Quelle Surprise

This amused:

“This is astonishing!” say people in the responses underneath. Sure, a French-Bulgarian academic studying liberal arts in Paris in the 1970s turning out to be a die-hard lefty working for the communists is just incredible, isn’t it?

Now I have no idea who this woman is and perhaps she did or said things which had everyone believing she was a loyal follower of Hayek, Adam Smith, and Ayn Rand but I doubt it. Shit, even today it’s a fair bet most academics on Paris’ left bank are hardcore lefties if not out-and-out communists mourning the day the Eastern Bloc collapsed.

What will be interesting is whether these revelations will see her hounded out of polite society. I highly doubt it. She’ll be given a sympathetic interview with softball questions and with a smile and an airy wave of the hand the entire thing will be dismissed as happening a long time ago and it was all a bit of a giggle anyway. I doubt this will dent her social and professional standing one jot, at least in the west. The Bulgarians might think a little differently however, especially those who lost family members at the hands of the Bulgarian communists.

Whatever the case, she ought to be grateful she only collaborated with the security services of a brutal communist regime since the age of 30, and wasn’t a teenager working a telephone exchange when the Nazis were in town.

Share

Breast Practices

This story amused me:

A transgender woman has been able to breastfeed a baby in the first recorded case of its kind, researchers say.

The woman had been on hormone replacement therapy for six years, but had not gender reassignment surgery, when she approached doctors with the aim of breastfeeding the child.

Before the baby was born, doctors put her on a three-and-a-half-month course of treatment to help her artificially produce milk, usually given to women who have adopted babies or who have them via surrogates.

This included breast pumping, taking hormones produced by biological mothers, a drug which can stimulate milk production and a male hormone blocker.

For some time now, breastfeeding mothers have been nagged into monitoring very carefully what they eat and drink, telling them that any nasties they consume will be passed onto their infant child via the breast milk. I suspect this is largely propaganda aimed at frightening mothers into adopting puritan lifestyles, but it has been very effective. I have met several breastfeeding mothers who will not even have a glass of wine, certain that to do so will harm their baby, and women who drink while breastfeeding receive disapproving looks and remarks from prodnoses nearby.

Yet here we are celebrating the fact that a man, having been pumped full of chemicals in the hope that his body will start mimicking a woman’s, is breastfeeding. I’ve always known consistency was an early casualty of the progressive cause, but it’s not always stated as plainly as this.

Share

More on the Protests in Iran

The protests in Iran are still going strong, and the government is threatening to crack down heavily if they continue. Only their Arab counterparts tried that in their own various uprisings and it turned the protests into full-on revolutions. There are videos on Twitter showing huge crowds embracing policemen while hurling rocks at Revolutionary Guards, suggesting any such crackdown won’t be so easy. And it seems young men are at least having a go.

Thankfully, the Iranian Mullahs have plenty of folk in the western world on their side. Consider the BBC article I linked to:

Three days of demonstrations erupted over falling living standards.

But a Revolutionary Guards commander said the protests had degenerated into people chanting political slogans and burning public property.

Funny how the BBC pours scorn on every word Trump utters, but quotes Revolutionary Guards commanders uncritically.

Brigadier-General Esmail Kowsari told the ISNA news agency: “If people came into the streets over high prices, they should not have chanted those slogans and burned public property and cars.”

Iran’s interior minister has also warned the public that protesters will be held accountable.

Presumably the BBC are on board with this. It is only later we’re told:

BBC Persian correspondent Kasra Naji said a common factor in all locations has been protesters’ demand for an end to clerical rule in Iran.

There is also anger at Iran’s interventions abroad. In Mashhad, some chanted “not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life for Iran”, a reference to what protesters say is the administration’s focus on foreign rather than domestic issues.

CNN went one further, saying little about the actual protests but giving front-page coverage of pro-government demonstrations:

Some people, including this cretin from the Huffington Post, have gone full retard:

The normally sensible Cathy Young hasn’t covered herself in glory, either:

Presumably Saint Obama siding with the Mullahs is preferable to Trump backing the protesters because The Messiah did so with “dignity”. What’s ironic is Cathy Young is originally from the Soviet Union so one would have thought she’d be a little more aware of the importance of the US president’s words on such matters, regardless of the perceived moral character of the speaker. But then, I have noticed that a lot of Russians flee to the US and start complaining about the way things are run when they get there. Max Boot is another example.

