Ill-Informed

This is an odd thing to say:

The independent Arms Control Association non-profit group criticised Mr Trump’s remarks.

“Mr Trump’s comments suggest, once again, that he is ill-informed about nuclear weapons and has a poor understanding of the unique dangers of nuclear weapons,” the group said in a statement.

“The history of the Cold War shows us that no one comes out on ‘top of the pack’ of an arms race and nuclear brinksmanship.”

An alternative view is that the Cold War shows us that an arms race – specifically Reagan’s Star Wars programme – is exactly what brought somebody out on top of the pack.

Sure there were other factors at play, and perhaps Star Wars didn’t have as much an effect as some claim. But for somebody to state that an arms race had no bearing on who came out on top in the Cold War in the same breath as calling Trump ill-informed is a bit ironic. Perhaps this outfit is like CND and thinks the wrong side won?

As Streetwise Professor has pointed out:

Russia has strained mightily to overcome the decrepitude of its 1990s military, and has managed to recapitalize it sufficiently to make it a credible force. Even after these efforts, however, it can only dimly see the tail of the American military in the distance. If Trump goes into super-cruise mode, Russia’s expenditures will have largely been for nought. Closing the military gap required the US not to compete. Trump made it clear he would compete.

Also, this from the BBC article:

His Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, repeatedly cast Mr Trump during the campaign as too erratic and lacking in the diplomatic skills required to avoid a nuclear war.

She mocked him by saying “a man who can be provoked by a tweet should not have his fingers anywhere near the nuclear codes”.

Whereas as things turned out, the electorate were more concerned about a woman who was itching to go to into a shooting war with Russia over a ruined town in northern Syria.

Soviet-Style Recycling

For some reason I’ve been sent an unsolicited email by an outfit calling themselves BusinessWaste.co.uk. I can only assume they think the contents make them look good. Do they? Let’s take a look.

Whole lorries full of domestic waste are being sent to landfill instead of going for recycling because people are just not separating their rubbish.

This is particularly case where a round has a large proportion of communal bins where the actions of just a few recycling refuseniks can spoil an entire housing estate’s recycling efforts, a national waste and recycling company says.

So there is a recycling system in place that can be rendered useless if only a few members of the public don’t comply with the requirements. Whoever devised such a system should be fired immediately and never employed again in any position other than perhaps to collect rocks from ploughed fields. Anybody – and I mean anybody – who has worked with the general public knows that no matter how hard you try to implement anything, there will be a substantial minority who through stupidity, malice, or both will simply not cooperate.

According to BusinessWaste.co.uk, the only solution could be lessons in domestic recycling funded in partnership between local authorities and the major waste companies in order to get the message across.

So the system doesn’t work because human beings don’t behave as the system expects them to. The “only solution” is re-education camps. Sorry, didn’t the Soviet Union end some time back?

“The truth of the matter is that only around 45% of domestic refuse goes to recycling these days,” says BusinessWaste.co.uk spokesperson Mark Hall,

Is this good or bad? Anyone saying that 100% of domestic refuse should be recycled is engaged in religious worship not reasonable inquiry. We probably should recycle something, but we definitely shouldn’t recycle everything: for each material (or group of materials) we need to work out whether recycling it uses more resources (in terms of energy and cost) than simply burying or incinerating it. Perhaps 45% is too low but this is something that needs to be proved, not merely asserted.

“and one of the major reasons that we’ve failed to get this figure higher is that people still don’t know how to recycle.

Then the system of multiple bins with different collection days at varying frequencies is too complicated or confusing. Whose fault is that?

“And worse than that – there’s people who just don’t care.”

Hence the need for re-education camps and, if necessary, liquidation.

BusinessWaste.co.uk is already well aware that there is resistance to recycling from certain sections of society who are convinced – quite wrongly – that climate change and challenges to natural resources are a “con”, and that there’s no need to change lifestyles.

Who says they’re wrong? Somebody with a deep financial interest in their being wrong? Uh-huh.

“It doesn’t help when we have politicians who say we can ignore the opinions of experts, because this is one thing where all the world’s experts agree,” says Hall.

In other words, experts – such as Mr Hall – should be the ones setting policy and nobody should be allowed to question them. Lovely.

But it’s areas where the message hasn’t got through that practical lessons in recycling can help.

Citizens must undergo a minimum hundred hours garbage sorting, unpaid. For their own good.

One recent example where there’s been such a call is in the Berkshire town of Reading, where some domestic waste collections are so contaminated with the wrong kind of refuse that there is no option but to send the entire load to the town’s already straining landfill sites.

Build more landfill then. Oh we can’t, because of EU regulations written to address issues specific to Denmark and The Netherlands. But wait! We can, because we’re leaving: get digging.

In one estate in the town, communal recycling bins are left overflowing with general waste, and there’s also a problem with vermin, the Get Reading news website reports.

In other words, local governments, egged on by rent-seekers like Mr Hall, have taken a garbage collection system that worked well and turned it into one that doesn’t, then added rats.

The situation has got so bad, some residents are calling for lessons from their council to show their neighbours how to use the bins.

