Diversity for thee

You hear a lot of this sentiment these days:

The country’s top judge says her colleagues must become more diverse in order to better represent the public.

Lady Hale addressed the issue as she marked the centenary of the act that enabled women to enter profession.

The first female president of the supreme court called for the judiciary to increase its diversity to avoid the risk of being seen as ‘from another planet’.

This would include greater balance in gender representation at Britain’s highest court and quicker promoting for ethnic minorities and those from less privileged backgrounds, the Guardian reports.

A couple of months back I was at a seminar in which several ageing men on the stage signaled their virtue to the audience by bemoaning the gender balance of the panel, which was around 7:3 in favour of men. About a year ago I listened to another bunch of ageing men on a stage, this time in the auditorium of an oil company, saying they need to do more to promote women into senior positions. My immediate thought was, if these people considered the matter so pressing, why don’t they resign and hand their position to a more deserving female? Similarly, if pasty-white Lady Hale believes Britain’s judiciary should become more ethnically diverse, what better way to kick-start the process by replacing her with a minority?

You can be sure that anyone who has wormed their way onto a panel at a seminar, climbed the greasy pole up to executive management in an oil company, or backstabbed their way to becoming Britain’s top judge has only one person’s career in mind: their own. At every step of their career they would have sandbagged and outmaneuvered anyone who represented competition, be they white, brown, yellow, male, or female. When they were middle managers somewhere eyeing their next promotion they weren’t harping on about the need for greater representation or increased diversity. No, they were promoting themselves. But now the top job is securely under their belt and retirement is on the horizon, they want other people to sacrifice their career ambitions on the altar of diversity politics. The correct response is to either ignore their self-serving virtue-signaling, or to draw attention to their hypocrisy and mock them mercilessly.

Next time you hear someone calling for increased diversity in their organisation, you should ask why they haven’t resigned yet.

Share

One rule for thee…

Back in the early 2000s, Italy, Portugal, and Greece were being chastised and threatened with fines by the European Commission for breaking the Stability and Growth Pact, which aimed to limit the fiscal deficit of member states’ budget to 3% of GDP. Then something happened around 2001 which caused the French and Germans to blow their budgets and go on a borrowing spree, and all of a sudden the Stability and Growth Pact didn’t matter (see this chart for historical deficits). It became quite obvious that EU rules are only to be enforced against certain countries, and exceptions made when it came to France and Germany; those less charitable thought it quite obvious that the EU was run for the primary benefit of those two member states.

Fast forward 17 years and we had the European Commission refusing to approve Italy’s budget because it breaks the Stability and Growth Pact. Then a short time later French president Emmanuel Macron, with his back to the wall facing the might of the gilets jaunes, decided to throw an €8bn – €10bn bung at them in the hope of saving his presidency. France’s budget was already perilously close to the 3% limit, and this pushed it over the edge. So the European Commission is going to take action, right?

Heh:

The EU will accept a French budget deficit above the EU’s 3 percent ceiling in 2018 “as a one-time exception,” Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger said in an interview published Thursday.

Now there’s a surprise, eh? If you follow the link and translate from the German, you find out why:

President Macron has lost authority with his budget for 2019, which exceeds the deficit limit of three percent. But he remains a strong supporter of the European Union.

Of course. The rules don’t matter provided you are France or Germany and you are a strong supporter of the EU. What a wonderful club. I can’t think why Britain voted to leave.

Share

Conflicts of interests

Nothing in this report surprises me:

A rift was growing between Britain and key allies yesterday as European diplomats pushed back on calls for a firmer response to Russia’s weekend naval clash with Ukraine. The fracture in the Western alliance sets the stage for tense exchanges when European, US, and Russian leaders meet at a G20 summit in Argentina later this week.

Anyone want to guess where the fault lines lie? Here’s one side:

Britain, Poland, and the Baltic States have urged other members of the EU 28 to impose extra measures when existing sanctions against Russia are renewed in December.

The calls have been backed by the US.

And here’s the other:

France and Germany, which brokered a ceasefire and tentative peace accord between Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, and Petro Poroshenko, the leader of Ukraine, in 2015, are understood to fear such a move could split the bloc and further inflame tensions.

