Sunday, December 31, 2017

Sex Segregation in Germany

Angela’s migrants have not just brought anti-Semitism to Germany. They have brought misogyny. Better yet, they have forced the authorities to set up safe areas for women who are almost certain to be harassed. In Berlin. 

One thing is certain, the German authorities do not want to see a repeat of what happened in Cologne two years ago.

Sex segregation… will that be the legacy of Germany’s Chancellor?

CNN has the story:

New Year's Eve celebrations in Berlin will feature a special safe area for women who feel harassed.

The Red Cross has set up a tent where women can get help if they feel unsafe on the Eberstrasse, just south of the Brandenberg Gate, the focal point of New Year's festivities in the German capital.

The Red Cross said the "resting tent" would be beside another tent offering first aid treatment.

Spokesman Ronald Riege said both tents were available to anyone -- not just women -- but that there would be a small sign saying "Women's Safety Area" at their entrance.

Serious people understand that the masses of Muslim migrants have brought their culture to Germany.

The chairman of the German Police Union told the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung newspaper that the women's safety area sent a "disastrous message" that suggested there were "secure and insecure zones."

"It would be the end of equality, freedom of movement and self-determination," the newspaper quoted him as saying.

The most powerful female politician in the world is presiding over a rollback of women’s rights… especially the right to freedom of movement.

As Party Time Approaches

To honor the fast approaching party called New Year’s Eve, here are a few pungent quotations from Kevin Williamson, at National Review.

First, from Williamson himself:

I have reached the stage in life when I will walk a mile out of my way to avoid the company of people who use “party” as a verb.

Second, Williamson adds a line, in Latin, from David Foster Wallace. I have uncovered the translation and happily share it with you:

Te Occidere Possunt Sed Te Edere Non Possunt Nefas Est ("They can kill you, but the legalities of eating you are quite a bit dicier").”

Finally, Williamson quotes a line by friend. It may or may not be apt for your upcoming celebration, but still….

A lawyer friend of mine used to raise his glass and say: “Maybe we’ll get what we want. Maybe we won’t. Just as long as we don’t get what we deserve!” 

Anti-Semitism at Columbia University

As if Germany and Sweden were not bad enough, anti-Semitism, masquerading as anti-Israel bias, is alive and well at Columbia University. And not just at Columbia.

Among the leaders of anti-Israel studies at Columbia University is one Rashid Khalidi. You remember Khalidi. A few months back he denounced the Trump administration for being infested with Jews. Yes, that Rashid Khalidi. You also remember that before he came to Columbia Khalidi lived in Chicago where he was a bosom buddy of one Barack Obama. You also know that when Khalidi left Chicago his friends threw a going-away party, featuring a speech by Barack Obama. We have still not heard the speech because the only tape recording is locked in safe at the Los Angeles Times. How much do you want to bet that it’s filled with anti-Israeli sentiment?

But, I digress.

The New York Daily News reports on the leftist anti-Israel anti-Semitism at Columbia. (via Maggie’s Farm)
When Columbia University’s Center for Palestine Studies was established in 2010, Rashid Khalidi, its founding and current director — and a supporter of an academic boycott of Israel — stated that steering clear of political activism was an important goal of the center:

“The last thing you want is a Middle East institute or a center for Israel or Palestine that isn’t within the university mission. . . . We’d avoid doing anything that’s directly related to any political activism.”

However, just seven years later, new research from our organization reveals that the Center for Palestine Studies has become an academic epicenter for anti-Israel political activism, as well as the promotion of an academic boycott of Israel and its mother movement, boycott, divestment and sanctions, otherwise known as BDS.

In 2015 and 2016, of the 44 Israel-related events sponsored by the Center for Palestine Studies, 41 included anti-Israel, pro-BDS speakers. During the same two-year period, Israel-related events sponsored by Columbia University’s other two Middle East studies departments — the Middle Eastern, South Asian and African studies department and the Middle East Institute — also overwhelmingly included anti-Israel, pro-BDS speakers.

What can be done? Well, consider that the Middle East Institute is being funded by the U. S. Department of Education. Evidently, it had to have been the Obama Education Department that chose to fund this swill. The Daily News sanitized the story, but still:

This is particularly troubling in the case of Columbia’s Middle East Institute, designated a National Resource Center by the U.S. Department of Education and given significant federal funding under Title VI of the Higher Education Opportunity Act. This law, currently before Congress for reauthorization, was established to fund outstanding university programs to equip students with a full and unbiased understanding of regions and countries vital to U.S. security.

The law requires programs receiving Title VI funding to demonstrate that their activities reflect “diverse perspectives and a wide range of views.” Promoting an academic boycott of Israel doesn’t just pervert this legal obligation; limiting the free flow of information about a complex, volatile and highly sensitive region of the world risks harming U.S. security.

Perhaps Congress or Betsy De Vos will do something about this. We can hope.

You will also understand that this anti-Israel sentiment foments anti-Semitism:

Most troubling is our finding that when faculty boycotters bring their anti-Israel sentiments and support for BDS to campus, it significantly increases the likelihood of anti-Semitism on that campus: Schools that host events with BDS-supporting speakers were twice as likely to have anti-Semitic incidents such as assaults, harassment, destruction of property and suppression of speech.

More than 250 U.S. university presidents, including Columbia’s president, have resoundingly condemned the academic boycott of Israel. Now it’s time for these same presidents to address the clear and present harms that an academic boycott of Israel brings to their own campuses.