That’s one idea. Another is to give the council lessons in effective waste management which takes into account the whims of the public. Then Mr Hall can be put to work cleaning the insides of the bins that have just been emptied under the new system, and when he’s finished doing that he can start on the garbage trucks.

It’s a call that BusinessWaste.co.uk supports, because it means that the end result could be an end to people’s time and effort being wasted, and an increase in local recycling rates.

And let me guess: BusinessWaste.co.uk just so happens to provide such lessons. For a fee, of course.

Who’s going to pay?

As Meatloaf sang, you took the words right out of my mouth.

“Of course, there’s the problem of funding,” says BusinessWaste.co.uk ‘s Mark Hall, “And that’s where partnerships between councils and the major waste service providers could work wonders.

The partnership being the taxpayer coughs up for the lessons and Mr Hall’s company delivers them. Cha-ching!

“It’s in everybody’s interest to get this off the ground,” he says.

Well, it’s certainly in your interest. I’m not sure about everybody’s.

And, of course, there are savings to be made by not sending whole lorries full of waste to landfill, BusinessWaste.co.uk points out, saying that burying rubbish in the ground is an expensive business, and half-hearted council campaigns tend to fail miserably.

Landfills are expensive? Then why does the EU need to impose regulations and fines to discourage their use? Why does it need supra-national cajoling to get people recycling if the economic argument is already made?

As Reading resident Mark Williams told Get Reading, it’s the same on a local level where clean-up costs are more expensive that teaching people to get it right in the first place: “It will cost them more when they have to get it cleared up. The rats will come back so it’s an ongoing problem,” he told his local news service.

I know what’s happened here. Local governments have been told to recycle instead of dumping everything into landfills, and that requires sorting the rubbish. It is a near-certainty that the most cost-effective and efficient way of doing this would be to take everything to a giant, industrial-sized sorting facility and do it all there. But that would require capital investment as well as operational costs, and councils have blown their budgets on Diversity Outreach Coordinators and supporting fashionable lefty causes. So they’ve simply decided to instruct the citizenry to sort their rubbish at home in their own time and at their own cost, ignoring the obvious concerns that 1) perhaps millions of people individually rinsing out jam jars under the hot water tap probably isn’t energy-efficient and 2) some people are just not going to bother. Usually people declare that the sorting of rubbish takes no effort at all, but alas this idea is rather disproved by the fact that there seem to be people who can’t be arsed to do it. Sure, they may be being lazy but that also proves the sorting requires effort. Perhaps somebody ought to have considered this effort before switching the entire nation’s rubbish collection system to one which relies heavily on not a single person being bone-idle. This is Britain, not Japan.

From leaflet campaigns to door-knocking and practical demonstrations, a multi-pronged approach could really bring forth results, BusinessWaste.co.uk spokesperson Mark Hall explains.

This idiot really thinks the problem is people not being lectured enough by the government on environmental issues.

“And where the adults won’t listen, we can take the message into schools,” he says.

Start the brainwashing early, comrades! Let’s create a whole new generation of Pavlik Morozovs!

“Children and young people have traditionally been the standard bearers when it comes to changing adult habits on recycling.

So the people most receptive to your ideas are those whose education is incomplete and whose brains are not yet fully developed. What’s that telling you?

“After all, they’re the generation that’s going to have to clear up this mess we’re in.”

Aye. They’ll be the ones paying the price for your dingbat policies, too.

With millions of British people getting their recycling spot-on week-in, week-out. It’s a shame that there are a few who simply don’t get it right and wreck everybody’s efforts.

Wreckers! You couldn’t make it up.

Also, if I’d designed a system with a crucial, fundamental, and glaring obvious design flaw I’d probably be expected to say something a bit more substantial than “it’s a shame”, as if kitty just died of old age.

“It’s these people we have to reach,” says Hall, “The message is everything.”

The beatings will continue until morale improves.

This is a problem entirely of the government’s own making, a government that has been advised by rent-seeking idiots like Mr Hall whose religious-like devotion to recycling is surpassed only by his enthusiasm for treating citizens as if he was living in the Soviet Union, it was 1935, and Stalin had just appointed him head of the NKVD.

Bubble Spotted

Every so often the mainstream media run a story which inadvertently reveals the yawning chasm between them and the rest of us. Usually it takes the form of a situation which the Establishment Classes in the media think is appalling but comes across quite differently to those people forced to live in the real world.

Take this BBC article for example:

Mexico has condemned new guidelines issued by the United States, under which almost all illegal immigrants can be subject to deportation.

The new rules include sending undocumented people to Mexico, even if they are not Mexicans.

Okay, fair enough. This is questionable and worth reporting on. But this:

The Obama government focussed on deporting immigrants convicted of serious crimes.

Now, the new priorities are broad enough to apply to almost any illegal immigrant, including anyone who has been charged with a crime, misrepresented themselves, poses a risk to public safety, or “abused any programme related to receipt of public benefits”.

