Just after graduating college, a friend of mine and I went to some dive bar to have a few drinks and shoot some pool. After taking a break to go to the bathroom, I came back to find him chatting up a pretty girl who just happened to have a, well, body-positive friend with her.
Being immediately thrust into the unwelcome role of wingman, I found myself with a particularly aggressive young lass who was dead set on taking advantage of the situation she found herself in. As I cast daggers through my eyes at my callous friend, the two girls pulled us onto the dance floor.
I believe it was at this time that she landed her first kiss on me. I managed to dodge about two thirds of them, but she got plenty in, and somehow always managed to use the tongue. I’m not sure if she just pried her way through my clinched lips or took advantage of the normal human reaction of disgust, which involves a slightly agape mouth. When I told her “I want to slow down” she noted it was “cute” and “just made her like me more.” I think that was right before she gave my manhood a quick grab on her way to the bathroom.
I brushed the thought of strangling my friend’s neck aside and told him to get his girl’s number and then we were going to bounce. Even a seasoned wingman like myself could only put up with so much. I grabbed a beer to try and wash away the distaste before my body-positive accoster returned. I tried to make small talk, if nothing else I hoped it would stave off her attempts to slobber all over me.
“So what was your name?” (Yeah, the kissing began before this question was asked.)
“Oh, my friends just call me Buffy.”
“Um… like the vampire slayer?”
At this point she leaned in and casually observed that “I’m going to do to you whatever I want to do you.” I believe she thought this would be a turn on or something. Instead I dropped my beer on the floor leaving the bottle as shattered as my nerves.
This farce went on for several hours before I was finally able to convince my friend to leave. The lengths a man will go to be a good wingman…
I have told this story many times, particularly in a bar settings, and whether the audience is male or female, it has never failed to elicit a sizeable amount of laughter. Yet, as should be obvious, if the genders were reversed, this would be another horror story lauded in Buzzfeed and The Huffington Post as yet another example of #MeToo and all the horrible things men do to women.
And don’t get me wrong, male sexual harassment of women is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. The behavior of Harvey Weinstein, Larry Nassar and the many others that has come out is utterly despicable. But even aside by the risk of false accusations, it would seem that something is missing from the discussion of sexual harassment. Indeed, take the genders out and the story I have noted above is as bad as at least a good number of the stories that have come out recently. And that is not the only story I have, just the most egregious. One girl in my dorms during college would literally put her hand on every guy’s ass that came by. It probably happened to me about 10 times. I don’t know why she thought she would get away with it, other than the fact that she basically did. No one said anything more than a polite request for her to stop.
And I know stories that are even worse than what I just mentioned. Of course, I know some for women too. But what I’ve heard from others, as well as the survey data on this subject seems to validate my experience as not being unique.
For example, The Partner Abuse State of Knowledge Project has analyzed over 1700 studies and found that domestic violence is committed by men and women in roughly similar proportions, although men do more harm. Regarding sexual harassment, an AAUW study in 2006 found that 62 percent of women in college and 61 percent of men had “experienced sexual harassment.” While “both male and female students are more likely to be harassed by a man than by a woman,” the difference isn’t as large as many would think. According to the study, “Half of male students and almost one-third of female students admit that they sexually harassed someone in college.”
Even more perplexing, The Atlantic reported, “sexual victimization by women is more common than gender stereotypes would suggest.” Indeed, the oft-quoted “1 in 5 women are raped in college” statistic comes from a CDC study which has a weird category under “Other sexual violence” called “Made to penetrate.” One would think that forcing someone to have sex is rape, but who am I to say? Anyways, here’s how men and women answered for the last 12 months in 2011:
•Women (rape): 1,929,000
•Men (made to penetrate): 1,921,000
The vast majority of the men who were “made to penetrate” were by women.
I must admit that I’m not really sure what to make of all this. Some of it doesn’t shock me, such as domestic abuse perpetration. But with regards to sexual assault, it sounds rather unbelievable to me. Although, as many others have noted, the questions that have routinely been asked for such surveys are so mushily worded as to be all but useless. The counts for both genders are too high and the overcounting for men is probably much more significant.
