The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
January 22, 2018 • 23 Comments

From the NYT:

Senate Votes to End the Federal Shutdown

G.O.P. Immigration Pledge Wins Support From Democrats
By THE NEW YORK TIMES 59 minutes ago

The Senate voted to end the government shutdown, clearing the way for passage of a short-term spending package that would fund the government through Feb. 8.

The procedural vote does not immediately end the shutdown. The Senate must still grant final approval of the bill, and it must then be approved by the House.

Of course, the Democratic fallback strategy appears to be to try to drive a wedge between the GOP Senate dinosaurs and the more woke GOP House.

January 22, 2018 • 136 Comments

The New York Times is trying to convince Trump that he is being betrayed by his staffers John Kelly and Stephen Miller:

A President Not Sure of What He Wants Complicates the Shutdown Impasse
By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS and MAGGIE HABERMAN JAN. 21, 2018

WASHINGTON — When President Trump mused last year about protecting immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children, calling them “these incredible kids,” aides implored him privately to stop talking about them so sympathetically.

When he batted around the idea of granting them citizenship over a Chinese dinner at the White House last year with Democratic leaders, Mr. Trump’s advisers quickly drew up a list of hard-line demands to send to Capitol Hill that they said must be included in any such plan.

And twice over the past two weeks, Mr. Trump has privately told lawmakers he is eager to strike a deal to extend legal status to the so-called Dreamers, only to have his chief of staff, John F. Kelly, and senior policy adviser, Stephen Miller, make clear afterward that such a compromise was not really in the offing — unless it also included a host of stiffer immigration restrictions.

But, his favorite NYT reporter also can’t help herself from insulting Trump.

Great strategy, NYT. The surest way to get Donald Trump to side with what you demand for the good of the Democratic Party electing a new electorate is to insult his intelligence.

Your strategy is foolproof! There’s nothing Trump like more than being played for a fool. What could possibly go wrong?

January 22, 2018 • 76 Comments

From the New York Times:

After #OscarsSoWhite, Hispanics Seek Their Hollywood Moment
By BROOKS BARNES JAN. 21, 2018

Aren’t Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem Spaniards?

Penelope is a peninsular from the Madrid region, while her husband Javier is a third generation movie star and an isleño from the Canary Islands.

Benicio is the son of a Puerto Rican lawyer and went to a prep boarding school in Pennsylvania, so I guess that qualifies him as a Hispanic.

By the way, these three rank very high on my list of favorite actors.

As I pointed out way back in 2012 in Taki’s Magazine, the last actual Mexican-American actor to get an Oscar nomination was Edward James Olmos in Stand and Deliver in the 1980s.

One straightforward solution is to recognize that Hollywood’s current go-to Mexican-American actor Michael Peña is quite good and give him an Oscar nomination one of these years. Just because he is a funny guy doesn’t mean he isn’t talented at what he does.

January 21, 2018 • 121 Comments

A “news article” from the Washington Post:

‘Language as a weapon’: In Trump era, immigration debate grows more heated over what words to use

By David Nakamura January 21 at 9:14 AM

… Though Trump’s use of a vulgarity in a recent immigration meeting at the White House drew widespread condemnation, more mundane terms have been weaponized by immigration hawks, and to a lesser degree advocacy groups, in pursuit of political advantage.

On the right, Trump and his allies have warned of the dangers of “chain migration,” railed against “amnesty” for lawbreakers and urged a shift toward a “merit-based” system.

Those are old, straight-forward terms for the realities they are describing.

Their choice of words suggests that immigrants are taking advantage of the United States and are a drain on society.

On the left, advocates have defended a tradition of “family reunification” and cast undocumented immigrants who arrived as children as “dreamers” and “kids” in need of special care — even though some are in their mid-30s. Their rhetoric paints immigrants as the fabric of the American experience and as strivers seeking a chance at success.

