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From The Verge:

Google CEO Sundar Pichai says he does not regret firing James Damore

“It was the right decision,” says YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki

By Nick Statt@nickstatt Jan 19, 2018, 5:20pm EST

Google CEO Sundar Pichai responded today to the firing of employee James Damore over his controversial memo on workplace diversity, stating that while he does not regret the decision, he regrets that people misunderstood it as a politically motivated event. Speaking in a live conversation with journalist and Recode co-founder Kara Swisher, MSNBC host Ari Melber, and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki in San Francisco, Pichai said that the decision to fire Damore was about ensuring women at Google felt like the company was committed to creating a welcoming environment.

“I regret that people misunderstand that we may have made this for a political belief one way or another,” Pichai said. “It’s important for the women at Google, and all the people at Google, that we want to make an inclusive environment.” When pressed by Swisher on the issue of regret, Pichai stated more definitively, “I don’t regret it.” Wojcicki, who has spoken publicly about how Damore’s memo affected her personally, followed up with, “I think it was the right decision.”

Pichai added, “And Susan’s sister Anne is married to Sergey, so Susan’s the boss. I just work here,” and giggled nervously. But when he looked to Ms. Wojcicki for confirmation, she just stared blankly back at him. After an uncomfortable pause, Pichai muttered, “Oh my God, she isn’t Mrs. Brin anymore, is she? … What have I done?”

Actually, that last paragraph didn’t happen. Sundar Pichai didn’t get where he is by not knowing who is not sleeping with whom.

 
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Max Boot of the Council of Foreign Relations tweets:

Another, especially Bootian reason for Open Borders for Israel would be more cannon fodder. As Boot proposed for the U.S. in 2005 as a way to man all the wars he had helped bring about and all the future wars he was planning to instigate:

Uncle Sam Wants Tu: The military could ease its manpower shortage by letting foreigners join up.

I note that there is a pretty big pool of manpower that’s not being tapped: everyone on the planet who is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident…

The military would do well today to open its ranks not only to legal immigrants but also to illegal ones and, as important, to untold numbers of young men and women who are not here now but would like to come. No doubt many would be willing to serve for some set period in return for one of the world’s most precious commodities — U.S. citizenship. Open up recruiting stations from Budapest to Bangkok, Cape Town to Cairo, Montreal to Mexico City.

But instead of having the huddled masses of Cairo move to America to fight Max Boot’s wars for him, why not cut out the U.S. middleman and have the wretched refuse of Cairo move right to Israel where the Israeli government would arm them? What could possibly go wrong?

 
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From The Telegraph:

Israel unveils plans for 40-mile underground wall around Gaza

Raf Sanchez, gaza border
18 JANUARY 2018 • 3:35PM

Israel unveiled its plans for a vast underground wall around Gaza on Thursday, which military officials said would once and for all stop Hamas burrowing attack tunnels into Israeli territory.

The £500 million subterranean concrete barrier will run for 40 miles along the entire Israeli-Gaza border and is the first underground border wall of its kind in the world.

It is intended to prevent Hamas and other Islamist militant groups from using tunnels to launch surprise attacks into southern Israel. …

The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) have destroyed three tunnels which infiltrated into Israel from Gaza in the last three months. A senior IDF official said he was confident that once the barrier was complete, tunnels would no longer pose a threat. “That will be it,” he said.

The barrier is expected to be completed within two years, officials said, and less than three miles have been finished so far. Underground sensors will help to detect any future tunnels while a 9-meter tall fence will prevent crossings overground.

 
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This Nation article explains why the center-left has been so flummoxed over the last week by the arrest of Trinidadian con man Ravi Ragbir after twelve years of his publicly flouting his deportation order for being convicted on seven counts of wire fraud: the Obama Administration felt that rule of law did not apply to leftist activist celebrities because they were … leftist activist celebrities.

From The Nation:

ICE Is Going After People Who Were Once Off-Limits

Under Trump, nowhere is safe for undocumented immigrants—not in the shadows and not in the spotlight.

By Julianne Hing Twitter TODAY 11:38 AM


Ravi Ragbir, center, executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition, walks with hundreds of supporters in New York as he arrives for his annual check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement in March 2017. (AP Photo / Mark Lennihan)

The logic may seem backward, but it worked. For years, being publicly out and outspoken as an undocumented person could serve as a kind of shield.