Everyone who has a minimally functioning intelligence knows that the war against Israel, led by crypto-Nazi Palestinian terrorists, is over. The Palestinians have lost. Their allies have all but abandoned them. So we are curious to see that the anti-Israeli cause is alive and well on the Upper West Side, at Columbia University.

Anti-Semitism Returns to Germany

Despite her good intentions German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a citizen of the world if ever there was one, has brought anti-Semitism back to Germany. It’s what happens when you import hundreds of thousands of anti-Semites. Duh.

Who better to explain the Merkel failure than the Kaiser himself. Not, not that Kaiser. The man who the fashion world has dubbed the Kaiser, one Karl Lagerfeld, the reigning genie of the House of Chanel.

Earlier this year, Lagerfeld blamed Merkel for the problem:

One cannot – even if there are decades between them – kill millions of Jews and then bring millions of their worst enemies in their place.

The head of the German police union, Rainer Wendt, offered his own comments:

The same politicians who continue this immigration and deportation drama by illegally allowing in more and more foreigners from the most anti-Semitic region of the world and not even deporting the offenders among them, then proclaim that they are doing everything against anti-Semitism.

Doing everything they can to fight anti-Semitism now means that Jews cannot walk around Germany and can not practice their religion without police protection.

Breitbart reports:

Former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany Charlotte Knobloch claims that Jews are increasingly under threat in public and may require police protection to lead a normal life without harassment and violence.

Ms Knobloch, who is now the President of the Jewish Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria, said that Jews are increasingly under threat, Die Welt reports.

And also:

“Aggressive anti-Semitism, from verbal hostility on the Internet and in the analogue world to desecration and destruction to physical attacks are commonplace in Germany,” she said.

“Jewish life can only take place in public under police protection and the strictest security precautions, or it must be completely cancelled for security reasons,” Knobloch added.

The Jewish leader spoke about several recent anti-semitic cases including the vandalism of a Menorah in the city of Heilbronn, and the cancellation of a public Menorah lighting in Mülheim/Ruhr due to security issues.

In a survey of Jews in Germany, many said that most of the violent attacks they experienced came from Muslims, while far-right and far-left attacks were mostly limited to verbal harassment or harassment online.

True enough, far leftists and far rightists have joined the party… but the most violent perpetrators are Muslim. That’s why Islam is called “the religion of peace.”

News from Iran

For many left thinking American commentators the most important aspect of the demonstrations in Iran is not the revolt against Islamist tyranny. Not at all. Since everyone is comparing the Trump reaction with the Obama reaction to the 2009 rebellion, serious commentators are spinning as fast as they can. 

Their goal: to salvage the reputation of one Barack Hussein Obama. Obamphile apologists recommend that Trump say nothing in support of the demonstrators because Obama said nothing about the protests that took place on his watch. They are saying that Trump has aggravated the problem with his ban on Iranian immigrants. Some are even bemoaning the fact that Hillary Clinton is not the president. Considering how well the then Secretary of State did with the Green Revolution in 2009, Bret Stephens wishes she were president now.

It is not very easy to collect the facts on the ground, but we do better to keep an eye on reality before jumping to conclusions. The Wall Street Journal reported this morning:

Antigovernment demonstrations broke out for a third day across Iran on Saturday, extending some of the country’s most widespread street protests in nearly a decade, with protesters demanding an end to the Islamic Republic regime and the rule of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Video shot from inside Iran and shared with The Wall Street Journal suggest large rallies at dozens of cities across the country.

The protesters seen in those videos bypassed calls for reform and branded both the reformist and hard-line factions of the government as outdated and needing to be replaced.

Working class and labor unions joined the middle class and student activists in dozens of cities and small towns from Tehran to Ahvaz and Qom, a key regime’s religious stronghold. In the videos shared with the Journal, protesters were seen chanting “Death to Khamenei,” and “We don’t want the Islamic Republic, we don’t want it” and “Reformist and hard-liners, you are both done.”

And it added:

The protests present a challenge for Iran’s leadership. The presence of working-class protesters that traditionally comprise the Islamic Republic’s power base makes it harder for Mr. Rouhani’s government to dismiss the uprising as opposition instigated by foreign powers.

In the capital, at one point more than 100 people were seen gathered outside the gates of Tehran University and chanting slogans including, “Leave Gaza, leave Lebanon, my life for Iran,” a critique of spending on Iranian proxies abroad, and “Death to the dictator!” Video distributed on social media showed hundreds of young people at the university shouting slogans against Mr. Khamenei, as security forces stood by.

We will follow developments as they unfold.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Trump or Obama on Uprisings in Iran

Perhaps the animal spirits are stirring. Perhaps the citizens of Iran are watching the liberalization program in Saudi Arabia and asking themselves: Why not us? Perhaps these same Iranians believe that whereas the Obama administration sat back and let them die, the Trump administration will be less cowardly.

Then again, we note that the Iranian regime recently decided to stop arresting women who did not wear any head covering. Perhaps, it saw the rebellion happening and wanted to forestall it.

Sky News reports:

Hundreds of people took to the streets in Mashhad, Iran's second-largest city and one of the holiest places in Shia Islam, on Thursday.

The protests spread to Tehran and other cities on Friday, with police using water cannons in some cases to disperse the crowds.

Initially aimed against high prices, the anti-government protests quickly turned against the Islamic regime as a whole.

Another reason might be that the people of Iran, having learned that the tons of cash sent by the Obama administration to empower the Islamist tyranny was being used to support terrorism, by the Houthis and by Hezbollah.

