Friday, February 5, 2016

You're Not in Cologne Anymore

Like him or not—probably not—Vladimir Putin has consistently adopted a manly posture. In fact, he consistently does what he needs to do to restore male pride in Russia. At times, he seems to be forcing it, but he seems clearly to want Russian men to resist the urge toward feminization.

One is confident that boys in Russian schools are not being forced to pee sitting down. Now, one has learned that Russian men are not quite as insouciant as Norwegian, Swedish and German men when their women are assaulted, abused and molested by Muslim men.

Today we read what happened to a group of Muslim refugees that had been expelled from Norway for bad behavior. When they landed in the Russian city of Murmansk, they went to a nightclub and tried to molest women. It's what they do and it's what they know how to do.

The Daily Caller explains what happened next:

A group of 51 refugees were brutally assaulted outside a night club in Murmansk, Russia, after they groped and molested women at a night club Saturday.

The refugees had previously been ordered to leave Norway for “bad behavior” and tried their luck in Russia. What they didn’t realize when they went out clubbing in Murmansk is that Russians have less tolerance when it comes to sexual assault on local women than other European countries.

The refugees allegedly groped and harassed women in a similar manner as the assaults in Cologne on New Year’s Eve. A group of male Russian took them aside to “educate” them that “Cologne is 2,500 kilometers south of here.”

The refugees tried to flee but were quickly captured by the Russians. They then took them out to the street and gave them a beating they will remember. Police arrived to break up the fight but locals report that they threw a few punches at the refugees before arresting 33 of them. Eighteen refugees were in such bad condition they had to be taken to the hospital.

Police decided to let the beatings slide and didn’t file a report. The only thing they could confirm was that there was “a mass brawl involving refugees.”

The miscreant Muslims learned that they were not in Cologne (or Scandinavia) anymore.

Is Marco Rubio Soft?

You would never know it, Ross Douthat remarks, but Ted Cruz won the Iowa caucus vote Tuesday evening.

You would never know it because the Republican establishment and the media declared Marco Rubio to be the winner. They are all saying that he is the right man for the job. They can live with Trump, but Cruz scares the bejeezus out of them.

You would never know it because Donald Trump, after offering a thoroughly gracious concession speech, decided that he needed to stand up and defend Ben Carson. You already know the story about the errant CNN news report about Carson’s after-caucus plans. I will not burden you with it again.

Apparently, Trump cannot accept defeat. He does not believe that he can ever lose in a fair fight. He heard the Carson story and decided that Cruz operatives had stolen his votes. Ergo, he really won the election. And if he didn’t, the Republican Party of Iowa owes him a do-over.

To that Cruz has been responding in a measured tone, making Trump look even more unhinged than usual. One of these days people will figure out that losing control is not a sign of strength and that ranting and raving does not make you look powerful. It’s a sign of weakness and desperation.

Frankly, I have never seen the rationale for the Carson candidacy anyway. Every time he steps on the debate stage he makes himself look like a fool. He would do best to fold up his tent and to get out of the race. Beyond that obvious point, if you believe that Trump really cares about Carson you’ll believe anything.

And let’s not overlook the fact that Trump, with his brilliant grasp of history and chronology, went to Arkansas to blame Ted Cruz for Obamacare. You see, Cruz, at the time Solicitor General of Texas, publicly supported John Roberts for Supreme Court Chief Justice. In truth, all Republicans and all conservatives did the same. Roberts was confirmed and went on to stab Republicans in the back by twice failing to overturn Obamacare. Cruz then changed his mind about Roberts. Many Republicans and conservatives did the same.

Of course, Cruz did not vote to confirm John Roberts. He was not in the Senate at the time. The point is too obvious to mention. No one is stupid enough to believe otherwise. To suggest that any politician who supported John Roberts is therefore responsible for Obamacare is absurd on its face. It suggests a candidate who is flailing, who hates to lose and who is losing control.

Of course, Trump can always regale himself with the knowledge that Jimmy Carter prefers him to Cruz. According to Carter, Trump knows so little about government and policy that he will be more “malleable” than Cruz. This should not be news. Establishment Republicans have been gravitating to Trump for the same reason. Since Carter has no guile, we ought to take his words at face value.

Anyway, Trump’s attack on Cruz is helping the candidacy of the Establishment favorite, Marco Rubio. You will have noticed that the big story coming out of Iowa was not the winner of the caucuses, but the third place finisher.

Of course, Rubio is being presented as the “can’t lose” candidate. In that he is a worthy successor to Mitt Romney and John McCain. One suspects that, as a member of the gang of eight, Rubio also qualifies as “malleable.”