So much for solidarity over the Skripal poisoning, then. One of the most bizarre spectacles in recent times has been the European media and its gullible consumers portraying Merkel and Macron as standing up for Europe against the Putin bogeyman, while Trump is portrayed as a Russian puppet. Yet whenever it comes to actual policy, Germany and France fall over themselves to avoid anything which might damage the commercial interests of their major firms in Russia, and the same media utters not a peep.

Regardless of what the correct approach to Russia is, the double-dealing on the part of Germany and France – saying one thing, doing the other – is inexcusable. Last week Macron was saying he wants an EU army to protect against, among other things, Russian aggression. Merkel’s approach to NATO, Trump, and Russia requires contortions which are seriously impressive for a woman of her age. The hypocritical, self-serving behaviour of France and Germany who, when it suits them, demand ever-more cooperation and integration from smaller EU states is one of the strongest arguments in favour of Brexit.

On that subject, I’m reminded of something I wrote in a post in April last year:

The Baltic states are completely reliant on Nato to keep the Russians out, which in this case means the United States. However, in diplomatic terms (and probably  a token military one as well) it also means the Brits. If we can imagine a scenario in a few years time when the Russians are massing tanks and troops on the borders of Estonia, Latvia, or Lithuania on some pretext and revving the engines noisily, Britain will be one of the countries they will be pleading with to intervene (meaning, persuade the United States to intervene). How Britain responds ought very much to depend on how the Baltic states behaved during the Brexit negotiations.

I’ve noticed that Estonians and Lithuanians have said very little during the Brexit negotiations, and the Latvians have been urging caution. I’m sure it’s occurred to them that with Britain out of the EU they suddenly become a lot more vulnerable to malign Russian influence, be it commercial or even military.

This is why I think the EU will ultimately fail. The European continent, and the islands off it, do have genuine shared interests and concerns but the EU is structured along very different lines. These conflicts are now coming to a head, and at some point in the near future people are going to be asked hard questions as to which alliances matter most to them. I expect it will take some pretty ugly scenes before they find an answer.

Share

Some More Equal Than Others

There’s a certain irony about this tweet:

I have no idea what a gender equality breakfast entails, but I wasn’t surprised to learn this particular one featured a commencement speech by Canadian man-child Justin Trudeau. I also don’t know what the purpose of the tweet was, but many responses believe it shows Trump, by arriving late, is a misogynist who has no respect for those present. Which is probably true, especially that last bit.

The irony, though, is that extremely privileged and wealthy men and women in positions of great power and influence held this breakfast in the name of gender equality. Now I would have thought the very presence around the table of Theresa May, Angela Merkel, and Christine Lagarde would have rendered the entire purpose moot, but apparently not. If there is an inequality that needs addressing in most if not all the societies represented at the G7 it is that which exists between the ruling classes and everyone else. Nowhere is this yawning chasm better demonstrated than by Christine Lagarde herself; she is the woman with the pink handkerchief in her blazer in the photo above, and head of the IMF. Here’s an article from 2016:

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has been convicted over her role in a controversial €400m (£355m) payment to a businessman.

French judges found Ms Lagarde guilty of negligence for failing to challenge the state arbitration payout to the friend of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Yes, that’s right: she has a criminal conviction after passing a bung.

The Court of Justice of the Republic, a special tribunal for ministers, could have given Ms Lagarde up to one-year in prison and a €13,000 fine.

But they didn’t. Instead:

The 60-year-old, following a week-long trial in Paris, was not given any sentence and will not be punished.

Oh. How fortunate for Ms Lagarde!

I remember when this happened, and the authorities were almost apologetic in their treatment of this pillar of the French elite. It explains why the charge was one of negligence and not the more serious corruption, and why she walked away scot-free, smiles and handshakes all-round despite having been found guilty. And here she is, this convicted criminal whose privileged position allowed her to evade punishment and even keep her job at the IMF, hosting an “equality” breakfast.

Let me ask, if it were you or I who’d done what she’d done, do you think we’d have kept our jobs and be attending breakfasts at jamborees? Or would be languishing in a jail somewhere? Equality, indeed.

Share

Quelle Surprise

This amused:

“This is astonishing!” say people in the responses underneath. Sure, a French-Bulgarian academic studying liberal arts in Paris in the 1970s turning out to be a die-hard lefty working for the communists is just incredible, isn’t it?