Roger Simon explained:

What we do know is that these demonstrators are complaining that money garnered from the Iran nuclear deal is not going to them, the Iranian people, to make their lives better, as promised, but to carry out the mullahs' murderous military adventures across the Middle East. Was anything ever more predictable?

As you know, in Iran it’s déjà vu all over again. The Iranian people rose up against their tyrannical dictators in 2009. The Obama administration did nothing and said nothing. Presumably, it was lusting after a nuclear deal, one that could empower the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, and a sworn enemy of the United States and Israel.

When people protested the Mubarak regime in Egypt and the Qaddhafi regime in Libya, the same Obama administration was happy to bring them both down. After all, they were, at least putative American allies. Which made them expendable. 

Besides, the Iranian regime holds fast to values that the Obama administration held dear. Don’t you think?

Simon said:

Boy, was I wrong and never was that more clear than in 2009 when the Green Movement demonstrators were marching through the streets of Tehran and other Iranian cities, demanding freedom from the mullahs. The whole world was watching, as we used to say in the sixties, only their cause was purer than ours was then. The horrifying theocrats who ran the "Islamic Republic" regularly raped women in prison before they killed them, hanged homosexuals in the streets and tortured just about everyone else who didn't comply with the edicts of their Islamofascist regime.

Where were all the pillars of leftist thought when a fascist regime was raping women, murdering homosexuals, and torturing everyone who did not comply with the regime? Where were the feminists? Where were the gay rights activists?

They all sat it out. They said nothing. Their weakness was grotesque. Perhaps they were so enthralled by the image of their very own Messiah, Barack Obama, that they were unwilling to launch the least critical word in his direction. They should stop lecturing people about their moral values and should stop portraying themselves as foes of fascism.

Perhaps a president can do nothing more than speak out. We are not going to send the 82nd Airborne to Tehran. And yet, speaking out is the least a president can do. And, happily enough for American moral character, President Donald Trump and the American State Department have been speaking out against the ayatollahs and their oppressive tactics toward protesters. Shining the light of justice on the regime cannot hurt. Seeing the president and the Secretary of State articulating the same policy is, at the least, refreshing.

Last night, Trump tweeted:

Many reports of peaceful protests by Iranian citizens fed up with regime’s corruption & its squandering of the nation’s wealth to fund terrorism abroad. Iranian govt should respect their people’s rights, including right to express themselves. The world is watching! 

People who followed Obama off a moral cliff and who see themselves as brave fighters against fascism are now at war with Donald Trump.

Go figure.

Trump vs. Clinton: How Much Does Character Count?

Bret Stephens is blind to his own contradictions. We will grant him leniency because we suspects that he is trying to fit in at the New York Times.

Today, he lectures us on the importance of character in our leaders. It is a fair point. He asserts that conservatives believe that culture trumps policy. And thus, that good policy is for nothing if our leader has bad character. 

Does anyone but Stephens believe that conservatives diminish the importance of policy... or of the composition of the courts?

In his words:

The answer depends on your definition. Here’s one I’ve always liked: “The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society,” said the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan. To which he added: “The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.”

Conservatives used to believe in their truth. Want to “solve” poverty? All the welfare dollars in the world won’t help if two-parent families aren’t intact. Want to foster democracy abroad? It’s going to be rough going if too many voters reject the foundational concept of minority rights.

But, if liberals want to change the culture, by court decisions and bureaucratic edicts, don't conservatives need to fight back?

Stephens is seriously torqued over Donald Trump’s character flaws. He is not alone. We have on this very blog pointed out many of them over the past two and a half years. So we do not feel remiss and do not feel that we have ignored the obvious.

How to have more two-parent families… a good question it is. Surely, conservatives have strongly supported such families. We recall that Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, believed that it takes a village to raise a child… because that’s the way they do it in more primitive cultures. In a moment of Rousseauvian delirium, Hillary wanted us all to pretend that we live in a primitive Stone Age village.

As for fostering democracy abroad, which we recall as a Wilsonian revenant that took up residence in the mind of George W. Bush, we have not succeeded at it. And, by the way, who doesn’t believe in minority rights? A nation that elected Barack Obama to the presidency in order to support minority rights and to do penance for our sins—can you think of another reason?—is not deficient in respecting minority rights.

But, here is the kicker: Stephens still wishes that Hillary had won? He does not offer a ringing endorsement of her character. He says not a word about her character, or about the fine character of her husband, the sexual abuser in chief. He says not a word about her role as enabler in chief— bullying any woman who would have accused her husband of sexual harassment. He does not even say a word about all the men in the media and entertainment who have recently been exposed as sexual harassers and even rapists-- all of whom supported Bill and Hillary Clinton. And, all of whom must have felt that Hillary had given them permission to behave as her husband behave. Stephens says not a word about her private server, the deleted emails, her corruption and dishonesty, Uranium One, the Clinton Foundation, her disastrous conduct of foreign policy—you get the picture. 

Stephens does not defend the character of the Clintons, America's Grifters in Chief. And he says not a word about Hillary's pathetic media tour, where she has shown the singular bad grace to blame everyone but herself for her disastrous presidential campaign.

Stephens says not a word about Hillary Clinton’s character because the American people have already judged it to be extremely wanting. Had the Democrats nominated a candidate with character than candidate would be sitting in the White House right now. They did not. The American people knew what the brilliant Bret Stephens does not know: that when it came to bad character, the choice between Trump and Clinton was a toss-up. A lot of people did not like Trump. But they liked Hillary less. So people voted for policy. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Why Hire Women?