… “Who controls the parameters around language really has a lot of power in the debate,” said Roberto Gonzales, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education who specializes in immigration. “How do you frame an issue in a way that sways public opinion?”

Although disagreements over immigration terminology predate Trump’s presidency, Gonzales said, the president’s willingness to use extreme rhetoric in the name of undermining political correctness has exacerbated the problem and raised the stakes. Gonzales pointed to Trump’s campaign against “chain migration” in the wake of a terrorist attack in New York in the fall in which the suspect, Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, an immigrant from Uzbekistan, is charged with striking and killing eight people while driving...

January 21, 2018 • 87 Comments

In colonial Latin America, the peninsulares, those born in the Iberian Peninsula, were the highest racial rank, above even the all-white criollos born in the New World, much less the mestizos, mulattos, zambos, etc., not to mention the indios and negros. Jose Andres, a Peninsular-American tycoon, has now taken time out from his busy schedule to instruct us in the Washington Post about the evils of American racism and how “temporary” must mean “forever” when it comes to the Temporary Protected Status of his low-paid kitchen mestizos.

Commenter Citizen of a Silly Country writes:

OT: As always with urban liberals, immigration is all about their ability to enjoy restaurants.

DC chef Jose Andres – Spanish, of course, not some Metizo (something he manages to point about to prove that (other) whites are racists) makes the restaurant version of the “crops rotting in the fields” argument.

Immigrants, including Salvadorans and other Central Americans, make up more than half of the staff at my restaurants, and we simply could not run our businesses without them.

Instead of “illegal aliens” or “undocumented workers,” he should call them his “minions.”

Simply couldn’t, I tell you. What? Restaurants in New Hampshire and Minnesota operate without illegal immigrants. That just can’t be.

With national unemployment at 4 percent, there aren’t enough U.S.-born workers to take their places — or cover the employment needs of a growing economy.

Restaurants will rot in the field, I tell ya. What’s that you say? Increase the pay of my employees. Are you insane. Don’t you understand economics? Well, my personal economics.

I came to the United States from Spain in 1991 with an E-2 visa and big ambitions. I wanted to introduce America to the food of my heritage while at the same time reimagining it. I wanted to become a chef and start my own restaurant.

Hmm. There’s a lot “I”s in the paragraph. Also,...

January 21, 2018 • 147 Comments

Commenter AnonAnon explains one reason behind the recent explosion of white homeless people in Southern California:

Steve, the OC Register did a big series of articles on how drug rehab places are advertising and bussing in addicts from other states and when their insurance runs out they’re booted out to the streets.

There’s a heroin epidemic in the middle of the country, but it hasn’t really gotten to the coasts. So SoCal rehab clinics are recruiting junkies from around the country.

For some reason Anaheim and Orange have let them set up camp in the riverbed – county land so the city and county point fingers at each other – where it’s gotten out of control. We went to a Ducks game a couple of months ago and the side of the stadium nearest to the river smelled like a pit toilet.

They shouldn’t be called “homeless”, they are more aptly called transients and they’re young, white, thieving addicts and their population has exploded in the last three years. I see them on the main commercial thoroughfare of Orange, begging all the time. The people in the neighborhoods near the riverbed have to put up with the transients leaving trash in their yards and trying to steal from them. The residents are beyond fed up with the situation. The mayor of Orange is said to be a homeless advocate and various idiot “Christian” churches bring them food. The John and Ken show on KFI show has been bringing some heat on local politicians so they’re supposedly finally going to get evicted on Monday. I’ll believe it when I see it.

From the Orange County Register:

Are drug rehab centers fueling homelessness in Southern California?

By JORDAN GRAHAM | jgraham@scng.com | Orange County Register
PUBLISHED: December 17, 2017 at 5:45 am

January 21, 2018 • 82 Comments

From National Geographic:

Pablo Escobar’s Escaped Hippos Are Thriving in Colombia
Can the dangerous animals be stopped from taking over more territory?

