Advantage, Republicans

It might be that the Democrats have overplayed their hand here:

The woman who accuses US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her will not testify to the Senate next week, her lawyer says.

Prof Ford’s legal team say they have written to the Senate Judiciary Committee declining its offer to testify.

Her lawyer told CNN on Tuesday night: “It’s premature to talk about a hearing on Monday because she [Prof Ford] has been dealing with the threats, the harassment and the safety of her family and that’s what she’s been focused on for the last couple of days.”

As soon as the allegations were made, the Democrats demanded an investigation. The Republicans, wrongly IMO, immediately launched one and scheduled a hearing with both Kavanaugh and Ford. Now Ford’s decided she doesn’t want to appear, and her lawyer thinks she’s under no obligation to corroborate her story. I suspect Ford is rather concerned she’s going to facing serious perjury charges if she testifies on Monday; the plan was obviously to use the allegations to sandbag Kavanaugh’s confirmation before the mid-terms, after which they’d come up with a reason why she couldn’t testify under oath. By moving quickly, the Republicans have called their bluff. It appears Ford’s refusal to appear has not gone down well with Republicans who supported an investigation because it was the right thing to do:

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley later said that there was no reason to delay Prof Ford’s testimony as the aim would be to establish “her personal knowledge and memory of events”.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, said that if Prof Ford did not appear to testify on Monday, “we are going to move on and vote [on the nominee for the Supreme Court] on Wednesday”.

“They’ve had tons of time to do this,” he said, adding: “This has been a drive-by shooting when it comes to Kavanaugh, I’ll listen to the lady, but we’re going to bring this to a close.”

If Ford testifies, she’s likely to perjure herself. If she doesn’t, the vote goes ahead.

Chuck Schumer, the top Senate Democrat, said he supported the call for an FBI investigation prior to the hearing.

The FBI have already said they’re not interested, because it’s outside their jurisdiction and Kavanaugh has already been fully vetted. And as for this:

She said that since going public with her allegation in the Washington Post on Sunday, Prof Ford has been trying to work out where her family are going to sleep at night.

The legal team’s letter says that Prof Ford’s family has been forced to move out of their home, her email has been hacked and she has been impersonated online.

Is there any evidence of this, or are we supposed to take her word for it? The problem is, this is a well-worn tactic of leftist women: they smear someone in public, then trawl through the hundreds of thousands of responses they get from social media and highlight a handful of deranged ones to claim their lives are being threatened. Cathy Newman did this with Jordan Peterson, deftly presenting herself as the victim when her own disgraceful behaviour was called out. Laurie Penny does it regularly. So thanks to feminists using a few angry tweets to claim they’re receiving death threats, it is now impossible to believe someone who may be genuinely threatened. This is doubly true if the person in question is being used as a political pawn by liberal politicians.

Mr Trump also appeared to suggest that the controversy was being exploited by Democrats as lawmakers looked to delay the Supreme Court vote.

“The Supreme Court is one of the main reasons I got elected President. I hope Republican voters, and others, are watching, and studying, the Democrats’ Playbook,” he tweeted.

Well, quite. It’s about time the American public understood the true nature of Trump’s opponents, and if this circus serves to help with that, so much the better.

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A Clumsy Fit-Up Job

From the BBC:

A woman who alleged she was sexually assaulted by US President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, has identified herself.

Christine Blasey Ford told the Washington Post Mr Kavanaugh had pinned her to a bed and tried to undress her when they were both teenagers.

Mr Kavanaugh denied the allegations when they first surfaced last week.

It’s not hard to see what’s going on here. Ever since Roe v Wade, and possibly before, the US Supreme Court has increasingly become a body for ramming through legislation which the ruling classes can’t get past the population using the process laid out in the Constitution. We’ve now reached the point that the SCOTUS is simply another political body where each side vies for the majority which will allow them to implement the policies they desire and thwart those of their rivals. Nowadays when a Supreme Court judge is picked, he or she comes with a label indicating how they will vote on all the contentious issues currently swirling the drain of American politics.

Brett Kavanaugh was as solid a candidate for the Supreme Court as any sitting judge, and in any previous era he’d have been confirmed in the bat of an eye. But Democrats, still smarting over “their” Merrick Garland not being nominated in the last weeks of Obama’s presidency, took it upon themselves to oppose Kavanaugh simply because he was conservative and Trump’s pick. They cited ludicrous objections which amounted to a naked smear campaign and turned the whole process into a circus. I watched a few hours of the confirmation hearings live and, between hysterical women being escorted from the room for shrieking feminist slogans, Democrat politicians took the opportunity to denigrate Kavanaugh mainly because of who picked him. As far as they were concerned, anyone who Trump likes must automatically be unsuitable for the position.

