Trump’s Syria Withdrawal Hinges on Turkey

Trump’s Syria Withdrawal Hinges on Turkey, by Angelo Codevilla.

Erdogan is America’ s enemy. As far back as 2003, he forbade use of Turkish ground and airspace for U.S. operations in Iraq, including the U.S. Air Force base at Incirlik. A member of the Muslim Brotherhood, he has turned Turkey from a NATO ally into an Islamist dictatorship.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan

Neither wise nor competent, he aims to resurrect something like the Caliphate, with Ottoman Turkey its seat and himself as the Sultan in all but name. To this end, he supported the Brotherhood’s attempted takeover of Egypt, supports Hamas in Gaza, and a host of Sunni terrorist groups, in Syria as well. Only with Turkey’s active help was ISIS able to market the oil it got from Iraqi and Syrian fields, buy arms, receive recruits from abroad, etc. ISIS became more than a minor nuisance only because Erdogan provided it with a hinterland.

Erdogan meant to use ISIS as the head of the Sunni spear to overthrow Syria’s Alawite (a version of Shia) regime. However, Erdogan also opposes Sunni Saudi Arabia, mainly because he is financed largely by Qatar, which is in a very bitter quarrel with Saudi Arabia. In part because of Qatar, he believes he has some kind of understanding with Iran, though it is on the opposite side of the great Sunni-Shia war. He welcomed Russia’s intervention in Syria, though it brought Iranian influence to his southern as well as to his eastern border. Passionately anti-American and in disregard of Turkey’s secular geopolitical adversary relationship with Russia, he seems to be satisfied with Vladimir Putin’s de facto overlordship of the Middle East.

Making war on the Kurds at home and abroad, however, seems to be Erdogan’s consuming passion. He revived restrictions on the Kurdish language, and renewed military raids on majority Kurdish areas. This runs against demography: Kurds are some 20 percent of Turkey’s population, concentrated in the Southeast. While ethnic Turks are declining in number, the Kurds are prolific. Twenty years hence, the majority of Turkey’s military-age men will be Kurds. All around Turkey’s southern and Eastern borders, in Syria, Iraq, and Iran are some 15 million Kurds who feel kinship with their Turkish brethren. …

Putin’s Russia does not share Erdogan’s animus against the Kurds. One may safely suppose that Russia’s Putin would prefer to see Turkey’s borders continue to be occupied by forces that make Turkey uncomfortable. Moreover, Russia now being in charge of the Middle East’s zoo, Putin’s interest lies in opposing any party therein getting any bigger in its britches, and in the continuation of as much balance as possible. In short, no one would have to encourage Putin to warn Erdogan not to strike the Syrian Kurds.

America is moving toward an oligarchical socialism

America is moving toward an oligarchical socialism, by Joel Kotkin.

Before they can seize power from the president and his now subservient party, the Democrats need to agree on what will replace Trumpism.

Conventional wisdom implies an endless battle between pragmatic, corporate Clintonites on one side, and Democratic socialists of the Bernie brand. Yet this conflict could resolve itself in a new, innovative approach that could be best described as oligarchal socialism.

Big government and big tech in partnership, elite feudal lords over a tribal landscape of identity groups. Can’t wait.

Oligarchal socialism allows for the current, ever-growing concentration of wealth and power in a few hands — notably tech and financial moguls — while seeking ways to ameliorate the reality of growing poverty, slowing social mobility and indebtedness. This will be achieved not by breaking up or targeting the oligarchs, which they would fight to the bitter end, but through the massive increase in state taxpayer support. …

Greg Fehrenstein, who interviewed 147 digital company founders, says most believe that “an increasingly greater share of economic wealth will be generated by a smaller slice of very talented or original people. Everyone else will increasingly subsist on some combination of part-time entrepreneurial ’gig work‘ and government aid.”

