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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Anarchists Destroy Property at the Inaugural

Note the Hammer and Sickle banner in the beginning of the video.   Anarchist flags too.    


They break the windows of a McDonald's.   Yeah, fight the power!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Fidel Castro is Still Dead

iPuras tonterias!  So much foolishness written about Fidel Castro after his death last week. In essence, he was a talented power artist, who, like most of that ilk, subordinated people and morality to their personal ambitions.

The amount of bytes spilled about Fidel stand in inverse proportion to his relevance today.   He's been out of power since 2008, and irrelevant in world affairs since the Soviet "new thinking" of 1987.  He got a brief revival with Chavez's rise to power in 1998 and might have helped Chavez come back to power in 2002.

Two Fidel stories that sum him up to me:  Political pilgrims to Havana often brag about having an audience with Fidel, because he was the pope of the left.   One Latin Americanist from DC had such a meeting--a seven hour dinner with the great man.  He said it was the most boring experience of his life.  Fidel just talked most of the time, and most of the discussion was inane.  He added that he had very long fingernails.

Another story from a former diplomat who was standing with former Argentina President Carlos Menem at a Summit of the Americas meeting.   Suddenly Fidel walked by in his fatigues, surrounded by his entourage.   Menem,  stopping in mid sentence, watched Fidel go by and observed, "What an asshole," and then resumed his conversation.

Here's a great piece by Bob Royal summing up Fidel:  Semper Fidel   Yes, I forgot about Fidel the cow breeder!

This site has some good links on Fidel, including some books by Humberto Fontova that are worth a look:  https://huffduffer.com/mfluder/376620



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Why We Have An Electoral College

It reflects the makeup of the Congress, for one thing.   Changing it would radically change our constitution as never before.  As the College Goes, So Goes the Constitution

Someone Tweeted after the election, what kind of a political system allows someone who loses the popular vote to win the election?  He thought this was a rhetorical question.  It happens in parliamentary systems with proportional representation.  

Have you ever seen the Ryder Cup?  It is a match play event, kind of like our presidential election. You win by winning the most holes.  I have never heard a golfer say,  I would have won my Ryder Cup match if it had been medal play.   Right:  It wasn't medal play, it was match play.   You knew the rules going in.

The Democrats have in recent decades a decided advantage in the Electoral College before the election begins.  But for some reason, the GOP never complains about that!

Electoral systems are never perfect.  But the Electoral College saved us from Al Gore and Hillary Clinton.   For that alone, it deserves some respect.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Objective Journalism in its Death Throes

Kyle Smith exposes how journalists worked for the Democrats throughout the presidential campaign here:  /keep-crying-wolf-about-trump-and-no-one-will-listen-to-a-real-crisis/  Note especially his points about how the New York Times went over the line in a front page column, urging journalists to drop the appearance of objectivity, and to become activists, by going after Trump.  Lots of juicy examples in this piece.  Check out especially the points about Dana Milbank in the Washington Post, who takes hypocrisy to dizzying heights.

Dropping objectivity is historically significant.  Since the 19th century, the Times advanced and set the standard for so-called "objective journalism" to counter the partisan broadsheets of the day.  Of course the paper was liberal for most of this period, but at least it tried to maintain the appearance of fair mindedness. Other papers copied its model and accepted its journalistic leadership.  You can read about this in Larry Sabato's book "Feeding Frenzy"  (I helped Sabato with an updated edition, many years ago!)

Goodbye to all that.  Now all media outlets are Breitbart.


Keep crying wolf about Trump, and no one will listen when there’s a real crisis

It’s contrary to the laws of nature for a tabloid writer to tell the gentry media not to go berserk. It’s like a cat telling his owner to stop coughing up hairballs or Iron Man asking Captain America to be less arrogant. Here at The Post, our mission statement does not include understatement. We provide journalistic Red Bull, not Sominex.
Nevertheless, a word of neighborly advice to our more genteel media friends, the ones who sit at the high table in their pristine white dinner jackets and ball gowns. You’ve been barfing all over yourselves for a week and a half, and it’s revolting to watch.
For your own sake, and that of the republic for which you allegedly work, wipe off your chins and regain your composure. I didn’t vote for him either, but Trump won. Pull yourselves together and deal with it, if you ever want to be taken seriously again.