Note how the BBC attempts to portray this as some sort of hardline policy brought in by Trump in contrast to the caring, gentle approach of that nice man Obama. Only pretty much every ordinary person who has a functioning brain would look at these “new priorities” and think “It’s about f*cking time! What the hell were we doing up ’til now?!” Whole swathes of the country will be wondering why they’re not deporting illegal immigrants who haven’t committed a crime on the basis that they have entered the country illegally. Trying to provoke outrage over a policy that would see illegal immigrants deported if they scam the benefits system or commit a crime is one of those things which can only seem sensible in a left-liberal bubble.

Right beside that article is another:

Donald Trump’s government has revoked guidance to US public schools that allowed transgender students to use toilets matching their gender identity.

The guidance, issued by his predecessor Barack Obama, had been hailed by as a victory for transgender rights.

Last May, Mr Obama’s justice and education departments instructed public schools to allow transgender students to use whichever bathroom corresponded to their gender identity.

I think people will look back and use this transgender bathroom issue as an example of what happens when the Establishment Classes get too detached from those who they govern. I suspect most people of my generation and younger are more or less fully accepting of gays, something that probably couldn’t have been said a few decades ago. Even those who opposed the SCOTUS gay marriage decision for various reasons probably shrugged their shoulders, muttered something about the world going to the dogs, and accepted that most of the population isn’t bothered by it. The SJWs then seized on this “victory” and decided that the general public either would be or should be as accepting as transgender people up to and including them being able to decide which gender they are on any given morning. Somehow they then persuaded the Federal Government to enshrine this in law via the back door, when almost the entire country was thinking “Now hang on a minute…”

The ZMan had a post up yesterday that explains this disparity between the Establishment Classes and everyone else:

Now, it is possible that Progressivism is on its death bed. Unlike Europe, the American Left has never been about economic equality. It was always about spiritual equality. The radicals on the Continent were always obsessed with busting up the class structure. The radicals in American have always been focused on saving the immortal soul of the nation. Economic equality was never anything more than a a political tool for the reformers to use as a way to get control of the culture in order to impose their moral vision on the nation.

In order for this to work, the Left has always needed victims and oppressors, saints and sinners. In the 20th century, they could champion black civil rights and women’s issues. Then it was onto gays and now foreigners. The trouble is, they are running out of victims to champion. Black guys getting pushed around by rednecks at the polling booth make for sympathetic victims. Mentally unstable men in sundresses wanting access to the girl’s toilet are not good victims. They are ridiculous and championing them makes the champions look ridiculous.

There are several reasons why Hillary lost and Trump won, and that is one of them.

Idiots Reporting On Idiots

Okay, we all know that Amnesty International got captured by the militant left years ago and went from a group fighting for the release of prisoners of conscience to a run-of-the-mill political lobby group masquerading as a charity. Anyone who took them seriously after their general secretary said the US prison at Guantanamo Bay was “the gulag of our times” in 2005 is an idiot. Naturally, this means those at the BBC take them seriously, hence an Amnesty report singling out Trump for special criticism is front page news:

Politicians who have used a divisive and dehumanised rhetoric are creating a more divided and dangerous world, says rights group Amnesty International.

Its annual report singles out President Donald Trump as an example of an “angrier and more divisive politics”.

There’s a spectacularly odd notion out there that Donald Trump is a divisive President, implying he approached a unified country and split it in two via “dehumanised” rhetoric. Hopefully there is at least someone out there besides me who thinks Trump’s success was born of the fact that America was already deeply divided long before he threw his hat in the ring for the Republican nomination.

But it criticises other leaders, including those of Turkey, Hungary and the Philippines, who it says have used narratives of fear, blame and division.

It would be easier to list those politicians who don’t employ such narratives. Or are we to believe that the vitriol being poured onto those Brits who voted to leave the EU by the likes of Jean-Claude Juncker and the anti-English bile spewed by Nicola Sturgeon is somehow different?

The group also says governments are exploiting refugees for political ends.

By importing them by the million as voting-fodder and (laughably) to shore up collapsing government finances?

The report, which covers 159 countries, cited a rise in hate speech across the US and Europe targeting refugees and said the reverberations would see more attacks on people on the basis of race, gender, nationality and religion.

Alas, the Amnesty Report doesn’t say what they mean by “hate speech”. What’s the betting their definition includes a mere questioning of the merits of unfettered immigration?

“Instead of fighting for people’s rights, too many leaders have adopted a dehumanizing agenda for political expediency,” Salil Shetty, secretary general of Amnesty International, said in a statement.

“The limits of what is acceptable have shifted. Politicians are shamelessly and actively legitimizing all sorts of hateful rhetoric and policies based on people’s identity: misogyny, racism and homophobia.”

Yes, identity politics is an awful thing, isn’t it? Causes all sorts of rifts and divisions. Just the sort of divisions a man like Trump could come in and exploit, actually. Only he didn’t create them, did he?

The group made special reference to Mr Trump’s executive order last month that banned refugees and immigrants from seven mostly Muslim countries from entering the US.

It said Mr Trump put “his hateful xenophobic pre-election rhetoric” into action by signing the measure.