Perhaps, to one degree or another, it can be encapsulated by a friend’s experience who had a bit of a nymphomaniac for a girlfriend when he was in high school. One night, he came home tired and despite her requests, told her no. Later on, he woke up to her “riding me.” He pushed her off only to have her “beg for it.”
“Were you upset?” I asked.
“Yeah dude, I was tired and wanted to sleep.”
Not exactly the response you would expect from someone who was just “raped.”
That being said, I don’t want to dismiss men who have been deeply affected by such experiences. I certainly think this problem receives too little attention and assuming it doesn’t bother men probably keeps a good number of men quiet. At the same time, I also don’t think we should get carried away as some Men’s Rights Activists have and assume these studies prove the problem is “gender neutral.”
If we go back to my own experience I think it even better highlights the crucial difference between the genders. During my body-positive groping, at no time was I ever concerned for my safety. I knew both consciously and subconsciously that she could do no more to me than what I was willing to put up with. A woman in a similar situation has no such luxury. In the end, the experience was just gross, not traumatizing. One cold shower later and the event was just a good drinking story.
But we should be careful not to go so far as to assume every awkward or bumbling advances is criminal when men do it too, even if they cross the line a bit. As Claire Berlinski writes,
“In recent weeks, I’ve acquired new powers… I could now, on a whim, destroy the career of an Oxford don who at a drunken Christmas party danced with me, grabbed a handful of my bum, and slurred, ‘I’ve been dying to do this to Berlinski all term!’”
She continues, “I did not freeze, nor was I terrified. I was amused and flattered...” But she notes, she could reexamine this and realize she was viciously harassed. That’s what Natalie Portman has done, stating “I went from thinking I don’t have a story to thinking, Oh wait, I have 100 stories. And I think a lot of people are having these reckonings with themselves.”
Some reexamination is important, but I could play the same card (or at least I could if anyone cared). I remember an old work colleague who used to always grab my arm and shoulder and call me “sweetheart” or “hun.” Did I like this? Not particularly. But it was such a trivial offense I didn’t even bother to ask her to stop.
But what if I “reexamined” these experiences?
Overall though, I do believe that men should be held to a higher standard in this regard (as well as for domestic violence) both because men are generally stronger and, it would seem, that most men aren’t affected quite as badly. However, this goes completely against feminist theory of “equality,” or more aptly sameness. Shouldn’t men and women be treated the same?
It would seem the only way that such “equality” can be maintained is by pretending this doesn’t happen to men. Sure, that requires ignoring all the surveys and studies out there as well as the testimony of pretty much every man if you actually asked them. Just try it. Ask a guy if a woman has “ever got overly grabby” with him and I guarantee the answer will be yes. So far, I’m sporting 100 percent on this question.
The evidence goes against the theory leading us back to the position that it’s not simply men’s avarice at play here, but a difference between the sexes. Of course, that doesn’t mean we should ignore male victims. And how we address this is a question on both sides should be open to debate. Perhaps we should go back to the more structured dating arrangements of years past, at least in part.
But let’s start by acknowledging the differences between the sexes, dropping the idea this is a simple issue as well as the anti-male bias and stop pretending that only men do this kind of thing.
As we have all heard, immigrants―legal and illegal alike―commit less crime than native-born American citizens. But the question as to whether immigrants commit more crime than native-born Americans is actually much messier than one would think.
Regarding illegal immigrants, a 2011 GAO study appears to show that contrary to various studies, illegal immigrants actually commit substantially more crime than native-born American citizens. That being said, legal immigrants definitely commit less.
But this comparison is an apples-to-oranges sort of affair for both legal and illegal immigration. Now don’t get me wrong, most legal immigrants are good people who just want to better their lives and that of their families. Many illegal immigrants fall into this category as well. But the United States’ infrastructure and civil services can only sustain so many newcomers at a time, particularly if they have relatively few skills. And with fast food joints switching to self-ordering kiosks, Wal-Mart announcing it will use autonomous “scanning robots,” Amazon opening stores with zero, count’em zero employees and mostly stagnant wage growth, it would seem rather unlikely that more low or unskilled labor is exactly what the United States needs right now.
But returning to the matter at hand, it doesn’t actually mean anything noteworthy to say that legal immigrants commit less crime than native born citizens. This is because, according to the Department of Homeland Security, the median age a legal immigrant becomes a lawful permanent resident is 32 years old.
