China’s Birthrate Hits Historic Low, in Looming Crisis for Beijing

China’s Birthrate Hits Historic Low, in Looming Crisis for Beijing, by Sui-Lee Wee and Steven Lee Myers.

About 14.6 million babies were born in China in 2019, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. That was a nearly 4 percent fall from the previous year …

Births in China have now fallen for three years in a row. They had risen slightly in 2016, a year after the government ended its one-child policy and allowed couples to have two children, a shift that officials hoped would drive a sustained increase in the number of newborns. But that has not materialized.

Experts say the slowdown is rooted in several trends, including the rise of women in the work force who are educated and don’t see marriage as necessary to achieving financial security, at least for themselves. For Chinese couples, many cannot afford to have children as living costs increase and their jobs demand more time and energy. And attitudes have shifted.

“It’s a society where nobody wants to get married and people can’t afford to have children,” said Wang Feng, a professor of sociology at the University of California, Irvine. “On a deeper level, you would have to think about what kind of society China will become, not just demographically, but socially.”

With attitudes like this, I’m not suprised:

Eno Zhang, a 37-year-old engineer in a tech company in Beijing, said he had argued with his parents for 10 years about his decision not to have children. They have since given up, he said.

“I value my spiritual life and hobbies,” Mr. Zhang said. “Children will consume too much of my energy. This is something I cannot accept.”

Where Are the Socially Conservative Women in This Fight?

Where Are the Socially Conservative Women in This Fight? By Helen Andrews.

Marriage has become less appealing in part because of the “two-income trap,” as Senator Elizabeth Warren, now a 2020 presidential candidate, christened it in 2003, when she was a Harvard professor.

Marriage simply no longer offers the financial security it once did. The consumer goods that singles buy have gotten cheaper, but the things that middle-aged parents spend the most money on — houses, education, health care — have gotten more expensive, while wages have stagnated. It has become difficult for a family with one breadwinner to afford a middle-class standard of living. “Mom’s paycheck has been pumped directly into the basic costs of keeping the children in the middle class,” Ms. Warren’s book “The Two-Income Trap” explained.

The mass entry of women into the work force is one reason for this financial insecurity. Ms. Warren said as much in her book, although she has since backed away from such a politically explosive suggestion. Those of us who don’t have a Democratic primary ahead of us can say what she won’t: When mothers started entering paid employment in large numbers in the 1970s, it led to a bidding war over middle-class amenities that left everyone paying more for the privilege of being no better off than before.

The result is a two-tiered system that isn’t working for anybody. In the bottom tier, marriage is disappearing as lower-income women have too few men with solid jobs to choose from and as the growing number of men without regular work — by one analysis, 20 percent of prime-age males were not working full time at the start of 2018 — are being cut out of the marriage market altogether.

In the top tier, college-educated women feel they can’t afford to take time off from their careers to raise their children even when they want to, as many of them do …. Many career moms manage their stressful work-life balance thanks only to low-wage immigrant labor to take care of their children, clean their houses and deliver their takeout. Even with hired help, working women still spend nearly as much time on household tasks as their stay-at-home mothers and grandmothers did. The result is stress, frustration — and cries for national action.

The response of the conservative establishment to this crisis has been to double down on shoveling women into the work force.

Supply and demand. Let’s start by reducing immigration, and increasing the supply of housing.

Americans More Conservative as Democrats Turn Hard Left

Americans More Conservative as Democrats Turn Hard Left, by Lous DeBroux.

Sure wouldn’t know this from the media:

According to the [latest edition of Gallup’s annual survey of ideological and political leanings of the American people], “As Americans continued to lean more Democratic than Republican in their party preferences in 2019, the ideological balance of the country remained center-right, with 37% of Americans, on average, identifying as conservative during the year, 35% as moderate and 24% as liberal.

This represents a 2% increase since 2018 of self-described conservatives and a 2% decrease in the number of self-described liberals. The number of moderates stayed the same. …

The Wall Street Journal notes that a major political trend of the past generation is the increasing number of Americans who identify as liberal (17% in 1992, rising to a peak of 26% in 2017, dropping to 24% in 2019).

The Democrat Party has, with remarkable speed, transitioned from a liberal party to a hard-left party.

No longer content to be a party of a Big Government “safety net,” the modern Democrat Party now embraces full-blown socialism, in principle if not always in name. Its leading voices demand nationalized healthcare under Medicare for All, “free” college tuition and other giveaways, and then ever-more-burdensome taxes on the productive classes to pay for it. …

No longer a party that subscribes to the principle that “I wholly disapprove of what you say and will defend to the death your right to say it,” the Democrat Party today seeks to silence opposing viewpoints through public shaming, doxxing, mob demonstrations, and even violence.