But the smear campaign failed, and Republicans were poised to confirm Kavanaugh this week. Then out of nowhere, a sexual assault allegation appears concerning Kavanaugh in an incident which supposedly took place 35 years ago when he was 17. This is all rather reminiscent of the women who suddenly came forward to accuse Donald Trump of sexual assault during his campaign, who oddly were never heard from again once the election was over. It is also similar to the woman who accused Roy Moore, a Republican senate candidate, of rape decades before but only chose to come forward in the last few days of his campaign. Apparently American victims of sexual assault are willing to remain silent for decades, unless and until their alleged attacker is Republican and poised to take a prominent political seat in the next few weeks. Then their first move is to contact a Democrat politician.

Diane Feinstein, a Democrat senator from California (where else?), revealed the allegations against Kavanaugh in a letter she received in July, but kept hidden throughout the nomination process in which she had ample time to raise them with the committee and even Kavanaugh himself. Anyone with a functioning brain can see she did so because the allegations are a complete fabrication and she only wanted to use them should the other smear campaigns fail. As we’ve seen with the Democrat efforts to unseat Trump, if one set of allegations turns out to be baseless, they move effortlessly onto the next, and the next, and the next. When it was becoming clear anonymous accusations from 35 years ago weren’t going to to stop Republican senators confirming Kavanaugh, his accuser emerges from anonymity, prodded by Feinstein. If Trump isn’t already ordering someone to check Christine Blasey Ford’s bank account and those of her closest relatives, he’s a fool.

The Senate committee chairman Chuck Grassely has responded to the allegations thusly:

“It raises a lot of questions about Democrats’ tactics and motives to bring this to the rest of the committee’s attention only now rather than during these many steps along the way.  Senator Feinstein should publicly release the letter she received back in July so that everyone can know what she’s known for weeks,” the statement continues. “Judge Kavanaugh’s background has been thoroughly vetted by the FBI on six different occasions throughout his decades of public service, and no such allegation ever surfaced. Furthermore Judge Kavanaugh and others alleged to have been involved have unequivocally denied these claims from their high school days. The Committee has received letter after letter from those who’ve known judge Kavanaugh personally and professionally, including 65 women who’ve known him since high school, speaking to his impeccable character and respect for others, especially women.”

Which is absolutely right. However, the media, Democrats, and Never Trumpers have gone all in on calls to “investigate” the allegations before Kavanaugh’s confirmation, knowing full well he will never be exonerated to their satisfaction, leaving him tainted for life. Moreoever, Trump’s opponents hope they can delay the SCOTUS pick until after the mid-terms when the Democrats may hold the senate, after which they can sandbag anyone Trump nominates. As far as American politics goes, it just gets uglier by the month.

This episode will be a stern test for Republicans, particularly those who are not reflexively anti-Trump but are tempted to back calls for an investigation and delay the confirmation because it’s the decent thing to do. They are in a war to the knife with the Democrats who have demonstrated there are no levels to which they will not stoop to gain and hold political power, be it in the Supreme Court or the Presidency. Unless Republicans – politicians and voters – follow Grassley’s lead and treat these allegations against Kavanaugh as nothing more than a clumsy fit-up job, they frankly deserve to be ruled by Democrats. They need to understand the game they’re in, hold their nerve, and confirm him without delay.

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Women in the Military

One of the strongest objections to allowing women to serve in every branch of the military was not regarding their competence, but of the fact that mixed-sex crews serving in close proximity will inevitably result in liaisons which breach codes of conduct and damage operational effectiveness. Last year we had this story:

A Royal Navy nuclear submarine commander who took part in cruise missile strikes during the Libya campaign has been removed from his vessel amid claims of an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate.

Cdr Stuart Armstrong was taken off his Vanguard class submarine and relieved of his duties as a precaution while naval chiefs investigate the allegations.

Naval sources said the investigation had been launched amid suspicions Cdr Armstrong’s relationship with an unnamed female officer was “closer than it should have been”.

