Trump vs. Sanders

It’s not unimaginable.

Something unexpected happens that causes Hillary Clinton to drop out of the race, and suddenly it’s Bernie Sanders for the Democrats.   Bush gets no traction.  Rubio stumbles badly in explaining his incoherent stand on immigration reform and under-developed ideas about tax reform,  and Ted Cruz is simply repellent.  Come to think of it, Fiorina is kind of repellent as well.  She is better prepared for the debates than the others (she actually knew the name of the head of the Republican Guard in Iran: Qassam Suleimani), but she has a dismal record at HP.

Ben Carson has no intention of winning the nomination.  He would find it as ridiculous as I would if he won.  He’s there to get $500 million worth of free advertising for his books and motivational speeches.  He is a one-man industry, selling the American myth that it doesn’t matter where you are born or what colour your skin is because if you work hard– like him– you can eventually become a world-famous surgeon and run for president.

Trump is also in it for the free advertising and is probably only willing to ride it out as long as he is in contention.

However, with the other candidates failing to make inroads, it is entirely possible that one of them could prevail and end up as the Republican nominee.

So it might be Trump or Carson against Bernie Sanders.

I would pay to attend those debates.





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Mean and Stupid

And here is another news story about a 30-year-old female teacher who made a 17-year-old male student’s dreams come true.  She has been sentenced to 22 years in prison.

Twenty-two years.

How long do you think 22 years is?

What kind of a person are you?  Ask yourself that– what kind of a person are you?  What kind of a heart do you have?  What kind of mind?  What are your ethics?  What is your religion?  What is your philosophy?  Do you have any values?  Do other people exist?  Do they have lives outside of your apprehension of their lives?  Do you have feelings, or just a series of poses attuned to any momentary perception of social values and attitudes?  Any feelings at all?

And then consider, is only 22 years enough?  Why not life?   Why not make this young woman really pay for her horrible crime?  Why not flog her?

But then, if it is not uncommon for a person convicted of manslaughter to receive 20 or 25 years, would you honestly rate this crime as just slightly less serious?

In Japan, in 1936, a woman, Sada Abe, was sentenced to six years in prison for murdering her lover, Kichizo Ishida by strangulation, and then cutting off his testicles with a kitchen knife (after he was dead).  Six years.  (Want to read a really interesting story?  Google her.)  How did they know six years was the right amount of time, for such a heinous crime?  (In fairness, it was kind of a suicide pact.  But, in fairness, the teacher’s relationship with the student was consensual.)

Should she be lashed, perhaps, as well?  Or buried up to her neck and stoned to death?  Why not?  Why the hell not?  What do you have against a good lashing or stoning?  What keeps you from demanding a proper punishment suitable for the horrors of the crime she committed?  She had sex with a 17-year-old boy.  She did it 20-30 times.  Why are you such a pussy about the punishment?  Why not pour acid on her face, or just kick her to death?  What’s holding you back?  Where did you get the idea that some punishments might be too harsh?

That poor 17-year-old boy.  He was probably a mere 5′ 10″ tall, maybe 150 pounds.  The teacher looked to be around 110, maybe.  Quite a threat to the helpless lad.

What do you feel for this teacher?  Is she a human being?  Does she have emotions, thoughts, dreams?  Is there some reason you should care about the fact that her life is now a rotting carcass of dashed hopes and crushed ambitions?  That she may never get another good job?  That she may never marry or have children.  That she will live the rest of her life in shame and poverty?

Twenty-two years.

It is clear from the news accounts that the 17-year-old boy, who cannot be identified because he is a waif, an innocent, an infant, a victim, did not blow the whistle on the escapade.  He did not go to the police in desperation and plead for help because this horrible attractive teacher was having sex with him.  No, it was his mother, wondering where he had been one night.  She looked at his cell phone and found messages from the teacher.  She called the authorities.  I don’t blame her.  For all I know, she might be just as appalled at the outcome here as I am.

So, what kind of a person are you?

