Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Tokens of Feminist Mythology & Endless Rape Hyperbole: Lying for a good cause doesn’t mean that you care; It means you’re a liar

Jonah Goldberg should have known he would be painted as a rape apologist
sighs Benny Huang,
when he refuted the oft-repeated “one in five” campus rape statistic. The National Review Online editor was locked in a Twitter debate with Matthew Dowd of ABC News, who posited, “[O]ne out of five college women are either raped or victims of attempted rape. thats [sic] a fact.”

Well, no. It isn’t a fact. That statistic has been proven, again and again, to be nothing more than a token of feminist mythology, similar to the claim that wife-beating spikes on Super Bowl Sunday. The Department of Justice’s most recent comprehensive study of rape on college campuses concludes that the number is actually .03-in-five, making Dowd’s claim roughly a thirty-three fold exaggeration.

The emotionalism that envelopes the topic of rape makes truth a commodity much less valued than concern for the victims, some of whom are genuine, and some of whom are false accusers. Ron Fournier of National Journal demonstrated this tendency to undervalue truth when he joined in the chiding of Goldberg, tweeting: “Jonah, you’re splitting statistical hairs to undermine an argument against …. rape. Let’s call it a day.”

Fournier begins by referring to the exaggeration of the problem by a factor of thirty-three as merely “splitting statistical hairs,” then makes clear that he thinks Goldberg a real heel for “undermining” an argument against rape. As if Goldberg has taken the pro-rape side of the argument! Could Goldberg be a rapist himself? Keep an eye on that fellow.

What we’ve learned from the UVA rape hoax is that a person’s opposition to sexual violence can be measured by the degree to which that person inflates rape statistics. Why then should anyone stop with the thoroughly discredited “one in five” stat? How about one in three? Four in five? One in one? If Fournier and Dowd can trot out a grossly exaggerated rape statistic then I can trot out an even more overblown one, thus rendering theirs a low-ball estimate. Who would minimize rape stats unless he was in fact a rapist sympathizer? Dowd and Fournier have some ‘splaining to do.

Some people don’t see any harm in a little hyperbole; or a lot, for that matter. They’re only telling noble lies, you see, intended to “raise awareness” about some issue that’s really, really important. How noble their lies are is very questionable, but they fact that they’re fibbing is not.

The end result of this kind of endless hyperbole is utter hysteria. Lives are ruined, freedom curtailed, and demagogues empowered when truth-challenged activists try to one-up each other with their alarmist claims. I, for one, am fed up with it. Lying for a good cause doesn’t mean that you care. It means you’re a liar.

Homeless advocates, for example, peddle some pretty suspicious facts. Mitch Snyder, the now deceased homeless advocate who made a name for himself in the 1980s with his rather overheated anti-Reagan rhetoric, liked to claim that there were three million homeless people in the United States. … The same Mitch Snyder later claimed that forty-five homeless people died every second, which would mean 1.4 billion dying every year.…

So Mitch Snyder’s numbers were a little off but his heart was in the right place. If you dispute his ridiculous statistics, yours isn’t. That’s how this game is played.

Environmentalists have their own catalogue of hair-on fire scare statistics and doomsday predictions. I recall my third grade teacher telling the class that the Amazon rainforest would be completely cleared in just twenty years and I believed her. Twenty-five years have gone by and that pesky Amazon still exists. I don’t blame my teacher. I’m sure someone passed that little factoid to her and she passed it along to us, believing it to be the truth.

 … AIDS activists are just as alarmist in their rhetoric as environmentalists or homeless advocates. During the early days of the AIDS “crisis”—which was only really a crisis if you indulged an appetite for intravenous drug use of anal sex with men—the movement’s tactic seemed to be to scare the bejeesus out of white, suburban, heterosexual America. …

 … In 1987, Oprah Winfrey had her own bogus “one in five” warning for America: “Research studies now project that one in five—listen to me, hard to believe—one in five heterosexuals could be dead from AIDS at the end of the next three years. That’s by 1990. One in five. It is no longer a gay disease, believe me.”

Yes, it was hard to believe, as she put it. Because it wasn’t true.

Whether it’s projections of the number of “climate refugees” there will be in a few years or the number of young black men gunned down by racist cops, there’s always someone who will hype a problem with undue hysterics. The alarmists don’t seem to think they’re doing anything wrong. Perhaps it’s because their theatrics are usually rewarded with press accolades if not more tangible items. Consequently, we end up making bad policy based on unfounded fears and indefensible prejudices.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Most Parisian cyclists are very philosophical about their chances of ending up on the tarmac or of being deprived of the chance to do so by someone stealing their bike

Paris is home to existentialism, the complex philosophical doctrine about the ultimate meaningless of the universe that is in fact just a long-winded way of making France’s favourite gesture 
writes Stephen Clarke:
the shrug.

The most extreme existentialist hero of them all was Meursault, the hero of Albert Camus’ novel L’Étranger, who kills someone for no reason then goes to the guillotine feeling little more than boredom. Head about to be chopped off? Bof.

Most Parisian cyclists I know are pretty much like Meursault, if you take out the bits about killing someone and going to the guillotine. They are very philosophical about their chances of ending up on the tarmac or of being deprived of the chance to do so by someone stealing their bike.

A story in today’s newspapers illustrated this. A Parisian man who’d had his bike stolen went online to buy a new one, and discovered his own bike for sale there. He called the police, who tracked down the sellers and found that two men had stolen and offered for sale 360 bikes in the past two months – that’s six a day. In other words, the chances of holding on to a bike in Paris are almost zero. Like Meursault, you can’t form any emotional attachments at all.

The main problem is that very few people have room in their building to park their bike. Buildings with courtyards or large entrance halls often ban bikes because they clutter up the place. My own building did this last year after people realised that half the bikes in the entrance hall were never used. Some of them belonged to tenants who had moved out months ago. It was a bike cemetery.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Dennis Prager on Commandments 6 to 10

Following a general introduction, Dennis Prager posts a series of 10 short videos on each of the 10 Commandments:
Humanity has everything it needs to create a good world. We've had it for 3,000 years. It's the Ten Commandments; ten basic, yet profound instructions for how to lead a moral life. If everyone followed the Ten Commandments, we would not need armies or police; marriages and families would be stronger; truth would be a paramount value. Dennis Prager explains how the Ten Commandments led to the creation of Western Civilization and why they remain relevant to your life today. This video course introduces a ten-part series.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Ten Commandments, in 6 Minutes Or Less (Commandments 1-5)

Following a general introduction, Dennis Prager posts a series of 10 short videos on each of the 10 Commandments:
Humanity has everything it needs to create a good world. We've had it for 3,000 years. It's the Ten Commandments; ten basic, yet profound instructions for how to lead a moral life. If everyone followed the Ten Commandments, we would not need armies or police; marriages and families would be stronger; truth would be a paramount value. Dennis Prager explains how the Ten Commandments led to the creation of Western Civilization and why they remain relevant to your life today. This video course introduces a ten-part series.