Whereas Obama’s decision to end the policy of America accepting Cuban refugees doesn’t warrant a mention. Here’s what the report does say about Obama and Cuba (page 25):

Notable events during 2016 included US President Barack Obama’s historic state visit to Cuba, which put the two countries’ human rights challenges – including the ill-treatment of migrants in the USA, the impact of the US embargo on Cuba’s human rights situation, and the lack of freedom of expression and the repression of activists in Cuba – in the international spotlight

It does also say this, though (page 12):

[Trump’s] predecessor, President Barack Obama, leaves a legacy that includes many grievous failures to uphold human rights, not least the expansion of the CIA’s secretive campaign of drone strikes and the development of a gargantuan mass surveillance machine as revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Not that the BBC included this snippet in their article. For reasons of space, presumably.

The Overgaming of Milo Yiannopolous

Back in the days when he was writing about “game” – the art of male seduction of females – Roissy over at Château Heartiste mentioned something called “overgaming”:

Overgaming is usually poison to a pickup when the girl is very high value. Hot chicks experience the pleasures of smooth alpha operators more frequently than do lesser girls. Your clever retorts and masculine lack of punctuation are nothing new to the hot chick. She will enjoy it and place it in her mental pile with the rest of the suave suitors. You need to bring something more to the table, and that something is *escalation*. Escalation is what separates the men from the dilettantes.

Girls want to be played, but they don’t want to be sloppily overplayed like a marionette. She will balk if she thinks you have assured yourself she is an easy mark, and her ego will reassert itself, even at the expense of losing a mating opportunity with a higher value male.

Overgaming kills attainability, and male attainability is a necessary (but not sufficient) precondition for female surrender. Sharing a self-effacing story designed to humanize you will establish your attainability, and draw her closer to you.

Roughly, “game” in this context is the process of gaining a girl’s attention and getting her interested in you sexually. This is achieved by adopting certain mannerisms, vocabulary, body language, and other attributes designed to make you stand out from the crowd and win her affections. In the early stages of flirtation this normally involves being cocky, aloof, and a bit of an asshole (which, even if you don’t buy into the whole “game” theory, is undoubtedly better than being a complete drip who can’t look her in the eye). But what a lot of wannabe pick-up artists miss is that “game” is a means to an end, not an end in itself. The end is to get laid, preferably more than once. “Game” is merely the means with which to get there.

That is what Roissy means by “escalation” in the first paragraph: at some point, when you have secured her interest and are holding her attention, you must move beyond the witty banter and flirtations towards meeting them in person or initiating physical contact. Roissy’s post highlights the fact that some people don’t know how to stop “gaming” when its usefulness has (at that point) been exhausted. What they need to do is dial back the “game” a notch and start being normal and nice for a bit.

I was reminded of the concept of “overgaming” this morning when I read that Milo Yiannopolous has had his much-hyped book deal cancelled by his publisher Simon & Schuster. Milo burst onto the scene a year or two ago with the aim of garnering as much publicity as possible with his flamboyantly gay style and outspoken opinions. His notoriety has gone from strength to strength as Twitter first unverified him and then kicked him off completely before he embarked on his Dangerous Faggot tour of the US which culminated in riots outside UC Berkley last month which were reminiscent of the Vietnam War protests.

Whereas it is hard to deny that Milo hasn’t been extraordinarily successful in promoting himself (hence landing that $250k book deal in the first place), I did wonder at the time of the Berkely riots where all this was heading. Garnering fame and notoriety is good in the early stages of a career when you want everyone to know who you are, but what is the end game here? When you have the BBC running front page articles on you and coverage of the riots protesting your talks are making headline news, it is fair to say the “game” side of your campaign is done. But what comes next?

I know what Milo’s goals are: he wants to destroy political correctness, restore the principles of free speech, and make SJWs cry. All laudable aims, and I understand he used inflammatory language and controversial behaviour to get people to listen to him, but once he had the world’s attention it was time to take it down a notch and start portraying himself as a serious, mature individual who beneath the act is really worth listening to. Instead he stuck with the jokes about sucking black dicks, “feminism is cancer” remarks, calling Trump “Daddy”, and others, all of which were crucial parts of his early “game” of getting attention but made him look as though he was never going to be serious about anything and was purely a professional attention-seeker. As Ben Shapiro said:

“Being a provocateur just for the sake of being a provocateur is worthless.”