Where just eight years ago the Democrat Party claimed to want “tolerance” when it came to things like same-sex marriage, today it demands people of faith to abandon their religious beliefs and principles and bow before the altar of political correctness. All who refuse to submit to the demands of the Rainbow Mafia find themselves publicly attacked and the subject of lawsuits that destroy the businesses they have spent decades building.

Today’s Democrat Party seeks the complete destruction of traditional values …

How powerful is the media?

Democrats have no one but themselves to blame when they lose. They completely misjudged the American people. They thought we would embrace their anti-American, anti-business, anti-religion, anti-biology, pro-criminal, pro-terrorist agenda.

The Commissars In STEM

The Commissars In STEM, by Rod Dreher.

Not long ago I heard from a friend who works in a STEM field. … It has to do with being present for a job interview at his firm in which a particular candidate — a white guy — did extremely well.

My friend said this man was easily the best candidate they interviewed, in a field where it is difficult to hire for that particular specialty. But later, a super-woke colleague on the interview team crossed him out, because the wokester had a feeling that the guy might be a bigot — this, because of the way he cast his eyes across the room when he sat down for the interview.

Completely absurd, but of course no one will challenge this woke person, who belongs to an official Victim demographic. So this applicant, a man who, in the professional judgment of my friend, proved that he deserved the job, will not receive an offer, based on an entirely subjective whim by a progressive.

That man will never know why he didn’t receive an offer. Meanwhile, the division of the firm for which my friend works will have to make do with someone of lesser quality in this high-tech field, who passes this woke nitwit’s diversity test.

Or this:

Life science jobs at Berkeley give precedence to candidates’ diversity and inclusion statements. Only 1/4 applicants moves on to the stage of having their research and teaching ability evaluated. …

Another:

The universities have become mirrors of the NKVD under Stalin, paralyzed by mutual hatred & distrust, where no one knows what word might be deemed a fatal lapse of etiquette. Grad students (especially Teaching Assistants) tell me they live in terror of some student’s taking offense at some verbal slip and ending, not their job, but their career. …

Another:

For most of my career life of decades now, I was on the faculty of one of the premier medical schools in this country. One by one over time, the old grey haired professors were dispatched. The teachers these kids need the most were taken out – because they refused to use correct pronouns, refused to acknowledge things related to transgender issues that are just patently absurd (things like disputing that “males” have periods), etc, etc, These faculty members were NOT endocrinologists – OB GYN or anything that had to do with trans issues – but out on their academic ass they went – banished from the clinics never to see a student again. …

Could this happen to you?

A patient who was a distraught mother of a teenage boy came to me to discuss the fact that her son at age 14 was being pressured by his school counselors to have gender transition surgery … I have known this child all his life. I have known of his struggles with being on the autism spectrum and I have known all his myriad struggles throughout his life. I replied that I thought this would be a horrible tragedy to proceed with this until he was much older and make the decisions for himself as an adult. …

The mother went to the child psychiatrist pushing this treatment — and stopped it. The psychiatrist found out what had happened and immediately sent my name to the “diversity committee”. I was called before them — and things like bigotry, transphobia and poor judgement on my part were talked about openly — I was convicted before I could say a word. I could instantly tell that my career as I had known it was over. …

I and my wife made the gut-wrenching decision to leave the big city and take our young children to the far away flyover country – we are 150 miles from the nearest interstate highway. I was absolutely horrified at first – but IT HAS BEEN THE BEST THING EVER FOR US – it has been a gift from God. He truly does work in mysterious ways. The kids are thriving – and free of drag queen story hour, video games, and the like. We live in a place that reminds me of the America that I grew up in.

Why?

Make no mistake about it: the Berkeley Diversity Mavens have won. By hiring large numbers of deans and administrators whose job is to promote initiatives like the above, colleges like Berkeley have guaranteed that this kind of process will only get more onerous and more invidious. After all, those people have to keep ratcheting up the process to keep their jobs going. In reality, their goal should be to ultimately make their own jobs obsolete. …

These people are commissars — political officers assigned to politicize institutions and groups that should operate independent of politics. This is how they use identity politics to divide, demoralize, and ultimately destroy. Spending this past year reading about how Stalinism corrupted Soviet science makes it crystal clear what is happening here among us, today.

My STEM source, who was trained under a communist regime, and who escaped it, writes, “The darkness is setting. I do not mean to be poetic. I feel it with every pore of my body.” …

It’s not remote. It’s spreading fast throughout the West:

One more thing: almost every day I hear a new account from a reader about the oppressive progressive political atmosphere in their workplace. It’s not just in colleges. It’s in corporations, it’s in hospitals, it’s in law offices, it’s in churches — it’s everywhere, and spreading. It’s certainly in the newsrooms, which is why so few journalists actually notice what’s happening, much less see a problem with it. …

Had a friendly argument today with someone who said all this stuff I bang on about on this blog sounds overblown. The only meaningful thing I could say is, “You should see my e-mail.” You can’t imagine how bad it is until it happens to you, or you see it with your own eyes, in your workplace, or to people you know.