Several unusual Christmas customs to become familiar with while living Danishly

From the surreal to the health and safety nightmare, Danes do Christmas differently.
Thus does expat Helen Russell, author of the forthcoming The Year of Living Danishly, introduce the Ten ways to have a Danish Christmas. with the "several … unusual customs I’ve become familiar with during my time of living Danishly."
9. Dance
Remember the tree decorated with naked flames? Well, Danes love living on the edge so much that it’s customary to dance around the candle-lit Christmas tree after you’ve eaten and drunk your fill. Accidents are surprisingly rare and the exercise does wonders for kick-starting the metabolism after all those caramelised potatoes.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Danish Xmas: Soon, every other bite was greeted with more schnapps; “To help the herring swim better!” my host beamed

When new expat Helen Russell (author of the forthcoming The Year of Living Danishly) offered to host a traditional Danish Christmas for her neighbours, she entered a strange world of sugared potatoes, marzipan pigs – and lots of pickled herring.
Julefrokost (Christmas lunch) was my first introduction to traditional Danish festivities. When our new neighbours invited us to “come round for lunch” shortly before Christmas, I was presented with an artfully arranged stack of rye bread and jars of pickled herring, flavoured with everything from curry sauce to cinnamon.

The meal started with a Carlsberg (Danish since 1847) and we constructed our own sandwiches, before drinking to the party’s good health with a shot of schnapps. The children, to my surprise, drank beer. “But it’s Juleol – a Christmas beer. Sweet; very low alcohol,” my host explained. So far, so Danish.

I was just taking mouthful number two of my sandwich (avoiding the cinnamon herring) when my glass was refilled for another toast: “Skål!” Soon, every other bite was greeted with more schnapps. “To help the herring swim better!” my host beamed. By shot number five, I was pretty sure that my herring was Duncan Goodhew.
There was some singing, as there is at the slightest excuse in Denmark, and the next thing I knew, I was holding hands with my new pals and dancing around their Christmas tree. The vast, bushy fir was lit not by fairy lights, but by real candles that flickered precariously close to children’s heads/the curtains/my hostess’s flammable-looking skirt.

 … “Christmas dinner in Denmark is duck and pork,” [the only shop assistant in our local supermarket who could speak some English] told me.

“Duck or pork?”

“Duck and pork,” she corrected me. “Together. With potatoes.”

“Roast potatoes?”

“Boiled. Then rolled in butter. And sugar.”

“What?” I tried to hide my surprise. A potato with melted frosting?

…  God Jul!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Paris’s airports suffer from existential problems

France is a country that believes you should only know what the powers that be want you to know 
wrote Stephen Clarke after landing in a snow storm at a Paris airport a couple of years ago,
and containing this situation obviously depended on people sitting around in ignorance until they decided individually to come and ask what the hell was going on. Too much information would have caused a stampede for luggage forms and a sense of outraged solidarity in the crowd that would have required even more riot police.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The 1930s Persecution of the Jews in Europe? It's the Fault of the Nazi Party (Not Germany); The Segregation of Blacks in the South? It's the Fault of the South, or America Writ Large (Not the Democrat Party)

See if you can figure out what is wrong with Johnny Clark's AP story on the anniversary of the premiere of the film based on Margaret Mitchell's best-seller:
Seventy-five years after the premiere of the movie "Gone with the Wind," research is shedding light on the racial tensions that existed at the time between the producer and city of Atlanta officials.

 … "Producer David O. Selznick was upset that Hattie McDaniel would not be invited to the Atlanta premiere," said [Emory University film studies professor Matthew Bernstein]. "He argued over and over that she should be allowed."

 … Selznick was guided by the office of Atlanta's then-mayor William B. Hartsfield. It was Hartsfield that originally reached out to Selznick to bring the premiere to the city.

But due to the racial segregation laws in the Jim Crow south, none of the movie's black stars were allowed to attend the premiere or even be included in the movie's promotional program. McDaniel did attend the Los Angeles premiere and was featured in the program.

"Selznick, because he was Jewish, was very mindful of the persecution of the Jews in Europe in the late-1930s under Nazism," Bernstein remarks. "And he saw an analogy between that persecution and the life of African-Americans under Jim Crow, especially in the South."
Can you figure out what is wrong with the story? It's in the last paragraph, in the Emory University film studies professor's remarks, and it may refer to a significant detail that Selznick himself may not have been aware of.

Have you re-read the para? Can you find it?

Okay; there are actually several problems.

First, sorry to sound like an apologist for slavery or Jim Crow, but it happens to be a fact that segregation of the blacks in the South was in no way akin, or even close to akin, to persecution of the Jews in Germany. (I hasten to add — I have no choice, or I risk being pilloried as someone who has nostalgia for the old South (which I don't) — that I am not someone who has nostalgia for the old South.)

Persecution is "we go after you", segregation is "keep your place." Persecution is "we are coming after you — after all of you"; "segregation is "we don't expect to react to you, or even notice you, unless one of you gets our of line — then we'll go after the one that gets out of line." No, I am not defending segregation — in any way. Yes, I know it is anti-American, and anti-Democratic, and against the values of the Republic.

I am just pointing out that one distasteful policy is (far) less distasteful than another distasteful policy. Note that the Emory University film studies professor Matthew Bernstein manages to avoid mentioning the word "segregation" for a more general term — "the life of African-Americans" — to compare the persecution of the Jews to, in order to make it easier to put America (or the South) on the same level, or close to the same level, as Nazi Germany.

You still object? You still think I am defending something that is indefensible?

Okay. Let me go ahead and accept that. But you ought to watch out; because here is where we go to the bigger problem:

Prosecution of the Jews is not laid at the feet of the Germans (Germany isn't even mentioned, Europe is). Persecution of the Jews is laid (far from inappropriately, by the way) at the feet of the Nazis.

By contrast, segregation of the blacks is not laid at the feet of the Democratic Party; nor is Jim Crow. They are laid at the feet of the South, or America in general.

The name of the party that defended slavery, that tore apart the Union in the defense of slavery, that instituted Jim Crow laws, and that ruled over the South as long as the anti-democratic laws were in place — the word Democrat (party) — cannot even be found in the article. Not once.

As Jonah Goldberg writes in Liberal Fascism,
In the liberal telling of America's story, there are only two perpetrators of official misdeeds: conservatives and "America" writ large. Progressives, or modern liberals, are never bigots or tyrants, but conservatives often are. For example, one will virtually never hear that the Palmer Raids, Prohibition, or American eugenics were thoroughly progressive phenomena. These are sins America itself must atone for.

 … Liberals are never responsible for their historic misdeeds, because they feel no compulsion to defend the inherent goodness of America. Conservatives, meanwhile, not only take the blame for events not of their own making that they often worked the most assiduously against, but find themselves defending liberal misdeeds in order to defend America herself.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Unseen On-Set Photos of Original Star Wars Movie on Display in London

Rare behind-the-scenes pictures on the set of the original Star Wars film are currently on display at the British Film Institute, announces Popular Mechanics.
Good news for Star Wars fans in London: now you can relive the making of Episode IV, the original film, with just a short trip to the Southbank location of the British Film Institute, where these incredible behind-the-scenes photos are on display.

The collection belonged to Ann Skinner, who served as continuity supervisor for Star Wars (1977). It features shots of the original script, candids of the cast members on set in Tunisia, an unmasked Darth Vader, and much more.

The exhibit will run through January 4th, and is part of BFI’s ‘Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder,’ a celebration of “film and TV’s original blockbuster genre.”

Sunday, December 07, 2014

So much of contemporary liberalism reeks of a scheme by which already affluent and influential people increase their margins and extend their sway

Contemporary liberalism is a scheme for the already affluent and influential to increase their power 
explains Matthew Continetti, with examples galore.
The 2006 Duke Lacrosse case is the paradigmatic example of a liberal rush to judgment when the perceived victim is a minority (in that case, a black woman) and the alleged perpetrator a straight white male. But it is not the sole example.

