Sunday, July 31, 2016

Father Still Knows Best

Just as investors are implored to invest in what they know, so are writers told to write about what they know. Yet, it is far easier to invest in something you don’t know anything about than it is to write about something you know nothing about.

In the first case, only you, your financial advisor and perhaps your family know that you don’t know. In the second case the whole world—that is, your readers—knows.

If you are a mother, the chances are that you know your children better than anyone else. If you are a mother and a writer, like Elizabeth Bastos, you have probably succumbed to the temptation to write about your children, perhaps even ab ovo.

Why did Bastos do it? Simple, there is a market for stories about childrearing. It isn’t exactly universal, but great authors, from Charles Dickens to Henry James have written great works about children. One might say that they did not write about their own children—James was childless—but childrearing is certainly an apt topic for writers.

Of course, these writers tended to observe certain cultural norms, the ones that dictate discretion.

Nowadays, these norms no longer seem to apply. As Bastos points out, we live in a culture of oversharing, a culture of shamelessness. This does not merely mean that the norms have broken down, but that people are encouraged to expose their most intimate secrets to the public eye. They are told that it is good for them and good for the culture. They are told that shame is bad and that it represses your sexual impulses. Thus, exposing yourself by letting it all hang out is good, Hiding our private parts is bad.

I mention this just in case you wanted to know why so many teenagers are engaged in the appalling practice of sexting.

Culture warriors think that they are the vanguard leading to the revolution. They are, in fact, promoting decadence, leading to what Camille Paglia called cultural collapse.

For her part, Bastos had blogged extensively about her children. People loved reading about them. But then, one day, without thinking, she posted some remarks on the advent of her son’s puberty.

She describes her work:

There is a hunger in our culture for true stories from the parenting trenches where life is lived mud-flecked and raw. I’ve written extensively, intimately, damningly, about my children for seven years without once thinking about it from the point of view of their feelings and their privacy. A few months ago I stopped.

What was it that brought her to her senses? She tells it all:

I wish I could say that I deeply reflected on the ethics of writing about my children and heroically pivoted myself out of a concern for my character, but here’s what really happened: My father called.

He called me after reading a blog post I had written about my son’s first signs of puberty. It seems an obvious line-crossing that I wrote about such an intimate detail, but I did. At the time I didn’t pause for a split second; I was more than willing to go there. I had been writing and reading extensively about parenting tweens. I knew people might be mildly shocked, but mostly interested.

Of course, people are interested:

We live in a break-the-internet arms race of oversharing. And adolescent sexuality is an emergent, fascinating topic, especially for parents who are figuring out how to address difficult questions with their children.

But, in this case, her father knew best. And he tried, delicately, to bring her to her senses, to allow her to reflect on what she was doing, to recover her sense of shame. 

The father’s rhetoric, I suggest, is worth a few moments of thought. It is not accusatory. It does not tell her what to do or what not to do. It suggests that she give more thought to what she is doing. He is addressing an adult:

But when my dad said, “Elizabeth, are you pausing to deeply consider what you’re writing about?” I wanted to get defensive. I said, “Uh. I kinda perceive myself as a confessional poet, Dad,” I said, “Heir to Plath, Sexton and Sharon Olds. And the photographer Sally Mann, if I’m honest, Dad.”

But he said, “I’m not talking about art. I’m talking about my grandson.”

And that is how a younger person, caught up in the thrill of writing, rediscovered her responsibility as a parent, and, as quaint as it must seem, her sense of shame.

She discovered that, Nora Ephron notwithstanding, not everything is copy:

So began my wrestling with my relationship with the Nora Ephron line, “Everything is copy.” Until now it has been my battle cry and artistic excuse for printing whatever I wanted whenever I wanted with very blinkered vision. Maybe, in fact, not everything is copy. Maybe it’s people’s lives, and we should be considerate and loving and respectful of their privacy. It’s a new point of view for me in our clickbait culture of confessionalism and parading nakedness.

My children didn’t give me their permission to tell their stories, or strike poses in a waterfall, naked, gorgeous as all get out, and human, with lives ahead of them, as Sally Mann posed hers. And now that I see that, I don’t want to mar my children’s glory and subvert their beginnings for my so-called art.

Where should Bastos have drawn the line? At sex, of course. Since shame is a universal sanction for exposing one’s private parts in public, it ought also to apply to writing about a child’s sexuality.

Recovering her sense of shame left Bastos wanting a subject. She could have continued writing certain things about her children. After all, her father did not object to anything but the reference to puberty. 

And yet, she extrapolated his remark and chose to give her children back their complete privacy. Teenager are notoriously sensitive. If you do not know for sure what will and will not embarrass them, it is best to avoid the topic altogether. Now, after facing the choice of writing about what is inside herself or what is outside herself, she has chosen to write about things outside of herself. It beats looking inside herself.

In the old days, and perhaps even today, artists learn to draw by drawing models, not by searching their souls or the depths of their being.

Obviously, the world is full of places, people and things to write about. You readers might be fascinated by your children’s sexuality and by your children. True enough, not everything you write about your children crosses the line that Bastos had crossed. But, why take the risk when you can write about nature and the environment.

