Aussie breasts spoil Deutsche fest

You guys ready for something a bit lighter? Yeah me too. What we talk about is important, but doom and gloom make Neo a dull boy. It seems that our Aussie cousins (the female ones) don’t wear the German national costume to some Germans’ satisfaction. From The Spectator (Australia).

Franz Thalhammer, 70, a former chairman of Munich’s Georgenstoana Baierbrunn folk group, called out Australian and Italian tourists specifically for sexualizing the uniform.

“A dirndl is something nice, it can make almost anyone pretty. But some of the dresses you see these days are crazy,” he said, Daily Mail reports. “You go in a tent and it’s full of paralytic Australians and Italians and they’ve forked out €250 ($290) for a complete Bavarian outfit and think they’re Bavarians. It’s as if I’d walk around half-naked and say I’m Australian.”

Now, now! Herr Thalhammer, that’s some terrible national stereotyping. Plus, no one wants to see a 70-year old Bavarian folk musician half-naked.

The truth of the matter is that no one can quarantine their culture and protect it from being borrowed, blended, kitsched and misused. And no one should, whether that culture is Indian or German, African or Chinese.

But Oktoberfest is more fun than most, and who can blame the Aussies. In fact, seems like a good reason to go. Beer and half-naked beautiful women, what’s not to like, and even better, they speak English. And the beer is better than that stuff that comes in oil cans. 🙂


Anatomy of a High Tech Lynching

So, I imagine you’ve heard, this Bernie supporting California Professor, Christine Blasey Ford, has suddenly remembered that she was sexually assaulted by none other than Brett Kavanaugh. But she doesn’t remember what house, address, or even the year. Hard to defend against that, there is no there, there.

It’s a bit suspicious I think, that Diane Feinstein sat on the allegation for well over a month, during which the nomination interviews and hearing were held, and only brought it forth, and anonymously a few days before the committee vote. Odd, that?

Still, she deserves to be heard, but I’m pretty skeptical. So is Bookworm, as she relates here.

By now you’ve all heard that Christine Blasey Ford is the woman accusing Kavanaugh of attacking her 35 years ago, a claim he strenuously and absolutely denies. Her story is a bizarre pastiche of precise details and huge memory holes. It’s also got a big lie planted right in the middle, which is Ford’s claim that she always meant to be private and only went public now because she couldn’t hide anymore.

That’s bull crap. The moment Ford sent a letter to a Democrat pol, she knew with absolute certainty that this would be a big deal, that her name would emerge, and that she’d become the Democrats’ new darling.

Put aside for now the fact that the notes don’t jive with the accusations Ford is making. Focus, instead, on that date: 2012.

It’s a weird date. Keep in mind that Ford, aside from being a Bernie supporting academic, is a psychologist. Part of getting a degree in psychology is going through analysis. One would think that, even if, as a shy 15-year-old, Ford was too afraid to go public with her charge against Kavanaugh, when she went through psychoanalysis on her way to her degree, she would have spoken about this alleged assault, especially because she says it traumatized her for years. But she didn’t. Instead, suddenly, in 2012, she’s bathed in flop sweat from an incident decades before.

In an update, Book informs us that getting psychoanalyzed is not part of a psychology degree, although it is for an analyst. A small matter, really, but worth correcting. You may know what we called psychology majors in my world: “Nuts and s***s”. I’ve never found a valid reason to reverse that youthful opinion.

So what happened in 2012? Coincidentally (or not), 2012 was another election year.

In 2012, Romney ran against Obama. Up until his 47% gaffe, Romney was doing well. He actually had a shot of winning.

For the Democrats, as has been the case since Bork, having a Republican in the White House, especially with the ever-aging but never retiring Ruth Bader Ginsburg a perpetual risk, raised the specter of a conservative judge getting appointed to the Supreme Court. With that in mind, one Twitter user, who must have an amazing memory, remembered something interesting he’d read back in 2012:

I’ll save you a click to The New Yorker website. The article, which The New Yorker published in 2012, is a Jeffrey Toobin analysis about Bret Kavanaugh and the threat he would pose should he get on the Supreme Court. According to Toobin, Kavanaugh was a scary conservative who, if he got on the Court, might overturn Obamacare:

In other words, according to Kavanaugh, even if the Supreme Court upholds the law this spring, a President Santorum, say, could refuse to enforce aca because he “deems” the law unconstitutional. That, to put the matter plainly, is not how it works. Courts, not Presidents, “deem” laws unconstitutional, or uphold them. “It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is,” Chief Justice John Marshall wrote in Marbury v. Madison, in 1803, and that observation, and that case, have served as bedrocks of American constitutional law ever since. Kavanaugh, in his decision, wasn’t interpreting the Constitution; he was pandering to the base.