One notes that Cruz was the original anti-Establishment senator. He came to the senate, not to do business with the powers-that-be but to shake things up. In that he succeeded. They all hate him and they are all afraid of him. If you believe that the Republican Establishment has largely succeeded, Cruz is not your man.

We have it on the authority of Rush Limbaugh that Rubio is a true conservative, and we also know that he succeeded in undermining one of the pillars holding up Obamacare—that is, government subsidies for insurance companies that are losing money on it.

Beyond that, Rubio has a very thin record—as does Cruz, for that matter—but then again, the candidates who have a record of achievement in government service seem highly unlikely to win.

The Republican electorate, in its wisdom, seems to believe that experience in government, knowing how the system works and knowing how to work the system, is of no real consequence. If, as seems increasingly unlikely, Trump were to become president, the real question will be: who’s in charge? In truth, Trump does not know enough to be in charge.

As for Rubio, he is now being attacked by Chris Christie as “the boy in the bubble,” and we will see how well that one works out. And yet, one gains the impression that while Rubio is an excellent politician, he has a problem, a flaw, one that is just beginning to be mentioned.

According, to Dana Milbank, Rubio is afraid. He is running scared. One might say that Ted Cruz seems congenitally incapable of being afraid or of ducking a fight, and that Donald Trump, the angry old man, is currently too wedded to the status of victim to show very much fear.

So, I quote Milbank because I think he has hit on something that many of us had sensed, but not quite expressed:

Marco Rubio is in an enviable position among mainstream Republican presidential candidates after his strong finish in Iowa. Yet the man is running scared.

The young Floridian is stumping through New Hampshire as if he’s campaigning to win the Cautious Caucus. He gives the same speech everywhere. The most tightly managed candidate in the race, he shuns risk and appears to live in mortal terror of mentioning the man who dominates the race.

Is Rubio being smart or is he afraid?  Milbank collects the evidence:

Rubio’s determination not to be taken off of this bland message, or to engage Trump, may give the impression that he is above the fray. But it also can make him look weak and callow.

While other candidates, particularly Jeb Bush, have denounced Trump’s outrages, Rubio and allied groups have spent upward of $30 million on ads so far — some of it targeting Bush, Christie and Ted Cruz, but none of it targeting Trump. Rubio has mentioned Trump a couple of times on Twitter. In debates, he has frequently deflects questions about the mogul.

After the December debate, in which Rubio declined a chance to take on Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the country, Fox News asked Rubio why he hadn’t gone after Trump. Rubio said he wasn’t “going to spend a valuable 75 seconds on a debate stage talking about something that’s never going to happen.”

And also:

Voters’ questions, rather than spurring spontaneity, inspire more caution. Asked Wednesday what he’d do about the millions of illegal immigrants who otherwise haven’t broken any law, Rubio said, “We’ll figure something out.”

As for Trump, he has not yet directed his fire at Rubio. Yet, Ann Coulter, sensing an opportunity, chose to open a Trump rally by impugning Rubio’s manhood:

Ann Coulter, warming up a Trump crowd Tuesday night, called Rubio a “Cuban boy” who “wears high heels” and has “big ears.” (Ever-cautious Rubio, ridiculed last month for wearing “booties” with thick heels, quickly retired the offending footwear.)

One suspects that we are going to be hearing much more about Rubio’s caution and weakness. True enough, anger is not a platform, but caution isn’t either. If you were to ask yourself which presidential candidate is more likely to strike fear in the hearts of our enemies, the name of Marco Rubio would probably not even make the list.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

What Hath Merkel Wrought?

In an important Frontpage.com article (via Maggie’s Farm) Stephen Brown explains that Angela Merkel bears full responsibility for Europe’s refugee crisis.

Brown quotes an Oxford Professor named Paul Collier who argues that Angela Merkel precipitated the wave of invading migrants by announcing to the world that Germany was open to receiving them. If Merkel had not invited them in, they would not have undertaken the dangerous journey to Germany.

They would have remained where they were. Good, humanitarian intentions have produced a humanitarian calamity and will almost certainly damage Western civilization.

You know the old adage: the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

Unfortunately, when people have the best of intentions, when their hearts are in the right place, it is nearly impossible to persuade them that good intentions do not necessarily produce good policy and that good intentions can produce unwanted negative outcomes.

Brown writes:

Despite the negative effects this huge influx of people has had on the German economy and society, such as the mass sexual molestation and rape of hundreds of women last New Year’s Eve in Cologne, increased crime and concerns for personal safety among native Germans, supporters of Merkel’s action believe it was nevertheless justified by the humanitarian emergency and the need to save lives.