I’ll bet you would tell me, if we were face-to-face right now, that you are not the kind of person who enjoys seeing people suffer.  And you would say that you are not the kind of person who snoops.  Oh no.  But then, you might say  that if the boy were your son, you bet you’d snoop.  It would be for his own good.  To protect him from the worldly influences of evil-doers, perverts, drug-dealers, jihadists, and Islamic fundamentalists who might seek to impose Sharia low on us.  Oh the horror!  Twenty-two years is more than reasonable.  She’ll only be 50 or so when she gets out.  She will have learned her lesson.  She will be a good person by then, whom you could befriend, even hire– except that she would be a convicted felon.  You’ll know, because she’ll be required by law to tell you.  She won’t be allowed to live within several blocks of a school, lest she find some other poor, vulnerable, delicate, weak 17-year-old boy to exploit.  Some cities will try to prevent her from living there at all: she will prey upon our vulnerable 17-year-olds!  Let her sleep under a bridge.

She deserves it.  After what she did, she deserves it.  She deserves to be punished, as brutally as we can without getting the Supreme Court involved: cruel and unusual?  Who the hell do you think you are?

You see the problem.  Any red-blooded male reading this story realizes right away that a 17-year-old boy having sex with an attractive 30-year-old teacher is not traumatized and will not be emotionally scarred for life, and probably won’t even really be sad about it, and will have bragged about it, and may even have already forgotten about it, if it hadn’t been splashed all over the news.

Well, no– he will never forget it.  But not for the reasons you might think.

Did you read the story?  Why?  Was there something about the story that excited you?  Did the word “sex” in the headline win you over?  Did you feel bad after reading it because you found the substance of the story horrifying or dispiriting or depressing?  Or because you like reading about sex?  And then you enjoy savoring the brutal punishment doled out to this young woman because, after all, unlike her, you are a good and decent person who only likes to read stories that lead off with the word “sex”?

And you realize that the authorities will do everything they can to make everyone feel good about crushing this teacher– about absolutely brutally destroying her life– by trying to persuade the boys (yes, there were three, apparently) to be “victims”.  I would not be surprised if the boys were even threatened with legal consequences or suspension from school or spankings if they did not play their parts correctly.  I’m serious: that has happened.  The authorities would have been desperate to vindicate their hysterical reactions.  They would not have stopped at charging the boys if they had refused to cooperate.

After all, it’s for their own good.

If we don’t create the theatrical impression that the boys were harmed, than we look mean and petty and ridiculous putting a 22-year sentence on a 30-year-old woman for having consensual sex.

Here’s the other problem: if men and women are equal– how dare you even wonder?– it is believed that the consequences must be the same.  This is a kind of sideways logic that is the result of confusing “equal” and “the same”.  So if the consequences of this teacher’s actions don’t seem reasonable, then you might have to admit that a 30-year-old male teacher having consensual sex with a 17-year-old girl might not be so, so awful either.  And that cannot be permitted, so poor Mrs. Fichter must pay the consequences, if it really doesn’t make any sense.

When I was kid, I enjoyed music and poetry and films that suggested that society was a kind of madhouse and that people were fundamentally mean and stupid, and that only the outliers, the strangers, the rogues, really understand what is going on.  I don’t enjoy the reality nearly as much.


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Putative Putin

It has become apparent that America would prefer Putin the boogeyman to Putin the leader of the Russian nation.  It is convenient to sell yourself as a formidable guy who can stand up to those wascally wussians and ….  what?  What exactly?  Kick them out of the Ukraine?  Take away their only naval base in the Mediterranean?  Force them to stop arresting opposition politicians and punk girl bands?

Do many Americans have the slightest idea of just how weak Russia is right now, militarily?  How much of their relatively formidable navies and air force is gone?

The U.S. is not going to go to war with Russia over the Ukraine.   And the U.S. is not going to do much about Putin assisting Assad in Syria because deep down in their tiny black hearts, America’s political elite know that Putin is in Syria because the U.S. just couldn’t figure out a single bloody thing to do about ISIL and Assad so somebody had to step in, especially since there many of the “independent” states around Russia have substantial Moslem populations.

The real boogeyman out there is China, which, in a few decades, will begin to surpass the U.S. in economic might if not military might.  The U.S. does not have a good record of thinking ahead.  It is thinking behind right now, to the “glory days” of the Cold War, and Republicans just get warm all over and pleasantly moist at the thought of reviving the grand old strategy of Mutual Assured Destruction.


