Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Tariq Ramadan Arrested for Rape

Remember Tariq Ramadan. Maybe you don’t. If you don’t, Ramadan is the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. He teaches Islamic Studies at Oxford University. He was in the news over ten years ago because the Bush administration refused to grant him a visa to come to the United States. It seems that he was connected to terrorism, as in, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. For the record, Hamas is an armed branch of the Brotherhood.

Ramadan had been offered a tenured professorship at Notre Dame, but the Bush administration denied him a visa in 2004. It did so again in 2006.

The ACLU and others took the case to the courts and the courts ruled in his favor. And, once Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State she lifted the ban and allowed Ramadan to come to America. Civil libertarians were thrilled.

The New York Times portrayed him as a conquering hero:

A federal appeals court had ruled in his favor. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had issued an order that paved the way for a visa. And so, on Wednesday afternoon, Tariq Ramadan stepped off a plane at Newark Liberty International Airport for his first visit to the United States since 2004, when the Bush administration barred him from entering, asserting he had contributed money to terrorist enterprises.

But for Mr. Ramadan, one of the foremost European scholars of the Islamic world, there was still one last hurdle: a closed-door session with three immigration agents, one after the other, who asked him where he planned to go, whom he planned to meet and what he planned to discuss.

Two hours after his plane from Paris landed, Mr. Ramadan, wearing a dark suit and a smile of relief, cleared customs and shook hands with two representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union, which had litigated his case, and Muna Ali, an assistant of his who lives in the United States.

“How are you, Muna?” he asked.

“You kept us waiting,” she said, with good humor. “What’s new?”

Of course, that was a long time ago. We are all anxious to know how Prof. Ramadan has been doing lately. As it happens, he hasn’t been doing too well. He has just been arrested in Paris for rape. Hmmm.

The Daily Mail has the story:

Prominent Swiss academic Tariq Ramadan, a professor of Islamic studies at the University of Oxford, has been taken into custody by French police following accusations of rape, a judicial source said on Wednesday.

The source said a preliminary investigation was opened after two complaints were filed against Ramadan, a well-known figure in the Middle East. 

He is the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt, Hassan al-Banna.

Ramadan took a leave of absence from Oxford last November after two women filed complaints in France alleging rape. 

He has denied the allegations and filed a complaint for slander against author Henda Ayari, one of his accusers.

She made the accusations as part of the #MeToo movement:

Ms Ayari, 41, claims Ramadan raped her at a Paris hotel during a Muslim convention in 2012.

She first made the allegation in October last year as part of the #MeToo movement in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

She later made a formal complaint to prosecutors in Rouen, Normandy  on October 20, insisting she had been too scared to speak up until now.

The divorced mother-of-three also accused the contemporary Islamic studies professor of threatening her children to stop her from going to the police….

The other accuser is a an unnamed disabled woman also claims the academic raped her in a hotel room in Lyon in 2009.

Ramadan has denied the two women's accusations, as well as further allegations in Swiss media of sexual misconduct against teenage girls in the 1980s and 1990s, as 'a campaign of lies launched by my adversaries'.

Where have we heard that before? All of those who were defending Ramadan against the big, bad Bush administration could have known that he had previously been accused of sexually predatory behavior.

Making a Good First Impression

First impressions are misleading, but we all allow ourselves to be guided and influenced by them. The research suggests that first impressions are misleading, but if people rely on them, they might not be all that misleading.

We are often told that we must judge each individual as a uniquely individuated individual. As you can easily ascertain, such is an impossible task. It is too time consuming to get to know each individual as an individual. You would be spending all of your time working on whether your first or second impression had been caused by a stereotype or because he resembles someone you know or because of your indigestion.

Still, a first impression is a baseline. One imagines that some people, for whatever reason, cling to their first impressions, regardless of the evidence. And one imagines that other people are more flexible, more willing to accept the evidence and change their opinions. Obviously, the second group is more rational and deliberative. And yet, the second approach requires considerably more time and effort. Whether or not you are going to invest that much in proving or disproving your first impression will depend on the nature of your relationship and the need to do so. If you are going to hire someone or to marry someone you do will to put in the time and effort to ascertain whether or not your first impression is accurate. If you meet someone in passing at a party, and never expect to see him again, you do not feel the same need.

Anyway, we are all told, from an early age, to make a good first impression. Surely, it will not hurt. It will not harm your prospects, in a job interview or in meeting a new acquaintance.

We can and should manage the first impression we make. To do so we should know how we appear to other people. You might have gotten in touch with your feelings, and you might feel your feelings, but, that is all mental drool when it comes to the real issue: how you look to others. You cannot control every aspect of your self-presentation, but you can control some of them. Just because you cannot control it all… is not a reason not to control some of it.

Sue Shellenbarger reflects on this matter in the Wall Street Journal. As you know, many researchers have studied which facial expressions, which postures signify what.

She writes:

A happy expression, with the corners of the mouth turned upward and eyebrows relaxed, is likely to inspire trust, research shows. People teamed in an investment game with online partners whose facial images appeared friendly and reliable entrusted their partners with 42% more money than those whose partners looked downbeat and threatening, says a 2012 study by British and U.S. researchers.

She adds an important point. A facial expression that is put on at the last minute to impress someone is not likely to look sincere. If you want to improve your self-presentation, work at it while no one is looking:

Facial expressions are important even when you think no one is looking. People tend to distrust others whose “dominant face,” or habitual expression, is grumpy, disapproving or angry, says Judson Vaughn, an impression-management consultant. And suddenly switching that downbeat expression to a 1,000-watt smile, just because someone is looking, is likely to undermine trust even more, he says.

Shellenbarger reports on the techniques developed by Hilary Blair, communications consultant. Blair looks to many people like their “second grade teacher.” Thus, she tends to make a bad first impression. Thus, she works to modify the the impression she makes.

When Ms. Blair greets a new acquaintance, she avoids sending mixed messages. She stands with her hands relaxed and visible at her side, rather than hidden in her pockets or crossed defensively in front of her. This suggests that your warm greeting is genuine and you have no secret agenda or need to protect yourself, she says.

