Devil in the Retail

Via a reader on Twitter, an academic paper on one of this blog’s favourite subjects, the effectiveness of banning single-use plastic bags. Here’s the abstract:

Leakage occurs when partial regulation of consumer products results in increased consumption of these products in unregulated domains. This article quantifies plastic leakage from the banning of plastic carryout bags. Using quasi-random policy variation in California, I find the elimination of 40 million pounds of plastic carryout bags is offset by a 12 million pound increase in trash bag purchases—with small, medium, and tall trash bag sales increasing by 120%, 64%, and 6%, respectively. The results further reveal 12–22% of plastic carryout bags were reused as trash bags pre-regulation and show bag bans shift consumers towards fewer but heavier bags. With a substantial proportion of carryout bags already reused in a way that avoided the manufacture and purchase of another plastic bag, policy evaluations that ignore leakage effects overstate the regulation’s welfare gains.

Oh. It might have been useful to analyse second-order effects before imposing sweeping legislation, no?

The trouble is, despite environmentalists’ claims to be believers in “science”, what we’re dealing with here are religious fanatics. They’ve decided plastic is the devil’s material and therefore any move which appears to reduce its use sets mankind along the path of righteousness. All the academic research in the world isn’t going to make a dent in the propaganda pumped out by the United Church of Modern Environmentalism; you might as well go to Mecca during the hajj and start picking holes in bits of the Koran.

That’s not to say this paper and others like it aren’t useful; they are vital in demonstrating that people’s views on the environment are in large part spiritual, not rational. This is important because those who advocate these policies generally consider themselves atheists whose beliefs are based on scientific data (albeit that which they’d not have the foggiest idea how to interpret without the “guidance” of the contemporary equivalent of a religious hierarchy). The evidence suggests it’s rather pointless to tell a man who claims to be pious that his behaviour suggests otherwise. But I’ve found there is considerable traction in admiring the spiritual commitment of so-called atheists and remarking that they’d be quite at home in a busy-bodying church.

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Jet Dough

From The Times, August 2nd:

The Duke of Sussex has given a barefoot address about the need to save the environment at the star-studded Google Camp being held on Sicily, it has been reported.

The duke is said to have given an impassioned lecture at the three-day event hosted by the internet giant and which has a climate change theme, according to the Page Six gossip column of the New York Post.

Harry reportedly covered much of the same ground that he did in his interview with British Vogue’s September issue, which was guest-edited by his wife.

The duke told the magazine the couple would not have more than two children, and spoke about “terrifying” effects of climate change.

From the BBC, August 19th:

Sir Elton John has defended the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s use of private jets

The royal couple have faced criticism after newspapers claimed they took four private jet journeys in 11 days, including to Sir Elton’s home in Nice.

From Elton John himself:

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“[An indulgence is] a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and all of the saints”

In other words, you can reduce the time spent in purgatory for your earthly sins by coughing up some cash for the church:

Trading in indulgences was big business before the Reformation. Buying indulgences was expensive and thus reserved for the rich, who had the money to buy them or to go on a pilgrimage to Rome or Santiago del Compostela.

Environmentalism really is a new religion, isn’t it?

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Reaming, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic

Via a reader, this article:

The headteacher of Heavers Farm Primary School in South London suspended two 10-year-old Christian students after one of them asked for permission not to participate in an LGBT lesson during “Gay Pride Month.”

In the Middle East “respecting” Islam means participating fully in Ramadan or risking punishment. In British schools, “tolerance” for homosexuality means actively celebrating it.

The headteacher, Susan Papas, who obliged schoolchildren to participate in a “Gay Pride” parade last year, told the two children, who are both of African descent, they are “a disappointment to the school,” Christian Concern reported Monday.

Oh, they’re black. I’ve suddenly detected racism in Ms. Papa’s remarks.

On June 20, pupil Farrell Spence asked his teacher Alex Smith for permission not to take part in a lesson when Mr. Smith handed out LGBT material for coloring. The teacher denied the permission, insisting that the LGBT lesson was part of the curriculum.

