Speaking of libertarians, Ron Paul and Daniel McAdams say some sensible things about the Syrian gas attack and its ensuing fallout:
The welfare state is a gravy train for ISIS.
If the welfare state doesn’t end in Europe, the welfare state will end Europe. And future historians will look back on the way the West ended and think we were all out of our goddamn minds.
As the dust is still clearing in Brussels and Pakistan (killing kids on Easter… stay classy, ISIS) and wherever else the nut jobs hit before this goes to press—as the Left signals their concern that all these dead bodies and raped orificia might feed an irrational fear of suicide bombers and rapists—the press is busy lecturing European security agencies about their incompetence. They could have stopped all these attacks somehow, if only they knew how to do their jobs!
You know what? I feel sorry for the security agencies, bumbling though they may allegedly be. From where I’m sitting, their job looks freakin’ impossible. According to Pew, over a third of French Muslims think suicide bombing is at least on occasion acceptable (and among the 18-30 crowd, it’s an eye-watering 42 percent).
How would you like it to be your job to root out terrorists when a third of the base population—of whose diversity and feelings you must always be respectful—would be happy to house and hide the assholes you’re looking for?
Meanwhile the media have kept stumping for not just bringing more of the terrorist-supporting population in, but feeding and housing them at the expense of the very government budget that must also fund security operations.
I know, only a bad person would ever suggest that you end welfare, and no educated European wants to be a bad person. But what you are accomplishing by being too nice is very bad indeed, Europe. Because if you do not end the welfare state, you’re going to have a violent genocide, one way or another.
Andy Nowicki grabs himself a front-row seat at the Circus Maximus. I sure hope popcorn isn’t part of the psy-op!
In that piece, composed just days prior to the W. vs. Kerry throw-down of ’04, I noted the “elementary error in logic in the very notion of trusting the majority,” which is after all the principle upon which democracy is predicated. But, I added, the dimensions of my vitriol wasn’t limited to a mere quibble over an unsound calculation:
In the face of a particularly pitiful election selection, Ann Sterzinger makes the case for giving oneself the first and final vote.
Personally, were I American, I’d either just stay home or turn up only to draw a cock on the ballot paper, in line with my anti-democratic precedent (#Brexit exempted). Still, I suppose voting for oneself, or “no confidence”, works as another way to inoculate oneself from the pozz of the team-sport/herd-animal mentality undergirding electoral politics.
Also: Hurhur…she said “minge”….
Joke of the Week Award goes to Saudi Arabian foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir for this knee-slapping declaration:
“We are doing everything we can to fight extremism.
“I don’t believe there is any country in the world that is more committed or more determined or has expended more resources and more effort to do this than the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
He added: “We cannot allow people to hijack our faith. We cannot allow people to take a peaceful religion — all religions are peaceful — and turn it into a way to justify violence.
“At the end of the day, Saudi Arabia is at the cross hairs of these extremist organisations because Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam and the Two Holy Mosques.”
And here I was thinking that the best way for the House of Saud to fight terrorism would be to collectively choke on a dick!
Ostensibly formed as a global peacekeeping organisation in the wake of World War II, the United Nations, or U.N., has, over time, made it clear that the peace it means to impose on the world resembles the pax Romana (or pax Islama), mandated and managed by way of a top-down global hegemon.
For all the criticisms levelled at desert pirates Daesh, their M.O. seems to resemble the U.N.’s in several key ways, with its fatwa-friendliness, universalist aspredations*, and a heralded, hypocritical hard-on for pious prohibition and penile predation. If one didn’t know any better, it’d be easy to suspect the Muslim Männerbund of taking more than a few notes.
If you were on a selection committee tasked with choosing someone to hire (or to admit to your university, or to receive a prize in your field), and it came down to two candidates who were equally qualified on objective measures, which candidate would you be most likely to choose?
__A) The one who shared your race
__B) The one who shared your gender
__C) The one who shared your religion
__D) The one who shared your political party or ideology
The correct answer, for most Americans, is now D. It is surely good news that prejudice based on race, gender, and religion are way down in recent decades. But it is very bad news—for America, for the world, and for science—that cross-partisan hostility is way up.
My nomination for “news that will stay news” is a paper by political scientists Shanto Iyengar and Sean Westwood, titled “Fear and Loathing Across Party Lines: New Evidence on Group Polarization.” Iyengar and Westwood report four studies (all using nationally representative samples) in which they gave Americans various ways to reveal both cross-partisan and cross-racial prejudice, and in all cases cross-partisan prejudice was larger.