Bastos concluded:

If I’m going to continue writing, I realize I need to find some new material, and for that I’m going to have to look more deeply within myself or entirely outside. For inspiration I have turned to writing about nature. The environment. The sea. Things that are bigger than me. I’ve been reading John Muir. I’ve been reading “Braiding Sweetgrass.” Nature is for all to see. Nurture is between me and my kids, off the record.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Islamist Threat Assessed

The Democratic National Convention had very little to say about the threat posed by Islamic terrorism. It’s very difficult to fight a war against something that you refuse, as a matter of policy, to name.

Evidently, it’s always good to shed some clarity on these issues. Especially so when far too many of our elites no longer believe in Western civilization and no longer believe that it is worth defending. If ever there was a recruiting tool for terrorists, that attitude must be at the top of the list.

Next on the list are those who piously intone on the need for us to maintain our values. By that they mean, our limitless tolerance and our limitless willingness to absorb attacks. It we choose to learn to live with terrorism, we are, in this case, learning to accommodate a culture that wishes to undermine and destroy ours. At what point is our fecklessness a way to conspire with them?

No wonder the terrorists think that they are winning.

Bret Stephens described the nature of the conflict and the stakes involve in the Wall Street Journal:

More important, Europeans will have to learn that powerlessness can be as corrupting as power—and much more dangerous. The storm of terror that is descending on Europe will not end in some new politics of inclusion, community outreach, more foreign aid or one of Mrs. Merkel’s diplomatic Rube Goldbergs. It will end in rivers of blood. Theirs or yours?

This will not stop without the use of force. It will not be stopped by good feelings. It will not be stopped by social workers and therapists. After all these years, we still do not understand the nature of the threat. Being led by a president who has apologized for American civilization and has refused to call Islamist terrorism by its name has made the process that much more daunting.

Now, the Director of the FBI warns against destroying the caliphate. By his reasoning, if we level Raqqa and displace the terrorists, we will unleash a diaspora of terrorists around the world. Were it not for the fact that the diaspora has already been unleashed, we do better to understand that defeat sends an important message to aspiring jihadis, namely that they are fighting for a lost cause.

True enough, as Director Comey says, the Russian victory over the Taliban in Afghanistan seems to have bred al Qaeda, but we also know that al Qaeda was not led by Pashtoon tribesmen. It might also be the case that the defeat was not sufficiently decisive.

At the least, Comey seems to be offering a rationalization for administration inaction. And I was supposed to believe that he was not partisan.

Anyway, Charles Moore has tried to lay it all out in the London Telegraph. He begins with a reflection on the execution of a French priest, Father Hamel, last week. Among those who refused to recognize the reality of what was happening was Pope Francis.

Moore writes:

Pope Francis called the murder of an 86-year-old Catholic priest while saying Mass in a suburb of Rouen this week “an act of absurd violence”. Why “absurd”? Others speaking for the Catholic Church have described the killers of Fr Jacques Hamel as “psychopathic” or “madmen”. They seem not to want to talk about the motive for the violence as stated by the killers themselves – their Muslim faith.

It is true that psychopaths quite often enlist God, and that young men who go round killing people usually have disturbed personal lives. But when, day after day, in three or four continents, many people commit extreme violence in the name of Islam, this cannot be accounted for by mental illness alone. In parts of the Middle East, near where the founder of Christianity lived and died, the murder of priests and other Christians by Muslims is systematic. The word “absurd” does not describe it.

Good point. “Absurd” suggests that the act had no meaning. If anything, it was too full of meaning. When it comes to moral leadership, Pope Francis has not exactly been a beacon.

Moore continues:

Islamism is a most clear and determined attack on our civilisation, so this must be recognised, not evaded. Its adherents declaredly hate freedom, democracy, women’s rights, Judaism and Christianity. They entirely deny the rights of anyone (not least fellow Muslims) who do not share their views. They recognise no law except sharia.

Out of the disorder of Iraq and Syria, they have forged a sharia-ruled entity which they call Islamic State – a showcase for all to see of their bloody idea of God-ruled civilisation. And lest anyone shrug this off by saying such a statelet cannot long survive, remember that several Islamic nations which practice notable, if less fanatical, brutality and intolerance are powerful in the world – Iran, Saudi Arabia, even Pakistan, where blasphemy is a capital offence. In large parts of Africa, organisations such as Boko Haram are trying to murder Christians and take power.

Of course, the Democratic Party, by the evidence of its recent convention, is at war against guns and against Donald Trump. Better yet, President Obama, who bears the most responsibility for today’s divided nation now blames Republicans for dividing the country.

With the nation’s first female presidential candidate the Democratic Party is projecting what it considers to be womanly values: compassion, tolerance, empathy and other assorted mental drool. Don’t women bring something special to the table, an ability to nurture? We might ask Mama Merkel about that.

As I noted yesterday, terrorism is not like other crimes. Its influence cannot be assessed by its body count. It is a long term effort to destroy and take over Western civilization. It is not going to happen tomorrow, but that does not mean that it will never happen.