This has nothing to do with tolerance and everything to do with indoctrination of the sort Section 28 was designed to prevent.

After class, Mr. Smith allegedly accused Farrell of using “homophobic language” and saying, “LGBT sucks and LGBT’s dumb,” which the child categorically denies.

Which is what children say about anything they don’t like.

The teacher asked Farrell where he was from and the boy responded that he was of “African Jamaican” heritage, and there “everybody is Christian and Catholic, so they don’t accept LGBT.”

If he’s capable of expressing himself like that perhaps he’s a little past colouring exercises? It would equally explain the reluctance of a 10-year old to take part as any in-built homophobia.

Later, head teacher Papas reportedly called in the two children and shouted at them: “How dare you? You are a disappointment to the school.”

Ms. Papas, whose daughter Attie is a lesbian and the School Manager, next put the children in separate rooms and scolded Kaysey: “How dare you say that you want to kill LGBT people?”

In other words, you have an LGBT political activist masquerading as a teacher and abusing their position to indoctrinate children.

Heavers Farmer Primary School educates 750 pupils in a multicultural and multi-religious borough of South London. Along with the School Manager, the Assistant Headteacher Robert Askey is also openly gay.

Uh-huh.

The mothers of the two children complained to the Principal Officer, citing school regulations that state it is unlawful to suspend a student for “a non-disciplinary reason.”

The parents insist their children did not make homophobic comments and have accused the headteacher of failing “to eliminate discrimination based on religion or belief.” They also cited the European Convention of Human Rights, saying it requires that schools respect the manner in which parents seek to raise their children in accordance with their Christian faith.

And we’re back to where we were with the Muslim parents in Birmingham a couple of months back. Now normally it would be easy to dismiss these Christian parents as bigots, but with they’re being African it’s not so easy. Who wins this hand of victimhood poker?.

This is not the first run-in the school and its headteacher has faced over LGBT activism.

In June 2018, the school organized a “Gay Pride” parade in its playground, posting rainbow flags around the school, and telling students to wear bright colors for the event.

Ms. Papas also invited parents to watch the “Proud to be Me!” parade and join in celebrating “the rainbow of things that make them and their family special.”

At that time, 14 Christian parents complained that Papas was “forcing a very aggressive LGBT agenda on to young children in a manner which abuses parental rights and victimises parents.”

Well yes, it’s run by political activists. Welcome to compulsory state education.

In response, Papas declared she was standing against homophobia: “We stand by our decision to celebrate national Pride Month by teaching British values.”

The subject matter may be different, but these values sound more Soviet than British.

Izoduwa Montague, the mother of one of the students and a Christian, refused to allow her four-year-old son to take part in the parade and complained to the Education Secretary that the school had embarked on “systematic proselytism of its young and vulnerable pupils.”

Which is exactly what opponents of teaching children this stuff in schools predicted would happen.

Montague says she felt “bullied” after she complained that her child was “forced to take part in an event that goes against our Christian beliefs,” and later transferred her child to a Catholic school.

Where I expect they received a better education.

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Unoriginal Sin

Regular readers will know I like to draw comparisons between environmentalism and the traditional religions that modern societies abandoned:

I mentioned climate change because this seems to be the aspect of modern politics in supposedly secular countries which most closely resembles a religion. Once again, we have the sacred texts, the high priests, the apostates, punishment of unbelievers, calls for sacrifices, and indoctrination all wrapped up in a great moral crusade stretching beyond our lifetimes that secures the blind faith of the followers. It makes me laugh when I hear atheists refer to “Science!” when talking about climate change: these people are no more able to challenge the pronouncements of the scientists, whose words have been filtered through the media and politicians, than a medieval peasant was able to challenge the high priests’ interpretations of sacred texts. They are as much wedded to faith as their devout ancestors, but they don’t realise it.

In support of this theory I present a chap on Sky talking about original sin:


Let the self-flagellation begin!

