Tagged: Nord Stream
Law 35: The Chinese Takeover
The Chinese Takeover
Republican lawmakers have urged Blinken to tell Beijing that its aggression against India and Taiwan is not ‘acceptable’. They have also asked Blinken to raise human rights violations, unfair trade practices, expansion in the Indo-Pacific and China’s leading role in the fentanyl crisis in the United States. (Hindustan Times, YouTube, Feb 2023)
“China’s leading role in the fentanyl crisis in the United States”? China is responsible for American physicians’ prescribing opioids to Americans, of course! and the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), “who is responsible for protecting the public health” according to its website, is responsible for nothing in an opioid crisis that has claimed more than half a million American lives. Of course!
The weather balloon conspiracy
(For details, see Law 33: Weather Balloon from China, as well as the comments section.)
When someone apologizes to you for an accident, you may scold them for negligence or clumsiness, but not for intentional wrongdoing (such as airspace violation for spying) because then you are calling them liars and reject their apologies.
The U.S. is provoking China, calling her a liar and rejecting her apologies, which means America refuses to turn the page and threatens China with retaliation. “Never again,” in this context, means “We are going to teach you a lesson.” This is a menace, and they know the implications of menace in international law.
The number of American provocations against China these last months and weeks appalls me, as a European. Next, they’ll say China gave Putin the green light for the military operation in Ukraine; they’ll say Putin asked Xi whether China minded if Russia started the operation and Xi said “You have our support.”
China’s Ukraine hypocrisy: Readies drones for Russia & calls out West for arms to Kyiv. (Hindustan Times, YouTube, Feb 2023)
When you’ve got, in this war, a party that has just made known it will send weapons to Ukraine “as long as it takes,” after a whole year of war already, you know their plans are not to reach peace in six months as a contrived CIA report that was pumped into the media made believe (just after a U.S. top general had publicly said it will be “very, very hard”). You know this party is on the contrary expecting a decade-long war. So, if you lend a hand to belligerent country A, although you began with opposing arming belligerent country B, you are not “duplicitous”; in fact, you are trying to deter the Brandon party to further carry out the bellicose strategy aiming at war “as long as it takes,” because you want a peace deal and your acts are no different from your words.
What prevented NATO from granting Ukraine their military shield, like the “oil for security deal” between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia? It is not right, after such a lack of anticipation, to try to amend one’s mistakes with precipitous sanctions and arms supplies. – Ukraine will be a battlefield “as long as it takes.” This is not weapons Ukraine should ask for: it is full belligerence of NATO countries or peace with Russia.
Arming Ukraine cannot make this country win the war in the foreseeable future, so, absent direct belligerence by NATO, Russia is the only possible winner. A ceasefire and peace deal should be agreed by Ukrainian authorities, and that probably means relinquishing the newly annexed regions, no more no less. NATO countries have failed to anticipate and prevent this; if they think Russia has more such operations in store for the future, they should provide some countries with a military shield, such as the shield with which the United States is covering her friend Saudi Arabia. Arming Ukraine cannot be a substitute for lack of anticipation, something that should be obvious after a whole year of sanctions and financial and military support.
One may question my expectations about the war as waged to this day, but what are NATO’s expectations to begin with? One American general said it will be “very, very hard” to chase Russians from the newly annexed regions, then, a few days later, a CIA report talked about ending the war in six months. So much for the consistency. Zero credibility. Let them admit publicly that their policy of arming Ukraine is a 10-year or longer war plan, and China’s position will become much clearer. “As long as it takes” means war for years, it’s not going to be six months. Those who oppose this are those who may be said to be for peace.
A non-neutral (although nonbelligerent) party to a conflict will be deemed tainted with partiality by a neutral, impartial judge. The non-neutral U.S.’s talking of Chinese “disinformation” regarding the conflict between Ukraine and Russia is therefore partial. It may or may not be true in the final analysis: an impartial judge will decide after hearing all parties. On the other hand, the U.S.’s talking about “poisonous” disinformation is hostile, and the statement will be recorded as such, as hostile toward China.