In the nineteen-nineties, during Kavanaugh’s first brush with prominence, it was said that some conservatives suffered from Clinton derangement syndrome—an obsessive belief that the President and the First Lady had committed every misdeed that was attributed to them. (Hillary Clinton was involved in Vince Foster’s death; Bill Clinton had trafficked narcotics through Mena, Arkansas; and so on.) Kavanaugh’s bizarre opinion confirms that a contemporary analogue to the Clinton malady has taken hold: health-care derangement syndrome.

There’s more blah-blah from Toobin, a man who can never be trusted to be honest about the law. Don’t bother reading it. Just pay attention to that last paragraph:

If a Republican, any Republican, wins in November, his most likely first nominee to the Supreme Court will be Brett Kavanaugh. (Emphasis mine.)

In 2012, Romney might have won the election. In 2012, Toobin stoked Democrat fears that Kavanaugh, a conservative, might get on the Supreme Court and overturn Obamacare. And in 2012, Ford, a psychotherapist who undoubtedly had years of prior therapy herself, suddenly can’t stop talking about her hitherto undisclosed claim that Kavanaugh was a bad boy almost 30 years before.

There is quite a bit more there, and you owe it to yourself to read it.

Results: Well, so far the traitorous Jeff Flake, preparing for his new career as a Democrat wants to think about it. And that is enough to keep the nomination from reaching the floor from the committee, since no Democrat can survive Chuckie Schemer’s wrath and vote for Kavanaugh.

And Ford may even have a personal motive: It seems that when her parents were involved with a foreclosure case, years ago, the judge that ruled against them was Judge Martha Kavanaugh, Brett’s mother. Or so says PowerLine.

In other words, this has all the hallmarks of a planned character assassination, perpetrated by the Democrats, just as they did on Judge Bork and attempted to do on Justice Clarence Thomas, who first called it a high tech lynching in the Senate hearing. Of course, Democrats have lots of practice with lynching, although usually of black men who get uppity, as their action arm, the KKK used to say.

I speak for no one but myself, but if the Republicans (and even Susan Collins is very skeptical of this stunt) cannot get this nomination done, I see very little reason to ever vote for one of them again. I strongly doubt I’m the only one.

Why? Because the Republic in recognizable form will no longer exist. It is time for a bit of spine.

We the People

September 17, 1787

Today is Constitution Day. It may be the most widely disregarded of US Holidays. It shouldn’t be. As we are seeing lately, freedom is an endangered thing, held by a thread, or three. One of those three is the Constitution.

When I write, as I did the other day, about the loss of freedom of speech in England, I thank God and Jemmy Madison for the US Constitution and its Bill of Rights. For here, right in one of the Charters of Freedom, is my right to speak, and yours too.

Back in 2012, I wrote about this, and here is part of what I said:

I’m glad you brought attention to this most important of days.

I was a very lucky person. During WWII my father was sent over from Britain to Washington D.C.on the British Raw Materials Mission…basically to get brass to make ammunition. My mother joined him. this was in early 1942. We three children,were in Canada, my mother’s native land, spent the Winter and Easter vacations from boarding school with them in D.C..

My father was paid in pounds which didn’t go very far in the US in those days. My mother, being very ingenious, planned twice weekly excursions to the various historic sites and museums. It was always planned with both my two older sisters in mind and myself, some stuff that interested boys and some girls. There were of course, some places that interested all of us.

One such trip was to the Capitol Building. In the Rotunda on display were the three most important documents of the world. There under protective glass were the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States of America, and the one on which both of these are based the Magna Carta. It had been sent over from England together with many other historical artifacts for protection for the duration of the war. Sad to say I didn’t even have a “Brownie” to record this amazing day.

What an awesome sight that must have been in the Rotunda of the Capitol, which is pretty awesome in itself! Thank you, David.

Let’s talk about this comment a bit.