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Where do you stand on Israel?

A week or so back Israel Folau, the Australian rugby player who’s been ostracised for exercising his religious freedom in a way which displeased the LGBTQ political lobby, decided to set up a Go Fund Me campaign ostensibly to help him with his legal fees. Now I don’t suppose Folau needs the money – he’s been a top-class professional athlete across three sports since he was 18 years old – but he might have done it to gauge how much support he had. Turns out it was quite a bit and the fund quickly passed five figures, leading the Sydney Morning Herald to abandon journalism for activism and ramp up the pressure to get the appeal shut down. After all, the last thing progressives want is for a designated wrongthinker to have an avenue of financial and moral support once the moral gavel has fallen.

Sure enough, once the inevitable mob had formed Go Fund Me dug around in their terms of service and discovered they reserve the right to yank any funding campaign on a whim, which they duly did. The smug grins of the SMH activists probably didn’t last long, though. Within hours the Australian Christian Lobby had set up an appeal which, when I looked this morning, had attracted over $1.9m dollars. That’s a lot of money, and I expect many donors aren’t even Christian but are seeing this as a way to signal their opposition to the increasingly restrictive speech codes being forced on Australians by their employers and with the full backing of politicians.

But the saga doesn’t end there. Via William of Ockham, the Sydney Morning Herald is now urging the government to intervene:

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission has been asked to investigate the Australian Christian Lobby over its role in helping Israel Folau raise more than a million dollars for his legal fight against Rugby Australia (RA).

Asked by whom?

A number of complainants, however, have confirmed to the Herald that they have raised their concerns with the charities commission over the fundraising role played by the ACL.

So it’s basically another attempt to sabotage Folau’s ability to raise funds. For all we know there might be no more than two complaints, both originating from the offices of the Sydney Morning Herald.

According to the ACNC, a charity must be able to show that the use of its funds furthers the charitable purpose in which it is registered, meaning the ACL would need to prove it is “advancing religion”, for example, by agreeing to help raise money for Folau’s individual purposes.

I’d say defending an outspoken Christian who is being persecuted for his religious beliefs is doing more to advance Christianity than the combined efforts of the Pope and Archbishop of Canterbury over the past twenty years.

“We got legal advice on this before we went ahead with it,” [ACL’s managing director Martyn] Iles  said. “Israel Folau is not a member and our charitable purpose is to advocate for changes in law and public policy and the advancement of the Christian religion. This is a religious freedom issue which for law has implications for law and public policy.

Quite, which is why it’s attracted so much support:

“Over 15,000 people have donated and the average donation is about $100 and about 10 donors per minute. That’s pretty incredible stuff. There’s a lot of juice left in this.”

It’s as if a lot of people understand this is a lot bigger than what Folau thinks about homosexuals. Which brings me onto this story:

A disabled grandfather has been sacked by Asda for sharing an ‘anti-religion’ sketch by Billy Connolly on his Facebook page. Brian Leach, who had worked at the Asda store for five years in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, was let go by the supermarket after a colleague complained the comments in the sketch were anti-Islamic.

Now Britain is not Australia, but the progressive mindset which dominates the ruling classes and the subsequent authoritarianism is much the same in both countries. We’ve arrived at a situation whereby expressing Christian beliefs on social media gets you fired while disrespecting Islam on social media also gets you fired. I don’t agree with other commentators who say blasphemy laws are being applied in the UK, this is something else. Far from being inconsistent, the two approaches are quite logical once you understand the objective of those in charge is to denounce, undermine, and ultimately destroy what was until recently the prevailing culture in the developed, Anglo-Saxon world. In practice, this means those who rule over us will pick and choose who can say what and when as they see fit, and deprive us of our livelihoods should we speak out of turn. For now, this means Christians cannot say anything mean about homosexuals and ordinary folk cannot say anything which might be perceived as a slight against Islam.