Judson Vaughn is an impression management consultant. Thus, he helps people to control their gestures:

Mr. Vaughn also advises adjusting your stance and posture, leaning or turning toward the other person to show you’re focused intently on what he or she is thinking and feeling. Rather than extending your arm stiffly to shake hands at a distance, relax your arm and lower your elbow to your side, drawing the other person closer to you, he says. “This shows you’ve made a subconscious decision to trust the person, without having spoken a word,” he says.

He still uses the techniques as a portfolio manager for an Atlanta asset-management firm. He never reaches across a table to shake hands when meeting new clients, but walks around it to greet them face-to-face and offer a relaxed, warm handshake, elbow at his side. He’s also mindful of his posture, keeping his shoulders square and making eye contact to convey confidence, he says. “These little nuances are important. They can help create a deeper bond.”

Little things matter. Small gestures can convey a wealth of information, or perhaps disinformation. Naturally, we all want to put our best face forward. Shellenbarger closes with these pointers:

  • Avoid hunching over to stare into your phone before meeting others.
  • Keep your elbow at your side when shaking hands, drawing the other person closer than arm’s length.
  • Lean forward and focus intently on the other person when he or she is speaking.
  • Stand erect with shoulders squared, balancing your weight evenly.
  • Smile in response to what others say or do, rather than grinning nonstop.
  • Remain mindful of what others are thinking and feeling.

Trump's First State of the Union Address

Last night, Pres. Donald Trump played the patriotism card… off the top of the deck. Trump extolled America’s achievements, America’s values, America’s successes and America’s heroes. He kept repeating the word “America” over and over again. He called for people to feel pride in their country, to show respect for the flag and the National Anthem. He drew a sharp line between American citizens and non-citizens, whether the so-called Dreamers or other illegal immigrants.

Naturally, the glass-half-empty crowd has been out in force deriding and demeaning everything that Trump said. To their jaded eyes, 2017 has been an unmitigated catastrophe, a disaster of major proportions. Nothing good has happened in the nation over the past year: not the stock market, not the job market, not the shifting alliances with other world powers. As for lowered taxes, the Democratic Party considers it akin to a plague, the worst thing that has happened to America since 9/11.

They see Trump as a neo-fascist war monger who is itching for a nuclear war with North Korea. They are cosmopolitan to the roots of their being, so that when the assembled representatives started chanting USA, Illinois representative and open-borders fanatic Luis Guttierez walked out of the chamber. Think of it, a Democratic Congressman takes offense, feels triggered by patriotism.

If you want to know why Democrats have not been winning elections, keep that scene in mind.

Trump’s speech clearly repudiated the Obama legacy. When Obama took office he went around the world denouncing America for holding enemy terrorist combatants at Guantanamo Bay. He denounced America for torturing prisoners and made it appear that the meaning of America was: torturing innocent Muslims. Obama promised to be more open to the world, to have more open borders, to legalize those who are here illegally, and to do penance for America’s crimes against the oppressed peoples of the world. Nothing to feel proud about. Much to feel ashamed about.

The American people repudiated the Obama vision over and over again during his tenure. The Democratic Party became a party at war with America… and thus left the patriotism issue for Republicans to exploit. It got so bad that they could not even beat Donald Trump.

Last night, Trump chose to exploit their weakness and assert America's strength, over and over again. Democrats sat stone faced, as though the worst thing that could happen to the nation would be a revival of patriotism. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus did not budge when Trump announced, proudly, that African-American unemployment had reached its lowest level in decades. Perhaps they were following the lead of one Jay-Z who said that money doesn’t matter. In truth, when you have as much money as Jay-Z has, money ceases to matter. To the average citizen, black and white, money certainly does matter.

Anyway, the first polls, from CBS, suggested that the Democratic Party has lost touch with America.

Let’s look at the numbers.

CBS reports:

Three in four Americans who tuned in to President Trump's State of the Union address tonight approved of the speech he gave. Just a quarter disapproved.

75% approval… not bad at all.

Of course, patriotism, reviled by Democrats, unites the nation. Democratic pundits declared the speech to be divisive. Those surveyed thought otherwise:

Eight in 10 Americans who watched tonight felt that the president was trying to unite the country, rather than divide it.  Two-thirds said the speech made them feel proud, though just a third said it made them feel safer.  Fewer said the speech made them feel angry or scared.

Of course, most of the people who watched the speech were Republicans and Independents. Democrats tended to stick with their sit-coms. Still, if the Democratic Party wants to learn how to win elections, fighting for the rights of illegal immigrants, shutting down the government to defend people who have no right to be here, and disparaging patriotism does not seem the way to go.

As Trump said, in his best line of the night: "... Americans are dreamers, too." The left-leaning commentariat thought it was a gross insult to immigrants.

[Addendum, from Roger Simon, regarding the Democratic reaction to the Trump speech:

Steny Hoyer and Nancy Pelosi watching  Trump's speech looked like a pair of sullen six-year olds on a sugar crash the day after Halloween.  Bernie Sanders looked mummified.  Schumer was slumped so deeply in his chair he was almost falling through the crack.

Other Democrats, even ones who should have known better or secretly felt otherwise, sat on their hands.  You could see them glancing at each other, wondering whether they were allowed to applaud or stand up. What a bunch of cowards.

It was a disgraceful display of bad manners, but even more it was incredibly stupid because "the whole world was watching."  The camera was getting them all in close-up.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Assaulted in Malmo, Sweden

Everyone knows that Malmo, Sweden has a serious problem with Muslim immigrants. I will not belabor the point.

How bad is the problem? Consider this incident, in which a teenage girl was attacked with fist and bottle in a Malmo nightclub because she rejected a man's vulgar assault.

From the Daily Mail:

A teenager has spoken of how a mystery man smashed a bottle over her head in a nightclub in Malmo, Sweden, after he sexually assaulted her and she pushed him away.

Sophie Johansson, 19, told Swedish media that she had never met the man before, and that she suddenly felt his hands hands on her bottom and between her legs on the dancefloor.

She says she hit him in order to get him to stop, to which he responded by punching her in the face and then hitting her with a glass bottle.

