sympathetic to Kerry in his 20s.” And “it’s no secret I think he would make a first-rate president.” And, okay, Brinkley’s “angry” about “false accusations made against Kerry’s military record.” Also, Brinkley cohosted a fundraiser for Kerry in February 2003. Plus which, he spoke at a rally for Kerry in New Orleans this past March. . .
But, hell, “I’m not a partisan” or anything, he points out. “I don’t have some ax to grind against President Bush. I try to be judicial.”
A judicial activist, you might call him.
Heh. So Trump is merely razing Obama’s legacy in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, you might say. In 2012, Brinkley wrote a fascinating biography of fellow lefty Walter Cronkite, in which he portrayed Mr. “That’s The Way It Is” as being a less than objective “just the facts, ma’am” journalist, who famously veered from reading the news to injecting his (invariably partisan Democrat) opinion on it during numerous occasions, not least of which were viciously attacking Barry Goldwater in ’64, declaring Vietnam unwinnable in ’68, and becoming an enviro-crank just in time for the first “Earth Day” in 1970, when the Gleichschaltung demanded that all good lefties embrace radical environmentalism and its related doomsday talk. (Here’s a look at some of the zanier predictions from the first Earth Day.)
In Cronkite, Brinkley noted:
Republicans had always liked the idea that Cronkite, even if liberal leaning, was pulling for the United States to whip the Soviets in the space race. But Nixon was now in the White House, and Cronkite’s promotion of the 1970s as the Decade of the Environment was a slap at petroleum companies, forest product industries, auto companies, and corporations seeking minerals. All his heroes in Eye on the World— Senator Ed Muskie (D-Maine), Dr. Barry Commoner, biologist Dr. Paul Ehrlich, and consumer activist Ralph Nader— were left-of-center political figures.
The Big Four villains of Eye on the World were Dow Chemical, the Florida Power & Light Company, Consolidated Edison, and Chevron Oil Company. It seemed that Union Carbide caught a break for sponsoring The Twenty-First Century for so long, as Cronkite took aim squarely at corporate polluters. With uncanny prescience, he scolded them for the damage carbon dioxide was causing the planet’s health. Long before Al Gore made global warming household words in his 2006 Academy Award– winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, Cronkite sounded the alarm on CBS Evening News and in Eye on the World. “Every year American power plants pour more than 800 million tons of carbon dioxide into the skies,” Cronkite warned. “Some scientists suspect that carbon dioxide can turn the planet into a kind of greenhouse, sealing in heat so that temperatures gradually rise until the polar icecaps melt and a new deluge covers the lands of the earth.”
Of course, what Brinkley failed to add was the rest of Cronkite’s statement:
“Some meteorologists fear that dust is already filtering out too much sunlight, so that the world’s temperature already has started down toward a new ice age. And that pattern repeats: a science so far behind technology that it can’t predict which of two opposite catastrophes will occur.”
“Unexpectedly,” Brinkey’s book also doesn’t reference Cronkite’s prediction of global cooling, which featured in this memorable 1972 segment:
Five years later, Howard K. Smith, Cronkite’s rival at ABC was similarly predicting that “an ice age is returning to the Earth, with glaciers down to the Mason-Dixon line and freezing temperatures south of that.”
With nearly a half-century of enviro-doomsday crankery and not-so-final countdowns, no wonder Trump is taking a much more balanced approach between man, nature, and the economy. If this be treason, make the most of it – in much the same fashion as another legendary environmentalist, Genghis Khan himself.
FRACTURED CAUCUS: House Cancels Vote on GOP Health-Care Bill.
Mr. Trump asked Paul Ryan to pull the health care bill from the floor, an aide to the House GOP leadership said.
Mr. Ryan is scheduled to hold a news conference shortly.
The House has postponed the health-care vote, a, Republican leadership aide said.
The House unexpectedly went into recess ahead of the planned vote, and is now holding an emergency GOP caucus meeting. Speaker Paul Ryan plans a press conference shortly.
PEOPLE WHO ESPOUSE DIVERSITY AND TOLERANCE TO MULTICULTURAL WORLDVIEWS “UNEXPECTEDLY” TRIGGERED BY INANIMATE OBJECT: I survived wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat in NYC.
“He can still play at a high level,” an anonymous AFC general manager told Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman. “The problem is three things are happening with him.
“First, some teams genuinely believe that he can’t play. They think he’s shot. I’d put that number around 20 percent.
“Second, some teams fear the backlash from fans after getting him. They think there might be protests or (President) Trump will tweet about the team. I’d say that number is around 10 percent. Then there’s another 10 percent that has a mix of those feelings.
“Third, the rest genuinely hate him and can’t stand what he did [kneeling for the national anthem]. They want nothing to do with him. They won’t move on. They think showing no interest is a form of punishment. I think some teams also want to use Kaepernick as a cautionary tale to stop other players in the future from doing what he did.”
If only the NFL had a commissioner who hadn’t tacitly approved of that clown show, he could have saved Kaepernick from himself.
STARBUCKS HURT BY REFUGEE PLEDGE:
Reuters reports Starbucks Corp.’s pledge to hire thousands of refugees has harmed its image among consumers, according to one measure. Amid a boycott campaign organized by immigration opponents, Starbucks’ consumer perception levels as measured by YouGov BrandIndex’s Buzz score fell by two-thirds between Jan. 29 and Feb. 13, and have not recovered.
ESPN’S COLLAPSE IS THE BIGGEST STORY IN SPORTS YET MOST STILL HAVEN’T REALIZED IT:
ESPN is cutting up to $100 million in on-air salaries.
Yep, on air. This means you’re going to know many of the people leaving the network.
The cuts will come via buyouts and expiring contracts that won’t be renewed and when those layoffs start becoming apparent many will recognize that what Outkick has been writing for a couple of years now — ESPN is in a world of trouble and doesn’t know how to stem a rapidly collapsing business model.
* * * * * *
That business collapse at ESPN has caused a panic at the network, a desperate grab for relevance that has led to a pronounced leftward move. ESPN’s trying desperately to stay relevant as ratings collapse and subscribers flee. The decision? “We’ll be MSESPN, the home for far left wing politics and sports!” Only, it’s not working.
UNEXPECTEDLY! Here Come Big ESPN Layoffs. You went full SJW. You never go full SJW.
But still, the media and Democrats have always had a serious vulnerability here — one they’ve never acknowledged because they’ve been too swept away by the political success of the fantasy narrative. It is this: At a certain point, if compelling evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to steal the election did not materialize, the much more interesting question becomes “How did the government obtain all this information that has been leaked to the media to prop up the story?”
The most plausible answer to that question: The Obama administration, through the Justice Department and the FBI, was investigating the associates of the opposition party’s presidential nominee, and perhaps even the nominee himself, during the campaign. Otherwise, what explanation can there be for all of the investigative information — much of it classified, and thus illegal to disclose — that has been funneled to the press?