Just as it is highly inappropriate for a department manager to start shagging members of his or her staff, it is equally the case in the military chain of command, if not more so:

Navy rules forbid any relationships between sailors in the same chain of command for fear it would lead to favouritism and undermine orders.

Relationships outside the chain of command are allowed, but there is a strict “no touching” rule during deployments.

Sources said the rules were considered particularly critical on submarine missions where sailors work in cramped conditions underwater for months at a time.

It seems as thought the Royal Navy put in place robust guidelines which the submarine commander broke, and he got fired for it. This is fair enough, but it is also inevitable: if you put servicemen on ships or submarines with servicewomen then relationships will develop, and often this will involve officers who in theory should know better. The Tailhook Scandal in the US involved numerous allegations of navy and marine officers assaulting and harassing servicewomen. A popular theory is that many of the allegations arose from women who were spoken for fearing their partners were about to find out what they got up to on deployment, so claimed coercion. The Tailhook Scandal rocked the US Navy and brought about sweeping changes in the culture, which mischievous types cite as the reason US Navy ships now seem to be crashing with alarming regularity.

Today, via Kevin Michael Grace on Twitter, I came across this story:

One of the first women to enter the Marine Corps infantry is being discharged from the service after admitting to having an intimate relationship with a subordinate — a fellow Marine she eventually married.

On their own, the legal charges against Cpl. Remedios Cruz, 26, are not uncommon in military investigations of American troops. But they highlight the struggle the Marine Corps has had in integrating women into jobs that were only open to men before 2015.

It is not inevitable that every woman who enters the military will enter into an inappropriate relationship. However, if enough women enter the military it is inevitable that inappropriate relationships will occur. No amount of training, hounding, threatening, and cajoling is going to stop men and women in close proximity from having sex; those who take the issue seriously, such as conservative Muslims, do so by maintaining segregation, because it’s the only thing that works. It’s up to the government to decide whether the drawbacks of having women mixed with men in the military outweigh the benefits, but they ought not to deny that drawbacks exist.

“The biggest mistakes I’ve made in the infantry were from my personal relationships,” Corporal Cruz said in an interview. “I really want to move on.”

As part of a deal to avoid going to trial, Corporal Cruz pleaded guilty to fraternization in July and decided to put the Marine Corps behind her. She is awaiting her final separation from the Marines.

It’s rather difficult to see how admitting Cruz to the US Marines has been a benefit to the organisation, who didn’t want her in that role in the first place:

Corporal Cruz, of Fleischmanns, N.Y., joined the Marines as a supply clerk in 2013 and completed infantry training in 2014. Two years later, she requested to transfer to an infantry unit after then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter ordered that women be allowed in all previously restricted combat roles. The Marine Corps vehemently opposed the change.

So it was a political decision foisted on them by an administration more interested in social engineering than governance. This probably doesn’t help, either:

She was accused of three charges — fraternization, adultery and accessory to larceny — in separate investigations that would have been sent to court-martial in June.

I suspect we’re going to see a lot more of this sort of thing, and as the numbers increase there will be calls for the rules to be changed so that such conduct is no longer prohibited. As I’ve said before (1, 2), modern militaries serve a different purpose than that which they claim.

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Shot for being at home

I’ve written before about America’s police being way too aggressive and trigger-happy, resulting from poor training, low standards, and outright cowardice. Now we have this story:

A white Dallas police officer who says she mistook her black neighbor’s apartment for her own when she fatally shot him has been arrested on a manslaughter charge.

It’s worth bearing in mind that she’s only been arrested after several days of public outrage at her having been initially merely suspended. I imagine if any non-police officer walked into someone else’s house and shot the owner dead, they’d be treated rather differently.

Lawyers for the family questioned why it took three days for Guyger to be charged. One said Guyger should have been in handcuffs the night of the shooting, but she was only booked on a manslaughter charge Sunday night.

Indeed.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings says an off-duty police officer charged in the shooting death of a neighbor had parked on the wrong floor of their apartment complex’s parking garage.

Rawlings said Sunday that the 30-year-old officer , Amber Guyger, drove to her apartment complex Thursday night after her shift. Authorities say the four-year veteran of the police force told officers after she shot 26-year-old Botham Jean that she had mistaken his apartment for her own.

Was she drunk? Was she high? We don’t know, because the police aren’t saying. Got to protect their own, you see.

Authorities say a Dallas police officer said she shot a neighbor whose home she mistakenly entered last week after he ignored her “verbal commands.”