And you can be sure this won’t stop here. I expect Folau will soon find his bank withdrawing their services, sending him a curt letter that he has 14 days to find an alternative (having made sure the other Australian banks will also deny him). What then? Will his phone company cut him off because the Sydney Morning Herald is piling on the pressure, backed by various government bodies stuffed with vinegar-drinking cat-ladies and the sort of men who, when they were in school, told the teacher which kid drew the picture on the blackboard? Nobody should feel too sorry for Folau, but this is about much more than a multi-millionaire sportsman. What happens when they start coming for ordinary people, like a grandad who works in Asda for example? What happens when they come for you?

People, especially politicians, often get asked where they stand on Israel. I think that question may develop a second meaning, and one no less important than the original.

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Unfinished Izzyness

Staying on the topic of Australian labour laws and following on from this story, Israel Folau is back in the news:

Sacked former rugby international Israel Folau has launched legal proceedings with the Fair Work Commission against Rugby Australia (RA) and NSW Rugby for breach of contract.

Folau’s lawyers said under Section 772 of the Fair Work Act, it was unlawful to terminate employment on the basis of religion.

I had a feeling he might do this. Folau got into trouble for expressing views which form the basis of several mainstream religions, including his own, on his private Instagram feed. I don’t have much faith in any Australian judge not just ruling however progressives demand, but on the face of it I think he has a case. How can an organisation claim it does not discriminate on the grounds of religion – which is a set of beliefs – and then fire someone for expressing those beliefs outside the organisation?

RA and NSW Rugby released a statement confirming they would maintain their ground following Folau’s decision to launch legal action.

The organisations stated they “did not choose” to be in this position but they were committed to upholding the values of “inclusion, passion, integrity, discipline, respect and teamwork”.

Inclusion? That’s the word you’re going to go with here? And I notice you didn’t include tolerance.

“We will defend those values and the right for all people to feel safe and welcome in our game regardless of their gender, race, background, religion or sexuality,” the statement said.

We welcome people regardless of their religion provided they don’t express its underlying beliefs, even in a private capacity. This article does a good job of explaining the Gordian Knot identity politics has tied for itself:

Sport is to be commended for striving to uphold the best values of a modern society, but what happens when those values clash — the human right of sexual orientation versus the human right to freedom of religion?

Does quoting from the Bible constitute hate speech? Was Folau inciting violence?

There is little to no distinction between the “public face” of a sport and the “individual” who may want to express his or her own views or religious beliefs — as they are entitled to under the charter of Human Rights.

His Instagram account doesn’t describe him as a Wallaby or mention rugby at all. It says, “Israel Folau. Living for Jesus Christ. #TeamJesus.”

All eyes will be on the outcome of this court case. I hope Folau wins, but I won’t be holding my breath. Ultimately, it will come down to who sits higher in the victim hierarchy and we already know that gays outrank Christians by a mile and a half. But the courts are going to have to tread carefully because gays don’t outrank certain other religions, and unfortunately for progressives discrimination laws lump all religions in the same basket. The head honchos at world rugby must be praying Sonny Bill Williams doesn’t tweet anything similar before the world cup starts.

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Holy Wars

A few weeks ago a mate asked me if I thought the climate change hysteria would begin to die down as skepticism increases and the alarmists’ predictions fail to materialise. The infantile reaction to Greta Thunberg’s nonsense aside, I think environmentalists are already forging ahead with Plan B:

Today, it has become clear that plastic is having a devastating effect not only on wildlife but on ourselves. It is now polluting every corner of our planet. I have seen first-hand, how it is choking our oceans and rivers.

It entangles animals with lethal effect. It causes perforated stomachs and starvation. Mammals, birds, fish and marine invertebrates – over 180 different species in all – have been identified accidentally eating it.

But the impact on humans is less well known. Now a report published jointly by the conservation organisation Fauna & Flora International and others highlights for the first time the effect of plastic waste on the health of the world’s poorest people.

It shows that 400,000 to one million people are dying every year as a result of mismanaged waste. If the upper end of this estimate is correct, then one person is dying every 30 seconds as a consequence of this dreadful pollution.