Numerous oligarchs — Mark Zuckerberg, Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay, Elon Musk and Sam Altman, founder of the Y Combinator — have embraced this vision including a “guaranteed wage,” usually $500 or a $1,000 monthly. Our new economic overlords are not typical anti-tax billionaires in the traditional mode; they see government spending as a means of keeping the populist pitchforks away. This may be the only politically sustainable way to expand “the gig economy,” which grew to 7 million workers this year, 26 percent above the year before.

Handouts, including housing subsidies, could guarantee for the next generation a future not of owned houses, but rented small, modest apartments. Unable to grow into property-owning adults, they will subsist while playing with their phones, video games and virtual reality in what Google calls “immersive computing.”

Particularly since Donald Trump’s election, the leaders of corporate America — especially in tech and finance — have merged with the Democrats. They appeal to progressives by advocating politically correct views on immigration, gender rights and climate change, while muzzling conservatives both inside and outside their companies. …

There’s surely a compelling logic for oligarchic socialism. The tech moguls get to remain wealthy beyond the most extreme dreams of avarice, while their allies in progressive circles and the media, which they increasingly own, continue to hector everyone else about giving up their own aspirations. All the middle and upwardly mobile working class gets is the right to pay ever more taxes, while they watch many of their children devolve into serfs, dependent on alms and subsidies for their survival.

Scary stuff, but it is the direction we are currently heading in.

hat-tip Scott of the Pacific

China To Take Over Kenya’s Largest Port Over Unpaid Chinese Loan

China To Take Over Kenya’s Largest Port Over Unpaid Chinese Loan, by Tyler Durden.

After years of “benevolent” handouts to various African countries by Beijing, all of which however came in the form of loans, of which few have led to viable, long-term projects and cash-flow generating assets, and led to accusations that China is pursuing a “new colonialism” of the African continent (and more recently, nations along the One Belt, One Road corridor), China is demonstrating to the world what happens when its debtors refuse to pay up. …

China is likely to take over Kenya’s lucrative Mombassa port if Kenya Railways Corporation defaults on its loan from the Exim Bank of China. …

Implications would be grave, including the thousands of port workers who would be forced to work under the Chinese lenders. … A Chinese-funded project in Africa is about to be confiscated by China, which will appoint Chinese management, upstream all revenues to China (and, eventually, profits after enough fat is trimmed), and provide China with its own strategist port in east Africa. …

A brilliant “investment” scheme? Why yes, and it won’t be the first time China has used it: in December 2017, the Sri Lankan government lost its Hambantota port to China for a lease period of 99 years after failing to show commitment in the payment of billions of dollars in loans. The transfer, according to the New York Times, gave China control of the territory just a few hundred miles off the shores of rival India.

Reader Bob:

The big question is whether they will follow up militarily if they are not allowed to take control of the pledged assets. Well worth watching, including their copper and railroad assets in the DRC.

Falling IQ scores may explain why politics has turned so nasty

Falling IQ scores may explain why politics has turned so nasty, by Daniel Hannan.

The fall in IQ scores in the West is perhaps the most under-reported story of our era. For most of the twentieth century, IQ rose by around three points per decade globally, probably because of better nutrition. But that trend has recently gone into reverse in developed countries.

You hadn’t heard? I’m not surprised. Journalists and politicians won’t go near the subject and you can see why. Consider the theories offered by neuroscientists for the decline. Some argued it had to do with the rising age of motherhood, because the children of older mothers tend to have lower IQs, other things being equal. No one likes to say this, because it can come across as “older moms have dumb kids,” which is not true. …

Other theories were even more explosive. For example, that unintelligent people were having more kids, or that the fall in average scores reflected immigration from places with lower IQs.

Nice to see that message getting about. It is extremely un-PC to mention IQs. First, it would call into question our current social policies of encouraging smarter women to have careers rather than kids, and subsidizing dumber women to have more kids. The result is inevitable and obvious to most everyone (for now, anyway).

Second, IQs also undermine globalist replacement and electoral supremacy policies: third world immigrants come from societies with substantially lower average IQs.

Third, IQ potentially explains “white privilege” and discrepancies in high-end male versus female achievement. If large groups of people can have different statistical characteristics, then disparities do not necessarily imply that discrimination is the cause. Oh dear, identity politics just took a big hit.