People are afraid, and they are right to be afraid. We are talking about folks genuinely and legitimately afraid of losing their jobs, and their careers, because they might have crossed a left-wing political line.

And people wonder why young men cannot be bothered.

The lies are not sustainable. It won’t last forever. But it might last quite a while.

New York Times endorses Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar for President of the United States

New York Times endorses Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar for President of the United States. By Steven Hayward.

The only surprise is that the NYT endorsed two candidates. Maybe not such a surprise — it endorsed all the non-white-men remaining in the race:

Interesting video to watch (above). Imagine being a politician and feeling you have to do this sort of thing.

The Times is calling it a “break with convention,” but it is exactly the opposite: clearly they cannot endorse a white male, no matter how experienced or qualified. Nothing is more conventional for liberalism today than the default to identity politics.

The Times endorsement essay offers some wonderful comedy writing, such as: “Senator Warren is a gifted storyteller.” Did no one at the Times pause for a moment to ponder how true this is?

The other night, the fracas over whether Bernie said a woman could or could not win the US presidency? As Tucker Carlson said:

This time, CNN tells us — this time — Elizabeth Warren was being a 100 percent completely real. Not like that time she lied about her race or the time she lied about her job history, or the time she lied about her plan to finance universal health care without a middle-class tax hike.

Working Class and Leave Voters Favour Lower Energy Bills Over Climate Action

Working Class and Leave Voters Favour Lower Energy Bills Over Climate Action, by GWPF in the UK.

Exclusive new polling carried out on behalf of the Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF) by YouGov has found that when asked about energy policy, the public were sharply divided between those who wanted lower energy bills and those who favoured action on climate change.

Remainers largely wanted higher energy costs, to remain in the EU, and voted left.

Clearview app lets strangers find your name, info with snap of a photo

Clearview app lets strangers find your name, info with snap of a photo, by Edward Moyer.

What if a stranger could snap your picture on the sidewalk then use an app to quickly discover your name, address and other details? A startup called Clearview AI has made that possible, and its app is currently being used by hundreds of law enforcement agencies in the US, including the FBI, says a Saturday report in The New York Times.

The app, says the Times, works by comparing a photo to a database of more than 3 billion pictures that Clearview says it’s scraped off Facebook, Venmo, YouTube and other sites. …

The Clearview app isn’t currently available to the public, but the Times says police officers and Clearview investors think it will be in the future.

The Pro-Gun Rally in Virginia

The Pro-Gun Rally in Virginia. By the Z-Man.

Today is the big pro-gun rally in Richmond Virginia. The rally is in response to the gun grabbing proposals by the newly ascendant Democrat party in the state. For the first time in a long time, Democrats gained control of all three branches of government in the last election and immediately set about implementing their fantasy agenda. Their first order of business was a series of vindictive, retributive proposals aimed at the normal population of the state, starting with guns and gun owners.

What’s going on in Virginia is a glimpse of what is coming for the country as a whole as we descend into the multicultural paradise. Virginia was a solidly normal state over the last seventy years. …

Decades of immigration have done to Virginia what it did to California, with the addition of massive Federal growth in Northern Virginia. Manufacturing and agricultural concerns have championed the importation of millions from Central America. Government has imported people from all over the country into Northern Virginia. The result has been the same sort of political shift we saw in California. The sprawling urban areas control state politics, which means the Left controls politics.

Like California, the normal population of the state did not think much about the massive influx of non-white immigrants. No one thought about the long-term impact of a million or so left-wing suburbanites from liberal strongholds moving into Washington suburbs for their government jobs. Anyone who mentioned it was hooted off the stage, if they were even allowed on the stage in the first place. It is only now that the link between demographics and politics is becoming obvious. …

These gun proposals by the Democrats are clearly aimed at spiting white people. There’s no practical point to these laws, other than to stick a finger in the eye of the sorts of people who don’t support the Left. The attacks on AR-15 ownership, for example, are about sticking it to white people, who are the people who own these sorts of sporting guns. That should be the salient point, but the emotional conditioning of whites makes that difficult.

You’ll note that there is no longer any discussion of crime on the Left with regards to gun grabbing. Even they have accepted the fact that gun crime is largely a black problem and now a Hispanic problem. Blacks and Hispanics shoot one another with handguns, not expensive sporting rifles. …

The people organizing resistance to these gun grabbing proposals still think America is a rule-based society. They think if they carefully abide by the rules and mobilize their supporters, they can win the political game. There’s that old civic nationalist blind-spot regarding their enemies. They think they can reason with the other side. The other side will be unmoved by all of this.

