Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Stephen Cohen on Trump in Helsinki

It will take time to write up a commentary on this interview, but I want to bring it to your attention anyway. It’s a transcript of Adam Mate’s interview with Professor Stephen Cohen on the Trump-Russia question.

Since both men write for the Nation, no one dares say that they belong to the vast right wing conspiracy. Neither is a Trump supporter. Quite the contrary, both are good liberals or progressives.

And yet, both have integrity, sufficient integrity to judge policy by objective standards, not to dismiss what Trump did because Trump did it. Cohen has appeared on television shows, defending Trump’s handling of the Helsinki summit with Vladimir Putin. He counts among the very few who are doing so, and given his expertise and his objectivity, we pay special attention to his analysis.

Without further ado, here is a link to the conversation. It is long and detailed, but useful for allowing us to appreciate the depth of Cohen’s thinking on this matter. And to shed some light into the darkness.

Lawyering While Female

Lara Bazelon has a beef with God. You see, she’s a trial lawyer, a former prosecutor. We do not know how good she is at her job. We do not know her won-loss records. Apparently, she does not care about such minor matters. What really bothers her is the rampant sexism in the criminal justice system. And in the world outside the criminal justice system.

You see, male attorneys do not have to worry about which heels to wear and whether or not to wear pantyhose. It is an appalling injustice, don’t you think? Besides the male voice and male demeanor command more respect. Hmmm. Sounds like blatant discrimination and prejudice. The poor darling. If lawyers won their cases by complaining and whining, Bazelon would be a champion. One suspects that her bad attitude has been as much of an impediment as anything else.

Now, Bazelon has taken to the pages of The Atlantic to complain about sexism. She never considers that it might have something to do with human nature. She attributes it all to bad attitudes, to social constructions, to cultural injustice. In truth, she ends up sounding unprofessional. It’s what happens to you when you see the world through ideological lenses. You suffer from what the psychologists call confirmation bias. You only see what conforms your ideological prejudices. Bazelon seems to believe that men and women are really equals, as in, the same. Any whiff of unequal treatment sets off her injustice alarm system… and she whines.

I trust that this will not come as too much of a shock, but the courtroom is a place where attorneys compete against each other. When attorneys compete they use whatever advantage they can muster, the better to defend their clients. If that involves throwing some shade at opposing counsel, they do it. If you do not like the game, do not play the game. In competitive sports (and even wars) opposing teams and players try to undermine the confidence of their enemies.

It takes a certain amount of toughness to deal with such situations. Bazelon does not manifest such toughness. When opposing attorneys file motions requesting that a female attorney not cry in the courtroom, Bazelon complains … about sexism. The female attorney in question never cries. Besides, no one ever files such motions against men. And yet, merely raising the issue gives the male attorney an advantage… why not use it to provide the best defense or the best prosecution?

It’s sexism all the way down. According to Bazelon, sexism is everywhere. She might have considered that since men and women are not the same, people are correct to treat them differently. She does not:

What makes the issue especially vexing are the sources of the bias—judges, senior attorneys, juries, and even the clients themselves. Sexism infects every kind of courtroom encounter, from pretrial motions to closing arguments—a glum ubiquity that makes clear how difficult it will be to eradicate gender bias not just from the practice of law, but from society as a whole.

When Bazelon began working as a trial lawyer, she learned, for the first time, that, being a woman meant that there were some things she could do and some things she could not do:

I began my career as a trial lawyer in 2001, the same year that Rhode published her report. I worked in the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Los Angeles. When I took the job, I had braced myself for the stress; almost immediately, my caseload included clients facing lengthy prison sentences for serious felonies. I did not expect to be told in explicit terms that my gender would play a significant role in how I could defend my clients, and that learning this lesson was crucial to my success and by extension to my clients’ lives. “There are things I can do that you can’t, and things you can do that I can’t” was the way one of the male supervising attorneys in my office put it.

The issue is: why had no one told her these things before. She had been female for her entire life. If no one told her that men and women are different, a lot of people had been lying to her.

She goes on about female dress codes, proper female hairdos and necessity to wear pantyhose. Apparently, male dress codes are not the same, so Bazelon finds evidence of systemic sexism.