… During the Obama years, an undocumented person nabbed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement could rally their community around them, involve lawmakers in their campaigns, and shame the federal government into approving their release. Under President Barack Obama, this kind of righteous truth-telling was a powerful tool.

Under President Donald Trump, ICE now appears determined to put those years behind it. Increasingly, ICE seems intent on proving that there is no safety for undocumented immigrants anywhere—not in the shadows and not in the spotlight.

This week, longtime New York immigrant-rights activist Jean Montrevil, who had lived in the US for 31 years and was arrested just a week prior, was deported to Haiti. On Thursday, Ravi Ragbir, a leader alongside Montrevil with New York City’s New Sanctuary Movement, was transferred back to the New York area from Miami after ICE took him into custody during a check-in on January 11. Ragbir, like Montrevil, has been fighting a deportation order pegged to old criminal convictions, and has been an outspoken leader in New York City for immigrants in similar situations.

… On Tuesday, the longtime Seattle-based immigrant-rights activist Maru Mora Villalpando went public with details of ICE’s enforcement against her. On December 20 she received in the mail what’s known as a notice to appear. This document, sent by the Department of Homeland Security, signals the beginning of deportation proceedings that the federal government intends to pursue against Mora Villalpando.

“This is the first time I’ve ever heard from immigration,” Mora Villalpando told The Nation.

Indeed.

 
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From Politico:

Schumer slams Cotton in face-to-face with Trump

Cotton said Schumer did not want him in the room for the Dreamers’ talks ‘probably because I would get a good deal, and he wants a bad deal.’

By JOHN BRESNAHAN and HEATHER CAYGLE 01/18/2018 07:45 PM EST

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told President Donald Trump this week that there will be no deal on Dreamers if hard-line conservative GOP Sen. Tom Cotton is involved, according to several congressional sources.

Schumer also told the president that he was not being well-served by White House staffers during negotiations over the fate of 700,000 young immigrants who face potential deportation if no deal is reached to protect them.

… Cotton — and his role in the hugely controversial Jan. 11 Oval Office meeting over a potential Senate bipartisan compromise on Dreamers — has become a focus of particular Senate Democrats’ ire. There seems to be something about the Arkansas Republican that especially angers them, and they’re not shy about letting Trump know.

In a brief interview, Cotton said Schumer did not want him in the room for the Dreamers’ talks, “probably because I would get a good deal, and he wants a bad deal.”

The entire Democratic/Graham strategy appears to be to get Trump alone and BS him into a deal that would ruin him.

After all, look how much good trusting Schumer did for the career of President Marco Rubio:

Screenshot 2018-01-19 16.34.05

 
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Here’s a bike ride last fall through the homeless encampment along the Santa Ana River in Anaheim, Orange County, CA.

And this level of homelessness in California is with the best economy in ten years.

Solution: more immigration!

The standard of living of homeless people appears to have gone up in recent decades to about that of backpackers. It’s no longer just crazy people sleeping on the ground, it’s people with tents and air mattresses. How do they protect their stuff when they are off begging? Do they have electronic alarms now?

It looks like we are part way to Tyler Cowen’s Brazilian shantytowns for America. I presume an artistic renaissance will be emerging from them at any moment.

 
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Here’s an amusing NYT article confirming my surmise in Taki’s Magazine about Dick Durbin’s behavior in the Oval Office debate over immigration last week. The article totally takes Durbin’s side, but it’s obvious that Durbin’s complaint is that he got beat, bad, in the kind of fair fight the represents the epitome of good decision making over a crucial national policy.

Inside the Oval Office Immigration Meeting That Left a Senator Stunned
On Washington

By CARL HULSE JAN. 19, 2018

WASHINGTON — As they departed the now famous Oval Office meeting where President Trump used vulgar language to disparage the national origin of some potential immigrants, Senators Lindsey Graham and Richard J. Durbin found themselves in a condition unfamiliar to such veteran politicians: speechless.

“After Lindsey and I left the room and got in the car together to come back to Capitol Hill, it was silence in the car,” Mr. Durbin, of Illinois, recalled in an interview on Thursday, describing their mutual distress at the ominous turn the negotiations had taken as well as the president’s conduct. “We had just witnessed something that neither one of us ever expected.”