In the space of about three years plastic in the ocean has gone from something fringe campaigners banged on about to being ubiquitous in media, politics, and business. Barely a day goes by without somebody reminding us how much plastic is in the ocean and how terrible it is (although never actually admitting where it comes from).

As always, the proposed solutions are bans, restrictions, and higher prices imposed by central government following an increase in power, money, and privilege for politicians and environmental campaigners. Nobody considers more practical solutions (such as proper landfill whose CO2 emissions are captured), just as those claiming climate change is an imminent, existential threat refuse to endorse nuclear power. The plastic issue is cloaked in the language of morality whereby plastic is bad because it’s artificial but clearing the rainforest to grow plant-based alternatives is good. Whereas climate change was a political movement which became a quasi-religious one, the war on plastic is a spiritual campaign in which wealthy, middle-class mothers seek to capture politics in order to advance their cause. You’ll notice that of all the plastic items deemed unnecessary by our moral superiors, women’s cosmetic products never make the list. Nor do disposable nappies. If you were to get accurate data on how many men are really on board with environmentalism, organic produce, and bans on junk food compared with those who just wearily go along with whatever their partner deems important, I’d guess the latter outnumber the former ten to one.

So while I don’t think the climate change hysteria will die down, I reckon it my lose prominence to moral crusades such as the war on plastic. Climate change was always political, a route to power for authoritarians who found socialism no longer an option due to the collapse of the Soviet Union. But as western societies scrabbled around for something to fill the vacuum left by the departure of Christianity, it took on a religious bent. Now that seed has been planted we’re seeing cults forming for whom politics is the means to their spiritual ends. They’re already calling for the customary dietary restrictions. I expect what we’ll see is new cults springing up – indeed, identity politics probably already qualifies, perhaps third-wave feminism too – and fight among one another for state recognition, support, and resources. Meanwhile normal people will think they’re in the middle of a Third Great Awakening, dominated by box-wine suburban housewives, corporate power skirts with a repeat prescription for Prozac, children in Ralph Lauren jumpers with double-barreled surnames, and twenty-eight year olds who still live with their parents because they don’t like the idea of being on a cleaning roster.

It’s going to be fun, isn’t it?

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Israeli Thought Crimes

This isn’t surprising:

Israel Folau’s contract has been terminated by Rugby Australia after he said “hell awaits” gay people in a social media post.

The Waratahs full-back, 30, was sacked in April but requested a hearing, which was heard by a three-person panel.

They found him guilty of a “high level breach” of RA’s player code of conduct and have upheld the dismissal.

It’s not the first time Folau has got into trouble for expressing views consistent with his unapproved and unprotected religion.

The fundamentalist Christian posted a banner on his Instagram account in April that read: “Drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators – Hell awaits you.”

This is another example of tolerance and diversity only extending as far as government-approved opinions. Note that Folau is not demanding homosexuals be punished, nor is he refusing to play with them. Instead, he is expressing his religious views that homosexuality is a sin for which they will ultimately pay in the afterlife. A charitable interpretation is he’s not even being malicious, he genuinely fears for such people and wants to save them. His opinions on the fate of homosexuals are derived directly from his religion, which in theory he has the freedom to practice. But as far as Rugby Australia are concerned, he’s free to practice Christianity provided he doesn’t pass remarks on what that entails. This doesn’t sound like an organisation which embraces diversity or practices tolerance.

The other daft thing is Heaven and Hell are religious concepts, and Folau is clearly using the term “hell” in it’s religious context here. So unless you’re religious like Folau, the whole idea of Hell ought to be meaningless. In which case what’s the problem? Homosexuals seem to be taking offence that Folau is condemning them to a fate in an afterlife they don’t themselves believe in. They might as well fret about stepping on cracks in the pavement.

Rugby Australia is a foundation member of Pride in Sport Index (PSI), which is a sporting inclusion programme in Australia set up to help sporting organisations with the inclusion of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community.