As we all know, crime rates are not evenly divided amongst age groups. In fact, they are not even remotely evenly divided amongst age groups. For example, according to the Department of Justice, between 1980 and 2008 the percentage of homicides committed by each age group were as follows:
You’ll notice it’s skewed rather heavily toward the 18 to 34-year-old crowd. Those under the age of 25 committed 48.6 percent of all homicides. The majority of legal immigrants weren’t even in the country during that time of their life. And a further 76.6 percent of homicides were committed by those under the age of 35, which is just three years more than the median age a legal immigrant receives a green card.
A full 44.1 percent of immigrants who became lawful permanent residents did so after the age of 35.
And this relationship between age and murder is fairly consistent across a broad range of crimes. Younger people, particularly younger men, simply commit most of the crime.
Some studies try to control for this, but even they are fraught with difficulty. For example, a study by Bianca Bersani, Thomas Loughran and Alex Piquero that looked only at youths starting between the ages of 14 and 17 over a seven year period found that “Results show that first generation immigrants are less likely to be involved in serious offending and to evidence persistence in offending.” But the study only looked at 83 first generation immigrants in two counties. Another study by the pro-immigration American Immigration Council found that “roughly 1.6 percent of immigrant males age 18-39 are incarcerated, compared to 3.3 percent of the native-born.” Aside by the fact that it doesn’t split out the highly-vetted legal immigrants from unvetted illegal ones, the study is comparing native-born Americans who were in the country for all 21 years of that part of their life to immigrants who were only in the country for part of it. And again, legal immigrants age is skewed more toward the 30’s and less toward the more criminally-inclined 20’s than native-born since all native-born citizens spend their 20’s in the United States but only some immigrants do.
There are even more problems that permeate this entire analysis. As the Center for Immigration Studies notes, “For a variety of reasons, immigrants who are victims of crime may be less likely to report their victimization than native-born victims.” This would obviously be true for illegal immigrants who fear deportation. And there are further problems with survey methods regarding illegal immigrants. As the CIS study notes, “Prosecutors are known to sometimes drop pending charges against non-citizens once ICE indicates it will deport” and a total of 816,000 criminals were deported between 1999 and 2009. Thus, recidivism is not as big a problem for illegal immigrants as it is for native born. And recidivism rates are quite high. As the National Department of Justice points out, “Within five years of release, about three-quarters (76.6 percent) of released prisoners were rearrested.”
Finally, I would note that even young immigrants who leave their country of birth to the United States are unlikely to bring along with them any of the “bad crowds” some may have fallen into. But that says nothing about these immigrants’ children. All of these factors would help explain why the children of immigrants tend to have similar crime rates to American citizens. And given that the United States has a relatively high crime rate, at least as compared to other so-called industrialized nations, this should not exactly be a cause for celebration.
Again, it is important to stress that by far and away, legal immigrants are not criminals. Most illegals aren’t criminals either (other than the fact they broke the law to get into the United States, of course). But, quite obviously, most American citizens are also not criminals. The problem is that these surveys paint a misleading picture. Given the difference in age, the majority of the crime that immigrants would have committed would have been committed in the country they immigrated from not the country they emigrated to. While legal immigrants are vetted for this (if they were caught), illegals are not. Thus, valid comparisons between the two groups are far more difficult to analyze than is generally assumed.
Instead it should be a reminder of how statistics can be misconstrued. And in a time when polls show that whites, black and Hispanics all agree that legal immigration should be reduced, it should be another reason to be skeptical of those who demand ever more mass immigration into the United States.
This type of thing, and its obvious potential for misuse, is frightening:
Of course, the whole line about how we must "rely on trusted news sources" is pretty pathetic, especially coming from the "question authority" Left. Especially after the "Saddam's throwing babies out of incubators" lie and the "weapons of mass destruction" lie and the "moderate rebels in Libya" lie and the current "moderate rebels in Syria" lie. But the possibility of fake news getting much, much faker is frightening indeed.