In recounting events, Mr. Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, who has been pushing to protect young immigrants for nearly two decades, noted that he had a promising telephone call with Mr. Trump hours before last week’s meeting. Then he was invited to join Mr. Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a longtime advocate of an immigration law overhaul, at the White House for what they believed was a session to complete a bipartisan agreement to protect the young immigrants known as Dreamers in exchange for new border security and other immigration law changes.

Instead, they ran into a buzz saw of angry and coarse opposition from the president, reinforced by the surprise presence of hard-line opponents of immigration overhaul from the House and Senate.

Oh my gosh, the President invited experts on the policy to the meeting!

“The deck was stacked against us as the president walked in the room,” said Mr. Durbin, who said Mr. Graham, seated next to the president, began laying out the specifics of the pending agreement only to have the meeting quickly deteriorate.

“He barely had a sentence or two out of his mouth, then the president started commenting. ‘Who is affected by that? What is this going to do?’” said Mr. Durbin, the sole Democrat of a dozen people present.

The President of the United States asked questions! Disgusting! The President wanted to know “Who is affected by that? What is this going to do?’” Don’t you understand, Mr. President, that Huddled Masses and Wretched Refuse are affected by that. They are who we are. Except, simultaneously, they are holier than us. They redeem us. That’s all you need to know.

“It was a very tough conversation starting immediately.”

“The language that was used, the attitude of the president, the expressions he made when it came to immigration just stunned me,” Mr. Durbin said.

I was shocked, shocked to find hard-headed questions being asked in the Oval Office.

Mr. Durbin, who has been in Congress for more than three decades and is no stranger to political back rooms, said the meeting was not the usual case of salty language shared among politicians gathered behind closed doors.

“It was beyond, and the intensity of the president’s feeling, and what he said there, as well as many other epithets during the course of it, I was surprised and shocked in a way,” he said, noting that upon his return to the Capitol, some colleagues commented on his demeanor.

I was shocked, I tell you.

“They said, ‘You look shaken,’ and I said I was,” he said. “After you have been in politics as long I have, it takes something to shake you up.”

And shaken, but not stirred.

Sadly, this NYT article didn’t mention my favorite moment of the meeting. From Real Clear Politics:

Durbin continued, “When it came to the issue of, quote, ‘chain migration,’ I said to the president, do you realize how painful that term is to so many people? African-Americans believe they migrated to America in chains and when you talk about chain migration, it hurts them personally.”

“[Trump] said, ‘Oh, that’s a good line.’”

 
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From the Dallas News:

Texas Democrats decry Trump’s use of Barbara Jordan quote to back immigration policy

Jackie Wang, Austin Bureau

AUSTIN — Texas Democrats on Wednesday objected to the President Donald Trump’s use of Barbara Jordan’s words as an attempt to bolster support for his immigration policy.

I like this bronze statue of Barbara Jordan by Bruce Wolfe at the Austin airport. She didn’t normally take a good picture, so this was the best representation of her I found.

We seem to be living in, if not a golden age, at least a bronze age of bronze statues. Nobody pays too much attention to the new ones, but recent ones are all over the place. I rather like them.

Will they tear down Barbara Jordan’s statue to celebrate Amnesty? Or will they just rewrite the history books?

In a written presidential message on the 21st anniversary of Jordan’s death, the White House suggested that Trump’s “America First” approach to immigration jibes with “the spirit” of Jordan’s views on the subject.

Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa

The father of Democratic Aztec warrior princess / spokesmodel Xochitl Hinojosa, by the way.

, though, sharply denounced Trump’s suggestion he’s in sync with Jordan on immigration.

… “As a Texan, an American, and a human being, I am insulted that Trump would invoke Barbara Jordan’s name to promote his racist and dangerous immigration agenda,” Hinojosa said. “This trailblazing daughter of Texas was devoted to the Democratic ideals that helped shape the America we live in today. She was a champion for justice. Donald Trump is not worthy of uttering her name.”

Jordan, a celebrated Texan who was born in Houston and died in Austin, was the first African American woman to serve in the Texas Senate and the first woman to represent Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives. …

The White House statement honoring Jordan began by quoting her: “It is both a right and a responsibility of a democratic society to manage immigration so that it serves the national interest.”

“With this simple, common-sense perspective, civil rights icon Barbara Jordan challenged our Nation’s leaders to maximize opportunities for all Americans by adopting an immigration policy that puts American citizens first,” Trump said.