If you wish to know about individual freedom in this world, there are two countries who have pioneered it and presented the case in writing:. England and the United States. There are three documents existing that spell it all out. There are legends that there are other’s, for instance, there is what is called King Alfred’s Charter which supposedly was similar. But anyway, there are really only three documents that have changed the world, and they are all in English or Anglo-French.

The first of these is Magna Charta signed by King John at Runnymede, in 1215, as we have said it was based upon older charters including Henry I’s  Charter of Liberties. It was forced upon King John by the barons of England by force of arms, and like our Emancipation Proclamation did not really do anything in the present. But it has come down to all of us whose law code descend from the Common Law as the basic statement of the rights of the Freeman. At that time in history, it was the first and only attempt anywhere to limit the power of the King. That would make it the basic document of freedom for the entire world.

This particular copy is from 1297 and bears the Seal of Edward I, it is privately owned and is on permanent loan to the National Archives and is displayed in the same manner as the other ‘Documents of Freedom’. There are four copies of the original 1215 Charter, all are in England.

The other two documents David mentions seeing were the Declaration of Independence, perhaps the most succinct, concise, and thoroughgoing statement of rights of the individual ever written, and the Constitution of the United States of America, in which we codified how free men could best organize to govern themselves.

Now here’s some thinking matter for you, these three documents plus the Bill of Rights, have become the sine qua non of freedom for men everywhere, how remarkable that all of them are derived from the history of the English freeman and his tenacity in resisting the imposition of tyranny by his own government. Where are the similar document from Europe, or Asia or Africa?

Individual liberty is the bequest of the English speaking countries to the world. We have a lot to do to uphold our heritage.

Today, all around the world, in London, in Germany, in Poland, in Israel, in India, in Japan, in Australia, in fact, wherever free men, or men who wish to be free, gather, they will take heart from a simple document written long ago, that starts,

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

That is the document that turned us from these semi-united squabbling states into The United States.

Brave words, but like Magna Charta, and the Declaration before them, only words on paper. The difference is that in America they were made good in patriots’ blood. And still are, every day.

Today would be an excellent day to take that little book out of your pocket (as so derisively said by a US Senator to Judge Kavanaugh during the hearing) and read again why America is different, and why it is free.

Down the Memory Hole

Yesterday, we talked about overt thought-crime in England. Today for something different we will speak of the suppression of scientific research, for political reasons in the United States.

Joy Pullman wrote an article earlier this week, in The Federalist, outlining the difficulties encountered by an author who published a paper highlighting that men are both more intelligent and less intelligent than women. In other words: different. It’s a fascinating subject, reaching back to an unresolved question that Darwin himself raised. Here’s some of it.

study exploring Darwinian reasons there are both more highly intelligent and intelligence-deficient men than women was actively suppressed by professors at prestigious universities, all for merely discussing the reality that the sexes are different, says the study’s coauthor. A journal editor and professor at Smith College told him it was repressed because several academics worried about the “very real possibility that the right-wing media may pick this up and hype it internationally.”

That has to be about the most stupid possible reason not to publish in the history of knowledge – the wrong people might read it. It can only make sense if one believes that one’s political opponents are more intelligent than one is. The truth is the truth, it does not need political support – but lies do.

And so what has happened? Right (and not-so-right) wing media have picked up not only the article but its attempted suppression and are hyping it internationally. As it should be.

After the study had been yanked from acceptance at MI [Mathematical Intelligencer], an editor at the New York Journal of Mathematics offered to review it for publication. It was accepted there, and published online. Just three days later, however, the study was deleted from its online location after a University of Chicago senior math professor and her husband launched another round of complaints, and a different study was swapped into its place at the same link. It’s like the study was never there.

Hill writes at Quillette of his discussion with a NYJM editor about the deletion:

I pointed out that if the deletion were permanent, it would leave me in an impossible position. I would not be able to republish anywhere else because I would be unable to sign a copyright form declaring that it had not already been published elsewhere. Steinberger replied later that day. Half his board, he explained unhappily, had told him that unless he pulled the article, they would all resign and ‘harass the journal’ he had founded 25 years earlier ‘until it died.’ Faced with the loss of his own scientific legacy, he had capitulated.

The earlier journal editor who had also encouraged and conveyed the acceptance of the paper, then wrote back to say it had been subsequently un-accepted, told Hill “she had received no criticisms on scientific grounds and that her decision to rescind was entirely about the reaction she feared our paper would elicit. By way of further explanation, [Marjorie] Senechal even compared our paper to the Confederate statues that had recently been removed from the courthouse lawn in Lexington, Kentucky.”