Moore explains:

Islamists cannot take power directly in Europe in the near future, because they have not got the numbers. But they can and do – in a way almost unimaginable only 20 years ago – kill and terrify. They can also, through mass immigration of Muslims, destablise us, even though the great majority of those Muslims have no desire to kill their hosts. This is well understood by the anti-Western President Erdogan of Turkey, who has now, thanks to Angela Merkel’s immigration policy, been given control of much of the migrant flow into Europe. The effect of the Islamist presence in the West – attacks on free speech, radicalisation in schools, forcing more women to cover their faces, let alone jihadist violence – is wholly bad. It is a civilisational question to work out how to deal with it. We need a firmer idea of what our Western civilisation is. The murder of Fr Hamel should surely be a reminder.

Hillary Finds her Inner Vamp

It took an Australian artist to expose Hillary Clinton's well-hidden inner vamp. The image was painted on a wall in Melbourne by a street artist named Lushsux. Some people consider it to be profoundly offensive so it might soon be taken down. Thus, in the interest of posterity, we can preserve it here:

The Grieving Father of a Muslim War Hero

I didn’t see it myself, but apparently one of the most moving moments at the Democratic Convention was the speech given by a Muslim man regarding his son’s heroism.  Khazir Khan’s son served in the military and died performing an extraordinary act of courage.

To this grieving father, the moral of the story is that Donald Trump was wrong to say that he wanted to limit Muslim immigration to the United States. Khan wanted to shame Trump in public for not having served in the military and nor not having made any sacrifice for his country. He declared that if Trump’s policy had been implemented in prior years this man’s heroic son, Humayun Khan, would not have been allowed to enter the country.

And, where would we be then?

Obviously, it’s bad to make policy on a single case. And we already know what is happening in Europe because certain countries have been overly open to Muslim immigration.

But, that would spoil the narrative and would compromise the warm fuzzy feelings of tolerance that everyone felt upon hearing the man speak.

One suspects that neither he nor the assembled Democrats would have had the same warm feelings if they had been reminded of the terrorist acts committed by Muslim immigrants.

The unfortunate truth is that this man son’s heroism and his good name have been tarnished by the actions of his fellow Muslims. About that no one had anything to say.

The reputation of Islam has been destroyed by the actions of Muslims themselves. Not by all Muslims, of course, but reputation does not depend on the behavior of all members of a group. And reputation is not a function of individual behavior.

Human beings belong to groups. They are seen first and primarily as members of groups. If people from within your group act badly and tarnish the name of your group, you ought to save your anger for them, not to go on national television to accuse Americans of being intolerant.

By the way, what have Bill or Hillary Clinton ever sacrificed for their country?

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Most Powerful Woman in the World

Yesterday, the most powerful woman in the world took time out from her vacation to campaign for Donald Trump.

Having persuaded Great Britain to vote itself out of the European Union, German Chancellor Merkel is now hard at working trying to convince Americans that women are unfit for major leadership positions.

After all, Merkel is the most powerful woman in the world. And her open arms policy-- welcoming over a million Muslim refugees-- is widely considered to have persuaded the British public—but certainly not the British ruling class, both left and right—that they no longer wanted to belong to a union that had such weak leaders.

In some sense, Merkel is just following the lead of our own president. The Obama administration and many within the Democratic Party embrace an open-borders policy in America. Each time there is a terrorist attack in Europe the chances of a Trump presidency increase.

Thus, I have taken special care to report on recent events in Europe, especially on the wave of terrorist assaults. Even more than campaign advertising, balloon drops and ill-considered tweets these events are influencing our own politics, profoundly.

Like France, Germany has increasingly been the object of attacks by Muslim extremists. Some Islamists have murdered people. Others have threatened, harassed, molested and abused women.

The situation has become so bad that Merkel had to return from her vacation. Sadly, she has not changed her tune and has not been willing to change her policy. Even more sadly, neither she nor the woman leaders in Scandinavian countries has expressed outrage about the way the refugees are treating women.

One notes that Merkel offered her remarks while sitting at a dais between two other women. One notes that Margaret Thatcher made a habit of surrounding herself with men. One imagines that the Iron Lady understood that the perception of female weakness can be mitigated by a sufficient number of male aides. Merkel does not seem to have gotten the point. 

One might say that, on the left and on the right, there are two kinds of political leaders. Some change policy when they see that their policy is not working. Others double down on failed policies.

It is true that no one knows how a policy will work until it is tried. But once it is tried and fails, only the most obdurate and egotistical soul will continue to insist that it is a good thing.

The Daily Mail reports on the press conference Merkel gave yesterday:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday rebuffed calls to reverse her welcoming stance toward refugees after a series of brutal attacks in the country.

Merkel, who interrupted her summer holiday to face the media in Berlin, said the four assaults within a week were 'shocking, oppressive and depressing' but not a sign that authorities had lost control.

The German leader said the assailants 'wanted to undermine our sense of community, our openness and our willingness to help people in need'.

'We firmly reject this,' she said at a wide-ranging news conference.

Merkel repeated her rallying cry from last year when she opened the borders to people fleeing war and persecution, many from Syria, which brought nearly 1.1 million migrants and refugees to Germany in 2015.

