Monday, July 04, 2016

Ode to Karen on the day of her birth.

Oh Karen! Mighty Twin!
It is your birthday once again!
Your age advances as does the regard
of those who fell for you so hard.

Oh Karen! It is thee we beseech
because you are a helluva peach.
We lift our glasses to toast you on high,
it is your praises that we do cry.

Oh Karen! Sister of noble Kathleen,
who looks so much like you it must be seen!
So it can be said that God has made
two perfect creatures in one short day.

Oh Karen! One of a kind!
We look and say 'what a find'!
We are honored to sing your praise
and to wish you a happy birthday.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Note to EU-Philes: We told you so, you fucking idiots.

I like Nick Cohen.  Particularly this piece where he quoted Robert Conquest. And I think if I were to write a piece about the EU today I'd use the same title:  "We told you so, you fucking idiots". As a matter of fact, I thnk I will.

But I'm afraid he's lost it on Brexit (he's a little more rational here but he plays the Norway card stupidly).  But I love his moxie. Nick argues that Brexiting is in fact a moral crime.  He does so by insulting as many people as he can think of as if he were shit faced drunk. So, rather than fisking an hysterical drunk, I'm going to take the high road and evaluate this EU thingy that 'everyone who's anyone agrees is just the best thing ever and if we leave our economy will collapse or at least the euros will be mean to us at Gstaad and Cannes and we can't bear the thought of that.  After all we've spent our whole lives trying to be the cool kids and not be dorky English and we're not going to give up being invited to French parties just because some assholes voted the wrong way"  but I really shouldn't paraphrase Twisted Nicky like that.

So let's just lay out a scorecard on the EU's basics, shall we?:

Free Trade: Pretty much everybody that's anybody on any side (including Trumpikins no matter what sewer gas he's belching today) agrees two thumbs up, way up. Particularly within Europe because of its fragmentation and the good Ricardian comparative advantage matchup. Particularly the 'make shit, do shit' divide whereby people in gloomy northern places make everything and then go south to cope with the stress of making all that stuff and let the laid back southerners rob them blind to buy more shit. Oh, and lest anyone get confused: the Swiss, Norwegians and other non EU bits of Europe have this deal and so will a Brexited UK, unless the Euros decide to go for actual depression rather than just their standard Euro quality stagnation - and no, the UK is not Norway).

Monetary Union: 'Oh my fucking God what a disaster'. Even Paul Krugman says so (of course this is post hoc Paulie so who knows what his un ergoed propter hoc was).  I note that there were (pace Cohen) 'thousands' of experts saying the UK was making a 'terrible' mistake and that the Euro was going to 'conquer' or 'eat' or at least do something nasty to the dollar.  Those thousands of experts are such scamps!

Immigration: "The German race is the master race they go oom papa oom papa", wait, that's Spike Jones and that was old 'n nasty Der Fuehrer Germans not today's Der Frauhaus Germans. But it's as if EU immigration policy has become a way for Germany to get back at the rest of Europe for being so beastly to it for shifting the Jewish Question back to Palestine where it belongs. And the cool thing about it if you listen to the UN it's die Juden that are driving all these Muslims into Europe (and crazy, don't forget crazy). Only the smart ones don't want to be in "Europe" they want to be in "London" and tens of thousands of them cluster around the Chunnel desperate to escape beautiful France for wildly expensive and plodding London. The upshot is that England has experienced the highest rate of immigration of any European nation since the Visigoths told the Romans "we dig this place so we be hanging wit you" back in the 400s. And judging from the 1400 documented rapes of underage girls covered up by the police in the single town Rotherham (ignoring the other 'immigrant' grooming rings in all the other towns) the benefits have gone to the City boys and the downsides to the cloth capped, forelock tugging provincials that everyone is cursing. This isn't all the EU's fault but who's going to blame voters for what they see with their lying eyes?