As far as things go now, I would be very cautious with all news sources, albeit for separate reasons:
- Establishment News Sources: These will generally (well, sometimes) have better fact checking than alternative sources. But they are also deeply entwined with the establishment and tend to dismiss any alternative explanations as "conspiracy theories." For instance, merely asking the question "qui bono?" and wanting the OPCW to inspect the site of the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria before attacking a sovereign nation was lambasted as a "conspiracy theory." Give me a break. I should also note, those "fact checkers" like Politifact, need to be looked at with a skeptical eye as well.
- Alternative News Sources: While these aren't tied down by their links to the establishment or large corporate interests, they have two major problems: 1) They often have an extreme ideological bias (which is true for the establishment as well, of course) and 2) They often don't have very good fact checking or journalistic training.
And both have an incentive to exaggerate and come out with "breaking news," which is often little more than speculation or clickbait.
Double and triple check stories when you're trying to find out what's true. Also, look for the criticism to see if there are glaring holes in an argument. Oftentimes, the best way I can come to a conclusion as to the veracity of a claim is to evaluate the quality of the criticism leveled against it. Unfortunately, fake news is rampant. But it's rampant both amongst the establishment and alternative news sources.
Read widely and be careful what you believe.
A while back, I made the case that the United States should very seriously consider breaking up in a peaceful and mutual secession,
"Indeed, the United States is ossifying into separate factions that seem to more or less hate each other. Some of this has to do with migration patterns as described in The Big Sort (liberals moving to liberal cities and conservatives moving to conservative cities). Some of it has to do with the huge influx of immigrants and the change that has brought to the country. And some of it has to do with the Internet and the ideological ghettos it creates. Throw in some economic turbulence and a new strain of very angry and very loud social justice warriors driving the sides even further apart along with an in-you-face, loud mouth on the other side as president, and well, you've created a very combustible mess.
"Regardless, while it's debatable how much of each of these different components has had in shaping the modern American political landscape, there's no doubt the hyper-polarization exists. The big questions to me are 1) Are we even still one country? And 2) Should we be?
"A few years back, Texas was talking about seceding. Liberals mocked them. Now California with the Calexit proposal and perhaps even the entire West Coast is at least seriously considering it. On an aside, I do find it humorous how quickly liberals have jumped on the nullification and secession bandwagon."
This is, of course, not a unique position to me. Michael Malice has made it on numerous occasions. Now The Federalist has jumped in to add its two cents,
"Divorce is hard, but it’s easier than cutting the brake lines on your wife’s car. It is long past time for an amicable divorce of the United States of America. There is simply no common ground with the Left anymore. We are now the couple screaming at each other all night, every night as the kids hide in their room.
"We cannot come together, but we do not have to live like this. The history of the world is nations breaking up and redrawing their borders. If we want to avoid this political divide turning into a deadly one, we should do likewise."
There really isn't anything that radical about this. Countries have broken apart numerous times in the past, think of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the break up of Yugoslavia or the dissolution of Gran Columbia. Sometimes it is very violent, but sometimes it isn't. And the sooner you get on it, the less likely violence is to come to pass.
The United States and Canada are different nations yet live in peace. As are France and Spain, South Korea and Singapore, Chile and Argentina, etc. Sometimes it's better to be apart than together for both parties sake. I think we've long since reached that point in the United States and it's nice to see people figuring that out.
On a different note than say, the looming war in Syria, I thought I'd post something a bit happier. So a while back I made a few videos of me playing songs on my guitar. Maybe someday I'll pick that up again, but it's one of those things you kind of have to go all in or what's the point? Anyways, here's me playing Hide Your Love Away by the Beatles, I hope you enjoy:
One of the best ways I've found to evaluate the veracity of an argument is to look at its criticism and see how persuasive it is. When the criticism of said argument is a parody of a caricature of a farce, well, that tells we you something.
So here we have the feminist Liam Kirkaldy criticizing the fact that news organizations are granting a forum to both sides of the debate on the alleged male-female wage gap. You see, some ideas are right, like his. And some are wrong. And it just doesn't make sense to even debate the obviously wrong ideas that people who aren't Liam Kirkaldy have.
"Yet it happens again and again, with Radio Four last week providing Jordan Peterson – a Canadian psychologist with strong, but unqualified views on structural sexism – with a platform to air his opinions on the gender pay gap."
I'm sorry, how does one's views on "structural sexism" get "qualified" exactly?