You really should read the whole thing. It’s both fascinating and terrifying.

But this particular study, while useful, is unlikely to cost lives, even if it is memory-holed but what of others? Joy continues:

As Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, writes in a preface to an NAS study about modern science’s irreproducibility crisis, “the inability of science to discern truth properly and its politicization go hand in hand.”

The NAS study from April notes that hard-science researchers believed they could insulate themselves from the corruption of identity politics that is now endemic to academia. By now that has been well disproved. It is becoming increasingly common for even hard science research to be aborted in utero. I just wrote last week about how Ivy League Brown University took a study about transgender children off its website and chastised the author rather than the memory-hole contingent.

That one being memory-holed will very likely cost lives, and mental health, given the appalling suicide rate among trans-genders.

[…] Back to the NAS [National Associaciation of Scholars] study:

Findings from experimental work or observational studies turn out, time and again, to be irreproducible. The high rates of irreproducibility are an ongoing scandal that rightly has upset a large portion of the scientific community. Estimates of what percentage of published articles present irreproducible results vary by discipline. Randall and Welser cite various studies, some of them truly alarming. A 2012 study, for example, aimed at reproducing the results of 53 landmark studies in hematology [blood medicine] and oncology [cancer treatment], but succeeded in replicating only six (11 percent) of those studies [emphasis added].

If bad results are not scrutinized early, they can infect their entire subject matter with dangerous falsehoods. Here’s an example also from the NAS study.

In March 2017 a graduate student named Tim van der Zee calculated that critics had already made serious, unrebutted allegations about the reliability of 45 of [a certain researcher’s] publications. Collectively, these publications spanned twenty years of research, had appeared in twenty-five different journals and eight books, and—most troubling of all—had been cited more than 4,000 times. Wansink’s badly flawed research tainted the far larger body of scientific publications that had relied on the accuracy of his results.

In hematology, deep in the heart of medicine, and cancer treatment, the studies are unreliable. Doesn’t bode well for our healthcare, does it?

Joy ends with this:

This set of interlinked phenomena create a dangerous feedback loop where fraud begets fraud, and people — and civic institutions, perhaps even ultimately societies — die. The answer to corruption is not more corruption, of course. It is integrity. If our nation’s leaders and institutions will not provide it, then it is time for a new generation of leaders and institutions to prepare to be worthy to take their places. That means me, it means you, it means us, and now.

That’s a good summary, to which I have little to add, at least that is printable.


American Sovereignty

The other day, National Security Director John Bolton made an official address to the Federalist Society. He said some important things.

“The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court. We will not cooperate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us.”

One of many things I like about Bolton (and President Trump, for that matter) is that he doesn’t mince words, he says exactly what he means, and means what he says as well. Very refreshing in a public servant.

Scott Johnson at PowerLine had some thoughts on the address, as well.

It is a great speech. It is an educational speech. It is an inspiring speech. Bolton speaks from deep knowledge of the subject. As he relates: “I was honored to lead US efforts internationally to protect Americans from the court’s unacceptable overreach, starting with un-signing the Rome Statute. At President [George W.] Bush’s direction, we next launched a global diplomatic campaign to protect Americans from being delivered into the ICC’s hands. We negotiated about 100 binding, bilateral agreements to prevent other countries from delivering US personnel to the ICC. It remains one of my proudest achievements.”

Paul Mirengoff also at PowerLine adds this.

I have personal experience with the ICC. In the late 1990s, I was part of a team of lawyers that defended a war crimes case before that body.

Of the three judges who heard the case, only one was from a well-functioning democracy. In fact, if memory serves, one of the judges was from China.

Aspects of the proceedings were quite alien to our justice system. The main piece of evidence against our client was hearsay that was subject to no exception recognized in American law. It was admitted, “in the interests of justice.” The interests of justice as perceived by foreign judges, including one from China.

Looking over the current roster of ICC judges, my impression is that fewer of them come from undemocratic nations. On the other hand, Europe is now more anti-Israel and, indeed, more anti-U.S. than it was twenty years ago.

Paul, in particular, knows of what he speaks. It’s well out of my field. But one does not have to be a lawyer to realize that if one is an American (or an Israeli) it is never going to be a good idea to let an American be judged according to Chinese (or European, for that matter) standards. We have maintained our freedom against all comers for more than 240 years by asserting our sovereignty. By all means, including war itself.

