Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Save the Polar Bears

We have all seen the pictures of the dying polar bear. Shot by National Geographic the image has been presented as irrefutable proof that climate change is killing off the polar bears. Never mind that we only see one lonely bear. Never mind that we do not know why the bear was dying. It doesn’t matter. To true believers, the polar bear instantly became a totem, a symbol of the horrors that Donald Trump was causing to the pristine natural world.

If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Even Slate, no right wing organ of incorrect opinion, has explained that, in the words of an expert, polar bears die all the time. You will admit that the idea is astonishing.  Even more amazing, we often do not know why. For all we know the bear in question was dying from bone cancer. It would be difficult to blame that one on Republicans, but perhaps the bear would have been saved by Obamacare. Hey, you never know.

Slate reports:

For one thing, [wildlife biologist Jeff Higdon] says, during summertime, part of the Arctic is often ice-free. That’s due to seasonal changes, not climatic shifts. And while it can be hard to stomach never mind witness, animals starve to death all the time, for a million different reasons. “We may start to see more [climate-caused starvation] over time, but at this point, there’s no evidence I’m aware of that we’re seeing that,” Higdon adds.

Not wanting to disappoint its readers Slate adds that climate change is killing the polar bears, though not necessarily the one we see dying before our eyes.

Still, we can ask whether or not Slate is right? Are the polar bears doomed because Trump walked away from the Paris Climate Accord? Enquiring minds want to know.

The NoTricksZone blog (via Moonbattery and via Maggie’s Farm) summarizes the latest in peer reviewed science:

Most of the world’s polar bears live in Canada.  Hunters and elders from northern Canada’s native communities have been immersed in studying polar bear ecology for centuries.

In two new peer-reviewed papers published in the journals Ecology and Evolution and Polar Record, scientists record the observations and experiences of Canada’s polar bear “experts” — the community members who live side-by-side with these “sea bears” (Ursus maritimus).

According to scientists, no study has indicated that there is reason to presume that the perspectives of community observers are either suspect or incorrect.  In fact, there have been multiple occasions when traditional ecological knowledge gleaned from local populations accurately identified polar bear subpopulation trends before new scientific studies could be conducted to corroborate them (York et al., 2016).

The overwhelming conclusion from years of accumulated conversations with native populations about polar bears is that there is almost no connection between the long-term observations of polar bear ecology and the more recent claims that polar bears as a species are in grave danger due to climate change and thinning sea ice.

In fact, the long-term observations suggest that polar bear subpopulations are currently faring quite well, with 92% of  the subpopulations studied either remaining stable or growing in recent years.

According to Inuit observers, there may even be “too many” bears now.

Now we can all rejoice because the polar bears are thriving. Right?

Where Is the Arab Street?

Viscerally opposed to anything that Donald Trump does, the elite that has been in charge of American foreign policy for decades now declared last week that the world, and in particular the “Arab street” would erupt in rage at Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.

It makes some sense. These great minds had refused to recognize Jerusalem because they feared the might wrath of the Arab Street. Don’t say that terrorism doesn’t work? Besides, in America today, if you do not erupt in rage at anything Trump says or does, you will be shunned from polite liberal society. Just ask Alan Dershowitz.

I have already offered my views on the matter. On the response of the Arab street Lt. Col. Ralph Peters has it right. It was yet another occasion where the bien pensant progressives and the cowardly Europeans got it wrong. Why did they get it wrong? For one simple reason: their own residual anti-Semitism:

In the wake of President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last week, the “experts” crowding the media predicted strategic calamity: Vast, violent protests and a wave of terror would sweep the Muslim world in the coming days.

Instead, the largest demonstration anywhere this weekend was the funeral procession for Johnny Hallyday, the “French Elvis.” Nothing in the Middle East came close.

We have witnessed, yet again, the carefully phrased anti-Semitism of the pristinely educated; the global left’s fanatical pro-Palestinian bias; and the media’s yearning for career-making disasters.

Rather than waves of protest, the waiting world got tepid statements of disapproval from otherwise-occupied Arab governments; demonstrations in the West Bank and the Gaza strip that, combined, barely put a thousand activists in the streets; and yes, four deaths: two demonstrators and two Hamas terrorists hit by an Israeli airstrike.