A lot of people have also noticed the silence and hypocrisy from America’s so-called feminists:

Others have noted the deafening silence from the EU on the protests. There are three reasons for this. Firstly, it’s a weekend in holiday season: bureaucrats aren’t going to check their emails just because there’s a revolution brewing in Iran. And Juncker will be drunk anyway. Secondly, as we saw in Catalonia, the EU elites don’t much like anti-government protests which is why they’re so keen on getting an EU army established. Finally, certain large EU member states have been sucking up royally to the Mullahs since sanctions on Iran were eased, positioning themselves as reliable European partners in contrast to the Great Satan, hoping to cash in when the country finally opens up. They will oppose any regime change in Iran for the same reason they objected to the toppling of Saddam Hussein.

Perhaps I’m forgetting something which could also explain the EU’s silence? Yes, I am: cowardice. This tweet sums it up nicely, I think:

Share

More in Trump’s Twitter Trolling

Polkamatic makes the following comment under my post on Trump’s Twitter trolling:

So the POTUS sees trolling the media as an appropriate activity for a sitting POTUS. Maybe even his top priority, by the looks of it. And by reporting on this bizarre state of affairs, the MSM is somehow wasting its time and money, because there’s nothing the viewing public is less interested in seeing than a tawdry spectacle.

This deserves a proper response. Let me take this part first:

So the POTUS sees trolling the media as an appropriate activity for a sitting POTUS. Maybe even his top priority, by the looks of it.

This is obviously true: Trump seems to spend as much time trolling the media as he does anything else. Is this appropriate for an American president? Personally I don’t think it is, but then I also believe it’s a moot point.

If Americans wanted a president who acts in a presidential manner, then they ought to have left the door open for such a candidate to step forward and get themselves elected. Instead, the media and political establishment decided they would back the Democratic candidate regardless and carry out a complete and utter character assassination of the Republican candidate. I remember when Mitt Romney ran against Barack Obama: he was called a Nazi, a religious fundamentalist, a misogynist, and a tax-evader. He then spent the entire campaign mumbling apologies, explaining himself, and reacting to every media revelation his political opponents aired. Sure enough, he lost by a mile. Had Jeb Bush won the Republican nomination in 2016, the same thing would have happened to him and we’d now be listening to President Clinton screech at us from our TV screens.

I’ve said it many times on these pages, Trump is a symptom of the malaise in American politics, not the cause of it. The reason you have an egotistical asshole in the White House is because the media and political establishment made it impossible for any decent non-Democrat to win a presidential election. Any Republican candidate who would have behaved in a presidential manner in office would never have got close to the White House, he’d have been destroyed by the media using every dirty trick in the book to bring him down. This didn’t work on Trump because he simply didn’t care, had his own money, owed nobody anything, and refused to apologise.

My post was simply to point out that Trump figured out the media’s role in American politics and rather than reacting to every story they put out about him, he plays the tune while they dance. And let’s be honest here: if he wasn’t doing this, and he had settled into the role and was doing his level best to do his job in a highly professional manner, the media would still be pumping out one anti-Trump hatchet-job after another, wailing about Russia and calling for his impeachment. Anyone who thinks the media, political establishment, and Democrat supporters would allow a Republican president to quietly get on with the job at hand is absolutely deluded.

And by reporting on this bizarre state of affairs, the MSM is somehow wasting its time and money, because there’s nothing the viewing public is less interested in seeing than a tawdry spectacle.

As I said in the original post, the people screaming about Trump are preaching to the choir. Part of the reason Trump was able to shrug off the media attacks during the election campaign was because millions of Americans had come to believe they are interested only in political campaigning and are hence highly selective about the stories they choose to cover. The diminished influence of the MSM was laid bare when, against all their dreams and predictions, Trump won and Hillary lost. If there was ever a time for self-reflection and recalibration, that was it. Instead, they’ve just trebled-down on the hysteria and hammered the point home they’re partisan hacks with no interest in reporting objective truth.