Some truths are just too un-PC to be allowed to surface. Better suppress them, lefties.

But a new study from Norway, which examines IQ scores from 730,000 men (standardized tests are part of military service there) disproves all these ideas, because it shows IQ dropping within the same families. Men born in 1991 score, on average, five points lower than men born in 1975. There must, in other words, be an environmental explanation, and the chronology throws up a clear suspect: the rise in screen-time.

Kids brought up with Facebook and Instagram are more politically bigoted, not because they don’t hear alternative opinions, but because they don’t learn the concentration necessary to listen to opponents — a difficult and unnatural skill.

To put it another way, today’s American elections are mild compared to those of, say, 1800 or 1860. The relative tolerance that characterized the twentieth-century reflected rising education and rising intelligence, which made voters more capable of empathy with opponents. Reverse that rise and people will revert to the more primitive but easier rule-of-thumb: my tribe good, your tribe bad.

So much for smartphones.

How America Grew Bored With Love

How America Grew Bored With Love, by David Masciotra.

In 2014, the Journal of Advertising Research published a study documenting an odd decline in references to love throughout popular music. … The only four letter word impermissible in hip-hop is “love.” Sexuality is primarily a means of misogynistic conquest; committed bonds of affection are not worthy of pursuit. …

Film is equally sterile and chaste. … Esquire recently reported that “moviegoers are tired of romance on the silver screen.” A writer for The Washington Post declares that “the rom-com is dead. Good.” Both articles attribute the lack of interest in love among the moviegoing public to shifting social mores that now render the “clichés” of the boy-meets-girl movie “offensive.” …

As an instructor at a small university, I am continually shocked by the languid sterility of the contemporary college classroom. Most of the young men and women wear sweat pants and moccasins, rarely speak, and spend more time looking at their phones than each other. …

My observations might seem contradictory, but they actually complement studies of how college students who are sexually active are increasingly dissatisfied, claiming that they do not enjoy sex because it is the province of an increasingly vulgar and transactional “hookup culture.” Rather than a stage in courtship, sex is now something that transpires between two drunken strangers at the end of a long party.

Sociologist Lisa Wade spent five years studying “hookup culture,” and her conclusions are as weird as they are disturbing.

“There’s a dichotomy between meaningless and meaningful sex, and students have to go out of their way to ‘perform meaninglessness,’” according to an NPR summary of Wade’s findings. “They have to prove that they’re not emotionally attached to their sex partners, and in fact that they care less than the other person.”

An airport kiss between two reunited lovers, or the cries of passion from Marvin Gaye or Etta James, must seem like the unintelligible language of aliens to a generation who, according to Wade, “only have sex with partners they’re not interested in” because they consider genuine feeling the most obscene offense against their idea of “cool.”

transgender is now cool

Modern leftist culture is inhospitable to love:

Fromm’s four factors essential for the cultivation and maintenance of love — discipline, concentration, patience, and supreme concern — suffer assault in such a culture. Love is also “dependent on the relative absence of narcissism,” and therefore “requires the development of humility, objectivity, and reason.”

Where exactly in America do children and adolescents witness examples of patience, humility, and the rejection of narcissism? When will they observe a celebration of those qualities, considering that the dominant culture not only denies Fromm’s virtues, but reward egoism, selfishness, and crudity of expression and attitude?

That’s not how comrades do it anymore.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

Trump calls Muslim migration “the all-time biggest Trojan Horse”

Trump calls Muslim migration “the all-time biggest Trojan Horse”, by Ted Belman.

Ever wonder why there are so many Muslims and Muslim countries in the world? Over the millennia many countries were conquered, but didn’t remain Persian or Greek or Roman as the case may be. But, the countries conquered in the name of Islam, became and remained, Islamic. For example Pakistan, part of India, and Malaysia were Hindu; Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Egypt and N. Africa were Christian; Afghanistan was Buddhist. They are all Islamic now.