By Brian Clark Howard
PUBLISHED MAY 10, 2016

It is perhaps fitting that invasive hippos, with their “hungry, hungry” reputations, would be the lasting legacy of one of the world’s most notorious drug lords. Colombia’s Pablo Escobar built an empire on cocaine that made him one of the richest, and most feared, people in the world.

… One of those “benefits” was the invitation for locals to visit his private zoo, which Escobar built in the early 1980s on his leafy ranch Hacienda Napoles, about halfway between Medellin and Bogota. …

Natives of Africa, three females and one male hippo were left to their own devices in the ranch’s pond. With mild weather and no competition, the hippos thrived. Over time, some of the animals began to venture away from the pond, into nearby rivers and the surrounding areas. Villagers grew concerned about the large animals, which have a reputation for being dangerous.

I was surprised to learn that hippos aren’t actually tutu-wearing ballet enthusiasts as I had assumed, but are highly dangerous, just like in Jon Voight movies.

… In the lake at the Hacienda Napoles there are between 26 and 28 hippos. There, they find food, water, and tranquility.

We also have evidence that small groups of hippos or solitary individuals have migrated through the Magdalena River to other areas, including Puerto Berrio and Boyaca. There may be as many as 40 hippos total in the area. Within 10 years that could grow to nearly 100, if we don’t manage them.

Here’s a hippo in Africa chasing a powerboat:

January 21, 2018 • 127 Comments

From the New York Times:

Clubbable, but in the Worst Way

By MICHAEL GOLDFARB

JAN. 18, 2018 LONDON — … Donald Trump is a man of his class — the nouveau-riche, country-club class. Louder and more obnoxious, certainly, but of that class.

I kind of like Goldfarb’s essay because, while it’s demented with rage, it’s one of the rare class-based rather than ethnicity-based denunciations of country clubs to appear recently.

The press has had a hard time figuring out how to get Trump over his golfing, in part because the last two Democratic presidents were such fanatical golfers. Heck, Hillary’s husband is a member of Trump’s Trump National Westchester Golf Club.

Another problem for the media is that Trump is kind of Al Czervik, Rodney Dangerfield’s character in Caddyshack. He’s the good guy in the movie, not the bad guy.

It’s a class I know well. …

My father was a prominent physician, and I grew up in comfortable circumstances at the Jewish end of Philadelphia’s Main Line. * …

In high school, I got to know people who were several classes above us — living on the remains of Gilded Age fortunes. One way social sorting among the various classes took place was via country clubs. The Jews had their country clubs, the Catholics had theirs, and the fallen-on-hard-times WASPs had theirs, whose thresholds we Jews were not allowed to cross.

Surprisingly, this is the only mention of the Golfocaust in the entire essay. The usual perspective nowadays is that the problem with country clubs is that great-grandpa had to help found Hillcrest CC because he couldn’t get into Los Angeles CC. But much of Goldfarb’s leftist ire is instead directed at Jewish country clubs (I get the impression that he only gets invitations from blood relatives who feel obliged to put up with him), although you have to read carefully to notice that.

This confession is my way of establishing bona fides for what I am about to tell...

January 21, 2018 • 83 Comments

Speaking of “pathetic” – it’s жалко, not жалько.

Yeah why should a Professor of Political Science at Stanford who supposedly specializes in Russia need the Russian language anyway?

Michael McFaul is Professor of Political Science, Director and Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and the Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He joined the Stanford faculty in 1995. He is also an analyst for NBC News and a contributing columnist to The Washington Post. Dr. McFaul served for five years in the Obama administration, first as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council at the White House (2009-2012), and then as U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation (2012-2014). He was also the Distinguished Mingde Faculty Fellow at the Stanford Center at Peking University from June to August of 2015.

In all fairness, you can’t exactly lose what you never had in the first place – during his years as Obama’s Russia ambassador, McFaul earned a reputation for his incessant rape of the Russian language.

Besides, there are persistent rumors that he doesn’t even know English all that well.

