Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 for Laughs

If 2018 seemed to be singularly lacking in humor-- a sign of the impending apocalypse-- Dave Barry is at the ready to cast a wry, sardonic glance at the year that is now departing.

For your edification, I have selected a few remarks from Barry’s year-end Washington Post column, to brighten up your day.

He begins with a major media event that, to his mind, sums up 2018:

Instead we’ll cite one event that, while minor, epitomizes 2018: the debut of “Dr. Pimple Popper.” This is a cable TV reality show featuring high-definition slo-mo close-up videos of a California dermatologist performing seriously disgusting procedures on individuals with zits the size of mature cantaloupes. You might ask, “Who on Earth would voluntarily watch that?” The answer, in 2018, was: MILLIONS OF PEOPLE. That is the state of our culture. We can only imagine what new reality shows lie ahead. We would not rule out “Dr. Butt Wiper” or “People Blow Their Noses Directly Onto the Camera Lens.”

Is it a symptom of cultural decline? How could it be otherwise:

So at some point during 2018, normal, non-Beltway-dwelling Americans simply stopped paying attention to current events. Every now and then we’d tune in to a cable TV news show to see what kinds of issues our nation’s elite political/media class was grappling with, and we’d see a headline like “PORN STAR STORMY DANIELS: TRUMP DIDN’T USE A CONDOM.”

That was when “Dr. Pimple Popper” started to look pretty good.

For last January, Barry offers up this symptom of cultural collapse:

In youth fads, the American Association of Poison Control Centers continues to receive reports of young people suffering ill effects from eating Tide detergent pods. Asked to explain why young people would persist in eating something that tastes terrible and makes them sick, an AAPCC spokesperson says, “As far as we can determine, it’s because they’re stupid.”

Obviously, the most important event of last February was the Philadelphia Eagles winning the Super Bowl. OK, not for me… but, for those of you who care about the Eagles, here’s Barry’s take:

In domestic sports, the Eagles defeat the Patriots to win their first Super Bowl, and huge crowds of joyous Philadelphia fans celebrate by destroying downtown Boston.

No, that would actually make sense. In fact the Philadelphia fans spend the night destroying their own city, then head home for a hearty breakfast of Tide Pods.

We skip a few months and arrive at July, a momentous month if ever there was one:

Meanwhile Seattle becomes the first major U.S. city to ban plastic straws and utensils in all restaurants. San Francisco, sensing a threat to its status as front-runner in the Progressivelympics, responds by banning food and beverages in all restaurants.

In financial news, Facebook stock drops more than $100 billion in a single day — the greatest single-day loss in stock-market history — after the company releases a quarterly report revealing that many people have trouble distinguishing between the “wow” emoji and the “sad” emoji. Despite this setback Facebook is still worth way more than General Motors and most other American companies that make actual things.

And also:

In a coordinated nationwide response to Trump’s repeated attacks on the press, sternly worded editorials rebuking the president are published in more than 300 newspapers, with a combined editorial-page readership estimated at nearly 14 people. 

In September the nation was transfixed by the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. Barry manages to find a middle ground between the extremes:

The nation watches, riveted, as committee members hear more than seven hours of emotional testimony by Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, at the end of which the nation has learned the following facts:

1. The senators have no idea what, if anything, actually happened.

2. Nor do they care.

3. The truth is utterly irrelevant to them.

4. They all decided long ago how they were going to vote, based entirely on political calculations.

5. Given exactly the same testimony but different political circumstances, every single senator would passionately espouse the position diametrically opposite the one he or she is passionately espousing now.

6. Brett Kavanaugh really likes beer.

November saw the Democrats win back the House of Representatives. As it happened, the stock market, persuaded in October by Nate Silver that a Democratic victory was inevitable, had already started selling off. As you know, the market anticipates future events… especially events that are nearly a sure thing.

How did the Democrats win? Barry explains:

For their part, the Democrats appeal to voters with a three-pronged message:

Prong One: The Democrats are the party of fairness, diversity and inclusion.

Prong Two: Anybody who disagrees with the Democrats about anything is Hitler.

Prong Three: But more racist.

That pretty much sums up the Democratic message. How could they not win, given a nation that is mesmerized by Dr. Pimple Popper.

In December, Barry concludes:

Meanwhile in a devastating blow to the U.S. humor industry, Michael Avenatti  announces that he will not run for president. His departure narrows the potential Democratic field to pretty much every Democratic politician ever, including Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, somebody called “Beto” and the late Hubert Humphrey, all of whom believe Trump will be vulnerable in 2020, as confidently predicted by the many expert political observers who also confidently predicted Hillary Clinton’s presidency.

