Saturday, 1/9/16

  1. Call me Caitlyn or else!
  2. United States of Amnesia
  3. Antiwar & otherwise dissident

1

The New York City Commission of Human Rights has issued “new guidance that makes clear what constitutes gender identity and gender expression discrimination under the NYC Human Rights Law.” You can now face steep monetary penalties for, among other things, “intentionally failing to use an individual’s preferred name, pronoun, or title” or “refusing to allow individuals to use single-sex facilities, such as bathrooms or locker rooms, and participate in single-sex programs, consistent with their gender identity.” Failure to comply can result in fines of up to $250,000.

(David French) Although I don’t often care for his tone or spin, French pretty consistently gets the basic facts right on legal matters.

Note that the Legislators signaled their virtue by prohibiting the boogeyman — gender identity and gender expression discrimination — but since nobody knew what the h*** that meant, the bureaucrats get to do the more patently Orwellian dirty work.

Call me Caitlyn” or face fines up to $250,000.

When will we admit that the cure is worse than the disease? When SWAT Teams tear up your home looking for evidence of Wrongthink?

2

Both ordinary Russians and those who are journalists or teachers kept coming around to the same issue: why does the United States hate Russians so much and why does the American press seemingly have nothing good to say about them? They were questions I could not answer in any coherent way. I observed somewhat defensively that Russia under Vladimir Putin had become more authoritarian, that the media has lost much of its freedom and that the old Yeltsin style gross systematic corruption has reportedly been replaced by a newer, more subtle cronyism version of something similar. And I mentioned both Crimea and Ukraine as sometimes mishandled in the government’s undeniable agitprop while also conceding that the Russian case was legitimate on many levels. I expressed my own view that the crisis had been engineered by Washington in the first place, seeking to bring about regime change in Kiev. Concerning RT International itself, I mentioned to several of its spokesmen and reporters that its coverage was frequently unreliable on subjects that are close to home as it was skewed to adhere to the government line. They did not disagree with me.

But somehow none of the back and forth seemed to answer the question and in retrospect I don’t think I have a good response. President Vladimir Putin has numerous critics inside Russia but he remains wildly popular and is viewed as a genuine nationalist of the old school, meaning that for most citizens he is perceived as behaving in terms of Russia’s actual interests. That has made him an appealing figure on the world stage …

One European speaker joked that U.S.A. could stand for United States of Amnesia in that developments elsewhere in the world are subjected to a superficial 24-hour news cycle before being completely forgotten. Professor Peter Kuznick of American University observed that students in the U.S. rank low on science and math scores, which makes the news, but the area in which their scores are actually lowest is history. He quizzed a class of top students on the Second World War and asked how many Americans died in the conflict. The response was 90,000, which is nearly 300,000 short of the true number. How many Russians? The answer was about 100,000, which is 27,900,000 short. Not knowing something about that number means not understanding what motivates Russia. Kuznick observed that roughly 3,000 Americans died on 9/11. To use the numbers of 9/11 as a basis for appreciating the impact of the Russian war deaths would require the U.S. to experience a 9/11 attack every day for the next 24 years.

(Philip Giraldi on how and why American views of Russia are skewed) I thought the point about relative WW II loses was staggering. Russia lost 70 times more in WW II than we did! (I knew it was bad, but being American had forgotten it was that bad.)

3

A thumbnail of a fascinating character, co-founder of Antiwar.com:

Raimondo in particular has a bare-knuckled writing style that both endears and repels readers, depending on what they want to hear. An openly gay man who long eschewed the support system of the liberal San Francisco activist community he lives alongside, he’s sarcastic and doesn’t shrink from public conflicts with other writers and readers, nor is he averse to making them personal. He burns bridges, and has bad blood with people going back years. But he’s the first to admit it, and the same passion he is criticized for unleashing like a literary Smaug is what makes his columns so sharp, funny and cathartic.

“Justin Raimondo is a cross between H. L. Mencken and Gore Vidal,” offers Angela Keaton, who is the longtime director of operations at Antiwar.com and currently among its staff of seven. “His chronicling of a decaying empire is both depressing and exhilarating.”

I first encountered him at Lewrockwell.com (the name of which always puts me off because it puts me in mind of this famous graduate of Brown University – a connection that only, but indelibly, exists in my mind). If you want more dissenting voices to our foreign policy, I recommend Daniel Larison and (tentatively) Levant Report, which I’m still sniffing around for signs of zaniness.

* * * * *

“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.