Why should a man going about his business in his own home react to the “verbal commands” of a policewoman who has no business being there?

David Armstrong of the Texas Rangers wrote in an arrest affidavit released Monday that Officer Amber Guyger said she didn’t realize she was in the wrong apartment until after she shot 26-year-old Botham Jean and went into the hallway to check the address.

Again, it must be asked: how drunk was she?

An investigator says a Dallas police officer who shot and killed her neighbor after mistaking his apartment for her own said that when she inserted her key in his door, it opened because it had been slightly ajar.

The affidavit says Guyger was on the phone with 911 reporting the shooting when she turned on the apartment lights and discovered she was in the wrong apartment. It says Jean’s apartment was the one right above Guyger’s and the apartment layouts and exterior hallways were nearly identical.

There is an old Soviet film called Ironiya Sudbii, which is based around a man from Moscow getting completely drunk and dumped on a plane to Saint Petersburg. When he arrives he assumes he’s still in Moscow, takes a taxi to his address where he finds an identical building – and an identical apartment whose door can be unlocked by his own key. The owner returns and hilarity ensues but – unlike the story in Dallas – nobody winds up dead.

It’s one thing for police to be heavy-handed when carrying out their duties; they have a difficult job after all, and America is full of violent criminals carrying guns. However, there is absolutely no excuse for a policewoman to mistake a neighbour’s apartment for her own and shoot the occupant dead. She needs the book thrown at her, just the same as if she was an ordinary citizen. The fact the police are dragging their feet and seemingly protecting her while an innocent man lies in the morgue is indicative of how badly things need to change.

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The Mindset of a Middle Class Immigrant

A reader sends me this article, written by a British journalist who became an American citizen. I was going to read it all but I felt myself slipping into a coma before I’d even got through a quarter of it, so I’ll just leave you with this:

I have been thinking lately about a letter that I received from President Barack Obama in the fall of 2011.

That year, I was one of roughly six hundred and ninety thousand people to get this letter, along with Certificates of Naturalization from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service confirming that, as the President put it, “this great Nation is now your Nation.”

It spoke of the sacrifices made by generations of immigrants who had come to the U.S. in the pursuit of a better future. Obama called it “the price and the promise of citizenship,” and concluded, “We embrace you as a new citizen of our land, and we welcome you to the American family.”

Okay, right. But:

[Trump] tweets about undocumented immigrants ready to “infest” or “invade” the nation, and anyone who takes offense at the suggestion that his words echo Nazi propaganda hasn’t looked at Nazi propaganda of late.

So this new, proud immigrant who America has welcomed with open arms and with the expectation of contributing something positive and upholding responsibilities sees fit to accuse the President of distributing Nazi propaganda. There’s gratitude for you, eh?

I used to say that I was just as American as Sarah Palin. (Now I would say that I am just as American as Donald Trump—or, certainly, as Melania Trump, who also arrived in America as a young woman.) Did I feel like an American? To paraphrase Gloria Steinem, this is what an American feels like. I was one. I am one. Like it or not.

Ah yes, the idea that handing someone a passport simply makes them American, French, or British. How’s that working out for national unity?

Now, in the summer of 2018, thirty years after arriving in New York with two duffel bags and a scholarship from N.Y.U., I am exercising my choice: I’m leaving.

Good news for America I’m sure. The bad news is she’s moving to London.

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Incompetence or malice?

A follow up to the story about the Islamists running the training camp in New Mexico:

Three suspects tied to a New Mexico compound where alleged Muslim extremists reportedly trained children to be school shooters were released from custody on Wednesday, hours after a judge dismissed all of the charges against them, Fox News confirmed.

Happily for them no doubt, but who else benefits? A brief reminder:

The five suspects were arrested by authorities after an Aug. 3 raid following a monthslong search investigating the disappearance of Abdul-ghani Wahhaj, a 3-year-boy with severe medical issues who went missing from Georgia in December. The occupants of the compound were “most likely heavily armed and considered extremist of the Muslim belief,” an official said at the time.

Taos County Sheriff’s deputies discovered 11 children at the compound, who were taken into the custody of state child-welfare workers. On Aug. 6, a child’s remains were found on the property.

Siraj Ibn Wahhaj was allegedly training children to commit school shootings, according to prosecutors, who later alleged that the juveniles were taught how to use firearms, as well as tactical techniques, in order to kill teachers, law enforcement and other institutions they found corrupt.