And then there is the Mueller investigation: 

Fueling this confidence are reliable rumors swirling around Washington that special counsel Robert Mueller is about to do some major thing that, while not specified in the rumors, will definitely mean the downfall of Trump and THIS TIME IT IS REALLY HAPPENING, PEOPLE. In anticipation of this event, CNN unveils a special panelist desk that is the length of a regulation basketball court, providing the capability to have an unprecedented 170 panelists sitting side-by-side expressing outrage simultaneously, and bringing CNN one step closer to the day when it has more panelists than actual viewers.

All this happens as congressional Democrats prepare to take control of the House of Representatives, where they plan to implement an ambitious agenda focused on the No. 1 concern of the American people, which of course is …

The 2016 elections!

Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Case of the Beaten-Down Boyfriend

It’s an old story, but one suspects that it’s not outdated. Coming to us from Carolyn Hax’s column of  8=-8-2004, it paints a portrait of a modern relationship. Not a marriage, thank God, but a relationship involving a couple in Arkansas.

Strikingly, or perhaps not, it’s another role-reversal relationship. A thoroughly modern relationship… where the man is weak and beaten down by his girlfriend. She is trying to gain complete control over him by systematically cutting him off from all of his friends and family. It’s a common practice. We see it far too often. What is strange about this case is that it’s the woman who is exercising her power by destroying her boyfriend's relationships. Stranger still is the fact that this beaten-down hulk of a man is going along with it.

Did you think that modern culture had thoroughly emasculated men? If you did not, read this:

I love my girlfriend — although she says I never say it enough. I have always been faithful, but occasionally I will get a call from exes with whom I have remained friends. Most of the time, I don't even pick up the phone. Afterward, my girlfriend lets me have it for allowing them to call. She says they are not respecting her by calling. I have introduced her to a few of these girls. We argue for hours on this.

She has even made comments about my parents calling and bothering us; they would call once a week but now don't because they know she doesn't like it. She doesn't like my friends to send emails, either. I have told her these people mean nothing to me but friendships and she is whom I want to be with.

— Isolated in Arkansas

Why, pray tell, does he still want to be with her? For the money. For the great sex. Because he has been so completely abused that he is numb to abuse. Anyway, Hax diagnoses the problem correctly:

So which is it — the bottomless arguing, the jealousy, the lambasting for innocent behavior or the alienation of everyone else you care about that makes her so lovable?

Good point. What exactly makes her so lovable?

Hax continues: this man is a victim of abuse. It’s a cold hard truth, best served cold:

You aren’t a doting boyfriend; you’re an abuse victim. You can both dress it up as love, devotion, respect or some other romantic gesture so that you’ll feel obliged to comply, but what she’s demanding of you is servitude to her emotional problems.

Hax advises him to walk away. Undoubtedly, he does not do it because he is afraid of her. Is she violent and dangerous? It’s surely possible. So Hax offers up a help line for this abused heap of male protoplasm:

But when everyone who touches your life offends your girlfriend, and when every offense brings a demand that you sever an emotional tie, and when so many ties have been severed that she’s the only one you have left, it’s no longer a bunch of trees — it’s a forest. Walk away. Call 800-799-SAFE if you have trouble making it out.

One wonders whether this abuse victim still has any friends. If he does, why have none of them taken his side? Why are his parents going along with this regimen?And one wonders whether his friends still respect him. If they do, it speaks ill of them.

What Is Knife Damage?

Some interesting news from Sweden, that bastion of liberal democracy and political correctness. How do the ever-so-woke Swedes deal with Islamist terrorism? Why, they follow the Obama playbook and refuse to call it Islamist terrorism. In that way there is less Islamist terrorism. Do you find this surprising? If you do, you haven’t been paying attention.

And the Swedes have put another wrinkle in the social fabric. They have declared that anyone who shares images of Islamist terrorism will be jailed. Keep in mind, images of these heinous acts of terrorism were posted on Facebook…. 

It’s a culture shift of major proportions. You can say anything you want about Christians. You can be as anti-Semitic as you wish. But if you dare speak ill of Islam you will be charged with blasphemy against the prophet of Islam.So much for free expression.

The case involves a hideous murder committed in Morocco. Two female Scandinavian tourists were camping out in Morocco when they were attacked by ISIS followers. They were stabbed to death. One was beheaded.  The ISIS terrorists sent the images to the mother of one of the girls. 