I don’t think Milo is only an attention-seeker, I do genuinely believe he is trying to do some good out there. But he got caught up in his own hype, and started to resemble those that he was attacking: he was fond of issuing writs against publications that called him a white supremacist or a Nazi, which was somewhat at odds with his stated belief that freedom of speech should be absolute; and he was increasingly playing the victim and complaining he was being treated unfairly and called nasty things, when he’d spent his entire career to date telling SJWs to suck it up because feelings don’t matter. In doing so I think he started to alienate some of his natural supporters. The “feminism is cancer” thing never sat well with me: there are better ways to oppose feminist stupidity than implying cancer is preferable, and it is inevitable that this would not go down well with those of us who have lost close friends and relatives to the disease. But this could possibly be overlooked given he needed to say outrageous things in order to get noticed, which I presume is why he saw fit to give an interview last year in which he implied that some 13 year old boys might be able to consent to having sex with adults:

Another man says: “The whole consent thing for me. It’s not this black and white thing that people try to paint it. Are there some 13-year-olds out there capable of giving informed consent to have sex with an adult, probably…”

The man says, “The reason these age of consent laws exist is because we have to set some kind of a barometer here, we’ve got to pick some kind of an age…

Milo:You know, people are messy and complex. In the homosexual world particularly. Some of those relationships between younger boys and older men, the sort of coming of age relationships, the relationships in which those older men help those young boys to discover who they are, and give them security and safety and provide them with love and a reliable and sort of a rock where they can’t speak to their parents. Some of those relationships are the most -”

It sounds like Catholic priest molestation to me, another man says, interrupting Milo.

Milo: “And you know what, I’m grateful for Father Michael. I wouldn’t give nearly such good head if it wasn’t for him.”

The surfacing of this interview, and the outrage it is causing even among his supporters, is looking as though it will finish Milo off (at least for now). He is backpeddling furiously, issuing clarifications left and right, and is scheduled to hold a press conference in New York this afternoon. None of this will help. The actual topic under discussion isn’t that bad: it is perfectly legitimate to acknowledge that the age of sexual consent is arbitrary and some individuals might find themselves on the wrong side of that line. And what Milo says in the second paragraph might well be true, but just because something is true it doesn’t mean that it should be endorsed. He would have been better off just stating that this happens and leaving it at that.

But that wouldn’t be Milo, would it? He just had to go and say that final paragraph, which puts a completely different slant on things by making it look as though he is endorsing the sexual abuse of minors. The whole discussion is on the edge to begin with, which is fine. But by stepping over that line with that sentence, Milo alienates the tens of thousands of men and women who believe in free speech and hate feminism in its modern form but really, really don’t want their 13 and 14 year old sons – gay or straight – to fall into the clutches of an older male authority figure who “helps them discover who they are” and “provides them with love” which takes the form of oral sex.

I’m assuming this video didn’t get much attention at the time because not many people saw it, but now the MSM has dug it up it is impossible to ignore. Simon & Schuster, who stood by Milo through all his latest controversies, have finally pulled the plug as they don’t want their brand to be tarnished with this sort of stuff. It is a colossal tactical error, and Milo ought to have known better.

There was a time not so long ago when Milo would appear at campus talks with serious social commentators like Christina Hoff Sommers. She no longer shares a platform with him. When he first entered Twitter he benchmarked himself against Ben Shapiro and even briefly enjoyed more followers than him, but Shapiro – who also gets banned from campuses and has protesters shouting him down – portrayed himself seriously with the odd clownish moment, and now seems to have carved out a career for himself. It wouldn’t surprise me if he ran for office in some capacity in the future.

With Milo, it was difficult to see what he actually wanted to do with his success and had he some idea he might have conducted his interviews with a bit more care. It was serious tactical error to say those words, but the error came from having no clear strategy. It was all “game” and he didn’t know when to stop.

Russia: Not Black and White

Alex K. writes in the comments under this post:

The idea that Russia helped install Trump in the White House is not much different from the Kremlin’s favorite talking point (much parroted on the American left and right), that the 2014 protests in Kiev were nothing but a US-manufactured coup d’etat.

Alex’s comment illustrates the point that finding sensible commentary on Russia is difficult (which is why his own blog is worth reading). I am often told I see things in black and white too often, but when it comes to Russia I find it is others whose views fall into one of the following two categories:

1. Russia is America’s number one enemy, they rigged the US election in order to install their puppet Trump, they are hell-bent on taking over Europe by force and they must be confronted in Syria.

2. Russia is absolutely no threat to Europe, Crimea rightfully belongs to Russia and the annexation was perfectly above-board, they have been forced to launch a war in Eastern Ukraine because of Western plans to encircle them, they are directly threatened by NATO and they have shown us all how things ought to be done in Syria.

There doesn’t seem to be a lot of in between, which is a bit depressing. Then again, I’ve always thought people were a bit clueless when it comes to Russia. Insofar as I am concerned, the actual situation lies somewhere in the middle and recognising this is the first step to understand how to deal with Russia.

Russia ought to have been confronted more forcefully, albeit diplomatically, over its annexation of Crimea and the failed attempt to carry out a popular uprising in Eastern Ukraine. Russia’s claims over the strategic value of Sevastopol were always bullshit, as were their claims that US/CIA/NATO/EU backed fascists were about to take over Ukraine at the expense of the ethnic-Russian population. Yes, Russia did have historical claims to Crimea and the majority of the population might have wanted to join Russia, but the way they went about it ought not to have been tolerated. Those claiming parallels between Crimea and Kosovo don’t appear to understand the difference between secession and annexation, and should be ignored. As I have written before, the pro/anti-Russian sides in Ukraine cannot be simply split by language, and nor can they be split by geography. There are no simple solutions, and anyone who thinks there is should be ignored. Ukraine is notoriously corrupt and dysfunctional and is likely to stay that way regardless of whether Russia gets to control the place.