Shocking images shared on social media show her face and body covered in blood after the late-night attack this weekend.

Miss Johansson says she had been enjoying her evening at Babel night club on Saturday when she felt a tug on her handbag and turned around to face a man she did not recognise.

'I turned around and then I felt his hand on my bottom and between my legs,' she told Aftonbladet.

After rebuking the man, whom she describes as 5ft 10in in his mid-20s with dark hair, he punched her in the face with a closed fist. 
Saying she did not want to escalate the situation, Miss Johansson and her friend moved to leave the club, at which point the man hit her with a bottle on the left side of her head, breaking it. 

Beginning with the victim, no one is willing to describe the ethnicity of the attacker. Perhaps it is just too obvious for words. While you are at it, explain to me why we need more refugees in America?

A picture, however, is worth a thousand words. Here is what the dark haired attacker did to Miss Johansson.

Attacked: Shocking image of Sophie Johansson, 19, after she was bottled by a man when she rebuffed him for groping her in a nightclub in Malmo, Sweden

I add a picture of her before the attack:
Unknown assailant: Miss Johansson, 19, says she had never met the man before, and that she suddenly felt his hands hands on her bottom and between her legs

Have a nice day!

The Real Misogynist

Why are we even discussing this issue? When a Republican woman is defamed, smeared, slandered or demeaned… good feminists have nothing to say. When a Democratic woman receive far less obnoxious treatment, feminists are screaming from the rooftops about the sexism.

New York Times editor Bari Weiss applies the principle to the recent suggestion, made by serial fabulator Michael Wolff, that U. N. Ambassador Nikki Haley is having an affair with Donald Trump. Weiss notes that the liberal progressive feminists refuse to defend the slandered woman but happily celebrate the man who uttered the foul accusation.

She writes:

For years, the fundamental complaint of the right in the culture wars has been that the left is hypocritical, and the Nikki Haley episode perfectly confirms the point: A prominent Republican woman is smeared. The author who does the smearing is celebrated by all the A-listers, including the most prominent Democratic woman in the country, who herself has a history of giving a pass (or worse) to men accused of sexual assault and harassment. And yet the arbiters of American culture cheer the Democrat and, in the words of the actor Don Cheadle, tell the Republican who has the gall to defend herself: “Sit down, girl. You’re drunk.”

Surely, this is true. The reaction of left-thinking people to the Wolff smear shows us that the message has not yet gotten through:

When Matt Lauer subjected Hillary Clinton to a harsh interview, within 24 hours it was common knowledge that it was evidence of misogyny. But when Nikki Haley is smeared with the most base, sexist lie, it’s met with little more than a collective shrug.

Will the real misogynist please stand up?

Trump Realigns America's Foreign Relations

Foreign policy involves relationships, between nations and between national leaders. And it involves alliances favoring and disfavoring certain nations and their leaders.

The Wall Street Journal provides us with a clear overview of the way that Trump has shifted America’s alliances, in large part in an effort to undo the damage inflicted by the Obama administration. Trump’s vision and his reformulation of relationships also distances him from other presidents.

The Journal offers this analysis:

In a bid to correct what he views as the faults of his predecessor Barack Obama’s foreign policy, Mr. Trump has reshuffled the deck of American relationships, elevating Gulf Arab leaders, alienating Europeans and eschewing some of the tough talk typically reserved for the heads of China and Russia, diplomats, former officials and analysts said.

A White House official, however, noted that Mr. Trump has formed improbable friendships with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron. “They don’t look like Trump types,” the official said.

So, Trump has alienated the open-arms Chancellor of Germany and many of the European countries that have been appeasing Islamist terrorism. He is defying the conventional wisdom of political elites, but that does not make him wrong.

While American liberals are wringing their crying towels over the horrors that Trump has visited on the world—about which they have no real examples to offer—French President Emmanuel Macron has forged a good friendship with our president. We recall that Trump received the very high honor of sitting with Macron at last July’s Bastille Day celebrations. No one in the American press really cares, but surely it matters.

For the record, under Macron’s leadership, France’s economy has been enjoying excellent growth. We note that Macron used to work for the socialist president Hollande, but has been running as a moderate, centrist. But he has succeeded in loosening the hold that labor unions have on the French labor market. A difficult undertaking, attempted by his predecessors, accomplished only by him.

Again, the Journal reports, Trump is working to undo the Obama legacy… and the Obama mistakes. As you know, these involve the Paris climate accord, the Iran nuclear deal and bad relations with the governments of Egypt and Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates:

Mr. Trump has invoked what he says are Mr. Obama’s mistakes in nearly every major foreign policy roll out—from pulling out of the Paris climate accord, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and, most recently, threatening to walk away from the Iran nuclear agreement unless European officials agree by May to address concerns not covered by the original accord.

“He viewed President Obama as having embraced the wrong policies, the wrong allies, and he’s picking the ones that are going to make America great,” said Andrew Bowen, a Middle East expert at the American Enterprise Institute with ties to the Trump administration. “There is a certain personal obsession in his foreign policy to roll back President Obama.”

One notes that if Trump’s policies have been coherent, it is difficult to call them a “personal obsession.” More importantly, Trump has restored good relations with the Israeli prime minister, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, the president of Egypt and even the president of the Philippines:

Since taking office last year, Mr. Trump has forged close bonds with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, all of whom had particularly frosty relationships with Mr. Obama. He also withdrew from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership accord that Mr. Obama championed and pared back the former president’s opening to Cuba.

As it happens, these nations and their leaders were always closely allied with the United States. Obama had done his best to undermine the relationships… because he sided with the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran… but Trump is restoring them. One imagines that most right thinking people will consider this a good thing. They will consider it good for America... though not necessarily for the cosmopolitan no-borders elites.

Trump will advance his relationship with President Macron when the latter becomes the first foreign leader to be honored at Trump White House state dinner, relations with British prime minister Theresa May have frayed:

Mr. Trump last week scrapped a planned visit to London, capital of America’s historically closest ally, after U.K. leaders criticized him for retweeting videos posted by a far-right British group and as activists prepared protests against his visit.