Another important angle to this is the silence from Conservative Inc. over what is happening in Virginia. Site like National Review and the Federalist have not talked about it much at all. That’s because Conservative Inc. is staffed by the urbanite bugmen that staff Progressive operations. They think guns are scary, so the issue is not relevant to their project. They are more concerned about getting Twitter followers. …

What’s going in Virginia would not happen in a homogeneous stable society. It is the inevitable result of cosmopolitan globalism and multiculturalism. White people don’t fear white people owning guns. It’s the people ruing over white people, who fear white people owning guns.

Gun rights rally in Va. capital concludes without reports of violence, injury. The left/media, who had been building expectations of white supremacists and violence, are the big losers.

Virginia Rally Attendees Pick Trash Up After Themselves. Funny how right wing demonstrators clean up, while leftists just trash the place. Environmentally concerned leftists? Maybe there is something else going on.

The Left’s Great Lie Is a Pervasive Threat to Our Culture

The Left’s Great Lie Is a Pervasive Threat to Our Culture, by David Solway. The story of a red-pilled lefty:

Before 9/11, I was solidly in the camp of the left. I read Chomsky with approval, harbored duly anti-American sentiments, commiserated with the Palestinians, marched in thought with Peace Now, subscribed to the appropriate dailies, and agreed with the political slant taken by our major news networks. The sources I relied on were the editorials of The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and The Globe and Mail, the news reports of the BBC, CNN, and the CBC, the pages of The Nation and The New Republic, the popular accounts of American perfidy that crammed the shelves of the major book chains, and, most significantly, the smog of stock conceptions that were “in the air,” pervasive but insubstantial as are all airy things.

Writing the book forced me to undertake relentless scrutiny of the values and beliefs I’d accepted as gospel and to realize that I had thoughtlessly succumbed to an all-encompassing lie fostered by the media, the academy, and the political left. Intellectually speaking, I had thought I was pole-vaulting; instead, I was doing the limbo. Almost every statement I’d read about American treachery, Israeli apartheid, the “religion of peace,” feminist grievance, global warming, right-wing extremism, the ironhanded Patriarchy, oppression of minorities, and the rest was an outright lie

I finally began to understand that what I’d taken for history was nothing but ideology and what I’d thought was truth was an order-of-magnitude lie. And that my political and cultural preceptors were, to a man and a woman, professional liars.

Political correctness versus reality. He’s been living in the left’s political world, but realized it was all wrong.

Everything I’ve learned since I began paying attention has only served to confirm my conviction that we are living in unique times, an era in which lies come so thick and fast it seems like one is dodging bullets. It makes no difference where we turn, the lie is there. And we have credulously absorbed it as indisputable fact. …

Nearly all the political news we get is Fake News, disseminated by a media conglomerate that constitutes the propaganda arm of the Democrat Party in the U.S. and the Liberal Party in my own country. The media are proof positive that the political and cultural left has completed its long march through the institutions. It has built a democratic tyranny. …

The left will deploy an armamentarium of outright lies, dodgy statistics, and obscurantist dogma to advance its inflammatory [worldview]. Of course, when any leftist spokesman is caught in a flagrant lie, the default position is to claim that the lie tells a greater truth. How often have we heard this canard? For the left, the lie has become a vestibule to the truth — its truth.

And its truth encompasses the destruction of genuine liberal democracy and free-market societies across the Western world. This is the millennium project of the left, in tune with the U.N.’s Agenda 21 aiming at one-world governance under the sway of a self-elected elite intent on creating a new World Order predicated on zero economic growth and so-called sustainability, as the Democrat Party’s Green New Deal envisages. … It is, in effect, the socialist master plan evolving from Marx to Gramsci to the present. And through the agency of the systematic and all-pervasive Lie, it has already been partially accomplished.

No appeal can be made to the purveyors of the Lie … The true believer of our political moment is a fanatic who is unlikely to examine his premises and assumptions. “The true believer is on the march…and is shaping the world in his own image.” And he has the power of the entire range of political, cultural and institutional authority behind him. …

Ambiguity is part of life. But when the Lie becomes coterminous with the very world in which we have our being — in electoral politics, in education, in the entertainment industry, in the media print and digital, in publishing, in the censoring Big Tech platforms, in mass movements sweeping the planet like feminism and “climate change” and Islamic appeasement and identity politics and renewed socialism and Globalism—and when it lays down the latitude and longitude of our thinking so that there is scarcely any place left to locate our inner coordinates, it forms, as the ancient Gnostics believed, a wholly demonic environment, a false Creation. It is no accident that the devil is called the Father of Lies.

Why are so many Gen X women suffering a midlife crisis? Is feminism involved?

Why are so many Gen X women suffering a midlife crisis? Is feminism involved? By Ada Calhoun.