"...who had been invited to discuss it? For Radio Four, it was Baroness Williams, the UK’s Minister for Equalities. Again, fair enough. But, rather than finding an academic specialising in gender politics, or Williams’ shadow equivalent, the show decided to ‘balance’ her views with Peterson’s, creating the impression we were hearing from two experts, with different views regarding an issue on which there’s no widespread agreement."
Ahhh, an "academic specialising in gender studies..." By that, of course, you mean some radical feminist, gender studies professor? Wouldn't an economist make more sense? Or are we really to believe that some gender studies professor who thinks that gender is a social construct and also there are 57 genders, knows more about how labor markets work than an economist?
Also, what is with this lack of confidence Liam? If Peterson's views are "unqualified" and Williams views are "qualified," she should be able to wipe the floor with him. It's almost as if this authoritarian urge to shut down debate isn't about protecting the poor viewer from wrong-think, but rather the inability of those with right-think to win these debates...
"Except that’s not true – there is widespread agreement – and by putting them on in the same slot, and allowing Peterson to paint the issue as a misunderstanding of statistics, they created a false equivalence. Even Peterson’s introduction was revealing, with the psychologist welcomed on air for 'causing quite a splash' with his views on gender – a qualification better suited to boring strangers in a pub than informing a discussion on national radio.
"Because let’s be clear, there is either a gender pay gap or there isn’t, and it turns out there is. Every major political party agrees on that. Even Theresa May, not exactly beloved by feminist groups, has described the gap – sitting at around 18 per cent – as a 'burning injustice'."
How on Earth did this rubbish make it past the editors? The whole debate is WHY there is a pay gap, not whether there is one. That has always been the debate. That has always been the ONLY debate. Does Kirkaldy not understand that? And yes, the evidence is overwhelming that the wage gap exists almost exclusively for reasons other than discrimination.
"It’s a topic which is easily misrepresented, particularly when commentators conflate the gap with unequal pay. Ryanair defended the fact that median hourly pay among its UK staff is 72 per cent lower for women than men by pointing out that the majority of its pilots are male, while women make up more of its cabin staff – an argument which basically amounts to saying the company pays men more than women because it gives men more highly paid jobs."
OK, he doesn't understand it. He claims people like Peterson and misrepresenting the topic while flagrantly misrepresenting the topic himself. Ryanair doesn't "give" out jobs. People apply for positions and Ryanair hires the most qualified. It is obviously not discriminating based on the job (if what they say is true), but he then changes the subject without informing the readers (or likely being aware he's done it himself) from whether companies pay men and women equally for the same job to whether their hiring practices are fair.
And by the way, since when are the stewardesses and pilots interchangeable? Are there an equal number of women applying to be pilots? Do an equal number of women want to be pilots? Should Ryanair just hire some random stewardess to fly the plane? Would you like to be on that flight?
FYI, while I assume Kirkaldy didn't even look it up, in the United States women make up 6.71 percent of the pilots and 12.43 percent of the students. If Britain is anything like the US, there's no possible way Ryanair is going to be able to hire an equal number of female pilots. Kirkaldy should be commended though, this is quite possibly the dumbest argument I've ever seen in print.
"Others point to the idea that women are more likely to work part-time, while steadfastly refusing to examine the reasons for that."
This is not relevant to whether or not women are paid less for the same work, which is what Peterson was arguing about. And some of the reasons women may work part-time more often likely have to do with disadvantages men face; like say the social pressure to make money or women finding men who earn more money to be more attractive.
"Of course, none of that means there isn’t a debate to be had about the causes of the pay gap, or what to do about it, but it does mean that putting two people on radio to debate its existence is inherently misleading. In bending over backwards to avoid accusations of bias, Radio Four stumbled off balance."
Good lord Liam, no one is debating the pay gap's existence! Kirkaldy doesn't even understand what Peterson is saying or what is being debated in general but demands that his side of the debate (that he's having in his own mind with himself) be the only side that gets any daylight. What a joke.
And isn't it interesting how quickly the proponents of equality demand inequality when it comes to open debate.
Check out this video with Joe Scarborough, starting at 4:47:
Here's the key quote,
"It's hard for me to imagine any presidential candidate not getting politically ripped to shreds in the next political campaign for turning a region back over to ISIS, to Iran, to Putin and to Assad. But that's what he would be doing."