Strangely enough, Trump’s visit to Paris did not provoke any demonstrations. A planned visit to Great Britain seems likely to do so. After all, London’s mayor is the cowardly and weak Sadiq Khan… a man who would rather live with terrorism than to fight it. And Britain’s Tory prime minister May has failed conspicuously at negotiating an exit from the European Union. One notes that Trump is associating himself with the most successful European political leader, Macron, and has been avoiding the embrace of failing leaders like May and Merkel. An interesting concept, to say the least.

We also know that the Trump administration released large swaths of Syria and Iraq from ISIS control. ISIS did not exist when George W. Bush left the White House but that enjoyed great success when Obama was running Middle East policy. In order to dislodge ISIS from places like Mosul and Raqqa, the Trump administration successfully maintained alliances with other players in the region. 

The Journal explains:

Still, officials and experts say Mr. Trump has successfully been able to keep intact an international coalition against Islamic State, with Iraq recently declaring victory over the extremists.

“That’s the kind of thing only the United States can do,” said James Jeffrey, a former ambassador to Baghdad and Ankara and a senior official in the George W. Bush administration. “He didn’t screw it up.”

Obviously, other significant challenges remain. The report says nothing about the situation on the Korean peninsula and on Trump’s efforts to establish an alliance with China… one based more on respect and less on American fawning. 

Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping have exchanged gracious and cordial visits. The Chinese treated Trump with far more respect than they did Barack Obama. The situation in North Korea is unclear, but it seems to have calmed down. Those who imagined that we were facing nuclear Armageddon did not expect that the North and South Koreans would be negotiating anything… no less Olympic cooperation.

Perhaps the new rounds of sanctions, successfully negotiated by U. N. Ambassador Nikki Haley are finally biting. Here we do not know what is going on behind the scenes. If the Chinese are pressuring North Korea they are not going to announce it. Were they to announce it they would look like they are doing Trump’s bidding. If the North Koreans were to announce that they were acting at China’s behest, they would lose face… and probably also lose their authority and their lives.

About the situation on the Korean peninsula, Trump has discarded Obama’s policy of strategic patience for more direct confrontation. We will see how it all works out.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Should She Freeze Her Eggs?

For the past five decades feminists have argued that the greatest impediment to women’s career success was motherhood. Thus, they told young women to delay pregnancy as long as possible. If a woman became pregnant before her feminist matriarchs said was the right time, she needed but have an abortion—safe, legal and rare.

The argument continued that a fully self-actualized successful professional woman in her mid-thirties would easily find an appropriate husband… because, not being a needy clinger, should could be loved for herself and not for her looks. A good Darwinian could have told her that she was writing herself out of the marriage market, but feminists would not let themselves be tied down by male scientists. The fact that female fertility declined precipitously after age 35 was well known and scrupulously ignored.

While feminists are marching in the streets for reproductive rights they do not realize that their life plan has deprived many women of the free choice, to have or not to have children. Reproductive endocrinology has solved some of the problem, but it is certainly not a foolproof solution.

In the meantime the great feminist minds of Silicon Valley and elsewhere decided that they could extend a women’s fertility and keep them on the job. They would pay for women to freeze their eggs. Using frozen eggs a woman could wait to find the perfect husband and could have children at just about any age.

Companies like Facebook and Apple even offered to pay for the freezing. Anything to make a good feminist point… and to trick women out of their fertility.

The poster child for the movement was named Brigitte Adams. She appeared on the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek several years back, to tout the fact that she had frozen her eggs and was merely awaiting the arrival of Prince Charming.

As it happened, Prince Charming never arrived, so Adams decided at the age of 45 to unfreeze her eggs and to have a child. What followed was tragic. The Washington Post reports:

Brigitte Adams caused a sensation four years ago when she appeared on the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek under the headline, “Freeze your eggs, Free your career.” She was single and blond, a Vassar graduate who spoke fluent Italian, and was working in tech marketing for a number of prestigious companies. Her story was one of empowerment, how a new fertility procedure was giving women more choices, as the magazine noted provocatively, “in the quest to have it all.”

Adams remembers feeling a wonderful sense of freedom after she froze her eggs in her late 30s, despite the $19,000 cost. Her plan was to work a few more years, find a great guy to marry and still have a house full of her own children.

Things didn’t turn out the way she hoped.

In early 2017, with her 45th birthday looming and no sign of Mr. Right, she decided to start a family on her own. She excitedly unfroze the 11 eggs she had stored and selected a sperm donor.

Two eggs failed to survive the thawing process. Three more failed to fertilize. That left six embryos, of which five appeared to be abnormal. The last one was implanted in her uterus. On the morning of March 7, she got the devastating news that it, too, had failed.

Adams was not pregnant, and her chances of carrying her genetic child had just dropped to near zero. She remembers screaming like “a wild animal,” throwing books, papers, her laptop — and collapsing to the ground.

“It was one of the worst days of my life. There were so many emotions. I was sad. I was angry. I was ashamed,” she said. “I questioned, ‘Why me?’ ‘What did I do wrong?’

What did she do wrong? She bought into the feminist life plan, without realizing that biology and technology had a voice in her decision. She allowed herself to be duped by an ideology and lost her chance to have a child. She announced on the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek that she had freed her career. Perhaps she did. But she paid a price.

Doubtless, you want to know the statistics. Surely, some women do conceive via frozen eggs.

The Post continues:

On average, a woman freezing 10 eggs at age 36 has a 30 to 60 percent chance of having a baby with them, according to published studies. The odds are higher for younger women, but they drop precipitously for older women. They also go up with the number of eggs stored (as does the cost). But the chance of success varies so wildly by individual that reproductive specialists say it’s nearly impossible to predict the outcome based on aggregate data.

In short, it’s a gamble. It’s also a gamble that a woman will find an appropriate suitor. Otherwise, she will need to find an appropriate sperm donor.

Fertility specialists are very clear:

James A. Grifo, a fertility specialist at NYU Langone Health who is one of the pioneers of the procedure, calls the whole notion of being able to “control” your fertility — perpetuated by the media and embraced by feminists — destructive.