This transformation was not by chance but by design. All these countries were conquered by force then shorn of their wealth and many of their women. Then the Muslim conquerors introduced Sharia and continued fighting the local inhabitants. The inhabitants were either forced to convert or accorded Dhimmi status. As time went on all cultures submitted and eventually became Islamic.

Early Islam was nice but unsuccessful. Later Islam was very different.

There are two different Korans combined into one, the Mecca Koran and the Medina Koran. Dr. Moorthy Muthuswamy writes,

About sixty-one percent of the contents of the Koran are found to speak ill of the unbelievers or call for their violent conquest; at best only 2.6 percent of the verses of the Koran are noted to show goodwill toward humanity. About seventy-five percent of Muhammad’s biography (Sira) consists of jihad waged on unbelievers.”

Mohammed started as a religious preacher in Mecca. It was during this period that the Koran 2:256 stipulated. “There is no compulsion in religion” and 109:1 stipulated “You have your religion I have mine.” Ultimately he was chased out of Mecca and migrated with his followers to Medina.

Then began the Jihad period.  From then on people were forced to convert under pain of death or were forced to live as Dhimmis (second class citizens) and pay (Jizya) for the privilege of living there. This Jihad continued until there was no more discord.

Koran 2:193. “Fight them (Kafirs) until there is no more discord and the religion of Allah reigns absolute but if they submit, then only fight those who do wrong.”

Thus it continues until everyone in the territory has submitted to Islam, accepts Dhimmi status and pays Jizya. …

Trump:

In June of this year Donald Trump recognized the danger of Muslim migration and said, “This could be the all-time great Trojan horse.” And so it is but the US elites refuse to recognize it. …

This is not racism. It is common sense and self defense.

Don’t say you didn’t know.

hat-tip Scott of the Pacific

Boston Christmas tree adds Islamic. How Trendy!

Boston Christmas tree adds Islamic. How Trendy! By Philip Greenspun.

If you prefer Islam to Christianity you’ll be pleased to know that Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts has added Islamic verses and symbols to their Christmas Tree:

(“There is no god but God; Muhammad is the Messenger of God” from the Saudi flag, which also features a sword in case there is a need for beheading. I think the green crescent and star is for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, but the white stripe doesn’t belong. The red flag is for Turkey.)

Whose birthday are we celebrating at Christmas?

hat-tip Matthew

American Cicero

American Cicero, by the Z-Blog.

Every society has an elite and that elite uses its influence and connections to perpetuate itself. The daughters of rich guys marry the sons of influential guys. Their children are groomed to take up positions in the elite, mostly due to their family connections in the elite. Just as important, a floor is placed under members of the elite, protecting them from reversion to the mean. It’s how the Kennedy family has been in politics for four generations, despite their deficiencies.

What used to be unique about the American elite is they had a strong connection to the rest of America. This is a big, continent sized country … Regional diversity, which is driven by biological diversity, made for a national elite that was really just a collection of local elites. This greatly reduced the distance between the elites and those over whom they ruled. Therefore, the American elite tended to be less elite, relative the Europe, and much more connected to the people.

Cicero was a Roman politician and great orator, around Julius Caesar’s time. He championed a return to traditional republican government. Executed by Mark Antony in 43 BC.

Tucker Carlson … makes the point that he and his neighbors don’t know things like how much gasoline costs. The reason is, they have lots of money and the price of staples is simply unimportant. …

It’s probably too late for small reforms. What comes next will probably be bigger:

The Trump phenomenon is showing that the time for reform has passed and whatever comes next is unavoidable. That’s a truth about all reform efforts. Once a reform effort gets going, it is almost always too late for reform to work. The entrenched interests are too strong to overcome. Democracy moves quickly from a point where corruption is too minor to be of any concern to a place where corruption is too rampant for the system to confront it. Systemic failure is the core code of democracy.