Two children, a career she cared about, even the freedom to make her own schedule — but she still couldn’t shake a feeling of profound despair. She spent months getting a babysitter for her toddler daughter in the middle of the day, using the time to go alone to noon movies, where she sat in the dark and cried. …

Since turning 40 a couple of years ago, I’ve been obsessed with women my age and their struggles with money, relationships, work and existential despair. After deciding to write a book about it, I called my friend Tara, a successful reporter a few years older than me who grew up in Kansas City. Divorced about a decade ago, she has three mostly grown children and lives on a quiet, leafy street in Washington DC with her boyfriend. …

“Hey,” I said, happy to have caught her on a rare break from her demanding job. “Do you know anyone having a midlife crisis I could talk to?” The phone was silent. Finally, she said, “I’m trying to think of any woman I know who’s not.”

Gen X really begins in 1960, when the demographic bulge after WWII ended:

Today’s middle-aged women belong to Generation X (1965-80) and the tail end of the Baby Boomers (1946-1964).

Gen X has arrived in middle age to almost no notice, and largely unaware of being a uniquely star-crossed cohort. “Gen Xers are in ‘the prime of their lives’ at a particularly divisive and dangerous moment,” author and ­marketing expert Faith Popcorn told me. “They have been hit hard financially and dismissed ­culturally. They have tons of debt. They’re squeezed on both sides, by children and ageing parents. The grim state of adulthood is hitting them hard. If they’re exhausted and bewildered, they have every reason to feel that way.” …

We were an experiment in crafting a higher achieving, more fulfilled, more well-rounded version of the ­modern woman. In midlife many of us find that the experiment is largely a failure. …

Gen Xers entered life with “having it all” not as a bright new option but as a mandatory social condition.

We thought we could have both thriving careers and rich home lives and make more and achieve more than our parents, but most of us have gained little if any advantage. Economist ­Isabel V. Sawhill, of the Brookings Institution, told me that a typical 40-year-old woman in America now makes $US36,000 ($52,300) a year working full-time. After childcare, rent and food, that leaves only about $US1000 for everything else. Even women who make much more may feel uneasy about their financial future, stunned by how hard it is just getting through the week, or disappointed by how few opportunities come their way. …

Put simply: having more options has not necessarily led to greater happiness or satisfaction. “By many objective measures, the lives of women in the United States have improved over the past 35 years,” the authors of an analysis of Census-style data wrote a decade ago as Generation X entered middle age. “Yet we show that measures of subjective wellbeing indicate that women’s happiness has declined both absolutely and relative to men.” …

Midlife crisis:

As rendered in popular culture, the stereotypical male midlife ­crisis involves busting stuff up — marriages, careers, norms, reputations. Panic may commence when a man starts losing his hair, resulting in a frenzy to unearth college vinyl. Treatment: regular application of younger women and brightly coloured motor vehicles. …

A middle-aged woman’s midlife crisis does pose a dramaturgical problem. Women’s crises tend to be quieter than men’s. Sometimes a woman will try something spectacular — a big affair, a new career — but more often she sneaks her suffering in around the edges of caretaking and work. From the outside, no one may notice anything amiss. Women might drain a bottle of wine while watching TV alone or cry every afternoon in the pickup lane at school. There has yet to be a blockbuster movie centred on a woman ­staring out her car’s windshield and sighing. …

It’s the economy. All that money manufacture and the way the banking system works is having ripple effects everywhere. Money is how we motivate each other and keep score, but it is created out of thin air by some folks:

America’s Gen X has more debt than any other generation — a whopping 82 per cent more than Boomers and about $US37,000 more than the national consumer average. We also have less saved, and women have less than men. At the same time, we face a much higher cost of living than Boomers did at our age, particularly for essentials such as housing.

Generation X marks the end of the American dream of ever-increasing prosperity. We are downwardly mobile, with declining job stability. Many of us have delayed marriage and children and so can find ourselves taking care of aged ­parents while caring for little children — and, by the way, being urged to ask for raises and lean in at work.

Our lives can begin to feel like the latter ­seconds of a game of Tetris, where the descending pieces pile up faster and faster. Worse, at this ­hectic age, we have to make many of the toughest decisions of our lives: Is it time to give up on starting my own business? Is it time to switch careers? Should I get married? Should I get divorced? Am I done having kids? Will I ever have kids? Where should the kids go to school? Do I put my parent with Alzheimer’s into a nursing home, and, if so, who’s going to pay for it? When it comes to realising my dreams, is it too late?

Gen X women had sky-high expectations for themselves. The contrast between our “you can be anything” indoctrination and the stark realities encountered in midlife – when you might, despite your best efforts, not be able to find a partner or get pregnant or save for retirement or own your own home – has made us feel like failures at the exact moment we most require courage.

In 1970, a middle class household in the West got by on one income, and had bigger families.

Today, two parents usually work. We kid ourselves we are wealthier and better off, but we are really just paying off huge mortgages that we incurred by competing against one another for houses. Isn’t it great that interest rates are set by bureaucrats rather than the market?

