This list of 2015 ludicrousness could be lengthened indefinitely, but
enough already. The common thread is the collapse of judgment in, and
the infantilization of society by, government. Happier New Year.
BIG SPOILER AHEAD
DO NOT READ FURTHER
IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE FORCE AWAKENS
Once a central figure is gone, a new crew forms for the Millennium Falcon:
Rey and Chewbacca; fair enough — but why — why on Hoth?! — does
Chewie remain co-pilot while the young novice takes over the pilot's seat?
Doesn't the older and more experienced Wookie, the one who has so
many years of flight behind him, deserve to advance to full pilot on the ship
he has served on for so many years, with the novice starting out
(à la Obi-Wan Kenobi and other Padawans) in the novice position?!
Extolling the business virtues of
helping workers balance family and employment demands, including
providing paid time off for the birth of a child, Obama said that if
France can provide the benefits, so can the United States.
“Other countries know how to do this,” Obama said. “If France can figure this out, we can figure it out.”
France provides some of the most far-reaching worker rights in the
developed world, including limiting a standard work week at 35 hours and
providing 16 weeks of paid maternity leave.
France also has an unemployment rate that has hovered above 10 percent for more than two years, well above the rate of unemployed in the United Kingdom and the United States, which are both in the 6 percent range.
Obama made the comment at the first White House summit for working
families, which sought to amplify issues like paid maternity leave and
the ability to take paid leave to take care of elderly loved ones.
“Many women can't even get a paid day off to give birth,” Obama said.
“There is only one developed country in the world that does not offer
paid maternity leave, and that is us. And that is not a list you want to
be on, by your lonesome.”
The White House hosted the summit jointly with the Center for
American Progress, a liberal think tank, and it served in part as a
campaign pep rally focused on turning women voters out in November.
Just in case there was any lingering doubt that Planned Parenthood
doesn’t give a hoot about “women’s health”—or anyone’s health, for that
matter—the abortion giant is now on record favoring the “right” of
HIV-positive people not to disclose their status to sex partners.
From their pamphlet, the ironically titled “Happy, Healthy, and Hot”:
“Your decision about whether to disclose may change with different
people and situations. You have the right to decide if, when, and how to
disclose your HIV status.”
Surely the pamphlet only means friends and co-workers though, right?
Actually, no. The pamphlet continues: “Some countries have laws that say
people living with HIV must tell their sexual partner(s) about their
status before having sex, even if they use condoms or only engage in
sexual activity with a low risk of giving HIV to someone else. These
laws violate the rights of people living with HIV by forcing them to
disclose or face the possibility of criminal charges.” The pamphlet then
encourages the reader to get involved to change such laws “that violate
So basically Planned Parenthood is encouraging people to pull a
Charlie Sheen; or at least condoning it. The renowned actor revealed in
November that he had known for about four years that he is HIV positive,
though he claimed that he always informed his sex partners of his
status, with “no exceptions.” This came as something of a surprise to
Bree Olson, Sheen’s former live-in girlfriend, who thankfully tested
negative. … “He doesn’t even value my life,” said Olson about Sheen’s revelation. No kidding, cupcake.
Her only purpose was to serve his pleasure. If she had to die so that
he could get his rocks off, that was, in Sheen’s calculation, a price
worth paying. …
It’s hard to believe that such selfish people as Charlie Sheen really
exist but they do and they’re actually a lot more common than you might
imagine. The fact that Planned Parenthood, which masquerades as a
reputable medical organization, endorses the “right” not to inform sex
partners of HIV status tells us that the camel has already gotten its
nose under the tent. Though the attitude may not yet be mainstream, that
doesn’t mean it could never be.
The author and journalist Randy Shilts, who died of AIDS in 1994,
shed light on the homosexual community’s culture of denial in his 1987
book “And the Band Played On”. Among Shilts’s premises is that
homosexual political leaders talked a great game when it came to
combatting AIDS but their action was lacking. They refused to consider
any countermeasure to the AIDS “epidemic” that might hamper their sex
lives. The most they would do is promote the use of condoms. They
refused to speak out against the hookup culture that pervaded and
continues to pervade the male homosexual community or, heaven forbid, to
tell male homosexuals to keep their butt cheeks together. …
One can almost understand the rationale behind this kind of reckless
denialism. The disease was discovered in 1981, just a few short years
after male homosexuals had established sexually “liberated” enclaves in
places like New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. …
In the mid-1980s, the author David Horowitz, who was then on a
journey from the Marxist Left to conservative Right, sat down with Randy
Shilts to discuss AIDS, the burgeoning menace then stalking San
Francisco. What Shilts told him was shocking. As Horowitz wrote in his
biography, “Radical Son”: “According to Shilts, it was the gay leaders
themselves who suppressed the research findings, along with the fact—now
generally accepted by medical officials—that AIDS was a sexually
transmitted disease. This was difficult to believe, but when I checked
Shilts’s story, it turned out to be true. The Stonewall Gay Democratic
Club, one of the political powers in the community, had summarized the
politically correct view prevailing among activists in a slogan: ‘Sex
doesn’t cause AIDS—a virus does.’ The activists were afraid that
identifying the disease with promiscuous sex and also with gay sex—95
percent of the cases in San Francisco were among homosexual males—would
stigmatize the ‘gay life-style’ and create a political backlash.”
Yeah, and we wouldn’t want to stigmatize the “gay” lifestyle, would
we? I don’t know what’s wrong with stigmatizing a filthy sexual practice
rife with adverse health consequences, including AIDS of course, but
also gonorrhea, anal cancer, and intestinal parasites. We stigmatize
smoking, why wouldn’t we stigmatize anal sex? Put me down as pro-stigma.
Unfortunately, male homosexuals whine that their rights are being
violated whenever anyone looks askance at butt sex, the activity that
apparently defines them. They demand not only the right to engage in
dangerous, unhealthy sexual behavior, but the right to positive
affirmation as well.
Sadly, the medical community seems to be fulfilling their wish.