Russia should have been confronted more forcefully, again diplomatically, over the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Perhaps it was the Ukrainian military, but the missile is far more likely to have been fired by a rag-tag pro-Russian militia with the direct support of the Russian military. Finding out the truth ought to have been a priority, but the West caved in to Russian obstructionism and misinformation. If there was one incident for which Putin should have been raked over the coals, this was it. The financial and other sanctions should have been doubled or tripled at that point, but I guess the glorious Western leadership preferred a quiet life and German businesses wanted to keep making money in Russia.

Russia’s “concerns” over NATO exercises in Poland, Estonia, and elsewhere should be roundly ignored as these countries have a far more recent and unpleasant history of being invaded and subjugated by Moscow than vice versa. If Russia doesn’t want Poland defending itself, then they should look at how they’re behaving towards Ukraine. If Russia wants to believe NATO intends to invade them, then let them. But they don’t really believe that any more than they believe half the crap they broadcast on Russia Today.

The constant drive to incorporate more NATO countries into the alliance is unwise, e.g. Montenegro. Nobody in the West is going to risk nuclear war with Russia over Montenegro, and this continuous expansion seems to be driven by organisational empire building rather than defence concerns. This plays straight into the hands of Russia and it’s apologists who whine that NATO is an expansive, offensive alliance that wants to encircle and conquer Russia.

Rather than confront Russia over blatant land grabs in Europe and the shooting down of civilian airliners, some clowns seem to think the West should confront Russia in Syria. Why the fortunes of Syria are of any interest to those in the West I don’t know, save for the fact that we are subject to mass migration of those fleeing the war zones, or at least pretending to. If that is our concern then the priority should have been to end the war as quickly as possible instead of letting it drag out by arming the rebels such that they could not be beaten but also could not prevail. The US/CIA didn’t start the war in Syria, but for some reason Western policy is to insist that Assad goes even though there is nothing even remotely close to an alternative on offer. If we were to jettison this idiotic policy then there is no reason to believe Russia is an enemy of the West in Syria. Sure, their methods might be appalling and we should and could criticise them, but their actual aims – smashing ISIS and restoring Assad to the head of a functioning country – are not wildly different from what anyone sensible in the West wants. So Russia gains “influence” in the Middle East? Let ’em have it.

Could Russia be a valuable ally in the war on terror? Possibly. In some instances yes, others no. They can be relied upon to kick the shit out of Islamists either using a Kadyrov in Chechnya or carpet-bombing in Aleppo, but let’s not kid ourselves that wedding ourselves to Russia and these sort of tactics will yield results to our liking. I think the West should cooperate with Russia in this regard and grudgingly appreciate that they are not squeamish about dealing with Islamists, but I don’t think their assistance is worth giving them a green light to do what they like in Ukraine and the Baltics.

I don’t think Russia is interested in conquering Western Europe, but I do think they might be interested in grabbing more former-Soviet territory if they can get away with it easily, like they did in Crimea. If they get away with more of that, they’ll keep pushing until they meet some resistance. So provide stiff resistance to Estonia, Poland, and others but let’s not get carried away in thinking Russia is some mighty foe that directly threatens America. Russia doesn’t want a war, they want quick and easy results. Making sure they don’t get the latter will prevent the former.

The hysteria over Russia “hacking” the election and Trump being Putin’s puppet is just the latest line excuse the Republicans and Democrats are using to explain why their preferred candidates got soundly beaten by an outsider nobody fancied. As Streetwise Professor explains, Putin is probably slowly realising that Trump winning might not have been to bis advantage after all. He’s going to have a lot more difficulty going up against Mattis and Tillerson than he would whichever shower Hillary would have picked. Trump was not Putin’s puppet and he is unlikely to do Putin’s bidding, but nor is he likely to start giving orders to shoot down Russian planes in Syria and other acts of rank stupidity. If Trump is “soft” on Russia regarding Syria, there is no reason to think that is a green light for Putin to help himself to Estonia. If Trump talks about easing sanctions on Russia in order to secure their help fighting ISIS, this doesn’t mean the US is about to recognise the Crimea as part of the Russian Federation. If the people in the West do have concerns with Russian influence on their politics then maybe they should say something about Germany’s cosy relationship with Russia which run so deep that Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder was able to take a high-profile job on a Gazprom project mere days after he left office. Nobody said a thing, but now we’re supposed to believe that Trump is compromised? Please.

In other words, the West should deal with Russia by treating each situation and policy separately instead of going for a blanket approach, and understanding that the place is complicated and requires certain nuances that aren’t going to fit in a single line or Twitter comment. Russian interests both align with and oppose Western interests depending on what we’re talking about, and a mature, balanced approach is required to deal with them. Trump’s first step towards achieving this should be to utterly ignore most contemporary commentary on the matter.

Accuracy in the Daily Mail

According to the Daily Mail:

The Royal Navy has banned posters of glamour models so as not to offend women sailors.