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The One-Man Party Ends

I am trying to imagine a minority Conservative government after the election on October 19.  I am trying to imagine Harper, after conducting a snide, condescending campaign, reaching out to Mr. Trudeau or Mr. Mulcair and attempting to negotiate passage of a major bill.

Harper is very shrewd and it is not unimaginable that he would offer a budget, say, that includes parts of either the Liberal or NDP election platform, and then defies them to vote it down.  He’ll be thinking triangulation, of course, and contemplating a theme for the next election campaign, something along the line of, “I know you hate another election so quickly but I tried to be reasonable and, well, the other parties are just greedy for power and wouldn’t do what Canadians wanted them to do”.  It is not unthinkable.  He might count on the electorate to think, “well, the Conservatives were arrogant but now they’ve been chastened so maybe I should give them another chance at a majority.”  If it looks like Trudeau has been out-maneuvered,  well, after all, we want our leaders to out-maneuver other governments too.”

The Liberals would be more vulnerable than the NDP because they support some of Harper’s major, politically sensitive initiatives like Bill C-51 and the Trans Pacific Partnership.  They might also be most inclined to believe they would win a second, quick election.

The Conservatives better be careful, but nobody would be shocked, either, if the electorate suddenly reached Harper-fatigue and decided to make a decisive change.


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We Will Never See Another Valerie Bertanelli

I’m a little sad about this: we will probably never see another Valerie Bertinelli.

Valerie Bertinelli was one of the stars of “One Day at a Time”, along with Mackenzie Phillips, Bonnie Franklin and Pat Harrington as “Schneider”.

She did not have large breasts.  There you go.  That’s what you probably won’t see ever again: a major television actress with small boobs.  She was 15 at the start of the show and was supposed to be a kind of tom-boyish character.  In the next season, according to Wikipedia, her character was revised to “be more appealing to a traditional male demographic [citation needed]“.   This is how television, contrary to the fundamental purpose of all artistic endeavors, seeks to affirm what you already are: stupid.

She married Eddie Van Halen when she was 21.   Do you even have to ask?  They divorced in 2005, probably long after the marriage had actually failed.

She wasn’t much of an actress but she was very cute.  That’s all that’s necessary.

Do a search, I know you want to.  Images.  There she is: she struggled with weight issues all her life but she seems to have had a few victories.  Lately, there are pictures of her looking very svelte in a bikini.  But notice the boobs: they look lavish.

Enhanced.  Augmented.



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Self-Identity: the Gluten of Sexual Politics

Students at a high school, Hillsboro, in Missouri, walked out today to protest the school board’s decision to allow Lila Perry, a boy who “self-identifies” as a girl, to use the girls’ washrooms and change-rooms.

Not everyone was against.  Apparently some protested the protest.

I have very mixed feelings.  Firstly, the whole transgender thing is getting goofy and ridiculous.  There are a very, very small number of people who genuinely possess ambiguous genitalia, or who might possess a genuinely ambiguous sexual identity.  They have a genuine need and a right to make choices about their sexual identity, however complicated that might be.   And there are a very, very small number of people who, anomalously, really do have the wrong genitalia.  I think this is a very small number.  Very small.

And then there are a lot of people– not really that many, but a lot– who take it into their heads that they would really rather be the other gender.  And a lot of people out there associate this with homosexuality, which everyone knows is something you are born with, and therefore decide to be as tolerant as possible and announce that from now on people should be treated as whatever gender they wish to be.

Here’s some facts: the vast majority of these people are males wishing to “identify” as female.  The vast majority of these people maintain their sexual orientation after they have transitioned.  If they were sexually attracted to girls before the surgeries and injections they remain sexually attracted to girls after.  If they were sexually attracted to boys before the surgeries, they remain attracted to boys.

So Lila, now permitted to change in the girls’ locker room, should enjoy herself tremendously.  Unless, Lila, as a boy, was already attracted to boys.  In other words, gay.  In which case, he probably should be in the girls’ locker room anyway.  But why would he want to do that, if he was attracted to boys?