Health officials confirmed earlier this month that the discovered remains were positively identified as the 3-year-old’s.

And now three suspects walk free because:

District Judge Emilio Chavez on Wednesday dismissed charges against three of the five defendants — Lucas Morton, Subhannah Wahhaj and Hujrah Wahhaj — ruling that authorities violated the state’s “10-day rule.”

Child abuse charges against them were dropped because prosecutors missed the 10-day limit for an evidentiary hearing to establish probable cause.

Chavez said Wednesday that it was a very difficult decision to drop the charges but the rule left him with no option. Prosecutors could still seek charges for the three by asking a grand jury to indict them but offered no immediate indication on how they would proceed.

Either the authorities are not treating this seriously, hence they have assigned the case to incompetent prosecutors, or someone in charge wants this whole thing to go away as fast as a Las Vegas concert massacre. Now this is the government so you can’t rule out the former, but given the zeal with which they arrest, charge, and imprison damned near anyone who crosses them on a normal working day, I’m going to assume someone’s sandbagging this whole case. Whatever the truth is, it stinks to high heaven.

Now Bardon may be right when he says this kind of thing has always gone on, but what does seem different now is there is barely any attempt to convince the public everything is above board. The rulers’ contempt for the masses is nowadays so absolute they don’t even bother offering a plausible explanation, it’s just “We’ll brazenly do as we please and tell you whatever we like, when we like, and you’ll just have to lump it. Know you place, peasants!” If this keeps up, they’re going to get someone a lot worse than Trump coming along.

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Las Vegas hotels and compounds in New Mexico

One of the oddest things I’ve seen in recent years is how quickly everyone forgot that in October 2017 a man booked himself into a room in a Las Vegas hotel, stockpiled guns, and opened fire on a concert crowd. Normally, following such an incident, one could expect a complete profile of the perpetrator to emerge: his name, birthplace, family members, lifestyle, profession, workplaces, political affiliations, beliefs, and recent movements. This would be gleaned from official records, police investigations, and multiple interviews with anyone who knew the man. From there, the entire crime could be pieced together starting from his initial motivations right through the planning to execution. This would be made public and pretty soon we’d have full features in the newspapers followed by hour-long documentaries on television a year later. How many articles and documentaries have there been on Charles Whitman and the University of Texas tower shooting, for example?

Yet in the case of the Las Vegas shooting, the whole thing disappeared from the news within weeks. We had conflicting statements from local law enforcement before it seems they were told to belt up, and then it all went quiet. To this day we don’t really know who Stephen Paddock was and why he decided to commit this crime. Even if he was a lone nutter who just felt like murdering a bunch of people, one would expect the story to receive more public attention than it did; there must be something of interest to the public. What became blatantly obvious was the media were repeating whatever they were told and had no capability to investigate on their own. These days, the media either present the government line verbatim or, if they don’t like the government, they present their own opinions. In the case of the Las Vegas shootings the authorities decided they had nothing to say and the media, having tried and failed to use the atrocity to ram through more stringent gun laws, just forgot about it and moved on. Had they been able to pin the attack on a Trump supporter they’d have made hay until there was no more to make, but given the target was a bunch of honkies at a country and western show, that was never going to fly. In other words, if the authorities decide they’re not talking about something and the media can’t use it for their own ends, then it’s a non-story regardless of how big a deal it ought to be. There is no appetite in the modern media for seeking the truth even when the public is crying out for it.

So why did the authorities just clam up? My guess is someone dropped a bollock somewhere and any investigation would make someone in power at state or national level look bad. If this sounds like conspiracy theory, I think people in charge deciding to bury an investigation to cover incompetence and say nothing to the press is less conspiracy theory than business as usual. It just so happened this was a high-profile event, so following this course of action required more neck than it might have two decades ago. In the modern era shame and accountability, like investigative journalism, are quaint relics to be found in black and white newsreel footage. Whoever Stephen Paddock was and whatever his motivations were, one thing is for sure: it suited the ruling classes that the story disappeared from public view and stayed hidden.

I feel much the same about another bizarre story which ought to be making headlines but isn’t:

The father of a missing 3-year-old who was arrested at a New Mexico compound linked to “extremist Muslims” last week was training children to commit school shootings, court documents filed on Wednesday revealed.

Prosecutors allege Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 39, was conducting weapons training on the compound, where 11 children were found hungry and living in squalor. They asked Wahhaj, who appeared in court on Wednesday, be held without bail.