Doctors these days live in fear that their careers will be summarily
ended if they advise against anal sodomy—which is pretty good medical
advice, no matter how you slice it. To cite just one example, consider
Dr. Paul Church, a well-respected urologist who was recently fired from
his position at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston
for opposing the homosexual lifestyle on moral and medical grounds. His
story began in 2009 when BIDMC sent out an email inviting staff members
to ride on the hospital-sponsored float in an upcoming “pride” parade.
Dr. Church responded with a mass email of his own, asking why a hospital
would endorse a behavior with undeniable health consequences that
include death. “If a medical scientist cannot raise research that the
federal government’s Centers for Disease Control clearly shows
homosexual conduct as harmful,” he concluded, “then that means that your
health, my health, medical science — all of that is being called into
question simply because of a political agenda.”
He was right, of course, though it’s dangerous to be right when your
employer is wrong. The torrent of homosexual outrage came down on Dr.
Church hard. After a lengthy fight with BIDMC, he lost his job.
He may lose his positions at other Boston-area medical centers,
including Harvard Medical School, where he also practices medicine.
Church was essentially fired for being a good doctor, for staying
true to the Hippocratic Oath he took to “do no harm” at a time when all
the other doctors around him had abandoned theirs. “Truly caring for the
well-being of individuals requires telling them the truth about their
choices,” said Church. “The hospital does this on less controversial
issues such as smoking and diet.” Yes, that’s true, but smokers and fat
people don’t have well-financed and well-organized political apparatuses
and they don’t crush people who get in their way. That’s the
The homofascists had to make an example out of somebody and they
chose Dr. Church. The chilling effect will be felt far and wide—no one
will dare point out that homosexuals are perverting medicine’s core
mission, though they plainly are.
We’re living in an era of hedonism, in which a substantial portion of
the population careens from disco to disco and from orgasm to orgasm.
Not all such hedonists are homosexuals, of course—there is always the
occasional Charlie Sheen—but a significant number of them are. There is
nothing they won’t do just to keep the good times rolling. They don’t
care about other people’s health or safety, nor do they care about facts
or truth. They care only about their own pleasure and they will stop at
nothing to secure it.
Laurent Fabius thus joins the list of targets spied upon by the Bundesnachrichtendienst's (BND's) eyes and ears, including the International Court of Justice, WHO, the FBI, and Voice of America, as well as numerous companies, European as well as American, not least of which was Lockheed.
…if America ain't involved, it don't make da news…
(Or, certainly, it does not turn into a major scandal.)
Les services secrets allemands ont espionné le ministre français des
Affaires étrangères Laurent Fabius, affirme mercredi la radio publique
allemande Berlin-Brandebourg (rbb), qui apporte de nouveaux détails dans
l’affaire d’espionnage qui embarrasse depuis plusieurs mois la
«Laurent Fabius a été mis sur écoute par le BND», les services de
renseignement extérieurs allemands, souligne la radio sans préciser ses
sources. Elle cite également parmi les cibles des écoutes allemandes la
Cour internationale de justice de la Haye, l’Unicef, l’organisation
mondiale de la santé (OMS), le FBI, la radio financée par les Etats-Unis
Voice of America ou encore «de nombreuses d’entreprises européennes et
américaines, dont l’entreprise d’armement Lockheed aux Etats-Unis».
With Ryann972's "statue men" photo, you must choose among the following three options:
• On Chile's Easter Island (they would be the earliest Moai statues)
• Near China's Xian city (they would count among the Middle Kingdom's terra cotta soldiers)
• On France's Martinique (this would be the exotic island's Slavery Memorial)
Before scrolling down this post and reading on, see if you can guess the answer (FYI, I nailed it, as did 80% of Geo readers).
We discover that the correct answer is the third and last one (the first two did sound far-fetched), to which we are treated with further information informing us that slavery was not abolished in France in 1794, as we had previously thought, but only in 1974!
Now comes one of those feel-good stories you only
read about on Facebook or in the Reader's Digest.
In the 1980s or 1990s there was a cartoon of a helmeted astronaut at the door of his landing module, making a report of his first impressions to headquarters back on Earth while looking out at a barren planet. Barren except for one thing: Next to the spaceship was what looked like a gargantuan heap of laundry. The caption read:
Houston. We have found the missing socks.
As some of you know, I am for the time being living
between Copenhagen and Paris. Like most people,
I suppose, I have orphan socks that I hesitate to throw
away — in both places. (That is, I am determined to
throw them away until… the last second — at which time
I relent, reckoning, I may just run into that other sock
within a day or two.) The last time I was in Denmark,
I thought, I will take my half dozen orphan socks from
Copenhagen to France, and see if any good news would
After 13 hours on the highways of Denmark, Germany,
Belgium, and France (not to forget the 45-minute ferry ride),
I arrived in Paris. Lo and behold, one of the orphan socks
from one country was an exact match with one orphan sock
from the other, separated by 1208 km (the exact distance
from my place in one city to that in the other).
According to a recent report, American film director George Lucas experienced
a baptism of fire on the Elstree set of Star Wars back in 1976. Instead
of the work ethic he was used to when filming in the States, a very British
adherence to union rules prevailed which meant shooting was delayed for
twice-daily tea breaks. What Lucas failed to appreciate is that for the
British, tea is more than a warm beverage. Tea is a way of life. It is the
answer to almost any problem that arises. In the face of disaster we put the
kettle on. We are very serious about our tea.
correctness is the oppression of our intellectual movement so no one
says anything anymore just in case anyone else gets offended. What
happens if you say that and someone gets offended? Well they can be
offended, can’t they? What’s wrong with being offended? When did "stick 'n' stones may break my bones" stop being relevant? Isn’t that what you
teach children? He called me an idiot! Don’t worry about it, he’s a dick.
Now you have adults going “I was offended, I was offended and I have
rights!” Well so what, be offended, nothing happened. You’re an adult,
grow up, and deal with it. I was offended! Well, I don’t care! Nothing
happens when you’re offended. “I went to the comedy show and the
comedian said something about the lord, and I was offended, and when I
woke up in the morning, I had leprosy."