In 2007, an instructor at Columbia’s Teachers College specializing in racial “micro-aggressions” and under investigation for plagiarism discovered a noose hanging from her office door; when she was fired the following year for academic malfeasance it was widely suspected that she had put the noose there herself. The racist graffiti and Klan sightings that rocked the Oberlin campus in 2013 and served as the basis of an anti-racism campaign were later revealed to be a left-wing “joke.” And of course the leader of the Michael Brown protest movement, tax cheat Al Sharpton, was involved in the Tawana Brawley hoax of 1987.

Recently critics noted serious flaws in the reporting and writing of a Rolling Stone article that purports to describe a violent gang rape in a University of Virginia fraternity house. The article was the basis for the university’s decision to suspend Greek life on campus for the duration of 2014. The magazine was evasive in its response to the challenges. Then, on Friday afternoon, it released the following statement: “There now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s [the alleged victim’s] account, and we have come to our conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced.” The story is false.

Does it even matter? Some liberals are upfront that the factuality of these cases is secondary to their political import. “Actually, in both the case of the UVA rape and in the case of the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri,” says a writer for The New Republic digital-media company, “the major takeaway of recent weeks should be that our systems do not work” (emphasis in the original).

What The New Republic means by “our systems” is our systems of power: the institutions through which a free society allocates resources and decision making, chooses priorities, delegates responsibilities and authority. It is the goal of contemporary liberalism to command these institutions — in particular institutions resistant to the left such as police and fire departments, fraternal societies and private clubs, the military and extractive industry — and to alter them according to fashionable theories of equality and justice. The details are unimportant so long as the “takeaway” is communicated, the desired policy achieved.

It is sometimes difficult to understand that, for the Left, racism and sexism and prejudice are not ethical categories but political ones. We are not merely talking about bad manners when the subject turns to Michael Brown or UVA or Thomas Piketty. We are talking about power.

“The new elite that seeks to supersede the old one, or merely share its power and honors, does not admit to such intention frankly and openly,” writes Vilfredo Pareto. “Instead it assumes the leadership of all the oppressed, declares that it will pursue not its own good but the good of the many; and it goes to battle, not for the rights of a restricted class but for the rights of almost the entire citizenry.”

Such is the conduct of our new elite, the archons and tribunes of the “coalition of the ascendant,” which proclaims itself the advocate of minority rights, of the poor, of the sick, as it entrenches its power and furthers its self-interest.

 … So much of contemporary liberalism reeks of a scheme by which already affluent and influential people increase their margins and extend their sway. Liberalism, mind you, in both parties: The Republican elite seems as devoted as their Democratic cousins to the shibboleths of diversity and immigration even as they bemoan the fate of the middle class and seek desperately the votes of white working families.

Just-so stories, extravagant assertions, heated denunciations, empty gestures, moral posturing that increases in intensity the further removed it is from the truth: If the mainstream narration of our ethnic, social, and cultural life is susceptible to error, it is because liberalism is the prevailing disposition of our institutions of higher education, of our media, of our nonprofit and public sectors, and it is therefore cocooned from skepticism and incredulity and independent thought. Sometimes the truth punctures the bubble. And when that happens — and lately it seems to be happening with increasing frequency — liberalism itself goes on trial.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

After more than 12 years of living in France, one expat is still trying to figure out exactly how to properly master driving

One thing every […] expat needs to master in France is how to drive on the country’s roads
writes Mark Johnson, the Daily Telegraph contributor who, after more than 12 years of living here, is "still trying to figure out exactly how to do it properly."
The most famous […] roundabout is, of course, the [large – and scary –] roundabout at the Arc de Triomphe on the Place de l’Etoile in Paris. I’ve had that experience a couple of times and would not recommend it to any expat driver.
It’s like being on a chaotic merry go round that never stops, but somehow, despite all the erratic movement of vehicles, the system appears to work most of the time. I’ve asked my city dwelling French friends why the system is constructed this way, but they simply shrug and say ‘that’s just the way it is’.

Tailgating is another anomaly to me. I’ll be driving along, in my comfy little DS3 at a fairly decent speed, on the autoroute only to be startled by the fact that a French driver has appeared out of nowhere and is so close to my automotive rear end that I can almost smell the lunch time garlic on their breath. Yet, when they’re in front of me they seem to be in no hurry at all.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Highly Recommended: "The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels" Dispels One Myth After Another

In The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, Alex Epstein of the Center for Industrial Progress offers an "alternative environmental philosophy to America, one that is antipollution but prodevelopment."

Used to publicly debating leading environmentalists, he asks the following question:
Could everything we know about fossil fuels be wrong?

For decades, environmentalists have told us that using fossil fuels is a self-destructive addiction that will destroy our planet. Yet at the same time, by every measure of human well-being, from life expectancy to clean water to climate safety, life has been getting better and better.

How can this be?

The explanation, energy expert Alex Epstein argues in The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, is that we usually hear only one side of the story. We’re taught to think only of the negatives of fossil fuels, their risks and side effects, but not their positives—their unique ability to provide cheap, reliable energy for a world of seven billion people. And the moral significance of cheap, reliable energy, Epstein argues, is woefully underrated. Energy is our ability to improve every single aspect of life, whether economic or environmental.

If we look at the big picture of fossil fuels compared with the alternatives, the overall impact of using fossil fuels is to make the world a far better place. We are morally obligated to use more fossil fuels for the sake of our economy and our environment.

Drawing on original insights and cutting-edge research, Epstein argues that most of what we hear about fossil fuels is a myth.

For instance . . .

Myth: Fossil fuels are dirty.
Truth: The environmental benefits of using fossil fuels far outweigh the risks. Fossil fuels don’t take a naturally clean environment and make it dirty; they take a naturally dirty environment and make it clean. They don’t take a naturally safe climate and make it dangerous; they take a naturally dangerous climate and make it ever safer.

Myth: Fossil fuels are unsustainable, so we should strive to use “renewable” solar and wind.
Truth: The sun and wind are intermittent, unreliable fuels that always need backup from a reliable source of energy—usually fossil fuels. There are huge amounts of fossil fuels left, and we have plenty of time to find something cheaper.

Myth: Fossil fuels are hurting the developing world.
Truth: Fossil fuels are the key to improving the quality of life for billions of people in the developing world. If we withhold them, access to clean water plummets, critical medical machines like incubators become impossible to operate, and life expectancy drops significantly. Calls to “get off fossil fuels” are calls to degrade the lives of innocent people who merely want the same opportunities we enjoy in the West.

Taking everything into account, including the facts about climate change, Epstein argues that “fossil fuels are easy to misunderstand and demonize, but they are absolutely good to use. And they absolutely need to be championed. . . . Mankind’s use of fossil fuels is supremely virtuous—because human life is the standard of value and because using fossil fuels transforms our environment to make it wonderful for human life.”

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Homo Scandals? Reporters are quick to self-censor when they have reservations about the damage their stories might do to beloved causes

Terrence Bean [the] 66-year old co-founder of the radical homosexual outfit known as the Human Rights Campaign (HRC)—a misnomer if ever there was one—was arrested in late November on charges that he and his ex-boyfriend raped a fifteen year old boy in a hotel room in Eugene, Oregon.
Is Benny Huang a bigot? One with "wrong ideas" about the gay movement? The Patriot Update writer has the nerve to challenge homosexual apologists and other "doubters to look a little closer at the seedier side of homosexual subculture." Meanwhile, one wonders whether it isn't obvious that Matt Barber also has "wrong ideas" and, indeed, is nothing less than homophobic; imagine, the WND author has the gall to speak of "the undeniable interplay between homosexuality and childhood sexual abuse" (while linking Terrance Patrick Bean to Barack Obama).