And to the exclusion of practicing Christians whose views have brought no problems whatsoever to the game (unless you count Michael Jones refusing to play on Sundays).

“We commend Rugby Australia, as well as New South Wales Rugby Union, for their leadership and courage throughout this process,” said PSI co-founder Andrew Purchas.

Chucking outspoken Christians under the bus to appease the gay lobby is hardly courageous. What would have been really courageous is for Rugby Australia to state that Folau is entitled to practice his religion and express the views derived from it on his social media platforms.

“Their swift and decisive actions shows that homophobic and transphobic discrimination is not acceptable in sport and individuals – irrespective of their social or professional stature – will be held accountable for their words and actions.”

Held accountable for their actions, eh? Funny, these are the precise sentiments which have just got Folau fired. What we’re seeing here is new quasi-religious dogma pushing out the old. Only Christian societies had a 2,000 year run. How long do you think modern society will last in its current guise?

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Division

A couple of years ago I wrote a post which began as follows:

Pope Francis was greeted by crowds of hundreds of thousands as he made saints of two shepherd children at the Fatima shrine complex in Portugal.

Shepherd children?

It is 100 years since the two – and a third child – reported seeing the Virgin Mary while tending sheep.

The traditional skepticism of adults listening to tales of what children saw must have been set aside that day.

Two of the children – Jacinta and Francisco Marto – have been canonised for the miracles attributed to them. They died in the 1918-1919 European influenza pandemic.

I’m way outside my area of expertise here, but I thought saints had to perform miracles, not merely have visions.

The so-called three secrets of Fatima were written down by their cousin, Lucia dos Santos, who died in 2005 aged 97.

So we’re going off a secondhand account of what two kids say they saw?

They are prophecies written down by Lucia, years after the apparitions that the three said they had witnessed.

This is not helping.

This isn’t the only case like it. Reader Michael van der Riet emails me with the story of Bernadette Soubirous:

Soubirous was a sickly child and possibly due to this only measured 4 ft.7in. tall. She contracted cholera as a toddler and suffered severe asthma for the rest of her life.

Soubirous learned very little French, only studying French in school after age 13 due to being frequently ill and a poor learner. She could read and write very little due to her frequent illness.

So not the sharpest tool in the shed, then.

On 11 February 1858, Soubirous, then aged 14, was out gathering firewood with her sister Toinette and a friend near the grotto of Massabielle (Tuta de Massavielha) when she experienced her first vision. While the other girls crossed the little stream in front of the grotto and walked on, Soubirous stayed behind, looking for a place to cross where she wouldn’t get her stockings wet. She finally sat down to take her shoes off in order to cross the water and was lowering her stocking when she heard the sound of rushing wind, but nothing moved. A wild rose in a natural niche in the grotto, however, did move. From the niche, or rather the dark alcove behind it, “came a dazzling light, and a white figure”. This was the first of 18 visions of what she referred to as aquero (pronounced [aˈk(e)ɾɔ]), GasconOccitan for “that”. In later testimony, she called it “a small young lady” (uo petito damizelo). Her sister and her friend stated that they had seen nothing.

On 14 February, after Sunday Mass, Soubirous, with her sister Marie and some other girls, returned to the grotto. Soubirous knelt down immediately, saying she saw the apparition again and falling into a trance.[citation needed] When one of the girls threw holy water at the niche and another threw a rock from above that shattered on the ground, the apparition disappeared. On her next visit, 18 February, Soubirous said that “the vision” asked her to return to the grotto every day for a fortnight.

I expect many religions have children – always simple children and in many instances those who, if born in the modern era, would take the short bus to school – who claimed to experience visions and were venerated by adults and later sanctified by the prevailing holy order. I write about this now because:

According to her mother Malena Ernman (48), 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg can see CO2 with the naked eye. She writes that in the book ‘Scenes from the heart. Our life for the climate’, which she wrote with her family.
Greta was diagnosed as a child with obsessive-compulsive disorder and Asperger’s syndrome, just like her younger sister Beata. The activist also has a photographic memory. She knows all the capitals by heart and can list all the chemical elements of the periodic table within one minute. In addition, she has another gift according to her mother. “Greta is able to see what other people cannot see,” writes Malena Ernman in the book. “She can see carbon dioxide with the naked eye. She sees how it flows out of chimneys and changes the atmosphere in a landfill.”

