Friday, December 08, 2017

Johnny Hallyday: Good-Bye, Friend

The beloved French mega rock star who passed away at 74 Wednesday, Johnny Hallyday (see Adam Gopnik's New Yorker profile), is to have his coffin driven down the Champs-Élysées on Saturday before being flown to his favorite island, Saint Bart's, for burial on Monday.

A lover of America, he was nicknamed the French Elvis Presley, and many, if not most, of his songs feature a distinctive American rock sound.

More on Johnny Hallyday, including from Steven Erlanger:
 … his Wikipedia entry in French is longer than Jesus Christ’s.

Johnny Hallyday is as French as the baguette, and he has been singing for more than 50 years, bringing Elvis rhythms, energy and glitter to a culture steeped in ballads.

Friday, December 01, 2017

The Bright Future of European Health Care: Britons Face Longer Waits Along with Rationing of Treatment

As Bernie Sanders, in a CNN debate between him and Senator Maria Cantwell on the one hand and Senators Ted Cruz and Tim Scott on the other, again defended nationalized health care — his main argument, or one of his main arguments, being nothing more than its very existence in European countries and around the world — across the pond Britons were treated to the splendid news that NHS patients face longer waits and rationing of treatment.

Writes the health editor of the Times, Chris Smyth:
The health service will curb treatment for conditions such as hearing loss and dementia after its head set out the first explicit limits on what patients should expect.

Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, effectively ripped up waiting-time targets for routine surgery, rebuffing demands from ministers as he said that cancer, mental health and GP care should take priority.

Patients were told to stop expecting the NHS to treat coughs, indigestion and other minor conditions, with GPs encouraged to send people away without prescriptions for medicines they could buy over the counter.

A list of 36 conditions that do not need to be treated has been drawn up in plans to save £190 million …
Related health care posts:
Note to Americans Who Believe Europeans' Health Care System Is the Way to Go
• News From Across the Pond: Taking Britain Towards a Bright New PC Future
• Waiting 3 to 4 Years for Surgery: The UK's State "Rationing Will Cripple Patients"
• And, finally, There is no free lunch:
People are far more likely to go hungry in an NHS hospital than in a prison, researchers from Bournemouth University said.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Meghan Markle Joins Foreign Minister Boris Johnson as Individuals Hounded, Previously Hounded, or To Be Hounded, by the IRS

The TaxProf's take on Prince Harry's bride-to-be, via Instapundit, namely that Meghan Markle’s U.S. Citizenship Could Cause Tax Headaches For British Royal Family, is a reminder that the most famous Briton, or the most famous person, to renounce his or her dual American citizenship (back in 2105) is a fellow by the name of Boris Johnson.

The foreign minister of the UK (who has long been and will continue to be a leading candidate for the office of prime minister itself) was hounded for so long by America's IRS that, in disgust during his tenure as mayor of London, he renounced his dual American citizenship in 2015.

Related: • Keeping the IRS happy grew ever more time-consuming and costly, until it became intolerable

A massive breach of the Fourth Amendment: The vast majority of those renouncing citizenship are middle-class Americans, living overseas, fully compliant with their U.S. tax obligations

Moreover: Check out 46 photographs of Boris Johnson to see whether he appears more British or more American 

The toxic sludge of victimology: There’s no way Americans could have landed on the moon, much less prevailed at Iwo Jima and Normandy, if we had been a nation of pants-wetting victims


Just when I thought I’d heard everything
sighs Benny Huang,
along comes a new phenomenon called self-cyberbullying. Apparently it’s “a thing” now. …

It occurs to me that I had in fact heard of self-cyberbullying several years before the release of this study, I just hadn’t known that the phenomenon has a name. In 2013, a University of Wyoming student, Meg Lanker-Simons, whipped her college campus into a frenzy after she anonymously posted an online rape threat against herself. Lanker-Simons was (and probably still is) a hard-left political activist.

“I want to hatef*** Meg Lanker Simons so hard,” wrote Meg Lanker-Simons. “That chick runs her liberal mouth all the time and doesn’t care who knows it. I think its so hot and makes me angry. One night with me and shes gonna be a good Republican bitch.” [Spelling mistakes original.]

Outrage spread quickly. A rally against rape culture was held at which the “victim” Lanker-Simons spoke, followed by denunciations of the cravenly rape fantasist who was then still hiding behind a mask of anonymity. The coward was assumed to be one of those hated conservatives.