Nothing Happens. “I want to live in a democracy but I never want to be offended again.” Well you’re an idiot.
How do you make a law about offending people? How do you make it an
offense to offend people? Being offended is subjective. It has
everything to do with you as an individual or a collective, or a group
or a society or a community. Your moral conditioning, your religious
beliefs. What offends me may not offend you. And you want to make laws
about this? I’m offended when I see boy bands for god sake.
It’s a valid offense, I’m offended. They’re corporate shills, posing as
musicians to further a modeling career and frankly I’m disgusted. …
We keep hearing how Barack Obama is the most intelligent man to enter the White House, which is why he is constantly appealing to, and lecturing, the American people (as well as members of Congress) to go for "common sense" solutions.
Remember the man who victoriously knocked the gavel for the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris?
Aka France's Foreign Affairs Minister doubling as President-designate of COP21?
Well, you must decide for yourself whether the following is somehow symbolic, because, very frankly, you can't make this up.
A couple of days after Laurent Fabius brought down the gavel for a glorious new future for mankind, and just as he was thanked in parliament with a standing ovation, his son spent 12 hours in police custody for forgery andfraud, as wellas money laundering.
But Thomas Fabius isn't only wanted by the French police. Just to make things a bit more interesting, Laurent's oldest son, a playboy who apparently has something of the gambler about him, has a U.S. arrest warrant issued in his name—for bounced checks running in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and written in Las Vegas, of all places, totaling $3.5 million ($1,000,000 to The Palazzo, $900,000 to the Cosmopolitan, etc…).
The Daily Telegraph's Henry Samuel:
The playboy son of France’s foreign minister was taken into custody on
Tuesday as part of an investigation into forgery, fraud and money
laundering, just as the father was receiving a standing ovation in
… As they searched the property in Paris’
literary Left Bank on Tuesday morning [a palatial €7.3 million (£5.3 million) apartment], Laurent Fabius, his father, was
receiving rapturous applause in France’s National Assembly for his part
in clinching an historic global climate deal over the weekend.
Le parquet de Paris a ouvert en 2013 une information judiciaire pour
faux, escroquerie et blanchiment, confiée aux juges d'instruction René
Cros et Roger Le Loire, visant le fils du chef de la diplomatie
The playboy son of France’s
foreign minister faces arrest in America for spending $3.5m (£2.3m) in a
Las Vegas gambling frenzy only for the casinos to see his cheques
Nevada state court has issued an arrest warrant following a criminal
complaint over several bad cheques Thomas Fabius wrote to three casinos
on 15 May 2012 — the day before his father, Laurent Fabius, officially became foreign minister in President François Hollande’s Socialist government.
Thomas Fabius, fils du ministre des Affaires étrangères, fait l'objet d'un mandat d'arrêt aux Etats-Unis pour des chèques en bois, d'un montant total dépassant 3,5 millions de dollars, qu'il a rédigés pour des casinos de Las Vegas.
Ces énormes dettes de jeu ont été contractées dans la nuit du 15 au 16 mai 2012, selon l'hebdomadaire Le Point qui a révélé l'affaire.
Ce même 16 mai 2012 Laurent Fabius était officiellement nommé chef de la diplomatie française.
Update: I am told that this post is unjust, that Thomas Fabius is an adult with allegedly no connection (?) to his father.
That might seem to be a valid comment if you believe that the workings, attitudes, and beliefs inside families, especially families of the ruling élites, in the exact same timeframe have no meaning at all. Had something positive occurred in the Fabius family, for instance, one can be sure it would be treated with pride by all the other family members.
The comment would especially make sense if, by some accident, the same rules happened to apply to conservatives. (See especially Prescott Bush, and the Bush family being lambasted for their (grand-)father's foreign dealings, with a German régime recognized by all countries prior to World War II and before the Holocaust had even started, in a time when the elder George Bush was 10 and 50 years prior to any Bush attaining the White House.)
If there is one thing that frustrates me to the uttermost degree, it is the seeming unwillingness, or inability, of GOP contenders — and I suppose that to some extent it involves the dread of being called a racist — to go after the man in the White House and the policies that he has championed for almost eight years.
Even this year, when, thankfully, most of the hopefuls are bringing a stop to the GOP politeness game à la John McCain/Mitt Romney campaigns, they are not taking full advantage of the situation.
Even Ted Cruz (whom I've supported for the past few months) does not do this enough — although he has been doing it more than anyone else.
Even, incredibly, Donald Trump does not do this enough. (He attacks more the policy than the man behind them, as well as Hillary the candidate but much less so than the man who has presided over those policies since 2009.)
In short: Hillary Clinton (or whoever the Democrats' candidate turns out to be) and Barack Obama should invariably be lumped TOGETHER in whatever criticism is made of the Democrat party and its members' administration of the country in the past seven years.
Three recent developments that should be picked upon unceasingly— especially when the candidate or any of his competitors (!) are being attacked personally:
1) The insanity of Obama's Iran deal, with the offer of $100 billion to the ayatollahs (see an example at the bottom of this post), not to mention the apologizer-in-chief's attendant domesticpolicy;
2) the petulant and puerile outbursts of Obama — allegedly the most intelligent
man ever to run for the White House — his ugly mocking, which can be
called akin to juvenility and childishness (a puerility which makes the
GOP's remain-polite-to-Obama-at-all-costs game even more ludicrous);
3) and evidence of the double standards of the media (no recent development, this, but then, okay, neither was/is the ugly attitude of an extreme leftist nor was/is his smartdiplomacy).
Ben Carson went for the jugular during a press conference when the media kept asking him about the West Point controversy.
I do not remember this level of scrutiny for one President Barack Obama,
when he was running, in fact I remember just the opposite, I remember
people just said, "oh we won't really talk about that relationship, oh, Frank Marshall Davis,
oh we don't want to talk about that, Bernadine Dorne, Bill Ayers, we
don't want to know about that, all the things Jeremiah Wright was
saying, ehh not a big problem.