I’ve said many times that environmentalism has replaced Christianity in the post-religious developed world. With its high priests, disciples, holy scriptures, heretics, and prophecies of doom it’s all there. Now it has its oddball children with holy visions. How long before it has its first saint?

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Unbecoming

The Independent, perhaps forgetting it’s supposed to report news, runs an advertorial on behalf of Michelle Obama, the feminist icon who would be completely unknown were it not for her husband holding high office.

The former first lady juxtaposed the Donald Trump administration to Barack Obama’s presidency during a wide-ranging interview on Sunday to promote her autobiography Becoming in London, venting her frustrations at the president’s decision to radically overhaul her husband’s legacy.

There was a time when former presidents – and by implication, their wives – refrained from criticising their successors. Michelle Obama doesn’t only criticise the current president, but she goes on a world tour to do it, whining about her husband’s “legacy”. I’m not seeing a lot of that “class and grace” here.

Ms Obama took aim at the billionaire property developer in a series of jibes during which she did not mention him by name. “For anyone who had any problems with Barack Obama, let’s just think about what we were troubled by – there were never any indictments,” she told a crowd of around 15,000 at the O2.

Which is more a reflection on the African-style corruption your husband brought to the US Department of Justice and security services than his behaviour in office.

The Chicago native, who was interviewed by US late-night host Stephen Colbert, jokingly compared the US with Mr Trump in the White House to being a teenager.

I see. “When they go low, we go high” has become “I’ll go low to make some money.”

“We come from a broken family, we are a little unsettled,” Ms Obama said. “Sometimes you spend the weekend with divorced dad. That feels like fun but then you get sick. That is what America is going through. We are living with divorced dad.”

This is an interesting analogy, and I have an idea why she picked it. Barack Obama is a living, breathing, example of what happens to a boy when his dad walks out on the family. From the desperate hunting for an identity with different names and an ever-changing backstory to writing whole books about him in the hope of gaining approval, not to mention the pettiness of many of his actions in office, I think Michelle might be projecting just a little bit here.

Ms Obama, who has been married to the former president for 27 years, said her family’s life had been profoundly different before entering the White House – describing them as a “normal family” who had no time to “adjust to the rarified air of politics” when they arrived in Washington.

Which explains the entourage of taxpayer-funded servants and lackeys which made the global tours of Diana Ross look frugal by comparison.

“We were always ourselves – the presidency does not change who you are, it reveals who you are,” she added in what appeared to be another dig at the current president.

For a supposedly smart woman she’s really bad at commentary. Donald Trump hasn’t changed one jot since entering office: he was a jerk before and he’s a jerk now. Nobody who knew Trump while he was a household name for three decades has noticed any sea-change in character; indeed, the only thing which seems to change is his wife. Whereas what did Obama becoming president reveal about him? That for all his hopey-changey rhetoric he was miles out of his depth, unable to make the leap from community organiser to statesman and from campaigning to governing, leaving behind a country torn apart by identity politics.

“I don’t know if there has been a president who has been accused of not being born in this country? Who has been asked to show his transcripts? Who has been accused of being unpatriotic? There was a lot of stuff that had not happened before that happened to us.”

I don’t know if there has been an American president subject to a rearguard coup by the outgoing administration. Once again, this is more the type of thing you see in Africa. Did you write about that in your book, Michelle?

“For eight years, the president they saw in their country was Barack Obama. He was somebody who people thought was smart and would do the right thing.”

Yeah, and look what happened instead. Michelle Obama is living proof that the left really need cult leaders in their lives, telling them what they want to hear while painting a comforting alternate version of reality. It beats me why they ever stopped going to church.

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