But this is all quite beside the point. McFaul never failed upwards on account of his linguistic skills or (lack of) analytical prowess. Ever the consummate beigeocrat, he has always been carried forwards by scrupulous conformity to the Establishment line: Apologizing for Yeltsin’s electoral fraud under Clinton, shilling for neocon wars under Bush, promoting “democratic” regime change in Russia under Obama, and reinventing himself as a Russiagate conspiracy theorist under Trump.

Update:

January 21, 2018 • 43 Comments

So it’s clear from /r/SyrianCivilWar and LiveUAMap that Turkey and the TFSA has begun a large offensive to take Afrin, the Kurdish pocket in the northwest of the country.

1. There’s no real question over their capacity to do it – the main question will be to what extent they will need Turkish ground support, in addition to the Turkish armor and air support they are already getting.

I assume that Erdogan wants to get this over with the TSAF doing the majority of the fighting (and incurring most of the casualties) for domestic PR reasons.

2. The other question is whether – or more like when – the TSAF moves on Manbij (the Rojava-controlled territories west of the Euphrates).

3. Turkey has wanted to do this for a long time; there have been intermittent rumors of an Afrin offensive for well more than a year now.

Although the surface explanation is terrorism, namely the YPG’s alleged links with the KPP, it seems there are more germane explanations.

a) Turkey does not want a Kurdish state stretching almost all the way to the Mediterranean.

b) It can create a “safe zone” to repatriate its Syrian refugees there, who constitute a political liability in Turkey as in the EU.

c) Added bonus – as Erdogan has all but admitted – is to tilt the region’s demographics into a Sunni Arab direction.

d) With the SAA/RuAF slicing away at the Idlib pocket, this will provide the rebels with a strategic rear.

4. Afrin has long maintained better relations with Russia than with Rojava, which has pretty much exclusively tied itself up with the United States. This is not something that Russia is happy to see.

Russia seems to have acquiesced, possibly in return for the Turks giving the go-ahead on Syria taking the territories east of the M5 motorway through Idlib.

At least that’s the face they’re putting on it, anyway.

With Turkey reportedly committing 2 brigades and 72 fighters to the operation, there is nothing that...

January 20, 2018 • 100 Comments

One hundred years ago (Jan 19, 1918) the Bolsheviks forcibly dissolved the Russian Constituent Assembly, kickstarting the Russian Civil War.

Source: @welections
Russian Constituent Assembly election, 1917: Brown = Social Revolutionaries; Red = Bolsheviks; Green = Regional SR’s; Yellow = Local parties.

More germane reason: The Bolsheviks had only gotten 24.5% of the vote, getting beaten out by the Social Revolutionaries with 40.4%.

This doesn’t change even if we account for the Left SR’s deserting to the Bolsheviks, since they only won 4o mandates to the Right SR’s 375 and the Bolsheviks’ 175.

Contrary to both Communist and Western Russophobe propaganda, Russians never voted in the Bolsheviks, let alone gave them license to usurp absolute power and launch a civil war.

The median point of public sentiment prior to the war was approximately between as-is (Right and nationalists) and constitutional monarchy (Octobrists). That median point shifted radically left by 1917, yet even so it remained firmly in non-Bolshevik territory, corresponding to the positions of the Social Revolutionaries, and of their main (“Right SRs”) faction – aka basically the equivalents of European social democrats – in particular. While a left turn was inevitable, especially on land redistribution, there was no plans for mass confiscations or ending a war that, despite its political turmoil, Russia was still winning (Austria-Hungary had been preparing to sue for peace immediately before the October Revolution). In essence, the Bolsheviks roundly failed the sole quantitative test of their legitimacy, namely, free elections. That is despite the demoralization of two revolutions, the Provisional Government’s persecution of right-wing parties, and incessant Bolshevik subversion of the army and the home front.

The Bolsheviks were never prepared to accept the democratic will of the people. Lenin made it very clear that giving the institution any power...