The Socio-economic Triumph of the Administrative/Intellectual class: 60 percent of UK law is now made in the European Union. Not by elected parliament but by apparatchiks in the European Council or is it the Council of Europe - or maybe the European Commission - so many C's so little accountability. Much of this is just annoyingly pedantic - like saying that not only must you accommodate metric weights and measures (as the US has for decades) but  you must ban all other forms of measuring and counting - but also lots of 'anti discrimination'  legislation, social standards (some of which the UK has wriggled out of), the shape and size of bananas (a bigger deal than you would think, particularly to Germans), banning GMOs, invasive commercial regulation and other 'progressive' obsessions that intermittently sweep down from Scandinavia like blue northers. This is what is called the "Triumph of Progressivism".

Foreign Policy: One would think that the creation of the European Superstate would translate all of Europe's economic power into immense geopolitical power and that the world would quake in their wake. But the opposite has happened: a Europe that pretended that the EEC kept the peace when it was really American boots on the ground now has graduated to pretending that they're studmuffins of power just like 'merica. So they go into places like Bosnia or the Ukraine and go 'pew pew' with their fingers and the locals, not understanding that they're just playing, actually shoot back.  So they scurry home loudly demanding that Americans do something.  They've semi dissolved all of these nation states to the extent that they are almost completely disarmed without creating a loyalty to the dear old (pedantic, oppressive, self righteous, undemocratic) EU. As Gomer Pyle would say "surprise, surprise".

So now we have a "Europe" where the Eastern Europeans and the Finns are quaking at the thought of a wounded and dying Russia deciding to take them 'with' while the Southern Tier are just expanding their game of 'loot the stressed out northerners' to see how much more they can get until the scam ends, while the French pout, the Irish max out their "Hey America we're the only part of the EU that's rational, speaks English and won't tax your ass off so put all of  your assets here" - which works for such a tiny place and then there are the Scans - Norway clipping coupons, the others living semi detached except for the terrified Finns. And there's Germany who seems to be doing swell, finally getting the sock puppet Europe they've always wanted.

And outside of England, Germany and the Scans, the thing is an economic and demographic black hole.  The Euro area hasn't grown in forever and faith in the future is so low that native populations are cratering to be replaced by Shariah-ites. By contrast the offshore Anglo Saxon world is much richer and actually growing. The common English hear about it from their friends and relations there, can see so on the telly and when they vacation in Orlando or NYC. And these chaps haven't a single EU membership to their names....nothing but free trade and your bog standard global agreements. Hmm. But the experts, the thousands upon tens of thousands upon hundreds of thousands of experts who expert for the EU or its component elites say that 'the EU is swell as hell' and anybody who's anybody agrees - upon pain of losing their friends, their status, their job, their kids' admission to Oxbridge.

Indeed the only high status people who could possibly support Leave were people who had already made their break with the establishment and had nothing to lose. Which is why Nick's charming semi-ad hominem (list your enemy's sins but not your own in the hopes that people who don't know much about English politics will swallow it hook line and sinker) works so well:  "But everyone who's anyone knows that Boris and Michael are such cads and bounders and just not the right sort, don't you know. To the sound of modern upper class English twits what-whatting accompanied by sitars amid a miasma of patchouli and roasting beef shawarma.

"Bloody lower orders don't know their place."

Author's Note:
Indeed, it's only when you remember that the formation and life of the "Union" has been during the most prosperous and peaceful time in the history of the world - that it's only 24 years old and it's already in intensive care - do you realize that this bizarre pseudo-heffalump imagined and created by chaps who by and large have never done a damned thing in their lives has no chance of surviving a real, honest to gosh existential crisis.  This is the League of Nations re-imagined as an apparatchik racket that is going to continue to go phhhht because it is the most fragile thing that's ever existed and no one will fight for it. Ever. So the UK is just getting out before the panicked rush.

PS: I attended school with some of these guys and worked with many of them as Partners and staff.  Nice guys, but like all of us, their judgement is impaired by their appetites and their regnant snobbery which is concentrated in a small parochial environment like London.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

On Holland, England, Declarations of Independence and Crazy Ass Admirals

I've been watching Admiral on Netflix. Admiral is a Dutch film about the great Admiral de Ruyter who kicked the British Navy's ass in the 1600s (Brits make the best villains, it's the accent). The movie's great and it reminded me of three things. First of all, English and Dutch are very similar languages - Admiral has a lot of Dutch with English subtitles in it and with both there at once it's surprising to this monoglot English speaker how much I understand - I almost feel like I could be multilingual but......naaaah, who'm I kidding?