Goes to Occidental college, doesn't do all that well, somehow ends up at Columbia University, I dunno.
His records are sealed." Why are his records sealed? You're not
interested in that? Can somebody tell me why? I'm asking you why are
they sealed? Don't change the subject. Will someone tell me please why
you have not investigated that.
Something with the words "a scholarship was offered" is a big deal, but
the president of the U.S. his academic records being sealed is not. Tell
me how there is equivalency there. Tell me somebody, please.
Because you see, what you're not going to find with me is somebody who
is going to sit back and be completely unfair without letting the
American people know what is going on; the American people are waking up
to your games.
Ben Carson should be taking on Obama all the time. As should all the others. But as far as I can tell, the surgeon stopped doing it.
They should also be getting to the root of an issue.
For instance, the only real news about the "controversy"
of Ben Carson's not advocating a Muslim for president is not the
content of that very statement, but — and any of the candidates could have picked up on this — the apparent dread of liberals and their media brethren to the horrific idea of
having a Christian, i..e., an average, everyday American (never mind an
evangelical Christian), for president.
Regarding a recent Donald Trump outburst, Paul Ryan intoned that
This is not
conservatism. What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands
for and, more importantly, it’s not what this country stands for.
We need to aggressively take on radical Islamic terrorism but not at the expense of our American values.
First of all, with regards to Ronald Reagan's dictum on remaining united, offhand I do not have too much issue (relatively speaking) with attacks on fellow Republicans. But by all means, follow it up with an "on the flip side", with an attack on the Democrats — and by that I mean, not just on Barack Obama, and I mean, not just on Hillary Clinton (or on Bernie Sanders); I mean, follow it up with an attack on both of them, on all of them, together. (Actually, an attack means little more than a neutral and objective description.)
So Paul Ryan attacks Trump for not understanding what America stand for. Fine. By all means, do so. But, at the same time, follow up the above statement with something to this effect:
[To the credit of all our candidates, however — and I mean all of them — not one of them has referred to any member of the opposition party as terrorists or the equivalent of Iran's religious fanatics. Nor, indeed, has any of them mentioned the Democrats as the worst enemies of their career.]
Through the years, I have also often thought about what might be the best response to being called a racist, a bigot, a fascist, or a homophobe or being told "you are full of sh1t." (Thank the person. Profusely.)
Returning to our candidates: I would to say that the perfect candidate would
refrain, should refrain, as best as possible, from attacking his fellow
Republicans all the other candidate. Even if they attack him (or her),
he (or she) will look better to the voters if, au contraire, (s)he continuously defends all the others (Marco Rubio showed this brilliantly in his comeback to Jeb Bush (“My
campaign is going to be about the future of America, it is not going to be
attacking anyone else on this stage; I will continue to have tremendous
admiration and respect for governor Bush”).) Even if, to be entirely honest, no one can deny that there is some degree of weasel-ness involved… It may also have been Marco Rubio who stated that anyone on this stage would be better than Hillary Clinton or than any Democrat…
In any case, I have never loved Marco Rubio more than during the third Republican presidential debate when he pointed out that
the Democrats have the ultimate Super PAC. It's called the mainstream
media … And I'll tell you why. Last week, Hillary
Clinton went before a committee. She admitted, she had sent e-mails to
her family saying, "Hey, this attack at Benghazi was caused by Al
Qaida-like elements." She spent over a week telling the families of
those victims and the American people that it was because of a video.
And yet the mainstream media is going around saying it was the greatest
week in Hillary Clinton's campaign. It was the week she got exposed as a liar. It was the week that she got exposed as a liar... But she has her super PAC helping her out — the American mainstream media.
It was brilliant.
Almost. Almost brilliant.
The Florida senator should have mentioned the apologizer-in-chief's name too, and should have hammered it home. Again and again. And again.
Witness the outburst, rewritten:
… the Democrats have the ultimate Super PAC. It's called the mainstream
media … And I'll tell you why. Last week, Hillary
Clinton went before a committee. She admitted she had sent e-mails to
her family saying, "Hey, this attack at Benghazi was caused by Al
Qaida-like elements." She [and Barack Obama] spent over a week telling the families of
those victims and the American people that it was because of a video.
And yet the mainstream media is going around saying it was the greatest
week in Hillary Clinton's campaign. It was the week she [and Obama] got exposed as [liars]. It was the week that [they] got exposed as [liars]... But she [and Obama have their]
super PAC helping [them] out — the American mainstream media. [Obama and Hillary lied to the American people, Obama and Hillary lied to the international community (the apologizer-in-chief repeated the lie six or seven times in an address before the United Nations), and Obama and Hillary lied to you people in the MSM. And you know what? You couldn't care less. You didn't care then. And you don't care now.]
Or perhaps that meme should be turned around: Americans died, Obama lied.
Americans died, Obama lied, Hillary denied.
If, like me, you have been made angry about Barack Obama's mocking Republican candidates as not being able to "handle a bunch o' CNBC moderators" and wondering what kind of comeback would be best to counter that childish behavior with, well, finally it struck me: the best thing would have been effectively to act — to have acted — preemptively.
How well would Obama's bogus charge have played, even with his own base, had Rubio mentioned his name as well every time he charged the media of being indifferent to Hillary's actions, actions which were not only failures but lies?
Would Obama even have dared make the mockery in the face of such a statement? (Quite possibly — given the media double standards — but it would have looked much less convincing to the average voter…)
Finally, with regards to the three points above, the sentence I would like to hear a candidate, several hopefuls, all contenders say a variation of over and over again (the Republican names in the sentence depend on who is speaking, obviously—indeed, this is one more thing that Paul Ryan could have, should have, added to the end of his bromide against Donald Trump):
[We keep hearing how Barack Obama was, is, one of the most intelligent people to enter the White House, and a man who keeps appealing to, and lecturing, the American people to use common sense solutions. I suppose that is because neither I [whichever candidate is speaking], nor Ted Cruz, nor either of the Bush brothers, nor even Donald Trump would ever dream of bestowing a gift of not $100 million, not $1 billion, not $10 billion, but $100 billion to the ayatollahs of a country whose leaders regularly lead the people in chanting "Death to America!" and "Death to the West!"]