You see this in late empire America. The ruling elite is composed of many parts, none of which has a reason to care about public welfare. The so-called deep-state is thoroughly beholden to global interests, many of whom are foreign. The semi-permanent administrative state is composed of people who hold the rest of us in contempt and people happy to not be subjected to the vagaries of the dreaded private sector. The mass media is a collection of propagandists and court jesters, mostly stupid rich kids.

The cost of government debt is immediate

The cost of government debt is immediate, by Steve Saville.

There is no intention [by the US Government] to repay the debt or even to reduce the total amount of debt. This is one way that government debt is very different to private debt. Nobody would ever lend money to a private organisation unless there was a good reason to believe that the debt eventually would be repaid, but when it comes to the government the plan is for the total debt to grow indefinitely. It will grow faster during some periods than other periods, but it will always grow. Therefore, it makes no sense to agonise over how the debt will be repaid. It simply won’t be repaid or even reduced.

The current debt-based monetary system has been designed to expand … and expand … until it collapses and is replaced by something else. …

Every dollar added to the government’s debt pile results in a dollar less invested in the private sector. In effect, government debt accumulation adds to government spending at the expense of private-sector investment. This is a negative for economic progress, although it can give a short-term boost to economic activity in the same way that activity gets boosted by hurricane damage.

The US Government’s debt is around 21 trillion USD, but the net present value of its unfunded liabilities is variously reckoned by finance professors to be around 100 – 200 trillion USD. It’s this latter figure that is truly troubling.

The GDP of the US is 19 trillion USD. The US passed the point where it might realistically ever pay back its debt a decade or two ago.

In Defense of the US Federal Reserve’s Restoration of Price Discovery

In Defense of the US Federal Reserve’s Restoration of Price Discovery, by Charles Hugh Smith.

Having become addicted to the Federal Reserve’s nearly free money for financiers and the infamous Fed Put, stock market players are now weeping and thrashing about in the agony of withdrawal as Fed chair Jay Powell has instituted a cold-turkey withdrawal from the financial stimulus of the Bernanke-Yellen days.

Let’s be clear: the policies of nearly free money for financiers (QE) and the Fed Put were unmitigated disasters, as they distorted financial markets so severely that the markets’ pricing mechanisms have been crippled.

The policies of the Bernanke-Yellen Fed also directly exacerbated wealth-income inequality, as the wealth effect of rising equity valuations — the supposed goal of monetary stimulus — only benefited the top 5%, and most of the gains flowed to the top 0.1%.

Stripped of addictive stimulus and the backstop of the Bernanke-Yellen Fed Put, the markets are experiencing the pain of withdrawal and the traumatic return of price discovery.

Although we’re taught that capital has financial, intellectual and social forms, trust is also a form of capital, and thanks to the gross distortions and perverse incentives of the Bernanke-Yellen Fed, nobody trusts the market’s price discovery mechanisms any more. This is why market participants are so skittish and so easily panicked: they have no way of knowing what market valuations will be once the markets get through cold-turkey withdrawal from Fed smack and start discovering price via supply, demand, risk, cost of credit, discounting future cash flows, etc. — all the market mechanisms of transparent price discovery.

In effect, the Bernanke-Yellen Fed institutionalized the destruction of trust in U.S. markets in the pursuit of continued gains in equity valuations. Nobody trusted markets’ price discovery, but they trusted the Fed to bail out the stock market should any latent price discovery take markets lower. …

If we can dare to be honest for a moment, we’d confess that everybody knew the markets of the past decade were fake.

Since the GFC in 2008 the big financial “markets” have been heavily influenced by government manipulation. Prices have been fake. All assets were artificially pushed up in price — stocks and bonds, which flows through to real estate and collectibles — except precious metals, because higher prices there would indicate lack of confidence in government currency.

But the historic debt levels from the bubble of 1982 to 2008 remain. It has to be paid back. So attempts to wean markets off government support and back to honest price discovery will see some markets plunge to uncomfortably low levels.