'I am still convinced today that "we can do it" - it is our historic duty and this is a historic challenge in times of globalisation,' she said.

'We have already achieved very, very much in the last 11 months.'

So, wet note, have the terrorists.

One remarks, with considerable chagrin, that Merkel, a right-of-center politician is here channeling Barack Obama, the man who famously intoned, in Spanish, Yes, we can.

While Obama is consciously trying to transform the culture by allowing in as many non-white refugees as possible, Merkel does not even understand the import and the impact of her policies. She thinks that she is showing German compassion for the weak and the downtrodden.

In schoolmarmish fashion Merkel also declared that the terrorists were mocking German culture and hospitality. How much time did it take her to reach that conclusion? It ought to be obvious to everyone that the new wave of terrorism is not just an everyday crime spree. It cannot be grasped by comparing the number of victims to the number killed in automobile accidents.

Islamist terrorists are at war against Western civilization. They want to change the way people speak, where they can or cannot go, how they dress, and where they worship. Young women in Merkel’s Germany now feel threatened if they go out along at night. They feel threatened at swimming pools. They assume that they risk assault for going to a music festival. And they know that the government does not have their backs. Their government is hard at work covering up the incidence of refugee violence and refugee rapes. Just like they do in Sweden.

Strangely, Merkel took another page out of the Obama playbook when she said that Germany would bring the terrorists to justice. She was saying that the problem can be solved by the criminal justice system, thus that it is not a culture war against the foundations of Western civilization, our freedoms and our way of life.

Of course, Merkel wants to preserve Germany’s way of life. It’s a noble sentiment, made ignoble by the fact that the flood of refugees she has allowed into the country wants nothing more than to destroy Germany’s way of life.

Yesterday, she said:

Merkel said that she would not allow jihadists, following a series of deadly attacks in France, Belgium, Turkey and the US state of Florida, to keep her government from being guided by reason and compassion.

'Despite the great unease these events inspire, fear can't be the guide for political decisions,' she said.

'It is my deep conviction that we cannot let our way of life be destroyed.'

Merkel said those who carried out attacks 'mocked the country that took them in'. 

She vowed Germany will 'stick to our principles' and give shelter to those who deserve it.  

'The terrorists want to make us lose sight of what is important to us, break down our cohesion and sense of community as well as inhibiting our way of life, our openness and our willingness take in people who are in need,' she told a news conference for which she interrupted her vacation.

'They see hatred and fear between cultures and they see hatred and fear between religions. We stand decisively against that,' she added.

The terrorists are breaking down Germany’s sense of cohesion and community. They are inhibiting Germany’s openness and generosity. They are doing so because Chancellor Merkel invited them to do so, and continues to allow them to do so.

They fear nothing because in Angela Merkel they have nothing to fear.

They will continue to do so until politicians like Merkel summon up the courage to face the mess that they have created, to stop the madness of allowing millions of new refugees who want to destroy the culture that has welcomed them, and to begin a deportation movement.

We are not dealing with a crime wave. We are not dealing with a few disgruntled outliers. We may or may not be dealing with terrorists who are being directed from a bunker in Raqqa. But we are dealing with a major assault on Western civilization. The people who have been entrusted with leading the fight for the civilization now reveal themselves to be weak and ineffectual, more comfortable defending their own failed policies and apologizing for terrorism.

The whole world is watching what is happening in Merkel’s Germany. The weaker she seems, the less she understands what is happening, the greater the chance that after November 8 she will still be the most powerful woman in the world.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

When Is Enough Enough?

Obviously, it’s an important story. So, the Daily Mail is covering it. Other news sources, not to much.

How is German public opinion reacting to the new wave of terrorist attacks? How does it see Angela Merkel’s open arms policy now? Apparently, the German public has just about had enough. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of bloodshed and a lot of sexual abuse for it to come to its senses.

The paper reports:

Angela Merkel's open door policy to refugees is no longer welcomed in Germany following four savage Muslim attacks in a week.

Attitudes to Syrians seeking asylum has hardened after ISIS suicide bomber Mohammad Daleel blew himself up outside a wine bar in the quiet in the quiet Barvarian market town of Ansbach.

Other violence over the space of four days in the last week has left Germans feeling vulnerable and afraid. A new survey found that 83 per cent of Germans see immigration as their nation's biggest challenge - twice as many as a year ago.

More than 200,000 failed asylum seekers like Daleel remain in the country - and many Germans blame Merkel for inviting more than a million refugees into the country in the past year without adequate background checks. 

The mood sweeping Germany was summed up by mother of two Anna Lissner who said she now feared for her children's safety.

The suicide bombing has proved we do not know who we have invited in.' said the 47-year-old who lives in the town of Ingolstadt, which is located on the River Danube, southern Germany.

How are the politicians reacting? Initially, far left politicians supported the policy wholeheartedly. By now, however, they are jumping on the anti-immigrant train. Members of Merkel’s own party are doing the same:

Sahra Wagenknecht, leader of the far-left Linke party, said the German Chancellor's statement 'wir schaffen das' (we can manage) when she opened the country's doors to those fleeing war zones had been found wanting.