In short, the media and Democrats have been playing with fire for months. The use of law-enforcement and national-security assets to investigate one’s political opponents during a heated election campaign has always been a potentially explosive story. Let’s not kid ourselves: If the roles were reversed, and a Republican administration had investigated officials tied to the campaign of the Democrats’ nominee, we would be drowning in a sea of Watergate 2.0 coverage.
Well, this weekend, the potentially explosive story detonated. It happened in the now familiar way: jaw-dropping tweets by President Trump.
Every time this happens, the reaction is “Trump’s crazy tweets will sink him this time!” And yet, somehow. . . .
Here’s the most interesting part: Now that they’ve been called on it, the media and Democrats are gradually retreating from the investigation they’ve been touting for months as the glue for their conspiracy theory. It’s actually quite amusing to watch: How dare you suggest President Obama would ever order surveillance! Who said anything about FISA orders? What evidence do you lunatic conservatives have — uh, other than what we media professionals been reporting — that there was any investigation of the Trump campaign? . . .
But have you noticed? While all this head-spinning legal jibber-jabber goes back and forth, the foundation of the false narrative we’ve been hearing since November 8 has vanished. Now that we’re supposed to believe there was no real investigation of Trump and his campaign, what else can we conclude but that there was no real evidence of collusion between the campaign and Russia . . . which makes sense, since Russia did not actually hack the election, so the purported objective of the collusion never existed. Trick or tweet?
Alternatively, the spying on Trump was real and wholly political, and the Russians-under-my-bed thing was a cover story hatched after Hillary unexpectedly lost, when it became apparent that Trump, and America, would find out sooner or later what had been done.
UNEXPECTEDLY: Media Which Has Been Decrying Rise of Antisemitic Vandalism and Bomb Threats, Assuming, For No Good Reason, a Trump Supporter Was Behind It, Suddenly Gets Pretty Quiet About It.
The layoffs, which account for roughly 20% of Pepsi’s 423 Philadelphia employees, will begin Wednesday and be spread out over the next few months, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
“Unfortunately, after careful consideration of the economic realities created by the recently enacted beverage tax, we have been forced to give notice that we intend to eliminate 80-100 positions, including frontline and supervisory roles, in Philadelphia over the next few months, beginning today,” Pepsi said in a statement to Business Insider.
Why are Democrat-run cities such cesspits of anti-worker sentiment?
IS THERE ANYTHING HE CAN’T DO? Trump’s Big Achievement: Making the New York Times Care About Antisemitism.
To summarize: Ten Jewish cemetery desecrations, of which two — one of which was outside the US — were covered by the New York Times. Both times the Times bothered to cover the attacks, the newspaper did so in a way that minimized the potentially antisemitic aspect of the attack.
In November of 2016, Donald Trump was elected president.
In February 2017, there were two attacks on Jewish cemeteries. About 200 tombstones were affected at a graveyard near St. Louis, Mo., and about 100 at one in Philadelphia, Pa.
The Times responded in a markedly different way than it did to the earlier, pre-Trump attacks, which it had either ignored or minimized. One Times news article about the Missouri attacks carried the bylines of two Times reporters and was accompanied by two images shot by a Times-commissioned photographer. The article prominently noted that critics said the attacks “were an outgrowth of the vitriol of last year’s presidential campaign and Mr. Trump’s tone during it.” The Times reinforced this point with not just one, but two op-eds commenting on the attack, both of which were accompanied by additional photographs and carried headlines reaching speculative conclusions about the motive: “The New American Anti-Semitism” and “When Hate Haunts a Graveyard.” (Never mind that one of these op-ed pieces itself propagated the falsehood that Jews oppose organ donation.)
The Times produced a video report on the attacks. The Philadelphia attack also got its own Times news article, accompanied by a photograph. . . .
But the difference is not that now Jewish cemeteries are subject to vandalism. As the timeline above demonstrates, that has long been the case. The difference is that now, rather than ignoring or minimizing the problem, the New York Times is highlighting and emphasizing it. (We’ll also have to see whether the attacks increase in scope or frequency, and, if culprits are found, what can be determined about their motivation.)
Of all the possible consequences of a Trump presidency that have been warned about or hoped for, a heightened attention by New York Times editors to antisemitism probably falls in the category of unexpectedly positive developments.
UNEXPECTEDLY! “Leonardo DiCaprio flew eyebrow artist 7,500 miles to do his brows for the Oscars — The move is particularly surprising given the fact that DiCaprio is an active environment campaigner.”
Is that you, Fox Butterfield? In any case, you spelled “totally expected” wrong. But as the Professor is wont to say, I’ll believe global warming is a crisis, when the people who scream it’s a crisis start to act like it’s a crisis themselves.
UNEXPECTEDLY! Oscar ratings hit 9-year low.
We’ve been creaking along for almost a decade, borrowing for sub-par growth with bubble-tastically low interest rates, unsustainable deficit spending, and slowly expanding the market for car and home loans to worse and worse credit risks. But even lousy parties must end eventually.
UNEXPECTEDLY: Crime Increasing in California After ‘Prison Reform,’ Jack Dunphy writes.
UNEXPECTEDLY: Crime Increasing in California After ‘Prison Reform.’
The ad is an unmistakable invitation to lawbreaking from a building-supplies company that, because of the industry it represents, is strongly associated with illegal immigrants. A Pew survey conducted between 2007 and 2012 found that construction was the sector that employed the second-largest number of illegal immigrants, after the service industry.
The guy who made the ad all but admitted the purpose of the ad was to draw illegal immigrants to work for the company. Michael Brunner, the CEO of Brunnerworks, the agency that created the spot, said its purpose was threefold: To generate awareness of the company, create pride in its workforce and fill jobs. “We’ve got over 400 positions that we’re looking to fill at all levels, at all capacities,” Brunner told KDKA, the CBS affiliate in Pittsburgh.
Pride in the workforce? Why would the workforce of 84 Lumber be proud of prospective illegal immigrants unless a lot of illegal immigrants worked there? If it were staffed by legal residents of the U.S., wouldn’t its staffers be kind of resentful of people jumping the queue and breaking the law to get jobs there? And if the company is hiring, why skip over all of the Americans and green-card holders and reach out to unauthorized immigrants?
Allahpundit, who after viewing the ad writes, “Good lord almighty, is this some effective pro-amnesty schmaltz,” notes that Maggie Hardy Magerko, 84 Lumber’s CEO and the daughter of its founder, is having second thoughts after her ad’s “unexpectedly” negative response:
The owner of the company insists that she voted for Trump and that the ad was inspired by his campaign chatter about a “big beautiful door” in the border wall, but that reeks of damage control in light of the outcry this spot would surely cause on the right. I’d be mighty curious to know from the Border Patrol how many legal immigrants (on a “journey toward becoming legal American citizens”) whose visas and work permits are in order typically enter the United States by wandering through the desert towards the border instead of showing up at a point of entry and presenting their papers. These two are very obviously illegal immigrants.