But then the police investigated and discovered that the threat had been posted from Lanker-Simons’ own computer. Woops! That wasn’t supposed to happen. The coward had been hiding in plain sight all along.

It isn’t difficult to see what Lanker-Simons was trying to accomplish. First, she was portraying her political adversaries as evil misogynists. Second, she was exaggerating beyond all proportion the danger of sexual violence that women face on campus, something feminists like to do. And third, and perhaps most importantly, she was making herself a victim.

I suspect she was trying to do this because victimhood is a sought-after commodity in our society. It’s this year’s Tickle Me Elmo—people are trampling each other to get their own. Those who haven’t actually been victimized get jealous of people who have been and concoct ridiculous hoaxes to get the same degree of attention. This pathology is so bad it’s even infected the US Air Force Academy prep school.

I can hear the objections now: ‘But isn’t there such thing as a real victim?’

Of course. It would be foolish to claim that there are no real victims or that we shouldn’t try to do right by them. I myself have written about victims—of abortion, of affirmative action, and of evil, oppressive private sector nondiscrimination laws. Earlier this month, a strident atheist victimized a church of full of Christians in Sutherland Springs, Texas. But there’s a difference between helping victims and establishing victimhood as our national idée fixe. The first is admirable while the second is anything but.

This obsession with victimhood is a worrying trend. There’s no way Americans could have landed on the moon, much less prevailed at Iwo Jima and Normandy, if we had been a nation of pants-wetting victims. We would have been doomed to mediocrity or worse.

I know of no other nation, with the possible exception of post-Apartheid South Africa, that has exalted victimhood to quite the same level as we Americans have in 21st Century. In other cultures, particularly non-Western cultures, victimhood is not nearly as important or valuable.

In the Muslim world, for example, victims are held in contempt because victimhood is associated with weakness, a despicable trait. This is especially true for men. If a guy has his wallet lifted while walking home at night he’s more likely to pretend it didn’t happen than to be perceived as too unmanly to defend himself. There’s a cultural conundrum here because most Muslims won’t hesitate to tell you that they’re victimized by big bad Israel or big bad America but in their minds that’s different. It’s not personal victimhood.

There are even some subcultures within the United States such as the military in which victimhood is shunned, or at least that’s the way it used to be when I was in the Army in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. I recall being shocked when, during my first few days of basic training, the drill sergeant ridiculed those privates going to sick call as the “sick, lame, and lazy.” When some of the privates came back on crutches they were called “gimps” or worse epithets that I won’t repeat here. I couldn’t believe my ears. At that point in my life, which then totaled almost nineteen years, sick and injured people had always been given special care, reprieve from their duties, and above all sympathy. They were allowed time and space to recover. They were not barraged with insults.

Slowly I came to understand why the drill sergeant did this. Many of the privates were faking. They wanted to be treated as victims because it meant ducking out of training for a while and resting in an air-conditioned doctor’s office. If they came back from sick call with a doctor’s note they could be excused from doing pushups, running, or marching which made their lives a lot easier. It hardly mattered that it interfered with the frenetic training schedule or that it was a very dishonorable thing to do; the important thing was that they would be able to garner some sympathy which had a lot of benefits.

I know this all sounds very cruel to a lot of civilians but trying to turn a bunch of teenagers raised on MTV and Nintendo into soldiers requires a hardass attitude. The drill sergeant wasn’t allowed to forbid the privates from going to sick call but he could extract a social penalty from them in order to discourage others from mimicking the same irresonsible behavior.

But what about those privates who were legitimately sick or injured? In time they learned that the drill sergeant wasn’t talking about them. He was talking about the malingerers. Those who knew in their hearts that they weren’t malingering paid the drill sergeant no mind.

That was almost twenty years ago. I doubt very much that drill sergeants today are still allowed to call the sick call herd the “sick, lame, and lazy” though I wish they were. It would be nice if there was still some refuge from victim culture somewhere.

Just how did we get here? One explanation is that we’ve become a feminized society. Women, I believe, have a surplus of sympathy which makes them suckers for a sob story whether it’s true or not. Some men have the same soft spot in their hearts though most of these men were raised in feminized cultures. The majority of the world’s men still believe in “toughing it out.”

Another explanation is that our society has quietly and incrementally succumbed to Marxism. No other political philosophy sees the world in such stark categories of victim (the “exploited”) and victimizer (the “exploiter”). Without victimhood, Marxism has no basis and no meaning.