The American rhetoric and its use of fighting words shall be stressed in the record. Needless to say, “poisonous” hints at pests, such as snakes. And the idea that the Chinese “poison the well” (“The well has been poisoned by Chinese and Russian disinformation, said the special envoy”) hints at lepers and other outcasts from the European Middle Ages, who were accused of poisoning wells. The record shall stress that the American party has abandoned the language of diplomacy and is now resorting to the language of incitement.
The Americans are making believe there is no such thing as a “just cause” (justa causa), but their practice and precedents show that they cannot claim to have an international doctrine of nonaggression; the U.S. cannot claim to consider aggression by itself a breach of international law. On the contrary, their practice shows they act under the notion there are just causes of war, and therefore they shall be asked not to claim, without reason and evidence, that there are no or cannot be just causes whenever the U.S. herself is not involved in a conflict outbreak. For neutral parties, the question whether Russia had a right to send troops in Ukraine or not remains open, by application of the just cause doctrine.
On the other hand, absent a just cause doctrine, aggression of one state by another cannot be a just cause to be hostile to the former, because to claim to have a just cause, one needs a just cause doctrine. Furthermore, absent such a doctrine, any country has the discretionary and unaccountable right to remain neutral, that is, nonbelligerent and neutral.
In other words, faced with the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, if foreign countries 1/ abide by a just cause doctrine, then a decision not to remain neutral supposes a just cause, which can only be that the Russians themselves have no just cause, and if 2/ they do not abide by such a doctrine, the decision to remain neutral or not is unrelated to any such ground. If it is unrelated to the issue of causes, it remains out of discussion: it is entirely discretionary, the people of these states are, for all intents and purposes, mute. Therefore, NATO’s so-called free countries are expected to abide by a just cause doctrine: that their decision not to remain neutral remains undiscussed, namely, the fact that it is taken for granted that Russia does not have a just cause for intervention in Ukraine, is self-contradictory.
U.S. fighter jet destroys object over Canada. (Hindustan Times, YouTube, Feb 2023) – User: Canada has no Air Force?
The North American Aerospace Defense Command or NORAD is combined U.S.-Canadian surveillance. The U.S. consisting of two mainland parts divided by Canada (see Alaska), for all intents and purposes Canada is not sovereign over Canadian skies vis-à-vis the U.S.
German FM [foreign minister] concedes ‘War with Russia a mistake.’ (Hindustan Times, YouTube, Feb 2023) [The German minister of foreign affairs had said Germany is in war with Russia, before conceding it was a mistake.]
She is incompetent. There could hardly be another utterance proving she is “unfit for the job” as much as the one she made. Her government’s position, in terms of international law, is that Germany and other NATO countries are not belligerent parties in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia and therefore eschew any responsibility if Russia takes hostile military measures against them, in which case they would act, accordingly, in self-defense. A foreign minister so blatantly ignorant of the international-law underpinnings of her government’s stance, is unfit for the job, there’s no other word.
NATO Nation [Germany] defends India’s oil trade with Russia despite sanctions; ‘None of Our Business’. (Hindustan Times, YouTube, Feb 2023)
Last time I checked, Germany was a member of the sanctions party. Therefore, India’s buying cheap oil from Russia is 100% Germany’s business, for two reasons: 1) the sanctions party is the cause of the discount, while Europe gets its energy at inflationary price from the U.S., Qatar, and others, & 2) the sanctions party should ensure that its sanctions policy is effective, and that means it should ensure that all friends dance to the same tune, otherwise the party is only harming itself. A sanctions party that looks the other way when India and others benefit from hampering the sanctions is a joke.
Let the situation be known to the Germans (but I doubt the speech will make news there, to start with), some will begrudge their government for the nonsense, others will begrudge India for her non-cooperative “friendship,” others will begrudge both.
At some point, it was thought by some that winds blow on the moon because the NASA pictures of the manned moon landing show the stars and stripes waving in the wind, but in fact the stars and stripes was just creased because of storage, and the first men on the moon did not care to straighten their flag before saluting it, and the flag is still.
I’ll believe there are female soldiers fighting when I see one die on the battlefield. It’s easy to put a woman in uniform in front of cameras for the show.