Funny, she didn’t mention being a Trump supporter when quoted by her local Pittsburgh TV station on Friday in a segment on her ad. If she did, I can’t imagine that disclosure would end up on the cutting room floor of the station’s editing bay:
Growing up in South Jersey, I saw numerous 84 Lumber outlets in NJ and their home state of Pennsylvania (the “84” in their name comes from the name of an teeny-tiny unincorporated town near Pittsburgh), and there are a few branches near me now in Texas. They were a brand with which I never associated any negative or political connotations; they were always simply just there. But going political is guaranteed to bifurcate your audience, and it’s very difficult to put the genie back in the bottle afterwards. I hope there are enough people on the left side of aisle to keep them afloat after what will be perceived by many as their “Progressive” coming out party last night.
DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Black Ivy League student claims ‘trauma’ after white professor refuses to acknowledge privilege:
A black University of Pennsylvania student recently declared that his fall semester at the Ivy League institution was “traumatic” because he had three white professors who refused to acknowledge their privilege, and one scholar in particular who “constantly perpetuated these systems of oppression … [that] led to me mentally breaking down in the classroom.”
Student James Fisher wrote about his experience earlier this month in an op-ed in the Daily Pennsylvanian campus newspaper.
In it, Fisher opens by saying: “Last semester was honestly the worst semester I’ve had at Penn so far. And all because of one thing: the white professors I’ve had at Penn. It appears that the term ‘privilege’ does not apply to them. Nor do they care to learn what it is.”
Fisher wrote about his experience with one professor, noting that there “were countless times that his lack of acknowledgment of his privilege led to some of the trauma that I experienced in class. He would show images of slaves on plantations and even allow students to say ignorant comments in class.”
“… So, because my professor wanted to protect the voices of the white students who benefit from black oppression, the oppression unfortunately continued. It even led to me mentally breaking down in the classroom,” Fisher wrote.
“And while trying to console me, [the professor] said, ‘There is no way that I could acquire the wisdom that you possess.’ That was exactly what I needed to hear! I think he thought that that was a compliment,” Fisher continued.
“I stopped going to his class for a month. With different emotions going through my head from not only this class but from the Trump election, I did not want to step foot into another white space until I made sure that my mental health was restored.”
PERRY DE HAVILLAND: “Looking back, it’s hard to overstate the cultural significance of GamerGate: it marked when the Left suddenly and unexpectedly lost control of social media, right at the point where the influence of social media actually started to matter. In a sense, it was the second wave of discontent that started with the arrival of anti-MSM blogs in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, but within a very different internet environment compared to ‘The Golden Age of Blogging’ 2001-2010. As has often been the case in military campaigns, when one side becomes greatly overextended, they only realise they have lost the initiative when they seek to advance and experience a completely unexpected reversal: a result that may seem obvious and perhaps even inevitable to a historian looking back, but which was far from obvious to the people on the ground at the time. . . . could just as easily be talking about Brexit or Trump, for it was a widespread tone deaf lack of introspection by establishment folk that made those things possible (albeit for very different reasons)… but the way I see it, GamerGate was the canary-in-the-coal mine.”
ILYA SOMIN: “Judge Neil Gorsuch is a well-respected jurist and a better Supreme Court nominee than I expected from Donald Trump.” Ilya’s biggest concern is that Gorsuch is too big a fan of judicial restraint, and insufficiently willing to strike down unconstitutional laws.
UPDATE: Ted Cruz likes Gorsuch.
Sasha Volokh: Neil Gorsuch, fortunately. “Generally, I don’t have any expectation that Trump will do the right thing, so I’m unexpectedly pleased that — of the three judges who were apparently on Trump’s short list — Judge Gorsuch is probably the best on civil liberties issues.” Well, live and learn.
Plus: “Oh, and — what’s the best Gorsuch line? ‘Ours is not supposed to be the government of the Hunger Games with power centralized in one district, but a government of diffused and divided power, the better to prevent its abuse.'”
MORE: A reader sends this suggestion: “Mitch McConnell should announce that he does not think there is any basis for a filibuster of Gorsuch, and that if the Democrats filibuster him, the majority will eliminate the filibuster not only for Sup Ct appointees but for legislation as well.” I predict the Dems will keep their powder dry this time.
THERE’S THAT WORD AGAIN: Investor’s Business Daily: Obama’s Legacy — 8 Years of an Unexpectedly Weak Economy.
The latest numbers mean that Obama’s economic forecasters missed their growth targets every year that he was in office. And, once again, economists who had been promising that strong growth was just around the corner — most recently because of a relatively strong third quarter — had to eat crow.
It also means that GDP growth has not exceeded 3% for 11 straight years. . . .
In dollar terms, if Obama’s recovery had merely been average, the nation’s GDP would be $2.4 trillion bigger. That translates into $19,000 in lost income per household.
Heck, if Obama’s recovery had managed only to live up to the forecasts Obama himself made at the start of each year — which always turned out to be too optimistic — GDP would be nearly $1 trillion bigger today.
Obama’s record on jobs tells the same story. On average, the number of jobs was 18% higher 7-1/2 years after those recoveries started. Under Obama, it was 10.9%. That translates into 12 million fewer jobs.
If you want to know why Donald Trump is sitting in the Oval Office instead of Hillary Clinton, here are your reasons.
In our view, the incredibly mediocre economy we’ve suffered with over the past 7-1/2 years is not the result of some mysterious underlying “secular” shift that makes it impossible to grow faster than 2.6%. It is the result of bad economic policies, most of which were enacted by Obama in his first two years in office when Democrats controlled Congress.
The good news for Trump is that the bar is set pretty low.
ROGER SIMON: The Pointless Paranoia of the Women’s Marches. “The success of the demonstrations in terms of size attests to the power of mutually reinforced paranoia.” The Democrats are always trying to paint Republicans as the preacher in Footloose, but that’s never been as ridiculous as when talking about Donald Trump.
What’s the motivation? Well, Tom Hayden started the anti-nuclear movement quite consciously as a way to preserve the infrastructure built up in the anti-Vietnam War protests. I suspect that this is about keeping up Hillary’s woman-card machinery for the post-election era, just as the Black Lives Matter protests are mostly about keeping up the position of the urban black wing of the Democrat coalition in the post-Obama era. In both cases, the real point is intra-Democratic Party positioning.
Well, that and the travails of entitled women with MFA’s who were comfortably supported by their political-appointee husbands until — unexpectedly! — Democratic hegemony didn’t turn out to be as stable as they thought. As a friend on Facebook notes, this story seems calculated to reinforce Trump supporters’ views about who’s marching and why, and it’s not pretty.
The New York Times’ lack of self-awareness is easy to mock, but impossible to top.