Now I have no idea who this woman is and perhaps she did or said things which had everyone believing she was a loyal follower of Hayek, Adam Smith, and Ayn Rand but I doubt it. Shit, even today it’s a fair bet most academics on Paris’ left bank are hardcore lefties if not out-and-out communists mourning the day the Eastern Bloc collapsed.

What will be interesting is whether these revelations will see her hounded out of polite society. I highly doubt it. She’ll be given a sympathetic interview with softball questions and with a smile and an airy wave of the hand the entire thing will be dismissed as happening a long time ago and it was all a bit of a giggle anyway. I doubt this will dent her social and professional standing one jot, at least in the west. The Bulgarians might think a little differently however, especially those who lost family members at the hands of the Bulgarian communists.

Whatever the case, she ought to be grateful she only collaborated with the security services of a brutal communist regime since the age of 30, and wasn’t a teenager working a telephone exchange when the Nazis were in town.

Share

Breast Practices

This story amused me:

A transgender woman has been able to breastfeed a baby in the first recorded case of its kind, researchers say.

The woman had been on hormone replacement therapy for six years, but had not gender reassignment surgery, when she approached doctors with the aim of breastfeeding the child.

Before the baby was born, doctors put her on a three-and-a-half-month course of treatment to help her artificially produce milk, usually given to women who have adopted babies or who have them via surrogates.

This included breast pumping, taking hormones produced by biological mothers, a drug which can stimulate milk production and a male hormone blocker.

For some time now, breastfeeding mothers have been nagged into monitoring very carefully what they eat and drink, telling them that any nasties they consume will be passed onto their infant child via the breast milk. I suspect this is largely propaganda aimed at frightening mothers into adopting puritan lifestyles, but it has been very effective. I have met several breastfeeding mothers who will not even have a glass of wine, certain that to do so will harm their baby, and women who drink while breastfeeding receive disapproving looks and remarks from prodnoses nearby.

Yet here we are celebrating the fact that a man, having been pumped full of chemicals in the hope that his body will start mimicking a woman’s, is breastfeeding. I’ve always known consistency was an early casualty of the progressive cause, but it’s not always stated as plainly as this.

Share

More on the Protests in Iran

The protests in Iran are still going strong, and the government is threatening to crack down heavily if they continue. Only their Arab counterparts tried that in their own various uprisings and it turned the protests into full-on revolutions. There are videos on Twitter showing huge crowds embracing policemen while hurling rocks at Revolutionary Guards, suggesting any such crackdown won’t be so easy. And it seems young men are at least having a go.

Thankfully, the Iranian Mullahs have plenty of folk in the western world on their side. Consider the BBC article I linked to:

Three days of demonstrations erupted over falling living standards.

But a Revolutionary Guards commander said the protests had degenerated into people chanting political slogans and burning public property.

Funny how the BBC pours scorn on every word Trump utters, but quotes Revolutionary Guards commanders uncritically.

Brigadier-General Esmail Kowsari told the ISNA news agency: “If people came into the streets over high prices, they should not have chanted those slogans and burned public property and cars.”

Iran’s interior minister has also warned the public that protesters will be held accountable.

Presumably the BBC are on board with this. It is only later we’re told:

BBC Persian correspondent Kasra Naji said a common factor in all locations has been protesters’ demand for an end to clerical rule in Iran.

There is also anger at Iran’s interventions abroad. In Mashhad, some chanted “not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life for Iran”, a reference to what protesters say is the administration’s focus on foreign rather than domestic issues.

CNN went one further, saying little about the actual protests but giving front-page coverage of pro-government demonstrations:

Some people, including this cretin from the Huffington Post, have gone full retard:

The normally sensible Cathy Young hasn’t covered herself in glory, either:

Presumably Saint Obama siding with the Mullahs is preferable to Trump backing the protesters because The Messiah did so with “dignity”. What’s ironic is Cathy Young is originally from the Soviet Union so one would have thought she’d be a little more aware of the importance of the US president’s words on such matters, regardless of the perceived moral character of the speaker. But then, I have noticed that a lot of Russians flee to the US and start complaining about the way things are run when they get there. Max Boot is another example.