Wagenknecht said the 'intake and integration of a large number of refugees and immigrants is accompanied by considerable problems.'

And even one of Merkel's deputies admitted Germany cannot control the number of migrants crossing their borders insisting the country needs its sovereignty back.

Stephan Mayer called immigration a 'big challenge' for law enforcement, and said the government were not able to register and control.

'We have to regain sovereignty and we have to regain the rule of rights. There's a lot of space for improvement,' he said. 

'We were not able to register and control all the migrants that crossed the German border.' 

The Daily Mail reporters interviewed German citizens. Here is what they found:

In Nuremberg, one of the oldest cities in Germany, women interviewed said they were now afraid for their safety.

Some Germans understand perfectly well why the British voted for Brexit:

Eric Bohunsky, who operated a cycle taxi service for tourists, said uncontrolled immigration into Germany was creating problems.

He said he admired Britain for voting for Brexit and securing control of their borders.

'The British people have done well to stand up to Brussels and those who dictate who can come into their country,' said the 50-year-old.

'We are heading for problems here, but I just hope there are no further attacks.

'The problem is not knowing who we have let in and what they might do.'

The question now is: how long can Merkel hold on to power? And, how long will it take for Germany to reverse its open arms policy, not just by offering therapy to the newly arrived refugees, but by sending them back where they came from?

Is the New York Times Biased?

Is the New York Times biased?

A recent article by the paper’s Public Editor suggests that it is. Or, at least, that the public perceives it to be a daily version of The New Republic.

Public Editor Liz Spayd suggests, first, that the perception is so ingrained that the paper’s editors and reports do not see it. And second, that it is costing the paper its readers, its revenue and its position as the paper of record.

In fact, other great national papers, like the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post are doing a better job at presenting the news fairly and objectively. As Noam Chomsky once said, at least with the Wall Street Journal you can trust the facts.

Presenting the facts is a newspaper’s primary purpose. Get it wrong and you are headed toward irrelevance. So, Spayd is quite right to raise the alarm… though she is hardly the first.

Spayd begins her article with some letters to the editors:

It comes via the inbox to the public editor, from people like Gary Taustine of Manhattan, who writes: “The NY Times is alienating its independent and open-minded readers, and in doing so, limiting the reach of their message and its possible influence.”

One reader from California who asked not to be named believes Times reporters and editors are trying to sway public opinion toward their own beliefs. “I never thought I’d see the day when I, as a liberal, would start getting so frustrated with the one-sided reporting that I would start hopping over to the Fox News webpage to read an article and get the rest of the story that the NYT refused to publish,” she says.

As it happens, editors have seen so many of these letters that they have become numbed to them:

Emails like these stream into this office every day. A perception that The Times is biased prompts some of the most frequent complaints from readers. Only they arrive so frequently, and have for so long, that the objections no longer land with much heft.

Like the tiresome bore at a party, I went around asking several journalists in the newsroom about these claims that The Times sways to the left. Mostly I was met with a roll of the eyes. All sides hate us, they said. We’re tough on everyone. That’s nothing new here.

That response may be tempting, but unless the strategy is to become The New Republic gone daily, this perception by many readers strikes me as poison. A paper whose journalism appeals to only half the country has a dangerously severed public mission. And a news organization trying to survive off revenue from readers shouldn’t erase American conservatives from its list of prospects.

Fair enough, Spayd does not address the substance of the criticism: Is the paper really biased? She addresses the perception of bias, leaving the larger issue for another day.

She examines reader comments, most of which are written by liberals. In truth, the Times makes an effort to highlight some conservative comments, but there are precious few of them. This tells us that the paper has lost conservative and even independent readers. This is, of course, bad for business:

How about all the reader comments attached to political articles? On most days, conservatives occupy just a few back-row seats in this giant liberal echo chamber, not because Republicans are screened out by editors but because they don’t show up in the first place. Bassey Etim, who oversees the comments forum, makes a point of salting conservative voices into the week’s list of top commenters. “It just makes the conversation more dynamic and interesting,” he says.

For whatever reason most Times readers are liberal. They view a liberal slant as objective reporting. One notes that those who seek out more objective reporting normally gravitate to the business press.

Among the most egregious instances of political bias was the placement of an editorial on gun control on the paper’s front page after the San Bernardino terrorist attack. True enough, the article was clearly labelled an editorial, but most readers believe that such commentary has no place on the front page of a newspaper. It was the first such editorial in nearly a century.

At a time when gun control is an important political issue, when the president and the new Democratic presidential nominee have been using it to deflect attention away from their own responsibility for counterterrorism strategy and their own failure to rally the nation against Islamist terrorism, the Times looked like it was promoting Democratic Party propaganda. And that it was taking advantage of its readers normal tendency to see front page articles as news reporting.

Spayd writes:

For some print readers, the placement of an editorial calling for gun control on the front page last December, which garnered a record number of comments, was shrill proof of the kind of Times bias they expect. There was a torrent of debate over the appropriateness of its placement.