You knew this was coming, because I have said that it was coming. The #MeToo movement will make life more difficult for women in the workplace. It feels like a revolutionary action to overthrow the patriarchy, and it is certainly destroying the careers of more than a few men, especially in the media and entertainment, but living your life within a grand historical drama is always a bad idea. This time, the ultimate victims will be women.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings.

Obviously, businessmen cannot speak out about the issue. But, what they are telling each other deserves a hearing, even if the author of the current piece speaks anonymously.

He mentions first that in a climate where accusations count as incontrovertible truths, our grand American tradition of justice has been largely discarded. Remember when Benjamin Franklin said that it is better for ten guilty men to go free than for one innocent man to be convicted. Well, you can forget about that, along with due process.

Anonymous quotes Emily Linden, a columnist for Teen Vogue, who declares that she does not care if some innocent man’s reputation is ruined as long as she can avenge herself against the patriarchy and can foment revolution. Naturally, Linden, a fanatic masquerading as a serious writer, has forgotten about due process and does not care either about what happens to the innocent man’s wife and children. Nice way to show us how sensitive you are, Em.

Anonymous offers his analysis from within the business world:

There are however two big problems with the whole situation:

1.      Accusations alone kill careers and businesses just through the media attention and absence from any investigation or evidence

2.    The narrative of the whole debate is that every claim must be believedregardless how ridiculous the claim itself is and that any questioning of this or that people want an investigation is automatically anti female.

    These two social justice paradigms have made it impossible to defend anybody against accusationsregardless how suspicious or shallow the claims wereand it still continues so we can assume this will stay for way longer than just the next week.

He is not alone in pointing out that in the ambient mania the meaning of sexual harassment has been bloated almost beyond recognition:

Another problem is that the meaning of sexual harassment was widened to include what most of us would consider normal behavior among adults. This includes but is not limited to: getting invited for a drink, making somebody a compliment or standing in the same room.

This paints almost any interaction at a workplace in a sexualized context which in turn makes it almost impossible to be comfortable with each other. This has a major chilling effect on teamwork, arbitration and general communication.

Worse yet, women are shouting that they are weak and ineffectual, that they are so sensitive that they are rendered ill by someone who makes them feel “uncomfortable.” So much for the myth of strong, empowered women.

Now as a business owner myself and somebody who is in voluntary leadership positions I can tell you one thing: 

It´s impossible to accomplish anything if you are not willing to make someone “uncomfortable”! Especially if you take on a mentor role!

And also:

When James Damore was asked for feedback from his supervisor and internally circulated his google memo, it got leaked, he got fired and women stayed at home the next Day because “for emotional reasons”

A ten page summary of data and analysis from Damore was enough to “emotional distress” the women at the company.

I’m not arguing here about the validity of the memowe can talk about that on a separate occasionmy point here is that a ten-page document with written words that suggested possible gender differences cost multiple sick days!

Anonymous tries to put it in context:

What the media doesn’t see are … very important facts:

  • Most businesses still care more about profit than gender distribution
  • Most businesses don’t share the blatant disregard for men
  • Most businesses are still created, maintained and lead by menso you can’t put men out of the equation

Now, male executives will react to the #MeToo movement by hiring fewer women and by practicing gender segregation. Anonymous quotes some of his male executive friends:

“We will probably not hire women if they have to work together with men” (paraphrased)

 “We have to consider gender segregation at the workplace as a next step so we hire women only for positions where we can make a team out of them and where we have to hire a spot in the male-dominated parts we hire additional men” (paraphrased)

One of my colleagues from a US Tech company gave me even a (for me) more horrific answer when I asked him about this notion: 

“we are considering to drop our female staffers in the non-support teams, this way we can eliminate the risk and from the outside, it looks like we just have a 90/10 split which is low but not unreasonable for a tech company” (paraphrased)

Many men are saying that hiring women is simply not worth the risk:
Even an unproven or false allegation can cost a company a significant sum of money!

For some businesses it could even mean bankruptcy because clients could drop them, they can’t bear the expensive legal fees or the media outrage kills their reputation.
And I don’t know anyone who is willing to take that kind of risk.

And then there are other unspeakable risk factors in hiring women. As he says, no one will say this out loud, because such speech is strictly forbidden:

Adding to that the risk of possible pregnancy, that some call for sick leave when they have their period and the whole depiction of women in the mainstream mediaand you have the perfect mix for high risk, high cost, low reward (actual quote)

“Officially, we will of course never ‘promote’ thisif somebody asks about stuff like that we will just say the teams can work better this way… but we don’t risk our core team that makes money just to fulfill a quotaGoogle & Co can do that and cripple themselves in legal affairs (paraphrased).

Anonymous concludes:

Well, it hurts me to say but maybe we shouldn’t if this is how women behave in today’s world! It just doesn’t make a lot of sense to hire somebody that can potentially cost you more time and money to the addition that you have to create special rules for all other employees.

Modern Dating

If you are of a certain age you might find this entertaining and exasperating… at the same time. Sometimes I post stories for the entertainment value. Some of these entertaining stories bespeak cultural trends. I trust you are old enough to understand that you cannot follow cultural trends by being glued to the mainstream media.