I have long been a critic of the German foreign policy debate
writes Clemens Wergin, predicting America's current mess (in the New York Times, of all places) already a year and a half ago
— of its freeloading on the American security umbrella, coupled with moral grandstanding whenever the Americans did things their way; of too much analysis of past events and not enough thinking about how to get things right in the future; of its tendency to take words as a substitute for deeds. That’s why I have usually given the Americans the benefit of the doubt: At least they took on problems nobody else was willing to tackle.
But then, at the height of the Syria conflict and just after yet another of Barack Obama’s
speeches, I suddenly understood the problem with this American
president and his foreign policy. He sounded just like a German
politician: all moral outrage, but little else to help end one of the
most devastating civil wars of our age. President Obama, I thought with a
sigh, has become European.
the less this president wants to get involved in something abroad, the
more he dials up his rhetoric. That the American president finds things
“unacceptable,” one of his administration’s favorite words, doesn’t
carry any real meaning anymore; it certainly doesn’t mean that America
will try to change what it deems “unacceptable.”
suggest that Americans are not happy with the results of Mr. Obama’s
foreign policy, though they still shy away from the costs that more
engagement around the globe would entail. Welcome to my world. It sounds
awfully European to want to have one’s cake and eat it at the same
is a certain irony in the fact that President Obama’s foreign policy
finds its Waterloo in the same country that shipwrecked the Bush
doctrine: Iraq. It is true that the Bush administration seriously
mishandled the war in Iraq. But it is also true that after the surge,
George W. Bush handed Mr. Obama an Iraq that was in much better shape
than it is today.
rushing to the exit and teaming up with the Iranians to reinstall Prime
Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki after he lost the elections in 2010 — and
by not confronting him forcefully on his anti-Sunni policies — the
Obama administration undermined the progress American troops had paid
for very dearly.
came another deed of omission in Syria. For years Middle East experts
had warned that the civil war in Syria would not be confined to that
country, but would spill over into neighboring countries. But Mr. Obama
stood back, using rhetoric and admonitions while ignoring the experts.
Yet they were right: The crisis in Iraq is a direct result of Mr.
Obama’s nonconfrontational strategy in Syria.
When he was first elected in 2008, Barack Obama was hailed on the old
Continent as a president with almost European sensitivities and
worldviews. But the compliment was unintentionally double-edged. For
more than two decades now, Europeans have assumed that the world would
remain comparatively stable and wouldn’t need much hard power to be
maintained (at least European hard power, that is). So too, it seems,
does Mr. Obama.
Mr. Obama’s new style of diplomacy — soft power and nonintervention —
was at first seen as a welcome break with the Bush years, five years
later a dismal realization has set in. It turns out that soft power
cannot replace hard power. On the contrary, soft power is merely a
complementary foreign policy tool that can yield results only when it is
backed up by real might and the political will to employ it if
the measuring stick for a successful foreign policy is not how many
nice and convincing speeches a leader makes, but whether he succeeds in
getting things to go his way. … the list of actors and countries that are actively pushing against
European and American interests, and getting away with it, grows ever
Obama wanted America to learn from Europe’s soft-power approach. But
while Europeans are loath to admit it, they know that European soft
power often doesn’t work either — and that it is a luxury that they
could afford only because America’s hard power always loomed in the
background. And when they dropped the ball, America would pick it up.
therein lies the lesson to our American friends who seemingly want to
become less involved and more European: There is no second America to
back you up when you drop the ball.
People are understandably fed up with Islamic crazies killing innocent people
notes Benny Huang, a veteran who also is sick of it, "though less eager to send ground troops" abroad (thanks for the InstaLink) — although not necessarily for the reasons you might think.
Not that we have any good options.
… I believe that most of that 53 percent of Americans who want to send
our young people back to the sandbox labor under the mistaken belief
that our military is a well-oiled machine that will make mincemeat out
of ISIS. I would warn these people that our military is actually pretty
ragged—under-funded, undertrained, and sorely lacking in the morale
department. Most importantly, it’s been wussified—forced by politicians
and general officers to become the “kindler gentler military” Stephanie
Gutmann warned of fifteen years ago in her seminal book by the same
name. If you haven’t read it, you need to.
Slashed military budgets have shrunken our armed forces. The US Army
is now the smallest it’s been since before World War II and the US Navy
the smallest since before World War I. We’re still asking this skeleton
crew to keep the sea lanes open and to hold down the fort in Korea,
something we didn’t ask of them in our pre-superpower era.
Morale continues its descent into the abyss. … Only 27 percent said that officers in senior leadership positions had
the rank-and-file’s best interest at heart—a clear indicator that
careerism is having a corrosive effect on the military. As journalist
Hope Hodge Seck wrote in the Military Times: “Today’s service members
say they feel underpaid, under-equipped and under-appreciated, the
survey data show.”
… Perhaps the most terrifying trend in today’s military is the
diminution of the warrior spirit. This “wussification” of the US
military has probably been underway for decades but it shifted into
hyperdrive after the ascendency of Barack Obama. His campaign to get
women into combat arms positions—even elite units—without lowering
standards was exposed as a farce at the very same press conference at
which it was unveiled. As General Martin Dempsey famously pronounced in
January 2013, “Importantly, though, if we do decide that a particular
standard is so high that a woman couldn’t make it, the burden is now on
the service to come back and explain to the secretary, why is it that
high? Does it really have to be that high?” But don’t worry, standards
won’t be lowered—and you’re sexist if you say otherwise.
The wussification of the Army is nearing its end stage. … This is not your father’s Army. It isn’t even the Army I joined in
1999. My drill sergeants relished “smoking” the privates. I recall one
particularly hard drill sergeant who I’m quite certain would not
graduate from today’s Drill Sergeant School on account of his
old-fashioned approach to training. Whether the privates were getting
enough TLC was not his top concern.