So Barbara Jordan and Trump’s immigration experts were largely in agreement on immigration policy, but that doesn’t matter because Jordan was African-American, so she would have to be on the same team as Conquistador-American Gilberto Hinojosa, who is white but has a mustache in order to look vaguely Latin.

 
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From Georgia Tech’s website:

Seminar- Mohammad Fazel Zarandi
Time: Monday, 4 December 2017 – 11:00am to 12:00pm

TITLE: The Number of Undocumented Immigrants in the United States

ABSTRACT:

We apply standard operational principles of inflows and outflows to estimate the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States, using the best available data, including some that has only recently become available. We generate a lower bound for the number of undocumented immigrants using conservative parameter values that underestimate inflows and overestimate outflows. Our lower bound is close to 17 million, 50% higher than the most prominent current estimate of 11.3 million, which is based on survey data and thus different sources and methods. Standard parameter values generate an estimate of 22.8 million undocumented immigrants, twice as large as the current estimate.

BIO: Mohammad Fazel-Zarandi is a Postdoctoral Associate and Lecturer at the Yale School of Management. His research interests are in the areas of Public Sector Operations, Data-Driven Decision Making, Applied Probabilistic Modeling and Statistics, and Operations Strategy. His current research focuses on the application of Operations techniques to improve decision making in the public policy domain. Before joining Yale, he received his PhD from the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto in Operations Management and his M.Sc. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Toronto.

The co-authors of this unpublished paper are Yale professors Ed Kaplan and Jonathan S. Feinstein.

This news seems rather timely.

Shouldn’t the United States government know how many people are living in the United States?

Knowing how many people live in your country is something that governments have undertaken to find out for over two thousand years. There are at least three censuses mentioned in the Bible, two in the Old Testament. For the U.S. government to not know within an 8 digit number, because illegal aliens are considered sacred and mysterious, is nuts.

 
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From Reuters:

Swedish PM does not rule out use of army to end gang violence

JANUARY 17, 2018 / 9:06 AM / A DAY AGO
Reuters Staff

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden will do whatever it takes, including sending in the army, to end a wave of gang violence that has seen a string of deadly shootings, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said in Wednesday.

Sweden’s murder rate is relatively low in international terms, but gang violence has surged in recent years and Swedes are worried that the police are unable to cope. …

Four people were shot dead in the first week of this year. One man died after picking up a hand grenade outside a subway station in a suburb of Stockholm.

Law and order is likely to be a major issue in a parliamentary election scheduled for September with the populist, opposition Sweden Democrats linking public concern about the rising crime rate to a large increase in the numbers of immigrants. …

“People are shot to death in pizza restaurants, people are killed by hand grenades they find on the street,” Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Akesson said in parliament on Wednesday.

“This is the new Sweden; the new, exciting dynamic, multicultural paradise that so many here in this assembly … have fought to create for so many years,” he said sarcastically.

Wikipedia has a page devoted to “List of Grenade Attacks in Sweden,” which lists 80 different attacks beginning in 2014. That’s crazy.

 
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From the Los Angeles Times in 1999:

Zedillo Key to End of Prop. 187, Villaraigosa Says
August 04, 1999 | MARY BETH SHERIDAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

MEXICO CITY — California Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa thanked President Ernesto Zedillo here Tuesday for helping defuse Proposition 187, saying the Mexican leader played a key role in scuttling the controversial state measure that denied benefits to illegal immigrants.

“As leader of the state Assembly, I say President Zedillo had great impact in defeating Proposition 187,” Villaraigosa told a news conference after he and a state delegation met the Mexican chief executive. Zedillo’s visit to California in May “pushed the process” that eventually invalidated most of the measure, the speaker said.

Villaraigosa’s declarations were perhaps the clearest sign yet of California’s radical change in relations with Mexico and of the rise of a new phenomenon: cross-border politics. Once a distant neighbor, the Mexican president has become a prized ally for California politicians eager to court the Latino vote.

“The emergence of cross-border coalitions and issues shows the advent of a whole new era in U.S.-Mexican and Mexico-California relations,” said Denise Dresser, a visiting fellow at the Pacific Council think tank in Los Angeles.

The meeting with Zedillo was the centerpiece of a four-day visit to Mexico by Villaraigosa, a Los Angeles Democrat who is trying to promote economic and political ties between California and its southern neighbor. He is also considering a run for mayor of Los Angeles.