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What kind of president will Trump be? It’s a tad too early to say, isn’t it? The media are supposed to tell us what happened, not speculate on the future. But its incessant scaremongering, the utter lack of proportionality and the shameless use of double standards are an embarrassment, one that is demeaning the value of the institution. The press’ frantic need to keep the outrage meter dialed up to 11 at all times creates the risk that a desensitized populace will simply shrug off any genuine White House scandals that may lie in the future (or may not).
Hysteria is causing leading media organizations to mix up their news reporting with their editorializing like never before, but instead of mingling like chocolate and peanut butter the two are creating a taste that’s like brushing your teeth after drinking orange juice.
Look at the bonkers reaction to every move made by Trump’s transition team. “Firings and Discord Put Trump Team in a State of Disarray,” ran a shrill New York Times headline, though it took President-elect Obama three weeks to name his first Cabinet pick. “Trump Transition Shakeup Part of ‘Stalinesque Purge’ of Christie Loyalists,” screamed NBC News.
Hysteria is causing leading media organizations to mix up their news reporting with their editorializing like never before.
The Huffington Post noted “Donald Trump’s Transition Team, Or Lack Thereof, Is Causing Real Panic.” “ ‘Knife Fight’ as Trump Builds an Unconventional National Security Cabinet,” said CNN. “Trump Transition: ‘Stalled . . . Scrambling . . . On Pause,’ ” said CBS News.
OK, so Trump was evidently surprised he won — possibly because he was too credulous toward The New York Times, which gave him a 15 percent chance of doing so. Still, he has a couple of months to assemble his team. If Trump rushed to make his picks more quickly than Obama did, The Times would be yowling that he’s careless and impetuous.
After reports of discord and disarray dominated the news for a day, later stories suggested that disgruntled lobbyists who couldn’t get past the doorman at Trump Tower were leaking the information, meaning that, as Trump tried to drain the swamp in Washington, the media were taking the side of the swamp. (Note that reporters swooned when President Obama promised to bar lobbyists from his circle, then shrugged when Obama reneged.)
After Trump gave the media the slip Tuesday night and went out for a steak, NBC harrumphed, “With his Tuesday night actions, the Trump administration is shaping up to be the least accessible to the public and the press in modern history.” Quite a leap there, especially considering the wall of opacity erected by the current administration, which has been stonewalling Freedom Of Information Act requests for years.
Once, hard-nosed city editors told cub reporters, “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.” Nowadays, all that really matters is whether your mother advances what longtime New York Times editor Michael Cieply, a 12-year veteran of that institution, called “the narrative” — the predetermined party line that Times reporters are expected to rigorously adhere to and find evidence for. It’s what social scientists call “confirmation bias,” and if the Times actually cared about being seen as impartial, it would have fired executive editor Dean Baquet in the wake of Cieply’s revelations on Nov. 10. It didn’t.

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Jason Miller, Trump’s adviser, speaks to reporters in Trump Tower.Photo: Getty Images

The media are reaping what they’ve sown, and there’s no law that says President Trump has to hold press conferences. Trump’s behavior toward the media has been at times scary (such as when he publicly vilified NBC reporter Katy Tur in front of a restive crowd) and at times ridiculous (when he sends out dumb-ass tweets about the “failed New York Times,” which is actually profitable and has gained 41,000 subscribers since Election Day.)
If anyone should be looking at the man in the mirror, it’s the media. The media’s approval rating hit an all-time low of 32 percent this cycle, according to a Gallup poll in September, meaning the fourth estate are even less loved than Trump, their favorite punching bag — who, by the way, has 51 percent of Americans feeling more confident, against 40 percent feeling less confident, about him than they did before the election. The past week of post-election media hysteria is apparently being heavily discounted by the public.
Instapundit blogger Glenn Reynolds’ characterization of reporters as “Democratic operatives with bylines” is taking root in the American mind. Among independents, according to Gallup in September, the media had an approval rating of 30 percent; among Republicans 14. Almost everyone but Democrats think the media are biased, and support for that view goes way back.
In November 2008, Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell said readers who complained about shallow coverage and pro-Obama bias were “right on both counts,” publishing tallies that proved the paper had been far more critical of Obama’s opponent Sen. John McCain than of Obama. A few weeks later, “Game Change” co-author Mark Halperin said the media showed “extreme pro-Obama coverage” in a “disgusting failure.”
In 2012, The New York Times’ public editor Arthur Brisbane said the paper “basked a bit in the warm glow of Mr. Obama’s election in 2008” and cited a study that showed the Times’ coverage had been far more approving of Obama than it had been of President Reagan and both Presidents Bush.
In January 2008, NBC’s Brian Williams was honest enough to point out that the network’s reporter covering Obama had said, “It’s hard to be objective covering this guy.” Williams immediately demanded the reporter be fired for admitting to being unable to do his job.
The media should wait for something to actually happen before it declares the end of the world.
Just kidding: Williams praised the reporter, calling him “courageous.”
In 2016, the media didn’t even pretend it wasn’t working in Hillary Clinton’s interests. The blue whale of information, The New York Times, virtually signaled to the journalistic universe that it was time to abandon all pretense of objectivity in a now-notorious front-page column on Aug. 8 that advised journalists “you have to throw out the textbook American journalism has been using for the better part of the past half-century” and “move closer than you’ve ever been to being oppositional.” If that result “may not always seem fair to Mr. Trump or his supporters,” tough tiddly-winks, Times columnist Jim Rutenberg concluded.
In October, Baquet said Rutenberg’s column “nailed it” and all but boasted of his paper’s hostility to Trump, in the process making a gobsmacking claim that the lesson he learned from the media’s heavily slanted coverage of the 2004 campaign was that they had been unfair to John Kerry.
In fact the media were so obviously cheering for Kerry that Newsweek assistant managing editor Evan Thomas said the coverage was probably worth a 5-point boost in the polls for the Democrat’s campaign.