YOU WENT FULL JOHN LEWIS, NBC. NEVER GO FULL JOHN LEWIS:
(Classical reference in headline.)
UPDATE: Not surprisingly, today was quite the dumpster fire at NBC and its subsidiary networks. Chris Matthews “unexpectedly” dialed the Godwin meter up to 11 and then some — throwing in Mussolini murdering his own son to boot:
“But I’m thinking when he said today ‘America First’ it was not just the racial, I mean the, um, I shouldn’t say racial, the Hitlerian background to it. But it was the message I kept thinking, what is Theresa May thinking this morning, when she picks up the papers and goes ‘My God, what did he just say, he said America first, what happened to the special relationship,’” Matthews complained.
* * * * * * * *
MATTHEWS: [B]ut Mussolini had a great solution to that. He had him executed. So, it’s —
MADDOW: Jesus, Chris!
MATTHEWS: So, if I were Jared, I’d be a little careful.
MADDOW: Well, all the people who are waiting for the reference to Mussolini have just started drinking.
And for others keeping score at home, Chris has now compared Republicans as diverse as Trump, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul to Hitler. And in 2012, when faced with the patrician Mitt Romney as the GOP’s presidential candidate, declared words such as “golf” and “Chicago” to be racial dog whistles.
But if Trump is Hitler, why didn’t Matthews warn the NBC brass while the 45th president was still on their payroll?
UNEXPECTEDLY: ABC, NBC Skip White Chicago Man Being Tortured Live on Facebook by Four African-Americans, while shouting “fuck Trump” and “fuck white people.” Equally unexpectedly, CBS’s coverage left out those last two details:
With ABC and NBC choosing to keep their audiences in the dark on this (at least until Thursday morning), the CBS Evening News was the lone network left to cover it. However, fill-in anchor Josh Elliott could only muster a 27-second news brief that only vaguely described the situation.
“Well, Chicago, which just had one of its most violent years ever, was the scene of another horrifying attack this week. A young man, described as law enforcement sources as developmentally challenged, was beaten, kicked, and tormented for half an hour,” Elliott explained.
He concluded by alluding to the assault being broadcasted on Facebook and how the victim “had been reported missing from his home in the suburbs” but “is now in the hospital and four suspects are in custody.”
CBS’s blackout on the details of this story, and their competitors’ embargo of the story itself, dovetails perfectly with Iowahawk’s observation that “Journalism is about covering important stories. With a pillow, until they stop moving,” and Jim Treacher’s line that in the 21st century, the profession “is all about deciding which facts the public shouldn’t know because they might reflect badly on Democrats.”
Related: “The Left’s insane hatred of Donald Trump has spun out of control, and there have been far too many instances of this sort of depraved violence,” John Hinderaker writes at Power Line. “I don’t want to hear another damn word about ‘hate crimes’ against minorities supposedly inspired by Donald Trump’s campaign or election, not unless they equal this level of depravity.”
The problem with these mea culpas and modified, limited hang-outs is that anyone familiar with the history of The New York Times has seen this movie before. Baquet may think putting people out on the road is the answer, but the paper has been there and done that in 2004. David Kirkpatrick spent a year in the field, covering mostly the socially conservative tribes of Jesusland. Yet here is the NYT, right back where it started.
The pre-election lack of balance Spayd identified continues in the paper’s current coverage. The NYT has visited flyover country from time to time after the election and occasionally included comments from Trump supporters in other pieces. But as before, such stories are drowned about by the flood tide of Times coverage serving progressives’ parochial appetites.
Immediately after every presidential election, the MSM promises to improve their coverage, even in November of 2008, when the DNC-MSM went all-in to successfully elect Obama.”Unexpectedly” though, it only gets worse during each successive presidential election. You almost wish they’d run an Onion-style headline instead: DON’T WORRY COCOONED READERS, WE’LL STILL BE TOTALLY IN THE TANK FOR THE NEXT DEM CANDIDATE AND WE’LL STILL HALF-ASS IT IN 2020. At least they’d get points for being honest Democrat operatives with bylines for a change.
MICHAEL WALSH: In the Wake of Trump’s Election, Consumer Confidence Soars.
Unexpectedly!, as Obama’s hagiographiers at Bloomberg would say. Around this time in 2008, Time magazine and other leftists were busy describing BHO as the next FDR, but as Amity Shlaes, the historian of the Depression that FDR prolonged by eight years warned, business and consumer uncertainty during a regulatory-obsessed socialist regime is a great way to keep a stagnant economy from catching fire.
UNEXPECTEDLY: CA Gun Sales Surge Ahead of ‘Assault Rifle’ Ban.
The man suspected of deliberately ramming a large truck into a Christmas market in Berlin is a refugee from the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, two German intelligence officials and a police official told CNN.
The sources said the suspect in Monday evening’s attack, which killed 12 people and injured dozens more, arrived in Passau, a city on Germany’s border with Austria, on December 31, 2015, after traveling through the Balkans.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel held a press conference on Tuesday saying it would be “especially disgusting” if the suspect turned out to have been given asylum in Germany.
Welt via Google Translate:
The allegations of the alleged perpetrator had been examined and considered to be correct. “We have the wrong man,” says the Berlin police. “And thus a new situation. For the real culprit is still armed at large and can cause new damage. “The capital’s preparedness police and the special forces were informed.
Earlier Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière (CDU) had informed that the arrested suspect denies a complicity . According to him, he comes from Pakistan. He was submitted to Germany on 31 December 2015 and registered, said the minister. His asylum procedure has not yet been concluded after several attempts at a hearing have not taken place.
In the cab of the truck was found according to information of the news agency dpa blood-smeared clothes. In the case of the suspect who was later arrested at some distance from the crime scene, on the other hand, no clothing stained with blood was found, according to security circles.
According to de Maizière, “there is no longer any doubt that the terrible event last night was an attack.” The semitrailer was consciously controlled in the human population. “We are dealing with a brutal assassination attempt,” said the minister. An official confession of a terrorist group does not yet exist, but indirect assurances.
Did they simply arrest the wrong man, or was he acting as a decoy?
Fortunately for the Times, unlike his pose during the previous eight years, I doubt Glenn Thrush will be feigning much boredom during the Trump administration. (Perhaps a little ignorance of history, though.) And I doubt he’ll dub their worst decisions as “badass.”
Just think of him as a Democrat operative with a byline, and you’ll rarely go far wrong.
UNEXPECTEDLY! Trump’s Popularity Rising Post-Election.
UNEXPECTEDLY: Grand Rapids’ worker-run, no-tipping restaurant closes.
Not only was the menu unconventional, so was the business model. Bartertown was a collective, which meant there were no bosses, according to Cappelletti. The inspiration for the worker-owned restaurant was based on Cappelletti’s own restaurant experience.