A lot of people have also noticed the silence and hypocrisy from America’s so-called feminists:

Others have noted the deafening silence from the EU on the protests. There are three reasons for this. Firstly, it’s a weekend in holiday season: bureaucrats aren’t going to check their emails just because there’s a revolution brewing in Iran. And Juncker will be drunk anyway. Secondly, as we saw in Catalonia, the EU elites don’t much like anti-government protests which is why they’re so keen on getting an EU army established. Finally, certain large EU member states have been sucking up royally to the Mullahs since sanctions on Iran were eased, positioning themselves as reliable European partners in contrast to the Great Satan, hoping to cash in when the country finally opens up. They will oppose any regime change in Iran for the same reason they objected to the toppling of Saddam Hussein.

Perhaps I’m forgetting something which could also explain the EU’s silence? Yes, I am: cowardice. This tweet sums it up nicely, I think:

Share

More in Trump’s Twitter Trolling

Polkamatic makes the following comment under my post on Trump’s Twitter trolling:

So the POTUS sees trolling the media as an appropriate activity for a sitting POTUS. Maybe even his top priority, by the looks of it. And by reporting on this bizarre state of affairs, the MSM is somehow wasting its time and money, because there’s nothing the viewing public is less interested in seeing than a tawdry spectacle.

This deserves a proper response. Let me take this part first:

So the POTUS sees trolling the media as an appropriate activity for a sitting POTUS. Maybe even his top priority, by the looks of it.

This is obviously true: Trump seems to spend as much time trolling the media as he does anything else. Is this appropriate for an American president? Personally I don’t think it is, but then I also believe it’s a moot point.

If Americans wanted a president who acts in a presidential manner, then they ought to have left the door open for such a candidate to step forward and get themselves elected. Instead, the media and political establishment decided they would back the Democratic candidate regardless and carry out a complete and utter character assassination of the Republican candidate. I remember when Mitt Romney ran against Barack Obama: he was called a Nazi, a religious fundamentalist, a misogynist, and a tax-evader. He then spent the entire campaign mumbling apologies, explaining himself, and reacting to every media revelation his political opponents aired. Sure enough, he lost by a mile. Had Jeb Bush won the Republican nomination in 2016, the same thing would have happened to him and we’d now be listening to President Clinton screech at us from our TV screens.

I’ve said it many times on these pages, Trump is a symptom of the malaise in American politics, not the cause of it. The reason you have an egotistical asshole in the White House is because the media and political establishment made it impossible for any decent non-Democrat to win a presidential election. Any Republican candidate who would have behaved in a presidential manner in office would never have got close to the White House, he’d have been destroyed by the media using every dirty trick in the book to bring him down. This didn’t work on Trump because he simply didn’t care, had his own money, owed nobody anything, and refused to apologise.

My post was simply to point out that Trump figured out the media’s role in American politics and rather than reacting to every story they put out about him, he plays the tune while they dance. And let’s be honest here: if he wasn’t doing this, and he had settled into the role and was doing his level best to do his job in a highly professional manner, the media would still be pumping out one anti-Trump hatchet-job after another, wailing about Russia and calling for his impeachment. Anyone who thinks the media, political establishment, and Democrat supporters would allow a Republican president to quietly get on with the job at hand is absolutely deluded.

And by reporting on this bizarre state of affairs, the MSM is somehow wasting its time and money, because there’s nothing the viewing public is less interested in seeing than a tawdry spectacle.

As I said in the original post, the people screaming about Trump are preaching to the choir. Part of the reason Trump was able to shrug off the media attacks during the election campaign was because millions of Americans had come to believe they are interested only in political campaigning and are hence highly selective about the stories they choose to cover. The diminished influence of the MSM was laid bare when, against all their dreams and predictions, Trump won and Hillary lost. If there was ever a time for self-reflection and recalibration, that was it. Instead, they’ve just trebled-down on the hysteria and hammered the point home they’re partisan hacks with no interest in reporting objective truth.

Is the public interested in a tawdry spectacle? Well, it certainly provides plenty of Twitter-fodder but the likes of the NYT, WaPo, BBC, and CNN are not tabloids: I am sure most Americans would prefer it if they started reporting the news properly instead of pasting up headlines regarding who said what about Trump on Twitter. Now maybe the MSM is enjoying healthy profits by pursuing this approach, but my bet is they’re losing money hand over fist.