First they used a measure of implicit attitudes (the Implicit Association Test), which measures how quickly and easily people can pair words that are emotionally good versus bad with words and images associated with Blacks vs. Whites. They also ran a new version of the test that swapped in words and images related to Republicans vs. Democrats, instead of Blacks vs. Whites. The effect sizes for cross-partisan implicit attitudes were much larger than cross-race. If we focus just on White participants who identified with a party, the cross-partisan effect was about 50 percent larger than the cross-race effect. When Americans look at each other or try to listen to each other, their automatic associations are more negative for people from the “other side” than they are for people of a different race.
In another study they had participants read pairs of fabricated resumes of graduating high school seniors and select one to receive a scholarship. Race made a difference—Black and White participants generally preferred to award the scholarship to the student with the stereotypically Black name. But Party made an even bigger difference, and always in a tribal way: 80 percent of the time, partisans selected the candidate whose resume showed that they were on their side, and it made little difference whether their co-partisan had a higher or lower GPA than the cross-partisan candidate.
In two additional studies Iyengar and Westwood had participants play behavioral economics games (the “trust game” and the “dictator game”). Each person played with what they thought was a particular other person, about whom they read a brief profile including the person’s age, gender, race, and political ideology. Race and ideology were manipulated systematically. Race made no difference, but partisanship mattered a lot: people were more trusting and generous when they thought they were playing with a co-partisan than a cross-partisan.
This is extremely bad news for America because it is very hard to have an effective democracy without compromise. But rising cross-partisan hostility means that Americans increasingly see the other side not just as wrong but as evil, as a threat to the very existence of the nation, according to Pew Research. Americans can expect rising polarization, nastiness, paralysis, and governmental dysfunction for a long time to come.
More than you might wanna inhale!
How to deal with the sexual assaults in Cologne and Hamburg by Musa Okwonga
Why We Can’t Stay Silent on Germany’s Mass Sex Assaults by Maajid Nawaz
The solution to Germany’s migrant problem is simple. But not easy. by Janet Bloomfield a.k.a JudgyBitch
We need to talk about Cologne by Greek Forum of Refugees (et al)
The false dilemma of the rapacious Muslim narrative by Hannah Wallen
Cologne and the ‘sexism of the other’: Why tougher migration policies won’t solve sexual abuse by Anne Jenichen
A reply to Anne Jenichen on the link between immigration and sexual violence by Daniel Falkiner
Is Europe Choosing to Self-Destruct? by Judith Bergman
After Cologne, Feminism is Dead by Phillip Mark McGough
Europa: When Feminism is Silent by NM Phoenix
Lie Back and Think of Brussels by Ann Sterzinger and Jamie Mason
International Business Times: Cologne sex attacks: Syrian refugees take to streets to condemn mass assaults by migrants on New Year’s Eve
What is the Islamic State?
Where did it come from, and what are its intentions? The simplicity of these questions can be deceiving, and few Western leaders seem to know the answers. In December, The New York Times published confidential comments by Major General Michael K. Nagata, the Special Operations commander for the United States in the Middle East, admitting that he had hardly begun figuring out the Islamic State’s appeal. “We have not defeated the idea,” he said. “We do not even understand the idea.” In the past year, President Obama has referred to the Islamic State, variously, as “not Islamic” and as al-Qaeda’s “jayvee team,” statements that reflected confusion about the group, and may have contributed to significant strategic errors.
The group seized Mosul, Iraq, last June, and already rules an area larger than the United Kingdom. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been its leader since May 2010, but until last summer, his most recent known appearance on film was a grainy mug shot from a stay in U.S. captivity at Camp Bucca during the occupation of Iraq. Then, on July 5 of last year, he stepped into the pulpit of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, to deliver a Ramadan sermon as the first caliph in generations—upgrading his resolution from grainy to high-definition, and his position from hunted guerrilla to commander of all Muslims. The inflow of jihadists that followed, from around the world, was unprecedented in its pace and volume, and is continuing.
Our ignorance of the Islamic State is in some ways understandable: It is a hermit kingdom; few have gone there and returned. Baghdadi has spoken on camera only once. But his address, and the Islamic State’s countless other propaganda videos and encyclicals, are online, and the caliphate’s supporters have toiled mightily to make their project knowable. We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.
A French news cameraman burst into the bar of Beirut’s Commodore Hotel, where his colleagues gathered most evenings, on November 17, 1983. “At last,” he shouted, cupping both hands upward, “someone with balls!” French warplanes had just bombed the town of Baalbek, site of magnificent Roman ruins but also of a Shiite Muslim militant barracks. This was France’s revenge for the killing of 58 French troops by a suicide bomber four weeks earlier. On the same morning the French died, the United States had lost 241 American service personnel, most of them U.S. Marines, to another suicide bomber. So far, Washington had not responded. We learned later that Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, who was against sending Marines to Lebanon in the first place, had dissuaded President Ronald Reagan from bombing Lebanon until there was evidence to prove who had done it.