Somehow authorities came across a weird, half-subterranean compound in the New Mexico desert which turned out to contain 11 abducted children. This alone ought to have made international headlines, but it turns out it was a camp run by Islamic extremists who were training the kids to shoot up American schools. What’s more:

Wahhaj is the son of a Brooklyn imam, also named Siraj Wahhaj, who was named by prosecutors as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the New York Post reported.

I mean, shouldn’t people be asking questions about this? And that’s not all:

On Monday, a child’s remains were found on the property, but authorities were working on a positive identification and did not confirm if the remains were that of the missing boy.

It turned out the remains were of the missing boy:

It was also announced Monday that 3-year-old Abdul-ghani Wahhaj, who had been missing since December, allegedly died amid a ritualistic religious ceremony intended to “cast out demonic spirits,” Reuters reported.

So we have an Islamist training compound, abducted children being forced to live underground while preparing them for a school shooting, and the body of an infant murdered during a religious ritual. Still:

The prosecutors provided more details about the accusations during a court hearing in which they asked that Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and four other defendants be held pending trial on child abuse charges.

But the judge in the case ruled against prosecutors’ request.

Judge Sarah Backus said although she was concerned by “troubling facts,” prosecutors failed to articulate any specific threats to the community.

She set a $20,000 bond for each defendant and ordered that they wear ankle monitors and have weekly contact with their attorneys.

Yes, that’s right: the men were released on bail. Other than a handful of right-wingers on Twitter, is anyone in the media making noise about this? No, because it involves members of a protected class and there’s no angle with which to bash Trump, so the story vanishes to be replaced with 24/7 coverage of how Trump’s ex-lawyer is accusing him of paying off a porn star who he slept with a decade ago.

But what makes the story really odd is that the authorities ordered the compound be demolished. Now why would they do that? Is there really nothing left to discover in this network of tunnels, huts, and a half-buried camper van? Other than NBC who have almost nothing on the story, the only people reporting the demolition are right wing conspiracy sites like Zerohedge, nobody else is interested. It makes you realise just how controlled the news is in the US. As I’ve said before, the media are simply the propaganda arm of the ruling classes, and nothing is aired or published which doesn’t further their aims in one way or another.

Insofar as the authorities go in regards this compound in New Mexico, I suspect we’re seeing something similar to what happened in Las Vegas. Someone has screwed up big-time and they’re now covering their tracks. The fact their doing so also protects the establishment’s narrative is a stroke of good fortune on their part, because it ensures nobody’s going to be asking awkward questions. It doesn’t bode well for the future of America though; if those in charge continue to behave like third-world autocrats, sooner or later their country will resemble a third-world autocracy. To be honest, it many ways it already does.

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Boris and the Burqa

Something Donald Trump is very good at, and I’m sure he does it deliberately, is forcing his opponents to defend the indefensible. Probably the best example is when he referred to members of MS-13 – a particularly vicious Salvadoran gang who hack off people’s heads – as “animals”, causing liberals to line up and attack him over his choice of words. Ordinary Americans, who hitherto had thought MS-13 an element both sides could agree was beyond the pale, watched with interest as Democrats went on television to defend them. Yes, these guys:

Now I am sure Boris Johnson was looking to provoke when he likened women in burqas to letterboxes, but this could have been straight out of Trump’s playbook: it appears rather a lot of people who don’t like Johnson, i.e. remainers, wet Tories, and lefties have taken to social media to call him racist and, incredibly, defend the burqa. Meanwhile, ordinary people who are getting rather irritated by the increasingly common sight of burqa-clad women wandering through British streets can scarcely believe what they’re seeing. Never one to miss an opportunity to shoot another of her own toes off, Theresa May has waded in – as usual on the wrong side. Given Johnson might well challenge May for the Prime Minister’s job over the next few weeks, this can only be to his advantage.

I think as the ruling classes, media, and their metropolitan cheerleaders become ever-more out of touch, provoking them into a succession of Marie Antoinette moments will become a common tactic for populist politicians. I expect Johnson in this case stumbled upon it in the course of his usual trouble-making, but he and others must surely have noted the own-goal his opponents have subsequently scored. They will also be aware of Trump’s antics, and how effective they are. So I think we’ll see more of this; Lord knows, there are enough topics on which one could state a blunt opinion and have most of the country nodding in agreement while the chattering classes go into yet another meltdown.