Here we have another trend story, this one, about dating practices. Yes, I know, no one really dates anymore… unless you want to consider Tinder-driven hookups as dates. This time the story comes from the New York Post, a Rupert Murdoch publication. One has read stories of some of these deviant practices in other places, but it is useful to have them collected in one story.

Anyway, now that everyone is in an uproar over sexual harassment in the workplace, we turn our tired eyes to the dating practices of American millennials.

And we discover that in a culture that does not really countenance dating and where men and women are more antagonistic than ever, things are not very good. The women who are expressing full-throated outrage at the behavior of male employers or coworkers, and who believe that they are striking a blow for some putative revolution, should recognize, as we will note in another post, that what goes around comes around, and that filling the air with hostility might not facilitate cordial, congenial and respectful relationships.

Anyway, the Post begins, as follows:

1. Stealthing:

The rise of “stealthing” — when a man secretly removes his condom during sex — was documented in a report in April, arguing that the act should be classified as a form of sexual assault.

The report’s author spoke with dozens of victims and said they had trouble articulating what exactly had happened to them and whether or not they should feel violated.

As of now, some legislators are trying to get stealthing defined as rape.

2. Love bombing:

If your new partner went from doting to controlling so fast it gave you whiplash, you might have been “love bombed.”

The seductive tactic is especially prevalent in people with narcissistic qualities and use “love bombing” as a way to control another person.

“If extravagant displays of affection continue indefinitely if actions match words and there is no devaluation phase, then it’s probably not love bombing,” Dale Archer, a psychiatrist who first labeled the behavior, wrote in Psychology Today. “On the other hand, if there’s an abrupt shift in the type of attention, from affectionate and loving to controlling and angry, with the pursuing partner making unreasonable demands, that’s a red flag.”

Clearly, we are against controlling men. But we are also against women who commit to one man and flirt with other men. 

3. Chemsex:

It means what you think it means:

Getting high and hooking up isn’t new, but these drug-fueled romps are getting people hooked.

“Chemsex” parties, also known as “PnP” or “Party and Play” are where people have sex on everything from crystal meth to ketamine to cocaine. The term has been popular within metropolitan gay and bisexual cultures for a long time, but has recently entered the mainstream.

“When you have chemsex it’s like you’re pushing to annihilate sexual boundaries and each other … you name it, I did it,” Ally*, a 30-year-old HR professional in Australia told whimn. “Then came the comedown and the shame – terrible Tuesdays, followed by weepy Wednesdays. Then I’d be ready to party again on Thursday. I didn’t recognize myself as a pockmark-faced addict portrayed on the anti-meth ads.”

Does that sound like fun to you? If sexual liberation were so normal and natural people would not need to be drugged out of their minds to participate in it.

4. Phubbing:

“Phubbing” is when a notification on your smartphone gives you a bigger sense of satisfaction then spending time with someone you care about. Apart from being extremely annoying, “phubbing” has been shown to affect a partner the same way a behavioral addiction, like gambling or drinking, would.

Forty-six percent of people reported being “phubbed” by their partner, with 22 percent reporting that their relationship suffered because of it, according to a study published in March.

Yes, indeed, these young people are so addicted to their smart phones that they prefer the screen to real, live human people. Of course, this assumes that said real life human beings have some compelling qualities.

The last problem concerns the misunderstanding of consent. Men, in particular, are often confused about the signals they are receiving. This can lead to awkward sexual encounters and even to rape.

It makes you wish we could go back to The Rules.

Macron's Hard Line on Illegal Immigrants

The news comes to us from the Associated Press via Powerline and via Maggie’s Farm.

French president Emmanuel Macron is adopting a hard line on illegal immigration. Considering that Macron worked for socialist president Francois Hollande and that he defeated notoriously anti-immigrant candidate Marine Le Pen, his actions merit attention. At the least, he is putting an end to the idea that France is a sanctuary country.

The AP lays it out:

From snowy Alpine passes to the borders with Spain or Germany, migrants keep making their way to France. In Paris alone, police have evacuated around 30,000 people camping on sidewalks in the last two years.

No one doubts that France’s system of dealing with migrants needs fixing, with a perennial housing shortage and long wait times in applying for asylum.

“Living in the street. Living in a tent. Sometimes you get food. Sometimes you not get food,” said Samsoor Rasooli, a 25-year-old Afghan standing in line since 6 a.m. to apply for asylum at a Paris facility, where some spend the night on the sidewalk, strewn with filth, to keep their place. The door closed at mid-day, the 100 places allotted that day for applicants filled.

“It’s winter. I can’t sleep in the street,” Rasooli said.

Asylum opens the way for temporary housing, but only one-third of the 95,000 applicants this year were accepted, government officials say.

The government will try to change immigration policy legislatively:

A bill overhauling asylum and immigration policy will be debated in the spring, notably expediting asylum demands but also doubling to 90 days the time a person without papers can be held in a holding center, the last step before expulsion — an approach the government says is “balanced” and “efficient.”

Macron is refusing to accept economic migrants and is expelling more illegals:

Macron has made clear he wouldn’t accept economic migrants in France, wants those who don’t qualify for asylum expelled and doesn’t want them even trying to come to France.

The French president has been rolling out a multi-pronged approach that stretches to Africa, with points set up in Chad and Niger to pre-select those certain of gaining asylum — and weed out potential economic migrants.

At home, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb has ordered prefects, regional representatives of the state, to crack down on illegal immigration, “act quickly” to expel those who fail to gain asylum and report results within weeks, according to a November order cited by the newspaper Le Monde.