Is the public interested in a tawdry spectacle? Well, it certainly provides plenty of Twitter-fodder but the likes of the NYT, WaPo, BBC, and CNN are not tabloids: I am sure most Americans would prefer it if they started reporting the news properly instead of pasting up headlines regarding who said what about Trump on Twitter. Now maybe the MSM is enjoying healthy profits by pursuing this approach, but my bet is they’re losing money hand over fist.

On another note, I don’t think Trump’s method of communication is part of some overall grand strategy, I think he’s just doing what comes naturally to him. But regardless of why he’s doing it, the effects are substantial. I don’t know why he retweeted the videos that Britain First put up but it caused all manner of journalists, celebrities, and politicians to vent their outrage at what they see as his endorsement of a racist party. This has had the knock-on effect of:

1. Highlighting the rank hypocrisy among Britain’s political and media establishments. Jeremy Corbyn is a long-standing supporter of the IRA and Hamas, anti-semitism is rife across the British left, people with blood up to their elbows are welcomed with open arms, yet Trump retweeting a video from Britain First is deemed beyond the pale.

2. Exposing who is thinking what in Britain’s supposedly Conservative political circles. I wouldn’t expect any Conservatives to endorse Trump, but if they’re queuing up behind Labour politicians and left-wing media loudmouths in calling him “racist” and “not welcome in Britain” and “irresponsible” then they’re doing everyone a big favour. I suspect much of the British public couldn’t care less about Trump’s tweets and when they hear he’s posted something on a subject their own political classes refuse to address, they’re probably quite glad. I haven’t seen the videos in question (I generally find this sort of thing on Twitter to be presented in a wholly misleading context), but if the political classes think Trump tweeting videos of Muslims allegedly being violent and murderous is something that will horrify the public, they’ve not been paying attention.

3. It is now confirmed that retweeting does indeed equate to endorsing. Expect the trolls to have some fun with this over the next few weeks.

Trump’s tweets are often filled with infantile posturing, but the reaction to them is stuff that will fascinate historians and social anthropologists for years to come.

Share

Revealed Preferences

It was via Tim Worstall that I first learned of the concept of what economists call Revealed Preferences:

Revealed preference theory … is a method of analyzing choices made by individuals, mostly used for comparing the influence of policies on consumer behavior. These models assume that the preferences of consumers can be revealed by their purchasing habits.

Things get especially interesting when revealed consumer behaviour differs from what they have previously said.  In other words, don’t listen to what people say but instead watch what they actually do.  It is fun to spot such examples in the wild, as Adam has done over at Pushing Rubber Downhill:

It turns out, shock horror, that while people might be very outwardly positive and vocal about bringing those “poor refugees” to Australia, when it comes to sending their own kids to school with them it seems that they’re not quite as keen.

The local council, City of Yarra, says the district has been a proud “Refugee Welcome Zone since 2002”. Yet in Fitzroy, Carlton and surrounding suburbs, progressive, middle-class families have been accused of shunning public schools with high refugee populations.

“They are fleeing!” African community leader and former refugee Abeselom Nega says of white, inner-city families who apparently are rejecting diverse schools. This year, in a Melbourne newspaper, Nega accused families who avoided inner-Melbourne schools with large African-­Australian student cohorts of ­racism.

The yawning chasm that stands between middle-class virtue signalling and how they actually behave makes the Grand Canyon look like a drainage ditch.

Share

Hypocrisy

One of Tim Worstall’s regular commenters “MyBurningEars” recently had this to say on the subject of hypocrisy:

I reckon hypocrisy is overrated as a modern “sin” – people of all stripes seem to round on hypocrites as if they’ve done something uniquely terrible

I agree with this.  I have long thought that adult life requires being hypocritical at times and if you’re a parent hypocrisy is a way of life.  I often tease my friends when they admonish their offspring for displaying characteristics that they themselves are practically defined by.  I have noticed that most mothers’ worst nightmare is having a daughter who is just like them.