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Donna BrazilePhoto: Getty Images

This fall WikiLeaks confirmed everything conservatives have been saying about the media for more than 20 years. CNN, you have been busted. You allowed Democratic Party operative Donna Brazile to get hold of town-hall questions in advanceand help Hillary Clinton prep with them.
Note that this is not a Donna Brazile scandal. Brazile did what every party hack is paid to do: She tried to help her side win. This is all on you, CNN. You should have fired yourselves, not Brazile.
John Harwood, New York Times/CNBC reporter and Republican debate moderator, you have been busted. You asked John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chair, for questions you could pose to Jeb Bush in an interview.
Dana Milbank, Washington Post columnist and longtime phony “nonpartisan” political reporter, you have been busted. You reached out to DNC flack Eric Walker and asked for help putting together a “Passover-themed 10 plagues of Trump” story.
Not only are you evidently an undercover Democratic Party operative who should be drawing checks from the DNC instead of from The WaPo, you’re a tired hack who can’t even come up with his own column ideas without assistance.
Should the media be antagonistic to Trump? Yes, they should be antagonistic to all public officials. Their job is to expose bad judgment and wrongdoing, not to fawn and mewl.
That the media chose to be blasé about Obama overriding the Constitution and making law via fiat was reprehensible. It doesn’t mean the media are under any obligation whatsoever to show deference to Trump should he do the same.
For the good of us all, though, and in the interest of rebuilding the wreckage of its reputation, the media should go back to having gradations of outrage. Switching transition chairmen isn’t the Saturday Night Massacre, and going out for a steak without telling the hacks isn’t on a par with, say, deleting 33,000 e-mails.
The Trump Era hasn’t even started yet. The media should wait for something to actually happen before it declares the end of the world.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Steve Bannon, Trump's "Cromwell"

Ringside With Steve Bannon at Trump Tower as the President-Elect's Strategist Plots "An Entirely New Political Movement" (Exclusive)

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Steve Bannon

"I'm not a white nationalist, I'm a nationalist. I'm an economic nationalist," Bannon tells THR media columnist Michael Wolff as the controversial Breitbart News chief turned White House advisor unleashes on Hillary Clinton, Fox News and his critics.