A newer set of orders in December rang alarm bells. Collomb told regional authorities to set up “mobile teams” to run checks in emergency housing to ascertain the status of migrants. Emergency shelters are considered bedrocks of the French tradition of open arms to those in need and have long been considered untouchable, even by security authorities.

Apparently, the French government had practiced an “open arms” policy even before German Chancellor Merkel did. Now, the arms are being closed and authorities are ramping up their searches for illegals.

Macron has also ordered that encampments of illegals in Paris streets and elsewhere be cleared:

A camp of about 40 Afghan migrants was dismantled last week in the Pas-de-Calais region in northern France, and another was taken down in Macon in the east. On Thursday, a camp on the banks of the Seine river was the latest in Paris to be bulldozed, with 131 migrants taken to shelters.

Police staked out a tollbooth north of Paris in an operation against the “migrant flux,” stopping car after car to check for migrants who don’t have residency documents.

Of course, some politicians have rebelled. But since Macron is a center left politician, and has the support of the political right… the opposition can do very little:

Patrick Weil, among France’s leading immigration specialists, said Macron “tweets about human rights and refugees during the day and at night gives the opposite orders.”

Weil contended on BFM-TV that Macron’s approach is “the most extreme we’ve had since the war.”

It’s coated “with a smile, with bonbons, but in practice it’s a dagger,” he said.

Could it be that Macron is taking his inspiration from President Trump, and not from President Obama. We understand that Angela Merkel was practicing the Obama citizen-of-the-world, open borders politics. Now, Macron, who presided over last July’s Bastille Day celebration with Donald Trump at his side, has taken a different tack.

One notes with amusement that America's foreign policy elite is bemoaning the fact that Donald Trump has caused American influence in the world to decline. True, Obama is still the most popular American president around the world—obviously, the peoples of the world were happy to watch Obama diminish the USA while elevating the prestige of everyone else. 

And yet, from Paris to Riyadh to Beijing, Donald Trump has been treated with more respect than the hapless Obama. Go figure.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Some Facts about the Dreamers

If you follow the mainstream media you will learn that the Dreamers, illegal immigrants who came to America when they were children, now have productive lives in America. They are all rocket scientists with stable families, living in suburban communities. Thus, they should be allowed to stay in the country and must bring family members to the country… through chain migration.

The Democratic Party will go to the mat to save the Dreamers. They know that people who are barely literate and dysfunctional are more likely to be criminals. Thus they and their families will almost always vote Democratic.

To achieve their end Democrats have been trafficking in fictions, fantasies and lies. You are surely not surprised to hear this. You will also not be surprised to hear that very, very few of the Dreamers were ever vetted. It was a typical Obama deception.

Happily, Hans von Spakovsky offers a few facts about the Dreamers. Nothing like facts to light the way out of darkness.

He writes:

The Center for Immigration Studies estimates that “perhaps 24 percent of the DACA-eligible population fall into the functionally illiterate category and another 46 percent have only ‘basic’ English ability.”

Unfortunately, many Dreamers are poorly educated. Only 49 percent of DACA beneficiaries have a high school education, even though a majority are now adults. And while military service could also qualify an illegal alien for DACA, out of the current 690,000 DACA beneficiaries, only 900 are serving in the military.

This lack of basic English makes education nearly impossible. What do the Dreamers do? Of course, they contribute to America’s crime rate:

This may explain why, by August this year, more than 2,100 DACA beneficiaries had had their eligibility pulled because of criminal convictions and gang affiliation. Even if a random background investigation produced substantial evidence that an illegal alien might have committed multiple crimes, the alien would still be eligible for DACA if he wasn’t convicted.

Thus, it seems that a significant percentage of DACA beneficiaries have serious limitations in their education, work experience and English fluency. What’s the likelihood that they’ll be able to function in American society without being substantial burdens to U.S. taxpayers?

Hmmm… a few facts about the Dreamers… to brighten up your day.

The Case of the Fool

It's a glimmer of hope for the upcoming New Year. In her latest foray our favorite advice column Ask Polly actually makes some sensible remarks. Unfortunately, if  you keep reading down her bloated commentary you will find that she quickly falls back into psychobabble—bad old habits are hard to break—but why not accentuate the positive. It will brighten your day.

Today’s letter writer calls herself Fool, and the name seems perfectly apt. Get this:

I was with this man for over five years. Two weeks into the relationship I found out he was still spending time with his ex-girlfriend and her family. He denied it at first but after a year he finally admitted they stayed together. After this it was his ex-wife. His son lied to me and brought her to confront me. She assaulted me and I took her to court. He would not go to court with me, he claimed his back was bothering him. I had to end up taking her back to court again for calling my phone — by the way, he has no idea how she got my number. Then I had to deal with his sister’s friend. She was all over him, but when I confronted him, she started with me. I told him I was not dealing with her. I was told I ruined a 20 year friendship. They picked and played like it meant nothing to him. I knew he was acting strange. I got his phone and found text messages from a girl he had under the name Adam. He was calling her every day, texting her, saying things to her he was saying to me. I took his phone and contacted her. She claims she was told I was his old fat crazy ex-girlfriend. I got in his face and called her from his phone, which he did not want me to do it. Then I found another girl’s number on his phone, he said someone else contacted her, not him. I confronted the guy who he said used his phone and the guy knew nothing about it. This man has left me so many times in the past five years. Two weeks and he would come back. I need some help. I need someone to tell me what a fool I am for wanting him.