Zero Hedge has the story:

Maren Ueland, 28, of Norway and Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, of Denmark were murdered while backpacking in the High Atlas mountains of Morocco. Both girls were stabbed multiple times, while one of them was beheaded on video. The culprits can then be seen pledging allegiance to the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.

The ISIS fanatics gloated about the killing - while images of the killing were posted to the Facebook page of Ueland's mother, and the video was sent via Private Message to Ms. Jesperson's friends, according to the Daily Mail.

Now, the Swedish state television station has taken a page from the Obama administration… and has declared that the murder had nothing to do with Islam-- you remember, George Bush called it a religion of peace:

Swedish state broadcaster SVT has outraged viewers after they ran an article claiming that the gruesome ISIS-inspired murder of two Scandinavian girls in Morocco "had nothing to do with Islam," before warning Swedes that sharing a graphic beheading video of the incident could result in up to four years of imprisonment.

So, the Swedish state television station censored the news. Or better, it distorted the event beyond recognition… the better to promote social harmony via social repression:

During a Christmas Eve report on the murders SVT made no mention of the fact that one of the women was beheaded, nor the ISIS link, called their injuries "knife damage," yet warned viewers of the legal risks of sharing the video of the incident.

You have to be impressed. Since they could not call the murders “workplace violence” they called stabbings and a beheading: knife damage.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

A New World Order?

Frankly, it takes your breath away. As though Angela Merkel had not done enough damage already, she recently suggested that nations prepare themselves to sacrifice their national sovereignty to the good judgment of the intellectual elites who run the European Union. Or some such.

It’s bad enough that Merkel has fundamentally transformed her own nation for the worse. Now she wants to share her Kantian vision with the world. Or better, she wants to impose it on the world. This cosmopolitan view of humanity, joined together in what Kant was the first to call a “league of nations” amounts to what people call the liberal world order.

You know about the liberal world order. Presumably, James Mattis was referring to it when he implied that President Trump was not sufficiently deferential to our Western European allies. And Bret Stephens, on one of his bad days, suggested that this liberal world order is the best friend Israel could have.

Presumably, Stephens was referring to the actions of our own presidential Kantian, Barack Obama, who declared himself, in words that echo Kant, “a citizen of the world” and whose idea of a liberal world order involved funding Iranian terrorism against Israel. 

And, Merkel’s government, along with the ever soft European foreign policy chief, Federika Mogherini, has been upholding the international world order by doing everything it can to save the Islamic Republic of Iran from American sanctions.

The deeper meaning of Merkel’s parting shot is, as Ben Judah suggested, that she and the European Union she pretends to control have lost out. Her plaintive wails seem to be coming from the peanut gallery, from those who history has tossed aside. The same seems now to be true of that great climate change warrior, Emmanuel Macron. Surely, he is a brilliant politician, but one whose brilliance seems not to command very much respect among the populace.

As for Merkel’s madness, here is the Zero Hedge report (viaMaggie’s Farm):

“Nation states must today be prepared to give up their sovereignty”,according to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who told an audience in Berlin that sovereign nation states must not listen to the will of their citizens when it comes to questions of immigration, borders, or even sovereignty.

A politician who is retiring in near-disgrace can say what she really thinks. She must count among those who are bowing down to the god of democracy while insisting that government leaders must ignore the will of the people:

But Merkel has always had a tin ear for comedy and she soon launched into a dark speech condemning those in her own party who think Germany should have listened to the will of its citizens and refused to sign the controversial UN migration pact:

“There were [politicians] who believed that they could decide when these agreements are no longer valid because they are representing The People”.

“[But] the people are individuals who are living in a country, they are not a group who define themselves as the [German] people,” she stressed.

Merkel has previously accused critics of the UN Global Compact for Safe and Orderly Migration of not being patriotic, saying “That is not patriotism, because patriotism is when you include others in German interests and accept win-win situations”.

As the article points out, it sounds like she is trying to revive the Third Reich. To imagine that other countries will accept German policy on migration is madness. It is equally mad to imagine that national interest is common among different nations.

As mad as it is, French president Macron thinks the same thing.

Her words echo recent comments by the deeply unpopular French President Emmanuel Macron who stated in a Remembrance Day speech that “patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism [because] nationalism is treason.”

The French president’s words were deeply unpopular with the French population and his approval rating nosedived even further after the comments.