In classical Marxism, exploitation is understood in terms of class—workers suffering at the hands of the cigar-chomping boss man. That was the world as Karl Marx understood it, living as he did during a period of intense industrialization. Since the late 20th Century, however, many other “exploited” groups have become stand-ins for workers. Women, for example, have made their claim to being an oppressed class. So have blacks, homosexuals, and illegal aliens. Together this victim coalition hopes to topple the system that supposedly oppresses them.

This victim/victimizer dichotomy has so thoroughly saturated our society that we can hardly make sense of the world we live in without it. Just as a fish doesn’t know that he’s wet, we don’t know that we’re swimming in the toxic sludge of victimology. We think we’re observing the world outside our windows with clarity and objectivity.

I wish I knew how to put a stop to victimhood mania because it’s tearing us apart as a nation. Each time there’s a phony baloney “bias incident” that turns out to have been a cry for attention, our societal fabric deteriorates just a little more. My suggestion would be swift and harsh punishment for hate hoaxers, though that probably won’t happen. Regardless, we can’t continue to reward this behavior.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Who Represents the Biggest Threat to Women?


A cartoon by A F Branco.

More on Roy Moore:
• Following Leftist Sex Accusations Against Conservative Politicians,
Conservatives Join In the Onslaught: When on Earth Are We Going to Learn?!

Monday, November 27, 2017

While the East Coast Élites Mock the Superstition of Conservatives Americans (i.e., Religion), the New York Times Prints Articles Treating Subjects like Astrology Seriously


Here’s what the feminization of the news room looks like
writes Heather McDonald: (thanks to Instapundit):
The New York Times — that self-appointed scourge of fake news and the alleged war on science — has published a fawning article about astrology in its news pages. “Leaning on the Stars to Make Sense of the World,” by Alexandra S. Levine, treats Times’ readers to heaping doses of astrological mumbo jumbo: “Saturn’s move from a fire sign to an earth sign next month.” It respectfully conveys astrologers’ hilariously self-important evaluations of their “profession”: “‘It’s so important that we give quality literature, quality interpretation, quality astronomy and astrology,’” says the astrology columnist for Harper’s Bazaar
While we are supposed to roll on the floor laughing at the idea of flyover Americans engaging in practices so primitive as going to church — as I once wrote in a lengthy and in-depth piece (Devotees of Science Versus Followers of Religion — Are Only the Latter to Be Taken to Task for Their Alleged Superstitions?) — we are told to ignore the full reality which can be summarized in the following sentence:

While traditional Americans, aka clueless Neanderthals, are to be described as superstitious regarding their outdated religious beliefs, it turns out that the avant-garde and allegedly science-minded Democrats, as Jonah Goldberg puts it, "are more likely to believe in paranormal activity. They’re also more likely to believe in reincarnation and astrology."
The [New York Times] article never once asks the obvious questions, including: What is the theory behind astral influence? Do stars emit some physical force, wave, particle, or gravitational field that affects events on earth, and if so, has it been measured? What is astrologers’ ex post facto batting average — how do their daily newspaper predictions stand up? Have they predicted major events with anything other than random success? The closest that Ms. Levine gets to skepticism is the following: “for a craft so often criticized for being nonscientific and, in some cases, fraudulent, horoscopes still cover the pages and websites of publications in New York and across the globe.”

 … The day after the New York Times informed its readers about the “professional” world of astrology, it ran a front-page story about ICE agents’ alleged reign of terror in Atlanta, Ga., under the Trump administration. This reign of terror consists in targeted enforcement raids against individuals like an illegal Mexican who has been deported twice, served time in prison, convicted of two domestic-violence incidents, and charged with rape which he plea-bargained down to a lesser crime. The number of illegal alien law-breakers in Atlanta is so high that one is booked into a county jail every few hours, reports the Times. The Times notes with dismay that illegal aliens are being arrested for driving without insurance and without a license. Apparently Times reporters would not mind if their car were totaled by an uninsured driver. A reporter for the Spanish-language newspaper Mundo Hispanico sends out Facebook alerts of sightings of ICE agents so that illegal aliens can evade the law. Yet we are supposed to believe that it is the Trump administration that poses a threat to the rule of law.
Females have always been the biggest consumers of spiritual hoaxes such as astrology, crystals, séances, and other metaphysical claims about the world that rest simply on assertion rather than scientific proof. If a credulous article on astrology can get through the editorial process at an increasingly female-dominated Times, we can expect that political reporting will grow even more unmoored from reality at the Times and other outlets experiencing a similar demographic shift.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

"1917, La Fayette, nous voilà !"