We will point out that she is writing in the past tense. She is writing about a relationship failure, about a man who she stupidly still wants in her life, but who seems no longer to be a direct part of it.

Now, for the good news. Polly replies:

I don’t usually answer letters like yours, even though I get a lot of them. I know it sounds unfair, but here’s what your letter and other letters like yours have in common: They are usually just one big, unbroken block of text, like they were written very quickly, late at night. There is a central villain who has committed one crime after another. There are a lot of confusing twists and turns. Sometimes these letters go on for three pages, but by the end, it’s still hard to tell who’s who. It’s hard to tell when things stopped and started. It’s hard to tell why anyone is doing what they do. It’s like being thrown into a house of mirrors, populated only by other confused people who seem like they might be out to get you, for reasons that are lost on you and on them.

How do you get out? And once you get out, what do you do?

Here’s what you do (and what other people in your position do): You go back inside. Why? Because you’re so used to living in a house of mirrors that the real world feels unbelievably empty and lonely and sad by comparison. At least when you’re inside the house of mirrors, you have something to do: Run away. Chase. Confront. Investigate. List everyone’s transgressions. Look for witnesses. Build your case.

Correct. Those of us who like contrarian advice are especially taken by the notion that Fool should simply jump back in. In truth, she has been trying to pull herself out of her mess of a relationship, with no success, so Polly recommends that she simply give in. It is sound advice. Good point.

Polly’s reasoning is correct, too. This relationship provides Fool with permanent psychodrama. And not just psychodrama—courtroom drama. The story contains criminals and victims; it looks for prosecution and trial. Better yet, it fill’s Fool’s mind. It is so all-consuming that she probably has no real focus left for anything else or for anyone else. She has probably wrecked most of her friendships with her constant complaining about her sometime boyfriend. Thus, she can choose between the drama and emptiness, or anomie.

Polly continues to talk about herself. Since she fills most of her columns with solipsistic meandering, so why stop now. And then there is the psychobabble about how Fool can develop a better relationship with herself.

A less charitable soul would point out that Polly’s initial advice, to the effect that Fool loves the drama, will make it impossible—radically impossible—for her to replace the constant drama of her relationship with this man. To tell her to get into herself is to tell her to stay in the relationship. She has heard it before. She does not need to hear it again. She needs to hear what Polly told her: jump right in!

Your New Year's Eve Date

Looking for a date for New Year's Eve?

OK, I know that you already have a date... with your spouse.

Just in case, The Daily Mail has done us the favor of looking through the offerings on the dating app Tinder... to bring us some of the most savory and charming prospects. What would we do without the Daily Mail?

At the least, the compendium of profiles gives us a sense of how young millennials like to present themselves for prospective dates. Consider these pictures a sign of the times. They come to us from English speaking nations around the world.

Here goes:

One lady admitted she was just looking for a bit of fun in a Tinder match

This lovely lady appeared happy to compromise on men who were less well-endowed

This bikini-clad lovely revealed her competitive side as she challenged daters to a contest in bed

While this lovely lass' profile picture looked distinctly civilized, her bio turned out to be much more cheeky

That's a sampling. You might be asking yourself whether this has anything to do with the current wave of workplace sexual harassment. I will let you figure that one out. 

At any rate, it's nice to see so many young women-- or should I say, very attractive young women-- respecting themselves.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Where in the World?

Glance at these two pictures and see if you can figure out where they are. You will notice the American flag, so at least you know which country.

This is what Christmas Day looked like this year for thousands of homeless people in dark and dingy Skid Row - the underbelly of Downtown Los Angeles

The video shows rubbish bags piled up by the pavements and littered across streets, and tents erected in clusters where people have camped down for the night

The Daily Mail reports that they picture beautiful downtown Los Angeles. At least, it's a sanctuary city in a sanctuary state.

Rubbish bags piled up by the pavements and littered across streets.

Tents erected in clusters where people have camped down for the night.

Dozens of directionless residents congregating by the roadside and wandering into the road.

This is what Christmas Day looked like for thousands of homeless people in the dark and dingy underbelly of Downtown Los Angeles this year.

Does America Need More Adultery?

The contrast is striking. At a time when America is in a frenzy about workplace sexual harassment— defined as extending from bad language to sexual assault— psychotherapist Esther Perel is advising couples to learn to live with adultery. Not just to live with it, but to use it to promote better intramarital sex.

In truth, by my own theorizing— see my book The Last Psychoanalyst-- some cultures tolerate adultery and others do not. Some European cultures allowed men mistresses, courtesans and concubines. They allowed women to practice called courtly love. The reason was simple: marriages were mostly arranged; they were political and social alliances; they were not about romantic love. Cultures that arrange marriage tolerate adultery.

In Western Europe these cultures were largely Roman Catholic. Protestantism introduced the practice of love marriage when women, in particular, were given more freedom to choose their mates. Then adultery fell out of favor… and tended to be stigmatized. See the tale of the scarlet letter.

Why did the transformation take place? Simply put, too much adultery caused too much relational confusion. No one knew who was related to whom with any degree of certainty. Thus, love marriage aimed at producing a more structured social order, not necessarily better orgasms. The point needs emphasis. Marriage was not designed to give people the most decadent, mind-blowing sexual experiences.

As I have pointed out in the past Freudian psychoanalysis has had as its goal to make the world safe for adultery. Thus, a European like Perel is simply importing a sophisticated European attitude into New York. One might amuse oneself by pondering the thought that New Yorkers aspire to become sophisticated Europeans, especially those who were raised in more Catholic cultures, but such seems to be the case.