Macron, whose lack of leadership is proving unable to deal with growing protests in France, told the Bundestag that France and Germany should be at the center of the emerging New World Order.

Where have we heard that before?

The truth is, both leaders have failed. History is bypassing their arrogant presumption. It’s yet another sign that a strategic realignment is taking place… one where small countries like France and Germany will have less influence. Given that they do not even see the reality that is staring them in the face, it should be clear that they are not taking it well at all.

The Left's Anti-Semitism Problem

Does the left have an anti-Semitism problem? Duh?

Is it an accident that Antifa radicals bear a close resemblance to the Brown Shirted Storm Troopers led by Ernst Rohm?

After all, people who refuse to denounce notable anti-Semites like Louis Farrakhan and Jeremiah Wright are likely to bear a smidgen of sympathy for Jew haters who foment pogroms.

At least now we know it’s not about politics. It’s about being Jewish. If you are Jewish and liberal and progressive, today’s radical left will do everything in its power to shut you down. And, no one in the mainstream media or the leftist political establishment will utter a peep about it.

Consider the case of Manny Yekutiel, proprietor of a cafe-bookstore in San Francisco. The report is from the Daily Wire:

You can be gay, intern in the Obama White House, work on Barack Obama’s reelection campaign, and serve as the Silicon Valley fundraising director for the Clinton presidential campaign in 2016, but if you also happen to be Jewish and support the existence of Israel, hard leftists want you gone, as 29-year-old Manny Yekutiel found out the hard way when he opened a café/bookstore in San Francisco’s Mission District.

Yekutiel was catalyzed to open his café/bookstore, which also hosts leftist political events, after the 2016 election. He said it took two years to create it, asserting, “Over 1,000 people were involved in the building of this space.” Among the people he has hosted have been incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, and activists with Black Lives Matter, according to The Forward. According to Eater, donors gave over $75,000 to the project on Kickstarter. Yekutiel pointed out that the idea of a café with political events was not new, saying, “For centuries there have been certain cafes, bars, and restaurants that have doubled as spaces for civic engagement, social justice, and activism, places to consume, react, and create the news.”

In terms of leftist politics, this guy is oozing with street cred. He has just learned that it doesn’t matter. If he is Jewish, none of it matters. Naturally, those who have launched a pogrom against him say that he is anti-Zionist… the better to massage the sensibility of dimwits like Michelle Goldberg.But anti-Semitism is anti-Semitism. Manny is being harassed for the crime of being Jewish.

Now, the Lucy Parsons Project has joined the pogrom:

But on Wednesday, protesters associated with the Lucy Parsons Project, a self-described “radical black queer direction action group,” joined other groups to yell Yekutiel was a “Zionist gentrifer,” and “Zionists out of the Mission!”

The Forward explains:

The Lucy Parsons Project claims that Yekutiel is furthering gentrification in their neighborhood and criticized him for posting things like “Happy 70th Birthday Israel!” and “I am so proud of Israel and its people” on his personal Facebook page. They also wrote that he is “pinkwashing and blackfacing his gentrification and Zionism” by bringing in minority and LGBT guest speakers.

As I noted, the American left has an anti-Semitism problem. The silence is deafening. As for why this is happening, consider the possibility that certain members of the left are looking for a scapegoat, someone to blame. For what, you might ask. Perhaps they are agitated because their Messiah was not a rousing success. Perhaps the are enraged that their Messiah did not bring them a world of justice and equality. Their god failed them. And they failed. They cannot take responsibility so they go looking for someone to blame. Who better than Jews?

One awaits the reaction from Jewish organizations: they should follow the Forward and call upon Democratic politicians and media influencers to denounce this horror.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Homeless in Seattle

Christopher Rufo’s City Journal essay on homelessness in Seattle counts as one of the most comprehensive analyses of the problem. Seattle resident Rufo was running for City Council, but apparently was harassed into dropping out of the race.

He begins by offering a picture of the extent of the problem, and of the amount that the city is spending to pretend to solve it:

Seattle is under siege. Over the past five years, the Emerald City has seen an explosion of homelessness, crime, and addiction. In its 2017 point-in-time count of the homeless, King County social-services agency All Home found 11,643 people sleeping in tents, cars, and emergency shelters. Property crime has risen to a rate two and a half times higher than Los Angeles’s and four times higher than New York City’s. Cleanup crews pick up tens of thousands of dirty needles from city streets and parks every year.