Le musée franco-américain de Blérancourt accueille jusqu’au 22 janvier 2018 une exposition intitulée 1917, La Fayette, nous voilà ! (merci à Mademoiselle OT).

Jean-Francois Lixon écrit que
Le débarquement du 6 juin 1944 a eu un surprenant effet secondaire, l'événement a occulté dans la mémoire collective cet autre fait de guerre important : les Américains étaient déjà venus à l'aide de la France et de ses alliés face à l'ennemi allemand.

C'était en 1917 et cette fois déjà, son aide aura été décisive dans la suite du conflit.

L'exposition "1917, La Fayette, nous voilà !" que propose jusqu'au 22 janvier 2018 le musée franco-américain de Blérancourt, dans l'Aisne, revient sur cette période avec des affiches et des documents. Ils racontent la propagande qui a précédé l'arrivée des troupes américaines en Europe puis leur quotidien.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Respect Matters: What Does Consent on the Dance Floor Look Like?

If, according to the drama queens' new rules for "horizontal dancing," consent must be given regularly and at all times, then ‘What does consent on the dance floor look like?’

The answer (according to Princeton UMatter) is:

• Frequently Checking in with your dance partner;

• Asking & Waiting for an answer;

• For instance, "Hey, are you still into this? We can stop if you aren't!"

I thought this infographic was a joke, a tongue-in-cheek piece by the Washington Post's Eugene Volokh or by some conservative blogger, but to my horror, it turns out to be true.

If i hadn't pressed on the link of "Campus Reform has more", I would never have guessed…





Thursday, November 23, 2017

French TV Debate on Robert Mueller's Investigation of Donald Trump and His Aides Overlooks One Key Point


A conservative blogger was invited on the set of France 24 for a 40- to 45-minute debate on the Robert Mueller investigation, along with jurist and America specialist Anne Deysine, Harper's Magazine director John Rick MacArthur, and, from Gaza (?!), Gallagher Fenwick (France 24 part 1 and France 24 part 2).

See the leftists get all giddy — especially the neutral (sic) presenter of what the French call their equivalent of CNN (they mean this in a good way) — especially at the thought that Mueller might actually manage to take down Donald Trump in person.

At five minutes from the end, at around minute 20:24 in part 2, the blogger quotes a Glenn Reynolds meme on Instapundit to state the one thing everybody on the program seems to overlook is that the very eagerness of the leftists the world over to take down the Republican president (along with the very existence of programs like this one on which all of the participants are appearing) is how you get more Trump.

Instapundit has been mentioned on French television before, as well as on French radio.


























30/10/2017

Ingérence russe aux Etats-Unis : 

Paul Manafort inculpé de 12 chefs d'inculpation (Partie 1)


C'est l'image du jour : celle de Paul Manafort l'ancien directeur de campagne de Trump marchant vers le bureau du FBI à Washington. L'homme d'affaire Rick Gates l'accompagne. Il a reçu la même injonction. Il s'agit des premières inculpations dans le cadre de l'enquête sur l'affaire russe menée par le procureur spécial Robert Mueller. 
Est-ce une nouvelle étape dans les accusations de collusions de l'équipe de campagne de Donald Trump avec la Russie ? Le moment est-il historique ?

Une émission préparée par Elise DUFFAU, Sarah MISSAOUI et Noufissa CHARAÏ.

Nos invités

Anne DEYSINE

Juriste, spécialiste des États-Unis

Erik SVANE

Journaliste et auteur. Membre des Republicans overseas.

John Rick MACARTHUR

Directeur du Harper's magazine.

Gallagher FENWICK

Envoyé spécial en direct de Gaza

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The witch hunts generated by the radical sexual lobby: we have adopted the justice of the mob, into which the Sexual Revolution, like every revolution, must inevitably degenerate


The Sexual Revolution is now out of control
writes Stephen Baskerville in The Sexual Revolution Turns Ugly.
Initially promising freedom, like all revolutions, it has entered something like its Reign of Terror phase and is devouring its own children. As with other revolutions, it is not because the revolutionaries enjoy broad popular support; it is because civic and religious leaders are confused, divided, and cowed into silence. Those whom one expects to impose some order on all this—conservative politicians, religious leaders, civil libertarians, journalists, scholars—are either hiding under the table or signaling their virtue by themselves fanning the flames of a hysteria that they show no interest in trying to understand.