On another note, I don’t think Trump’s method of communication is part of some overall grand strategy, I think he’s just doing what comes naturally to him. But regardless of why he’s doing it, the effects are substantial. I don’t know why he retweeted the videos that Britain First put up but it caused all manner of journalists, celebrities, and politicians to vent their outrage at what they see as his endorsement of a racist party. This has had the knock-on effect of:

1. Highlighting the rank hypocrisy among Britain’s political and media establishments. Jeremy Corbyn is a long-standing supporter of the IRA and Hamas, anti-semitism is rife across the British left, people with blood up to their elbows are welcomed with open arms, yet Trump retweeting a video from Britain First is deemed beyond the pale.

2. Exposing who is thinking what in Britain’s supposedly Conservative political circles. I wouldn’t expect any Conservatives to endorse Trump, but if they’re queuing up behind Labour politicians and left-wing media loudmouths in calling him “racist” and “not welcome in Britain” and “irresponsible” then they’re doing everyone a big favour. I suspect much of the British public couldn’t care less about Trump’s tweets and when they hear he’s posted something on a subject their own political classes refuse to address, they’re probably quite glad. I haven’t seen the videos in question (I generally find this sort of thing on Twitter to be presented in a wholly misleading context), but if the political classes think Trump tweeting videos of Muslims allegedly being violent and murderous is something that will horrify the public, they’ve not been paying attention.

3. It is now confirmed that retweeting does indeed equate to endorsing. Expect the trolls to have some fun with this over the next few weeks.

Trump’s tweets are often filled with infantile posturing, but the reaction to them is stuff that will fascinate historians and social anthropologists for years to come.

Share

Revealed Preferences

It was via Tim Worstall that I first learned of the concept of what economists call Revealed Preferences:

Revealed preference theory … is a method of analyzing choices made by individuals, mostly used for comparing the influence of policies on consumer behavior. These models assume that the preferences of consumers can be revealed by their purchasing habits.

Things get especially interesting when revealed consumer behaviour differs from what they have previously said.  In other words, don’t listen to what people say but instead watch what they actually do.  It is fun to spot such examples in the wild, as Adam has done over at Pushing Rubber Downhill:

It turns out, shock horror, that while people might be very outwardly positive and vocal about bringing those “poor refugees” to Australia, when it comes to sending their own kids to school with them it seems that they’re not quite as keen.

The local council, City of Yarra, says the district has been a proud “Refugee Welcome Zone since 2002”. Yet in Fitzroy, Carlton and surrounding suburbs, progressive, middle-class families have been accused of shunning public schools with high refugee populations.

“They are fleeing!” African community leader and former refugee Abeselom Nega says of white, inner-city families who apparently are rejecting diverse schools. This year, in a Melbourne newspaper, Nega accused families who avoided inner-Melbourne schools with large African-­Australian student cohorts of ­racism.

The yawning chasm that stands between middle-class virtue signalling and how they actually behave makes the Grand Canyon look like a drainage ditch.

Share

Hypocrisy

One of Tim Worstall’s regular commenters “MyBurningEars” recently had this to say on the subject of hypocrisy:

I reckon hypocrisy is overrated as a modern “sin” – people of all stripes seem to round on hypocrites as if they’ve done something uniquely terrible

I agree with this.  I have long thought that adult life requires being hypocritical at times and if you’re a parent hypocrisy is a way of life.  I often tease my friends when they admonish their offspring for displaying characteristics that they themselves are practically defined by.  I have noticed that most mothers’ worst nightmare is having a daughter who is just like them.

Dads don’t have it any easier.  They are required to tell their sons and daughters not to drink, smoke, do drugs, or shag around – which they do with extreme sheepishness if I happen to be in the room and I knew them at university.  Being hypocritical in this manner doesn’t make them a bad parent – quite the opposite, in fact.

For my part, I often encourage people to do things which I myself don’t do and vice versa.  Some decisions and actions might make sense considering my own set of circumstances, but ought not to be done by others whose life may be different.  Drinking with Russians, for instance.

I suppose provided people engage in hypocrisy for practical reasons rather than for moral posturing or from a desire to simply tell other people what to do, then it’s okay.  For me, there are far worse sins that hypocrisy.  Confusing it with inconsistency is one of them.

Share