“It’s total fiction. It’s incorrect,” Grifo said. “Your whole life it’s beaten into your head that you’re in control and if you can’t have a baby, you blame yourself. There has to be more dialogue about what women can be responsible for and what they are not responsible for.”

As for Adams, she is currently pregnant, with a donor egg and donor sperm. Not for an instant does she or any of the other women quoted in the story declare that this has anything to do with the feminist life plan. They blame it all on the fertility industry.

Is Democracy Failing?

With the fall of the Berlin Wall liberal democracy seemed to be triumphant. After all, Francis Fukuyama, in a wild misreading of Hegel, declared that the dialectic of history would end when everyone accepted that liberal democracy was the only way to govern. The idea of democracy, accompanied by free enterprise economic policies, would triumph... because Hegel thought it was inevitable.

In truth, for those who care, Hegel himself did not see things that way. He saw the final manifestation of the World Spirit in the figure of Napoleon invading Prussia. And his views, as all post Hegelian thinkers have known, aimed more toward a police state than a liberal democracy. All good Hegelian Marxists have understood perfectly well what Hegel meant-- and it was not about the triumph of liberal democracy.

Nowadays, we are bemoaning the world’s turn away from democracy. Roger Cohen suggests that the world is reacting against democracy. Apparently, eh believes that the dialectic has not ended-- the thesis of democracy had provoked an antithetical movement, autocracy.

In America, the triumph of democracy means that America would be saved from its bigoted past by the new Messiah, Barack Obama. With the advent of Obama liberal thinkers believed that they had gained control over the minds of the American people. They were horrified to discover that they had not. When Americans elected Donald Trump to the presidency, our intelligentsia threw a massive tantrum. They could only explain it by thinking that it was the product of a vast right wing conspiracy, run out of Moscow.

Of course, we do not have a direct democracy. If you try to decide an important issue through a referendum, and if the American people vote against what the cognoscenti think is right, these same great minds will immediately repair to the courts to have the referendum declared unconstitutional.

At the beginning of the American Republic, senators were appointed, not elected. And, of course, a single voter in Wyoming has far more clout in a senatorial election than a voter in California. We do not have a direct democracy and never have.

If the world is turning away from democracy, as clearly seems to be the case, the reason might be that our democracy has become dysfunctional. We have a free market where lawyers and bureaucrats and environmentalists and other activists make it their business to slow down or to stop manufacturing and industry. In the Chinese autocracy, strangely enough, they have a less powerful regulatory state… and seem largely unwilling to allow activists to veto or delay any piece of legislation or any project that does not fulfill their expectations. As it happens the Chinese Communist Party has been sending cadres to oversee corporations-- in America we call them compliance officers.

And of course, America's obsession with talking about sex all the time makes us look decadent. If America wants to fight in the trenches for the rights of the transgendered, countries around the world are not going to want to emulate our shining example.

In the Obama years we learned how to fight the good fight against thought crimes, with little concern for the jobs lost or the slowing economic growth.  

Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt are deeply concerned with the ways that our democracy is becoming dysfunctional. After eight years of Obama’s defiance of democratic norms, they are happy to pay lip service to his influence and to blame it all on Republicans. The nation is divided against itself. People are at each other’s throats. The anti-Trump left has mounted a Resistance against the president and is doing everything in its power to remove him from office. Naturally, the authors blame Republicans.

Since Levitsky and Ziblatt emphasize the importance of the norms underpinning democratic governance, I will emphasize that the most basic norm is: accepting the results of fair elections, of elections that are conducted according to the rules. Those who have lost an election become part of what is called the loyal opposition. They do not attack the legitimacy of the election and do not mount a domestic insurgency in the name of a disloyal opposition—if it was anything at all, the French Resistance was a disloyal opposition.

In a New York Times op-ed the authors offer two basic norms that govern democracy:

To function well, democratic constitutions must be reinforced by two basic norms, or unwritten rules. The first is mutual toleration, according to which politicians accept their opponents as legitimate. When mutual toleration exists, we recognize that our partisan rivals are loyal citizens who love our country just as we do.

The second norm is forbearance, or self-restraint in the exercise of power. Forbearance is the act of not exercising a legal right. In politics, it means not deploying one’s institutional prerogatives to the hilt, even if it’s legal to do so.

Accepting your opponents as legitimate is a good thing. But, accepting election results is not the same thing as accepting that a  duly elected president is patriotic.

What happens when the president apologizes for the country, when he has spent two decades at the feet of a hate-America preacher, when his wife declares that she had not felt any pride in the country before her husband was nominated, when the president says that there is nothing special about the country and when he is happy to empower nations that hate America? And let’s not forget the president’s commuting the prison sentence of convicted traitor Bradley Manning, his releasing from prison FALN terrorist, Oscar Lopez Rivera and his trading five Taliban commanders for a deserter. And what about sending his National Security Advisor out to explain that deserter Bergdahl had served with honor and distinction. Let's not forget, the Obama years gave us professional football players who displayed their disloyalty to country by refusing to respect the National Anthem. As you recall, Obama said that he respected Colin Kaepernick's decision.

Call it patriotism if you like, but you are stretching the meaning of the word.

Next, the authors suggest that leaders should show forbearance, that is, they should not abuse their powers and circumvent the constitution.  About that we would certainly agree. If you go out and sign treaties, like the Paris Climate Change Accord and the Iran Nuclear Deal, and call them deals in order to circumvent the Senate’s power to ratify those treaties, you are not exercising forbearance.

If you govern by executive order… as with the Dreamers… you are not exercising forbearance.

The authors do not explain how it happens, but they do suggest that democracies are subject to polarization:

History suggests, however, that democratic norms are vulnerable to polarization. Some polarization is healthy, even necessary, for democracy. But extreme polarization can kill it. When societies divide into partisan camps with profoundly different worldviews, and when those differences are viewed as existential and irreconcilable, political rivalry can devolve into partisan hatred.

Parties come to view each other not as legitimate rivals but as dangerous enemies. Losing ceases to be an accepted part of the political process and instead becomes a catastrophe. When that happens, politicians are tempted to abandon forbearance and win at any cost. If we believe our opponents are dangerous, should we not use any means necessary to stop them?