Even as one hysteria—the campus “rape epidemic”—is finally exposed as a hoax by the common sense of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, another breaks out over Harvey Weinstein and others (and still others) emerge almost daily. The commentariat from the left to the right is either diffident or so intoxicated with sanctimony that they are unable to write about it critically. Yet once we strip away the obfuscating jargon and ideology, it becomes very clear what is going on.

For there is nothing new about the sordid behavior. All that is new—and all that makes it newsworthy—is that it has been politicized.

To begin with, there is not, and never has been, any epidemic of “sexual harassment,” “sexual assault,” “domestic violence,” or the rest. It is not that deeds associated with these terms do not happen; the terms themselves are ideological constructions designed to create hysteria and mean nothing. There are, and always have been, criminal statutes in place to protect women (along with everyone else) from violent crime. There have also long been civil provisions to protect them from sexual pressure from superiors in the workplace. Anyone experiencing either of these offenses can readily file charges or complaints. And no, there is certainly no longer any “stigma” against doing so, if there ever was.

What we do have—as many long ago warned we would have—is a highly sexualized culture controlled by men and women who have succeeded in changing the terms of sexuality because they have both ideological and pecuniary interests in using sex as a financial tool and a political weapon. Privileged men and women have thrown off virtually all controls on sexual indulgence, which they can use not only for personal self-gratification but also—and quite predictably—as the means to advance their careers, accumulate wealth, eliminate rivals, punish opponents, extort money, and generally acquire political power. These practices are especially rampant in the commanding heights of our culture: the media, universities, Hollywood, television, and the fashion industry, all of which by their nature are dedicated to profiteering off sexual appeal and which bestow high rewards on people who provide it. Because most of us are consumers of these industries, few of us can completely wash our hands of responsibility.

The early opposition to all this, by Christians and other ethical critics, was long ago ridiculed into silence by the political shock troops of the Revolution: the feminist and later the homosexualist ideologues, who advertised unrestricted sex as a form of political “liberation” from “oppression.” This enlisted the intellectuals and provided a moralistic zeal that diametrically inverted the moral stigma from those who indulged in the sexual freedom to those resisting it, who were then stigmatized as political oppressors.

Now, after decades of serving as the intellectual apologists for this crass culture, those same radical ideologues have found that they can further increase their influence and power from the chaos they helped create by turning the resulting unpleasantness into newfangled quasi-crimes that no one fully understands and which permit no defense. Having ridiculed not only the Christians themselves into silence but also their annoying, old-fashioned vocabulary of “sin,” “immorality,” “fornication,” and “adultery,” the radicals have substituted jargon that instead condemns ideological unorthodoxy (“sexism,” “misogyny”) and implies criminality: “sexual harassment,” “sexual abuse,” “sexual misconduct,” “sexual assault,” sexual this and sexual that.

In short, sexual ideologues have created a new political theology, replete with a politicized, government-approved definition of sin. Or in other words, they eliminated religious sin and replaced it with political crime. Rather than removing the shame and stigma of the “fornicator” and “adulterer” as they promised, they have simply replaced it with that of the “abuser” and “harasser.” In the process they have replaced morality with ideology, and community standards with themselves as the sole arbiters of innocence and guilt.

Is there a difference? Yes. The traditional sins were clear and precise, they applied equally to all, they were enforced by apolitical authorities like parents, churches, and local communities, and the punishment was social disapproval and ostracism. By contrast, the new ideological crimes are vague and lack any fixed definition, only men can be guilty of them, and they are enforced by lawyers and gendarmes and punishable with lawsuits and prison.

This “liberation” illustrates precisely the logic that transforms the Rights of Man into the Reign of Terror. The fanatical Antoine de St. Just could have been speaking for the Sexual rather than the French Revolution when he declared, “No freedom for the enemies of freedom!”

No one really understands what terms like “sexual harassment” and “domestic violence” mean, which is precisely the point. They can mean anything, and the definitions are constantly expanded (even with a seemingly clear matter like “rape”) and tailored to fit the accused. Thus they blur the distinction between behavior that is distasteful or (dare I say it?) immoral from that which is criminal, and they circumvent the due process protections of the criminal law with flimsy procedures and “relaxed” rules of evidence, often in irregular kangaroo courts which are erected—like the pseudo-courts in other revolutions—to ensure the predetermined outcome of punishment.