… I lost forty pounds in basic training and gained a lot of self
confidence. That would not have happened if Danielle Brooks had been my
Before we go sending the bloom of our youth to fight crazy dudes on a
mission from Allah, it might be prudent to ask ourselves if we have
truly prepared them.
This is the claim that people should engage in some utterly ordinary
activity — shopping, watching television, eating bacon, etc. — as an act
of defiance against terrorism. Because if they don’t do it, “then the
This trope originated with exhortations from President Bush just
after 9/11 for people to keep going about their normal lives in spite of
the fear al-Qaeda wanted to instill in them. Which is reasonable
enough, I suppose, but then it got out of hand
… Note that in its pure form, Or the Terrorists Win is not about the
need to pursue some actual foreign policy that might disrupt or defeat
terrorists. It’s about asking us to “go on living our lives as usual” —
which means that there is no activity too trivial or mundane that it
cannot be recast as an act of defiance against terrorism.
Or the Terrorists Win is no longer a trope, strictly speaking,
because it has become a running joke. No one uses it non-ironically any
But they are still oh-so-serious about knowing Exactly What ISIS Wants.
‘Exactly What ISIS Wants’
The bodies were barely cool in the Paris shootings when we were treated to lectures that “The West Is Giving ISIS Exactly What It Wants,” usually accompanied by very dubious projections of what ISIS wants, which just so happen to correspond to any policy proposed by someone on the American right.
Exactly What ISIS Wants may seem as if it is the opposite of Or the
Terrorists Win. Or the Terrorists Win urges action to defy terrorism —
albeit trivial and ineffectual — while Exactly What ISIS Wants demands
inaction. But both effectively say the same thing: act as if the
situation is normal, go on with our lives as if nothing happened. Or the
Terrorists Win tells us to go shopping or hold awards ceremonies or
whatever else we were already doing — even though many young men,
thankfully, did disrupt their lives by volunteering to join the
armed forces. Exactly What ISIS Wants tells us to change nothing about
our policies toward terrorism, toward ISIS, toward Syria, toward
refugees, or anything else — even if such changes might be warranted.
The purest, most absurd use of Exactly What ISIS Wants is to declare,
“If we go to war, we’re doing exactly what the terrorists want.”
Get that? Don’t destroy ISIS. Don’t bomb them, shoot them, or hunt them down like dogs. That’s exactly what they want!
As absurd as it may sound, this is the specific form Obama used in
his appeal to Exactly What ISIS Wants: “We should not be drawn once
more into a long and costly ground war in Iraq or Syria. That’s what
groups like ISIL want.” To which he then adds: “They know they can’t
defeat us on the battlefield.” Strange, then, that they would want to
draw us into a war they know they can’t win, isn’t it?
… maybe we should decide our response to terrorism based on our own
judgment of our interests, without worrying too much about what ISIS has
to say on the matter.
But Exactly What ISIS Wants is the black hole of arguments. It
pulls any proposed action against terrorism into its gravitation field
and sucks all motion and energy out of it. Which is interesting, because
I’m pretty sure that dithering and inaction on our part is exactly what
ISIS wants. It has certainly served their interests so far.
But we have not exhausted the tropes for the political exploitation
of terrorism, not by a long shot. Exactly What ISIS Wants, for example,
is merely an inverted version of Vicarious Terrorism.
Vicarious Terrorism is when you advocate responding to terrorism by
taking away the grievances that motivate it — which means, in effect,
granting the terrorists’ demands.
The person who makes this argument is not a supporter or sympathizer
of the terrorist group in question and would never dream of committing
an act of terrorism himself. It’s just that the terrorists’ supposed
grievances happen to correspond in some way to his pre-existing agenda,
and he just can’t help using the attack to promote that agenda.
… One of the common threads among these tropes — the thing that makes them
tropes — is the fact that they are always used to justify a
pre-existing agenda. They are less a response to terrorism than an
attempt to exploit terrorism to promote or defend an existing political
‘Bin Laden Syndrome By Proxy’
In Bin Laden Syndrome by Proxy, you take someone else’s terrorist
attack, fantasize what you think its causes and motives ought to be
according to your world view, then advocate a response intended to
address this pretended cause.
In Vicarious Terrorism, the terrorists’ real motives and agenda have
some overlap with your own, and you succumb to the temptation to
exaggerate the connection and use the attacks to promote your agenda.
But in Bin Laden Syndrome by Proxy, the overlap is entirely a product of
your own imagination, spurred by naked opportunism.
Probably the best example I have ever seen of Bin Laden Syndrome by
Proxy is giving a speech after an ISIS-inspired terrorist attack in
which you tell the American people that gun control is now “a matter of
national security” — which is exactly what Obama just did. Obviously, he
did not start wanting to ban “assault weapons” because a couple of
terrorists used them last week. He’s been advocating it all along as his
standard response to domestic shootings by crazy people with no
ideological motive at all. But these shootings haven’t mobilized the
public to support gun control, so he repackaged his argument to connect
it to an issue on which people do seem to want strong action.
What unites Exactly What ISIS Wants and Bin Laden Syndrome by Proxy
is that they both help the user avoid addressing the essential cause
behind the current terrorism threat: the religion of Islam. This
avoidance has spawned a whole constellation of tropes, starting with the
assertion that the Islamic State and Islamic terrorism have Nothing to
Do with Islam.
‘Nothing To Do With Islam’
“This has nothing to do with Islam” is a standard description for
anything bad done by a Muslim in the name of Islam, based on arguments
offered by Islamic imams citing quotations from Islamic scripture.
Hence Hillary’s Clinton’s assurance
that “Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people, and have nothing
whatsoever to do with terrorism” — in response to attacks in Paris by
Muslims who were not peaceful or tolerant and had something to do with
This is a variant of The Religion of Peace.