Update from Instapundit: ALL THE NEWS THAT’S FIT TO IGNORE: Also no coverage at the New York Times of the arrest of Obama bundler Terry Bean for child rape. It’s like they have an agenda to distort the news for partisan reasons or something.
Bean maintains his innocence.

The organization Mr. Bean founded is the largest “gay” “rights” pressure group in the United States. Its logo—a yellow equals sign on a blue background—is rapidly becoming the internationally recognized symbol of a political movement. In Massachusetts, where I hail from, the symbol is ubiquitous on car bumpers.

The HRC is the homofascist mothership and Bean is its queen. The organization published the illegally obtained donor list of the National Organization for Marriage in order to harass and intimidate its opponents. Its efforts also brought about the downfall of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich who made the mistake of making a small donation to supporters of California’s Proposition 8. The HRC supports forcing private citizens to participate in homosexual weddings. As long as anyone anywhere still maintains the rights of free speech and free exercise of religion, the HRC will not rest.
The high profile of the accused within the homosexual movement demands an answer as to why all three major networks have thus far completely ignored the story. Yet to ask the question is to answer it. Reporters are quick to self-censor when they have reservations about the damage their stories might do to beloved causes. In this instance, they worry that people might get the “wrong idea” about homosexuals, namely that their community has a special predilection toward pedophilia. Only “bigots” talk that way.

But what if the “bigots” are right? Homosexuals, particular the male variety, engage in kiddy-diddling at a rate far beyond their numbers. No, not all child molesters are homosexual, and not all homosexuals are child molesters, but the overlapping between the two groups is too large to ignore.

About one third of pedophilia victims are boys and nearly one hundred percent of the offenders are men. That means that male homosexuals, who represent about 1.5% of the population, account for approximately 33% of pedophilia incidents. In other words, male homosexuals molest children at a rate twenty-times greater than their share of the population. Homosexual apologists dismiss these basic facts by employing a lot of sophistry intended to demonstrate that men who have sex with boys aren’t really “gay.”

 … Even if every member of the homosexual community isn’t a child molester, the aggregate seems to embrace an attitude of see no evil, hear no evil. It wasn’t that long ago when America’s premiere pedophile rights organization, the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), marched in “gay” pride parades. According to journalist Benoit Denizet-Lewis, an open and unapologetic homosexual, NAMBLA became outcasts at pride parades around 1994, and only because the Religious Right began calling attention to the diddlers’ presence. It was almost as if the non-pedophile marchers at these parades failed to notice, for the better part of fifteen years, that their parade had been infiltrated by self-identified child rapists. The non-pedophiles obviously weren’t particularly ashamed of the association and would probably still include a NAMBLA contingent today if “bigots” hadn’t raised a stink about it. …

 … It doesn’t bother [homosexual activists] that their movement is infested with perverts like Harry Hay or Walter Lee Williams. It bothers them that other people notice it and make connections.
Related: What If Someone Told You That "Homosexuals" Do Not Exist? And What If They Were Right?

Monday, December 01, 2014

In a sane world, Sharyl Attkisson would be recognized with the highest commendations in journalism—the Peabody, the Pulitzer

Appearing at number five this week on the New York Times’ bestseller list is Sharyl Attkisson’s much anticipated debut “Stonewalled,” the tale of a renegade reporter who was forced out of her job at CBS because of a supposed “anti-Obama bias.” (Quick: name one reporter ever canned for having an anti-Bush bias.)
 Benny Huang discusses Fox News while quoting Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
Attkisson’s real crime was to engage in actual journalism, which didn’t sit well with the president of CBS News, David Rhodes. Mr. Rhodes’s brother Ben happens to be a spin doctor at the White House, so you can see why stories critical of the Obama Administration might perturb him. Attkisson covered the Fast and Furious gunwalking scandal that cost countless Mexicans and at least one US Border Patrol agent their lives. She also delved into the Benghazi scandal, refusing to accept the administration’s initial yarn about the attack being a spontaneous reaction to “Innocence of Muslims,” a Youtube video that ridiculed Mohammed.

 Judicial Watch recently obtained, via FOIA request, the smoking gun that proves that Obama Administration officials were trying to silence Attkisson. Tracy Schmaler, top press aide to Attorney General Eric Holder, complained in an email to White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz that Attkisson’s coverage of Fast and Furious was not reflecting well on the administration. I’m also calling Sharryl’s [sic] editor and reaching out to [CBS anchor Bob] Schieffer. She’s out of control.” Schultz replied: “Good. Her piece was really bad for AG.”

Well, it’s good to know that there’s absolutely no collusion between journalists and officials associated with the Obama Administration.

In a sane world, Attkisson would be recognized with the highest commendations in journalism—the Peabody, the Pulitzer. She did what good journalists are supposed to do—she dug, and dug, and discovered that there’s a lot still untold about the Benghazi and Fast and Furious scandals. So much has gone untold, of course, because the administration refused, and still refuses, to answer basic questions. In the “most transparent administration in history,” the truth is always under wraps. National security, my dear. National security.

What exactly ails the fabled “fourth estate” that would cause it to toss aside a gem like Sharyl Attkisson? For the answer to this question I would refer to the late Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the dissident writer and thorn in the Soviet Union’s side. Solzhenitsyn’s most famous work, “The Gulag Archipelago” is an indictment of the Soviet labor camp system in which he was himself imprisoned for producing “anti-Soviet propaganda.”

Upon arriving in the West in 1974, Solzhenitsyn hungered to read newspapers and periodicals that only an ostensibly free press could produce. How disappointed he was to discover that so much western journalism had little redeeming value. Speaking at Harvard in 1978, he remarked: “Without any censorship, in the West fashionable trends of thought are carefully separated from those which are not fashionable: nothing is forbidden, but what is not fashionable will hardly ever find its way into periodicals…”

I might object to the “without censorship” part. When a press aide to the attorney general can call upon editors and reporters to squelch a story that doesn’t flatter the administration, I’d call that government censorship. But the rest is spot on.

The problem with our media is their tendency to conform. No, they do not deliver “all the news that’s fit to print” as the masthead of the New York Times boasts. Their selection of stories is guided more by current fashions than any obligation to tell the truth. Their stifling conformity can and should be called soft censorship.

 … The end result of most media outlets marching to the beat of the same fashionable drummer is that some newsworthy stories are ignored while others that seem rather flimsy become the focus of the news cycle for a day or two, maybe longer. Who can forget the picture of the empty press box at abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s trial? The man who ran a filthy abortion mill in Philadelphia, who killed children even after they had emerged from the birth canal fully alive, did not seem to pique the interest of most news agencies, as evidenced by the empty benches reserved for reporters at his trial. Dozens of little Michael Browns and Trayvon Martins died, but the media didn’t care because they couldn’t pin it on a supposedly racist white cop, or even a “white Hispanic.”

When the estimable Mollie Hemmingway asked The Washington Post’s “health policy” reporter Sarah Kliff why she covered the Susan G. Komen row, Todd Akin’s comments about rape, and Sandra Fluke’s petulant demands, but failed to cover Gosnell’s house of horrors, Kliff responded: “I cover policy for the Washington Post, not local crime, hence why I wrote about all the policy issues you mentioned.”