 … This MO allows the penal system to intervene in the private lives of innocent people by linking their ordinary acts to criminality. The vagaries allow them to establish the larger principle that all male-female relations themselves constitute political oppression.

 … If someone has evidence that Weinstein committed a crime, it can be reported, he can be tried, and that could be the end of it. But that would not serve the radicals’ lynch mob agenda—the same lynch mob that Secretary DeVos has challenged in the universities, and others have challenged involving “child abuse,” “domestic violence,” “deadbeat dads,” and the rest.
The point is not to report a crime but to create hysteria that can then be used against people far more innocent than Weinstein appears to be. Weinstein will have to plead his own case. But once the flimsy procedures are in place—as a result of hysteria from the same Hollywood and media culture that created the problem in the first place, they can then be used again the innocent.

Even beyond the university students, few of whom will ever see the inside of a jail, other targets are indeed already languishing behind bars because of the zeal of the sexual hysterics—and the silence of others.

… But the proof of [conservative pundits'] newfound virtue will be seen in how they respond to the other, more serious injustices and witch-hunts still being fomented by the feminist victimization industry. Military men are likewise subject to trumped-up accusations of “sexual harassment” and hounded out of the services, as Brian MitchellMartin Van Creveld, and others have documented, if they are not first plundered by the divorce courts. And as Stuart Taylor and K.C. Johnson along with others have shown, those accused of rape in the real courts can no more expect justice than in the campus kangaroo courts, and they can spend years in prison.

In fact, even the larger … rape hoax is only one of a series of witch hunts generated by the radical sexual lobby:

I.  Despite numerous exposés since the 1980s, knowingly false accusations of child abuse against selected parents for political purposes are still out of control: Christian parentshomeschooling families, involuntarily divorced fathers, or any parents. Here too we see the politics of accusation, the suspension of due process protections, and the fingerprints of the radicals. Like the feminist attorneys whose salaries drain taxpayers’ dollars at the Department of Education and students’ tuition in the state-funded universities, feminist lawyers and social workers launch equally groundless accusations to rationalize the government confiscation of children from their parents. Also like the university rape accusations, hoax after hoaxhorror story after horror story, make little impact on the juggernaut of fabricated accusations.

II.  Systematic accusations of “domestic violence” constitute what attorney David Heleniak calls “a due process fiasco”:  Heleniak identifies six separate denials of due process (and there are more). Here too, violent assault is criminally punishable in every jurisdiction on earth. But “domestic violence” has nothing to do with violent assault, any more than “campus rape” has anything to do with real rape. It is another politicized collusion between the radicals and the bar associations, earning enormous salaries by denying due process to innocent Americans who possess no platform to defend themselves. In feminist parlance, “domestic violence” can mean anything from verbal insults to refusing demands for money. It is virtually never adjudicated with a jury trial, and—most astounding of all—no one is ever acquitted.

III.  Accusations of nonpayment of child support—so-called “deadbeat dads”—constitute perhaps the most vicious witch-hunt and hoax, where due process protections are non-existent. Assembly-line hearings often last a minute or two, when men are sentenced to indefinite incarceration that can last years. Many receive no hearing at all but are sentenced (they too are never acquitted) in an “expedited judicial process.” According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, accused fathers must prove their innocence against unspecified accusations, without counsel, and without a jury. Most frighteningly, no public record of the incarcerations exists.

Unlike these men (and women), those like Harvey Weinstein (Bill Cosby, Julian Assange, etc.), plus students and soldiers who indulge in casual sex, arguably are asking for trouble and deserve what they get. At one time, we might have understood their ordeal theologically: though they receive an unjust punishment from man, they are being justly punished by God. This theological principle might help some men see a more constructive course to correct not only their own comportment but also the larger political problem. It could well convey the message to men that, like it or not, you are inevitably the ones that will be held responsible, and it is therefore up to you to exercise the moral (and political?) leadership.

Yet significantly, no such argument has been put forth for discussion by church leaders, who simply avert their eyes and hold their tongues from matters that would seem to be in their direct purview: sexual morality. So cowed are Christian leaders that they almost never speak of “fornication” and “adultery” (or even “sin” very much), even in their own churches. So now they too try to save themselves from irrelevance by jumping on the bandwagon to advertise their own ideologized virtue. Today one is far more likely to hear a sermon about “sexual harassment” or “misogyny” than about fornication or adultery, despite the huge social and economic consequences generated by out-of-wedlock births. Ironically, the very “self-righteousness” accusation they have tried for years to deflect they now embrace.