One suspects that Western leftists hate Israel because they are trying to appease the millions of Muslim immigrants they allowed into their countries and who are now wreaking havoc.

As I have been reporting on this blog, things have changed in the Middle East.

Peters explains:

Once upon a time, the Palestinians were the only game at the propaganda casino, a marvelous tool for Arab leaders to divert attention from domestic failures. Then came al Qaeda. And Iraq. Iranian empire-building. The Arab Spring. The oil-price collapse and the rise of ISIS, with its butcher-shop caliphate. The civil war in Syria, with half a million dead. And, not least, the region-wide confrontation between decaying Sunni power and rising Shia might.

Thus, geopolitical realities have caused the Middle East to see Israel, as I have often noted, as the solution, not the problem. I would add that Israel has far more to offer modernizing Arab nations than do the parasitic Palestinians.

But by far the most-significant factor is that Israel has become an indispensable, if quiet, ally of Sunni states against Iran. Although well-armed, Saudi Arabia remains inept on the battlefield, bogged down in Yemen and terrified of Iranian gains in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Israel doesn’t need Saudi Arabia, but Saudi Arabia definitely needs Israel.

As for the Palestinians they never wanted to negotiate peace anyway. They wanted and they still want to destroy Israel. They use peace negotiations as a means to that end. Had they wanted a state, Peters argues, they could have had it, many times over.

Since the failed 1948 Arab assault on newly reborn Israel, the Palestinians have had literally dozens of opportunities for an advantageous peace. Yet, even Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton — no friends to the blue-and-white flag — ended up frustrated as Palestinian leaders, on the cusp of peace time and again, decided that three-quarters of the pie was insufficient.

Inevitably, the pie got smaller over time — but the Palestinian leadership continued to profit from “occupied” status. Now it’s too late for anything that looks like a viable Palestinian state. It’s time we all faced that reality.

If you will, the Palestinians claimed “occupied” status to receive the support and admiration of Western liberals… happy as they were to consider Israel  a hegemonic, imperialist, colonialist power. If the Palestinians were incapable of building a functioning modern economy they could step forth and claim the status as vanguard of the next Marxist revolution. Obviously, this appeals to unreconstructed Western leftists.

So, perhaps the world has turned a page. Perhaps the rage of today’s Arab street is more show than substance. Once Saudi Arabia turned its back on the Palestinian madness, the party effectively was over. It was time to learn the lesson of World War II—appeasement does not work:

A Central-Asian proverb runs that “The dog may bark, but the caravan moves on.” The hounds of appeasement have barked for generations, but the Israeli caravan kept going, arriving at the only admirable (or even livable) state in the Middle East, an island of civilization amid vast deserts of barbarism.

The analogy is apt. And, let’s not forget, the grand mufti of Jerusalem during World War II, uncle of Yasser Arafat, strongly supported Hitler’s final solution for the Jewish people. Could it be that the Palestinian resistance has merely kept the Nazi hope alive? Could it be that the call for revolution was also a call for a return to the days of Nazi persecution of Jews?

To modify a poet's words: This is the way the Palestinian cause ends; not with a bang, but with a whimper.

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Night Riders of the Thought Police

You may or may not know it, but Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe has been attacking his former colleague, emeritus professor Alan Dershowitz because the latter had the temerity to declare that Robert Mueller could not indict President Trump for obstruction of justice. Dershowitz declared that the president could not be indicted for exercising his constitutional authority… which allows him to fire any of those who work for him in the executive branch, for any reason.

Dershowitz continued that if Trump had encouraged someone to lie or to bribe, then surely he could be indicted. An interesting legal issue, one that we might well want to debate... since the collusion argument seems to have blow up for now.

Are the nation’s great legal minds debating this constitutional issue? Not at all. They are horrified that Dershowitz, a true liberal Democrat, would say anything that would detract from the left wing derangement over Trump. Eminent legal scholar like Laurence Tribe want Trump to be impeached. He does not care how. Any means are apparently acceptable as long as the proper result is achieved. He and his cohorts refuse to allow anything, not rational argument, not constitutional law, not due process stand in their way.