France’s bombardment satisfied one French cameraman. It changed nothing, except for the civilians and militants who died in Baalbek. When the U.S. finally bombed eastern Lebanon in December, Syrian air defenses downed a Navy A-6 Intruder. The pilot, Lt. Mark Lange, died when his parachute malfunctioned. The navigator-bombardier, Lt. Robert O. Goodman, became a prisoner for 31 days until the Syrians released him to Reverend Jesse Jackson. And that was that.
By April 1984, the French and American forces of the ill-advised Multinational Force had left Lebanon. French President Francois Mitterrand’s promise to remain in defiance of those who had murdered his soldiers was forgotten, as was President Reagan’s commitment to peace in Lebanon. The civil war, already in its eighth year, did not end until 1990. The parties behind the bombing of the French and American troops, the Hezbollah militia and its backers, Iran and Syria, emerged more or less victorious. In fact, Syria had proven itself so powerful in Lebanon that the U.S. approved its military occupation to keep order. Syria went too far by assassinating former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri in February 2005, and its troops were forced to evacuate the country two months later.
There’s a lot of raspberrying and dismissiveness in the debate over whether to let the wave of “Syrian” “refugees” wash up on U.S. shores. In the partisan sandbox-fights to which we tend to reduce even the most serious questions, it’s easy to forget that in a case like this, there is probably a strong moral argument to be made on either side.
In a better world, Paul would be POTUS.
(In an >even< better world, the concept of a POTUS – and other national equivalents – would remain just that.)
A few months back, publisher Chip Smith asked me to write a new intro for the upcoming second edition of my 2011 novel NVSQVAM. To write the essay I had to rethink my protagonist, Lester Reichartsen, whose youth and dreams came to a screeching halt when his girlfriend slyly quit taking her birth control pills.
Reviewers’ response to Lester’s depressive and unenthusiastic assumption of the role of family man surprised me. Many a columnist—both liberal and conservative, those who loved the book and those who hated it—declared him a disgusting human being.
Pushing aside the fact that the phrase “disgusting human being” may be redundant, I was forced to confront the contrast between reader responses and my own underlying assumption: that Lester is no more horrible than anyone else.
The south of France, and one man finds himself deeply disenchanted by the culinary delights on offer in his locale. So much so, in fact, that he took to the press, voicing his determination never to let another kebabish open in his town again.
Lushes and reprobates – I give you Robert Ménard: ex-secretary general of press freedom group Reporters Sans Frontières and currently disgruntled mayor of the supposedly shish-saturated town of Béziers. This blowhard first came to my attention a couple of weeks back, when I read about his distaste for döner at the Daily Sabah. Already something of a national celebrity for his animus towards Allahphiles—making a point of illegally collecting stats on Muslim schoolkids and personally declaring Syrian refugees in his town persona non grata—the somewhat megalomaniacal mayor now wants to obstruct the opening of any further lamb-spit houses in his locale.
Reading about this reminds me of one reason I kickstarted this series-within-a-series known as ‘Halal & Hypocrisy’: to shine a spotlight on those for whom fighting the Islamification of the Western world serves as a Trojan Horse for their own liberticidal bullshit. Whilst I may not be thrilled about the concept (and existence) of borders (at least not on a nation-state level), I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have some sympathy for those who view them as a means of preserving treasured cultural and civil liberties—not to mention life and limb—in their lands (a la the late Pim Fortuyn). That said, I find it tragicomic how fervently those of such a persuasion appeal to the very institutions responsible for their malaise to make everything alright, especially when the latter either double down with a “solution” that further feeds the beast or take it as an opportunity to play bait ‘n’ switch by adding their own encroachments.
Atlantic article from January. Thoughtful overview of Dar al-Islam in the land of the Gauls.
Also, rather refreshing to see a mainstreamer who can tell the fucking difference between liberty and democracy!
The impressive and inspiring show of solidarity at France’s unity march on January 11—which brought together millions of people and more than 40 world leaders—was not necessarily a sign of good things to come. “We are all one” was indeed a powerful message, but what did it really mean, underneath the noble sentiment and the liberal faith that all people are essentially good and want the same things, regardless of religion or culture? Even if the scope is limited to Western liberals, the aftermath of the assaults in Paris on Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket has revealed a striking lack of consensus on a whole host of issues, including the limits of free speech, the treatment of religions versus racial groups, and the centrality of secularism to the liberal idea. Turns out, we are not all one.