When she wears high heels she cannot swagger as men do. It’s grossly unjust. And she finds that her voice elicits different reactions:

This isn’t just dated wisdom passed down from a more conservative era. Social-science research has demonstrated that when female attorneys show emotions like indignation, impatience, or anger, jurors may see them as shrill, irrational, and unpleasant. The same emotions, when expressed by men, are interpreted as appropriate to the circumstances of a case. So when I entered the courtroom, I took on the persona of a woman who dressed, spoke, and behaved in a traditionally feminine and unthreatening manner.

In some ways, this was easy. I had been raised to be polite and to show respect for authority. In other ways, this was difficult. When I got angry, I had to stifle that feeling. When my efforts failed, I feared having come across as strident—or, worse, as a bitch. When I succeeded, I felt as if I was betraying my feminist principles. But if there was a sliver of a chance that the girl-next-door approach would deliver a more favorable outcome, not taking it would be wrong. I told myself that my duty was to my client, not my gender.

Other women have uttered similar complaints. They fail to notice that male and female voices are not the same.The male voice is roughly two octaves lower. This produces a different emotional response in listeners. Not because the world is full of sexist bigots, but because these people are human.

Amusingly, Bazelon seems most torqued at the fact that she is required to act ladylike in the courtroom, to act like she is traditionally feminine. Of course, this is just a lot more whining. Ask yourself this: if you were a trial lawyer what would your goal be? I suspect it would be: to win the case. You would, if you were a great trial lawyer, spend all of your time optimizing your approach, doing your best to win. You would not be complaining about high heels and pantyhose. And you would not pretend to be a man. Juries do not like phonies.

Bazelon was discovering that her feminist principles were not very helpful in the courtroom. Winning the case and being true to her ideologically-driven principles were in conflict. She did not solve the problem. She complained about it.

Keep in mind, one of America’s most successful prosecutors, Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi never lost a case.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Overachieving Women; Underachieving Men

Again, we do not find any of this surprising. Overachieving women are having trouble finding suitable mates. The latest research tells us that they are now refusing to marry down, as the saying goes. They are refusing to settle for underachieving men.

It makes some sense. Women prefer to marry up and men prefer to marry down. And yet, why do the researchers imagine that underachieving men want to marry overachieving women? Could it be that overachieving women have written themselves out of the marriage market? Perhaps they say that they refuse to settle because they want to save face.

Experts are at the ready to explain it all away. They insist that the era of the male breadwinner is over and that we ought all to get used to it. And yet, if overachieving women cannot find suitable mates, then perhaps it isn’t all over, just yet. And if underachieving men do not want to marry overachieving women, we can count that as yet more evidence that it’s not over yet.

Obviously, our society has engineered this outcome. In the first place, we have, as a culture, decided to enhance educational opportunities for girls. We have skewed the educational system to privilege girls, at the expense of boys. The theory was that elevating girls would elevate all the non-girls, too, but, in fact, as girls have been elevated by a school system that routinely disparages boys' interests and talents, boys have suffered.

Their feminist overladies promised young girls that once they achieved great things careerwise, they would not longer need to depend on a man for anything. They, they would be loved for themselves alone and would have deeply meaningful personal relationships with loving husbands. These loving husbands would happily share housework and diaper duty.

It was all a lie. Thanks to this social engineering and gender neutering we have a new cohort of overachieving women who cannot find suitable mates. They say that they are refusing to settle, but that assumes that men are beating a path to their doorways. Such is almost surely not the case. Unless you count hookups.

As California Goes....

Sadly, the story is all too familiar. Today, Joel Kotkin is telling us about the decline and fall of California. He has done so on many other occasions. So too has Victor Davis Hanson. Together they present a depressing picture of a leading progressive state going to ruin. They show us that government by true believing progressives hurts those who it pretends to be helping.

Kotkin writes in City Journal:

Its political leaders and a credulous national media present California as the “woke” state, creating an economically just, post-racial reality. Yet in terms of opportunity, California is evolving into something more like apartheid South Africa or the pre-civil rights South. California simply does not measure up in delivering educational attainment, income growth, homeownership, and social mobility for traditionally disadvantaged minorities. All this bodes ill for a state already three-fifths non-white and trending further in that direction in the years ahead. In the past decade, the state has added 1.8 million Latinos, who will account by 2060 for almost half the state’s population. The black population has plateaued, while the number of white Californians is down some 700,000 over the past decade.