January 18, 2018 • 19 Comments

Navalny claimed that the state-owned pollsters VCIOM were artificially inflating Putin’s figures, so his Anti-Corruption Fund will start releasing their own weekly polls, the first of which has just been released in Navalny’s latest video address.

Reminder that Putin got 66% in the last FOM poll, and 73% in the last VCIOM poll.

FBK poll:

Oops, what a fail: Putin still gets 62%.

And this is their prediction, which accounts for undecideds, in which Putin gets 78% – which is, incidentally, perfectly in line with my own old-standing prediction.

Meanwhile, as per my last post, this confirms that Grudinin seems to have stopped making gains relative to Zhirinovsky in the past week, having instead merely converged with him.

January 17, 2018 • 6 Comments

Turnout might be much lower than even the record low (60%) than I posited.

Leonid Bershidsky in a recent article:

There are indications that turnout could be lower than ever. Levada Center predicted 52 to 54 percent in December, and the St. Petersburg Politics Foundation, a respected independent think tank, came out with a 52 percent forecast earlier this month, putting expected turnout in Moscow and St. Petersburg well below 40 percent. That would be a disaster for the Kremlin: Even the 2004 election, the most boring in history since not a single political heavyweight dared run against Putin, drew 64.3 percent of registered voters.

Campaigning from Putin has been lackluster to say the least.

Main development is that the campaign website has finally been launched ( http://putin2018.ru/ ). At the time Bershidsky wrote his post, it didn’t even have a program.

That has since been remedied, though the “program” as such consists of a dozen random sound bites (fully open the Crimea bridge at the end of the year; regulate cryptocurrencies; create a network of educational centers for gifted children).

A couple of new polls since my last update.

1. First FOM poll to include Pavel Grudinin (KPRF) gives him 6.2%, translating to around 7.6% adjusting for undecideds, spoiled ballots, etc.

Other candidates: Putin – 65.9%, Zhirinovsky – 6.0%, Sobchak – 1.5%. (The others probably won’t be registered).

FOM is also great in that it usually gives considerably demographic detail [xls].

Some takeaways:

a) Reinforces a point I have often made that Communists are dying out, while nationalists are gaining, as is the pattern in much of the rest of the world. Zhirinovsky gets 2% amongst boomers, but 9% amongst the 18-45 year olds; Grudinin gets 7% amongst the boomers, but only 2% amongst the 18-30 year olds.

b) Women are 73% for Putin, vs. 57% of men, while Grudinin and Zhirinovsky are both about twice as popular amongst men as women. As I said:...

January 17, 2018 • 74 Comments

On the eve of the 2016 US elections, I got to talking with a Jew at one of the futurist meetups who was hyperventilating about the prospect of Trump winning. He unironically thought there was a risk of actual deportations of immigrants to concentration camps and pogroms against Jews. Typical Trump Derangement Syndrome sufferer, who cares, they were and remain a dime a dozen. Curious thing is, though, he was also looking to pursue Polish citizenship, from where his family had originally emigrated, and which he now considered a safe harbor against the rising tide of anti-Semitism in America promoted by the Putlerreich.

Well, did I have news for him, even if he did insist it was “fake.”

In 2014-15, the ADL carried out a large survey of “anti-Semitic attitudes” around the world, in which 26% of the global population were found to be anti-Semites (translation: Believed in 6+/11 of popular stereotypes about Jews).

This figure was 30% in Russia, falling to 23% in the follow-up survey in 2015 – which was slightly higher than the 24% average for Western Europe, but lower than the 34% for Eastern Europe (45% in Poland) and far lower than the 74% average for the Middle East.

This gap between Russia and the rest of Eastern Europe is even more marked with respect to 18-34 year olds.