Meghan’s PR stunts can’t gloss over reality of her behaviour

Meghan’s PR stunts can’t gloss over reality of her behaviour, by Camilla Long.

You know who the real victim in this whole Harry and Meghan thing is? It isn’t Harry or Meghan, however much these fey children tell us they’ve had their spirits “crushed” by the sheer number of palaces and diamonds and footmen we’ve flung at them. It isn’t us, even though we’ve had the stupidity to pay this pair of oxygen thieves more than £60,000 a day, if you take into account the £32m wedding, the £2.4m cottage renovation, the security and fripperies and Meghan’s dresses, for the privilege of being patronised and dissed to our faces by them, since they married in May 2018.

It’s the poor, sweet, benighted ladies of the Grenfell soup kitchen I feel sorry for, who have been repeatedly duped into smiling and nodding as the duchess sweeps in to pretend to cook rice on yet another of her many content-gathering missions. These women have been treated as a glorified backdrop by Meghan, and at some point you have to ask yourself: if there were zero chance of those pictures being used for PR purposes, would the duchess even have come? Imagine arriving “discreetly”, as if you’d gone just for them, only to splash pics as soon as you need to launder your image. No sincerity, no truth – these visits only help Meghan.

Formerly known as Prince:

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will no longer use their HRH titles and will repay millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money spent refurbishing Frogmore Cottage…

The pair, who will be known as Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, will cease to be working members of the Royal Family from this spring and will not perform any official duties on behalf of the Queen – effectively leaving ‘The Firm’ completely.

The move will see Harry drop all of his official military positions and the couple will also spend the majority of their time in North America, a source told ITV. …

As well as returning the £2.4 million spent on a lavish refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, they will pay a commercial rent — estimated at up to £360,000 a year — to retain it as their British home.

Prince Charles will continue to ‘offer private financial support’ and, crucially, the couple will have free rein to negotiate lucrative commercial deals that experts believe could net them hundreds of millions of pounds, although they have pledged ‘to uphold the values of Her Majesty’.

A number of unresolved issues remain, including whether Harry and Meghan will be required to strip the word ‘Royal’ from their SussexRoyal website, and who will pick up the multi-million pound bill for their continuing security requirements.

Migrant, indigenous home violence ‘out of proportion’

Migrant, indigenous home violence ‘out of proportion’, by Nicola Berkovic.

Almost half of all people killed by intimate partners are indigenous or overseas-born …

About 23 per cent of intimate-partner homicide victims were indigenous in the 10 years to 2015-16.

A further 22 per cent of those victims whose backgrounds were known were overseas-born, according to previously unpublished figures provided to The Australian by the Australian Institute of Criminology. …

Contrary to community perceptions, the domestic homicide rate, in particular the intimate-partner homicide rate, has been falling since 1989-90 (when data collecting began).

An Inferno of Incompetence and Obfuscation

An Inferno of Incompetence and Obfuscation, by Roger Underwood, a former district an regional forester in Western Australia with over 60 years experience in bushfire science, planning and operations.

The most frequent question I have received over the last month is “who is to blame for the bushfire mess up and down the east coast?

Oh they protest too much. They know they’re guilty, and the buck stops with them.

There is a school of thought, mostly put about by state premiers, that the blame game is bad form. We should put the whole bushfire business behind us and move on, they say. Forget the past, the future will be wonderful. I reject this concept, because in any disaster situation lessons must be learned (or rather re-learned) and those lessons applied to improving the way things are done. …

The trouble with side-stepping accountability is that mistakes are perpetuated. The same people go back to business as usual, and the same disasters re-occur. If nobody has done anything wrong, as the premiers maintain, no changes need to be made.

This, of course, is the beauty of the “blame it all on climate change” position. If climate change caused the bushfires, no individual can be pinned, not even those “fire chiefs” who were in charge during the entire time the current disaster was incubating and who now suddenly know what was the problem.

I reject the ‘blame it on climate change” position because it has two killer flaws: firstly, it ignores fuels, which are the main contributor to uncontrollable fires during a drought; secondly, it provides no practical solutions to the immediate problem. Both of these factors render the climate change argument utterly unsustainable, indeed ridiculous.

Living in a fireplace

Nails it:

It is very obvious who the people are who should be held accountable for the current mess.

At the top of the list are the premiers and ministers responsible for land management, such as it is, and bushfire policy, and the public servants in their departments with jurisdiction over forests and national parks. …

Under the Australian Constitution land management, and therefore bushfire management, is the responsibility of the states. It is state governments which decide how crown land will be managed, and how the protection of communities and their assets from bushfire damage will be organised.

Local government authorities are also high on the list of those accountable — and here again state governments bear responsibility, as they should never have allowed them to get away with the nonsenses we have seen coming out of town halls over recent years with respect to vegetation clearing and building approvals. Some premier or minister should have cracked down hard on this foolishness, and cracked down hard.