Californians are opposed to racism in all of its forms. And yet, if you look at people’s lives, you draw a different conclusion:

California, suggests gubernatorial candidate and environmental activist Michael Shellenberger, is not “the most progressive state” but “the most racist” one. Chapman University reports that 28 percent of California’s blacks are impoverished, compared with 22 percent nationally. Fully one-third of California Latinos—now the state’s largest ethnic group—live in poverty, compared with 21 percent outside the state. Half of Latino households earn under $50,000 annually, which, in a high-cost state, means that they barely make enough to make ends meet. Over two-thirds of non-citizen Latinos, the group most loudly defended by the state’s progressive leadership, live at or below the poverty line, according to a recent United Way study.

Today’s California is awash in money. But the money only exists in high tech companies and real estate speculation. For my part, I would add the entertainment industry:

Historically, economic growth extended throughout the state, and produced many high-paying blue-collar jobs. In contrast, the post-2010 boom has been inordinately dependent on the high valuations of a handful of tech firms and coastal real estate speculation. Relatively few blacks or Latinos participate at the upper reaches of the tech economy—and a recent study suggests that their percentages in that sector are declining—and generally lack the family resources to compete in the real estate market. Instead, many are stuck with rents they can’t afford.

When it comes to quality of life, African-Americans do much better in Texas:

In contrast, African-Americans do far better, in terms of income and homeownership, in places like Dallas-Fort Worth or greater Houston than in socially enlightened locales such as Los Angeles or San Francisco. Houston and Dallas boast black homeownership rates of 40 to 50 percent; in deep blue but much costlier Los Angeles and New York, the rate is about 10 percentage points lower.

Need we say, but California’s leftists have also wrecked the school system:

Clearly, California’s progressive ideology and spending priorities are not serving minority students well. High-poverty schools are so poorly run that disruptions from students and administrative interruptions, according to a UCLA study, account for 30 minutes a day of class time. Teachers in these schools often promote “progressive values,” spending much of their time, according to one writer, “discussing community problems and societal inequities.” Other priorities include transgender and other gender-related education, from which parents, in some school districts, cannot opt out. This ideological instruction is doing little for minority youngsters. San Francisco, which the nonprofit journalism site Calmatters refers to as “a progressive enclave and beacon for technological innovation,” also had “the lowest black student achievement of any county in California,” as well as the highest gap between black and white scores.

Minority students are being indoctrinated in leftist ideology, but are not receiving the instruction that will allow them to take on the new jobs in high tech. There is a purpose behind this. The instruction keeps poor people poor, but ensures that they vote for socialist candidates who promise them a lifetime of handouts in exchange for their votes.

The Case of the Reluctant Spinster

In the great therapy wars this only counts as a skirmish. Yet, it proves a point I have been at pains to make, over and over again… so I devote one post to it.

The letter writer, a fiftyish woman whose life has largely been devoid of relationships, asks Carolyn Hax what to do to find love.

She calls herself “Reluctant Spinster” and defines her problem thusly:

It's been a quarter century since my only real adult relationship, which ended in heartbreak, and I'm afraid I may have missed my window for romance. I've never dated much — social anxiety, general anxiety — and now I find myself a middle-aged spinster who hasn't had sex in decades and feels starved for intimacy, both emotional and physical.

And then, in her last paragraph she includes this:

My therapist doesn't seem to have much to suggest after years of talking about this. What do you advise?

We know nothing about her therapist except what matters. They have been talking about this for years. Somehow or other the therapist and her patient both believe that more talk will solve the problem.

To which Hax offers the only sane rejoinder:

“Years of talking about this.” How many of doing something about it?

Yes, indeed. How about going out and doing something. Talk will not do it. Getting in touch with your feelings will not do it. Feeling your feelings will not do it. Hax tells her that she needs to break out of the therapy-induced stupor:

You think you need a man, but what you need more is a shove, emotionally speaking, from the pigeonhole you’ve made for yourself. Not because it’s bad — friends, writing career, favorite pastimes, sly sense of humor . . . it seems objectively enviable to me — but because you want things it can’t give you. Common complaint.

Uncommonly intelligent response.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

A Statute of Limitations on Rancor

Is there a statute of limitations on rancor?

The question arises from a letter written to Washington Post columnist Carolyn Hax. Without further ado, here it is:

My ex-wife and I divorced 21 years ago. I had a one-night stand, and she told me to hit the road. I married the one-night stand, and that marriage did not work.

During my dad's recent funeral, which she attended, she came up to me and said she "still could not forgive" me.

We had one son together and over the years we have been together for milestones in his life. He has been highly successful in his career, but his current job is stressful. He confided both to his mom and me that he has had some very dark thoughts, including of suicide. He is getting professional help.