“He gave thanks on behalf of Mexican Americans,” said the official, Deputy Foreign Minister Juan Rebolledo.

“I was surprised he was so explicit,” Rebolledo added.

Thanks to commenter KevinB for remembering this forgotten event.

 
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From the New York Times:

ICE Detained My Husband for Being an Immigrant Activist
By AMY GOTTLIEB JAN. 18, 2018

Ravi Ragbir, center, who came to the United States 26 years ago and has a green card, remains in detention by ICE after a routine check-in and faces possible deportation. Credit John Moore/Getty Images

Last Thursday, I found myself in the back of an ambulance with my handcuffed husband, Ravi Ragbir, two E.M.T.s and an agent from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

As the ambulance inched its way out of 26 Federal Plaza in Manhattan, I caught glimpses of the chaos outside. Faces of friends swam in and out of view. We could hear the shouts and wails of the hundreds of supporters surrounding us, who knew Ravi had been arrested, feared he was being “disappeared” and were attempting, nonviolently, with their bodies, to protect him.

As I mentioned over the weekend, Ravi Ragbir is a litigious white collar criminal who was convicted in 2000 of seven counts of wire fraud for his role in a phony mortgage scam. Amusingly, his appeal of his conviction was denied in a blunt opinion written by Third Circuit judge Maryanne Trump Barry, who is, indeed, Donald Trump’s big sister.

After a couple of years in prison, he was ordered deported in 2006. But our system is so slow that this con man is still with us a dozen years later.

… My greatest fear is that he will be sent back to Trinidad, where he has not lived for over 25 years. We must keep Ravi, and other immigrant leaders at home in the United States, where they belong.

Amy Gottlieb is the associate director of the northeast region of the American Friends Service Committee.

 
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Bret Stephens, former editor of the Jerusalem Times, former columnist for the Wall Street Journal, and current columnist for the New York Times, is a valuable figure because he’s more artless than many other pundits in revealing some of the sources of the sentiments behind the new received opinion on immigration. For example:

Because I’m the child of immigrants and grew up abroad, I have always thought of the United States as a country that belongs first to its newcomers …

I’ve given a certain amount of coverage to Stephens’ opinions on the deeper meaning of immigration policy, such as:

Bret Stephens in NYT: Deport Americans to Make Room for Superior Immigrants

NYT: “Steve Bannon Is Bad for the Jews”

WSJ: “The Plot Against America”

Stephens: You Didn’t Build That, the Immigrants Who Arrived Today Built That

I highlighted Stephens’ last column of Ellis Island schmaltz and inherited resentment over slights to great-grandpa under the heading “What It’s Really All About.” Today, Stephens makes his motivations in calling for mass immigration more explicit: relitigating his relatives’ admission to the U.S. in the Ellis Island era:

A Modest Immigration Proposal: Ban Jews

BRET STEPHENS


A group of Jewish immigrants to the United States c. 1900. Credit Getty Images

Jan. 18, 2018

… Here’s a thought experiment: Would the United States have been better off if it had banned Jewish immigration sometime in the late 19th century, so that the immigrant parents of Rosenberg and Sobell had never set foot here? The question is worth asking, because so many of the same arguments made against African, Latin-American and Muslim immigrants today might have easily been applied to Jews just over a century ago. …

Yet imagine if the United States had followed the advice of the immigration restrictionists in the late 19th century and banned Jewish immigrants, at least from Central Europe and Russia, on what they perceived to be some genetic inferiority. What, in terms of enterprise, genius, imagination, and philanthropy would have been lost to America as a country? And what, in terms of human tragedy, would have ultimately weighed on our conscience?

Today, American Jews are widely considered the model minority, so thoroughly assimilated that organizational Jewish energies are now largely devoted to protecting our religious and cultural distinctiveness. Someone might ask Jeff Sessions and other eternal bigots what makes an El Salvadoran, Iranian or Haitian any different.

Why not ask Bibi Netanyahu that question? Israel could admit a huge number of economic immigrants any time it wanted to, but instead it has built extremely effective border fences and is deporting Africans back to Africa.

On the other hand, here is a Haitian billionaire

My guess is that Stephens feels, deep down, that the American WASPs of 1900 were chumps for admitting his kinsmen, as shown by how his kinsmen in Israel, where he used to live, aren’t making the same mistake of giving citizenship to high-IQ immigrants from, say, India or China who might someday challenge their descendants for power and influence in Israel.