Now, what does Tribe have to say about this? What does the law professor contribute to deliberative debate on the topic? Well, he offers this tweet about Dershowitz:

My retired former colleague seems proud of playing devil’s advocate here. But this is no game. I think he should be deeply ashamed of helping legitimate the closest thing we have to the Devil Incarnate with so absurd and dangerous an argument.

Note the rhetorical flourish: the closest thing we have to the Devil Incarnate. (In caps, out of respect, I imagine). Might we ask where in the Constitution he found that reference to the Antichrist? Might we ask whether it belongs to the Common Law? 

The truth is, Tribe has lost his mind, he is flailing, he is acting like someone who is deranged, he has girded his loins and declared war on Donald Trump. Having lost his mind he has lost all sense of reality. At that point, nothing really matters. Due process be damned. Criminal procedure must be ignored. The only question for one of America’s great legal minds—or, should I say, for someone who used to possess one of America’s great legal minds—is to get Trump. By any means, using any methods, regardless of the damage to the constitution or the legal system.

Someone who is supposed to have dedicated his life to the law, is trafficking in Biblical prophecy. Immanentize the eschaton, as they say in the vernacular. Tribe has taken up residence in the Book of Revelation and awaits the Second Coming of Christ to rid the world of the Antichrist, aka, the Beast. Ought he not to feel a slight twinge of shame for compromising his life’s work in order to lead the disloyal opposition, an opposition so disloyal that it no longer cares about facts or the law? Ought he not to avoid such incendiary nonsense, in the interest of fostering rational debate?

Apparently not. America’s intellectual culture, its national conversation has been so completely corrupted that an Alan Dershowitz, a titan of modern liberal thought, a former board member of the American Civil Liberties Union has not earned enough credit to have his views respected by his erstwhile colleagues.

For a Laurence Tribe it no longer matters whether you are right or wrong. It no longer matters that you have spent your life defending civil liberties and teaching constitutional law. It no longer matters that you have raised substantive legal issues that deserve a hearing. Not at all. the only thing that matters is whether you belong to the army that is willing to sacrifice principle and rational thought in the effort to impeach Donald Trump. If Tribe thinks he is fighting Nazis this only adds to our sense of his derangement.

If you were wondering how America’s universities became cesspools of political correctness, if you were wondering why the night riders of the thought police are harassing anyone who disputes the current orthodoxy, you do not need to look any further than the Dershowitz/Tribe conflict.

It’s not as though Tribe and his legions of maniacal anti-Trumpers can harm Dershowitz. The 79-year-old retired professor is retired from the halls of academia, where he taught for five decades. We might say that he has been liberated. More important is the message that the diatribes against him, the efforts to shun him from polite liberal society, are sending to anyone else who would dare say a word that disputes the anti-Trump orthodoxy.

We saw it in the case of one Stephen Cohen, retired professor of Russia Studies, eminent authority on Russian politics, contributor to The Nation—not a right wing magazine, that—who has been excoriated by his colleagues on the left for daring to suggest that Trump’s Russia policy is reasonable and correct. And also for saying that, among the unwelcome side effects of the Russian collusion mania has been the damage done to Russian and American relationship. To Cohen, American and Russia should try to work together on numerous international crises. With the attacks on Trump’s supposed Russian collusion, the task has become increasingly difficult.

For having uttered these thoughts Cohen has been attacked by his colleagues. Because, if your expertise and your rational thought leads you to a conclusion that might make Trump look good, you are a traitor to the cause and deserve to be taken out and shot... in a manner of speaking.

Dershowitz has been more prominent, so he has received the lion’s share of opprobrium. The Washington Post told the story:
As a result, Dershowitz told The Washington Post on Wednesday, he is being shunned by many of his old political allies. His motives are being questioned. And people who used to be his friends just don’t want to hear from him.

“None of my liberal friends invite me to dinner anymore,” he said. “Thanks to Donald Trump, I’ve lost seven pounds. I call it the Donald Trump diet,” he joked.

