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Month

February 2016

To hell with propagandists

According to reporters, covering the Donald Trump campaign is practically like combat duty.

A tweet from NBC’s Katy Tur: “Trump trashes press. Crowd jeers. Guy by press ‘pen’ looks at us & screams ‘you’re a bitch!’ Other gentleman gives cameras the double bird.”

She followed up: “Just another Sunday.”

Intoned Callum Borchers of The Washington Post: “Numbness might be the real danger here. … [Trump] has created an environment in which it is difficult and uncomfortable to do critical journalism, which – love it or hate it – is an important piece of our democracy. Even Trump’s most passionate followers should want to know whether he’s really the conservative crusader for American greatness that they hope he is. There’s always the possibility that someone in the crowd will take things too far – like, physically – and people will get hurt. It’s all too easy to imagine.”

More from Mr. Borchers: “For now, Trump is generally considered a unicorn – a candidate who gets away with things no one else could. But what if he isn’t? What if he’s a preview of a political future in which facts and respect don’t matter, a future in which voters have nothing but scorn for the journalists trying to help them make informed decisions?”

Mr. Borchers’ previous writings have exposed him as one of the dimmer bulbs in Washington media, but I will attempt to be of service.

Nobody is going to assault the cute and adorable Katy Tur. I am 99% sure Mr. Trump is not a unicorn, but we’d have to look under that comb-over to be sure. As for journalists helping with informed decisions, that’s a laugh. The subtle liberal media biases of 25 years ago have become a 24/7 crusade; people have noticed. Propagandists reap what they sow.

Parsing the U.S. electorate

Wondering why so-called conservatives can’t or won’t fight to conserve much of the traditional American way of life? Why politicians promise reform and then line up with the corrupt establishment when they get to Washington? Why some branch of government has to be in your face every day?

You might be a libertarian and not realize it.

The Cato Institute points out new research:

“For more than a dozen years now, the Gallup Poll has been using two questions to categorize respondents by ideology:

“Some people think the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses. Others think that government should do more to solve our country’s problems. Which comes closer to your own view?

“Some people think the government should promote traditional values in our society. Others think the government should not favor any particular set of values. Which comes closer to your own view?”

Gallup’s 2015 governance survey pegged 26% of the electorate as conservative, 23% liberal and 15% populist. But wait a minute — 27% could be considered libertarians, the highest number ever recorded and up 5 percentage points from 2013.

Cato’s David Boaz analyzes: “For now I just want to note that there are indeed a lot of voters who don’t fit neatly into the red and blue boxes … But a large portion of Americans hold generally libertarian views – views that might be described as fiscally conservative and socially liberal.”

I’ll further point out that the percentages don’t add up to 100, and more than rounding is involved. My guess is the missing 9% are busy drinking the Hillary Kool-Aid, beyond help. Or maybe they are political pundits and couldn’t get their heads out of their asses to answer.

Obama is Castro’s new BFF

[Because the president wants to hang out with his kind of peeps, the kind you don’t find at funerals for Supreme Court justices, he is planning a trip to Cuba on March 21-22. Thus this rerun from Aug. 25.]

There is a Cuban embassy in Washington. There is a U.S. embassy in Havana. Flags are flying. Airlines see tourism dollar signs. Those who restore vintage cars are excited about importing working vehicles from the island.

Cuban missile crisis? Bay of Pigs? Mariel boatlift? Decades of draconian economic sanctions?

Hey, let bygones be bygones. Raul Castro and Barack Obama want to be pals.

Obama acknowledged that as the countries move closer there may be “very serious differences” over issues like free speech. (He said that with a straight face. We all know he and Castro 100% agree that no criticism should go unpunished.)

The trade embargo thing is stickier, because all American property was seized after the Cuban revolution, everything from sugar factories to oil refineries. Thousands of claims were filed, totaling about $1.8 billion.

Leon Neyfakh of The Boston Globe examined the substantial legal hurdles to improving relations more than a year ago, interviewing many learned people. The money quote is from Julia Sweig of the Council on Foreign Relations:

“There is a scenario that I see, which is bit by bit the fundamentals of the embargo are chiseled away by executive order, by the economic and family ties linking Cuba and the United States, and by non-enforcement.”

In other words, the claimants can join the General Motors bondholders in getting screwed, probably between the 2016 election and Jan. 20, 2017.

On one thing, the two new BFFs agree: Rule of law? We don’t need no stinkin’ rule of law.

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