But, overall, it strikes me as nuts to feel that the most important consideration in shaping immigration policy in 2018 was what was good for your ancestors in 1900.

We should be focused instead on making good laws for the future welfare of current American citizens, not in relitigating foggily-remembered resentments of 118 years ago.

But then I’m a wacko extremist, and Bret Stephens is a major voice of Respectable Thinking. So I would say that, wouldn’t I?

Commenter William Middleton notes:

The craziest thing about all of this is that no one seems to realize that the population of Earth is now 7.5 billion people. Forget about ethnicity, I just can’t seem to understand why people can’t grasp that basic fact and that they all can’t come here.

Wikipedia says world population has grown from 1.6 billion in 1900 to 7.6 billion in 2017. Plus transportation and communications are vastly easier.

One basic reason for why we often don’t have the same laws in 2018 as in 1900 is: Times changed.

But, when it comes to immigration policy, the purveyors of respectable are living in the past.

UpUpdate: A reader points out that maybe Bret Stephens was thinking of Haitian billionaire Gilbert Bigio. You have to be awfully smart and/or ruthless to make a billion dollars in Haiti.

 
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We hear a lot about foreign meddling via propaganda these days, so it’s worth looking at historical examples that are now well documented.

The British propaganda effort from 1939 onward was often satirized (Winston Smith in 1984 is basically George Orwell laboring for the BBC). In Evelyn Waugh’s 1942 book Put Out More Flags, a novel set during the “Phony War” of late 1939-1940 (that suddenly became very real in the spring of 1940), the pacifist aesthete writer Ambrose Silk goes to visit his old publisher, who is now working on propaganda at the Ministry of Information. He is told:

“You might write a book for us then. I’m getting out a very nice little series on ‘What We Are Fighting For.’ I’ve signed up a retired admiral, a Church of England curate, an unemployed docker, a Negro solicitor from the Gold Coast, and a nose-and-throat specialist from Harley Street. The original idea was to have a symposium in one volume, but I’ve had to enlarge the idea a little. All our authors had such very different ideas it might have a little confusing.”

But British propaganda was also highly successful, especially in the U.S. (The Americanophobic Orwell was not, of course, employed in propagandizing Americans.)

The success of British “foreign meddling” in the U.S. is not surprising considering the close cultural connection, the horribleness of the enemy’s behavior, the FDR Adminstration’s support, and the talent the British possessed.

Hollywood, for example, was full of British talent. For the famous film year of 1939, Vivien Leigh won Best Actress for Gone With the Wind and Robert Donat Best Actor for the English public school story Goodbye, Mr. Chips. Other English acting Oscar nominees in early 1940 included Laurence Olivier, Greer Garson, Claude Rains, and Olivia De Havilland (who is alive today at 101).

From World War II magazine:

Britain’s Propaganda War on America

BY STEPHEN BUDIANSKY
4/2/2010

… From the beginning of World War II to well after its end, the British government carried out a massive propaganda offensive designed to sway popular opinion in the United States. The MOI and other agencies recruited and mobilized hundreds of British writers, actors, lecturers, labor leaders, filmmakers, religious figures—and not a few American journalists, radio executives, and Hollywood moguls—to help bring the British message to America. …

Though not without some tone-deaf miscues as they learned to adjust their pitch to American ears, the British quickly perfected the art of propaganda that did not seem to be propaganda at all. …

As the British historian Nicholas John Cull says in his book Selling War, the British effort to sway the American public was “one of the most diverse, extensive, and yet subtle propaganda campaigns ever directed by one sovereign state at another.”

From the moment he took office as prime minister in May 1940, Winston Churchill made it his objective to get America and Britain “somewhat mixed up together” in the fight against Germany, as he later candidly admitted. Along with urgent requests for ships, planes, and other material assistance, he ordered an all-out charm offensive aimed at top American officials. …

But both the British and the largely sympathetic American government were well aware that American public opinion was the real obstacle to be overcome. Though Franklin Roosevelt and his administration were strongly in favor of aid to Britain from the start, Roosevelt knew the political impossibility of getting ahead of public opinion. In a 1937 poll, 95 percent of Americans said they flatly opposed American entry into another world war under any circumstances. …

Equally obvious, however, was that British propagandists faced a very tricky and delicate situation in trying to reach the American public. Not just isolationists but all Americans were extremely resentful of any obvious efforts from abroad to manipulate them. Partly this was the legacy of the Great War, when lurid stories of German atrocities in Belgium—later exposed as fabrications—had been heavily promoted by British propagandists as part of the effort to get America into that war. Lothian warned London that any conspicuous propaganda roused Americans to a “cold fury.”