‘The Religion Of Peace’
The Religion of Peace is the religion that did not motivate the San Bernardino shootings, the Paris attacks, the Charlie Hebdo
massacre, the Fort Hood shootings, the beheading of hostages in Syria,
the mass execution of policemen and soldiers in Iraq, the shooting schoolgirls in the head, and so on and on. It definitely didn’t motivate the 9/11 attacks, and that is why it is not even supposed to be mentioned at the Ground Zero museum.
Must be some other faith. Try the Presbyterians.
The purest examples of either trope are when non-Muslims — who endow
themselves with the authority to speak on behalf of somebody else’s
religion — offer assurances about the essential peaceful and tolerant
nature of Islam. This culminates in No True Muslim.
‘No True Muslim’
This is a variant on the No True Scotsman
trope. In its original inspiration, this is a type of circular
reasoning used by a Scotsman to endow his countryman with some
particular, virtuous quality. When confronted with the counter-example
of a Scot who fails to possess this virtue, he merely declares that the
miscreant must be “no true Scotsman.”
In this case, the trope is used by a non-Muslim to disavow the
association of Muslims with any negative qualities — particularly
religiously motivated violence — by asserting that anyone who commits
such violence must be No True Muslim.
Thus, when a British Muslim began stabbing people the London subway and declared, “This is for Syria,” an onlooker was recorded telling the attacker, in impeccable London slang, “You ain’t no Muslim, bruv!”
… But as Hillary Clinton explained above, describing Islamic terrorists
as Muslims would “play into their hands.” It is Exactly What ISIS
You see how it all fits together. If we can’t admit to the real
motive of Islamic terrorists or address their actual strategic goals, we
need to invent new motives and goals and use these polite fictions to
dictate what actions are acceptable and unacceptable as a response. And
if we’re going to do that, we might as well invent motives and responses
that allow us to remain comfortably in the rut of our established
domestic political routine.
In declaring that No True Muslim is inspired by the Religion of Peace to
engage in terrorism, which has Nothing to Do with Islam, we invite
ourselves to engage in Bin Laden Syndrome by Proxy, because otherwise we
might be tempted to do Exactly What ISIS Wants. We had better continue
along undisturbed in our pre-existing routine, Or the Terrorists Win.
BERLIN — A widow lady named Wachterhausen, residing at Potsdam, recently
had the misfortune to lose her only daughter, Amalia, who was staying
at Nice for the benefit of her health. The mother telegraphed to an
undertaker in that town ordering an elaborate coffin, and requesting
that the remains should be sent home for burial. Just before the funeral
on Sunday the mother had the coffin opened, and found that it
contained, not her child, but the body of an old officer in Russian
uniform. On making inquiries she learned by telegram from Nice that the
bodies had been accidentally exchanged. Her daughter’s body had been
forwarded to Smolensk in Russia instead of that of the officer. On
telegraphing to the Russian authorities Madame Wachterhausen was
informed that the body of her daughter had just been buried with great
ceremony and military honors.
— The New York Herald, European Edition, December 12, 1915
The physicist, mathematician and author, most recently, of “Dreams
of Earth and Sky” says the best books he knows about mathematics and
physics are nearly a hundred years old.
Earlier this year, Freeman Dyson was asked
a few questions in the New York Times Sunday Book Review.
Whom do you consider the best contemporary writers on science and mathematics?
science, my favorite is Edward Wilson. In “The Ants” (with Bert
Hölldobler) and “On Human Nature,” he describes ants and humans with
equal insight. On mathematics, my favorite is Robert Kanigel, who wrote
“The Man Who Knew Infinity,” a biography of the Indian mathematical
genius Srinivasa Ramanujan. It is impossible to write a readable book
about real mathematics for nonmathematical readers. The best anybody can
do is to write about a real mathematician.
What are the best books about mathematics for the lay reader? The best books about physics?
best books that I know about mathematics and physics are almost a
hundred years old: “Men of Mathematics,” by Eric Bell, published in
1937, and “Space, Time and Gravitation,” by Arthur Eddington, published
in 1920. Bell’s book seduced a large number of kids of my generation,
including me, into becoming mathematicians. Eddington’s book was the
main reason why Einstein was better understood and admired by the
general public in Britain and America than he was in Germany. No
comparably clear account of Einstein’s ideas existed in German.
On to controversial topics: What books would you recommend on climate science? On the relationship between science and religion?
climate science, I recommend “Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s
Guide to Global Warming,” by Bjorn Lomborg. On science and religion,
“The Varieties of Religious Experience,” by William James. Lomborg is an
economist, and James was a psychologist. Both books were written by
skeptics, with understanding and respect for the beliefs that they were
questioning. The reason why climate science is controversial is that it
is both a science and a religion. Belief is strong, even when scientific
evidence is weak.
… What books do you find yourself returning to again and again?
return again and again to “Dreams of Earth and Sky,” by the Russian
space pioneer Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. It was published in 1895 and gave
us the first accurate account of the problems of moving life from Earth
into space. He understood, long before anyone else, that the engineering
problems of space travel are simple compared with the biological
problems of living in space. This year I borrowed his title for a book
of my own.
Township High School District 211 in suburban Chicago settled its ongoing dispute last week with the federal Department of Education (DoE)
Benny Huang regarding the biologically male student who (in a story similar to the Lila Perry melodrama) wants to use the girls’ changing room because he thinks he’s a she.
Though the school district had already substantially indulged the boy’s delusions it was until recently insisting that the boy use a “privacy curtain” when disrobing, a compromise which the student and the federal government found unconscionable.
The recent agreement reached between the school district and the feds
stipulates that “the school district will provide multiple changing
areas with privacy curtains, for the student and any others who want
privacy.” So now everyone gets a privacy curtain and it’s up to each
student whether to use it.
It should come as no surprise that the student and the ACLU still
aren’t happy with the resolution. Though the school district can now
claim that it’s providing all the “girls”—both real and imagined—equal
access to private changing areas, the transgender “girl’s” mere presence
in the locker room has precipitated a policy change that falls short of
full victory for transgender “rights.” Clearly, the school district is
still treating him as a different kind of girl—which he is, of course.
He’s a “girl” with a penis—a make-believe girl. “Girls” with penises
tend to be treated differently than girls without them and that makes
“girls” with penises feel marginalized. Boo hoo.