They are always showing us women in uniform, in time of peace, but now and then you hear or read that this or that army’s doctrine is that women are not sent to the battlefield. Typists in uniform! Wonderful equality where I will be asked to sacrifice my life and my female colleagues will wear the same uniform and sport the same medals while being exempted from this little service, a mere trifle. You think I’m a dog? – Oh yes, it’s teamwork, we all contribute: I contribute with dying, and you with staying alive.
Anti-racism protests in Tunisia after President Kais Saied’s migration speech [Kais said, according to journalists, “migration from Sub-Saharan Africa was aimed at changing Tunisia’s demographics”] (Al Jazeera English, YouTube, Feb 26, 2023)
The social democrats in power in Denmark say the same as Kais and implement the most restrictive immigration policy of the whole of Europe, while singing antifascist anthems like the others.
(I don’t know if “was aimed at” is a correct report; if correct, the assertion is problematic: aimed by whom? Is there a mastermind behind these migrations? If Kais’s speech is rightly reported, then I am not claiming Denmark’s authorities “say the same” as strictly as if it were only about demographic change.)
–Denmark has a population of just 4M, it would be so easy to become outnumbered in your own land. Who wants that?
On Google, I find Denmark’s population to be 5.8M. But this is not the relevant demographic figure, which is, rather, the percentage. Does Denmark have a greater percentage of foreign population than other European countries already to make a valid claim that its native population is being outnumbered compared with more populated nations? If, with a small population, Denmark has an even smaller percentage of foreigners, the argument is contrived.
However, this was not my point, which was the irony of finding a social-democratic party implementing the most restrictive immigration policy in Europe when the same parties in other countries have been so vocal for immigration. My interlocutor is saying, in her own way, that the platforms of social democracy depend on demographics, but I don’t believe this. It’s just that political parties scramble for seats and they’ll say anything. And Danes voting for social democrats to carry out an anti-migrant policy is just as comical as their remaining loyal members of their national church without believing in anything according to polls. (See Law 13: Is the church of Denmark a religious organization?)
Speaking at Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi, [Giorgia] Meloni without naming [India’s minister of foreign affairs] Jaishankar said that “Europe’s problem has become World’s problem”. Last year, Jaishankar said that “Europe thinks that Europe’s problems are the world’s problems but world’s problems are not Europe’s problems.” Jaishankar made these comments amid persistent efforts by Europe to make India take tough position on Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. (Hindustan Times, YouTube, March 2023)
I don’t want to be harsh with a woman but this lady campaigned on a platform for family values while being a single mother. The true message of such a campaign, therefore, was that she was too busy, as a VIP, to build a family for her child and that family is a loser’s thing. So much so that she eventually married her –I don’t know how to call that– boyfriend or comfort toy in a flurry, a few days ago. Europe’s problem is its inescapable decadence, and this is not a world’s problem but the problem of those who are dying and will be replaced.
Europe’s decadence is inescapable because the measures available to these countries against decadence cannot be genuine any longer. For instance, the “reaction” against decadence of family values is Giorgia Meloni, a single mother. This is not reaction, but aggravation and acceleration.
A single-parent home (and in these I include any home where the mother has a boyfriend instead of a legitimate husband) may have many causes, such as death; I may retract what I just said about this lady if I am told she had actually bonded with a man and the man died or they had to separate because of force majeure, not the banal, predictable story of people incapable of bonding because family makes no sense to them.
When the beacon blinds you
A blogger from France using WordPress, which is owned by the American Automattic, Inc., and writing a good deal of contents in English, I have always had daily clicks from the U.S., but I think I am noticing a pattern. Lately, I took positions against the U.S. administration in its relationships with both Russia and China, and that stopped the clicks from the U.S. It comes back slowly after a few days. I had noticed the same pattern before and I can’t help thinking this is not coincidental. It is a temporary drop or stop of clicks, noticeably from the U.S., provoked by some kinds of content, and it has become somewhat predictable. It’s as if there were a software somewhere intent on deterring bloggers to post some kinds of content, lest blog stats be impacted. I guess they don’t make it permanent because they don’t want to lose platform users, and they probably hope that a temporary impact can be deterrent enough.