As if Gosnell’s case were just a routine mugging in Central Park! If Kliff were honest, she would admit that the reason she didn’t cover Gosnell’s trial is because she serves as Planned Parenthood’s go-to gal for all things abortion. Planned Parenthood wanted to strangle the Gosnell story in the cradle and Kliff was eager to assist.

That’s the state of our media today. Great reporters like Sharyl Attkisson find themselves unemployed because they pursue stories that powerful people don’t like, while abortion industry shills like Sarah Kliff get to keep their jobs. One knew how to march to the beat of the proper drummer; the other did not. …

Sunday, November 30, 2014

With all this money Valérie Trierweiler’s earning from her book sales, she’ll probably be moving to London to escape her ex-boyfriend’s tax laws

 … the delicious irony is that with all this money Valérie Trierweiler’s earning from her book sales, she’ll probably be moving to London to escape her ex-boyfriend’s tax laws
Thus quips The Daily Telegraph's Stephen Clarke after  learning that "the French bought 650,000 copies [of her revenge book], making her an instant millionaire."
Chantal Jouanno … wants to end the whole fiasco of having First Ladies in France. No more private hairdressers, no more chauffeurs, office staff, foreign junkets. She’s head of the French Senate’s delegation for women’s rights, and seems to want women to have real political jobs rather than just being glorified political housewives (does the word palacewife exist? It should.)

You can’t chip away at French polticians’ privileges, especially not at the president’s own imperial lifestyle. And now that France has become accustomed to having its regular doses of presidential reality TV, the public wants all the scandal it can get. And in a way, it’s the best antidote to austerity there is. For the last few days at least, no one has been talking about the economy at all. Except to note that at least one French person is making a fortune by selling Frenchness overseas. Vive la France, non?

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Juno Beach, 70 Years Later…

Olivier Mercier a assisté aux cérémonies franco-canadiennes de l’anniversaire des 70 ans du Débarquement de Normandie, à Courseulles-sur-Mer. Ses clichés dévoilent des célébrations empreintes d’émotion, de joie et de solennité.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Rural France never forgets its fallen heroes

You don’t have to travel far in the rural French countryside
muses Mark Johnson
before you start to notice the dignified and permanent reminders of those who fell in the battles of the 20th century. In almost every village, the centrepiece on the main green is usually a memorial to the fallen heroes of the past. They’re usually adorned, year round in fact, by a tricolour and right now, of course, they’re decorated in wreaths of flowers.

 … Even though I’ve never known the hardship and loss that the ancestors of my French neighbours – and of course that of my own ancestors – experienced, my upbringing taught me that the world I live in today was only made possible by their sacrifice.

The memorials themselves are simple enough, but what really touches me is how they always seem to be well cared for and kept ‘alive’ with fresh flowers carefully placed around the bases, and that the grass around them is always kept neat and tidy.

You never see who keeps them in this constant state of care, but I’m glad that they do it. It shows that, even after a generation, people still remember those who fell, and perhaps, sadly, those who continue to lose their lives trying to keep the peace in today’s war torn nations.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Caesarism — Obama’s Executive Order is an open invitation to the teeming masses around the world: we are paying people to come here illegally

As “Emperor Obama”—to cite a title applied to Barack Obama by House Speaker John BoehnerSenator Jeff Sessions, and others—proceeds with his plan to trample the Constitution by issuing an Executive Order on amnesty for illegals 
writes Breitbart's Virgil (hat tip to Joe Miller),
perhaps it’s worth looking back to see how the authors of the Constitution might have reacted to such a crisis.

The short answer is that the Founders worried about presidential power-grabbing, and so wrote a proper response into the Constitution. However, the longer answer is that Emperor Obama might be setting in motion a process that actually undermines the Constitution. Although he was defeated at the polls in 2014, Obama could be initiating a process that consolidates Democratic power for the rest of the century.

In Philadelphia, in 1787, Benjamin Franklin was asked what sort of government the just-completed Constitutional Convention, presided over by George Washington, had created. “A republic,” he replied. Then the great patriot quickly added, “If you can keep it.”

And that was the key point: If Americans can keep it. The following year, 1788, James Madison wrote in Federalist #51, arguing for the ratification of the Constitution, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” But since men are not angels, Madison continued, it was necessary to create a Constitutional system of checks and balances; as Madison put it, “divide and arrange the several offices in such a manner as that each may be a check on the other.”

Yet where would ultimate power reside? In any kind of Constitutional showdown which of the “several offices” would be decisive? Would it be the executive branch? The judicial branch? The legislative branch? In the same Federalist #51, Madison had a ready answer: “In republican government, the legislative authority necessarily predominates.”

The Founders were quite deliberate in their determination to restrict executive power, and for a very good reason: They knew their history. They fully expected that some future American president would seek to upend the Constitutional order by seeking to concentrate power in the executive branch.

The Founders had a word for it: Caesarism.

To many contemporary American ears, the word “Caesar,” as in Julius Caesar, is sort of cool. He was, after all, a high-living, swashbuckling conqueror, an action hero of the first century, BC.

To the Founders, Julius Caesar was a figure to be feared: He extinguished the Roman Republic. A successful general in foreign military campaigns, Caesar decided that he liked being a dictator. So he brought the war home to Rome; in 50 BC he launched a bloody civil war to consolidate his dictatorship. And so, 1800 years later, the “ism”—that is, Caesarism—was still to be guarded against.

The Founders were steeped in history, and they sought particular meaning in classical allusions, which they knew would resonate with readers and listeners. As a result, they often took Roman pen names, including Cato, Publius, Agrippa, and, perhaps most poignantly, Brutus.

That would be Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger, who helped assassinate Julius Caesar in 44 BC. The Founders knew that Brutus and his comrades described themselves as liberatores (liberators), and they were all about liberty.

It should be noted immediately that the Founders were not lawless men. They believed in the rule of law, but they were also realists about the potential for its abuse. As Thomas Jefferson wrote grimly in 1787, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” Indeed, to this day, the words sic semper tyrannis (“thus always tyrants”; more loosely, “death to tyrants” ) appear on the Great Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Once again, the Founders did not believe in assassination. However, as Cornell Law School professor Josh Chafetz has explained, Franklin and the other Founders were eager to see impeachment provisions inserted into the new Constitution, precisely because they wanted to fend off any possible murderous impulses; that is, they hoped that the legal proceeding of impeachment would take the place of the illegal act of murder.

Since the ratification of the Constitution in 1789, fear of Caesarism in America has waxed and waned. For most of the 19th century, the legislative branch did, in fact, predominate—just as Madison, the principal author of the Constitution, had intended.

Yet in the 20th century, the presidency gained enormous power. In 1959, the conservative historian and journalist James Burnham published a worried tome, Congress and the American Tradition, lamenting the rise of presidential power since Franklin D. Roosevelt in the New Deal. The “soaring executive,” wrote Burnham, brought with him the risk of Caesarism.

Burnham himself was a pessimist: The Caesarism that he saw in the middle of the 20th century was unlikely, he thought, to be reversed. Indeed, in the 1960s and early 1970s, it seemed that the “imperial presidency” was destined to gain more and more power.

Then came the Watergate scandal of the mid-70s; Congressional investigations, spearheaded by Democrats, forced the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974. At the time, not every Republican was happy, but Burnhamite conservatives should have cheered at the sight of legislative predominance being affirmed.

Since Watergate, of course, the struggle among the three branches has continued.