Second, American freedom is based upon a Dutch/English Joint Venture. The Dutch had the first modern Republic in the world so when the English finally got sick of their jackass Scottish kings they had a "Glorious Revolution" and turfed them out (The Brits were always good at PR - even back then they were thinking about the tourist trade) . But that meant they needed a new king for the tourists so they imported a slick Dutch model called William (which is a bit ironic because after all, another Willie had invaded England in 1066 and made them kowtow to him in French which no doubt frosted their ale mugs pretty badly). The key selling feature of this guy - aside from him being married to an English Princess - was that he was house trained, specifically House of Commons trained to be a Constitutional Monarch. It's this "Glorious Revolution and King Adoption" that the American revolutionaries based our Declaration of Independence as "Free Englishmen" on. If the Dutch hadn't bred house trained princes then we might have been in trouble.

The third thing that I noticed in this film was that everything comes full circle: the Dutch gave us the Republic thing, whacked a prince with a rolled up parchment until he was trained enough to not wee on Parliament so the English could give us the Glorious Revo idea. And what did we give them in return? The Errol Flynn maneuver whereby movie stars who are supposed to be playing sober captains and admirals instead behave like......well, jackass Scottish kings - forgetting their duty completely and running amuck like baboons with swords and capes. Which is precisely what this de Ruyter hepcat did in the movie.

So thanks Dutch dudes for the constitutional republicanism and capitalism and trade and all that and here's your ridiculous movie cliche in return. Let us know if you need anything else. We've got a really cool large breasted ingenue cliche we call Marilyn Monroe-ism that we can let go for cheap. Or if you're into mid century ass wiggling rock star cliches we can let Elvis' Pelvis go for a song.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Trans Bathrooms and Lenin's Who? Whom?

One night a dear friend of mine was accosted by a mugger trying to steal her purse.  Unfortunately she fell on it and the mugger caved her face in with his boot.  It took multiple reconstructive surgeries to restore her.  For many years after she had a fear of encountering men alone that she didn't know, particularly in places where she didn't expect them. Like in the women's toilet or shower. The general name for this condition is 'Androphobia'. It afflicts both crime victims and individuals susceptible to it. Women with this condition (every bit as tragic as gender dysphoria) live constrained, limited lives - to avoid panic they avoid any situation where they might encounter strange men. Up until recently women's toilets, shower facilities and dorms were considered safe places.

I have lived in both Islamic (Abu Dhabi) and heavily Orthodox Jewish (University City, MO) communities.  There are roughly 200,000 Haredi Orthodox Jewish women and another 600,000 devout Muslim women in this country.  For both groups sustaining their faith tradition, indeed sustaining their identity requires that they avoid displaying their beauty to males not part of their families.  Their hair, their forearms and legs and feet are included in these restrictions. Historically they had no concern utilizing a public toilet or locker room.  No more. And to the objection 'but this is just religion'. To these women their faith is their identity. Every bit as much as someone with gender dysphoria.

When he was conquering Russia, VI Lenin formulated a slogan that describes the current situation well:  Who? Whom?  His point was that the important question in a revolution - whether political or social - was who would win?  Who would oppress whom? Who was on top and who was on bottom.  And because Lenin was above all a lawyer focused on law, this was a zero sum concept:  the winners take directly from the losers. Historically in America and the west  we've avoided making explicit law on gender access to facilities, instead we've had a rough community consensus. Communities have chosen to segregate 'intimate' public facilities by male/female and society has gone along.  Some places probably don't even have laws - it's simply understood and people generally enforce it informally.  This works out well because it accommodates the truly trans who have been using women's facilities since the toilet and shower were invented. They had to take care lest they be outed as men but since their goal was to be women it worked.  And it allowed the Androphobic and devout women to play along with something that was in fact, a bit of a fiction.