One user (about me): Here’s the 50c. wumao. Another user (to the former): Sounds lame…
Thank you. I reported the (former’s) post as “intimidation,” as it is inconvenient enough to be denounced, without reason, as a foreign paid agent, but contrary to a couple of previous experiences with reporting this one still shows up for me. Apparently, this kind of one-word expletives is content with which YouTube is okey, and while it is fond of flaunting its harsh speech rules and regulations, it is full of such pollution, as everyone knows. It makes one think they reserve their censorship for articulate thought-of criticism.
If what was reported [about the Nord Stream sabotage] is not right, why the US, Norway and leaders involved did not sue the award-winning journalist?
Journalism on issues of “general interest” is protected by the American First Amendment, public officials cannot hope to win a libel case in these conditions. But this stops at the American border, and the lack of response by Norwegian personalities, if some are named, might be a clue of guilt. At least, these Norwegians may be challenged to sue the writings, they may be asked why they do not, whereas that would be irrelevant in the U.S., where libel suits by public personalities are a nonstarter.
Philo 29 : Rechtsphilosophische Grundlagen der Religionspolizei
Le journal Aujourd’hui en France du jeudi 29 septembre 2022 titre « Qui peut être derrière le ‘sabotage’ des gazoducs en mer Baltique ? » avec le sous-titre « (…) tous les regards se tournent vers la Russie, qui nie. L’UE promet ‘la réponse la plus ferme’. » Dans le corps de l’article, ceci : « Les États-Unis ont aussi nié toute implication, alors que Joe Biden avait laissé entendre en février que Washington ‘mettrait fin’ à Nord Stream 2 si Moscou intervenait en Ukraine. Mais l’insinuer est ‘ridicule’, a commenté ce mercredi la Maison-Blanche. Et la porte-parole du Conseil de sécurité nationale de prévenir : ‘Nous savons que la Russie fait de la désinformation, et elle le fait de nouveau ici.’ » Nous avons donc d’un côté la Russie, pour qui un gazoduc détruit représente une perte stratégique, et de l’autre les États-Unis qui avaient menacé de détruire le Nord Stream. Mais le sous-titre est « tous les regards se tournent vers la Russie ». C’est le problème : dans le contexte belliciste européen, l’évidence n’a plus aucune espèce de valeur. Dans toute enquête, celui qui a menacé d’un crime est le premier suspect quand le crime en question se produit : donc « tous les regards » sont forcément tournés vers les États-Unis. Cependant, comme nous sommes en opération spéciale contre la Russie, non, les regards ne se tournent pas vers les États-Unis mais vers la Russie. À la page suivante du même journal, interviewé le « consultant défense » Pierre S. explique l’intérêt pour la Russie de détruire le Nord Stream : envoyer « deux messages subliminaux ». On en est là.
Introduction to the Essence of Mutawa
oder Rechtsphilosophische Grundlagen der Religionspolizei
“Firemen confronted religious police after they tried to keep the girls inside because they were not wearing the headscarves required.”
This made the case against Saudi mutawa police and for their defanging. However, it is obvious that the mutawa officer’s decision in said case of emergency was incorrect and he must bear the blame, not the institution that he represents. Blaming a whole institution for one officer’s decision is unwarranted in every conceivable situation, so in fact the incident served to attack a policy rather than its enforcement: a devious line of argumentation.
It was an emergency but as a religion with martyrs Islam knows that not all emergencies allow for exemptions, so let us specify. The norm is covering one’s head in the public space. The girls escaping from the fire would be met and assisted by the fire patrol, which would cordon off the area; the area thus cordoned off, although outside the building and included in the public space, is for the sake of emergency under control of the fire patrol and withdrawn from the free public space momentarily. The presence of uncovered persons in this area during the fire patrol operations does not therefore violate a norm regarding the public space. And girls escaping from a fire cannot be deemed, when having their heads uncovered in such situation, to act out of disregard for the law. The mutawa officer’s appreciation of the situation in this case was blatantly incorrect, a statement of fact that has no bearing, however, on the institution and/or policy’s legitimacy.