Think about this: would a culture that valued marital fidelity have less incidences of sexual harassment? After all, Harvey Weinstein was not just a serial harasser and even rapist… but he was also married. So was Matt Lauer.

Put this down to: be careful what you wish for. If you think that you can neatly separate these issues, you are mistaken.

In any case, Americans are increasingly getting their adultery groove on. If we are to believe Zoe Heller— we have no reason not to believe her—we own the proliferation of adulterous affairs to women’s liberation, among other things:

Notwithstanding the problems of definition and the vague statistics, the consensus among social scientists is that the incidence of infidelity has been rising in recent decades. This is mostly attributed to the fact that modern life has increased and democratized the opportunities for illicit sex. Women, whose adulterous options have historically been limited by domesticity and economic dependence, have entered the workforce and discovered new vistas of romantic temptation. (Men are still the more unfaithful sex, but their rates of infidelity appear to have remained steady over the past three decades, while, according to some estimates, female rates have risen by as much as forty per cent.) Senior citizens have had their sexual capacities indefinitely prolonged by Viagra and hip-replacement surgery. Even the timid and the socially maladroit have been given a leg up, courtesy of the online pander. Adultery may still be, as Anthony Burgess described it, the “most creative of sins,” but, thanks to Tinder et al., engineering a tryst requires significantly less ingenuity and craft now than at any other time in human history.

To be slightly more clear, and to dispel the insinuation that liberated women are more trampy than their foremothers, I would point out that single career women seeing their marital prospects diminish might very well choose to seduce the married men in the office. I know it's unthinkable, but that does not prevent it from happening.

Strangely enough, Heller adds, we still are intolerant of adultery. We are tolerant of every other kind of sexual coupling… but not adultery.

While we’ve become considerably more relaxed about premarital sex, gay sex, and interracial sex, our disapproval of extramarital sex has been largely unaffected by our growing propensity to engage in it. We are eating forbidden apples more hungrily than ever, but we slap ourselves with every bite. According to a 2017 Gallup poll, Americans deplore adultery (which is still illegal in some two dozen states and still included among the crimes of “moral turpitude” that can justify denial of citizenship) at much higher rates than they do abortion, animal testing, or euthanasia.

This merely suggests that we are hopelessly naïve. Human cultures do not make such neat distinctions. Once you say that just about everything goes when it comes to what happens between the sheets, you cannot simply draw a random line and expect that people will respect it.

As it happens, Esther Perel wants us all to be more insouciant, more European about adultery. One has not read her book so one does not know whether or not she mentions risk factors like: unwanted pregnancies, STD transmission, and divorce:

The couples therapist and relationship guru Esther Perel believes otherwise. In her new book, “The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity” (Harper), she argues that we would be better off coming to a more compassionate accommodation of our unruly desires. Decades of administering to adulterers and their anguished spouses have convinced her that we need “a more nuanced and less judgmental conversation about infidelity,” one that acknowledges that “the intricacies of love and desire don’t yield to simple categorizations of good and bad, victim and culprit.” Our judgmental attitude toward our transgressions does not make us any less likely to commit them, she argues—“infidelity has a tenacity that marriage can only envy”—and it keeps us from understanding why we transgress. The desire to stray is not evil but human.

One feels a quota of sympathy for Perel’s argument that women who find their husbands cheating should be less self-righteously moralistic and should not be so fast to throw the bum out:

This approach, Perel believes, does little justice to the “multifaceted experience of infidelity.” It demonizes adulterers, without pausing to explore their motives. It focusses on the traumatic effects of affairs, without acknowledging their “generative” possibilities. “To look at straying simply in terms of its ravages is not only reductionistic but also unhelpful,” she writes. Affairs can be devastatingly painful for the ones betrayed, but they can also be invigorating for marriages. If couples could be persuaded to take a more sympathetic, less catastrophic view of infidelity, they would, she proposes, have a better chance of weathering its occasional occurrence. When people ask her if she is against or in favor of affairs, her standard response is “yes.”

Heller continues:

In order to come to any adult reckoning with an affair, the betrayed must avoid wallowing too long in the warm bath of righteousness. For a period immediately following the revelation, a certain amount of wild rage and sanctimony is permissible, but after that the rigorous work of exploring the meaning and motives of an affair must begin.

And in a reductio ad absurdum, Heller concludes:

In practice, it must be said, her method seems to demand heroic levels of forbearance on the part of faithful spouses. They are asked not only to forgo the presumption of their own moral superiority but to consider and empathize with what has been meaningful, liberating, or joyous about their partners’ adulterous experiences. The affair that has caused them so much anguish may have been prompted by boredom or a longing for sexual variety, or it may have been a bid for existential “growth, exploration, and transformation.”

You will note that Perel does not much care about the moral aspect of any affair, the sense of betrayal. I have not read her book, but I wonder how people find out about such infidelity. Do they tell each other? Do they offer heartfelt confessions? If so, then the Perel approach might encourage people to seek a human growth experience—the psychic equivalent of human growth hormone—and divulge their secrets. I believe that it is better to be more discreet, not to be open and honest about betraying one’s marital vows. And not to imagine that a sprinkling of of therapeutic fairy dust will heal it all. 

If you would like to confess to a confessor, be my guest. At least the secrecy of the confessional is inviolate. But, think twice before hurting your spouse with tales of your infidelity. And don’t imagine that your weak character can be redeemed by psychic growth.