New rules have been brought in after women complained of feeling intimidated by the soft porn.

Sailors can no longer pin up nude pictures of their wives and girlfriends on board surface ships, submarines and at shore bases.

Did sailors actually do this? Put up nude pictures of their wives and girlfriends? Sure, they’d put up nude pics of women, e.g. glamour models. And they’d put up pics of their wives and girlfriends. But nude pics of their wives and girlfriends? I doubt it.

Scarlett Johansson on Monogamy

Staying on the subject of sex and relationships and messed up women, I have been forwarded this article on Scarlett Johansson in which she is quoted as saying:

I don’t think it’s natural to be a monogamous person. I might be skewered for that, but I think it’s work. It’s a lot of work…And the fact that it is such work for so many people—for everyone—the fact of that proves that it is not a natural thing. It’s something I have a lot of respect for and have participated in, but I think it definitely goes against some instinct to look beyond.

So anything that is hard work is unnatural? As the opening line in a Universal Loafer’s Charter this would take some beating but it’s clearly bollocks. Pretty much anything worth doing requires effort, including getting yourself fed.

Well, some have gotten animal about insisting that monogamy is unnatural, pointing to examples in the animal kingdom.

On that basis eating one’s own turds is also natural. Should we be more open to this? Finding lunch partners might be problematic following adoption of such practices, but with enough education and a few Supreme Court rulings these issues can be overcome.

On the other side of the argument, people have pointed to the health benefits of monogamy, such as … offering more emotional and mental stability and comfort. Emotional and mental stability can in turn have a range of health benefits…

Who knew?

The final answer may be that monogamy is both natural and unnatural. Natural for some. Unnatural for others.

Ultimately, what’s natural depends on the individual and what fits the individual. It’s better to know where people really stand and let them choose the situation that works best for them as long as they are not hurting others (e.g., having multiple partners without appropriate protection and precaution can hurt others).

Well, yes. But that’s the issue, isn’t it? I am quite happy for people to engage in the wonders of polyamory and shun monogamy if it makes them happy, but I am permitted to be skeptical about those who, for no apparent reason, doth protest too much in telling me how great it is. Taking Scarlett Johansson as an example, I would have held her comments in higher regard had she said them when she was 21 and looked like this:

Than having been twice divorced at 32 and looking like this:

True, she now has the wisdom of experience under her belt but cynics might think that, having fucked up two marriages and is now staring down the barrel of middle age and diminishing professional appeal, by declaring monogamy as unnatural she is looking to shift the blame for her own failings and, perhaps, launch a secondary career as an angry, bitter celebrity with a lesbian haircut turning up at wimmin’s marches denouncing The Patriarchy.

Look, I get marriage and monogamy isn’t for everybody, and perhaps it isn’t “natural”. And I am quite prepared to believe that there are plenty of well-adjusted, normal people who are perfectly happy who have chosen to live in an alternative manner. Good for them. But it remains the case, at least in my experience, that most people are happiest in a normal, functioning, monogamous relationship despite all the difficulties involved in maintaining one. The vast majority of people would find the idea of their loving partner sleeping with somebody else to be abhorrent, and the jealousy and anger will bubble up from something deep inside them that has very much been put there by nature and not social conditioning. If celebrities want to make statements denouncing monogamy and authors want to pen articles assuring everybody that shagging around doesn’t cause friction with their own partners, then fine. But the rest of us are entitled to point out that their advice is hardly a universal blueprint for personal happiness and question their motives for imparting it.

Polyamoric Patterns

Commenter Tui posts some links to articles praising polyamory under my article on the same subject here, noting:

Once trans issues become passé, poly living will be the hot new fashion. Gotta keep the sexual revolution chugging along, after all.

Let’s take a look at the first article:

Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins and I have plans to meet her boyfriend for lunch…Her husband, Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa, is out of town at a conference for the weekend

Before I traveled to meet her in Vancouver last June, she told me on the phone that most “mono” people misunderstand the challenges of polyamory — the practice of being openly involved romantically with more than one person at a time. “People ask, ‘Tell me about the downsides,’ ” Jenkins says. “They expect the answer to be that it’s so hard jealousy-wise. But the most common answer is timing and scheduling. I’m a fairly organized person, so I don’t find it super challenging.”

Okay, I’m seeing a pattern here. Every time I hear or read somebody explaining polyamory they stress that the main drawback is the logistical nightmare it represents in terms of scheduling, keeping everyone partnered-up, and presumably doing the laundry (although nobody ever mentions that). I have no doubt that this is true, that juggling multiple partners requires a lot of planning and organisation. But what I have noticed is this is usually thrust forward as the only drawback: issues such as jealousy, emotional stress, interpersonal conflicts, finances (who pays the rent?), communication, and adhering to the ground rules are rarely mentioned at all. Are we to believe these things – which exist aplenty in monogamous relationships – are not present and exacerbated in polyamorous ones? I’ve seen this gambit so many times that I am starting to believe it is thrown out there as a red herring: distract the readers with the “surprising” logistical problems and skirt around the rest.