Yet the theological principle hardly justifies unjust quasi-criminal punishments. For one thing, any secular government must distinguish sin from crime, as the old religious standards recognized in distinguishing legitimate spheres for Caesar and for God. Ironically, the hyper-secularized radicals are the ones substituting a new political theology and a quasi-theocratic approach to sexual ethics.

Now the revolutionaries, intoxicated with power, are moving beyond defenseless private individuals and targeting larger prey in the realm of high politics. They tried this in the election campaign against Donald Trump, turning his lewd comments into an opportunity to further insinuate ideology in the place of traditional sexual morality.

Now, more subtly, they have set their sights on their own liberal-left elite. By targeting Weinstein and others like him, the radicals are (by accident or design) adroitly recruiting conservative moralizers as their stooges. Conservatives delight in pointing out that liberal male politicians like Bill Clinton who are the most outspoken feminist supporters are also the most aggressive womanizers. Yet lacking the fortitude to content themselves with traditional stigmas against Clinton’s or Weinstein’s immorality in hitting on married women and betraying their own wives, they parrot the radical jargon of the “harassment” industry. When one understands the dynamics of feminist politics it is clear that the radicals will have the last laugh, because the end result is that we further abandon morality for ideology.

But perhaps the greatest impact of this sleight-of-hand is the morally debilitating effect it has on all of us. I mean not simply our willingness to accommodate sexual permissiveness but even more our willingness to confuse self-righteous moralizing with true moral understanding. The Weinstein affair vividly illustrates how ideology has turned our public discourse into a cacophony of sanctimonious scolding. Rather than establishing clear rules of sexual morality and having the courage to uphold them in our daily face-to-face interactions with other people, we hire professional disapprovers with political muscle—journalists and media pundits, lawyers, judges, police, and jailors—to inflict punishments in our name, while we sit back and safely jeer at the malefactors from afar. This indulgence in the soothing pleasures of moral posturing entails no risk to ourselves and no requirement to take responsibility for our own role in either the sexual decadence or, if they turn out to be unjust, the ensuing witch hunts. And we need not bother ourselves about niceties like rules of evidence or due process of law. In short, we have adopted the justice of the mob, into which the Sexual Revolution, like every revolution, must inevitably degenerate.

Friday, November 17, 2017

In order for lectures to be effective, they must be backed up with some kind of moral authority; they have much less impact when the lecturer is standing up to his waist in a cesspool — and that’s what Hollywood is


Wendy … Davis may have gotten trounced in the 2014 Texas governor’s race,
writes Benny Huang at the Liberty Unyielding blog,
but at least [“Abortion Barbie”] will be cinematically memorialized as a heroine. The word on the street is that Sandra Bullock has been cast in a film called “Let Her Speak” about Davis’s 2013 filibuster.

Even before the first scene has been shot I can tell you exactly what the movie will be about — Wendy Davis’s supposed bravery. This is a woman who stood on the floor of the Texas Senate — in cute pink tennis shoes! — for eleven straight hours advocating for the “right” to have very late-term abortions in unsafe and unsanitary clinics.

If that’s not bravery I don’t know what is. You go, girl!

Hollywood is fond of such moralizing films. “Erin Brockovich,” a film about pollution and corporate greed, won Julia Roberts an Academy Award. Since then Hollywood has treated us to “Stop Loss” (anti-Iraq War), “Trumbo” (McCarthyism), “Detroit “(racism, police brutality) and “Miss Sloane” (gun control). With the exception of “Erin Brockovich,” audiences have largely passed on these films, probably because of their insufferable preachiness.

Like most people, I don’t like this kind of politicized entertainment. I don’t have a problem with movies that push a message per se. I have a problem with the messages themselves because they are usually garbage.

Today’s big screen parables are a constant reminder that the entertainment industry’s values and my own are diametrically opposed. Hollywood’s virtue is my vice and the other way around. That’s why I chafe against their incessant lecturing.

In order for lectures to be effective, you see, they must be backed up with some kind of moral authority. They have much less impact when the lecturer is standing up to his waist in a cesspool — and that’s what Hollywood is.

