Saturday, February 27, 2016

"In Britain, you read about all the deals going on" says one young expat exilé; "In the French papers, you read about taxes, more taxes, economic problems, and the state’s involvement in everything"


Guillaume Santacruz, an aspiring French entrepreneur, brushed the rain from his black sweater and skinny jeans and headed down to a cavernous basement inside Campus London, a seven-story hive run by Google in the city’s East End.
Thus writes Liz Alderman in the New York Times.
A year earlier, Mr. Santacruz, who has two degrees in finance, was living in Paris near the Place de la Madeleine, working in a boutique finance firm. He had taken that job after his attempt to start a business in Marseille foundered under a pile of government regulations and a seemingly endless parade of taxes. The episode left him wary of starting any new projects in France. Yet he still hungered to be his own boss.

He decided that he would try again. Just not in his own country.

“A lot of people are like, ‘Why would you ever leave France?’ ” Mr. Santacruz said. “I’ll tell you. France has a lot of problems. There’s a feeling of gloom that seems to be growing deeper. The economy is not going well, and if you want to get ahead or run your own business, the environment is not good.”

 … From 80 to 90 percent of all start-ups fail, “but that’s O.K.,” said Eze Vidra, the head of Google for Entrepreneurs Europe and of Campus London, a free work space in the city’s booming technology hub. In Britain and the United States, “it’s not considered bad if you have failed,” Mr. Vidra said. “You learn from failure in order to maximize success.”

That is the kind of thinking that drew Mr. Santacruz to London. “Things are different in France,” he said. “There is a fear of failure. If you fail, it’s like the ultimate shame. In London, there’s this can-do attitude, and a sense that anything’s possible. If you make an error, you can get up again.”
Mr. Santacruz had a hard time explaining to his parents his decision to leave France. “They think I’m crazy, maybe sick, taking all those risks,” he said. “But I don’t want to wait until I’m 60 to live my life.”

France has been losing talented citizens to other countries for decades, but the current exodus of entrepreneurs and young people is happening at a moment when France can ill afford it.

 … Some wealthy businesspeople have also been packing their bags. While entrepreneurs fret about the difficulties of getting a business off the ground, those who have succeeded in doing so say that society stigmatizes financial success. The election of President François Hollande, a member of the Socialist Party who once declared, “I don’t like the rich,” did little to contradict that impression.

 … Today, around 1.6 million of France’s 63 million citizens live outside the country. That is not a huge share, but it is up 60 percent from 2000, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Thousands are heading to Hong Kong, Mexico City, New York, Shanghai and other cities. About 50,000 French nationals live in Silicon Valley alone.

But for the most part, they have fled across the English Channel, just a two-hour Eurostar ride from Paris. Around 350,000 French nationals are now rooted in Britain, about the same population as Nice, France’s fifth-largest city. So many French citizens are in London that locals have taken to calling it “Paris on the Thames.” …
Taxes, Frustration, More Taxes

 … “Making it” is almost never easy, but Mr. Santacruz found the French bureaucracy to be an unbridgeable moat around his ambitions. Having received his master’s in finance at the University of Nottingham in England, he returned to France to work with a friend’s father to open dental clinics in Marseille. “But the French administration turned it into a herculean effort,” he said.

A one-month wait for a license turned into three months, then six. They tried simplifying the corporate structure but were stymied by regulatory hurdles. Hiring was delayed, partly because of social taxes that companies pay on salaries. In France, the share of nonwage costs for employers to fund unemployment benefits, education, health care and pensions is more than 33 percent. In Britain, it is around 20 percent.

“Every week, more tax letters would come,” Mr. Santacruz recalled.

 … Diane Segalen, an executive recruiter for many of France’s biggest companies who recently moved most of her practice, Segalen & Associés, to London from Paris, says the competitiveness gap is easy to see just by reading the newspapers. “In Britain, you read about all the deals going on here,” Ms. Segalen said. “In the French papers, you read about taxes, more taxes, economic problems and the state’s involvement in everything.”