It is totally predictable that the opinion of the psycho-social establishment will favor the idea that many people really are the wrong gender and need to be helped and supported in transitioning to their “real” gender.   It is predictable not because it is likely to be true but because it is likely to be “psychological” in the sense that it is something that can be uncovered and analyzed and tested and diagnosed and packaged and sold to the public as privileged information that only experts can provide.

It is something that can never be disproved because it can never be proven.  How would you go about proving that a boy is a boy?  What standards would you use?  Would it not be enough, given the assumptions in the field of psychology, for the boy say he wants to be a girl?  If you want to investigate it further, see if he has an array of “symptoms”, all of which might also be indications of a troubled, confused child who is obsessed with a really strange idea.




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The State Solemnly Requests That you Die: it is your duty.

 To preserve one’s life is generally speaking a duty, but it may be the plainest and the highest duty to sacrifice it.  War is full of  instances in which it is a man’s duty not to live, but to die.  The duty, in case of shipwreck, of a captain to his crew, of the crew to the passengers, of soldiers to women and children, as in the noble case of the Birkenhead; these duties impose on men the moral necessity, not of the preservations but of the sacrifice of their lives for others, from which in no country, least of all, it is to be hoped, in England, will men ever shrink as indeed, they have not shrunk.  It is not correct, therefore, to say that there is any absolute or unqualified necessity to preserve one’s life.  “Necesse est ut eam, non ut vivam,” is a saying of a Roman officer quoted by Lord Bacon himself with high eulogy in the very chapter on necessity to which so much reference has been made.  It would be a very easy and cheap display of commonplace learning to quote from Greek and Latin authors, from Horace, from Juvenal, from Cicero, from Euripides, passage after passages, in which the duty of dying for others has been laid down in glowing and emphatic language as resulting from the principles of heathen ethics; it is enough in a Christian country to remind ourselves of the Great Example whom we profess to follow.  It is not needful to point out the awful danger of admitting the principle which has been contended for.  Who is to be the judge of this sort of necessity?  By what measure is the comparative value of lives to be measured?  Is it to be strength, or intellect, or what ? It is plain that the principle leaves to him who is to profit by it to determine the necessity which will justify him in deliberately taking another’s life to save his own.  In this case the weakest, the youngest, the most unresisting, was chosen.  Was it more [p. 288] necessary to kill him than one of the grown men?  The answer must be “No” -

“So spake the Fiend, and with necessity,
The tyrant’s plea, excused his devilish deeds.”
It is not suggested that in this particular case the deeds were devilish, but it is quite plain that such a principle once admitted might be made the legal cloak for unbridled passion and atrocious crime.  There is no safe path for judges to tread but to ascertain the law to the best of their ability and to declare it according to their judgment; and if in any case the law appears to be too severe on individuals, to leave it to the Sovereign to exercise that prerogative of mercy which the Constitution has intrusted to the hands fittest to dispense it.

It must not be supposed that in refusing to admit temptation to be an excuse for crime it is forgotten how terrible the temptation was; how awful the suffering; how hard in such trials to keep the judgment straight and the conduct pure.  We are often compelled to set up standards we cannot reach ourselves, and to lay down rules which we could not ourselves satisfy.  But a man has no right to declare temptation to be an excuse, though he might himself have yielded to it, nor allow compassion for the criminal to change or weaken in any manner the legal definition of the crime.  It is therefore our duty to declare that the prisoners’ act in this case was wilful murder, that the facts as stated in the verdict are no legal justification of the homicide; and to say that in our unanimous opinion the prisoners are upon this special verdict guilty, of murder. [n. 1]

THE COURT then proceeded to pass sentence of death upon the prisoners. [n. 2]

The above statement is from the court ruling on the case of The Queen Vs. Dudley and Stevens (1884).  It’s a very famous ruling, and taught in law school.  At issue is the question of whether a person, confronted by inevitable death, may break the law in order to save his own life.

No one disputes the basic facts: the men in the lifeboat were all going to die if they did not eat.   There was nothing to eat, except a man, and they choose the weakest and most vulnerable to kill and eat.  Richard Parker, the cabin boy, had fallen into a coma, partly, probably, from drinking sea water.   Euphemisms abound in the retelling of this case, but let’s dispense with them: they killed and ate Richard Parker to save their own lives.