And so here we are today, in 2014: President Obama, having lost the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2014, is now issuing a sweeping Executive Order, effectively suspending immigration-law enforcement. In so doing, he is belatedly doing something that he himself has said, on at least 22 occasions, that he didn’t have the authority to do.

In addition, Obama lacks popular support for his initiative; an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that a clear plurality of Americans oppose his plan.

In other words, as he issues his Executive Order, he is practicing Caesarism—Mike Huckabee was one contemporary figure who made the comparison—of a peculiarly weak kind: He has no majority, either on Capitol Hill or among the general public.

Newt Gingrich recently made a mordant comparison; the former House Speaker compared the 44th President to the 28th President, Woodrow Wilson, who pursued his vain plan for the League of Nations, ignoring the Republican-controlled Senate. And, as Gingrich observed, the Senate, in 1919, rejected Wilson’s treaty, thereby shattering what remained of his two-term presidency.

Of course, Obama might think that he has finessed the issue of foreign treaties; his new “global warming” deal with China, for example, is not formally a treaty, but simply an agreement between Obama and the Chinese leader—so it’s questionable if it will have any force at all, at least on the Chinese side, in the decades ahead.

Indeed, among the problems with both of these presidential dictates—first China, now illegal aliens—is that they have no enduring force. Yes, the President can use his executive power, but his actions can be all undone, almost as easily as they have been done.

If the results of the 2014 midterm elections are any guide, the path ahead for the Democrats in 2016 is rocky. If Republicans can win statewide gubernatorial elections in such blue states as Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin, there’s plenty of reason for the GOP to be optimistic that it can undo the Democrats’ recent advantage in the electoral college.

Yet Emperor Obama still has a card to play—a card way outside of the Constitution. And that card is the demographic card.

As Charles Krauthammer said on Fox News tonight, Obama’s Executive Order is an open invitation to the teeming masses around the world: If they can get to the US, most likely, they will be able to stay. And, as Breitbart NewsMatthew Boyle has pointed out, those that are here will likely receive government benefits; in other words, we are paying people to come here illegally.

So the Obama immigration order can be seen as a demographic play: Not only does the venture solidify the Democratic base, but it also offers the prospect of expanding that base, by bringing in new immigrants, whom the Democrats obviously hope, one way or another, will be able to vote. (And even if they can’t vote, their mere presence on US soil will change the composition of Congress through reapportionment.)

Surely Democrats have noticed, for example, that one state that proved to be exempt from the pro-Republican trend of the 2014 midterm elections was immigrant-heavy California. In fact, amidst historic losses nationwide, the Democrats actually gained a House seat in the Golden State; no doubt that local success was one reason why Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco felt emboldened to seek a seventh term as Democratic leader of the House.

Perhaps Emperor Obama has an effective plan. It’s not a Constitutional plan, and it’s not really even an American plan—but it could be a strong plan for tyranny, based on new imported demography
As we have seen, the Founders worried greatly about Caesarism, and they did their best to safeguard against it. But back in the 18th century, they couldn’t be expected to foresee every possible subversion of their new Republic. Today, in the 21st century, it’s our job to assess the new threat to our Constitution, and to make a new strategy to preserve and defend it.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

John Quincy Adams in 1819: "This is a land, not of privileges, but of equal rights"; Immigrants "come to a life of independence, but also to a life of labor"

We often hear about the glory days of immigration when America threw open her arms to the huddled masses 
acknowledges The Federalist's D.C. McAllister,
but one thing you don’t hear about is how those people had to make it on their own without a government safety net. There was plenty of private charity, which was highly encouraged, but health care, a minimum-wage job, college entrance, housing, legal representation, and education certainly weren’t promised—not like today.

In 1819, John Quincy Adams wrote a letter as secretary of State under President James Monroe to a man named von Fiirstenwarther, who had written a report about emigration in Germany and wanted the U.S. government to give him a job if he immigrated to the United States from his native country. The letter gives great insight into attitudes about immigration at a time when it was becoming a serious issue; the nation was in a financial crisis because banks were printing too much money, and the country was expanding at an overwhelming rate. Jobs weren’t as easy to come by as they had been in the past (sound familiar?). The idea of immigrants receiving government subsistence was nonsensical. The borders were open, but it was up to each individual to make his or her own way in the New World. Americans then valued personal responsibility and liberty more highly than security and public welfare.

Adam’s letter reveals this fact like nothing else. It is difficult to find (it was printed in Niles’ Weekly Register, Volume 18, in 1820), and it would be a surprise if most politicians today have even read it—but they should.
Here it is … (italics added). Let its wisdom be a lesson for today as we throw open our borders to the poor in an age of government largesse.

The Letter from John Quincy Adams

Sir—I had the honor of receiving your letter of the 22nd April, enclosing one from your kinsman, the Baron de Gagern, and a copy of your printed report, which I hope and have no doubt will be useful to those of your countrymen in Germany, who may have entertained erroneous ideas, with regard to the results of emigration from Europe to this country.

It was explicitly stated to you, and your report has taken just notice of the statement, that the government of the United States has never adopted any measure to encourage or invite emigrants from any part of Europe. It has never held out any incitements to induce the subjects of any other sovereign to abandon their own country, to become inhabitants of this. From motives of humanity it has occasionally furnished facilities to emigrants who, having arrived here with views of forming settlements, have specially needed such assistance to carry them into effect. Neither the general government of the union, nor those of the individual states, are ignorant or unobservant of the additional strength and wealth, which accrues to the nation, by the accession of a mass of healthy, industrious, and frugal laborers, nor are they in any manner insensible to the great benefits which this country has derived, and continues to derive, from the influx of such adoptive children from Germany.

But there is one principle which pervades all the institutions of this country, and which must always operate as an obstacle to the granting of favors to new comers. This is a land, not of privileges, but of equal rights. Privileges are granted by European sovereigns to particular classes of individuals, for purposes of general policy; but the general impression here is that privileges granted to one denomination of people, can very seldom be discriminated from erosions of the rights of others.
Emigrants from Germany, therefore, or from elsewhere, coming here, are not to expect favors from the governments. They are to expect, if they choose to become citizens, equal rights with those of the natives of the country. They are to expect, if affluent, to possess the means of making their property productive, with moderation, and with safety;—if indigent, but industrious, honest and frugal, the means of obtaining easy and comfortable subsistence for themselves and their families.

They come to a life of independence, but to a life of labor—and, if they cannot accommodate themselves to the character, moral, political, and physical, of this country, with all its compensating balances of good and evil, the Atlantic is always open to them, to return to the land of their nativity and their fathers.
To one thing they must make up their minds, or, they will be disappointed in every expectation of happiness as Americans. They must cast off the European skin, never to resume it. They must look forward to their posterity, rather than backward to their ancestors; they must be sure that whatever their own feelings may be, those of their children will cling to the prejudices of this country, and will partake of that proud spirit, not unmingled with disdain, which you have observed is remarkable in the general character of this people, and as perhaps belonging peculiarly to those of German descent, born in this country.
Yes, Europeans must must cast off the European skin, never to resume it — i.e., it is the total opposite of what leftists say, that Americans must start acting like all other nations, especially those oh-so-wonderful Europeans.
That feeling of superiority over other nations which you have noticed, and which has been so offensive to other strangers, who have visited these shores, arises from the consciousness of every individual that, as a member of society, no man in the country is above him; and, exulting in this sentiment, he looks down upon those nations where the mass of the people feel themselves the inferiors of privileged classes, and where men are high or low, according to the accidents of their birth.
Indeed, the disparaging image the leftists trot about Republicans, or conservatives, or flyover country, or Americans generally, is a centuries-old image that comes precisely from those very "strangers", the — offended — upper classes of Europe.
But hence it is that no government in the world possesses so few means of bestowing favors, as the government of the United States. The governments are the servants of the people, and are so considered by the people, who place and displace them at their pleasure. They are chosen to manage for short periods the common concerns, and when they cease to give satisfaction, they cease to be employed. If the powers, however, of the government to do good are restricted, those of doing harm are still more limited. The dependence, in affairs of government, is the reverse of the practice in Europe, instead of the people depending upon their rulers, the rulers, as such, are always dependent upon the good will of the people.