Even so, Dershowitz says that he’s the same fiery, uncompromising civil libertarian that he has always been.

The effect of the threats and intimidation is to stifle debate and discussion. The Post reported:

He says a number of lawyers and scholars privately accept his argument but are unwilling to say so publicly because they don’t want to do anything that helps Trump. “I would say that 25 times people have either written me, called me, or told me in person and said, ‘You’re right. You’re 100 percent right. Your arguments are solid, but why do you have to say it? Just keep quiet. Don’t help them.’ ”

Aside from being ostracized, his motives are being attacked and his character is being defamed:

“People have accused me of everything,” Dershowitz told The Post. “Of taking money. … A guy on MSNBC asked me if I was being paid by Trump. Others have asked me if I’m writing a book about it,” he said. “The answer to both is no and no.”

“Everybody’s questioning motive,” he said, with some suggesting he’s jockeying for a seat on the Supreme Court (“I’m 79 years old”) or that he wants to be Trump’s lawyer. None of this is true, he said. “People can’t just accept that I’m saying what I believe and I would be saying the same thing if Hillary Clinton were president.”

His viewpoint “has affected my friendships,” Dershowitz said. “I have a nephew who is just furious at me. He wants to do anything to have this guy impeached or removed from office and he says I’m stopping that. There are people who think — and I’ve been accused of this in print — that I’m the one who put this obstruction argument into the head of Trump and his lawyers, especially since Trump tweeted that he liked my argument.”

Dershowitz said he “got an email today from a very prominent friend — I’m not going to disclose his name because it was a private email — admitting that I’m right and saying ‘My hatred toward Trump blinds me to your truths.’ That was his email. ‘My hatred for Trump blinds me to your truths. Please stop.’

Think about it. These are supposed to be enlightened souls. They have fought against hatred all of their lives. And now they are so consumed by hate that they cannot even see. They ought to recognize that when you are blinded by hate you are not going to be a very good soldier. Blindness makes far more difficult to aim. You might even end up attacking people who are on your side.

Again, the salient point is that the best and the brightest, the pillars of the American legal establishment, are so completely deranged by Trump that they can no longer see. Worse yet, they can no longer think. They are not even trying. Those who are not retired and untouchable will receive a chilling message. Take the right side of this war on Trump or your life will be over.

Whatever you think of Donald Trump, this anti-intellectual emotionally overwrought attitude, fostered by the nation's best legal minds, will damage the nation and our democracy. They are a disgrace to their profession.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Incendiary Feminist Rage

Nearly five decades of feminism and what do we get: Harvey Weinstein and Charley Rose and Louis CK and Bret Ratner and Kevin Spacey. Does this mean that we need more feminism or that feminism has failed?

Now, radical feminists are taking up arms to advance their war against predatory men. But, what if feminism is as much the problem as the solution? After all, most of the men who are accused of egregious sexual harassment and assaults are good progressive feminists. They are merely doing what Bill Clinton got away with doing. And they have been offered absolution by the Dowager Duchess of Chappaqua herself. As for the women who feared speaking out, they saw what the Dowager Duchess did to women who accused her husband of sexual predations. Until now, they chose to keep quiet.

Of course, today’s feminists, at least those who do not know how to think, believe that the Trump election has provoked the #MeToo movement. It might also be that disempowering one of America’s biggest frauds, HRC herself, has freed women from the threat her power represented. Ding, dong… the witch is dead. Or at least, the witch no longer wields political power. Ergo, women are now free to speak out against media and Hollywood men, Hillary’s army of predators. Think about it.

Today the New York Times showcases two interesting reactions to the current wave of denunciations and accusations. On one side, Lucinda Franks, a woman who began her journalistic career in the 1970s, at a time when second-wave feminism had just started washing up on the shores. Franks is cogent and intelligent, solid and sensible. 

On the other side, Michelle Goldberg, a raging contemporary feminist, a generation younger than Franks, who wants to direct her “incendiary rage” against Donald Trump… whom she, in an especially mindless rant, considers responsible for all of it. She is promoting a form of ritual sacrifice—of Trump the Antichrist—and is so blinded by her rage that she fails to see the prominent role that the Clintons and their ilk played in the current crisis.