Dads don’t have it any easier.  They are required to tell their sons and daughters not to drink, smoke, do drugs, or shag around – which they do with extreme sheepishness if I happen to be in the room and I knew them at university.  Being hypocritical in this manner doesn’t make them a bad parent – quite the opposite, in fact.

For my part, I often encourage people to do things which I myself don’t do and vice versa.  Some decisions and actions might make sense considering my own set of circumstances, but ought not to be done by others whose life may be different.  Drinking with Russians, for instance.

I suppose provided people engage in hypocrisy for practical reasons rather than for moral posturing or from a desire to simply tell other people what to do, then it’s okay.  For me, there are far worse sins that hypocrisy.  Confusing it with inconsistency is one of them.

Share

Praising Pinochet

Following the death of the Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, many people have looked at how various world leaders and media outlets reported this event and contrasted it with how they reacted to the death of former Chilean president Augusto Pinochet in 2006.

This article takes the New York Times to task over the matter:

The New York Times described Fidel Castro as a “fiery apostle of the revolution” and Cuba’s “maximum leader” in its Saturday obituary for the infamous and brutal dictator.

Here’s how The Times opened the article:

Fidel Castro, the fiery apostle of revolution who brought the Cold War to the Western Hemisphere in 1959 and then defied the United States for nearly half a century as Cuba’s maximum leader, bedeviling 11 American presidents and briefly pushing the world to the brink of nuclear war, died on Friday. He was 90.

The Daily Caller’s Jaime Weinstein brought attention to how differently the news outlet opened its obituary for Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet in 2006:

Gen. Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, the brutal dictator who repressed and reshaped Chile for nearly two decades and became a notorious symbol of human rights abuse and corruption, died yesterday at the Military Hospital of Santiago. He was 91.

This is wholly unsurprising: large numbers of western academics, politicians, journalists and their fellow travellers have for decades excused or ignored everything from repressions to mass-murder provided the perpetrators were socialist and/or anti-American, and I believe the proper response is to call them out on it whenever it appears.  Highlighting how they treat Castro’s death in contrast to that of Pinochet is one way of doing this.  However, where I part company from some people is in praising Pinochet in any way.  The criticism of the NYT above ought to be that they are painting Castro in a positive light, not that they are too harsh on Pinochet.

I don’t believe for one minute that had Salvador Allende continued in power Chile would have become anything other than a run-of-the-mill socialist basket-case complete with customary repressions and murder, and nor do I subscribe to the myth that the CIA were involved in the coup that deposed him.  And if I’m honest, I don’t think Pinochet’s greatest crime was kicking out an elected President who was taking the country in the wrong direction: I don’t support military coups, but I’m not going to shed too many tears over that one.

What I object to is the police state, repressions, disappearances, and murders that followed.  I don’t care whether Pinochet “saved” Chile from communism and ran a half-decent economy (even assuming they are true): it is possible to do these things without torturing and raping students and chucking them out of aircraft over the ocean.  We get pissed off when people overlook Castro’s thuggery when praising Cuba’s literacy rate, we shouldn’t do the same thing for Pinochet.  Yes, I get the realpolitik of the Cold War and the importance of defeating Communism, but that was a long time ago and we don’t need to make excuses for the thugs who were on our side any longer.

Share

Mirror Mirror

I can barely be bothered to read infantile posts that people who consider themselves adults have been posting on my Facebook feed for the past 24 hours, but I’ve seen enough to detect a common theme.

When you read the opinions of “liberals” as to what America has become following Trump’s election, one would be forgiven for thinking they are describing what America has become under Obama.

Take this, for example:

We’re angry because our candidate’s losing means this country will be less safe, less kind, and less available to a huge segment of its population, and that’s just the truth.

If a McCain supporter had said that in 2008 he would have been proven absolutely correct.

Those who have always felt vulnerable are now left more so. Those whose voices have been silenced will be further quieted. Those who always felt marginalized will be pushed further to the periphery. Those who feared they were seen as inferior now have confirmation in actual percentages.

Again, this is what Trump’s supporters must have felt in 2008 and 2012.