 … We expect therefore very few, if any transplanted countrymen from classes of people who enjoy happiness, ease, or even comfort, in their native climes. The happy and contented remain at home, and it requires an impulse, at least as keen as that of urgent want, to drive a man from the soil of his nativity and the land of his father’s sepulchres. Of the very few emigrants of more fortunate classes, who ever make the attempt of settling in this country, a principal proportion sicken at the strangeness of our manners, and after a residence, more or less protracted, return to the countries whence they came.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The media have “got to open up a gateway,” says Gruber videos unearther, to receive more information

  … if not for one slightly obsessed citizen, we wouldn’t have the videos of Jonathan Gruber saying the health care law was deceptively designed and its passage depended on the stupidity of the American public.
Thus writes Howard Kurtz in a Fox News article that can ring a bell with many bloggers.
And it is about his frustrating struggle to get that information out to the media.

 … Rich Weinstein, a Philadelphia investment adviser … is up front about the fact that his motives were personal. His insurance policy was canceled, he says, because of the Affordable Care Act, and his premiums wound up doubling.

He started out searching for another administration adviser and then switched to Gruber. He sat through hour after tedious hour of video taken at academic conferences and in other settings.

This helps explain why a self-described regular guy was able to unearth what the media could not. Few news organizations could afford to have a reporter spend a long period searching for a needle in an online haystack, especially without a tip that the needle existed at all. Maybe everything that Gruber had to say about the law he helped devise was boring. But Weinstein kept at it, although he did give up the search for awhile during his kids’ lacrosse season.

Last December, Weinstein found one video in which Gruber, an MIT professor,  said that ObamaCare subscribers wouldn’t get tax benefits if their states didn’t set up health care exchanges, meaning they would be losing out to those in states that did create the websites.

That’s when Weinstein used every means he could think of, from Facebook to phone calls, to get the attention of journalists. He says he tried getting messages to Fox News, Forbes, National Review, Glenn Beck and a network affiliate in Philadelphia where a friend worked. Nobody bit. Nobody called back.

“It was so frustrating,” Weinstein said. “I tried really hard to give this to the media. I had this and couldn’t get it to anybody that knows what to do with it.” All he wanted, Weinstein says, was a train ride to D.C. for him and his lawyer, and “I was going to give them everything for nothing, no money, all I wanted was autographed pictures of the people I was working with to hang on my office wall.”


He finally posted a comment on the web page of the Volokh Conspiracy, a group of conservative lawyers whose blog is hosted by the Washington Post. A conservative activist picked it up, and Forbes wound up carrying a piece by contributor Michael Cannon, dubbed by the New Republic “Obamacare’s Single Most Relentless Antagonist.”

It wasn’t until shortly before the midterms that Weinstein found what came to be known as Gruber’s “stupidity” video. He plastered it on his Twitter feed days later, sometimes inserting the names of journalists to try to grab their attention. This time, the news was quickly picked up by Fox, the Daily Caller and other media outlets (but not the broadcast networks or major newspapers).

 … he had a parting thought about the press and citizen journalists. There must be more Weinsteins out there, maybe one in each state, and they need a forum. The media have “got to open up a gateway,” he said, to receive such information.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Friday, November 14, 2014

What If Someone Told You That "Homosexuals" Do Not Exist? And What If They Were Right?

Alternative title:
If You Are Using the Word "Homosexual", You Are Already Losing the Battle

Long Alternative:
If You Are Using the Word "Homosexual" (as Well as Derivatives, Positive, Negative or Other, such as "Gay" and "Fag" etc…) — by that very act — You Are Already Losing the Battle.

What battle?

A battle in the alleged war against homosexuals, or perhaps that, more general (and more real), against liberals and the left?


The battle to see the truth, pure and simple, and to (warning: gay double entendre ahead) get to the bottom of things.

And it applies to whether you are pro-gay, anti-gay, or neutral; and whether you are conservative, liberal, or independent.

It sounds extreme, doesn't it?

Surely in this day and age, just about everybody would agree, the terms gay and homosexual are part and parcel of modern-day discourse, and should thus be accepted. No?

One (straight) pickup artist's approach technique involves asking a girl whether she is: a folder, a roller, or a tosser. Wondering what identity of hers he is asking about gets the conversation going (it concerns how one… packs one's clothes in one's suitcase!) — which is the whole point, needless to say. A whole conversation begins and continues forever — just as it has, on a nation-wide scale, on a worldwide scale, regarding oppressed homosexuals, oppressed African-Americans, oppressed women, oppressed individuals who pour hot coffee on their laps at McDonald's, etc etc etc…

The other day, I was telling a liberal how I was sorry, but — compared with their lot in foreign countries — blacks and the poor have perhaps not suffered as much in America as they like to think…

He immediately interrupted me: "You've never been black!"

Of course, his being a (close) member of my family, he wasn't black either and had never been so.

But that is of no matter, needless to say, because he is of the tolerant-generous-humanistic-new-agey sort and so he empathizes with minorities and wants the government to interfere on their (alleged) behalf. 

Another time, I was told — by leftist Jews — that I was not a Palestinian and could not comment on the conflict because I had no idea of their suffering at the hands of Israel. (Guess what: they — obviously — weren't Palestinians either.)

The answer to all those issues is, I am a human being, and therefore I can understand (or make a decision to refuse to understand) blacks (black human beings), Palestinians (Palestinian human beings), women (female human beings), etc, etc, etc, as well as homosexuals (gay human beings)…

Wouldn't this seem to go along with Martin Luther King's "Judge them not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character"?

And so we get to "homosexuals" and to "their [gays'] dignity as human beings"; "recognizing the gay and lesbian population in the United States is a contemporary civil rights issue."

No, it's not.

To put it simply:

Homosexuals do not exist.

Really. It's true. Gays, or gay people if you prefer, do not exist.

Nor do lesbians.

Never have.

It sounds radical, doesn't it? Extremist, even.

Retarded. Obtuse. Dense.

To tell the truth, it sounded so to me too a few months or so ago when the thought first popped into my head.

Actually, it is neither extremist nor dense. Nor is it hate speech or anti-gay (nor is it in any way pro-gay, for that matter).

Believe it or not, this post is in no way a moral judgment of any kind on homosexuals, nor indeed on heterosexuals, or on sex (or the lack thereof) of any kind.

It is simply a fact — a neutral, objective fact: Homosexuals do not exist.

What passes for (a) homosexual is a particular person's search for a particular pleasure — whether it is temporary or life-long. (A pleasure which, most of the time, is different from the mainstream's.)

Most people, gay or other, pro-gay or anti-gay, would probably laugh or snort if I said that homosexuals do not exist, meaning homosexuality does not exist, and they could then, f'r'instance, link to a gay sex site and ask what kind of dork says that this (pointing) does not exist?!