At the same time, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal, the Seattle metro area spends more than $1 billion fighting homelessness every year. That’s nearly $100,000 for every homeless man, woman, and child in King County, yet the crisis seems only to have deepened, with more addiction, more crime, and more tent encampments in residential neighborhoods. By any measure, the city’s efforts are not working.

The fault, Rufo continues, lies with the ideological power centers that pretend to have the solution to the problem. They are, socialists, compassion brigades, the homeless-industrial complex and the addiction evangelists. Ironically, they have a stake in not solving the problem. If there were no homelessness they would be out of business:

While most of the debate has focused on tactical policy questions (Build more shelters? Open supervised injection sites?), the real battle isn’t being waged in the tents, under the bridges, or in the corridors of City Hall but in the realm of ideas, where, for now, four ideological power centers frame Seattle’s homelessness debate. I’ll identify them as the socialists, the compassion brigades, the homeless-industrial complex, and the addiction evangelists. Together, they have dominated the local policy discussion, diverted hundreds of millions of dollars toward favored projects, and converted many well-intentioned voters to the politics of unlimited compassion. If we want to break through the failed status quo on homelessness in places like Seattle—and in Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, too—we must first map the ideological battlefield, identify the flaws in our current policies, and rethink our assumptions.

He begins with the socialists… who argue that the fault lies with capitalism, especially with large companies like Amazon and Microsoft. Big business pays big salaries and big salaries increase the rent. Ergo, more and more people cannot afford the rent. They camp out on the streets:

Socialist Alternative city councilwoman Kshama Sawant claims that the city’s homelessness crisis is the inevitable result of the Amazon boom, greedy landlords, and rapidly increasing rents. As she told Street Roots News: “The explosion of the homelessness crisis is a symptom of how deeply dysfunctional capitalism is and also how much worse living standards have gotten with the last several decades.” The capitalists of Amazon, Starbucks, Microsoft, and Boeing, in her Marxian optic, generate enormous wealth for themselves, drive up housing prices, and push the working class toward poverty and despair—and, too often, onto the streets.

Is it true? Rufo responds:

According to King County’s point-in-time study, only 6 percent of homeless people surveyed cited “could not afford rent increase” as the precipitating cause of their situation, pointing instead to a wide range of other problems—domestic violence, incarceration, mental illness, family conflict, medical conditions, breakups, eviction, addiction, and job loss—as bigger factors. Further, while the Zillow study did find correlation between rising rents and homelessness in four major markets—Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, D.C.—it also found that homelessness decreased despite rising rents in Houston, Tampa, Chicago, Phoenix, St. Louis, San Diego, Portland, Detroit, Baltimore, Atlanta, Charlotte, and Riverside. Rent increases are a real burden for the working poor, but the evidence suggests that higher rents alone don’t push people onto the streets.

The compassion brigades are promoting their own narrative and their own virtue:

The compassion brigades are the moral crusaders of homelessness policy, the activists who put signs on their lawns that read: “In this house, we believe black lives matter, women’s rights are human rights, no human is illegal,” and so on. They see compassion as the highest virtue; all else must be subordinated to it....

[Councilman Mike] O’Brien and his supporters have constructed an elaborate political vocabulary about the homeless, elevating three key myths to the status of conventional wisdom. The first is that many of the homeless are holding down jobs but can’t get ahead. “I’ve got thousands of homeless people that actually are working and just can’t afford housing,” O’Brien told the Denver Post. But according to King County’s own survey data, only 7.5 percent of the homeless report working full-time, despite record-low unemployment, record job growth, and a record-high $15 Seattle minimum wage. The reality, obvious to anyone who spends any time in tent cities or emergency shelters, is that 80 percent of the homeless suffer from drug and alcohol addiction and 30 percent suffer from serious mental illness, including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Emphasize the last point. Of course, the homeless cannot hold down jobs … because most of them are addicts or are suffering from severe mental illness. Councilman O’Brien believes that the problem lies in the lack of services. And yet, the drug addicted and mentally ill homeless routinely reject the services offered:

O’Brien and his allies argue that the street homeless want help but that there aren’t enough services. Once again, county data contradict their claims: 63 percent of the street homeless refuse shelter when offered it by the city’s Navigation Teams, claiming that “there are too many rules” (39.5 percent) or that “they are too crowded” (32.6 percent). The recent story about a woman’s “tent mansion” near the city’s Space Needle vividly illustrated how a contingent among the homeless chooses to live in the streets. “We don’t want to change our lifestyle to fit their requirements,” the woman told newscasters for a KIRO7 report, explaining how she and her boyfriend moved from West Virginia to Seattle for the “liberal vibe,” repeatedly refusing shelter. “We intend to stay here. This is the solution to the homeless problem. We want autonomy, right here.”