It’s about overt racism and hostility toward minorities.

Black lives matter?  Christian bakers?

It’s about religion being weaponized.

A weaponized religion.  Think about that for a second.

It’s about crassness and vulgarity and disregard for women.

Yes, Obama and Hillary supporters are unfailingly polite.  That’s why Twitter is such a pleasure to read.  And I wonder what Sarah Palin thinks about how they view women?

It’s about a barricaded, militarized, bully nation.

None of which could apply to Obama’s years in office, of course.  No, America has only become like this in the past 24 hours.

It’s about an unapologetic, open-faced ugliness.

That ship sailed a long time ago, I’m afraid.

And it is not only that these things have been ratified by our nation that grieve us; all this hatred, fear, racism, bigotry, and intolerance—it’s knowing that these things have been amen-ed by our neighbors, our families, our friends, those we work with and worship alongside.

Indeed.  This is precisely what prompted many reasonable people to vote for Trump, in a desperate attempt to turn the ship around before it’s too late.

We wake up today in a home we no longer recognize.  We are grieving the loss of a place we used to love but no longer do. This may be America today but it is not the America we believe in or recognize or want.

Was that taken from a Trump campaign speech?

This is not about a difference of political opinion, as that’s far too small to mourn over. It’s about a fundamental difference in how we view the worth of all people—not just those who look or talk or think or vote the way we do.

Liberals are saying they value those with different opinions?!  Seriously?

If only these people were capable of looking in the mirror they might begin to understand why they lost.  Instead we get this:

And this is why we grieve.

You may be at it a while.

Share

Sympathy Level: Zero

I hope HSBC gets fined out of existence:

Britain’s biggest bank helped wealthy clients cheat the UK out of millions of pounds in tax, the BBC has learned.

Panorama has seen thousands of accounts from HSBC’s private bank in Switzerland leaked by a whistleblower in 2007.

They show bankers helped clients evade tax and offered deals to help tax dodgers stay ahead of the law.

HSBC admitted that some individuals took advantage of bank secrecy to hold undeclared accounts. But it said it has now “fundamentally changed”.

Not that I have anything against British citizens opening offshore bank accounts (I have two myself, as the article makes clear they are not illegal and there are genuine reasons for having one), nor do I think the whistleblower was performing any kind of public service (indeed, I think he should be filled in), and nor do I care for HMRC or anyone engaging in illegal tax evasion.

But what pisses me off beyond belief is the pompous, self-righteous posturing of British high street banks who make normal people jump through umpteen petty bureaucratic hoops at their own expense in order to carry out ordinary transactions or to open an account, all in the name of preventing money laundering or tax evasion.  Most of what they ask you to do (e.g. present a notarised copy of your passport) is at their own discretion, and not a legal requirement.  Yet this doesn’t stop some spotty twerp in a flammable suit pompously telling you “it’s the law” when you query whether it’s really necessary to take a day off work and visit a random solicitor just to submit a mortgage application form to a bank with whom you hold an account already.

However, if you’re some dodgy Nigerian with a suitcase full of cash, a Mexican drug cartel, or what is being called “a wealthy client” then it’s “step right this way, sir”.

Lock ’em up and throw away the key, bunch of fuckers.

Share

Inconsistent hypocrisy

The charge of hypocrisy is one which is levelled at anyone and everyone by anyone and everyone these days, yet seemingly few of its users seem to know the meaning of the word.  One such example is Dr P.N. Kirstein in a letter to today’s Gulf News:

The George W. Bush administration should be condemned for its hypocrisy. The regime is demanding that Iran bury its nuclear ambitions but is silent on Israel’s nuclear weapons.

From dictionary.com

hy·poc·ri·sy
n. pl. hy·poc·ri·sies

1.  The practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess; falseness.

2.  An act or instance of such falseness.

What Dr Kirstein means is that the George W. Bush administration should be condemned for inconsistency in this instance, not hypocrisy.  You’d have thought a doctor, not to mention the letters editor of a national newspaper (who entitled the letter “What a hypocrisy!”) would have known that, wouldn’t you?

Share