Are you crazy?! they (you?) would ask disbelievingly (whether you are gay, straight, leftist, rightist, or anything else). Have you never seen a gay porn video? Two gays (male or female) ought to stand right in your face and soul kiss each other, with their hands down each other's pants. Asshole!

But this entire post could have been written without once addressing gay themes, and being entirely focused on conventional (mainstream?) heterosexual (man-woman) sex.

Because heterosexuals do not exist, either.

A man's pursuit, or a woman's pursuit, of (what we might call) hedonistic pleasure — or of any pleasure at all — should not be the way we identify him, or her. Nor should his or her particular pursuit of pleasure (hedonistic or other) — i.e., homosexuality — be used to classify that person's activity.

By speaking about homosexuality, we extend it to a given person's identity as a homosexual and classify him as such, whether in positive, negative, or simply neutral terms. He or she is different. And lately, he or she deserves special privileges.

All the debate about homos is one way of elevating (what ostensibly is) a private activity, a way of seeking pleasure (perverted or other, inside the mainstream or outside), into a personal identity. As it happens, this is no more wrong than identifying "normal" people as heterosexuals, i.e.,  elevating "banging chicks" (for a male) into a personal identity — or even refraining from sex (for reasons valid or other) into an identity (a non-sexual?).

For centuries, for millenia, people have been primarily identified by their occupation — what they did for the benefit of their neighbor(s) and their community (soldier, farmer, worker, businessman, plumber, etc) — and not what they did for leisure, "for fun", for themselves, whether inside the home or elsewhere (certainly not in the privacy of the bedroom) — unless, of course, they were a prostitute (but in that case we would indeed also be speaking of that woman's, or of that man's, occupation).

Just as we should not be identified, primarily, with our skin color, or with our nationality, so we should not — any of us — be identified with (the amorphous and ill-defined concepts of) sexual orientation and gender identity. Or indeed, with attraction or with pleasure-seeking of any sort of all. Whether homo or hetero. Leisure, within the bedsheets or outdoors (neither are we Disneyland-goers or Six Flag park-attenders), is not our primary identity. It is not his — or her — true self. (Unless it is a person's occupation, such as a prostitute or — I am not saying they are the same — a musician or a professional baseball player.)

You might ask (indeed, you might sneer), who are you, Erik, who are you conservatives, to tell me how I am to identify myself, who am I to describe myself.

And that, whether you are gay, straight, man, woman, "African-American", white, Palestinian, Scandinavian, or other.

You may identify as you wish. Absolutely.

Just as I may not choose to identify you as other than a human being.

Indeed, isn't having all members of a country identified equally the meaning of republic? Not as part of subsets, and subgroups?

What the problem here is, is asking, requesting, the government, and the authorities, and the culture,  that it, and that we all, identify you as such.

So, to the question, Why should this be of any business of mine?

The answer is: The issue is not me, us, refusing something to some minority: it is gays and their sympathizers imposing their will on us, with the backing of the government — and on the laws of the land (see bakers and photographers, not to mention the Ku Klux Klan).

The people in society we admire are no longer business leaders and warriors and those who work hard and have made a sacrifice.  They are movie stars and pop musicians and Olympic athletes and transvestites. In France, a girl demands, "Je veux m'exprimer sexuellement!" I want the freedom to express myself freely — that is, express my sexuality freely (i.e., sleep around). Fine. No problem with that. But notice that all our society's freedoms and liberties and admiration have dwindled to being reserved for the field of what can generally be described as entertainment and personal pleasure-seeking.

All the modern liberal state's "progress" has been towards the field of the citizen's entertainment (who cares about foreign affairs? just pretend the foreign governments are not as bad as the "paranoids" claim) — with the epitome being the state that takes care of all citizen "needs" (health care, etc) while spending money on several levels of entertainment (making cities pedestrian-friendly, e.g., tourist-friendly, by shutting down ever more car-friendly, i.e., worker-friendly, roads) — the citizen keeping only one "freedom", the freedom to retain some level of control over what types of personal pastimes (sexual and/or other) he or she engages in.

The progressive dream is to make the nation, and indeed the entire world, a playground.

(At the same time, the fun-seekers (gay or other) can assuage any guilt they might have by their (basically effortless) joining of righteous causes — such as the battle against homophobia or racism (one in which they basically make little effort except bring up, when needed, the correct opinion, the one supporting the censors (the guilt-mongerers, nannies, authoritarians and far-Left agitators as well as the crowing, cackling, censorious battle-axes, male and female, of the third-wave feminist and social justice causes).  Conversely, a great deal of the opposition, indeed the bitterness, to Bush and his Iraq War was the reluctance to have to face up to moral considerations and take money, and time, away from the various countries' respective playgrounds. Indeed, one has to wonder if the entire concept of the United Nations does not lie on the presumption that with that international talking shop in place, all nations can engage in their respective playground antics — blast demonizing broadsides at the moralizers Bush and Blair while hoping for a president who would mirror the Europeans' taste for play…)

As you can see, we have not taking a step forward — for gay rights or for rights in general — nor have we come out of the dark ages.

No. On the contrary. We have gone back in time. Two thousand years back in time.

We have gone back to the time when the Republic of Rome was transformed into the Roman Empire.

To build on the words of Benjamin Franklin, the citizens of the Republic could not keep it (their Republic).

The Empire came during a time when government took over the citizens' private pleasures, such as with the public building of immense bath houses and huge coliseums, along with free circuses, and when citizens became contented as long as they had their "bread and circuses" (not to speak of the famed Roman orgies (straight or other)), i.e., as long as their private pleasures, as their sensual pleasures, were taken care of.

We have gone back in time. Two thousand years back in time.

Have Democrats Taken Their Talking Points and Tactics From French Waiters?

The unwritten rule book on how "garçons" from Paris and the rest of France manage to lengthen diners' bills without raising their hackles has been set in stone by the rue89 website
writes Henry Samuel in a Daily Telegraph post that makes one think of America's Democrats.
In an article headlined: "Seven serving tips to increase the bill", rue89 claims that waiters or waitresses are taught skills such as [employing] closed questions like: "Will you have an aperitif or move straight onto wine?", steering customers away from cheaper options like free water.
Among the more subtle techniques is that of listing wines from cheap to expensive, such as "Sauvignon, Chardonnay or Chablis?" as customers tend to remember the last wine mentioned and don't dare to ask for a waiter to repeat the list.
One golden rule is never to place bread on the table before an order, as diners are likely to get full too fast for several dishes. "My boss wants me to give it after bringing the dish, even if it means forgetting it entirely so customers will be hungry for dessert," Romain, one waiter in Montparnasse told the website.

 … An old trick to pull in a bigger tip is to cheerily inquire whether "everything is OK?" when collecting the credit card or ensuring there is plenty of small change instead of a banknote in case of a cash payment.

Sylvain, a waiter interviewed by rue89, said he always recalls advice from a manager at the Costes restaurant group, who told him: "Waiters are here to screw the clients, not physically but by taking his money."

"Everything is codified, thought out down to the smallest details to sell the most products."

But Aurélie Viry, a teacher with AV-Conseil, which offers catering and hostelry courses, said there was more to the art of serving than simply taking orders.

"Everything that can be sold means more profits. It's all about how it's proposed. We're not forcing the customer, who can always say no," she said.

Above all, the customer must associate the experience with pleasure, she said. "Hence, you must say: 'Would another coffee give you pleasure?' rather than "No more coffees?" she said.