In late summer when I went up to see Steve Bannon, then recently named CEO of the Donald Trump presidential campaign, in his office at Trump Tower in New York, he outlined a preposterous-sounding scenario. Trump, he said, would do surprisingly well among women, Hispanics and African-Americans, in addition to working men, and hence take Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan — and therefore the election. On Nov. 15, when I went back to Trump Tower, Bannon, promoted by the president-elect to chief strategist for the incoming administration, and by the media as the official symbol of all things hateful and virulent about the coming Trump presidency, said, as matter-of-factly as when he first sketched it out for me, "I told you so."
The liberal firewall against Trump was, most of all, the belief that the Republican contender was too disorganized, outlandish, outré and lacking in nuance to run a proper political campaign. That view was only confirmed when Bannon, editor of the outlandish and outré Breitbart News Network, took over the campaign in August. Now Bannon is arguably the most powerful person on the new White House team, embodying more than anyone the liberals' awful existential pain and fury: How did someone so wrong — not just wrong, but inappropriate, unfit and "loathsome," according to The New York Times — get it so spot-on right?
In these dark days for Democrats, Bannon has become the blackest hole.
"Darkness is good," says Bannon, who amid the suits surrounding him at Trump Tower, looks like a graduate student in his T-shirt, open button-down and tatty blue blazer — albeit a 62-year-old graduate student. "Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That's power. It only helps us when they" — I believe by "they" he means liberals and the media, already promoting calls for his ouster — "get it wrong. When they're blind to who we are and what we're doing."
On that precise point, The New York Timesin a widely circulated article, will describe this day at Trump Tower as a scene of "disarray" for the transition team. In fact, it's all hands on: Mike Pence, the vice president-elect and transition chief, and Reince Priebus, the new chief of staff, shuttling between full conference rooms; Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and by many accounts his closest advisor, conferring in the halls; Sen. Jeff Sessions in and out of meetings on the transition team floor; Rudy Giuliani upstairs with Trump (overheard: "Is the boss meeting-meeting with Rudy or just shooting the shit?"), and Bannon with a long line of men and women outside his corner office. If this is disarray, it's a peculiarly focused and organized kind.
It's the Bannon theme, the myopia of the media — that it tells only the story that confirms its own view, that in the end it was incapable of seeing an alternative outcome and of making a true risk assessment of the political variables — reaffirming the Hillary Clinton camp's own political myopia. This defines the parallel realities in which liberals, in their view of themselves, represent a morally superior character and Bannon — immortalized on Twitter as a white nationalist, racist, anti-Semite thug — the ultimate depravity of Trumpism.
The focus on Bannon, if not necessarily the description, is right. He's the man with the idea. If Trumpism is to represent something intellectually and historically coherent, it's Bannon's job to make it so. In this, he could not be a less reassuring or more confusing figure for liberals — fiercely intelligent and yet reflexively drawn to the inverse of every liberal assumption and shibboleth. A working class kid, he enlists in the navy after high school, gets a degree from Virginia Tech, then Georgetown, then Harvard Business School. Then it's Goldman Sachs, then he's a dealmaker and entrepreneur in Hollywood — where, in an unlikely and very lucky deal match-up, he gets a lucrative piece of Seinfeld royalties, ensuring his own small fortune — then into the otherworld of the vast right-wing conspiracy and conservative media. (He partners with David Bossie, a congressional investigator of President Clinton, who later spearheaded the Citizens United lawsuit that effectively removed the cap on campaign spending, and who now, as the deputy campaign manager, is in the office next to Bannon's.) And then to the Breitbart News Network, which with digital acumen and a mind-meld with the anger and the passion of the new alt-right (a liberal designation Bannon derides) he pushes to the inner circle of conservative media from Breitbart's base on the Westside of liberal Los Angeles.
What he seems to have carried from a boyhood in a blue-collar, union and Democratic family in Norfolk, Va., and through his tour of the American establishment, is an unreconstructed sense of class awareness, or bitterness — or betrayal. The Democratic Party betrayed its working-man roots, just as Hillary Clinton betrayed the longtime Clinton connection — Bill Clinton's connection — to the working man. "The Clinton strength," he says, "was to play to people without a college education. High school people. That's how you win elections." And, likewise, the Republican party would come to betray its working-man constituency forged under Reagan. In sum, the working man was betrayed by the establishment, or what he dismisses as the "donor class."
To say that he sees this donor class — which in his telling is also "ascendant America," e.g. the elites, as well as "the metrosexual bubble" that encompasses cosmopolitan sensibilities to be found as far and wide as Shanghai, London's Chelsea, Hollywood and the Upper West Side — as a world apart, is an understatement. In his view, there's hardly a connection between this world and its opposite — fly-over America, left-behind America, downwardly mobile America — hardly a common language. This is partly why he regards the liberal characterization of himself as socially vile, as the politically incorrect devil incarnate, as laughable — and why he is stoutly unapologetic. They — liberals and media — don't understand what he is saying, or why, or to whom. Breitbart, with its casual provocations — lists of its varied incitements (among them: the conservative writer David Horowitz referred to conservative pundit Brill Kristol as a "renegade Jew," and the site delighting in headlines the likes of "Trannies 49Xs Higher HIV Rate" and "Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy") were in hot exchange after the election among appalled Democrats — is as opaque to the liberal-donor-globalist class as Lena Dunham might be to the out-of-work workingman class. And this, in the Bannon view, is all part of the profound misunderstanding that led liberals to believe that Donald Trump's mouth would doom him, instead of elect him.