It also handed a powerful weapon to American isolationists, who were ready to pounce on any example of the “insidious wiles of foreign influence.” …

But the other problem—as Lothian, Scott, and other British officials who knew America well were keenly aware—was that nothing could get through in America without a certain amount of salesmanship. “Everything in this country requires to be a drama, or a ‘story,’” noted one British Embassy official in Washington. The legendary British propensity for understatement, and for that matter the typical British upper-class accent—which, as one worried Foreign Office official noted, tended to sound “pansy” and affected to Americans—also worked against a campaign based on simply letting the facts speak for themselves.

Maurice Gorham, who headed the BBC’s North American Service, recalled how the BBC would put on the air some British commando “with a most desperate record…an enormous athlete” who had just performed an impossibly heroic feat in combat. “And then over the microphone would come: ‘Oh it’s nothing much really,’ in a little piping voice.” …

The British secret intelligence services meanwhile had begun to cautiously venture back into the once-taboo area of covert propaganda, using friendly “cut outs”—middlemen with no conspicuous ties to the British—to leak to the American press almost daily rumors discrediting American isolationist leaders and placing stories, some more reliable than others, of Nazi atrocities in Europe. …

Meanwhile the Hungarian-born British film producer and director Alexander Korda had arrived in Hollywood and was at work on a much more ambitious project. The story passed down in Korda’s family is that Churchill himself ordered him there with the mission of coming up with a full-length spectacular to arouse American sympathies. Whatever Churchill’s actual role may have been, Korda wasted no time: That Hamilton Woman, starring Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, was shot in six weeks. Telling the story of Horatio Nelson’s passionate love affair with the notorious Lady Hamilton—and, not incidentally, the Royal Navy’s triumphant defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Trafalgar—the film was a sensation when it was released in April 1941. …

The philosopher Isaiah Berlin, one of a number of British academics who served in the British information operation in New York during the war, concluded afterward, “We didn’t convert anybody.” But, he added, Britain’s propaganda campaign in America had made “friends friendlier.” And in the volatile world of American popular opinion, that was more than enough to achieve many of Britain’s vital aims.

When you have Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Isaiah Berlin, Kenneth Clark, Dylan Thomas, Roald Dahl, C.S. Forester, Ian Fleming, David Ogilvy, etc. on your team doing your propaganda for Americans, you’ll probably do well.

In the current year, it’s worth thinking about foreign countries’ propaganda potential. Russian culture was fashionable a century ago in the Ballet Russes era of Stravinsky, but today is not. The Saudis have lots of money but no cachet. The Chinese have money and the current advantage of not being white, but even their movies have mysteriously dropped out of interest in the U.S. in this decade. The Israelis have money and connections in the U.S., but few surprisingly few homegrown superstars. Mexico has no cultural cachet in the U.S. at all.

The Brits seem like they remain best positioned of all foreign powers to engage in effective meddling in the U.S.

 
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Actress Catherine Deneuve and 99 other prominent French women signed an open letter cautioning about getting too carried away in the English-speaking world’s on-going witch (or, more precisely, warlock) hunt of men.

Too get some idea of what French women really think about British and American men, here’s a 1991 Los Angeles Times article:

25% of Anglo-Saxon Men Gay, French Premier Reportedly Says

June 18, 1991 | WILLIAM TUOHY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LONDON — French Prime Minister Edith Cresson was at the center of a political and journalistic furor Monday over an interview in which she was quoted as saying that 25% of Anglo-Saxon males are homosexual.

In the House of Commons, Conservative lawmaker Tony Marlow declared that Parliament should “stand up for” the British.

“Mrs. Cresson has sought to insult the virility of the British male because the last time she was in London she did not get enough admiring glances,” he said. …

“American Girl in Italy”

By the way, the Italophilic American girl in Ruth Orkin’s famous photo said recently at age 83: “It’s not a symbol of harassment. It’s a symbol of a woman having an absolutely wonderful time!”