Anyway, Franks considers the possibility that feminism and the sexual revolution might very well have contributed to the harassment problem:

Had the sexualization of American popular culture in the 1990s and 2000s taken the restraints off the male id, freeing men to pursue their most absurd fantasies — holding professional interviews at their homes, parading around naked under open bathrobes in front of job applicants? Had feminism, with its promotion of sexual freedom, combined with these cultural changes, paradoxically poured gas on the fires of these workplace assaults? Or had this stomach-turning type of aggression simply evaded the rumor mill but been happening all along?

As it happened Franks was the youngest woman ever to win the Pulitzer Prize. It did not produce any sexual harassment, but it did get her shunned in the newsroom:

Two years after I joined the news service, I won the Pulitzer Prize. I suffered for it mightily. That I was the first woman to win for national reporting — I had been brought to New York to do a five-part series on the violent antiwar Weatherman group — made it only worse. I could see it in their bowed heads: We’ve been striving for years to win that coveted prize and a 24-year-old walks away with it! The entire bureau of men refused to speak to me that day and the days after.

I was haunted by the creeping conviction that I didn’t deserve the prize — I should give it back. For at least the next 10 years, I was too ashamed to tell people I’d won.

But, isn’t that the point? To be more precise, when men who have been working their way up the prestige ladder in the newsroom for many years do not receive a reward but saw it given to a woman who had been there for twenty minutes, they might believe that sexual politics, as it was called back then, or affirmative action or diversity quotas have entered into the equation. And have rigged the system against them. This would provoke no small amount of hostility.

Shelby Steele has remarked, and the point has not been taken seriously enough, that when college admissions and corporate hiring practices are skewed to favor minority candidates—he could have added, women—then people will assume that any minority candidate or woman has gotten the job for reasons that have nothing to do with merit. If said candidate wins an award people will naturally assume that it is unearned… better yet, that it was unjustly taken from them. This produces resentment. Affirmative action and diversity quotas are a poisoned gift.

Sexual politics appears to rig the system, to rig it against men. Add to this another factor, one that applies to female candidates but not to racial minorities. Has is ever happened that a woman has advanced her career by offering sexual favors to a male superior? Perish the thought. 

When you stop laughing, consider this variation on Steele’s argument: when women are promoted beyond their accomplishments, men will assume that the game has been rigged. But they will also assume that the women are either fulfilling a diversity quota or have traded sexual favors for career advancement. Has this simple fact contributed to the wave of sexual harassment? It is worth thinking about it.

Of course, to be fair, no one ever accused Hillary Clinton of sleeping her way to the top. She did, however, marry her way to the top. How better to become a partner in the Rose Law Firm than to marry a leading political figure in the state? How better to become a United States Senator, the Secretary of State and a presidential candidate, than to be married to a former president. 

Hillary Clinton is the poster child for women who have not advanced because of their competence, but who married their way to the top. Again, this rigs the system. Feminists fall all over themselves saying that HRC was eminently qualified, but, as we have often noticed, they are simply exposing the fact that they are consumed by ideological zeal.

Speaking of ideological zeal, consider the rant that Michelle Goldberg wrote for the Times this morning.

Quite explicitly, she wants to weaponize the #MeToo movement and to turn it against Republicans. She is slightly discommoded by the fact that most of the men who are being accused travel in liberal and progressive circles, support feminism and fund Planned Parenthood.

But the revolution is smaller than it first appears. So far, it has been mostly confined to liberal-leaning sectors like entertainment, the media, academia, Silicon Valley and the Democratic Party. It hasn’t rocked the Republicans, corporate America or Wall Street — with some exceptions— because these realms are less responsive to feminist pressure.

She assumes that the sexual harassers in Republican precincts like Wall Street are simply doing better at hiding. For the record Goldberg does not recognize that Wall Street and Silicon Valley—the bastions of corporate America—are not filled with Republicans. They are Democratic Party redoubts. Wall Street bankers funded the Obama election campaigns very generously. As for Silicon Valley, at many of the biggers firms you will be fired if you are a Republican. But... don't let the facts get in the way of an ideologically driven narrative.