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The last straw? If only.

On the plastic drinking straws ban:

At the center of these conversations is a statistic: Each day, Americans use an estimated 500 million straws. The number has been used to illustrate the scale of the issue and modern society’s reliance on this ubiquitous piece of disposable plastic.

It turns out, however, that the number is imprecise and originates from Milo Cress, a young environmentalist who researched straw usage to come up with the 500 million estimate when he was just nine years old.

As a curious fourth grader who had just started an environmental project to discourage restaurants from providing straws by default, Cress decided to look online to find out how many straws are used each day in the United States. Not being able to find any statistics, he called straw manufacturers directly and estimated the 500 million figure based on numbers they provided him.

What I find most annoying is that the dubious origin of this figure has been known for well over a year, but rarely gets mentioned by those pushing for a ban on plastic straws. Of course, there’s a reason for this: banning plastic straws in developed countries is nothing to do with saving the environment and everything to do with quasi-religious virtue-signalling and prod-nosed busy-bodying. As we’ve seen elsewhere, the pious middle classes have seized upon a product they don’t use and called for it to be banned in order to smooth their passage to whatever they consider an afterlife. Note they don’t campaign for disposable nappies to be banned.

Religious fervour often causes people to behave strangely, and in this regard Californians are trying to outdo everyone else:

The city of Santa Barbara has passed an ordinance that will allow restaurant employees to be punished with up to six months of jail time or a $1,000 fine after a second offense of giving plastic straws to their customers.

The bill was passed unanimously last Tuesday, and covers bars, restaurants, and other food-service businesses. Establishments will still be allowed to hand out plastic stirrers, but only if customers request them.

And as the article points out:

Oh, and each individual straw counts as a separate infraction, meaning that if someone got busted handing out straws to a table of four people, he or she could end up facing years behind bars.

Bear in mind that California recently decriminilised the act of knowingly infecting a partner with HIV, several cities have refused to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, and areas of San Francisco have turned into third-world slums festooned with used needles and human shit.

This business with the drinking straws isn’t an isolated incident, but part of a pattern which can be seen elsewhere. The ruling classes have neither the competence or incentive to tackle serious problems so instead involve themselves with initiatives which solve nothing but make them look useful. They’re further encouraged by a noisy minority of virtue-signalling puritans, almost all of whom work in government, media, or for corporations firmly engaged in moral posturing. In the case of the plastic in the oceans, part of the problem is western countries deciding landfill is evil so encouraging everyone to recycle. Only to get around their own environmental legislation the bulk plastic is shipped to Asia, where a lot of it ends up horsed in the river. Rather than examine their own stupid rules, or put pressure on Africans and Asians to stop chucking crap in the sea, it’s easier to launch social media campaigns clamouring for new laws which further criminalise ordinary people for mundane behaviour. Never mind disabled people rely on plastic drinking straws to consume fluids, as far as Metropolitan mothers groups on Facebook are concerned, they’ll just have to manage somehow.

I see a parallel here with the ludicrous campaign to ban upskirting. This was pushed by privileged middle class women and will consume considerable government resources which could better be spent elsewhere. Like putting a stop, once and for all, to the systematic and widespread abuse of vulnerable young girls in provincial English towns, for instance. Yes, this is still going on and nobody is interested, in part because inconvenient voices are handily drowned out by women demanding special laws because a drunken oaf supposedly took a photo up someone’s skirt in a festival. There is subset of western society which believes the role of government is to intervene on every minor issue over which they wring their hands, no matter how ignorant they are of it. Judging by my own social media feed, a lot this stuff seems to be driven by bored men and women who, lacking the time, talent, or discipline for a proper hobby, jump on these campaigns to give themselves a sense of purpose. Yet at the same time there is far less pressure to solve problems which are certain to have catastrophic consequences: mass immigration, uncontrollable public spending, unaffordable housing, and dangerous social divisions.

It’s often said that a sign of country undergoing improvement is a growing middle class. What I think we’re seeing now is what happens when the middle classes get too big and too comfortable for too long. It won’t end well.

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Some Puppet

Oh:

So how does this fit the Trump-is-a-Putin-puppet narrative? Or are we to believe the US Secretary of State says things like this in order to mask Trump’s pro-Russian policies like, erm, trying to get Germany off Russian gas and pay more for NATO?

Here’s my theory: Trump isn’t beholden to Putin.

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