The men, Captain Tom Dudley, Edwin Stephens; and Edmund Brooks, were saved by a German ship and returned to England where they, believing themselves to be fully justified, made no effort to hide what they had done.  It is safe to say that they assumed everyone would understand and sympathize with their motivations.  I doubt they would have formulated it so carefully, but they essentially argued that a man’s first duty is to save his own life.  They professed horror, but, well it had to be done.  You can see that, can’t you?

In a world full of people determined to get other people to kill for them, they could not have imagined how utterly subversive the idea was.

They were arrested and tried for murder, and sentenced to death.  That lengthy quote at the beginning of this post is from the ruling by a panel of judges who heard the case after what can only be described a series of shenanigans by Baron Huddleston who was determined to get convictions, though public opinion was decidedly in favor of the sailors.

It appears to me that he tricked the jurors into believing they were finding the defendants not guilty, by forcing them to make no ruling.  Instead, through a technicality, they inadvertently allowed the judge to make whatever ruling he wanted.

Richard Parker, 17-years-old, was the cabin boy, and had no experience sailing.

There something obscene about this idea, that it is a honor to give up your own life for others.  The obscenity lies in the fact that this is not a selfless gesture: it would be really great if you would die for me.

A devout Christian with a certain orientation might buy it: your reward will be in heaven so the person asking you to die for them is not really as selfish as all that.

I leave aside the issue of Richard Parker, for a moment.  Huddleston had one legitimate point: by what principle do the men select someone in a coma to die for their benefit?  There have been similar situations in which all of the men agreed to a procedure by which one of them is selected to die and be eaten.   But I want to go back to the judge’s speech in which he insists it might be a man’s duty to die for his country.

By what right does anyone ask someone else to give up everything– and I mean everything– for someone else?  What is the point?  If you no longer exist, you can’t possibly obtain anything in exchange for giving up the most valuable thing you have: your own life.  When a soldier is asked to do that, the person asking it is a criminal in the most universal and absolute and uncompromising sense.  How can anyone possible gain anything by giving up his life?

Willful ignorance (it’s for your country, it’s for honor, it’s for Jesus, whatever) is no excuse.  Asking someone to die for you is a criminal act, whether it is committed by a mafioso or a president.

But how, the exasperated citizen exclaims, could we ever have a war if people believed that?   Yes, exactly.

Where would we be without young men willing to do it?  It’s really not all that different, when you think about it, from demanding that people kill for you.  Either way, you want someone else to die as a favor to you.  Thank you very much and good bye.  The monument we erect is not for you– you’ll never know a thing about it.  You will never, ever know a thing about it.  That monument is our way of trying to persuade the next victims.

Back to Richard Parker, one of the men had proposed– in unimaginable desperation– that they cast lots to see who would make the sacrifice.  It would have been interesting if they had– what then could the court have ruled?  Surely, that court, would have still ruled murder?   In their unique circumstances, they made a perfectly rational, if appalling, choice (except that one of them, Brooks, wouldn’t go along with it).  Either we do this appalling thing or we will all die.  Life is better than death.  It is better for three families to have their loved ones return to them and one mourn a death, than for four families to mourn four deaths (and destitution, probably).   You can’t run and hide from this equation and say, oh, it’s just too awful to think about.  It really happened– not just in this case in 1884– but in many other instances.

The judges, in this case, asserted, vehemently, that all four of you men in that boat should have died, rather than choose to kill Richard Parker.

It is not unimaginable that the judges would have ruled otherwise if one of the men had volunteered to die for the others (or if they had cast lots, in which sense one of them “volunteers”).  In fact, there was an earlier case from the 17th century, near Saint Christopher, in which lots were cast, and the victim (who happened to be the one who suggested lots) consented, and was eaten, and no legal action was taken.


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Processing Amy Schumer

I am trying to process an aspect of Amy Schumer’s comedy that perplexes me.  She ridicules men who find her fat and unattractive.  In the words of New York Times Reviewer Manohla Dargis, “she stops haters dead”.  I don’t know what that means.  That she shuts them up?  Heckles them back?  Humiliates them?  She just will not have it.  She just will not have you find her fat and unattractive.  Not like Lena Dunham?