Have the virtuous and idealistic Democratic opponents of Donald Trump treated him as a legitimate rival or as a dangerous enemy. Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe, a shining example of a great legal mind, completely lost control of his rational faculties and declare that Trump was the “Devil Incarnate.”  And he went on to recommend that his colleague Alan Dershowitz, a liberal Democrat himself, should not offer an opinion about obstructive of justice because said opinion might be used to perpetuate the reign of the Devil Incarnate.

The nation is polarized, but it was also polarized in 2016 when the Pew Research Center polled the nation. We note that the authors neglect to mention that the Pew survey was taken during the last year of the Obama administration, where it becomes more difficult to blame it on Donald Trump:

Yet our parties are more polarized than at any time during the last century. Whereas 50 years ago some 5 percent of either Democrats or Republicans said they would be displeased if their child married someone from the other party, today 49 percent of Republicans and 33 percent of Democrats say so. According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, 49 percent of Republicans and 55 percent of Democrats say the other party makes them “afraid.”

The authors cannot see that the fault for the polarization lies with the Obama presidency and with serious intellectuals like them, professors who are so biased that they called see straight. According to them, Senate Republicans polarized the nation by refusing to take up the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. You recall that people took to the streets, that they protested and rioted, that they expressed full throated outrage over this horrific violation of Senatorial norms:

Perhaps the most consequential was the Senate’s refusal to take up Mr. Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. Since 1866, every time a president had an opportunity to fill a vacancy before the election of his successor, he was allowed to do so (though not always on the first try). The Senate’s refusal to even consider an Obama nominee violated a 150-year-old norm.

Since the authors barely have anything to say about the fact that their Messiah, Barack Obama, was president while the nation became increasingly polarized, we will consider them as propagandists.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Hillary Clinton Thanks Activist Bitches

When it comes to enabling sexual harassment, Hillary Clinton is in a class all her own. So many of the current round of harassers and rapists are from the left, so many are friends and associates of Hillary herself that it does not take too much thought to figure out that Harvey Weinstein and Co. figured out that they could get away with molesting, assaulting and harassing women … because Hillary Clinton had their back. 

Since Hillary had defended her sexual predator of a husband from charges of sex crimes, they assumed that if only they contributed to the Clinton Global Initiative, Clinton election campaigns and Planned Parenthood, they could get away with anything.

No one did more to normalize and to condone sexual harassment than Hillary Clinton. If you were wondering why so many women hated her—and No, she was not, in Obama’s (highly ironic) words “likeable enough—now you know.

Recently, the New York Times reported that in 2008 a member of Hillary Clinton’s staff was reported for sexually harassing a subordinate. How did the dowager Duchess of Chappaqua deal with the situation? She demoted the woman and gave the accused man a short suspension. Talk about standing up for oppressed and victimized women.

The man in question was named Burns Strider. The Daily Mail has the story, with all the gory details:

A woman who worked on Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign accused her boss, Burns Strider, of sexual harassment in the forms of inappropriate touching and sexual comments. 

But after the young woman filed an official complaint, and against the advice of senior aides, Clinton refused to fire him from the campaign - instead docking his pay and demoting him, and reassigning the staffer to a different department.  

So when Clinton lost the Democratic candidate bid to Barack Obama, Strider's reputation wasn't hurt, and he continued on working in high power positions in Washington. 

In 2013 he started a job at the pro-Clinton super PAC American Bridge, where he headed a new project and was named vice president. 

Two of his female subordinates at the job have revealed that during their time working for Strider he sexually harassed them - stalked them- and even made them feel like he might hinder their future careers if they spoke up, Buzzfeed news reported.  

In the years after the 2008 campaign Strider thrived professionally - eventually taking on a senior role at the pro-Clinton super PAC American Bridge in November 2013, just after Clinton left the State Department.

It was announced that Strider would head a new project called Correct the Record, and he was named vice president at the super PAC - which was headed by longtime Clinton ally David Brock.

While at that job he allegedly sexually harassed two young female subordinates who worked for him. 

Of course, it was not an isolated incident. Any more than Bill Clinton’s serial sexual abuse of women was a one-off event. 

I will spare you all the details of Strider’s harassment. I will note that Hillary Clinton responded to the Times story with a canned and bloodless statement, released by a lawyer:

To ensure a safe working environment, the campaign had a process to address complaints of misconduct or harassment. When matters arose, they were reviewed in accordance with these policies, and appropriate action was taken. This complaint was no exception.

She shows no concern for the women. She refuses to say anything about the charges. She has no feeling for the situation. She talks about complaints, not about facts. She merely wants to retain her own viability… which is all she ever cared about.

You would think that after all this time, Hillary would have learned how to deal with sexual harassment. She has not. This tells us most of what we need to know about how she failed to win the presidency and why most of the nation considers her an incompetent fraud.

While we are with Hillary, let’s not overlook her recent statement—about “activist bitches.” She was sending a video message to the women who had supported her. The New York Post reports:
“Thanks for your feminism, for your activism, and all I can hope is you keep up the really important, good work,” she said.

At the urging of an off-camera companion, she added with a laugh: “And let me just say, this is directed to the activist bitches supporting bitches. So let’s go.”

This gives us the other side, the hidden side of Hillary Clinton. It is an ugly side, a dark side, a vulgar side…

Palestinian Failure

One feels somewhat encouraged to see New York Times columnist Roger Cohen calling for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to resign. One also feels encouraged when Cohen says that blaming the ills of the Palestinians on the Israeli occupation is dishonest blame shifting.

But then, as you read through Cohen’s article, you discover the dog that didn’t bark. Cohen neglects to mention that the Israeli treatment of Palestinians is largely defensive, a way to defend its nation against an organization that has vowed to kill Jews and to drive Jews out of what they call Palestine. The dog that did not bark is terrorism. If the Palestinians renounce terrorism, the situation will change. If they do not it will not.