But in an exclusive and revealing interview with the German newspaper Die Welt, an internationally recognised migration and Third World expert, Paul Collier, author of the book Exodus: How Migration Is Changing Our World, convincingly debunks this myth. Collier, a former director of the World Bank who currently holds an economics professorship at Oxford University, believes Merkel’s open-doors decision “…did not save a single Syrian from death.”

“Despite best intentions, Germany has, instead, dead people on its conscience,” Collier told Die Welt. “Many people understood Merkel’s words as an invitation and only after that did they actually set out on the dangerous journey, sacrifice their savings and entrust their lives to dubious smugglers.”

Meant as a humanitarian gesture, Collier maintains Merkel’s announcement had the opposite effect in regard to migrants’ safety and well-being. The refugees, he said, were already in safe, third states, such as Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, and did not come to Germany directly from “war and crisis countries.” But it was this “invitation” that caused them to leave these relatively safe havens, where most lived in tolerable conditions, and risk their lives on the arduous trip to Germany.

“With her communication,” Collier said, “she (Merkel) made migrants out of refugees.”

If the migrants thought that they would find the Promised Land in Germany, they were mistaken. They found refugee camps, places where life has been cruel and brutal.

Brown explains:

And even if the migrants reach the Promised Land, the “affluence heaven” of Germany, their suffering often does not end there. In fact, for some, this may constitute the worst part of their ordeal. In the refugee asylums the Germans hastily erected, life can be very dangerous. As is now well known, violence between young men of different ethnic groups is rampant, and the police’s ability to control it is minimal. But even worse, it is the women and children in these cramped accommodations who are most often victims of sexual assault.

The migrant crisis must, of course, be distinguished from the problems Europe has been having for past willingness to open its doors to Muslim refugees from the Middle East and Africa.



Yahoo! Puts Diversity to the Test

For all I know it could be pure coincidence. And yet, a mountain of research tells us unequivocally that a diverse workforce will improve the bottom line, so we ought to look at one example that seems to disprove the point.

Case in point: Yahoo! Or better: Marissa Mayer’s Yahoo!

Background: we know that the leaders of America’s great tech companies adhere to liberal values. They certainly believe in diversity. Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, has so much time on her hands that she is leading a feminist crusade.

Unfortunately, they do not practice diversity. It is commonly recognized that employees of Silicon Valley companies are predominantly white and Asian males. To the general embarrassment of many of their leaders the companies are anything but diverse. And yet, they are doing rather well in the marketplace, don’t you think?

When Marissa Mayer took over Yahoo! she apparently decided that she wanted more diversity in the workforce. She must have read the same research that we have all read. So, she directed her staff to give preference to women in hiring and promotions. Seems unfair enough. In truth, it is discriminatory.

Now, a disgruntled male employee is suing Yahoo! for gender discrimination. The Daily Caller has the story:

Yahoo top level managers allegedly used an employment review process to discriminate against male workers during an extensive restructuring process, according to a lawsuit filed Monday.

Company President Marissa Mayer implemented the review not long after being appointed in 2012. Gregory Anderson claims managers used the review to discriminate against male employees. He was fired from the media division of the company in 2014. Chief Marketing Officer Kathy Savitt allegedly gave females unfair preference resulting in hundreds of male workers being terminated.

“[He] alleges that Savitt has publicly expressed support for increasing the number of women in media and has intentionally hired and promoted women because of their gender, while terminating, demoting or laying off male employees,” the lawsuit, which was obtained by The New York Times, stated. “Females with the same Employee Score as male employees were treated better.”

We do not know the disposition of the ongoing case. For now, we will limit ourselves to the more pertinent question: did the extra diversity help or hinder Yahoo!’s bottom line?

Again, it may be coincidence. There might not be any direct causation. Still, we are well within our rights to ask how Yahoo! has been doing. We know that it was doing rather poorly when Marissa Mayer took over. Mayer inherited a mess. She was hired to turn the company around.

How is that working out? As Google and Apple and Facebook rule the world and the Fortune 500, Yahoo! is an also-ran.

If we exclude the value of some investments made before Mayer’s arrival, Yahoo! has a negative worth. Timothy Lee tells the story on Vox.com:

Yahoo is one of the best-known brands on the internet, but its core internet business is in a grim situation. How grim? There's a debate over whether the company itself — what most of us think of when we think of Yahoo — is actually worth less than zero dollars.