I called the ex and suggested the three of us sit down to do whatever we can to help him. She responded that she could not do that due to her hatred of me.

I think we need to be a united front for his well-being. What can I do?

Hax is quite correct to suggest that there is very little the man can do. That is not the reason I have chosen to examine the letter.

Isn’t this woman’s anger excessive? Holding on to bitter outrage for more than two decades bespeaks a serious character flaw. And why take the occasion of her ex-husband’s father’s funeral to walk up to him and tell him that she still could not forgive him?

If you cannot be civil at a funeral, you should not be there at all.

Since we are outside of the marriage, we do not know everything that caused her to throw her husband out of the house. And yet, do you think that the punishment is commensurate with the crime? Do you think that the woman is engaging in some serious overkill?

Given her bad temperament, you might sympathize with a man who cheated on her? And, we are not obliged to sympathize with her for refusing to sit down with her ex-husband and her son, to see what they can do to help him.

There comes a time in each person’s life when he or she should put grudges aside, the better to function in the world.

Did you ask yourself what she told her son? Did you think about what she told him about his father? Is she the kind of woman who declares all out war for what appears to be a minor transgression, to the point of enlisting her son as an ally in her effort to destroy his father? Does she understand that turning a son against his father produces psychological difficulties?

When the father says that he wants the three of them to sit down together to discuss the son’s problems, he is really saying that the son’s problems have something to do with the broken home. And especially, he is saying that his wife’s bitter rancor is destroying her son. The son is successful at work... well and good. Do you think that he might have difficulty ever trusting a woman?

Keep in mind, when you set out to destroy someone for having wronged you… other people might get caught up in the maelstrom.

Another Liberal Mugged by Reality

You might not find this the most compelling hot-button story of the day. It’s about executive management. In particular, it’s about two different managers, one a business executive, the other a leftist rabble rouser. They both held or hold the same job: mayor of New York City.

The story was told by a woman who gave up a lucrative law practice to join the Bloomberg administration. She put on her do-good shoes and went to work for the city. But then, Bloomberg was replaced by Bill de Blasio and the woman in question began to discover what happened when an inexperienced ideological zealot took over the city government.

Being a good leftist herself, she had voted for de Blasio. Eventually, she lost her job. As the only saying goes: she was mugged by reality. Not the reality of city life, but the reality of what really happens when you work for a leftist zealot who does not know or care about how to manage a city government, or any organization, for that matter.

The woman describes what it was like working for Mayor Bloomberg. She found that he was not idea-driven but results oriented. He actively solicited everyone’s opinion and made all employees feel that they belonged to a team, and that they could contribute to an ongoing discussion.

She tells this part of her story thusly:

His business background meant Bloomberg ran the city like a big corporation. Initially, I had negative assumptions given that he was a billionaire.

I was concerned that he was out of touch, but even so, I voted for him before I took the job. And my worries were quickly dismissed when I saw the results-oriented approach with which he ran New York City.

Under his commissioners, employees were encouraged to contribute to discussions on some of the biggest social issues that we faced as a city: homelessness, aging and education being among the most important. Everyone’s opinions were valued.

We had regular meetings and performance reviews, and as lawyers we were encouraged to partner with other city workers to visit facilities such as homeless shelters to make sure they were in compliance with the law. Back then, we lawyers were considered very vital partners and worked in tandem with social workers and others in the field.

I loved coming to work every day under Bloomberg. I loved the constructive discussions about how to fix the most urgent social problems — meetings that involved workers at the highest levels of government with the civil servants and case workers at the lowest. All opinions were valued. And I loved being out in the city and seeing how programs worked or didn’t work.

It’s that old American pragmatism… about what works. But also about participation and accomplishment. But, then the halcyon Bloomberg days ended when Bill de Blasio took over in 2014. The change was swift and painful:

When Bill de Blasio became mayor of New York in 2014, things changed drastically. I started to hear rumblings early on. My former colleagues who were dedicated public servants were concerned by a large-scale rollback of Bloomberg’s strategic initiatives. These seemed to be based on partisan politics and black-and-white thinking as opposed to critical analysis. It was very disappointing for me since I had also voted for de Blasio.

Although I was still working in the same social-services agency where I had remained at the end of Bloomberg’s term, my job changed radically. I had no contact with the new commissioner who appeared to be disengaged from substantive discussions about social-services programs for an extremely vulnerable population. In fact, she was much more preoccupied with renovating her office — I heard her new desk alone cost thousands of dollars. She even requested that a private bathroom be built for her. She had the attitude of an oligarch and was disturbed that she had to vet invitations to galas through legal and City Hall. She wanted carte blanche to attend expensive events.