The anti-fuel reduction burning academics have no understanding of practical bushfire management. They are misguided, misinformed and, by my reckoning, dangerously mischievous. But they have not been running the show. The premiers, ministers and senior public servants overseeing the land-management agencies could have, and should have, simply rejected the academics’ green ideology and its foolish precepts. Bitter experience should by now have made it blindingly obvious that the green approach to bushfire management can end only in tears. Instead, those who shirked their responsibility to protect their communities kowtowed and pandered. They played political games — Greens preferences in inner-city electorates can make or break governments, don’t you know — so they swallowed the utter bilge of academic theorists, people who have never in their lives had to fight a fire, let alone take responsibility for the design and implementation of an entire fire-management system …

Finally, the Federal Government cannot escape accountability. Repeatedly over the years, successive Commonwealth governments have been told that their bushfire funding model is pointing 180 degrees in the wrong direction. In funding fire suppression and recovery, rather than helping the states to invest in prevention and damage mitigation, they are rewarding failure.

This article is specifically directed at the bushfire and land management jurisdictions in Qld, NSW and Victoria. In Western Australia, the penny dropped after the 2016 Yarloop disaster, and our Premier, ministers and public service agencies are now on the right track. …

Some people made a lot of money out of the disaster:

Those of us who have spent a lifetime dealing with bushfires have watched with dismay the way the state agencies, one after the other, have been seduced into thinking that more and bigger water-bombing aircraft is the answer to the bushfire maiden’s prayer. The almost laughable futility of the water and retardant bombers in NSW over recent weeks has only been surpassed by one other shocking statistic: the astronomical cost of this wastefulness.

There’ll be no change unless the people responsible are held accountable.

Or, since this is negligence from decades of faulty Green thinking by the political class, there’ll be no change unless the political class is damaged in response for endangering us and burning down the joint.

Sack these politicians, to prevent this happening again:

 

Titania McGrath

Titania McGrath is a parody Twitter user and author created by comedian and Spiked columnist Andrew Doyle. She is a social justice warrior who promotes identity politics and political correctness on her Twitter account.

Andrew Doyle:

She’s a po-faced young activist who, in spite of her immense privilege, is convinced that she is oppressed. She’s not a direct parody of an existing individual, but anyone who regularly reads opinion columns in the Guardian will be familiar with the type. Given that such individuals are seemingly impervious to reason, and would rather cry ‘bigot’ than engage in serious debate, satire seemed to be the only option. …

It makes sense, then, to think of the social-justice movement as a kind of cult. Its members are generally decent people with good intentions. They have an unshakeable certainty that their worldview is correct. They feel the need to proselytise and convert as many of the fallen as possible. And even though they are capable of the most horrendous dehumanising behaviour, they think they are the good guys.

We are in this position because identity politics in its current form is a collectivist ideology. It does not value an individual for the content of his or her character, but instead makes prejudicial assessments on the basis of race, gender and sexuality. In the name of anti-racism, identity politics has rehabilitated racial thinking. This explains why an affluent and privileged person like Munroe Bergdorf can be invited on to national television to proclaim that ‘the white race is the most violent and oppressive force of nature on Earth’. How is well-intentioned racism even a thing? …

When Alex Clark in the Guardian described Titania as a ‘speedy cash-in’, she encapsulated perfectly one of Titania’s chief failings: she routinely intuits the motives of her ideological opponents, and frames her speculations as fact. She knows you are an evil fascist, even if you don’t know it yourself.

Here she is live in action (played by Alice Marshall):

Three examples of “her” tweets:

Reducing Fire, and Cutting Carbon Emissions, the Aboriginal Way

Reducing Fire, and Cutting Carbon Emissions, the Aboriginal Way, by Thomas Fuller.

Over the past decade, fire-prevention programs, mainly on Aboriginal lands in northern Australia, have cut destructive wildfires in half. While the efforts draw on ancient ways, they also have a thoroughly modern benefit: Organizations that practice defensive burning have earned $80 million under the country’s cap-and-trade system as they have reduced greenhouse-gas emissions from wildfires in the north by 40 percent. …

“Fire is our main tool,” said Ms. Lawson, who lit multiple dry palm fronds as she walked along the fire’s edge. Credit: The New York Times.

The fire-prevention programs, which were first given government licenses in 2013, now cover an area three times the size of Portugal. Even as towns in the south burned in recent months and smoke haze blanketed Sydney and Melbourne, wildfires in northern Australia were much less severe. …

In some ways, the Aboriginal methods resemble Western ones practiced around the world: One of the main goals is to reduce underbrush and other fuel that accelerates hot, damaging fires.