French schoolteachers were reportedly dumbfounded that (some) Muslim students refused to stand up for a moment of silence after the attacks. But this is where confusion seeps into the debate. Within France, there is not a cultural divide on the attack that left 12 dead at the offices of a satirical magazine. To even suspect that a significant number of French Muslims might support the slaughter of innocents is troubling. But beyond the killings themselves, there is, in fact, a cultural divide—one that shines light on some of the most problematic aspects of how we in the West talk about Islam, values, and violence.
By Ilya Lozovsky
On Friday, heads of state — along with Nobel Prize winners, Pope Francis, and Beyoncé — convened at the United Nations in New York to inaugurate a grand new agenda to improve human welfare. Known as the Sustainable Development Goals (or, supposedly catchier, the “Global Goals”), the scheme consists of seventeen objectives — from “ending poverty in all its forms” to “conserving and sustainably using the oceans” — that are supposed to be achieved by 2030. As is de rigueur for grandiose United Nations summits, the formal festivities were accompanied by a bewildering array of over a hundred side events hosted by national governments, U.N. bodies, and NGOs large and small. If there’s a nerve center for the hive mind that is the international development industry, this was it.
Needless to say, this very serious industry has its very serious critics. But few are as creative (or as hilarious) as three young development professionals who, in the last few weeks, have chosen to express their discontent by self-publishing a satirical card game. JadedAid is modeled on the popular millennial game, Cards Against Humanity, in which players compete to select the funniest (or most vulgar) answers to a set of “fill-in-the-blank” questions. Just a week since its opening, the JadedAid KickStarter campaign has collected nearly twenty thousand dollars — far ahead of its creators’ targets — and the game is well on its way to completion. As an example of the kind of decidedly un-pc satire the game provides, here is one possible combination of cards:
Some of the card ideas were developed by the game’s inventors, who, all in their thirties, have extensive experience in the technology and communication side of the development industry. But the vast majority of the suggestions (nearly 800 at last count) were submitted by friends, colleagues, and anonymous development workers. One of the game’s co-founders, Jessica Heinzelman, 36, attributes the game’s immediate appeal to the need for development workers to “let off some steam” by subjecting their experiences in the field to mockery.
From Entertainment Weekly. I knew I wasn’t hallucinating Parker ‘n’ Stone’s sudden discovery of the narrative arc!
It’s been a long time since we talked about South Park as a TV show. As an institution, sure. Trey Parker and Matt Stone took Comedy Central mainstream in 1997, and they’ve outlasted all the network’s ensuing zeitgeists: Jon Stewart, Dave Chappelle, Stephen Colbert, Key & Peele, soon Amy Schumer, maybe Tosh someday. In 2013, the show downshifted to a 10-episode-yearly schedule: a shorter season, but also maybe just the new normal for cable. They’re contracted through 2019.
Why would they stop? Parker and Stone have time for extracurriculars — an Oscar nomination here, a videogame there, the occasional raft of Tony awards. In their public statements, they sound perfectly willing to keep the show going until Comedy Central cancels them. Comedy Central, in turn, seems perfectly willing to keep the show going until they quit. The show’s ratings aren’t what they used to be, but then again, our perspective on TV ratings isn’t what it used to be. Sure, South Park’s first season finale had 6.4 million viewers; sure, last week’s episode had just 1.2. But that first season finale was 17 years ago. Saying less people watch South Park is like saying someone invented Netflix.
Because South Park has lasted so long, because of its uniquely privileged position beyond the usual ratings race, and because it has been and always will be a relatively low-budget cartoon, starring lookalike soundalikes, we don’t think of it as a TV show because it’s not really like any other TV show. We treat it more like an animated op-ed column. And, to be fair, the timeliness of South Park was always one of its central virtues. As memorialized in the documentary Six Days to Air, the complete production schedule for a single episode is insanely rapid: Weeks shorter than the typical scripted show, months shorter than the typical animated series. “What does South Park think about this topical event?” became a thing right around the moment that the rise of social media demanded loud, frequent opinions about topical events.
We here in this room are like wild animals. We do what we do because we want to, or because it is the right thing to do. No other motivation. If you made slaves of us, you would for sure not be wise to let us near a weapon.
But how many slaves has there been in Earth’s long history that their masters could trust? MANY! There were even Armies of slaves, like the Janissaries. And how many people today are domestic animals at heart? Wanting someone else to tell them what to do, take care of their needs, and protect them not just from their fellow men, but also from themselves? Why has every free human society been so short lived? Is this because the wild-animal hearted men are born so heartbreakingly seldom?