 … Mr. Hollande’s government is now trying to re-brand itself as business-friendly, especially for start-ups. … These changes were welcomed by business, but the more than 20 French expatriates I interviewed said their country was marked by a deeper antipathy toward the wealthy than could be addressed with a few new policies.

“Generally, if you are self-made man and earn money, you are looked at with suspicion,” said Erick Rinner, a French executive at Milestone Capital Partners, a British-French private equity firm, who has lived in London for 20 years.

Mr. Hollande’s election, and especially his proposal — since ruled unconstitutional — to impose a 75 percent tax on the portion of income above one million euros (about $1.4 million) a year, have only reinforced that perception.

“It is a French cultural characteristic that goes back to almost the revolution and Robespierre, where there’s a deep-rooted feeling that you don’t show that you make money,” Ms. Segalen, the recruiter, said. “There is this sense that ‘liberté, égalité, fraternité’ means that what’s yours should be mine. It’s more like, if someone has something I can’t have, I’d rather deprive this person from having it than trying to work hard to get it myself. That’s a very French state of mind. But it’s a race to the bottom.”

Sharing Space, Waiting Tables

“In London, every day is a fight,” [said Emilie Bellet, 30, who in less than a year raised a half-million pounds to finance her venture, SeedRecruit, which finds talent for other start-ups]. “But then you get rewarded. I don’t think this would have been possible in France.”

 … Back in France, Mr. Santacruz’s parents were still trying to grasp their son’s decision. Having spent her career at the state telecom company, his mother, like many others in her generation, assumed that her children’s main aspiration would also be lifelong job security. …
France? Maybe for Retirement

 … Guillaume Santacruz was grateful for the benefits that his country gave him. But he wanted something else — to innovate. By September, his project was not where he wanted it to be. Yet he maintained that he was better off pursuing it outside France.

 … Even if [the company that Mr. Santacruz was trying to build (Zipcube)] fell apart, he told me one chilly weekend at his Kensington flat, where paint was peeling off the walls, “I would not change my mind and head back to France; I see only cons to doing that, no pros.” He was skeptical that the government’s recent offensive to spur France’s entrepreneurial environment would quickly bear fruit.

Several of his French friends in London felt the same way. “I asked them, if things don’t work out, will they go back? Not one of them would,” Mr. Santacruz said. “Maybe for retirement. But not for work — we’d rather go to the United States or Asia before returning.” France seemed to have lost another citizen in the prime of his productive working years.

 … And while the bar to succeed was high, “I’m confident I’m going to make it,” he declared.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

In leftists' minds, protecting the delicate feelings of the mentally ill is more important than protecting women and children from pervs


Have you ever noticed that whenever liberals say that something won’t happen, it happens? 
asks Benny Huang.
Yeah, I’ve noticed that too. Just weeks after Washington State implemented a new nondiscrimination law that protects “gender identity” a man walked into a women’s locker room at a public pool in Seattle, a possibility that liberals had pooh-poohed when passing the bill.

Other women were shocked because the man evidenced no outwardly feminine characteristics. This was not a dude carrying a purse and wearing a miniskirt; this was a dude who looked like a dude. He calmly began to undress in front of the women who quickly reported him to staff. When he was asked to leave he reportedly said, “The law has changed and I have a right to be here.” He later returned at a time when several young girls were changing for swim practice.

The police were not called and the unidentified man was therefore not arrested. No surprise there; what would they have charged him with? The law, which opponents claim enables voyeurism, would have been on his side. All he would have had to say is that he feels himself a woman in his heart of hearts. If he had been arrested he would have been able to sue the police for wrongful detention.

Such is the insanity of these transgender “rights” laws which completely abandon the idea that maleness and femaleness are objective realities. Those are just social constructs, they argue, and they can be altered with surgery, hormone therapy, or even just a personal decision to be “true” to one’s self. In order to muddy the waters they speak of gender rather than sex, two words that were once synonymous but have recently diverged. Even transgender activists acknowledge sex as being determined by biology though they afford it little importance. It’s gender that concerns them because gender is entirely self-determined.

Nor is gender binary—an “either/or” decision between male and female. Facebook, a company always on the forefront of deviancy, allows its US-based users 51 options for defining gender including “androgynous” and “genderqueer.”