And, compassion has turned into enablement, crime and disorder:

The city’s compassion campaign has devolved into permissiveness, enablement, crime, and disorder. Public complaints about homeless encampments from the first three months of this year are an array of horrors: theft, drugs, fighting, rape, murder, explosions, prostitution, assaults, needles, and feces. Yet prosecutors have dropped thousands of misdemeanor cases, and police officers are directed not to arrest people for “homelessness-related” offenses, including theft, destruction of property, and drug crimes. As Scott Lindsay, the city’s former top crime advisor, reported to former mayor Ed Murray: “The increase in street disorder is largely a function of the fact that heroin, crack, and meth possession has been largely legalized in the city over the past several years. The unintended consequence of that social policy effort has been to make Seattle a much more attractive place to buy and sell hard-core drugs.”

It is virtue signalling… and it does not care whether its policies work:

Nothing is apparently more important to the activists than their public display of compassion—certainly not the growing number of depraved incidents at homeless encampments or involving homeless people, including a mass shooting, a human immolation, a vicious rape, and a series of stabbings. They shout down anyone who questions their narrative.

Someone is profiting from the problem. Rufo points to what he calls the homeless industrial complex:

With more than $1 billion spent on homelessness in Seattle every year, one should keep in mind Vladimir Lenin’s famous question: Who stands to gain? In the world of Seattle homelessness, the big “winners” are social-services providers like the Seattle Housing and Resource Effort (SHARE), the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), and the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC), which constitute what I call the city’s homeless-industrial complex….

The deeper problem is that social policies have created a system of perverse incentives. The social-services organizations get paid more when the problem gets worse. When their policy ideas fail to deliver results, they repackage them, write a proposal using the latest buzzwords, and return for more funding. Homelessness might rise or fall, but the leaders of the homeless-industrial complex always get paid.

And then we have those who support addiction as a lifestyle choice… one that we ought all to respect and to pay for-- because it promotes counterculture values and rejects bourgeois conformity:

What I call the addiction evangelists make up the final cohort of the city’s homelessness power center. Their number includes the rebellious Ave Rats—the homeless crowd on University Avenue—as well as gutter punks and opioid migrants. In a sense, the addiction evangelists are the intellectual heirs of the 1960s counterculture: whereas the beats and hippies rejected bourgeois values but largely confined their efforts to culture—music, literature, photography, and poetry—the addiction evangelists have a more audacious goal: to capture political power and elevate addicts and street people into a protected class. They don’t want society simply to accept their choices; they want society to pay for them.

In some places, providing safe places where addicts can shoot up seems have had a positive effect… up to a point. And yet, when Rufo traveled to Vancouver, Canada to see how things were working out there, he saw a different situation. Among other things, such policies attract large numbers of addicts… and they are not always the best people:

Harm reduction has had notable success in countries like Portugal and Switzerland, but in North America, where national drug policy remains staunchly prohibitionist, cities that practice the policy have become magnets for addiction, crime, and social disorder. During the debate on public-injection sites last year, the addiction evangelists often pointed to Vancouver, which has operated the Insite supervised-consumption facility for over ten years. While Insite provides clean needles and administers naloxone injections for overdoses, the evidence from a longitudinal study of the Downtown Eastside neighborhood shows that the injection site and concentration of social services have substantially increased the number of opioid migrants moving to the city. According to the study, between 2006 and 2016, the number of homeless individuals from outside Vancouver rose from 17 percent to 52 percent of the total homeless population. “Migration into urban regions with a high concentration of services may not necessarily lead to effective pathways to recovery,” the study concludes….

When I visited Vancouver and drove down Hastings Street, where the Insite facility is located, it looked like an apocalyptic future vision of Seattle—a public-health nightmare, with hundreds of addicts lining the sidewalks, yelling, and shooting up behind Dumpsters.

The addiction evangelists have created a similar situation:

In Seattle, the influx has already begun. According to survey data, approximately 9.5 percent of the city’s homeless say that they came “for legal marijuana,” 15.4 percent came “to access homeless services,” and 15.7 percent were “traveling or visiting” the region and decided that it was a good place to set up camp. As the city builds out its addiction infrastructure and focuses social services in the downtown core, the problem will intensify. Even King County’s former homelessness czar admits that the city’s policies have a “magnet effect.”