– Poul Anderson, The Master Key
The above quoted short story offers keen insight into the difference between free men and slaves, and it lies not so much in their conditions of birth but in their propensities to accept or reject their state. Almost any slave, had he cared, could have fought a death-struggle against his slavery; and not a few would have been successful. In fact, if this pattern of behavior were typical, they would almost certainly be successful. One may use force and threat to extract a few shekels, but surely no one can be always under compulsion. The logistics of such an arrangement would make slavery totally pointless.
Y’all in Europe might find it a challenge to accommodate all of your new friends right now, but there’s hope: on this side of the pond, the native-born American worker just scored a massive coup, I tell you what.
A couple of weeks ago, there was a bit of a hullaballoo when SunTrust Banks in Atlanta decided to take advantage of our government’s generous H-1B special occupational visa program. The H-1B visa is a great boon to the American economy, allowing companies to replace their spoiled, entitled, costly native-born skilled labor force with cheaper, more compliant computer programmers, IT assistants, and scientists from countries like India.
It’s not that Indian people are innately more charitable toward their great and benevolent employers than Americans, mind you; but people who are in the country on an H-1B visa can’t change jobs without risking deportation, so they have to shut up and take what they’re given. The ideal employee!
But that wasn’t what made the news; such abuses of the H-1B are becoming commonplace. Just as humdrum was the way SunTrust humiliated the American employees they were firing by making them train their own replacements.
But then SunTrust pushed their luck a bit too far.
Showcasing both their lack of esteem for the American employees’ years of service and their lack of confidence in their cheap new workers’ ability to hit the ground running, SunTrust stuck a “continuing cooperation” clause in the severance agreement.
If they wanted severance pay, the rejected workers had to agree to donate their own time to step in and provide emergency help if something went wrong—for NO ADDITIONAL PAY.
Is present-day Paris more puritanical than it was under the Nazis?
I’d love to simply dwell on the jaunty visual attractiveness—not to mention the entertainment and historical value—of author Mel Gordon’s recent coffee table book from Feral House press, Horizontal Collaboration: The Erotic World of Paris 1920-1946. It’s by turns a joyful and critical account of the legal sex industry in Paris before, during, and after the two world wars.
I’d also prefer to avoid painting myself into a corner as “That one lady who spends weeks at a time wondering aloud about what the French are going to do with all their enthused new Muslims.”
But as the EU brass continue prying national borders open to everyone who can fit on a boat, it’s almost impossible to read an account of Paris, sex, and the Nazi occupation without one’s mind wandering to Paris, sex, and the new theocrappation.
…Although the extent of said theocrappation depends on how you interpret some viscerally shocking poll data. For instance: does 3 percent of a sample of the French population responding “very favorably” to ISIS while 13 percent respond “rather favorably” add up to 15 percent of the electorate backing ISIS? You parse the adverbs.
But in any case, as my dear departed friend Lisa Falour used to say: Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke. (An influx of radical Muslims is comedy gold, in fact; just as France was running out of humorless Catholics, here comes the new boss…)
I am, however, aware that reductio ad Hitlerum is a running gag with all the kids these days; therefore, I shall drive straight on to reductio praeter Hitlerum.
Because if the research in this book is anything like accurate—and Feral House’s longtime reputation might imply that it is—it sounds like the Nazis were more tolerant of, if not titillated by, Parisian sexual culture than our new friends the jihadis.
Then again, the Nazis were also more fun, sexually speaking, than the native French feminists in all apparent likelihood, so there’s that to chew on as well… Not to mention the fact that the Nazi stormtroopers supposedly acted less rapey in gay Paree than the heroic American GIs who came to chase them away.
Onfray’s book on atheism lies half-read on my print-pile; maybe one day, I’ll actually lay hands on it again.
Unusual ideological bedfellows in France are uniting against globalization and the euro.
10/16/15, 5:30 AM CET
Updated 10/16/15, 7:14 PM CET
PARIS — When the newspaper Libération last month accused self-professed “left of the left” philosopher and best-selling author Michel Onfray of “doing the [far-right party] Front National’s bidding,” French intellectuals circled the wagons.
Riding to the rescue from the left and right to defend Onfray, they did what intellectuals do in these cases: organize a public debate. The headline of the event, to be hosted at the Maison de la Mutualité on October 20 by political weekly magazine Marianne in support of its sometime contributor Onfray, sets a new standard for navel-gazing: “Can we still debate in France?”
Spoiler alert: The fury stirred up by the controversy offers a good clue to the answer.
Onfray is only the latest French thinker whom government-friendly media and Socialist party officials accuse of pushing ideas similar to those of the far-right — on immigration, the role of Islam in society and the need to restore France’s battered sense of self.