At the same time, as reported on this blog, the Arab world has no real use for the Palestinian cause any more. It does not merely want to fight Iran, as Cohen says, but it also wants to have diplomatic relations and open trade with Israel. Cohen neglects the latter point. And, of course, he ignores the importance of the advent of a Trump administration that is markedly and openly pro-Israeli has changed the calculus.

Cohen writes:

Never, through decades of national struggle, have the Palestinians been weaker. Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israel has been implacable in undermining possible Palestinian statehood. Arab states, Iran-obsessed, have lost interest in the Palestinian cause. President Trump has threatened to cut off “hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and support” in response to perceived Palestinian lèse-majesté after his decision to take Jerusalem “off the table” by recognizing it as Israel’s capital.

But even in this environment, Mahmoud Abbas, the 82-year-old Palestinian president, cannot escape responsibility for failure. His government is now widely seen as a corrupt gerontocracy. It is inept, remote, self-serving and ever more authoritarian. Elected to a four-year term in January 2005, he’s entering the 14th year of a largely unaccountable presidency.

Cohen is a journalist, a liberal journalist at that. He seems still to be prey to the illusion that only a liberal democracy, guaranteeing press freedoms, can produce a good life for its citizens. He neglects the simple fact that nations like China and Saudi Arabia have modernized by introducing free market reforms, but without a free press or even elections:

Abbas has stamped on a free press at a time when strong investigative journalism in Israel has contributed to Netanyahu’s woes over corruption allegations. He issued a grotesque cybercrime law last summer that punishes with a year of imprisonment anyone who creates a website that “aims to publish news that would endanger the integrity of the Palestinian state” or “the public order.” The legislation, which also imposes a two-year sentence on anyone publishing information “with the intent to attack any family principles or values,” amounts to a violation of the Palestinian Basic Law of 2003. This guarantees the right of everyone to “express his opinion and to circulate it orally, in writing, or in any form of expression.” Putative Palestine is in a repressive slide.

Abbas ought to liberalize the economy. Cohen misses the point:

By dismantling Palestinian freedoms, by disempowering his people, Abbas has been undoing the foundations of statehood and sapping the energy that comes with personal agency. It is time to organize elections that might usher in younger leadership — and reveal the balance of forces in the West Bank and Gaza. The alternative is a drift to despotism under a bunch of old men long on outrage but short on everything else.

“If you don’t take agency in your liberation, you are not going to be free,” Fayyad told me. “What Palestinians see of their state right now is not very attractive.”

So, we give Cohen credit for showing the extent of the Abbas failure. We deduct points for his failure to see that Palestinian terrorism has produced the situation that Palestinians are complaining about. And we deduct even more points for his assertion that liberal democracy will solve the problem. Apparently, he forgot that the last time the people of Gaza, under the aegis of George W. Bush, held free elections, it put Hamas in power. And he forgot that the Obama freedom agenda supported Egyptian elections that put the Muslim Brotherhood in power.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Europe's Migrant Invasion

No one seems to be able to connect the dots anymore, but America’s current conversation about immigration has generally ignored European experience. True, the European immigrants are Muslim refugees. The American refugees mostly come from south of the border. 

But, it is also true that the Trump immigration ban was largely directed against Muslim countries. And it is even more true that immigration activists were out in force demonstrating against it. They have not just fought it in the airports. They have happily fought it in the courts. 

As you know, when leftists lose an election or see a law or a regulation that they do not like, especially when directed by a president they detest, they immediately run to the courts… in the name of democracy. If democracy gives them what they want, they love it. If it elects politicians they abhor they believe that it has erred and must be corrected… by judicial fiat.

Anyway, it’s time to take a look at what is happening in those European nations that have opened their arms to Muslim refugees. For today, the stories come from Germany, Norway and Sweden. I am sure that you are thinking—couldn’t have happened to a more politically correct multiculturalist bunch. If so, you are right.

Anyway, German women, having been liberated from their girdles will now have the option of buying underwear that protects them from predatory Muslim males. Evidently, the government of Frau Merkel, the German police and their brothers are not quite up to the task.

The Gateway Pundit (via Maggie’s Farm) reports that what are called “Safety Pants” are now on sale in Germany. Grab a woman the wrong way and an alarm goes off… alerting the authorities to a danger that they had best avoid.

The news from Norway is not very encouraging either. Writing in the City Journal Bruce Bawer reports (via Maggie’s Farm) on what is happening in a part of Oslo that is called Groruddalen.

In case you thought that this dates to yesterday, the report begins with the scene in 2011:

In 2011, Aftenposten broke the prevailing media silence on the topic by reporting on the experiences of ethnic Norwegians living in Groruddalen. “It has been difficult to be an ethnic Norwegian in Groruddalen,” Patrick Åserud, a schoolteacher who had lived in the valley all his life, told the newspaper. “It’s about huge language problems, plus a pressure to adapt to norms that feel totally alien to those of us who have a Western lifestyle and mind-set.” Åserud said that at some schools in the valley, “children are threatened with beating for having salami in their packed lunches. Girls are harassed for being blond, and dye their hair to fit in. It’s not okay to be gay at school, or an atheist, or a Jew. . . . An Indian family I know are expected to live as Muslims because they’re brown-skinned.” Out of 18 parent-teacher meetings that Åserud had recently held, ten required translators. Conditions in the valley had worsened over the last three years, he said, and he had decided—reluctantly—to decamp: “I’m not going to let my children grow up here.” Aftenposten’s reporter suggested that Åserud was being “oversensitive” and was “out of touch with the new Norway.” The teacher replied that if this was the case, there were many ethnic Norwegians in Groruddalen who felt the same way.

Ethnic Norwegians cannot live there. They are decamping for other neighborhoods.