Almost a hundred years ago, we refused to ratify the Versailles Treaty ending the First World War, even though President Wilson was one of the key architects of it because we realized that the League of Nations infringed on our sovereignty, and thereby imperiled out citizens’ freedoms. Nothing has changed except the name of the players.

Here’s the speech:

Slaughtering Sacred Cows

Yesterday I spoke of my frustration with the almost-a-war in Afganistan. It seems that perhaps the president shares my feelings, according to Brandon J. Weichert, in The American Spectator.

In this case, Trump’s presidency has attempted to challenge the status quo that dominates Washington, D.C. and prevents reasonable policy from being made. […]

And this slaughtering of sacred cows is always, in my experience, necessary to getting an organization running correctly. If anybody ever tells me, “We’ve always done it this way,” that’s all the reason I need to make sure it changes. Comfort implies complacency and other bad things.

During last year’s strategy review for the failing war in Afghanistan, for instance, Trump grew incensed at the advice his generals were giving him about the strategy. Trump is reported to have argued that their advice was akin to the bad advice a highly paid consultant gave to the owners of the elite 21 Club in Manhattan during their disastrous remodel in 1987.

According to Trump, the overpriced consultant’s “lousy advice cost the owner a year of lost business and that talking to the restaurant’s waiters instead might have yielded a better result.” To add insult-to-injury, Trump is reported to have argued that “the tendency is to assume if someone isn’t a three-star general he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and that… talking to lower-ranking workers has gotten him better outcomes in business.”

Boy, is that ever the truth. One will never get the real story from the headquarters weenie, or the guy who makes his money making it take longer. Get out in the field, or down on the factory floor and talk to the people doing the job. Traditionally, I think it was the sergeants in the military, roughly equivalent to foremen in my world, that is where you get the unvarnished truth.

For Trump, who fancies himself as a bit of a turnaround man, the advice of the military leadership in Washington is useless. After all, these leaders have had 20 years to fix the mistakes — and they haven’t.

My friend David Danford recently argued that the military’s optimism about any mission is often why the country finds itself in quagmires, such as Afghanistan. Danford, who teaches at West Point, is correct. His solution is to inspire greater cynicism in American military leaders.

Not too sure about the workability of his solution, but I think he has the problem pegged.

Earlier this month, the outgoing American military commander in Afghanistan, U.S. Army General John Nicholson Jr., advocated for the United States to end its engagement there. After all, General Nicholson (rightly) argues that things will never change in Afghanistan until Afghans stop killing Afghans — which will likely never happen.

General Nicholson is a good man, I think.

Brandon sums up with this:

Fact is, just because the United States hasn’t officially lost in Afghanistan or that Washington has managed to prevent South Korea from being invaded by the North does not mean that America is winning. In 2005, the geopolitical analyst George Friedman wrote that the United States was so powerful that it didn’t need to win wars; it merely needed to ensure that it did not lose them. Such a paradigm is insane — especially for those footing the bill, both in terms of blood and treasure.

For a country with the world’s largest defense budget, having “strategists” say that the best thing the United States can do in war is to neither lose nor win them is exactly why a political outsider with extensive business — but little political — experience won in 2016. Trump’s election was the apotheosis of the decades-long failure of America’s bipartisan fusion party (the so-called “Deep State”).

Of course, in the face of such failure, the bipartisan consensus among America’s political elite is immune to change. When challenged about the efficacy of the Afghan War strategy, Trump is belittled and called “insane” by anonymous government officials. After questioning the desirability of keeping American forces hostage to a nuclear-armed Pyongyang on the Korean peninsula, Trump is derided by shadowy “experts” and accused of coddling dictators. Rather than reassess their strategies, and make hard choices, America’s professional “strategists” are merely doubling-down on a losing hand (clearly, their lack of business acumen means they’re unfamiliar with the “sunk cost fallacy”).

What Trump is doing is slaughtering many sacred cows in Washington, D.C. For this reason alone, the “Deep State” has decided Trump’s presidency must be ended.

Winning is good and losing is bad, sometimes very bad. What is worse is standing around bleeding American blood and money, to no purpose, forever. That is unforgivable. As General Patton once put it:

“Lead me, follow me, or get the hell out of my way.”

No wonder Washington wasn’t too fond of him.

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