I don’t know of any external physical attribute that can be changed by ridicule, though our attitudes certainly can.  So, are we men to straighten out our attitudes and learn to regard women like Amy Schumer as attractive?  Smarten up!  Attention!  Look at this body and desire it, or else!  Again, Manohla Dargis:

“Think she’s not thin enough or pretty enough?  She intercepts hateful slurs like those and turns them into ferocious comedy gold that exposes chauvinism as the absurdity it is.”

Now, I am about 167cm tall and would love to be about 180 or 185.  I suppose what I should do is become a smart-ass and ridicule people who have the nerve to find me short, exposing feminine bias for what it is: ridiculous.  Don’t you realize how much better I am than a tall person?  How much more desirable?  How amazing I am at basketball?  All you haters can just got to hell.  You will damn well desire me!

Because, I am going to put you in my movie and I will make your character fall in love with me because you realize that I am not really very short at all.  I am actually very, very tall.  And this sudden apprehension makes you ridiculously, helpless vulnerable to my sexual charms, and will really prove to all the haters out there that I am, in fact, incredibly sexy and desirable, as well as witty and funny and charming, and not at all annoying as only a hater would think I am.

And Manohla Dargis will assert that my sophisticated insights have “eviscerated” the “gauzy romanticism” of “Hoop Dreams”.

But we can extend this strategy to everything: art, music, poetry.  How dare you find my music lame?  I will write a movie in which the character you play will watch me perform my song with adoration and astonishment, and I will have the entire crowd stand up and applaud at the end, screaming, shaking their heads in wonder, as if I was Maryl Streep singing it myself.  How dare you not like my painting?  How dare you find my blog boring?  How dare you not like me?

We know that Schumer can write just as good as any man because another story by a woman about how sexy and desirable this particular woman is, once our hero comes to his senses, drives home the point that women can write just as good as any man.

The get out of jail free card here is the usual one: exploiting sexuality for a cheap laugh is actually female empowerment, and liberation.  This isn’t a lesbian film: those short skirts and long cleavages are directed at men.  I am liberated and empowered because you want to have sex with me.  Ha!  Told you!

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John Van Maanen, a professor of management at M.I.T. Sloan who teaches a course named “Leading Organizations,” isn’t so sure it can. “Even today, three-plus decades in, there’s no real definition of it,” he says. “We can make people more conscious of ethical dilemmas in business, of the difficulty of directing people in times of adversity, and the confidence and communication skills necessary to do so. But the idea that such skills can be transmitted so that you can lead anybody at any time, that’s ideologically vacuous.”

“It’s difficult not to be frustrated by the excessive focus on it,” he says, “but it’s become so popular that we apparently can’t teach enough of it.”  NyTimes 2015-07-29

As I suspected…

May you have been blessed to be a “Leadership Trainer” (or whatever you call someone who confers “leadership skills” upon the worthy acolyte).  I fall back on Karl Popper’s theories about knowledge, that in order for something to be “true” it must be possible to prove it false.  In other words, for someone to say they have acquired “leadership skills” it must be at least theoretically possible to prove they have not.

I’m not talking about self-proclaimed leaders.   I’m talking about what the marketeers try to sell you as “leadership skills”.  It is not possible, of course, in reality, to measure them, because every leader just kind of feels good about himself or herself and starts talking about “we leaders must…” blah blah blah as if they have some kind of objective proof that they have made the grade.

A leader makes decisions.  A leader has a vision.  A leader makes tough choices.  A leader knows how to motivate his foundlings or acolytes or whatever.  Any two-bit manager does or does not do all of those things but only the ones who have received medals and certificates start to think there is something special about their own decisions and visions and choices.  In my experience, the ones with the most auspicious claims about their “leadership qualities” are the most likely to postpone, delay, consult, and equivocate.   They are more likely to slow things down and to impose wasteful bureaucratic procedures on the decision-making process, have more people sign off on decisions, and get angry when people, who actually want to get things done, do things without waiting for the “process” to catch up to them.

They are the kind of people that spend $6 million on consultants who recommend that they sell a provincial asset for $6 million, but don’t recommend that they never again hire idiot consultants to advise them on how to do the job they are paid to do.