“Because of our economy, people are working 12- to-15-hour shifts, servers take home $200 to $300 a night in tips, the cooks are making $10 an hour and the owner takes whatever he takes, ” Cappelletti told MLive in 2011. “We’re going to have equal pay and equal say across the board. Everyone working together.”
Employees would be expected to join the union, Industrial Workers of the World, he said.
In keeping with the worker empowerment theme, he commissioned a mural depicting Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara, Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong and other provocative leaders tackling restaurant duties.
In the end, the restaurant failed to achieve the employee business model it envisioned.
THIS JUST IN: ‘Secular’ Syrian Rebels Don’t Believe in Secularism.
UNEXPECTEDLY: Trump set to take sharp right turn on immigration.
RIDE THE LEFT’S TRUMP AS THE POLITICAL EQUIVALENT OF 9/11 RECURSION! One of the memes the left seems to have coalesced to explain how they feel (and it’s always about the feelz with the left) about Trump winning the presidential election is that Donald Trump heading the federal government is the political equivalent of September 11th, 2001, which according to lefty blogs back in 2007, 35 percent or more of Democrats believe was caused by the head of the federal government.
And yet, as Kathy Shaidle has memorably pointed out, if you really did believe that the president ordered 3,000 Americans killed by slamming planes into the World Trade Center, and Pentagon, and/or by “controlled demolitions” to gin up war in the Middle East, you’d want to get the hell out of the country at once, and/or you wouldn’t feel comfortable openly discussing your conspiracies at the local Starbucks. (See also: Brutal Nazi and Soviet crackdowns on those who questioned Hitler and Stalin’s actions.) Similarly, Democrats seem to not get the disparity between comparing Trump to Hitler, and yet nothing at all happening to them.
Freshman Congressman Keith Ellison was among friends Sunday — in this case, a gathering of atheists — so his support for a fistful of hot-button opinions, including the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney, brought enthusiastic nods of approval and standing ovations.
As he was introduced to the eclectic gathering, which included one man wearing a black T-shirt that read “Investigate 9/11,” Ellison was told that after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Muslims had joined atheists at the bottom of popular opinion polls.
“You’ll always find this Muslim standing up for your right to be atheists all you want,” Ellison, the first Muslim to serve in Congress, said in a speech to more than 100 atheists at the Southdale Library in Edina. As Minnesota’s first black member of the U.S. House ends his first six months in office, Ellison did not disappoint a crowd that seemed energized the more pointed he made his opinions.
On impeaching Cheney, which the Minneapolis DFLer supports: “[It is] beneath his dignity in order for him to answer any questions from the citizens of the United States. That is the very definition of totalitarianism, authoritarianism and dictatorship.”
* * * * * * * *
On comparing Sept. 11 to the burning of the Reichstag building in Nazi Germany: “It’s almost like the Reichstag fire, kind of reminds me of that. After the Reichstag was burned, they blamed the Communists for it and it put the leader of that country [Hitler] in a position where he could basically have authority to do whatever he wanted. The fact is that I’m not saying [Sept. 11] was a [U.S.] plan, or anything like that because, you know, that’s how they put you in the nut-ball box — dismiss you.”
To be fair though, Ellison’s crusade for the DNC chair seems to be enjoying “unexpectedly” wide support on both sides of the aisle.
UNEXPECTEDLY! Separation of Powers Is En Vogue Again.
UNEXPECTEDLY! As Ratings Plummet, N.F.L. Considers Reducing Ads and Length of Games. As unexpected as Hillary losing.
Sing it: If you live in this world, you’re feeling the change of the guard.
CTRL-F “Kaepernick” and CTRL-F “National Anthem” brings up zero results until the comments section. Unexpectedly.
UNEXPECTEDLY: Obama Leaves Israel With a Security Nightmare.
As Richard Fernandez noted in September, “The Era of Hope and Change has been one prolonged act of suicide. If anyone had said that Obama would manage to alienate Israel and the Philippines, lose Turkey, pay Iran a hundred billion dollars, preside over the loss of a won war in Afghanistan, lose billions of dollars in military equipment to ISIS, watch a consulate burn, restart the Cold War with Russia, cause Japan to re-arm and go the knife’s edge with China would you have believed it? If someone had told you in 2008 millions of refugees would be heading for Europe and that the UK would leave the EU after Obama went there to campaign for them to remain would you not have laughed? He promised ‘smart diplomacy’ and the restoration of American prestige in the world. How did it come to this?”
Of course, things could get even worse after Obama leaves office, but his legacy — a nuclear-armed Iran — continues steaming forward.
COMMUNIST RULE RETURNS TO COMMUNIST CHINA: China Ousts Finance Minister Lou Jiwei in Surprise Reshuffle.
Shortly before Lou Jiwei was appointed China’s finance minister in the spring of 2013, the outspoken Communist Party veteran expressed a wish to Premier Li Keqiang: to let him serve his full five-year term.
Mr. Lou’s pitch, according to people with knowledge of the matter, was that he had a plan to overhaul the country’s creaky fiscal system and tax code and needed time to carry it out. The chat with Mr. Li helped launch him as the highest-profile finance minister China has had in years and a voice for market-oriented changes in China.
On Monday, with nearly two more years to go before his term ends, the 65-year-old Mr. Lou was unexpectedly removed from his position and replaced by a relatively low-profile bureaucrat.
President Xi Jinping is apparently trying to make himself into China’s most powerful leader since Mao.
TIME-WARNER-CNN-HBO SPOKESMAN BILL MAHER PRETENDS TO APOLOGIZE FOR CRYING WOLF AT BUSH, McCAIN AND ROMNEY:
This is a remarkable mea culpa from Bill Maher on how he treated Republican nominees before Trump. pic.twitter.com/xIzt9Rj91S
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) November 5, 2016
In response, Iowahawk adds:
For anybody who can’t understand why their attacks on Trump just won’t stick:https://t.co/FldVcvSExh
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) November 5, 2016
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) November 5, 2016
Fun with Twitter searchhttps://t.co/wAKKGpiWVj
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) November 5, 2016
But then, long before Trump came along, the previous president or GOP candidate, who received brickbats and worse from the left is magically rehabilitated to bash the current nominee. Rinse and repeat, going back to Eisenhower and Goldwater.
This past July, Jonah Goldberg explored “How the Media’s History of Smearing Republicans Now Helps Trump.”
Last night, responding to Maher, Stephen Kruiser wrote, “As he points out [in the above clip], Maher gave a cool million to the Obama campaign in 2012 to prevent Mitt Romney from being elected. In the last few weeks before the election, Democrats were portraying Romney (the man they now describe as honorable) as a sexist animal abuser who gave a woman cancer. Check back in four years to see if they’ve really learned anything about crying wolf.”
Similarly, file this prediction from Twitter user Chris Antenucci away for future reference: “Bill Maher and most liberals in 2020: ‘This year’s nominee, Rubio, is making Trump look like a moderate. He’s a radical on abortion.’”