She also refused to meet with the lawyers in her department and she kept the door to her office closed and didn’t know the names of the people who worked in her agency.

Under my commissioner, there were no benchmarks, no goals and she did not hold regular meetings with her general counsel. Under her tenure, the legal unit was gutted. And there were no consequences for failing to meet performance goals because there were no performance goals.

It’s a portrait of incompetent management. A commissioner-- in New York City government, commissioners are like cabinet secretaries-- hid from her staff. She, like other commissioners, had not idea of what could and could not be done, because they had not been hired for competence and experience. They had been hired to fill diversity quotas and for holding the correct political opinions. It’s a portrait of complete incompetence.

She next compares and contrasts the Bloomberg and de Blasio approaches to homelessness. In the end, she explains, the Bloomberg administration, with less funding, dealt with the problem more effectively. The de Blasio administration must have had the right feelings, but it could not put them into practice:

Under the Bloomberg administration, there was a concerted effort to deal with the homeless problem. The administration answered reports of homeless people — many of them with severe psychological problems — on the subways and on the streets by immediately dispatching city workers to take them to a network of shelters where they could be cared for. There were also a lot of long-term incentives to help get people off the streets. Bloomberg spent a great deal of time during his first term in office aggressively seeking federal funds to increase the number of shelters in all five boroughs.

By the time Bloomberg left office in December 2013, there were about 51,000 homeless people in New York. Under de Blasio, the homeless population has ballooned to 59,638.

Today, I can’t go into the subway without seeing mentally unstable homeless people. I also feel that the demographic of the New York subway is changing rapidly as more and more of my friends take Ubers because they cannot guarantee they will get to work on time.

Nevertheless, the budget for the Department of Homeless Services under de Blasio is set to double from $1.17 billion spent in 2015 to $2.15 billion for fiscal 2018.

Not very encouraging, you will say. And you will be correct. Under de Blasio city agencies were drowning in useless regulations, many of them imposed by the singularly inept City Council:

Well-meaning City Council politicians often bog down agencies by creating a morass of rules that are burdensome and ineffective. Bloomberg was not afraid to use his veto power and engage in negotiations with the council to apprise them of the negative effects of any proposed legislation.

In more than four years in power, de Blasio has yet to veto a single City Council resolution. As a result, the city’s lawyers are drowning under masses of paperwork, compelled to write rules for legislation that comes with an influx of new City Council laws.

This is what happens when there are no clear or transparent conversations between political leaders. Well-intentioned politicians create work — and don’t actually create proactive change. The underlying concerns that drove the legislation in the first place — massive fraud and lack of oversight — remained unaddressed.

In addition to massive amounts of paperwork, I was restricted in how I could carry out my duties under de Blasio.

When two city workers, who were each under a protected class, approached me with workplace discrimination complaints, I escalated their concerns. Both employees alleged discrimination and retaliation by their immediate supervisor.

Ah yes, there were protected classes of people. The de Blasio administration was all about fighting discrimination. It was all about diversity. Because it didn’t matter who did what job. It didn’t matter how well or poorly the city was being run. What mattered was whether or not the staff was diverse. Member of supposed protected classes spent their time fighting for what they called justice, not doing their jobs.

And of course the complaints were ignored. And the women in question lost her job:

I thought it was my job to mitigate risk within my city agency, and it was met with contempt.

The commissioner began to retaliate against me, and I was told in no uncertain terms that I was not allowed to talk to the employees who were alleging discrimination. As far as I know, their complaints were never investigated by the city.

Then suddenly this year, after 14 years in city government, I found myself out of a job — fired while I was on family leave, three years after de Blasio came to power. I believe I was terminated for investigating employee complaints of discrimination, harassment and retaliation and then raising my own issues.

And let’s not forget, the New York Subway system under de Blasio is a complete and utter mess.

Bill de Blasio rose to power on his promise to end “a tale of two cities,” but as mayor he rides around in an expensive car — a limousine liberal. He sues oil companies for climate change while the country’s largest public-transportation system is being run into the ground. Bloomberg rode the subway all the time.

My career spanned a handful of social-service agencies under the administrations of two very different leaders. I was shocked to discover that I actually preferred Michael Bloomberg’s very corporate City Hall to Bill de Blasio’s failed socialist utopia. Who wouldn’t?