If you are consumed with burning hot ideological zeal, the first thing to go is the ability to think straight. As for Goldberg's insistence on the Revolution, how blind do you have to be to understand that the ideology of revolution, the kind that was going to overthrow the capitalist order and install a Worker’s Paradise, has been tried and has failed? It failed miserably. Those who suffered the horrors inflicted by Marxists revolutionaries will look at a Goldberg and think that she is no longer living in the real world.

Note this also. The feminist movement, in stark opposition to Martin Luther King’s civil rights movement, brought radical leftist ideology into the workplace. The civil rights movement sought integration. The feminist movement, in its radical incarnations, wanted to overthrow the patriarchy and to rebel against the capitalist order.

If this is the express intention of the feminist movement, an employee might think twice about hiring or trusting a female employee? Now, as we among many others have pointed out, the #MeToo wave will undoubtedly make it far more difficult for women to be hired or to be mentored by men.

Goldberg thinks that this is all going to be solved by giving women political power. She explains:

For doing something, she and all the others who have exposed the sexual degradation that mars so many professional lives deserve our gratitude and admiration. They’ve made things tangibly better for the women in their industries. But ultimately, the cultural currency of the #MeToo movement is not a substitute for political power. The incendiary rage unleashed by Trump’s election needs to be directed back at him. Otherwise, only those who already advocate women’s equality will be forced to grant it.

Of course, the poisoned gift of #MeToo will probably not make things better for women in business. They might suffer less sexual harassment, but that does not mean that women will be respected. They might just be avoided, as though they are radioactive. 

If the feminist movement, in its less radical incarnation, wanted to ensure that women be respected in the workplace and have the same career opportunities as men, then clearly #MeToo tells us that feminism failed. A zealot like Goldberg will react as all radical ideologues—by craving more and more radicalism. As she says, men must be forced to do what women tell them to do. Or better, what the feminist program prescribes. If you do not understand that this is going to produce blow back, push back and outright hostility you are living an ideological fairy tale.

Goldberg is current consumed by her “incendiary rage.” Apparently, she sees herself as a blowtorch. Of course, that is more the problem than the solution. Why would you want to hire women who are consumed by incendiary rage? Do you want a female blowtorch roaming around the office pretending to be strong and empowered? Do you want to do business with a woman who suffers from incendiary rage, who threatens to burn you, to blow you up, to destroy your life? Do you want to marry a woman who is burning up with rage against men? 

Goldberg gives herself an out when she says that she is really directing her blowtorch at Donald Trump, and when she allows that Democrats are generally to be excused their predations because they are moral paragons. Still, it does not take too many little gray cells to see that she has skewed the argument against Republicans because she wants to keep in touch with the Democrat men in her life. Being oblivious to the role the Clintons played in the current wave of harassment allegations might mask an effort, not just to gain political power, but to divide men against each other and to offer absolution to men who agree with her politics.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Good-bye Pajama Boy; Hello, Mad Dog

If Barack Obama had been president reporters would be falling over themselves singing his praises. Since Donald Trump—a man recently called the Devil Incarnate by famed Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Tribe—is president, the story gets filed away under curiosities. Good to see a Harvard Law Professor contributing to our deliberative democracy.

Anyway, the news is, that the Islamic State, ISIS has been thoroughly defeated in Iraq and is almost completely defeated in Syria. Good news, don’t you think?

Why did it happen? For one thing, we no longer have Pajama Boy running the war. In his place, we have Mad Dog. I was going to say that Donald Trump is in leading the charge, but, in truth Trump’s best decision was to delegate authority to Defense Secretary James Mattis and to the generals. They knew what to do and knew how to do it. Within a year, the Caliphate—a product of Obama administration policy in Iraq and Syria—was defeated.

It’s all about rules of engagement. The Obama administration called off military strikes for fear of having anyone get hurt. Unwilling to engage the fight, the Obama team cowered in the corner. Doesn’t that sound like what supposedly happened in Benghazi?