That’s a remarkably safe bet. We’re seeing lots of mea culpas from the media and its critics about how badly it blew its reporting this year and how deeply it was in the tank for the Democratic nominee. But they could virtually be rewrites of the same faux apologies we’ve seen at the conclusion of every presidential election since at least 2004. And yet, “unexpectedly,” the MSM just never seems to learn from them, do they?
Just think of the media as Democrat operatives with bylines, and it all makes sense.
UNEXPECTEDLY: NYC millennials are crawling with STDs.
UNEXPECTEDLY! The NFL Was a Sure Thing for TV Networks. Until Now.
NONSENSE, VOTING FRAUD IS A MYTH: State raids Delco offices, seeking evidence of voter registration fraud.
Pennsylvania state police have raided a Delaware County political field office seeking evidence of possible voter-registration fraud, according to court records.
In a warrant filed late last week in County Court, investigators said they were seeking documents, financial information, and lists of employees at the Norwood office of FieldWorks LLC, a national organization that often does street work for Democrats, records show.
The warrant did not specify the nature of the probe, but said agents also were looking for “templates . . . utilized to construct fraudulent voter registration forms” and “completed voter registration forms containing same or similar identifying information of individuals on multiple forms.”
It’s cronyism and collusion all the way down.
CBS: Poll: National Anthem Protests Leading Cause For NFL Ratings Drop. “The NFL has long been one of the country’s most popular forms of escapist entertainment, and the injection of social and political issues into the broadcasts has turned a number of fans away.”
UNEXPECTEDLY: Offering Poor Value, Obamacare Exchanges Have Become Medicaid-like Ghettos. “To moderate premium spikes, insurers have done what Medicaid managed-care plans do: Narrow networks. Consultants at McKinsey note that three-quarters of exchange plans in 2017 will have no out-of-network coverage, except in emergency cases. And those provider networks themselves are incredibly narrow: one-third fewer specialists than the average employer plan, and hospital networks continuing to shrink. In short, exchange coverage looks nothing like the employer plans that more affluent Americans have come to know and like.”
NEWS FROM THE VENEZUELAN SOCIALIST WORKERS’ PARADISE: With hospitals suffering a catastrophic lack of supplies, the country’s babies are dying at a rate higher than Syria’s.
Infant mortality is rising fast here, at a time when it is falling in almost every other part of the world, in one of the most alarming signals that Venezuela’s social and state structures are unraveling.
“I think it represents a very serious social problem, where the basic functions of governance are breaking down,” said Janet Currie, an economist and expert on infant mortality at Princeton University.
Venezuela’s overall infant mortality rate—defined as deaths within the first year of life—is currently 18.6 per 1,000 live births, according to the most recent government statistics. That is well beyond the upper range of 15.4 Unicef estimates for war-torn Syria.
Lots of bad luck going around there — unexpectedly.
UNEXPECTEDLY: Hillary’s Never Asked by Media About Broaddrick.
It wasn’t always this way. In 1958, when the American National Election Study first asked Americans to gauge their trust in government, a healthy 73 percent said they could trust the government just about always or most of the time. The slide began under Lyndon Baines Johnson, hit a brief peak during the Ronald Reagan years, and has been falling ever since.
Simply put, we are in the Era of Mistrust, and there are no exit signs.
It’s an interesting paradox for the left – who see no limitations on the size of the government – and yet, as the above passage illustrates, the bigger and more powerful the scope of the government, the less it’s likely to be trusted. And as Salena Zito goes on to note, while the left launched Watergate to destroy Richard Nixon, the discovery by the American people that, as Victor Lasky accurately noted at the time in his book titled It Didn’t Start With Watergate, did much to make the distrust of government an “unexpectedly” bipartisan affair in the 1970s.
UNEXPECTEDLY: Hacked emails reveal MSNBC producer fawning over Hillary.
UNEXPECTEDLY: Clinton Campaign Helped Script Steve Harvey Interview.
Flashback: Email Reveals Hillary Clinton Was Fed Questions Before Meet The Press Appearance. And a few additional examples of DNC-MSM collusion also in that post.
OH, THAT LIBERAL FASCISM: “Do not make yourself a target for the Clintons. This has been a rule for as long as we’ve known them. If you get in their sights, bad things happen to you. The latest case in point is Scott Adams, writer of the Dilbert comic strip who has turned his thoughts to blogging about the Trump phenomenon.”
To paraphrase Tom Wolfe, according to the media-academic complex, fascism is forever descending upon the American right, but it always seems to land rather far left of the target. (Unexpectedly.)
PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:
As I understand your use of this term, “the media” is essentially shorthand for anything you read, saw or heard today that you disagreed with or didn’t like. At any given moment, “the media” is biased against your candidate, your issue, your very way of life.
But, you know, the media isn’t really doing that. Some article, some news report, some guy spouting off on a CNN panel or at CrankyCrackpot.com might be. But none of those things singularly are really the media.
Fact is, there really is no such thing as “the media.” It’s an invention, a tool, an all-purpose smear by people who can’t be bothered to make distinctions.
—“Dear readers: Please stop calling us ‘the media.’ There is no such thing,” Paul Farhi, the Washington Post, Friday.
Thousands of conservatives and even some moderates have complained during my more than three-year term that The Post is too liberal; many have stopped subscribing, including more than 900 in the past four weeks.
It pains me to see lost subscribers and revenue, especially when newspapers are shrinking. Conservative complaints can be wrong: The mainstream media were not to blame for John McCain’s loss; Barack Obama’s more effective campaign and the financial crisis were.
But some of the conservatives’ complaints about a liberal tilt are valid. Journalism naturally draws liberals; we like to change the world. I’ll bet that most Post journalists voted for Obama. I did. There are centrists at The Post as well. But the conservatives I know here feel so outnumbered that they don’t even want to be quoted by name in a memo.
—Button worn by the late Ginny Carroll to the 1992 Republican convention. Carroll was a bureau chief for Newsweek, then owned by the Washington Post.
Incidentally, this isn’t the first time that Farhi has tried to play these semantic games: As Tim Graham of NewsBusters paraphrased a similar Farhi column in 2012, “WashPost Writes The Public Be Damned: They’re Biased If They Think We’re Biased.”
Perhaps Iowahawk has the best response to Farhi’s latest column, and its smug headline, “Dear readers: Please stop calling us ‘the media.’ There is no such thing.” “Okay, how about we just call you assholes,” he tweeted yesterday.
Or Democrat operatives with bylines. Often the two phrases are quite interchangeable. (Unexpectedly.)
All of which is why, as Kurt Schlichter writes, “We’re Laughing at the Self-Destruction of the Media Gatekeepers.”
UNEXPECTEDLY: Craft Breweries Abound in States with Fewer Regulations.