 … In short, the transgender movement’s Big Idea is that no one can tell anyone else what his/her/zir gender is because it’s a personal choice. Though completely bonkers, I can see how this idea would appeal to the Left because it rejects the concept of objective reality and fetishizes self-determination.
I’ve often wondered just how far the Left will extend this principle. There must be a bridge too far but where is it?

 … Now I don’t really believe that the Left intends these laws to facilitate voyeurism or sexual assault even though that’s been the effect. What they want is for men who genuinely feel they are women to be treated as women. (And women who feel like men, of course.) They essentially want everyone to engage in a mass delusion because it makes delusional people feel better. They’re still wrong about this. Even if we could filter out the pedophiles and peeping toms from the truly gender dysphoric I’d still be against it because I’d rather not lie to myself. But as a matter of fact we can’t filter them out. If each person has full autonomy to decide whether he is male, female, or something else, then each person’s stated gender identity is sacrosanct and non-debatable.

Guys like Christopher Hambrook can of course be arrested and jailed after they assault women but they can’t be preemptively barred from women’s shelters as a precautionary measure. Which is utter madness, plain and simple.

I can only conclude that in their minds, protecting the delicate feelings of the mentally ill is more important than protecting women and children from pervs.

But what can we do about it? 
asks Benny Huang as ze ponders the solution to whether we can choose race (can Rachel Dolezal be black if she wants to be?), whether we can “identify” as disabled (“transabled”), and whether we can determine our own age (at least one gender dysphoric man from Toronto — “Stephonknee” (an adopted name) Wolschtt — has decided that he is in fact female and six years old).

In A Rape Survivor Speaks Out About Transgender Bathrooms (thanks to Ed Driscoll), The Federalist's Kaeley Triller, states that while feeling
a deep sense of empathy for what must be a very difficult situation for transgender people, at the beginning and end of the day, it is nothing short of negligent to instate policies that elevate the emotional comfort of a relative few over the physical safety of a large group of vulnerable people. …

What About Women’s and Children’s Rights?

 … There’s no way to make everyone happy in the situation of transgender locker room use. So the priority ought to be finding a way to keep everyone safe. I’d much rather risk hurting a smaller number of people’s feelings by asking transgender people to use a single-occupancy restroom that still offers safety than risk jeopardizing the safety of thousands of women and kids with a policy that gives would-be predators a free pass.

Is it ironic to no one that being “progressive” actually sets women’s lib back about a century? What of my right to do my darndest to insist that the first time my daughter sees the adult male form it will be because she’s chosen it, not because it’s forced upon her? What of our emotional and physical rights? Unless and until you’ve lined a bathroom door with a towel for protection, you can’t tell me the risk isn’t there.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The ultimate political chameleon, Trump was a wealthy, secular, country club Republican who bragged of hiring illegal aliens


Ann Coulter’s got a crush
bemoans Benny Huang,
and his name is The Donald. The Right’s queen of wit has fallen head over heels for Donald Trump, the candidate who forced the GOP to talk about the issue of illegal immigration.

My feelings about Coulter are mixed. I enjoy her columns and always buy her books when they come out, even if I don’t always agree with everything she says. She, like Trump, revels in shocking liberals, which goes a long way toward explaining the attraction. Admittedly, it’s not difficult to shock liberals, who take offense at things like colorblind hiring, the American flag, and virtue. I admire Coulter’s sass but I frequently question her judgement when it comes to picking political candidates. Over the years she’s endorsed Ron Paul, Chris Christie, and Mitt Romney; all duds in my book.

But never before has she been so enthusiastic about a candidate as she has been about Donald Trump because he speaks to the issue that she cares the most about—illegal immigration. It’s an issue that many Americans, particularly many conservative Republicans, care about. Until recently we have had no audience in Washington for our concerns. Neither party seems willing to crack down on rampant lawlessness and one party clearly encourages it by portraying the lawbreakers as victims. They told us that no one should have to “live in the shadows;” as if illegal immigrants weren’t boasting of their lawbreaking on television and being invited to the White House. Where are these “shadows” liberals are always talking about? They certainly can’t be found in our two hundred plus “sanctuary cities” where federal law is null and void.