The problem, Rufo concludes, likes in disaffiliation, broken social ties, people who have no connection to community, who are suffering from anomie:

… the reality is that homelessness is a product of disaffiliation. For the past 70 years, sociologists, political scientists, and theologians have documented the slow atomization of society. As family and community bonds weaken, our most vulnerable citizens fall victim to the addiction, mental illness, isolation, poverty, and despair that almost always precipitate the final slide into homelessness.

He concludes:

The best way to prevent homelessness isn’t to build new apartment complexes or pass new tax levies but to rebuild the family, community, and social bonds that once held communities together.

The unfortunate thing is: it’s a lot easier said than done.

The Pregnant Sailor Problem

It’s an old story, in two senses of the term. The story dates to March, 2017. No one has paid it much attention, thus, it’s worth publicizing. And yet, the problem dates to the first Gulf War. If I recall correctly, female sailors deployed to the war zone were getting themselves removed from duty by becoming pregnant. A sign of true courage under fire… I am sure you agree. Also a warning flare, telling us that our co-edification of the military creates unnecessary problems.

In truth, no one seems to care… such is the power of the feminist lobby. And military officers have learned not to upset this ideologically driven madness, lest they compromise their prospects for career advancement. Strange thing, these senior officers have adopted the tenets of political correctness… even when they undermine troop readiness.

Richard Pollock reports on it for The Stream:

A record 16 out of 100 Navy women are reassigned from ships to shore duty due to pregnancy, according to data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group.

That number is up 2 percent from 2015, representing hundreds more who have to cut their deployments short, taxing both their unit’s manpower, military budgets and combat readiness. Further, such increases cast a shadow over the lofty gender integration goals set by former President Barack Obama.

Overall, women unexpectedly leave their stations on Navy ships as much as 50 percent more frequently to return to land duty, according to documents obtained from the Navy. The statistics were compiled by the Navy Personnel Command at the request of TheDCNF, covering the period from January 2015 to September 2016.

The evacuation of pregnant women is costly for the Navy. Jude Eden, a nationally known author about women in the military who served in 2004 as a Marine deployed to Iraq, said a single transfer can cost the Navy up to $30,000 for each woman trained for a specific task, then evacuated from an active duty ship and sent to land. That figure translates into $115 million in expenses for 2016 alone.

“This is an avoidable cost and expense, leaving a gap for other people to pick up the work slack,” Eden said.

Redeploying pregnant female sailors compromises morale, compromises readiness and adds to cost. What's to like?

“A pregnancy takes you out of action for about two years. And there’s no replacement,” said Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, a nonpartisan public policy organization. “So everybody else has to work all that harder,” adding that on small ships and on submarines, “you really have a potential crew disaster.”

Credit for this absurdity goes to the Obama administration. Its more gender neutral policies caused an increase in the number of pregnant sailors. One feels compelled to note the obvious: you can shout about gender neuterdom all you want… but only women get pregnant. I hope that this does not come as news:

In January 2015, 3,335 women were pregnant aboard military vessels, representing about 14 percent of the 23,735 women then serving such duty, according to the data.
But by August 2016 that number reached nearly 16 percent, an all-time high. The Navy reported that 3,840 of the 24,259 women sailors who were aboard Navy ships were pregnant.

The Obama administration understated the pregnancy problem throughout its eight years and even suppressed some data about the impact of its “gender-neutral” policies on the Navy.

We are not surprised to learn that the Obama administration lied about the problem. And we are not surprised to see that women did not manifest the same level of courage as men under fire:

“We all know that happens. Women do it to avoid deployment,” Eden told TheDCNF.
“There do seem to be coincidences,” said Donnelly. “There is a lot of anecdotal evidence.”

“This information is considered so sensitive. You just don’t talk about it. And you don’t ask. It’s just something that everybody knows occurs. Don’t ask, don’t tell,” Donnelly said. She served on the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services and on the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces.

The sudden departure of pregnant women aboard military vessels severely hurts military readiness and morale for those left behind and who must pick up the slack. The expecting sailors must be transferred from a ship after the 20th week of pregnancy.

Fortunately, the Obama administration and prior administrations have not much cared about military readiness or morale… because what matters is the extent to which the military can pretend that gender does not exist:

In May 2015, Admiral Michelle Howard announced a quota of 25 percent of women on all ships. “We’re going back and looking at the ships — all of them — and what percentage of women are on the ships. Over time, we’ll modernize them to make sure we get to about 25 percent on each ship,” she said.