Why?  Because a single really bad decision can wipe out years of equivocation, evasion, and obfuscation.  Why take a chance?  You can always, given the vocabulary of leadership training, claim to be a great leader without actually having to prove anything.  There is no way to prove that any leadership training has worked.  There is no way to prove that a leader is a good leader because if things are going well, they probably would have gone well anyway, and if things are going bad, they could always have gone worse.

But if someone can prove you made a bad decision, the cat is out of the bag.  So you hire a consultant.  And if it proves to be a bad decision, you say, “oh, but the that’s what the consultant recommended.”   They don’t say, “I am the one who chose a stupid consultant.”

People who actually make good, quick decisions– and stick to them– tend to have a more prosaic view of “leadership”: you’re in charge — make decisions.  They feel less threatened by others taking some initiative.  They don’t feel that other peoples’ accomplishments are a threat to their own status.


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You have probably heard by now that authorities in North Carolina decided to charge a young, 17-year-0ld man with possession of child pornography because he had a picture of himself, naked, taken when he was 16, on his cell phone.  I am not making this up.  I wish I was, but no, we live in a world in which serious, well-paid, “professional” adults, see nothing absurd in the idea of charging a boy with possession of a pornographic picture of himself.

I’m not just referring to the idiot who originally laid the charges.  I accept that there are idiots in the world.  No one should be surprised when one bursts into the limelight occasionally.  What I can’t believe is that this idiot was not immediately slapped down and restrained by someone higher up with sense.  A colleague, perhaps, or a sergeant or captain.  Instead, it went on to the District Attorney, to a judge, to the courts, and the public: we are on the job, protecting young men from pictures of themselves.

They also “seized” his phone.  They seized his phone.  I don’t know for sure– maybe I would be surprised– but I’ll bet most people think nothing of this fact.  The police seized his phone.  They physically removed it from his possession and took control of it and, presumably, explored it.  What do you have on your phone?  What messages have you sent?  What photos are on there?  Who sent you photos?  Who did you send photos?

This is really a shocking and repulsive act of personal invasion.  Did the police feel entitled to search his phone?  It was in the process of investigating what the police called a possible “statutory rape” which did not involve this boy, or his girlfriend.   So on what basis did they justify asking the boy’s mother for permission to look at his phone, without a warrant, without having provided any judge with evidence that the boy may have committed a crime?  Without having warned his mother, if we find any inappropriate pictures of your boy on this phone, we will have to arrest him and charge him with possession of inappropriate pictures of himself.

American Sharia

This is insane.  I think there have probably always been people who would think such a thing was very serious and very, very naughty,  should be punished with at least a prison sentence, but I think those people have, in the past, been told to shut up and stop being hysterical.  Now they win.  The teen was arrested.  His horrible, evil, monstrous deed was publicized (indeed, it has now gone around the world), and he almost found himself saddled with a lifetime of explaining to anyone who might consider employing him that he had a felony on his record, a crime so awful and despicable that it must remain attached to his record for all of his days: for yes, indeed, I saw myself naked.

Some sense did enter the fray: they eventually consented to reduce the charges.  And now they expect us to see how really reasonable they really are?   We know that you didn’t drop all charges because then you would not be able to hope most devoutly and fervently that there are people out there who will think, “well, he must have done something bad or the police would never have charged him.”

His girlfriend, by the way, received the same treatment, for sending a nude picture of herself, at 16, to her boyfriend, but I’ll bet the police and the District Attorney studied her picture more carefully before laying charges.  Yes, she too was charged with producing child pornography.

There are no shades of grey here, no ambiguity, no room for interpretation.  These people are monstrous idiots.  They are not just “idiots” because they are stupid and malevolent and, in fact, psychotic.  I do not qualify the word “psychotic”: they are completely uncaring about the harm they cause in proportion to the supposed offense.

The arresting officers should be fired and arrested and charged with public mischief and given a light sentence.  Because there’s no sense in multiplying the horrors and indignities of stupid, small-minded, hysterically fearful people.  But they must be fired.

But it would be more keeping with the spirit of the police here to charge the police themselves with possession of child porn.  Perhaps one of the officers who searched the phone could lay charges against himself.

If Americans are serious when they say they fear Sharia law, let them show it.

More Psychotic Behaviour by the Authorities.

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