The cesspool’s stench has gotten so bad over the last month that now even its die-hard defenders must acknowledge it. Almost no one denies that Tinseltown is full of gropers, child molesters, rapists, and least a few guys who enjoy masturbating in front of women.

To name a few:
  • Kevin Spacey has been forcing himself upon young men and boys for years — even before his starring role in the ironically titled “Consenting Adults.” He allegedly turned the set of “House of Cards” into a sexual abuse playground.
  • grand jury is being impaneled that will likely result in Harvey Weinstein being charged with rape. It’s too late for Weinstein’s sleazy attorney to pay another bribe to the Manhattan DA to make the charges disappear the way he did in 2015.
  • Charlie Sheen stands accused of sodomizing Corey Haim when Haim was 13 years old. According to court documents, Sheen also lost his wife and kids because of threats of violence and his love of kiddie porn.
  • George Takei, who is still milking a minor role he hasn’t played regularly since Richard Nixon’s first term, is now being accused of attempting to rape a male model. From the story it sounds as if Takei dropped something — rohypnol or a similar drug — into the man’s drink.
And that’s not counting the philanderers, the cokeheads, and the celebrity parents who think it’s cool to have gender-confused kids.

Despite all of this, Hollywood is our nation’s guiding moral light — or at least it thinks it is. Just ask Harvey Weinstein. As he once told the Los Angeles Times:
Hollywood has the best moral compass because it has compassion. We were the people who did the fundraising telethon for the victims of 9/11. We were there for the victims of Katrina and any world catastrophe.
As if this quote weren’t bad enough coming from a pig like Weinstein, the context is even worse. He was defending previous remarks he made in support of his friend Roman Polanski, a confessed child molester who’s been hiding out in France since 1978.

At least one person has worked very hard to shed some light on Hollywood’s problem with kiddy diddling — Amy Berg. This independent filmmaker’s 2014 documentary “An Open Secret” held a mirror up to the film and television industry.

Berg, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her previous work, a documentary about a Catholic priest child molester, decided to tackle the issue of sexual abuse in Hollywood …

 … Unfortunately, getting the film [“An Open Secret] seen was far more difficult than producing it. It was rejected by several film festivals though, to its credit, not Cannes. The youth division of the Screen Actors Guild threatened to sue Berg if she didn’t remove references to their organization. No distributor could be found for the film, not even Lionsgate, which distributed her previous documentary about the child molesting priest. Obviously, “An Open Secret” was being locked out in the cold.

But why?

It’s not that Hollywood is uncomfortable with the subject of pedophilia. It can be downright preachy about it when it can be found somewhere else, particularly in an institution it hates such as the Catholic Church. The year after the industry shunned “An Open Secret,” it gladly produced, distributed, and lauded “Spotlight,” the true story of a team of Boston Globe reporters who won a Pulitzer Prize for uncovering sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards and won two including the coveted Best Picture award. The film industry can bestow no greater accolade.

It’s hard to imagine “Spotlight” playing out the same way if it had exposed another institution such as the public schoolsthe BBC, or the United Nations, all of which have had their molestation scandals. It’s absolutely inconceivable that anything remotely similar would have happened to a film that took on Hollywood.

It’s not outside the realm of possibility that a journalist might cover the story. The Los Angeles Times’s Dawn Chmielewski has done some excellent reporting on Hollywood’s pedo problem, but she’s never won a Pulitzer for it and she never will. If she did, Hollywood certainly wouldn’t make a movie out of her story, and any movie it did make would never, ever be nominated for an Oscar, much less win Best Picture.

That’s because Hollywood doesn’t like the “spotlight” to be turned back on itself. No one does, I suppose, though Hollywood is unique in that it has the world’s biggest spotlight that it can shine on anyone and anything it wants. With the possible exception of Amy Berg, no one has yet succeeded in shining one back on Hollywood, and hers was a puny, low-budget spotlight. This enormous power that Hollywood has to illuminate injustices both real and imagined has given the industry an inflated view of its own importance, and most of all of its own moral rectitude. It scolds the rest of us for our failures without realizing that its own moral credibility is in tatters.

Until the film industry cleans up its act and takes out its own garbage, it will have a hard time convincing the public to sit still for its moral instruction.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Hollywood alters film content to satisfy the communist gatekeepers in Beijing


Disney is hardly alone in groveling before the gates of the Middle Kingdom
writes Martha Bayles in the American Interest.