Back in 2005, Yahoo invested $1 billion in one of China's hottest technology startups, Alibaba, getting a roughly 40 percent stake. The bet has paid off handsomely. In 2012, Yahoo sold part of its stake back to Alibaba for $7.6 billion. Since then, Alibaba has continued to grow rapidly, and Yahoo's remaining stake is now worth around $25 billion.

That number is remarkable because Yahoo as a whole isn't worth much more than that. Indeed, if you subtract the value of all of Yahoo's major assets — including a multibillion-dollar stake in Yahoo Japan (an independent subsidiary in which Yahoo is a minority shareholder) and a few billion dollars in cash — from its market value, you get a big negative number. "If you just solve for the missing number, you are forced to conclude that Yahoo's actual core business of being Yahoo (and Tumblr and whatever) is worth negative $13 billion," as Bloomberg's Matt Levine put it in December.

He continues:

In 2012, Yahoo's board hired Mayer, then one of Google's best-known executives, to turn the company around. Nearly four years later, it's becoming clear that her turnaround effort is failing. Mayer has invested lavishly in both engineering and media talent, but there's no sign that these investments are paying off in the form of higher revenue.

Things came to a head on Tuesday, when Yahoo released its quarterly financial results along with a new turnaround plan. Yahoo announced that it was laying off 1,700 workers and focusing on its most successful products — including its search engine and popular email service. But in the same press release, the chairman of Yahoo's board announced that the board is going to "engage on qualified strategic proposals" — that is, consider offers to sell the company.

It's a humiliating announcement for Mayer, because it clearly signals that the board is losing patience with her turnaround efforts. And the looming possibility of a sale is going to make it all the more difficult for her to motivate Yahoo's remaining staff to work hard on her latest turnaround plan.

Mayer was hired to rescue a failing company. It is altogether possible that Yahoo! could not have been saved by anyone. And yet, Mayer's plan has clearly not worked. She bears primary responsibility for the failure.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Bush Campaign in Six Words

Ernest Hemingway is credited with having written the first six-word novel.

It reads:

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

Apparently, Hemingway does not deserve full credit for this, but it fulfills the terms of the challenge he had received.

This challenge is far more difficult than you might imagine.  A publication called Smith Magazine exists to show us all how difficult it is… not just to make a statement, but to tell a story. The six-word novels or memoirs in Smith invariably fall far short.

Now, one Nate Goldman has discovered a six-word novel in a New York Times story about Jeb Bush. Its authors are Jonathan Martin and AshleyParker. Goldman deserves much credit and many accolades for having discovered this.

I quote it verbatim. 

“Please clap,” he said, sounding defeated.

What about Online Dating?

The crowd over at Dear Sugar has noticed a problem. New York Magazine is on the case. Here is the problem:

On this week’s Dear Sugar podcast, hosts Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond read a letter from a 34-year-old single urban woman who bemoans the fact that good guys seem to be “scarce,” wondering if she will have to “settle” with someone. Strayed and Almond mentioned that they’ve recently gotten a steady stream of similar letters from unhappy single women who argue that “all the emotionally available men are spoken for.”

Naturally, New York would want to turn to a behavioral economist, but before evaluating his wit and wisdom, allow me to make a couple of observations.

First, it might not help the 34 year old single woman, but someone should be telling the young women out there that, as they get older, there are fewer marriage prospects. You see, not all women are dumb enough to buy in to the feminist ideology and postpone marriage in favor of career. While feminists are putting it all on hold, other, more savvy women, are snatching up the best available men.

It’s a competitive marketplace and women who wait too long find themselves at a competitive disadvantage.

Second, when a woman arrives in her mid-thirties her biological clock starts ticking more loudly. Thus, she will be looking for a man who wants to have children right away. This will, I suggest, influence her judgment. But it will also make her come across as desperate. Most men are not very attracted to desperate women.

Third, I will suggest, on very little evidence, that this woman has done too much therapy. From her many hours of therapy she has learned that she must have an “emotionally available” man.

In principle, a man who is emotionally available is fully in touch with his feminine side. He must be willing to marry a feminist and to share all household chores equally. Not only has our young over-therapied feminist put herself at a competitive disadvantage because of her age, she is probably setting down no conditions that very few men would voluntarily accept.

Note that she does not care whether he is solvent, whether he can provide for his family, whether he has good character, or whether he is trustworthy and loyal. You see, she doesn’t really need a man except to fulfill her emotional needs. She does not understand, because her therapist never told her, that when a woman wants a man to be an emotional crutch he will feel diminished and demeaned. If he can think at all, he will do everything in his power to avoid having anything resembling an entangling alliance with such a woman.