The problem is that the left and the Obama administration have gone Leninist.  The Federal government is mandating that law and regulation be established giving Trans legal access to intimate facilities set aside for the members of the opposite biological sex if they claim gender dysphoria.  So now the polite ambiguity and informal social consensus are collapsing into the awful majesty of the law.  And that means bright lines must be drawn and for someone to win the other side has to lose.

So it's now a battle to death between two tribes only one who can win.  Once the law is inserted it's impossible to go back to more informal relations. As has happened in so many other parts of our society the entry of law has created immense chasms between us, increasing hatred and contempt on both sides. So the Trans may win this one but let's stop pretending this is will cost more than a million American women a part of their autonomy and peace of mind while angering at least a hundred million of their families, friends and neighbors.

Oh and I almost forgot to mention:  Orthodox Jews and Muslims - not to mention conservative Christians have almost 4 children for each couple.  Secular Americans: less than 1.5.  I don't know what GLBT childbirths look like per couple, do you? So this isn't anywhere near a permanent 'victory'. Because it's the children of the fecund humiliated that will have political power.....and long memories.

The thing that the lawyers among us keep forgetting is that life is meant to be a love story, not a rule book.  The more rules you make, the crueler and more atomized the society becomes. After all, we all have our 'rights'.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Milo's Mind

Milo Yiannanopolis is best known for mocking politically correct Social Justice  Warrior opinion. As he puts it: "I was born conservative and chose to be homosexual".

"Believing that a person’s sex, race and orientation defines the acceptable limits of the opinions they may hold is called 'identity politics.' It’s a bizarre but flourishing cult in America today that makes fools of its supporters by presenting an insultingly reductionist view of human nature."

You will hear a lot more about Milo. And will be told that to be a 'Good Person' who cares about 'social justice' you must hate him. But he's obviously right.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Yes, Transgender rights, but what about the vulnerable ones?

About 20 years ago I was walking out of my downtown office for lunch and I spied two young black boys breaking into a newspaper machine for the quarters.  It was downtown at lunch and the sidewalks were filled with people. No one - including me - tried to stop them and hold them accountable. You see to do so in inner city St. Louis might get you called a 'racist' and who wants that trouble.  If they'd been white in the suburbs, sure we would have stopped them.  But these kids were clearly damaged by our indifference - no doubt they interpreted the impunity that they had and attempted more and more audacious and serious crimes until they ended up in jail or worse.  It is quite possible that middle class, white society, through its self righteous indifference, hated those boys to death.

We now have the great "Transgender Liberation".  Up until now if I had seen a person that looked like a man going into a women' bathroom or locker I would have personally gone up to them and told them to get the hell out and if they resisted found enough other men to throw them out.  I have no doubt any number of seriously Trans men went in unbeknownst to me and did no harm but if I had seen someone questionable there's no doubt what I would have done.  No more.  For to do so in today's rights environment would get me punished. Now the Transgender bathroom issue isn't really a big deal for my daughter or her friends - they're upper middle class and live in communities where there are lots of responsible and vigilant civic minded people who will keep the craziness to a minimum.  But I keep thinking about those doomed boys.  And their sisters in inner city schools where misogyny and sexual violence are already endemic.  The doomed boys no doubt will interpret the new regime as giving them another form of 'fun'. And the schools will struggle to fight against it, fearing - as we did - to be brought up on civil rights charges.

So once again we may end up with a situation where middle class, progressive, white society - through its self centered, self righteousness - finds a new way to hate poor boys and girls to death.

Sexual Predators are like wolves: they adapt.

I have friends who live in Jackson Hole.  The National Parks were being overrun by an elk herd that had grown to 20,000 animals.  So the Feds introduced a timber wolf pack from Canada. In a period of years the timber wolves reduced the Yellowstone and Grand Teton elk herd to 1,000 animals.  Then the timber wolves turned their attention to private Elk ranches.  The ranches, having barbed wire and electrified fences had thought their animals were safe.  But the wolves adapted to take advantage of the new situation.  Their tastes have also become more esoteric - they found it easy to kill the somewhat domesticated elk.  My friend posted a photo of 18 dead elk - only two had been eaten on at all - they had had the fetal elks ripped from their wombs.  It turns out that the modern timber wolf has adapted to the point where it likes baby meat....and kills for fun. My question is this:  if wild predators adapt to take advantage of the opportunities that changes in their environment offer, how much more will human sexual predators take advantage of the new rules on "Transgender" to do much more of that thing that they find so fun? And when they do, who will take responsibility for the decision to make their predation so much easier and more frequent?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Progressive Paradoxes