Two years later, things had not improved:

Two years later, in 2013, a remarkably candid SSB report acknowledged that 1,000 ethnic Norwegians were leaving Groruddalen annually, with an equal number of non-Western immigrants moving in to replace them. During that year alone, muggings in Groruddalen rose by nearly 80 percent. The great majority of perpetrators arrested were teenagers with immigrant backgrounds and Muslim names; almost none of their parents bothered to show up for their trials. (One father did take action: he tried to intimidate mugging victims into changing their testimonies.) Yet the police and politicians continued to insist that Groruddalen was doing fine. They pointed to statistics on crimes other than mugging, which seemed, superficially, to back up their claims. But many—perhaps most—crimes in the valley went unreported. Muslim victims of crimes committed by other Muslims knew better than to involve the police: their families, imams, and other local Muslims would view them as traitors and respond accordingly. Such matters, they knew, were to be handled within the community. Many non-Muslim victims feared going to the cops, too, because they knew that they risked retribution from their immigrant neighbors that would make the original transgressions look mild.

In 2015, things had gotten worse:

Non-Muslim boys in secondary school were leery of coming into the crosshairs of Muslim gangs—but they couldn’t be sure what to avoid doing or saying, because Muslim classmates judged their conduct according to a set of codes entirely alien to Norwegian society. As for non-Muslim girls and women, simply going outside alone—to the mall, for instance—earned them the angry stares of long-bearded Muslim men who believed that they should not leave their homes unescorted by males and with their heads uncovered. Jews had it especially tough. Gays? Forget it. In short, a place where people had once lived without fear and treated one another with respect and friendliness had become charged with tension, dread, and bigotry—not anti-Muslim bigotry, mind you, but anti-Norwegian bigotry.

And then, in 2017, despite strenuous efforts by the government to ignore the problem and to assure everyone that the immigrants were fine, upstanding assimilated citizens, things were getting worse still:

On March 11, 2017, to many viewers’ surprise, the nightly news program on government-run NRK television ran an honest segment on the dramatic rise in crime in East Oslo, with a focus principally on Groruddalen—where, as journalist Anders Magnus reported, about 50 percent of the population now had non-Western immigrant backgrounds. Twelve-year-olds were selling drugs; 15-year-olds were carrying guns, knives, and baseball bats; Muslim youth gangs were assaulting adults in the open street; and Muslim parents, with few exceptions, were showing utter indifference to the activities of their criminal sons. Meanwhile, in accordance with long-standing Norwegian tradition, police continued to patrol unarmed. Magnus interviewed a hockey coach who said that some of his team members had quit because they were scared of getting beaten up on the way to practice. One young local said that Muslims in the valley had formed a “parallel society,” one in which the kids simply weren’t afraid of the police. True to form, Aftenposten ran an angry rebuttal to Magnus’s segment: Øystein E. Søreide and Mobashar Banaras, two leading Groruddalen politicians, accused NRK of “stigmatizing” people in the valley and of increasing divisions between “us” and “them.”

Then, in May, for three consecutive nights, dozens of Muslim teenagers in Vestli, at the far eastern end of Groruddalen, went rioting—throwing stones, setting fires, and committing knife attacks. Only three marauders were arrested, and they were quickly released. The reality of life in the valley was getting harder to deny—yet, as Rita Karlsen of HRS wrote, even now the mainstream media and police spokespeople covered up the news and issued fierce denials that Groruddalen had taken on “Swedish conditions”—that is, uncontrollable crime levels and the ceding of authority to Muslim community leaders. But HRS had its own police sources, who revealed that the police did recognize the gravity of the valley’s problems. In huge numbers, Muslim youths were issuing threats against teachers, security guards, businesses, police, firefighters, ambulance personnel, and others. More and more fires were being set, as in the Stockholm and Paris suburbs.

As Bawer notes, Norway is fast becoming more anarchic and more Islamicized. Congratulations, Norwegians, on destroying your country.

And then there is Sweden. Especially, the Malmo area where many Muslim refugees have settled. Zero Hedge blog has the story (via Maggie’s Farm). It seems that the Swedish authorities are waking up from their moral slumber and might try to do something about the migrant crime problem:

As we reported last week, Sweden may or may not be preparing for civil conflict - as Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said that the government would do whatever it takes - including deploying the military to end the wave of gang violence coming primarily from young migrants in the country's "no-go" zones. 

Lofven's comments come on the heels of a spate of gang related murders, including that of a 21-year-old man in Malmö last weekend, shot in the head as he stepped out of a taxi near a grocery store. 

The same weekend, a 16 year old boy found shot in Rosengård district of Malmö died in the hospital next to a bus stop. Two people were taken in for questioning by the police.

And on January 3rd a 22-year-old man was shot in the Fosie district of Malmö, the day after an 18-year-old woman was taken to the hospital with gunshot wounds ten minutes away in Rosengård. 

The increase in crime has been so overwhelming that Swedish authorities admit they are unable to investigate rape cases right now because of the enormous backlog of gang crime under investigation. “We are forced to choose between two evils,” said police.

And also:

Prime Minister Lofven's strong language also follows an attack on the Rosengård police station last Wednesday after an explosive device was lobbed at the electric-fenced building - the latest in ongoing violence against Swedish peacekeepers.

The Times of London adds more salient details:

In Malmö, where a fifth of the 340,000 inhabitants are under 18, children as young as 14 roam the streets with Kalashnikov assault rifles and bulletproof vests. The average age of gang members is 22, the vast majority of them hailing from migrant families.

Zero Hedge suggests that the liberal feminist government of Sweden is beginning to see the madness of its ways. 

It seems, perhaps, that Sweden's ultra-liberal, open-border, self-described feminist government is realizing they may have screwed up by allowing unchecked migration from Islamic countries associated with terrorism, violence, and perhaps containing people with an axe to grind against the West. 

The Times of London adds:

Sweden has pursued a liberal immigration policy for more than a generation; its government speaks of being a “humanitarian superpower” for having taken in a large number of asylum seekers. After the migrant crisis of 2015, when more than 160,000 people sought asylum, the policy was abruptly changed. Yet there is little debate or reliable data about the integration of the 12% of the population that derive from non-western countries.

For a long time the Swedish establishment played down the decay of immigrant-dominated suburbs, but it can no longer ignore the explosion of violence.

Of course, the Swedes have been ignoring the problem. Undoubtedly, they will do so as long as they can get away with it. For now they are focused on their true enemy, President Donald Trump, who had the temerity to point out that Swedish immigration policy had produced terrorist attacks and a crime wave.