Notice that? By not going to war with Assad, we would be turning the country over to both Assad and ISIS. Wait a minute... Assad is fighting ISIS, and Al Qaeda and all of the other Jihadist groups that the neocons and their sycophants like Joe Scarborough support.
Congressman Roger Wicker went on Tucker Carlson and tried basically imply this same thing. He stammered around saying Assad gassed those kids and we should do something about Assad and then there was this exchange.
Wicker: "But defeating ISIS in Iraq and Syria is still our goal..."
Carlson: "But wasn't defeating ISIS one of the goals of the Assad government. Of course ISIS was a radical Sunni group. Assad is an Alawite aligned with the Shiites. He was fighting ISIS as well, so why wouldn't we, if we believe ISIS is the main enemy, functionally find ourselves on the side of Assad."
Wicker: "Well, you're correct in this sense and you're correct in many ways. It's complicated in Syria, there's no question about it. There's not a bunch of white hats and a bunch of black hats, so I'll give you that. And we're not in the business of regime change, so I would challenge that [ed. note: yeah right!], but it is in our national interest to make sure ISIS is defeated and we've almost got the job done. I just think it would be a mistake to pull away at this point."
It sounded like Wicker was very upset because you're not supposed to say that. ISIS and Assad are on the same side I tell you! It's very rare that the warhawks will cut out the sophistry and cheap parlor tricks and just admit that attacking Assad is aligning our aims with Al Qaeda and ISIS. Occasionally, you'll get like ISIS-sympathizer (and yeah, if they're going to call us "Assadists" I'm going to call them ISIS-sympathizers) Thomas Friedman, when he unironically asked "why is Trump fighting ISIS in Syria?"
We've played this game before. In September of 2003, almost six months after we invaded Iraq on false pretenses, a Washington Post poll found that "Sixty-nine percent of Americans said they thought it at least likely that Hussein was involved in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon."
This was deliberate. The Christian Science Monitor describes how it was done,
"In his prime-time press conference last week, which focused almost solely on Iraq, President Bush mentioned Sept. 11 eight times. He referred to Saddam Hussein many more times than that, often in the same breath with Sept. 11.
"Bush never pinned blame for the attacks directly on the Iraqi president. Still, the overall effect was to reinforce an impression that persists among much of the American public: that the Iraqi dictator did play a direct role in the attacks. A New York Times/CBS poll this week shows that 45 percent of Americans believe Mr. Hussein was "personally involved" in Sept. 11, about the same figure as a month ago."
Don't be fooled again. Any war in Syria is a war for Al Qaeda no matter how many horrifying videos of dying children these chickenhawk pundits show you.
So the Syrian government is winning the civil war on all fronts and the United States decided to pull out. What is the obvious thing for Assad to do next? Well obviously it's to gas children.
Indeed, to think Assad would do this is not to think he's evil. It's to think he bathes in his own feces. Tucker Carlson cuts threw the fog here about as well as I've seen anyone do it:
Also important to remember:
- According to The New York Times, the rebels have used chemical weapons at least 52 times.
- Secretary of Defense James Mattis admits there is "no evidence" Assad was behind chemical weapons attack in 2017.
- Legendary journalist Seymour Hersh shows the rebels were also probably behind the 2013 chemical weapons attack in Ghouta.
- A 2015 study from the Centre on Religion and Geopolitics found that "Some 60% of Syria's major rebel groups are Islamist extremists" More than half sympathize with ISIS, you know the guys who crucify Christians, chop the heads off apostates and Shia "heretics," keep sex slaves and throw homosexuals off roofs... those guys.
- And remember, that was three years ago. The rebels have been losing since then and who stays on a losing side, the moderates or the fanatics? Also, Islamist extremists are ridiculously extreme. Are the other 40% really "moderate?" And finally, some of those non-extremists are the Kurds, who basically want to set up a Marxist ethnostate. And the PKK, which is a Marxist terrorist group, is fighting in Syria too. I.e. another group that cannot be called "moderate."
- In 2016, the US State Department noted that "an excess of 40,000 total foreign fighters [that] have gone to the conflict [in Syria] from over 100 countries." Can it even be called a civil war? Sounds more like an invasion.