Hollie McKay reports from Baghdad:

Hundreds of ISIS fighters had just been chased out of a northern Syrian city and were fleeing through the desert in long convoys, presenting an easy target to U.S. A-10 "warthogs."

But the orders to bomb the black-clad jihadists never came, and the terrorists melted into their caliphate -- living to fight another day. The events came in August 2016, even as then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was vowing on the campaign trail to let generals in his administration crush the organization that, under President Obama, had grown from the “jayvee team” to the world’s most feared terrorist organization.

McKay reports the extent of the American victory:

Just over a year later, ISIS has been routed from Iraq and Syria with an ease and speed that's surprised even the men and women who carried out the mission. Experts say it's a prime example of a campaign promise kept. President Trump scrapped his predecessor’s rules of engagement, which critics say hamstrung the military, and let battlefield decisions be made by the generals in the theater, and not bureaucrats in Washington.

At its peak, ISIS held land in Iraq and Syria that equaled the size of West Virginia, ruled over as many as 8 million people, controlled oilfields and refineries, agriculture, smuggling routes and vast arsenals. It ran a brutal, oppressive government, even printing its own currency.

This does not mean that ISIS has been completely defeated. But, it does mean that the military side of the conflict has been won.

But the military’s job -- to take back the land ISIS claimed as its caliphate and liberate cities like Mosul, in Iraq, and Raqqa, in Syria, as well as countless smaller cities and villages, is largely done. And it has taken less than a year.

“The leadership team that is in place right now has certainly enabled us to succeed,” Brig. Gen. Andrew Croft, the ranking U.S. Air Force officer in Iraq, told Fox News. “I couldn’t ask for a better leadership team to work for, to enable the military to do what it does best.”

President Trump gave a free hand to Mattis, who in May stressed military commanders were no longer being slowed by Washington “decision cycles,” or by the White House micromanaging that existed President Obama. As a result of the new approach, the fall of ISIS in Iraq came even more swiftly than hardened U.S. military leaders expected.

“It moved more quickly than at least I had anticipated,” Croft said. “We and the Iraqi Security Forces were able to hunt down and target ISIS leadership, target their command and control.”

Of course, we still live in a nation of whiners. Those who are not ignoring what is happening in Iraq are expressing their chagrin over the civilian casualties. The never expressed the same chagrin when the caliphate was running wild, destroying lives, raping women, looting and pillaging. The Obamphile left does not like rules of engagement that allow America to win, but prefers rules of engagement that display cowardly weakness and allow the caliphate to flourish.

And, while we are here, ask yourself this: how much of the changes that are happening in the Middle East, from Saudi Arabia to Jerusalem, would not have happened without a firm and resolute American military presence in Iraq and Syria?

Fornicating with Ghosts

If you are a woman and are fed up with men, here’s a solution. Instead of trying or even wanting to have sex with one of those appalling creatures, why not hook up with ghosts. That’s what Amethyst Realm—apparently her real name—did. Don't you think that with a name like that, ghosts would find you especially attractive?

But, Amethyst managed to have sex with 20—count ‘em—ghosts… and therefore was slut-shamed by a judgmental male. One imagines that women would have also slut-shamed her... for keeping all of the ghosts to herself. Don’t we live in the age of oversharing.

Of course, it all sounds like a hoax, but, since in days of yore women—aka witches—were fornicating with devils-- don't ask he how I know-- why not ghosts? Besides, we do not want to be judgmental.

Amethyst Realm, a 27-year-old Brit, is getting slut-shamed for claiming to have had sex with at least 20 ghosts — whom she purportedly prefers to living men.

Realm, from Bristol, England, went on the British TV show “ITV This Morning” on Thursday to discuss her out-of-body-on-body experiences. She says it all began in 2005, when she moved into a haunted home with her then-fiancĂ©.

“It started as an energy, then became physical,” she says. “There was pressure on my thighs and breath on my neck. I just always felt safe. I had sex with the ghost. You can feel it. It’s difficult to explain,” she says.