Here’s to freedom – as Amnesty International used to say, before their own style of fundamental transformation.
UNEXPECTEDLY: NFL’s TV ratings still falling?
Whatever could be the reason?
AND NOW, SOME THOUGHTS FROM COLIN POWELL ON THE 2016 ELECTION:
Related: “Unexpectedly,” the news division of CBS, run by Obama advisor Ben Rhodes’ brother, censors Powell’s accusation that Clinton is still ‘d***king bimbos,’ after editing Bill’s Monday admission that his wife “frequently” suffers from fainting spells. It’s like Dan Rather never left his old office.
UNEXPECTEDLY: Americans’ Trust in Mass Media Sinks to New Low, Gallup reports, “with 32% saying they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media. This is down eight percentage points from last year:”
Gallup began asking this question in 1972, and on a yearly basis since 1997. Over the history of the entire trend, Americans’ trust and confidence hit its highest point in 1976, at 72%, in the wake of widely lauded examples of investigative journalism regarding Vietnam and the Watergate scandal. After staying in the low to mid-50s through the late 1990s and into the early years of the new century, Americans’ trust in the media has fallen slowly and steadily. It has consistently been below a majority level since 2007.
Republicans Fuel Drop in Media Trust
While it is clear Americans’ trust in the media has been eroding over time, the election campaign may be the reason that it has fallen so sharply this year. With many Republican leaders and conservative pundits saying Hillary Clinton has received overly positive media attention, while Donald Trump has been receiving unfair or negative attention, this may be the prime reason their relatively low trust in the media has evaporated even more. It is also possible that Republicans think less of the media as a result of Trump’s sharp criticisms of the press. Republicans who say they have trust in the media has plummeted to 14% from 32% a year ago. This is easily the lowest confidence among Republicans in 20 years.
Why on earth would that be? Paul Krugman assures me his fellow DNC-MSM operatives with bylines are “objectively pro-Trump.”
(Classical reference “unexpectedly” in headline.)
HEY, REMEMBER HIM? Barack Obama, the incredible shrinking president:
While presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump loom horrifyingly larger, can we spare a little horror as U.S. President Barack Obama looms ever smaller? No, I’m not sorry he’s leaving. I’m alarmed at a series of recent foreign policy humiliations showing just how badly the incredible shrinking president has damaged America’s standing in this turbulent world of ours.
First, emerging from the back door of Air Force One at the G20 in China after local functionaries literally denied him a red carpet. Second, begging Russian President Vladimir Putin for help on Syria and getting chlorine gas. Third, being told off by the president of Turkey over American support for Kurds in Syria. Fourth, being cussed out by the president of the Philippines.
It is literally impossible to imagine any of these things happening to former presidents Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush or Richard Nixon. Jimmy Carter? Maybe one or two. But Obama managed all four. While he did cancel his meeting with the appalling Filipino president, he seemed to treat the rest as no big deal.
As Glenn noted, “When Jimmy Carter Is your best-case scenario, you’re in trouble.” That was written back in 2011, but alas, voters didn’t heed the warning. Which is why our semi-retired president’s last months in office aren’t exactly occurring “unexpectedly,” even to his most die-hard loyalists.
WORLD TO END TOMORROW—WOMEN, MINORITIES HARDEST HIT:
—The London Guardian*, Tuesday.
—James Delingpole, Breitbart London, yesterday.
* Funny how lefty Websites never volunteer to reduce global warming by turning off their air conditioned offices and server farms. Unexpectedly.
(Classical reference in headline.)
As Jim Geraghty quipped in December:
Apparently, Merkel winning that Time magazine “Person of the Year” cover story last year wasn’t worth the massive upheaval it inflicted on her countrymen.
UNEXPECTEDLY: “‘CNN is so supportive of Clinton, network honchos acted like the Mafia when confronting [Dr. Drew Pinsky]’ a source told me. ‘First, they demanded he retract his comments, but he wouldn’t.’ What followed was a series of nasty phone calls and e-mails. ‘It was downright scary and creepy,’ a source close to Pinsky said.” Which is why “Dr. Drew loses show after discussing Hillary’s health,” the New York Post reports*.
Flashback: David Shuster suspended at MSNBC in early 2008 — a channel that was then at the height of its raucous Keith Olbermann slurring Bush nightly phase — for uttering the innocuous phrase, “Doesn’t it seem as if Chelsea is sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?” by the Clinton foundation. Chelsea was then 27 years old, and on her way to be being paid $600,000 by MSNBC’s parent network for filing less than two dozen stories, one of which was a hard-hitting take no prisoners interview with…the Geiko gecko.
OBAMA FINDS AN ALLY IN WAL-MART, WHOSE STORES HE ONCE SHUNNED, Bloomberg notes. And since it’s Bloomberg, it’s worth adding the “Unexpectedly!” — or as Scott Lincicome of the Cato Institute tweets, Bloomberg’s article is “A classic of the ‘corporatism, how does it work?’ genre:”
As a freshman senator with his eye on the presidency, Barack Obama said he’d never shop at a Wal-Mart and held the company up as an emblem of corporate greed.
Today, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is one of Obama’s most reliable corporate allies, a go-to partner that’s backed the White House on more than a dozen business initiatives, particularly Obamacare and climate change.
And speaking of “unexpectedly,” a flashback to 2011, when Wal-Mart went ‘Back to Basics’, which Richard Pollock, then with PJM dubbed “A Cautionary Tale for the Left:”
The failure, in large part, can be pinned to Leslie Dach: a well-known progressive and former senior aide to Vice President Al Gore. In July 2006, Dach was installed as the public relations chief for Wal-Mart. He drafted a number of other progressives into the company, seeking to change the company’s way of doing business: its culture, its politics, and most importantly its products.
Out went drab, inexpensive merchandise so dear to low-income Americans. In came upscale organic foods, “green” products, trendy jeans, and political correctness. In other words, Dach sought to expose poor working Americans to the “good life” of the wealthy, environmentally conscious Prius driver.
Dach’s failure should be a cautionary tale for President Obama: last week he scolded a blue collar man in Pennsylvania for driving an SUV, and he has previously admonished Americans to get out of their gas-guzzlers and into electric cars. Dach’s failure should also put Michelle Obama on notice; she has been pushing her White House organic vegetable garden as a model for working Americans.
Like other real-world experiments, the Wal-Mart story exposes the failure of progressivism in the marketplace, as the Dach strategy has been a fiasco: the merchandising turned off low-income (and largely Democratic-leaning) customers. Says former Wal-Mart executive Jimmy Wright:
The basic Wal-Mart customer didn’t leave Wal-Mart. What happened is that Wal-Mart left the customer.
First being in bed with Hillary, then Al Gore, then Obama. I’m not sure how those associations help Wal-Mart stay focused on its core business, but I guess it’s worth it for the cocktail parties and the protection from what Michael Walsh has described as a criminal organization masquerading as a political party.