Of course, this does not mean that stories are all reported unfairly or subjectively, with a liberal bias. It does suggest that those who believe that the Times is attempting to use its news articles to influence opinion, to promote an agenda, are not seeing things.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

How Can Powerful Women Attract Men

No one has ever called Bill Clinton “uxorious”… until last night. Maureen Dowd, not a great Clinton fan, applied it to the Big Dog, himself.

Unsubtly, she added that the Big Dog was using up all his reserves of estrogen and perhaps even empathy, to pay his wife back for all of the insults and injuries he inflicted on her.

A man who feels a woman’s pain can be the world’s greatest seducer… if he wants above all to bed as many women as possible.

As one would expect, Big Dog’s story of picking up the unattractive girl in law school offended feminist heroine Rachel Maddow. But, Maddow might be right. The effort to normalize the Bill/Hillary relationship is transparently false. For all we know, the Big Dog might have thought of Hillary Rodham as a great challenge. Surely, he did not see her as a hot chick. A great seducer is always looking out for challenges. In Hillary Bill found one.

But that assumes that we know who was seducing whom? A minimum understanding of human nature tells us that we cannot be very sure about that.

Last night, Big Dog tried to humanize, but also to feminize Hillary. He was not quite up to that task, but he did give it the old college try.

And yet, it brings Marissa Mayer to mind. And it allows me to raise a point that I failed to mention in yesterday’s post about MM.

Why did Mayer make such a point about being feminine, even decadently so? To be Shakespearean, we can ask whether she had a darker purpose or whether there was method in the madness.

At the least, the Mayer example shows why more men exercise power and authority in the world. More importantly, it shows why more women do not want to do so. They are afraid that if they become more powerful men will lose interest in them. 

The reason is: given the choice, most women do not aspire to be the CEO. They have other priorities and other things in mind. It is basic to any Darwinian study of sexual attraction… any study that goes beyond hormones and looks at the influence of status.

The higher a man rises on a status hierarchy the more attractive he is to women. But, the higher a woman rises on a status hierarchy, especially on a male status hierarchy, the less attractive she is to men.

Yes, I know, the feminist indoctrination squad has told you that the only reason why the board room and the executive suite is not divided evenly between men and women is that we have not seen enough sit-coms where the genders share power. And that we have not seen enough women in charge—like Angela Merkel.

If feminists think that men and women will ever reach parity in the executive suite they are tilting at windmills. Or better, they are denying human nature, to the point where the only way they will be able to achieve their absurd goal will be legislation.

Without trying to embarrass anyone, how many women were lusting after the Big Dog? How many offered to perform all manner sexual services for the leader of the free world?

Then, ask yourself this: how many men are lusting after Hillary? How many men want to marry a woman just like Hillary? You might even ask how many mothers want their sons to marry a woman like Hillary?

See the point? See why so many young women, women for whom attracting a man is an important issue, are turned off by Hillary.

Which brings us to Marissa Mayer, not as CEO, but as culture warrior, as a woman making a statement about leadership.

Wasn’t Mayer, with her over-the-top Gatsbyesque party, with her Aphrodite on a throne image, trying to overcome the notion that powerful women are not attractive to men? Wasn’t she saying that a woman could exercise power and still be in touch with her inner vamp?

And yet, considering how hard she was trying, Mayer seems also to have been demonstrating that powerful women have to try harder, a lot harder to attract men, no matter how beautiful they are.

Alien Invasion in Germany

Angela’s folly continues to poison Germany.  The horror of Muslim terrorist attacks numbs us to much of what is going on in Germany, especially to the way that Muslim culture warriors are imposing their values on their host nation. At times they seem more like parasites feeding on a host than refugees seeking a better life.

Yesterday, for example, a group of six Muslim men invaded a swimming pool in Germany. They wanted to express their outrage at people who were swimming in the nude. What one does in one’s private life is the business of the Taliban-like morality police. If you didn’t know that you do not know very much.

Now, Bill Clinton’s Democratic Party wants to open America’s arms to Muslims, only it has to be the right kind of Muslims. How anyone knows is not yet clear.

Anyway, the Daily Mail reports on the alien invasion:

Nudists were told they would be 'exterminated' after a gang of Muslims who stormed into a German swimming pool yelling 'Allahu Akbar'.

The six men, described as being in their 20s and with beards, spat at women and children because they were swimming in the nude and called all the females 'sluts'.

The revelers were at a pool in the town of Geldern in the North Rhine-Westphalia region, known for its preference for natural form of swimming.

Of course, feminists rose up as one to denounce this instance of flagrant slut-shaming. Not really. Celebrated loudmouth Lena Dunham had nothing to say. Empowered feminists also had nothing to say… they are much more concerned with having the government take over the labor market.

As might be expected, the men were not punished for their actions:

One of the nudists, a local mother, said: 'We [German] women are all sluts and they would exterminate all of us.'

She added the aggression made her 'really afraid' and according to according to other witnesses the men referred to the bathers as 'infidels', reports Breitbart.

The Muslim gang were fluent in German, but also threatened people in Arabic.   

A staff member at the pool, Lisa-Marie Theunissen, told Junge Freiheit she asked the men to be quiet after her customers had complained.