Or maybe it’s political? Perhaps the deep state figures it will sink Trump by withdrawing government support for markets now, in time to trash them before the 2020 elections? Just reduce the rate of money supply growth to stall speed (5%) and nudge up interest rates, then just sit back and let markets work out prices in the new environment…

Jonathon Chait at MSN chortles about Trump’s coming comeuppance:

The long list of deep state operatives working covertly to undermine Donald Trump now includes numerous officials appointed by Trump himself. (This a testament to their deviousness.) The most recent is Jerome Powell, who chairs the Federal Reserve. Trump has complained to aides that his new antagonist will “turn me into Hoover” and privately inquired about firing him.

Herbert Hoover was the US President from 1929 to 1933. He is best remembered as ushering in the Great Depression, but this is unfair because it was the US Federal Reserve that caused both the 1920s bubble with a loose money policy and the subsequent Depression by allowing debt mechanics to take their course. US Fed Governor Ben Bernanke apologized for this a few years back.

Hoover implemented much the same responses as Roosevelt who followed. But the left credit only Roosevelt with getting the US out of the Depression — though all he did was prolong it with senseless socialist policies, until WWII finally got them out. Other nations got over the Great Depression much earlier.

Trump is furious that Powell, joined by the entire Federal Reserve Board, is slowly raising interest rates. ..

The president has relentlessly touted the recovery as the greatest ever. If Trump is right, of course, then this soaring rocket ship of a recovery which he has overseen — or, according to Trump, single-handedly engineered through his combination of corporate tax cuts and turning over regulatory enforcement to the business lobby — could easily withstand some small interest rate hikes.

Equally odd, Trump’s views on monetary policy did not line up with his public assessments of the economy during the last administration, either. When Barack Obama was presiding over essentially the same economic conditions, Trump derided it as “the weakest so-called recovery since the Great Depression,” with “94.3 million Americans outside the labor force.” This dismal analysis would imply that the Federal Reserve needed the lowest possible rates to sustain the recovery on its meager trajectory.

Trump was right about the economy when Obama was in power. He has been taking too much credit for rising stock prices while he’s been president, which is going to bite him now.

How the tech community views non-PC people

How the tech community views non-PC people, by Ron Unz. From an open letter to the Alt-Right.

Although I’m a software developer and live in the heart of Silicon Valley in Palo Alto, I’m really not part of the mainstream “tech community” and only very slightly know a few of the prominent figures in it. But I think I have a reasonably good sense of what’s going on and why they’re taking the absolutely unprecedented step of purging many of you from the Internet.

My strong impression is that most of the leading Silicon Valley people are generally pretty nice and reasonable, but are very politically unsophisticated. They’re totally focused on technology and business issues, and with a few exceptions here and there, don’t really pay any deep attention to politics or ideological matters, sub-contracting out those things to the same “mainstream” opinion-forming elites who provide that role for almost everyone else in our society. Just think of the leading Silicon Valley people as your pleasant, college-educated next door neighbors, who sporadically catch the regular news on TV, glance at the newspaper headlines, and regard that as the reality of the world.

Downtown Palo Alto (University Avenue)

As an example, when “everyone says” that Russia hacked our presidential election, well, then, I suppose that Russia must have hacked our presidential election. And pretty much the same applies to matters of race, ethnicity, and social policy.

Now most sensible people somewhat weigh the reality presented in the MSM against what they actually experience in their day-to-day lives, and if there’s a sharp divergence between the two, they may gradually become suspicious of the MSM, and begin turning to alternate sources of information, even including the sort of ideological views presented on your own websites. …

The issue is PC fantasies versus reality. But their reality is a lot like the PC fantasy world, a sort of special Star Trek existence unlike most of the world.

But the problem that all of you face is that when people in Silicon Valley look around themselves, what they see reasonably matches the claims of the MSM, while if they ever visit Breitbart, let alone any of your own Alt-Right websites, you mostly come across like a bunch of total lunatics. Therefore, when the MSM recently claimed that you were all a bunch of violent, murderous madmen, they stampeded the Silicon Valley people into deciding to help shut all of you down as a public service to America.