“See,” says Jenkins, gesturing at the living room as she clips on Mezzo’s leash, “We’re a very boring and respectable couple!”

You see this a lot too: people in polyamorous relationships insist on telling everyone that their arrangement is perfectly normal and respectable. In my experience, such qualities in people do not need to be advertised and especially not by the individuals themselves.

Jenkins wrote about polyamory because she felt she had to: She and her husband were tired of living in the closet.

This is a common theme too: we live a normal, boring, respectable life but feel the need to go around with a megaphone telling everyone about it.

On the front porch are a swing and a coffee table with an ashtray on it. The ashtray is full, as if they have just had a party, or someone has been sitting out there, for a long time, thinking, while gazing into the street.

Or nobody has bothered doing any cleaning in a while.

Despite the personal clarity that she has gained on these points, socially the relationship has not been easy. Even in liberal settings, where people might not blink at the idea of a friend sleeping around or dating someone of the same gender, Jenkins says that “mononormativity” persists: The ruling assumption is that a person can be in love with only one other person at a time.

Hmmm. I’d like to hear what was actually said. I don’t think anyone has an issue with somebody loving two people at once: love triangles have been a staple of literature since quill was first put to parchment. What people find odd is the idea that you can sleep with someone you claim to be in love with one day, cheerfully wave them off the next in the full knowledge they will shag somebody else, and be happy about it.

She recalls a colleague becoming extremely discomfited recently at her husband’s birthday party, when Hsu introduced himself as “Carrie’s boyfriend.”

“Hey! We have unusual sleeping arrangements that we just spring on unsuspecting guests in the middle of a party! Look how edgy we are!”

Still, Jenkins believes that we are in urgent need of a more expansive concept of love.

We?

Jenkins did not set out to become a love expert. After growing up in Wales…

What was I saying in my previous post about polyamorists often being people who have experienced severe childhood trauma? Speaking of stereotypes, here’s a photo of the happy three:

The second article:

When I met Emily Witt six years ago, I felt that touch of vertigo that comes when you realize you’re in the presence of a highly sophisticated and committed mind. Witt is an alumnus of Brown, the Columbia School of Journalism, and Cambridge. So she did not strike me as the sort of person who would get high and have sex in the “orgy dome” of Burning Man with a person she’d just met.

Ah yes, the Burning Man orgy dome.

We met for coffee last week in Brooklyn to talk about Future Sex and how to approach writing about female sexuality.

Brooklyn, eh? Now there’s a surprise!

In the book, you describe being on drugs in vivid detail, but you don’t describe actually having sex.

Drugs? More surprises!

You know, somebody could write a book about Burning Man, orgies, polyamory, and drug-taking and the sort of individual that emerges from the wreckage in middle-age. It could even be set in Brooklyn, at least in part. Thankfully for mankind I was born to shoulder this burden, but I’m beginning to worry that it’ll be irreparably clichéd by the time it’s finished.

Flynn’s Sacking Explained Simply

Having read people’s reactions on social media to Trump’s press conference yesterday, it is amazing how few understand what Trump said regarding Mike Flynn:

No, I fired him because of what he said to Mike Pence. Very simple. Mike was doing his job. He was calling countries and his counterparts. So, it certainly would have been OK with me if he did it. I would have directed him to do it if I thought he wasn’t doing it.

Ben Shapiro’s response was not untypical:

I suspect so many commentators are struggling with this because so few of them have worked in a business environment before. Shapiro is a lawyer/writer/public speaker. The relationship he has enjoyed with his superiors in these professions, insofar as he has any, will be a lot different from the manager-employee relationship most ordinary people experience in the corporate world, especially towards the top when things get a lot more cut-throat.

For me, it is completely plausible that somebody could be doing his job as instructed but, for reasons unknown only to himself, decides to mislead his manager regarding some aspect of it which results in the manager making an arse of himself. In fact, I can’t believe there is anyone who has worked for more than a few years in a modern corporation that hasn’t seen this scenario crop up at least once.

An example. An Engineering Manager asks his Piping Designer if he has finished those drawings. The Designer says “Yes, they are done.” The Engineering Manager calls the Construction Manager and says “Yup, they’re done. We’ll send them to you first thing in the morning.” The next morning the Engineering Manager asks the Designer for the drawings. Turns out they are not completed after all, they’re only at 90% and they need another day’s work. For whatever reason, the Designer lied. The Engineering Manager now has to call the Construction Manager, who has a welder on standby ready to start fabricating, and tell him they drawings are not ready after all. The Engineering Manager looks like a dick who can’t run a department properly, and the Designer is going to get bawled at as an absolute minimum. He might even get fired. But that doesn’t mean that the Designer was doing something he wasn’t supposed to, far from it: he was doing his job just fine, even if the drawings weren’t ready it would have been no big deal. But he lied to his manager and put him in a very bad position. In any organisation, this is unacceptable.

The fact that most of our media commentators, even smart ones like Ben Shapiro, don’t understand this speaks volumes about how little real-world experience that sector has between them.