UNEXPECTEDLY! Enrollment drop from Mizzou protests worse than feared.
Inconceivable, as legendary SJW Mr. Vizzini would say.
THAT MEANS IT’S WORKING: Even Left-Leaning Econ Writers Are Impoverished by Obamacare.
“We’re Hiring Economics Writers,” says the headline of a post at the web site FiveThirtyEight.
Good for them.
Then they write:
“This is a part-time staff position (up to 29 hours per week) and does not offer benefits.”
Any idea why they chose 29 hours?
UNEXPECTEDLY! I dumped my fiancé for a Jamaican lover but he fleeced me of £10k and turned out to be a love rat: Louise Chesney, 24, was set to marry her perfect man when a local hotel worker caught her eye on holiday. The “perfect man” dodged a bullet, I’d say, especially after seeing photos of her pale, tubby, and tattooed self. And I love the “I can’t believe this happened” bit, as if it was something that just happened, instead of something stupid that she did.
SCIENCE CONFIRMS: MILLENNIAL MEN HAVE PANSY HANDSHAKES. Gosh, that bit of news has arrived so “unexpectedly.”
UNEXPECTEDLY! The Target boycott is costing more than anyone expected.
I think it’s more of a case of the cultural left being exhausted and having overreached on a variety of issues that have badly cheesed off the American public, but hey, even the Tampa Bay Buccaneers eventually turned the corner on their 0 and 26 record. But let’s check back in November before getting too excited on this one.
In the meantime though, note this item in Jim Geraghty’s post:
Enrollment at the University of Missouri is expected to decline by 2,600 students in the fall, aggravating a bad budget situation and making it likely the pain will extend for several years as the shrunken fall freshman class filters through to graduation.
Vice Chancellor of Finance Rhonda Gibler, in an interview ahead of a campus budget forum Wednesday, said campus divisions have been told to plan for 2 percent cuts to general fund budgets for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 in addition to 5 percent cuts ordered for the year that begins July 1…
The latest enrollment figures point to a decline of 1,400 first-time freshmen, to about 4,800, and 1,200 other students, Gibler said. For every 100 fewer Missouri undergraduate students who are on campus, the university loses $1 million in tuition revenue. That rises to $2.5 million for 100 fewer undergraduates from outside the state.
Related: “New York is again the least free state in the country,” the Cato Institute reports in its annual survey of “Freedom in the 50 States,” adding, “Its huge, glaring weakness is fiscal policy. If New York were to adopt a fiscal regime closer to that of California, New Jersey, or Connecticut, its overall economic freedom score would be close to theirs. As it is, New York looks set to remain the least free state for many years to come.”
What’s the second least free state in the country? Let’s just say you can’t spell the phrase “Catch-22” without the letters CA.
UNEXPECTEDLY! U.K. Unemployment Falls After Brexit.
UNEXPECTEDLY: Black Lives Matter Accuses Israel of Genocide.
UNEXPECTEDLY! Early Returns From Seattle’s Minimum Wage Experiment. “So what did they find? People are getting paid a higher wage — and yet, earnings didn’t rise much, because people are also working less.”
PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:
—John Nolte, Big Journalism, December 21st, 2013.
— Charlie Warzel, BuzzFeed, yesterday.
As Sonny Bunch of the Washington Free Beacon tweeted yesterday, guess whose name is “unexpectedly” omitted from Warzel’s article.
“Irony is wasted on the stupid.” This quote, attributed to Oscar Wilde, seems fitting in light of the Obama administration’s new campaign to block two blockbuster mergers between the health insurers Aetna and Humana and Anthem and Cigna. (It is also fighting hospital consolidation in many states.) The administration is rightly worried that this will lead to higher health care costs through reduced competition, yet it ignores the fact that its signature law, the Affordable Care Act, was specifically designed to foment such consolidation.
The central planners behind the Affordable Care Act – also known as Obamacare – were convinced that consolidation in health care would lead to decreased health care spending by eliminating duplication, standardizing treatment protocols and incentivizing better utilization. As three of Obamacare’s primary authors wrote in The Annals of Internal Medicine in 2010, the law was designed to “unleash forces that favor integration across the continuum of care.” No part of health care was supposed to be spared – doctors, hospitals, insurers, pharmaceutical companies and others were given regulatory and financial incentives to merge.
This prediction panned out. In the six years since Obamacare’s passage, there has been a surge in health care consolidation.
All together now: Unexpectedly!
Will Smith, hardest hit.
Shades of the story of Julian Simon versus the enviro-doomsday religious left. As Jay Nordlinger once wrote, “Jerry Taylor of the Cato Institute tells a story about Julian Simon, the late and great economist. He was at some environmental forum, and he said, ‘How many people here believe that the earth is increasingly polluted and that our natural resources are being exhausted?’ Naturally, every hand shot up. He said, ‘Is there any evidence that could dissuade you?’ Nothing. Again: ‘Is there any evidence I could give you — anything at all — that would lead you to reconsider these assumptions?’ Not a stir. Simon then said, ‘Well, excuse me, I’m not dressed for church.’ I love that story, for what it says about the fixity of these beliefs, immune to evidence, reason, or anything else.”
PEASANTS AND PITCHFORKS: A Wake-Up Call For Western Elites.
It is easy to get caught in the tidal wave of pessimism that has gripped the West’s chattering classes and op-ed writers. The list of real problems confronting Europe and the United States is long, and getting longer still: slow growth, exploding jihadi terrorism, uncontrolled immigration, the hollowing out of NATO, and the weakening of the European Union. Region by region, the global security equation looks equally menacing, with the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) on fire amidst a Sunni-Shi‘a civil war, the fragmentation of Syria, Iraq, and Libya, and fighters flocking to the Islamic State intent on brushing aside the remnants of the Sykes-Picot system. The risk of armed conflict is growing in Asia and Europe, with China and Russia pressing their advantage, while Americans, weary of losses in what is now a 15-year War on Terror, look in vain for a viable strategy. Within the West itself events are approaching an inflection point; the liberal, globalist notions of the past two decades have suddenly (if only in hindsight not unexpectedly) run into a rapidly rising wall of popular resistance.
The forces that are reshaping the erstwhile globalist consensus are not, as critics would have it, simply “populism,” “racism,” or “lower class obscurantism,” but a 21st-century popular rebellion across the democratic West, which—warts and all—is readying itself to imprint the will of the modern demos onto what not so long ago many considered to be a progressively de-nationalized, postmodern consumer society. Steeped in resurgent nationalism, this public wave has crashed into the breach between the notional reality, which maintains that on balance Europe and America are still doing fine, and the perceived reality of high unemployment, high immigration rates, and segmented communities. It is amidst this sense of fragmentation and decline that latter-day peasants on both sides of the ocean are rising up, pitchforks in hand, against an increasingly denationalized aristocracy.
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