In the interview published in the Observer, Cresson was quoted as responding to a suggestion that in Anglo-Saxon countries men preferred the company of other men: “Yes, but the majority of these men are homosexual–perhaps not the majority–but in the U.S.A. there are already 25% of them, and in England and Germany it is much the same. You cannot imagine it in the history of France.”

In Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, a worldly Italian lady in the 1920s remarks that upper class young male “romantic friendships” were common among the English and the Germans, but not among the French and Italians. My guess is that this was related to the English and German elite educational institutions emphasizing the Greeks while the French and the Germans emphasized the Romans.

Another quote deals with sexual affairs:

“In France, it’s seen as all right if a man–even a public man–has affairs, casual flings. In America I know he mustn’t, but here. . . . I think we order things better here. That sort of thing is part of ordinary life, and no one attaches much importance to it; on the contrary, it’s considered almost to the credit of the person concerned.”

 
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Perhaps Lindsey Graham is not a person, just an idea.

But what idea would Lindsey Graham be?

 
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From Commentary:

Alt-Blight
Review of ‘(((Semitism)))’ By Jonathan Weisman

(((Semitism))): Being Jewish in America in the Age of Trump by NYT deputy Washington editor Jonathan Weisman is to be published on March 18, 2018.

BEN SHAPIRO / JAN. 17, 2018

… According to Weisman, Judaism derives its present-day importance from the way it provides a religious echo to secular leftism. This is his actual opening sentence: “The Jew flourishes when borders come down, when boundaries blur, when walls are destroyed, not erected.” Thus does he describe a people whose binding glue over the millennia is a faith tradition literally designed to separate its adherents from those who are not their co-religionists.

 
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Commenter New Deal weighs in:

Submitted on 2018/01/17 at 7:49 pm

I’m a left-Unzist who loves free speech and likes policy based on sober argument and evidence. I’m deeply worried about the extremist open-border lunacy now espoused by the American elite, even in its centrist precincts. It didn’t use to be this way. Many of Trump’s proposals were more courteously enunciated somewhat by Obama, more by Bill Clinton, or by the great Barbara Jordan. Public discussion of immigration policy in the U.S. now, however, is about at the level of adolescent twitter chat about the Kardashians.

Maybe throwing open the borders would bring about prophet Caplan’s paradise on earth; more likely the consequences would be bad for both receiving and sending countries, and even perverse, such as global labor contractors swiftly bringing in millions of Southeast Asians (bonus: many are muslim) and booting Mexicans out of their low-wage niches. At a minimum, no one can predict the consequences of open borders: never have there been so many people, never has travel been so cheap. And you shouldn’t gamble a whole country on an untested policy, look at how that worked out for the Russians after 1917.

Nowadays, recklessly utopian positions are not taken seriously on any other topic (except certain U.S. war policies: invite the world, invade the world, hmmm). Fringes might demand abolition of police and prison, but ordinary people don’t. If you really believe in unqualified pacifism and unilateral disarmament, journalists and politicians would treat you like Trump treated Ali G: a few polite words and a quick good-bye. Any politician proposing a command economy, the free distribution of goods, and the abolition of work would get two percent of the vote and maybe pity from some for being weak-minded. What is most similar to immigration was the faith of Leninists that abolition of the price system by violence would liberate humanity. That belief gripped many academics and gullible reformers, but appalled anyone with the slightest business experience and most economists, and killed a hundred million people. That debate was over well before 1989. But when Jeff Bezos, CIA contractor, funds $33 million of scholarships for illegals, that’s normal, laudatory? Rather than bizarre, like Howard Hughes having his urine collected and stored?

We live in a country where most people obey the law. In the majority of countries people do not, and it makes life worse for everyone. Self-exemption from the law triggered the U.S. Civil War, and more generally legal defiance is contagious. Losing the great advantage of the rule of law is another evil that a responsible citizen would not risk bringing about. I feel like I am one of the non-believers among the Xhosa in the 1850s when their prophets commanded the slaughter of all cattle and destruction of crops, because that would cause the dead to rise again, along with all kinds of livestock, clothing ,and wealth, and “the blind would see, the deaf would hear, cripples would walk.” When it didn’t happen, who was to blame? The non-believers. For not believing hard enough they were persecuted and plundered.

 
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Why can’t America be some of both? Why can’t we have compromise, moderation, and prudence on immigration policy? Why are elites, like the editor of Vox, becoming so fanatically extremist?

 
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Screenshot 2018-01-17 14.23.42

 
Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, VDARE.com columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.


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