 … Unfortunately, Ann Coulter has become a single issue pundit, focusing her attention for the better part of two years on illegal immigration. Her excellent book “Adios, America: The Left’s Plan to Turn Our Country Into a Third World Hellhole” is filled with startling facts about the Mexification (and Somalification, Hmongification) of America …

 … As someone who’s read “Adios, America” and most of her columns, I think I can summarize her views on illegal immigration, which I mostly agree with. According to Coulter, no other issue matters because if Democrats bring in poor immigrants by the boatload they will sweep to power and shape policy on everything including guns, crime, taxes, and the culture wars. As the saying goes, if immigrants and their children were destined to vote Republican even Harry Reid would join the Minutemen to defend our border.

What motivates the Democrats is not compassion for the downtrodden but naked self-interest. Coulter explained her position in an interview with the Daily Signal’s Genevieve Wood:
“It’s the only issue because once we have only Americans voting again we can win those other issues. If we keep dumping—and oh my gosh, if amnesty goes through well then it’s over overnight. As soon as they become voters, that’s 30 million voters for the Democrats.”
 … Coulter appears not to know this, as she told Charles Cooke of National Review: “He has certainly been consistent on caring about illegal immigration.” Donald Trump has not been consistent on the issue of illegal immigration. He’s a flip-flopper, a fact that should surprise no one because Trump is the ultimate political chameleon. He’ll say whatever he has to say to secure power. In that regard he’s not unlike Barack Obama…with fewer scruples.

 … My theory is that Trump was considering a run for the White House but hadn’t yet decided which party would better serve him or which views he should pretend to hold. He doesn’t instinctively know these things because Trump has no core principles. Instead he has interests, and right now he believes that those interests are best served by focusing on this issue.

To Trump’s credit, and I don’t give him much, he has his finger on the pulse of America. He reasoned, not incorrectly, that people are sick of Obama and that he could ride the tidal wave of disgust all the way to the presidency. He zeroed in on this issue not because he gives a hoot (he doesn’t) but because he thinks that it will ultimately pay dividends, which it may. It’s just business; and Donald Trump is the consummate businessman; except for all the bankruptcies, of course.

What Ann Coulter doesn’t see is that Donald Trump fits the profile of the amnesty shill to a tee. Before he was a thorn in the side of the pro-amnesty GOP establishment he was part of that establishment; or at least he was fully qualified to be a member. He was a wealthy, secular, country club Republican who bragged of hiring illegal aliens for cripes sake! As many conservatives have argued, they can’t get the corporatist Republicans to enforce the law because they see illegal aliens as a source of cheap labor. Don’t forget that The Donald was one of those corporatist Republicans just two short years ago; and before that he was a Democrat who partied with the Clintons, praised Barack Obama, and donated to Planned Parenthood.

But surely Donald Trump will fulfill his campaign promise, right? If it suits him he will. He will of course be thinking of a second term and it might be difficult to get reelected if he angers the people who supported him the first time around, though the same could be said of a candidate like Ted Cruz, who is supposedly only jumping on Trump’s bandwagon. I would argue that Trump has jumped on Cruz’s bandwagon, a man who fought to defeat the Schumer-Rubio amnesty bill.

Monday, February 22, 2016

America Is Nothing But the Country of a Band of Despicable Racists, Quips French Cartoonist

As we have been saying for the past years or so, the election of Barack Obama will never Lessen the European (and American!) élites' (self-serving) perception that America is nothing but a hell-hole of racist nightmares. (Why would it? They have too much invested in it, Europeans and American leftists alike.)

From Le Monde's Plantu from one of the final days of December 2015, with the typical stereotypes of the obese white American, the complicit judge under the star-spangled banner giving him a wink, and black victims all children:
Plantu: The American policeman who had shot a 12-year-old child will not be indicted

• Winking judge: Alright! … we'll let you go this time, but we will be keeping an eye on you!Winking

Sunday, February 21, 2016