Former Navy Secretary Ray Mabus in September 2015 pushed the new policy, stating that the Navy SEALs and all other combat jobs in the Navy should be open to women, with no exemptions as part of the Pentagon’s new “gender-neutral” employment policy.

Eden believes the policy of increasing women on ships results in failure. “It’s bad policy when you think of ships that have to be battle-ready and then have to transfer women off for pregnancy — something that has to do with controlled behavior or voluntary behavior,” she said.

So, the Obama administration had a quota system… the better to undermine combat readiness. Pollock asks what Defense Secretary Mattis was going to do about it, but he was not optimistic. Mattis had said that he supports a role for women in combat.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Case of the Aspiring Blogger

Women who write to New York Magazine advice columnist Ask Polly have developed a habit. They understand who Polly is. They know what she is going to say. They want their letters to be chosen, so they frame their problems in terms that Polly will understand. And they feed Polly’s tendency to whine on interminably about feelings and emotions. It’s a sad exercise, but apparently, America’s millennial generation is mired in it.

So, the letters begin to sound like each other. They fail to include details. They tell us too little about the person’s life to allow us to offer any constructive suggestions. They portray the letter writer as lacking in confidence… because this will excite Polly to explain how she overcame her own lack of confidence.

So here we have another self-involved narcissist, another aspiring writer who is afraid of failure. I do not recall how many other letter writers are afraid of failure, but “Afraid” as she calls herself has happily tuned into Polly’s fear of being found out to be an imposter... perhaps not as a writer, but as an advice columnist.

Naturally, Polly will completely ignore the only interesting part of this letter. See if you can pick it out:

I’m turning 25 in February. It took me two extra years to graduate from high school because of bullying. I’ve always been a bigger girl and up until recently I didn’t know how to love myself the way my best friends love me. I’ve been battling depression and anxiety all my life, and I recently lost my 15-year-old brother in a car accident. I’ve dealt with that pretty well, considering. I’ve only ever worked in minimum wage jobs until this year when I landed a great career working in customer service.

But I feel stuck, having lived in the same small town, in the same home, my entire life. Trapped, essentially. I’m moving in January, but into town, not farther away from it. I want to see the world and experience new things. Learn more about my culture. Write a blog and stick to it, I pay for the fucking subscription every month, why don’t I post any new content?

Because I’m frightened. Instead of sending this to you I should be posting this on my blog. I’m scared of failure. I want to push through that. But that little drop of doubt is what stops me every time. I have had every chance to sit down and just write. I’m off most of the year, and have been for most of my life, between school, and just really great timing with jobs. But I avoid it like the plague because I’m scared of not being good enough. Why should I care? I don’t know, but I do.

How the hell do I get over that? Do you ever feel that way? How do you just do it?


What is the salient detail that Polly ignores?

Obviously, the recent death of her younger brother in a car accident when he was 15. She brushes it aside as a minor detail, one that she dealt with successfully. She tells us nothing about the accident, about who was driving, about how her family reacted, about her other siblings and even friends.

And, we imagine that since she was nearly ten years older than younger brother, she most likely cared for him as a baby and a child, that she acted as a surrogate mother. A surrogate mother who loses a child reacts strongly to the experience.

And yet, for “Afraid,” the experience did not register. She stifled it. She repressed it. She put it aside as an unwelcome distraction, one that she pretends to have dealt with.

Because what really matters is writing for her blog. Come now, children. Do you really believe that there is nothing more to the one specific event that she recounts? Do you believe that she handled it all with perfect aplomb, but cannot bring herself to write on her blog… and thus to become like her heroine Polly.

And even if she handled it with aplomb, I would bet that her parents did not feel quite so insouciant. How did they react to her efforts to brush it aside, as though it was minor detail in her life?

She does say that she has some best friends, but we know nothing about them. She wants to leave her small town but we do not know whether she is running away or running toward. Now, she has a great job-- which she calls a career-- in customer service. But, she apparently wants to quit it.

She says that she was bullied for being a bigger girl, but we do not know anything more about it. We know nothing more about her friends, her family or about her romantic relationships and so on.

We know that she wants to become like Polly and write empty advice columns. But, we really know that she is so completely self-absorbed that she cannot process her brother’s death. Granted, the experience might be too painful to process, but still… it is grossly irresponsible to let her believe that she needs a pep talk about facing her fears and letting it all hang out.

For all I know she does better not to expose her pain in public... and not to expose family grief to strangers. But, that is not the same thing as pretending that it does not exist.