Moreover, even if Russians are slightly more likely than Western Europeans to think statements such as “Jews have too much power in the business world” are true – all things considered, it is amazing the figure is not much higher, given the ethnic composition of the oligarchs – they are certainly not the sort to engage in sanctimonious lectures. Heck, possibly the biggest Russia-based critic of Israel on account of them being mean to Palestinians is a guy called… Israel.

Approval of Israel in Russia and most of Eastern Europe is substantially higher than in Western Europe, especially its more “progressive” countries.

Of...

January 17, 2018 • 29 Comments

Freedom in the World 2018 is out now: “Democracy in Crisis.”

Political rights and civil liberties around the world deteriorated to their lowest point in more than a decade in 2017, extending a period characterized by emboldened autocrats, beleaguered democracies, and the United States’ withdrawal from its leadership role in the global struggle for human freedom.

This makes the deep state neocon goons who run that outfit very sad.

My prediction from 2017:

Freedom House lowers United States Freedom Rating [no longer think this will happen. But as promised, carried over as-is from last set of predictions; will know in early February]: 50%

Last minute misgivings aside, this has indeed happened.

While FH still thinks Civil Rights in the US are at 1/7 (where 1 is best and 7 is worst), while Political Rights have been downgraded to 2/7, making for a total score of 1.5/7.

Why? Well, partially thanks to the Russiagate conspiracy theory;

[Electoral Process] Score Change: The score declined from 4 to 3 due to growing evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election campaign and a lack of action by the Trump administration to prevent a reoccurrence of such meddling.

Incidentally, I will note that – and my observations and analysis carry great weight, since I have been officially recognized as a human rights authority by Freedom House itself – that Russia now scores 6.5/7, down from 5.5/7 even just a few years earlier, a score I ridiculed in my 2013 article What I Learned From Freedom House.

Suffice to say that Freedom House now believes Russia is as unfree as the following polities: Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Burundi, Chad, China, Congo (Kinshasa), Cuba, Ethiopia, Laos, Libya, Russia, Swaziland, Tajikistan, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.

It is also apparently less free than Qatar, Iran (!), Belarus, Egypt, and a plethora of 1980s US-friendly Latin American and Asian juntas.

Crimea, which is treated as a sub territory – like Chechnya was until...

January 16, 2018 • 59 Comments

The next Czech President will probably be the guy who signed a “scientists against fear and hatred” in response to Zeman’s “Islamophobia” and expressed concern about Russian elections hacking.

Not only did the tipsy, politically incorrect Zeman underperform his poll numbers by around 4% points in the first round of the elections, but current polls are giving Drahoš a 5%-10% lead over Zeman.

However, I have heard that he is a good debater when he is sober, so he still has chances if he makes a good showing (he refused to participate in debates during the first round).

In the first round, Zeman got 38.6% to Drahoš’ 26.6%. Drahoš will get virtually all of Fischer’s and Hilšer’s electorate, which should bring him to 45%, and a substantial share of Horáček’s will probably eke him out a win, assuming there are no further major underlying shifts in support levels.

All the main candidates (except Hannig, who only got 0.6%) have expressed their support for Drahoš’.

Zeman has a 39% chance according to kdovyhrajevolby.cz.

Currently 26% on PredictIt. (Might be worth buying a few shares if you are fluent in Czech politics and consider this discrepancy real).

Its fascinating how politics literally everywhere in Europe and the US breaks down along the same basic basic schema.

  • Zeman is Trump, Le Pen, Putin: Populist, pro-Russian, anti-Islamist, fluent in blue-collar slang but not all that intellectual. Wins the regions and the countryside in the first round.
  • Drahoš is Merkel, Macron, Tony Blair: Big Brain academic, pro-European, Atlanticist, centrist. Wins Prague, overwhelmingly wins the foreign vote. For instance, in the UK, Drahoš got twice as many votes as he did in Czechia, while Zeman only got 3.2% (!).

The President is relatively more important in Czechia than in the other V4 countries, but he is still superseded by the Prime Minister, so this likely won’t translate into immediate major changes...