Bannon, arguably, is one of the people most at the battle line of the great American divide — and one of the people to have most clearly seen it.
He absolutely — mockingly — rejects the idea that this is a racial line. "I'm not a white nationalist, I'm a nationalist. I'm an economic nationalist," he tells me. "The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f—ed over. If we deliver" — by "we" he means the Trump White House — "we'll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we'll govern for 50 years. That's what the Democrats missed. They were talking to these people with companies with a $9 billion market cap employing nine people. It's not reality. They lost sight of what the world is about."
In a nascent administration that seems, at best, random in its beliefs, Bannon can seem to be not just a focused voice, but almost a messianic one:
"Like [Andrew] Jackson's populism, we're going to build an entirely new political movement," he says. "It's everything related to jobs. The conservatives are going to go crazy. I'm the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. With negative interest rates throughout the world, it's the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Ship yards, iron works, get them all jacked up. We're just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks. It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution — conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement."
Bannon represents, he not unreasonably believes, the fall of the establishment. The self-satisfied, in-bred and homogenous views of the establishment are both what he is against and what has provided the opening for the Trump revolution. "The media bubble is the ultimate symbol of what's wrong with this country," he continues. "It's just a circle of people talking to themselves who have no f—ing idea what's going on. If The New York Times didn't exist, CNN and MSNBC would be a test pattern. The Huffington Post and everything else is predicated on The New York Times. It's a closed circle of information from which Hillary Clinton got all her information — and her confidence. That was our opening."
At that moment, as we talk, there's a knock on the door of Bannon's office, a temporary, impersonal, middle-level executive space with a hodgepodge of chairs for constant impromptu meetings. Sen. Ted Cruz, once the Republican firebrand, now quite a small and unassuming figure, has been waiting patiently for a chat and Bannon excuses himself for a short while. It is clear when we return to our conversation that it is not just the liberal establishment that Bannon feels he has triumphed over, but the conservative one too — not least of all Fox News and its owners, the Murdochs. "They got it more wrong than anybody," he says. "Rupert is a globalist and never understood Trump. To him, Trump is a radical. Now they'll go centrist and build the network around Megyn Kelly." Bannon recounts, with no small irony, that when Breitbart attacked Kelly after her challenges to Trump in the initial Republican debate, Fox News chief Roger Ailes — whom Bannon describes as an important mentor, and who Kelly's accusations of sexual harassment would help topple in July — called to defend her. Bannon says he warned Ailes that Kelly would be out to get him too.
It is less than obvious how Bannon, now the official strategic brains of the Trump operation, syncs with his boss, famously not too strategic. When Bannon took over the campaign from Paul Manafort, there were many in the Trump circle who had resigned themselves to the inevitability of the candidate listening to no one. But here too was a Bannon insight: When the campaign seemed most in free fall or disarray, it was perhaps most on target. While Clinton was largely absent from the campaign trail and concentrating on courting her donors, Trump — even after the leak of the grab-them-by-the-pussy audio — was speaking to ever-growing crowds of 35,000 or 40,000. "He gets it; he gets it intuitively," says Bannon, perhaps still surprised he has found such an ideal vessel. "You have probably the greatest orator since William Jennings Bryan, coupled with an economic populist message and two political parties that are so owned by the donors that they don't speak to their audience. But he speaks in a non-political vernacular, he communicates with these people in a very visceral way. Nobody in the Democratic party listened to his speeches, so they had no idea he was delivering such a compelling and powerful economic message. He shows up 3.5 hours late in Michigan at 1 in the morning and has 35,000 people waiting in the cold. When they got [Clinton] off the donor circuit she went to Temple University and they drew 300 or 400 kids."
Indeed, during the worst days of the campaign, even down to the last day when most in Trumpland thought only a miracle would save them, "I knew that she couldn't close. They out-spent us 10 to one, had 10 times more people and had all the media with them, but I kept saying it doesn't matter, they got it all wrong, we've got this locked."
Bannon now becomes part of a two-headed White House political structure, with Reince Priebus — in and out of Bannon's office as we talk — as chief of staff, in charge of making the trains run on time, reporting to the president, and Bannon as chief strategist, in charge of vision, goals, narrative and plan of attack, reporting to the president too. Add to this the ambitions and whims of the president himself, and the novel circumstance of one who has never held elective office, the agenda of his highly influential family and the end-runs of a party significant parts of which were opposed to him, and you have quite a complex court that Bannon will have to finesse to realize his reign of the working man and a trillion dollars in new spending.
"I am," he says, with relish, "Thomas Cromwell in the court of the Tudors."