Failed socialist utopia… how about that? If that’s the future of the Democratic Party, we are all in serious trouble. Consider this insider account a canary in the coal mine.

Shedding Light on the Trump-Russia Collusion Narrative

At the least, The Nation writer Aaron Mate is not a fan of the Trump administration. He considers it dangerous, for reasons that I will not detail here. And yet, Mate, like his colleague Stephen Cohen, counts among those on the left who are rejecting the mainstream Trump-Russia collusion narrative.

Mate is sane and sober in assessing the situation:

Suppose, however, that all of the claims about Russian meddling turn out to be true. Hacking e-mails and voter databases is certainly a crime, and seeking to influence another country’s election can never be justified. But the procession of elite voices falling over themselves to declare that stealing e-mails and running juvenile social-media ads amount to an “attack,” even an “act of war,” are escalating a panic when a sober assessment is what is most needed.

Pundits and politicians have even compared Russiagate to Pearl Harbor, 9/11, and Kristallnacht, accompanied by bellicose calls for revenge. According to Democratic Representative Steve Cohen of Tennessee, a sufficient response would be “a cyber attack that made Russian society valueless.… If they all fell underneath the Kremlin and buried together, it’d be too soon” [sic].

Mate continues, outlining points made by Daniel Greenfield on the Sultan Knish blog. Namely, that the Trump administration has been notably far tougher on Russia than the Obama administration:

Fixation on the alleged Russian threat does not just obscure our own past. With the attendant suspicion of Trump’s potential subordination to Putin, it is obscuring the reality in front of us. Anyone paying attention to Trump’s actual policies cannot escape the conclusion that his administration “has been much tougher on Russia than any in the post-Cold War era” (Daniel Vajdich of the NATO-funded Atlantic Council), wherein “U.S. policy toward Russia has, if anything, hardened under [Trump’s] watch” (Brookings fellow and former State Department official Jeremy Shapiro). The new Pentagon budget earmarks $6.5 billion for the European Deterrence Initiative—a military program aimed at confronting Russia in Eastern Europe—a 91 percent increase over President Obama’s last year in office. Following Trump’s decision to sell anti-tank missiles to Ukrainea move Obama resisted—the Pentagon has just announced $200 million in new military assistance. The NATO summit right before Helsinki prompted widespread suspicions that Trump was undermining the transatlantic alliance, possibly at Putin’s behest. All seemed to overlook what Trump actually did: openly criticize Russia’s prized Nord Stream 2 gas project with Germany and badger NATO members to increase military spending. At a post-Helsinki Senate hearing, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo touted Trump’s “massive defense buildup that threatens Vladimir Putin’s regime” and reaffirmed that the United States will never recognize the Russian annexation of Crimea.

For all the hue and cry about facts, it takes a reporter from The Nation to set the record straight, to examine the Trump record on Russia dispassionately and objectively. What is the world coming to?

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Anti-Semitism Rises in France

Yesterday, the New York Times reported on the rising tide of anti-Semitism in France. Guess who is responsible for it? You guessed it, France’s Muslim population.

More and more French Jews are leaving for Israel. Others are moving out of neighborhoods that have become colonized by Muslims.

The Times reports:

…  an impassioned debate has erupted over how to address what commentators are calling the “new anti-Semitism,” as Jewish groups and academic researchers trace a wave of anti-Semitic acts to France’s growing Muslim population.

Nearly 40 percent of violent acts classified as racially or religiously motivated were committed against Jews in 2017, though Jews make up less than 1 percent of France’s population. Anti-Semitic acts increased by 20 percent from 2016, a rise the Interior Ministry called “preoccupying.”

In 2011, the French government stopped categorizing those deemed responsible for anti-Semitic acts, making it more difficult to trace the origins. But before then, Muslims had been the largest group identified as perpetrators, according to research by a leading academic. Often the spikes in violence coincided with flare-ups in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, according to researchers.

If Jews represent less than 1% of the population, Muslims represent, if I recall correctly, over 10%. This means that, as voting blocs go, Muslims have more influence on election outcomes.

We are not surprised that France has chosen to deal with the problem by ignoring it. That is, by pretending that the perpetrators are not Muslims. In so doing, it is following the fine example of nations like Germany and Sweden, which have deftly diminished the problem by rejiggering the statistics, and not mentioning the ethnicity of perpetrators.