But the ancient approach tends to be more comprehensive. Indigenous people, using precisely timed, low-intensity fires, burn their properties the way a suburban homeowner might use a lawn mower. …

“We most certainly should learn to burn Aboriginal-style,” said Bill Gammage, a professor at the Australian National University in Canberra. “Our firefighters have quite good skills in fighting fires. But for preventing them, they are well short of what Aboriginal people could do.” …

The preventive fires, [Victor Cooper, a former forest ranger in northern Australia] said, should trickle, not rage. …

“The European mind-set was to be totally scared of fire,” [Jeremy Russell-Smith, a bushfire expert at Charles Darwin University] said.

As the fires rage in the south, Aboriginal people in northern Australia say they are deeply saddened at the loss of life — about 25 people have been killed and more than 2,000 homes destroyed. But they also express bewilderment that forests were allowed to grow to become so combustible.

Even the New York Times is conceding that it’s fuel loads that matter.

Maybe our local virtue-signalers could back down a little from climate-change-causes-bushfires if they thought that aboriginal practices were the solution. (That conflict will set their brains on fire.)

Proclaiming your own shallow virtue from the pulpit of social media has become the new religion

Proclaiming your own shallow virtue from the pulpit of social media has become the new religion. By John Carroll.

The return of medieval heresy trials, draconian inquisition and pseudo-religious cults preaching apocalypse demands some inter­pretation. The new wars are over opinion. Belief has been separated from act [as in the opposite to “actions speak louder than words”]. In parallel, status has shifted from property and achievement to attitudes.

Even a summer of catastrophic bushfire … has been co-opted by doomsday politics …

One obvious manifestation of insecure identity is status anxiety. Throughout the modern period, people have compensated for doubts about their worth by showing off their wealth, displayed in large houses, luxury cars, designer clothes and expensive holidays; living in prestigious suburbs; and sending their children to elite schools and universities.

They have indulged in what American economist and sociologist Thorstein Veblen dubbed “conspicuous consumption”.

The new snobbery, however, is not over bad taste, crude accents, cheap belongings and the wrong schools; it is over attitudes.

Some boast on Instagram that they personally carbon offset when flying #climatechange, and attract a stream of likes. Others tweet they support gay marriage #loveislove, and are deluged in hearts of approval. …

Seventeenth-century French moralist Francois de La Rochefoucauld argued that self-esteem was the strongest of human motivating forces. Vanity, egoism and fear of embarrassment and failure drive most human behaviour. In the pre-modern world, this was less universally true, for more than 90 per cent of the population had little time or energy left over from the daily grind of basic survival. Concern about identity was a leisure-time luxury they could ill afford. …

German sociologist Max Weber coined the term disenchantment to describe the central threat confronting the modern West. In a secular time that no longer believed in God, or indeed in any transcendental ordering principle, the risk was that the world would lose its magic and be come a dull and prosaic absurdity. Humans were left to pursue pleasure and avoid pain, and little else.

Samuel Beckett highlighted this condition in Waiting for Godot, arguably the most important play of the 20th century. For Beckett’s two tramps, life has become so pointless that they talk of suicide but can’t be bothered carrying it out. Meaning has become the modern problem. …

Identity politics and other ideologies are primitive, crippled religions:

Shaky medieval religion also triggered apocalyptic sects, which we see re-emerging today in an uncanny regression to our most superstitious past.

Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg provides a case study. Her demean­our and mode of declam­ation mimics that of a fundamen­talist Christian preacher ranting about the end of the world. The intense eyes, the raging warnings of apocalypse and the incantatory chant of “How dare you!” pitched against the satanic adult world are reminiscent of some cult spawned in Waco, Texas.

There was a Children’s Crusade in the early Middle Ages: something like 20,000 children, led by two of their number, set out from France to free Jerusalem from unbelievers. The crusade foundered well before its destination, in starvation and disaffection. …

Greta is not in herself of interest. What is alarming is that she has been taken seriously by the worldwide media, listened to devoutly by broad sections of the upper middle class and its cultural elites, given a platform at the UN and celebrated as Time person of the year.

Professional orders that are otherwise sober, serious, hardworking and methodical in their practical lives are turning, in their leisure, to quasi-religious venting, dark paranoid fantasy and wide-eyed righteous indignation. …

The PC mob are a small minority with an outsized media presence and outsized opinions of themselves:

Sociologist Peter Murphy has calculated from Twitter statistics that a mere 2 per cent of the American adult population deal in political opinion. The rest who use Twitter gossip about celebrities and lifestyle …

In last year’s federal election, climate change was proved to be a minority worry, playing a negligible role among mainstream voters, who remained uninterested. …

Identity politics obeys the catchcry: I emote virtuously, there­fore I am. The specific content is often unimportant, as illustrated by a low inclination to mar­shal arguments to back up opinion. …

The mission statements of corporations, universities and sporting bodies proudly boast of inclusiveness, tolerance and diversity. But the more they do so, the more they have practised discrimination, intolerance and politically correct conformism.