Just how did we reach this crescendo of madness? We “interpreted”
ourselves here, of course! There is no law on the books that requires
any school district to allow a boy access to the girls’ locker room no
matter how he “identifies.” The Obama Administration has nonetheless
conjured up a novel interpretation from an old and undeservedly
venerated law to achieve his policy goal.
… Separate locker rooms are in and of themselves sex
discriminatory—further proof that discrimination is not always bad and
that we all do it every day. Unless it’s the DoEt’s position that male
and female locker rooms should be integrated, they’re also supportive of
sex discrimination. But that’s not their position, nor is it the
student’s position or that of the ACLU. They support keeping boys out of
the girls’ room but they insist that the student in question is a girl
like any other and deserves to be treated as such. Anything less is a
violation of “her” rights under Title IX, they argue.
Except it isn’t. Title IX was never intended to shield gender
dysphoric people from reality. It addresses discrimination based on sex.
Even today, “sex” is understood to be assigned at birth as either male
or female, with “gender”—a much more fluid concept—being used to
describe how one feels about that reality.
… Nondiscrimination laws lend themselves to this kind of abuse. As I have
written in previouscolumns, I stand in opposition to all private sector
nondiscrimination laws. Granted, the aforementioned locker room
controversy is found completely within the realm of government so I will
also add that even public sector nondiscrimination laws should be
carefully considered, narrowly focused, and strictly adhered to.
Bureaucrats should not be allowed to get away with creative
(mis)interpretations that clearly depart from the spirit and the letter
of the law.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 offers an excellent example of a law
that was twisted after its passage into something very different than
what Americans were sold on.
… In the wrong person’s hands, nondiscrimination laws can be
“interpreted” to mean almost anything. They nearly always become
leviathans of big government—and probably not by accident.
front-page editorial, End the Gun Epidemic in America. (Are their any readers in the Big Apple who can confirm whether it was published in the domestic version of the newspaper?)
It is easy to tout the success of gun control laws in the rest of
the Western world and to say that "this just
doesn’t happen in other
countries” when you ignore : the 1996 massacre of 16 children at a
Scottish primary school; the 2000 killing of eight kids in Japan; the
2002 deaths of eight people in Nanterre, France; the 2002 killing of 16
kids in Erfurt, Germany; the 2007 shootings
to death of eight people in Tuusula, Finland; the killing of 10 people
at a Finnish university less than a year later; the 2009 killing of 15
people in Winnenden, Germany; and, needless to say, Anders Breivik's
2011 mass murder of 77 Norwegians, most of them teenagers.
Is it unrealistic to wonder whether the tolls would have been lesser
had a few of the adults in each place — as well as in Paris's Bataclan a couple of weeks ago —
carried a weapon and tried to shoot back at the respective killers?
It doubles as a political weapon, a cudgel meant to smite Obama’s enemies.
As a recipient of a similar service, About.com's Political Humor emails, I can testify that for months, for years, I believe, after the 2008 election, the service's top meme in their every email was "Sarah Palin Jokes." Don't you think that after the election was over, that would drop down, if not drop out entirely, in favor of, I don't know, say, uh, the Man in the White House Jokes, i.e., Barack Obama Jokes?!
Recently, About.com had a(n only slightly tongue-in-cheek) pictorial of (I kid you not) Photos of Obama Being Awesome (Funny, Playful and Cool Photos of President Barack Obama)!
The worst part of the FunnyOrDie.com propaganda? The clips are rarely
funny. The same holds true here, particularly when [Jeff Goldblum] describes
EPA critics as “some of the worst, most execrable, selfish, reptilian
nincompoops with whom I’ve ever had the distinct displeasure of
Clinton aide James Carville, raising money for the Democratic National
Campaign Committee, put his name to an email titled "reptiles," which
insults Republicans in a way some see as invidious:
there was Sarah Palin. Now we can add another Republican reptile from
the past trying to help the GOP win House races this year--former
Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.
Not much has changed since a few, uh, years before that, when a Republican politician complained, to the Democrat castigators he was trying to address, that
when you speak of us Republicans, you do so only to denounce us as
reptiles, or, at the best, as no better than outlaws. You will grant a
hearing to pirates or murderers, but nothing like it to [Republicans].
In all your contentions with one another, each of you deems an
unconditional condemnation of [Republicanism] as the first thing to be
attended to. Indeed, such condemnation of us seems to be an
indispensable prerequisite — license, so to speak — among you to be
admitted or permitted to speak at all. Now, can you, or not, be
prevailed upon to pause and to consider whether this is quite just to
us, or even to yourselves? Bring forward your charges and
specifications, and then be patient long enough to hear us deny or
said Barack Obama from the West Wing, as reported by
Washington Post's Chico Harlan, Elise Viebeck, and Katie Zezima (thanks to Instapundit), explaining that
As we’ve become better at preventing complex multifaceted
attacks like 9/11, terrorists turn to less complicated acts of violence
like the mass shootings that are all too common in our society.
Uh, no, Mr. Obama, those less complicated acts of violence were — of necessity — turned to way back, as long ago, in fact, as September 12, 2001, to be precise (i.e, before Dubya had even completed his first year in the White House). Just about every attempted act of terrorism (sorry, of work-related violence) since then, both in America and abroad, has — again, of necessity — been carried out in exactly that relatively "low-key" fashion.
In other words, "a new phase" is suggesting that all Obama's actions until now were fine and appropriate with the old(er) phase allegedly in existence until December 2015.
But there's more: with "the mass shootings that are all too common in our society", Obama gets to direct his attacks away from foreigners and towards America and the country's inhabitants.
Here are the additional messages from the Oval Office:
• I am (as usual) doing everything possible as Commander-in-Chief. Too bad that the Republicans in Congress are holding me — are holding us — back.
• We must not let Americans' racism get out of control.
and I was (very) happy I did
People have allegedly found all sorts of plot holes,
but the only one which really bothered me
I have not seen talked about anywhere