It is understood the men then went to a water skiing facility where they abused more civilians and staff before they were chased out by one of the workers.   

Breitbart explains the sanctions that these invaders suffered for their threats and harassment:

A staff member at the pool, Lisa-Marie Theunissen, described the incident to German media saying: “We had asked the men to be quiet,” after visitors to the facility had complained to the staff about being threatened and harassed. According to reports the group of Muslims, described as being “southern looking”, then went to a water skiing facility and extended their threats and harassment to the staff there whereupon they were chased out by one of the staff.

Finally, someone called the police. No arrests were made. After all, this is modern Germany, where people bend over to look tolerant of immigrants. Explain to me now why these men will not feel empowered to continue their campaign of harassment and intimidation.

Breitbart explains:

When the group returned to the swimming pool the staff decided to call the local police. The police took the young men from the pool and checked their identification, and though there were no reports of arrests being made the state security service have said they will be investigating the matter further.

The situation bears similarities to other incidents involving migrants who are briefly detained after committing crimes, like sexual assault or theft, and then let go until a court date where they may never appear.

As for that multicultural diversity that everyone loves so much, the truth is that some people are violently intolerant and refuse to respect anyone’s culture but their own.

Lest we forget, Muslim men have been increasingly assaulting German women at swimming pools. But, German authorities have a solution: make refugee men into lifeguards. In that they are supported by the cowardly Green Party and other leftist parties. They all favor bringing the fox into the chicken coop:

Meanwhile the professional swimming association in Germany wants to reduce escalating sex attacks by refugees at public baths by training migrants to become pool lifeguards.

The Federal Association of German Swimming Professionals (BDS) says this would be 'an inclusive measure that would benefit everyone.'

Last month a secret police document was leaked in Duesseldorf voicing the 'grave concern' of police chiefs about escalating sex crimes carried out by refugees at public swimming baths.

If this had happened in China, the men would have been immediately arrested and all Muslim shops would have been required to sell nudist magazines, openly. I might be exaggerating slightly, but in China, Muslim stores are required to sell alcohol. 

And, of course, feminists believe that the alien men are sexually repressed, that we need to accept their culture and that German women are too sensitive:

Many municipalities, including Munich, have begun displaying charts in numerous languages aiming to teach migrant to respect women and children at the local pool.

Sexually repressed young Muslim men have taken the sight of women in skimpy bathing costumes as an unspoken statement that they want sex, especially in Germany.

The idea of turning them into lifeguards responsible for security, order and cleanliness, water quality monitoring and maintenance of technical equipment would lead to a decrease in sex crimes, the group claims.

Incredibly, BDS president Peter Harzheim claimed: 'Often it is the case that women feel sexually harassed by a group of migrants just because they look at them. 

'Such situations could be disarmed faster' with migrants as pool attendants.'

Is this realistic?

Of course, it is not. The article continues that most of the refugees cannot speak German, do not understand German swimming culture and cannot swim.

Aside from that, it’s a great idea.

Not Her Ball to Carry

Thanks to commenter AesopFan we have Hillary Clinton’s comments on Benghazi. Most importantly, for a woman who aspires to become our first commandress in chief, we have Clinton’s explanation for why she did not bear any responsibility for what happened to our ambassador and three others.

Interviewing her for 60 Minutes Scott Pelley asked her the right question. She bobbed and weaved and evaded responsibility. We are a long way from “The buck stops here.”

The transcript is from J. E. Dyer, on the Liberty Unyielding blog:

Hillary Clinton: Distinguished Americans, military and civilian experts, they came out, and they said, you know, “The ball was dropped in security,” and, you know, uh, some of the decisions that were made probably should have been rethought –

Scott Pelley: But wasn’t that your ball to carry?

Clinton: No.  It wasn’t.  It was not my ball to carry.  It was very – eh – read the, read the reports, read all of the reports, all many hundreds of pages of them, including this latest one, which was a political exercise from the very beginning.

Uh, those [department communications on security concerns] never reached me, those never came to my attention –

Pelley: The concerns about the security never came to your attention.

Clinton: No!  The experts…we have security experts.  I am not going to substitute my judgment for people who have been in the field, who understand what our men and women are up against.  So, this has all been investigated, over and over again, but as Tim [Kaine] was just saying, it didn’t get the result that some of the Republicans wanted, so they kept at it, and I feel very sorry that they have politicized it unlike any prior example, and I just think the most important challenge we face is learning from it and doing everything we can to keep our people safe.

As J. E. Dyer says:

…these are the words of a defensive bureaucrat, not the words of a national leader. Certainly not the words of a commander in chief.

One remarks that the media pundits and commentators have completely ignored Clinton’s dodge. And they all seem to have missed the absurd comparison between taking responsibility and carrying balls. It's OK to say that someone dropped the ball. But Hillary wants us to believe that she never had the ball in her hand. Huh?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Commandress in Chief

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton addressed the Veterans of Foreign Wars. She wanted them to accept her as the prospective commander in chief of the world’s most powerful military.

Good luck with that.