Realm continued this supernatural affair for three years, but had to end it when she got caught by her husband (she claims he saw a shadowy shape of a man on top of her).

Since that first steamy supernatural encounter, Realm says she’s hooked up with at least 20 ghosts.

When she told her story on television, the host suggested that it was a bit of a slutty thing to do. The Huffington Post called him out for slut-shaming her. What would we do without the HuffPost.

And yet, an astute commentator pointed out that, if it started 12 years ago and if she is now 27, well that means that she was engaged to marry and also her first ghost when she was 15:

“She had a fiancĂ© at 15?” writes one HuffPost commentator. “Is she originally from Alabama?”

Obviously, she needs to sue the ghosts for pedophilia, if not sexual harassment:

“Tune in next week [when] she accuses them of sexual harassment and sues them. #shewantsachecktoo,” writes another.

The licensed, credentialed therapist declared that the woman was hallucinating. One can only wonder how she knows.

Really Bad Therapy

Hats off to New York Magazine. The magazine that balances  the psychobabble of Ask Polly with excellent reports about the latest in social psychology—in its Science of Us rubric—has caught on to the fact that certain therapists are not doing their jobs. Many of those who are doing their jobs are not doing them very well. Some of them are positively appalling. All of the patients are women.

And yet, therapists have power in the media. Many stories about therapy seem to have been written by the therapists’ own PR firms.  The horror stories seem to have been filed away as anomalous.

Now, New York Magazine has collected some stories about bad things that happen in therapy. We are brimming with gratitude and happily report a few of them… for your edification.

The first therapist kept talking about herself. I suspect that she was Polly’s therapist:

I swear my therapist was only there to talk about herself. Every time I visited her, she would tell me about her ‘friend.’ It was obviously about her. And then there was the time that she was inspired by my silly fashion and bought the same sweater I always wore to our sessions. Of course, I never would have known this if she hadn’t shown up to our meeting wearing it — while I had mine on, too!”

Another tried to play matchmaker. She set up one patient with another patient—generally a very bad idea. But, the male patient in question seems to have learned courtship by Harvey Weinstein.  Somehow the therapist did not know. Or else, she did not care:

My therapist set me up with another one of her patients, who was a writer. He wrote about the porn industry and lived, literally, in a closet. For our first date, he met me at work. I had to swing by my place to change before we went out. So I went to the bathroom to freshen up, and when I came out, he was lying naked on my bed. I had known him for five minutes. At first, I was confused as to why my therapist would set me up with such a schmuck, so I confronted her about it. She laughed it off, and then she immediately wanted me to pay my bill.

Another therapist was a Hillary Clinton supporter who was obsessed with Donald Trump. That’s all she wanted to talk about:

Around the election last year, my old therapist asked me every session if I was a Republican. When I reminded her that I was not, she would go on to talk to me about all her clients who she thinks supports Trump. Obsessed with Trump all day, all night. That is all she talked about. One day, we got into it. I went to her to talk about my stress at home, but she kept asking me about Hillary. I was a huge Hillary fan. So was she. Then she made the biggest mistake. She told me that an educated, rich, white politician (Hillary) had suffered more than any woman in the world. She said Hillary had endured the most as a woman … ever! I said, ‘More than enslaved black women?’ She said yes. I was like, Girl, bye. My next session was scheduled for the day after the election. Hillary lost. I was upset, but knew I couldn’t listen to her whine about Donald Trump for the next four to eight years. So I rescheduled my appointment. She fired me as a patient, saying I no-showed. Whatever.

And then there’s the therapist who should be sued or prosecuted—I am not sure which:

I sent him an email that I had to quit him out of the interest of time. He responded with the most threatening letter a mother could imagine; using all my personal secrets against me and even threatening to have my kids taken away from me because, he said, this decision to quit him made me seem very unstable to him. It felt like he was holding me hostage. I was nervous every day for months that someone was going to come to my house and take my kids. It’s been about a year now and he’s never done anything — but even talking about the situation freaks me out immensely.

As for the notion that therapists, for having themselves undergone therapy, are of superior mental health and emotional stability… what can I say that would make them look worse than they make themselves look?