- Do I have to remind you of the catastrophes that resulted from the invasions of Iraq and Libya? ISIS started in the vacuum of power left in the wake of Iraq's destruction and Libya now has bustling slave markets.
- Who is going to take over if Assad falls? Honestly who? Will it be a Jeffersonian democrat who will install a constitutional republic? Give me a break. It will be never-ending civil war, another strong man like Assad or, more likely, a bunch of head-chopping Jihadists. If we go to war in Syria, we're fighting for Al Qaeda. If we bomb Assad, we're acting as Al Qaeda's air force.
- Trump decided to end what I call the CIA's "Adopt a Jihadi" program in 2017 when he saw a video by several fighters for Nour al-Din al-Zenki, a group of moderate terrorists the CIA was supporting, cutting off a boy's head and laughing about it. Those are your moderates, folks.
- We shouldn't forget our insane policy under Obama (and Trump to a lesser degree) was best highlighted by this LA Times headline; "In Syria, militias armed by the Pentagon fight those armed by the CIA."
There are two not-insane policies in Syria. 1) Go home, this is not our fight. And 2) Smash ISIS into the dirt and then come home. Trump did the second and now we're basically done. ISIS is all but defeated. It's time to come home Donald.
Everything else is cuckoo for cocoa puffs... which is why the Washington establishment that dreamt up "weapons of mass destruction" lie is so universally in favor of it. But one man wasn't. Let's hope he doesn't get dupped by the neocons:
So I previously wrote that perhaps tariffs aren't that bad because, if you have to have a tax, what better to have it on than imports. Of course, that leaves open the possibility for a devastating "trade war," right?
But that's assuming that if the United States and China had a "trade war" that it would be a war. It wouldn't. It would be a massacre, a trade massacre.
With regards to trade, the side that is "losing" actually has all the leverage. The United States has a $566 billion trade deficit, and $375 billion of that is with China. What this means is that China trades a lot more to us than we do to them. While this may mean cheaper goods for us (and more expensive assets as China gets dollars for buying American goods, so often turns around and buys American stocks, bonds and real estate) but it also means they need us and we don't need them. We can all afford to pay and extra $1.25 for a hammer or whatever if need be.
If we shut all trade, our industry would remain pretty much the same. Of course our export sector would be hurt and yes, some companies that rely on imports would be hurt and retail would have to raise prices, but indeed, manufacturing would improve as we would have to buy from local firms rather than foreign ones. On the other hand, China relies very heavily on exporting goods. They would be devastated.
In other words, the United States has all the leverage. So why not play hardball for a better deal?
The only real risk is that China could flip the board over and fire sell our treasury bonds, which of course, they got so many of because the United States ran up so much debt and had such a high trade deficit that gave China the dollars to buy US assets with in the first place. This is a risky play on their part though, as they would be taking a hit by firing selling those bonds and unless the market collapsed, investors seeking to make a buck on the arbitrage would buy those bonds up and cause the price to return to previous levels. I think they'll threaten this, but I don't think they'll pull the trigger.
So in the end, the punditry has it wrong (again) and if the US wants a better trade deal with China, it holds all the cards in a negotiation.
Well, at least we won't have to hear about "toxic masculinity" for this mass shooting,
"A suspected female shooter is dead and three others are injured after a mass shooting at YouTube’s headquarters in San Bruno, Calif., Tuesday afternoon, according to San Bruno police.
"San Bruno police officials identified the shooter as 39-year-old Nasim Aghdam of San Diego, California.
"Aghdam was found dead inside the building with what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, San Bruno Police Chief Ed Barberini said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. There is no evidence that she was acquainted with the victims of the shooting, according to police, and there is little information available yet about her possible motive. Law enforcement had previously said the incident was being investigated as a possible domestic dispute."
Oh but there is, apparently she was upset about Youtube's censorship policies, which is interesting because this isn't coming from some "Alt Right Neo-Nazi troll" but a very, very weird Iranian vegan girl. And when I mean weird, I mean nutjob weird:
I don't think we need any grand conspiracies here, just a very disturbed individual who, once again, the authorities were warned about and did nothing.
"Every day is a new life to the wise man."
The Righteous Mind
Star Slate Codex
Consulting by RPM