To do so, Hillary recalled that her father had fought in World War II. She might have said that the man she married had dodged the draft, but she forgot.

She also did not mention how she failed the American ambassador in Benghazi. Nor did she tout her Pyrrhic victory over Col. Qaddhafi in Libya.

Whatever Clinton could or could not have done to save the Americans who were attacked in Benghazi, she was responsible for their safety. The security of ambassadors is part of her job description. If she did not know about Ambassador Stevens’ 600 or so requests for better security, people that she hired and entrusted with the job did. That makes her an incompetent manager. No matter what happened, the fault was hers.

And she knew it. Otherwise why did she blame it on a video? By shifting the blame to an obscure filmmaker Clinton showed that she did not have the honor or the decency to take responsibility. And you want to make her commander in chief?

As for the Libya invasion Hillary boasted about having gotten Qaddhafi killed. And yet, when you read the story of the invasion, as told by the New York Times, you see that she was doing it to establish her bona fides as a tough guy, someone who was not afraid to use force.

Unfortunately, that is not the issue. Any fool can use force. The question is whether or not she understands situations well enough, whether she can use force when need be and otherwise to refrain.

Clinton’s misguided efforts in Libya turned that nation into a haven for terrorists. About that she has nothing to say.

In the course of human history no great army has been led by a woman. Some nations have. Some states have. But only men lead great armies. Most nations take war seriously. They do not risk their existence on a social experiment.

Democrats are proudly declaring that Hillary will be a great role model for women. She will be showing that a woman can do anything that a man can. Of course, this is an illusion. There are things that a man can do that a woman cannot do, surely not as well. And there are things that a woman can do that a man cannot do, surely not as well.

Besides, if Hillary is the ultimate role model for young women, ask yourself how many of them would sell out their dignity as women for political power. How many women would want to lead armies into battle if they had to pay for it by being married to a man who is a chronic philanderer? Bill Clinton’s behavior is not a vote of confidence in Hillary’s femininity. Again, how many women would exchange their femininity for power?

Being a bad role model for young women is not the same as being commander in chief, thus, being a bad role model for soldiers. Leadership matters. Soldiers are motivated to fight harder if they have leaders they respect and admire, leaders they want to emulate. How many soldiers will want to emulate a woman? How many of them will aspire to become like Hillary?

She did not work her way up the ranks. She rode her husband’s coattails. Why does that make her a great role model for the troops? Will she be more concerned about winning wars or more concerned with transgendered restrooms and putting women into combat?

In a world where we are not allowed to say that gender matters and that some careers and jobs are best performed by people one or the other gender, a Hillary presidency would certainly put those dogmas to the test.

And, one must add that when nations have been led by women, these leaders have not provoked fear and trembling from their adversaries. Their presence seems to have incited their opponents to attack them. Argentina’s generals attacked the British Falklands when Margaret Thatcher was president. When the state of Israel was led by Golda Meir it fought the Yom Kippur War.

In both cases these nations prevailed against aggression. The question is: would the attacks have happened if adversaries had thought that the leaders were strong and resolute, capable of deploying military force.

True enough, the same calculus applies when nations are led by weak and decadent males. Today, Europe is led by women and by men perceived to be weak. It is suffering a series of terrorist attacks, and as violent crimes by refugees increase who can doubt that Europeans are weak and ineffectual.

Many commentators have been saying that Hillary Clinton needs to sell herself as a potential commander in chief. And that means a commander in chief who will strike fear in our enemies. A woman who married a draft dodge and who has been incapable, throughout her married life, of standing up to her husband will now, we are being asked to believe, stand up to Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping.

How did that Russian reset work out?

And, how many of America’s traditional allies will happily follow the lead of Hillary Clinton? If they do, they might look weak at home. And this might tell them that defying President Hillary would be their best political course.

In her speech to the VFW Clinton proclaimed that she wanted to help the nation’s veterans. Considering that a Democratic administration has been in charge of the VA for the past eight years, the claim was more smoke than substance.

Her message fell flat.

David Leonhardt wrote yesterday on the New York Times blog that Clinton needed to create an emotional case for her being president and commander in chief. Yesterday’s convention, however, was all girl talk, all talk about helping the unfortunate, the poor, the disadvantaged, the aggrieved. Can you imagine an Obamified Democratic Party talking about winning wars... or better, about winning anything.

But, her opponent, who has less experience with military matters than she does, has lit on a clever persuasive trick. He has shown himself to be a counterpuncher, a tough guy, a brawler, a bully… someone who would rather flail than back down.

If the election is being decided by visceral emotions, we are being asked to choose between a seasoned, but weak and incompetent political leader or a nasty brute, a counterpuncher who will strike fear in the heart of the opposition. Undoubtedly, Trump is more bluster than achievement. Many world leaders will try to elevate themselves by facing him down. But, they will surely feel stronger facing down and humiliating a Hillary Clinton. Bill Clinton has done it over and over again. Why shouldn’t world leaders do the same, in slightly different ways?

This being the case, many Americans are willing to gamble on Trump. They are listening to emotion more than to reason. They see a choice between two bad options and they might well gamble that Trump is the better bet.