Let’s take a few salient issues. Over the last year or two, I’d guess that 70% of the most visible and heated rhetoric coming from Donald Trump has involved ferocious attacks on Muslims, Mexicans, and immigrants in general, and certainly that’s also been a major theme of his backers both in the Alt-Right and the Alt-Lite. …

The immigrants and Muslims in Palo Alto are the world’s best and brightest, easily fitting into western culture — or they wouldn’t be there, and the property prices alone would keep them far away. There are very few low IQ people in Palo Alto.

But Silicon Valley is a different story. … There are huge numbers of other immigrants in the technology industry, and a noticeable slice of them are Muslims. Nearly all of these groups seem like perfectly fine people, very few are criminals, and virtually none are terrorists. Trump and Ann Coulter and others may talk about swarming hordes of “Mexican rapists,” but they just don’t seem to exist in real life. Rightwingers may claim that immigrant crime has been forcing affluent whites to barricade themselves inside gated communities, but Silicon Valley has no gated communities. For twenty years, Steve Jobs lived in an ordinary house sitting on an ordinary street, one which wouldn’t have seemed too out of place in the white-bread San Fernando Valley of the 1950s, and the same is true for many of the other top Silicon Valley execs.

Alt-Right people are always talking about the horrific future consequences of white Europeans becoming a minority, but they already became a minority decades ago in Silicon Valley, and these days are probably down to around 30% or so. Yet everything is perfectly fine here. Well, not perfectly fine since everyone is always complaining about traffic being terrible and housing prices ridiculously high, but these aren’t exactly the central concerns raised by the Alt-Right. …

So the problem is that when people notice that many of the things your organizations are saying are absolutely 100% contrary to what they actually see in their ordinary lives, they quickly conclude that you’re just as crazy as your critics in the MSM always say you are, and they immediately dismiss all of your other claims and ideas. Perhaps that’s not entirely fair, but it’s what happens.

Meanwhile, certain other “alt-right”-type issues have very little daily resonance in Silicon Valley. For example, black behavior here is just as problematical as it is elsewhere, and blacks are responsible for a remarkably high fraction of all the serious local crime. But since there are very few blacks, it’s relatively easy for local “good-thinking” people to pretend not to notice the problem. Overall, California has by far the lowest black percentage of any large state, and for Silicon Valley, the figure is something like 3%, of which a relatively high fraction are middle-class engineers and such, while overall crime rates are too low for it to be much of an issue.

I lived in Palo Alto for six years in the 1980s, and that was my impression also. The tech people are very politically unsophisticated — though like most everyone they think they know “a lot” about politics. Also, being clever people in one area they tend to overestimate their expertise in other areas. They are so easy for the political types to lead around by the nose, such babes in the political woods. Unfortunately the left has captured them and convinced them to shut down non-PC points of view.

65 countries have erected fences on their borders – four times as many as when the Berlin Wall was toppled

65 countries have erected fences on their borders – four times as many as when the Berlin Wall was toppled. By Simon Tomlinson.

Security fears and a widespread refusal to help migrants and refugees have fuelled a new spate of wall-building across the world, with a third of the world’s countries constructing them along their borders.

When the Berlin Wall was torn down a quarter-century ago, there were 16 border fences around the world.

Today, there are 65 either completed or under construction, according to Quebec University expert Elisabeth Vallet.

From the Daily Mail.

From Israel’s separation barrier (or ‘apartheid wall’ as it is known by the Palestinians), to the 2,500-mile barbed-wire fence India is building around Bangladesh, to the enormous sand ‘berm’ that separates Morocco from rebel-held parts of the Western Sahara – walls and fences are ever-more popular with politicians wanting to look tough on migration and security. …

Three other countries – Kenya, Saudi Arabia and Turkey – are all constructing border fences in a bid to keep out jihadist groups next door in Somalia, Iraq and Syria.

Seven miles of barrier have already been erected along the border at Reyhanli town in Hatay province – a main point for smuggling and border-crossing from Syria – the private Dogan news agency said.

The fence in Turkey will eventually stretch for 28 miles along a key stretch of its border with Syria.