Here are some things Progressives believe that make no sense to me. It could be that my libertarian psyche simply can't conceive of them and so I solicit good Proggos to set me straight.  I recognize that there are probably many libertarian/conservative paradoxes as well but the paradox is that the true believer (moi) can't yank the beam out of his own eye, only the others side's.  I welcome anyone who wants to outline them for me.  Now without further ado: on with the paradox(es?, paradi? hmmm).

1. Progressives hold that the US is a particularly if not uniquely sinful nation - despoiling the environment, looting the third world and funneling wealth to plutocrats.  Yet they consider it axiomatic that the US government is the key to 'fundamentally transforming' America to heal us of our 'sin'.  Yet this government is derived from the degraded nation.  How can the product of degradation rescue that which has made it?

2. Progressives complain that capitalism concentrates too much wealth and power in the hands of a small elite, fostering Oligopoly and Monopoly.  Yet their solution to thousands of independent power centers holding too much power is to take that power and centralize it in a single Government monopoly that includes a monopoly on the use of force.  How does further concentrating wealth and power at the center "disperse" and "democratize" power?

3. Progressives argue that all cultures are valid and that it is inappropriate to 'privilege' western cultural norms over those of others.  They say everyone's culture should be respected and honored as a matter of course.  Except for one:  Traditional American Christian Culture. Progressives are utterly intolerant of the older, more traditional version of American culture that still has a large, perhaps even majority following.  How can Progressives respect cultures that are far more reactionary than traditional American Culture and not do the same for the culture that most of them grew up in?

4. Progressives hold that many private or quasi private services (healthcare, banking, etc.) should be managed and controlled if not owned by the state.  But that means that resource allocation and policy choices will be decided by as few as half of the between 30% and 60% of the electorate voting once every two years, most voting as a tribe in utter ignorance.  Even worse, this process excludes other critical stakeholders like immigrants and our continental neighbors from having any meaningful input into policies that affect them. Yet the same people that 'swing for the seats' with a few minutes of clueless voting every two years invest hundreds of times more effort and brain power shopping for their families. This shopping gives each of us, including our continental neighbors and immigrants, multiple opportunities to influence myriad power centers with their economic 'votes' every day.  Given the electorate's degraded and increasingly notional "control" over the US Government, why do Progressives call it "Democratic"? Why isn't the market which gives everyone a say multiple times a day more Democratic and egalitarian?

5. If it is illegal discrimination for a business to deny services and products available to the public to someone based upon race, gender, religion or sexual preference then how do Apple, Paypal and Bruce Springsteen get away with denying everyone in a conservative, Christian, heterosexual culture like North Carolina, or Indiana access to their services or custom?

6.  How is it that progressives like Apple and Paypal boycott US states for regularizing toilet rules while they do massive amounts of business and locate facilities in places like Singapore or India where homosexual and transexual behavior is outlawed? How can they persecute their fellow citizens who share their culture and are much closer to them even on issues where there are disagreements, while forgiving other cultures of much worse sins?

7. Politically elite Universities are the most 'progressive' places in the country.  Yet they explicitly skim off a cognitive elite and facilitate their intermarriage, creating a self sustaining and set apart caste of elites who share their university experience. They then privilege the already privileged offspring of these elites for admission if their parents have given large sums to these already fabulously rich institutions. How do progressives in these institutions justify the utterly reactionary results of their labors?

Like I said, I don't understand these things. Which is why I don't understand how the Democratic party can be called the "party of the people" because from where I sit it looks like they despise most of us. Indeed most of their efforts are dedicated to stripping us of our consumer sovereignty and the right to say and live as we like, replacing it with a faux "democracy" that privileges a centralized, credentialed elite that is increasingly autocratic, intolerant and objectively anti-American.