Now, to the wit and wisdom of our behavioral economist. Paul Oyer, a Stanford economist who considers himself an expert in online dating tells New York Magazine that the woman in question should not feel that she needs to settle and should not be looking for perfection.

What would we do without behavioral economists?

I am not sure where Oyer got the idea that she was looking for perfection, but I will grant that she seems to be looking for a soulmate. Anyway, the woman seems to be wearing ideological blinders and does not really understand what makes a man good or great or perfect.

One must also note that an older unmarried woman has probably suffered from more failed relationships. Such traumas make it more difficult for a woman to know the difference between good from bad men.

Next, Oyer points out, quite correctly, that large American cities are suffering from too many single women chasing not enough single men. Given the surplus of single women, men can naturally be very selective. A woman who leans in with a list of demands will not be very high on anyone’s list.

Finally, Oyer points out that this woman can solve her problem by online dating. It worked for him—a male 50 year old Stanford professor--so why can’t it work for her?

Do you think that she has never tried online dating? Does Oyer understand that men and women are in seriously different positions in the dating market? Does he know that the surplus of available females skews the market and makes it more difficult for any individual females?

If the problem is that men have too much choice, the solution cannot really be online dating. Surely, some people have found their spouses via online dating, but one suspects that it is more the problem than the solution.

Is Obama Boycotting Israel?

A couple of days ago, while writing about the Boycott Divest Sanction movement against Israel, I wondered where the Obama administration stood on this newest manifestation of anti-Semitism.

Then, an anonymous commenter responded by drawing my attention to a recent decision by the Obama administration’s Department of Homeland Security. Henceforth America would reject goods produced on the West Bank if they were marked Made in Israel. You see, the anti-Semitic pro-Palestinian terrorism left believes that the West Bank is occupied territory. Ergo, products produced there cannot be labeled Made in Israel.

In so doing it was following the example of the European Union. A world leader in submission, the EU had previously taken the same step.

Global Research has the story:

In a step towards joining an Israel boycott, the U.S. is now requiring goods originating from the West Bank (also known as Judea and Samaria) to be labeled separately from products from the rest of Israel, following the European Union’s crackdown on products from the disputed territories.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection service, which falls under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has issued new mandates requiring that West Bank products not be marked “Israel,” citing a notice from the year1997 that offers such instructions.

The memo from DHS, titled, “West Bank Country of Origin Marking Requirements,” reads:

“The purpose of this message is to provide guidance to the trade community regarding the country of origin marking requirements for goods that are manufactured in the West Bank.”

According to the instructions,

“It is not acceptable to mark” goods from the West Bank as having been from “Israel,” “Made in Israel,” or from “Occupied Territories-Israel.”

In its statement, U.S. Customs threatens:

“Goods that are erroneously marked as products of Israel will be subject to an enforcement action carried out by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.”

“Goods entering the United States must conform to the U.S. marking statute and regulations promulgated thereunder,” the statement adds.

Groups advocating “boycott, divestment, and sanctions” (BDS) against Israel have demanded separate labeling of Israeli goods from the West Bank and the Golan Heights as a step toward a total boycott of Israeli products.

David Harsanyi offers some commentary on the decision:

To put the administration’s new guidance into some perspective, it’s worth noting that The Simon Wiesenthal Center labeled a similar European ban as one of the most anti-Semitic acts of 2015 — a year in which it had plenty to choose from:

The European Union has chosen to label products from the Golan Heights and disputed territories on the West Bank alone, ignoring the products of other occupied and disputed territories in the world such as Western Sahara, Kashmir, Tibet and products from areas controlled by terrorist Hamas and Hezbollah. This use of double standards against Israel typifies modern anti-Israelism and has been at the core of anti-Semitism for many centuries.

There has always been a morally dubious double-standard when it comes to land under Israel’s control. Hundreds of millions of minorities live under occupation in the world, yet you’ll never see leftists marching for the rights of Coptic Christians or Kurdish statehood; trendy media outlets aren’t going to produce misleading ahistorical propaganda films about the dozens of ethnic subgroups living under occupation — most with far less of a chance at self-determination than the Palestinians.

Then again, perhaps if Tibetans start stabbing civilians and blowing up children, the U.N., E.U., The New York Times, and Vox might be more interested in championing their cause. Well, they’d have to stab the right kind of people, of course.

It’s what you would expect from the most anti-Israeli administration in American history. And we are also not surprised to note that the mainstream media and most Jewish groups are doing their best to make sure that no one knows it is happening. Perhaps the question should be brought up during the next Republican presidential debate.