But the Turkish wall pales into insignificance when compared to the multi-layered fence which will one day stretch 600 miles from Jordan to Kuwait along Saudi’s border with Iraq – a line of defence against ISIS.

That’s interesting. Our media never mentioned that.

hat-tip Scott of the Pacific

‘Having a penis and competing as a woman is not fair’: Navratilova inflames transgender fury

‘Having a penis and competing as a woman is not fair’: Navratilova inflames transgender fury. By RT.

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova was forced to apologize for comments she made on social media saying that natural born men who ‘proclaim themselves female’ should not be allowed to compete against women. …

The 62-year-old who is widely regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time triggered an uproar on social media with transgender community branding her comments as “bullying” and “discriminatory.”

Don’t apologize Martina; what you said is true.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

Survival Rules When Society Collapses: Lessons from Venezuela

Survival Rules When Society Collapses: Lessons from Venezuela, by Mike Monahan.

A visit with my brother in Venezuela was an eye-opener for me. …

When I arrived, I found the airport looked nice and like a modern-day airport. … They immediately took my luggage and I waited to be called back. When I returned, my luggage was dumped in a pile. I immediately noticed all the food items, the Vodka bottles, and the battery packs were all now seized. …

Before we got into the cab, my brother had me leave the suitcases and put all of my belongings in two garbage bags. … My brother explained that if you were seen with a suitcase, it might be eyed as having something valuable and make you a target. …

When we got to my brother’s house, it looked very scary. He lives in a small two bedroom house on a small lot on the corner of two major streets with his wife who was six months pregnant. All the windows in the house were covered in black plastic. I noticed all the lawns were dead. Weeds grew up through all the cracks in the streets and sidewalks. Trash was piled up on the street and almost every trash can and trash bag had been tipped over or torn open by people looking for any treasures they might hold. Street after street looked the same way. …

Lice and trash:

The trash bags here are also in low supply. People dump other people’s trash on the ground, so they can reuse the bags. There are no shampoos, no new clothes, no razors, no toothpaste, no baking soda, no lice sprays, no personal items, no condoms, no tampons, no maxi pads available in any store. Lice and crab infestations are everywhere. In the public toilets, you can see dead ones and some still alive on the toilet seat from the previous person using it. …

There were whole families I saw shaved from head to toe, and not because they are getting cancer treatment. It’s because it’s the only way to get rid of the lice and crabs. Hygiene here means having no hair. The good news is that there are no fleas, which used to be the problem before the collapse. The reason is there are no dogs, cats, or small animals left. They’ve all been eaten. …

No law and order:

Two days before I left to come back to the states, some of the gang members on the corner in front of my brother’s house saw a cat in the window of a single elderly lady across the street. … At about midnight, my brother and his wife woke me up because there was a gang of about fifty people outside their house. As we lifted the shades to see outside in the dark, the moon was bright enough to watch those fifty or more people descend on the elderly woman’s house. In less than five minutes, every window had been broken, every door had been kicked in and the house entirely ransacked. We watched a person in front of the house cut the still living cat in half and share it with another hooded person who ran off with it.

Five minutes after the break-in, another twenty people from the neighborhood entered the house. The woman screaming is all you could hear. About ten minutes after it all started, everyone in the house exited in a hurry and ran away as flames could be seen in the windows. The nude elderly woman who owned the house stumbled out of the front door and fell to the ground just two feet away from the house. My brother’s wife, my brother and I ran out to try and help the elderly woman. But when we got there, we could see it was hopeless. She was bleeding from every orifice. Blood was running down her pubic area, chest, legs, nose, mouth, and even out of her ears. She struggled to breathe for about two minutes before the breathing stopped. My brother’s wife held her hand until it was clear she was gone and then my brother pulled her away as she cried.

The house burned to the ground within an hour. Not a single fire truck came. An armored police truck with a 20MM machine gun on the top showed up for less than five minutes about nine that morning. They spent less than five minutes looking at the smoldering ruins, threw the body in the back of the truck and left.

hat-tip David Archibald