“Girls escaping from a fire cannot be deemed, when having their heads uncovered in such situation, to act out of disregard for the law.” I wrote this in order not to let one think that the issue is all about defining the public space, but it was begging the question as I was supposed to answer to “not all emergencies allow for exemptions.” The answer tended to show it was not a true exemption, in the case of girls escaping from a fire, as the area they reached was not, momentarily, public space. As to the other aspect of the discussion, assuming it was a true exemption, was it a justified one? In other words, was the mutawa officer right in demanding compliance with the law with a high probability of “martyrdom” involved? Indeed, the girls would have been shahidah for the sake of complying with modesty commands. One of the issues, there, is how probable martyrdom was: I do not have all the elements of the case to answer this question. God’s command sometimes requires that one must be willing to sacrifice one’s own life for upholding His command, for instance when martyrs were asked to sacrifice, even mere flies, to idols, they refused and knowingly paid their refusal with their lives. In other words, was the mutawa officer justified in demanding that the girls be subjected to a risk of martyrdom for upholding the command of the veil? If yes, was he justified in this only in the case of a small or miniscule risk or even in the case of perfect certainty or somewhere in between and then where? Or was he not justified because the exemption was a justified one? Exemptions must by necessity be strictly defined, both out of reverence for God and out of respect for His martyrs who sacrificed their lives instead of benefiting from exemptions. This is the crux of the issue and must be decided according to Islamic jurisprudence. My legal expertise ends here.
On the Accommodation of Minorities and Fairness
Discussing the depiction of American university departments of philosophy as “a sad and boring place, tragically deprived of the creativity, playfulness, and kinship of crip culture.”
Although I see what worth creativity is, I have doubts about the two other “qualities” here endorsed. Playfulness should be left at the door. At some point one has enough of playing, and as it is assumed one is playing during their leisure time, then when it comes to business it is also assumed one has had his share of playing already, for a while, and we now expect him to be stern. Otherwise, we might think she is playful in the amphitheater because she was stern in private and is in the habit of depriving her most intimate company of her delightful playfulness. If money comes from private companies, it is up to them to say whether they want playful academics on their paychecks, that is, they can ask for playfulness as academic duty for their money, if that is how they see the world (like a TV commercial, people dancing on the flimsiest occasion), but as far as public funds are concerned, how advisable is it to want that taxpayer’s money allow a few professors to daily revel in the playfulness of life? I guess the taxpayer would not allow this for too long (due to their alienation, most certainly). As to kinship, I have no idea where this leads to, only that it smacks of the same exclusiveness here decried, of nepotism and preferential treatment for one’s kind, lightyears away from traditional–and sound–academic ethics. Signed: A nonacademic philosopher.
The kinship quality of crip culture seems to be an allusion to affirmative action but as a self-serving argument it then fails to convey per se the idea that non-members of this culture or institutions such as philosophy departments will, contrary to creativity and, disregarding my previous remarks, playfulness, benefit from greater inclusion of said members, except in the broad sense that all historically discriminated cultures would make society a better place for everyone through greater inclusion. Therefore, my remark that this kinship quality smacks of the same exclusiveness decried in the essay is of course discardable on the same grounds as opposition to affirmative action in general, namely, that countermajoritarian exclusiveness is not a problem as it is in fact the cure to majoritarian exclusiveness, a cure to be preferred upon formal neutrality because of structural “isms” that neutralize all attempts at neutrality. Still, in a list of specifically crip culture qualities, this is a misplaced qualification as it describes the culture based not on cripness but on discriminatedness.
As to playfulness, I realize it may be on the list as a correction to received ideas. The squares may have the notion that crips are not playful, therefore it is important to stress playfulness. It would mean, in other words, that crips are as playful as anybody, except professors of analytic philosophy, and the crux of the argument would be a call to replace anachronistically stern professors with professors more attuned to prevailing cultural codes characterized by playfulness. Not so much an improvement, then, the whole of society being considered, as the playful normalization of a stronghold of sternness.
NB. Qualities deriving from discriminatedness alone, or intrinsically, can be no argument for inclusion from the majoritarian point of view, because they are the qualities that may or even must vanish through inclusion. (Use of the word “squares” alludes to carefully nurtured marginal cultures whose aim is precisely to avoid inclusion and normalization for fear of losing certain distinct qualities.)
Kinship, I am told, means in the context that crips “simply prefer each other’s company.” How it is a quality in the sense of a universal maxim is not to understand from the standpoint of ones accustomed to hearing about minorities’ demands for inclusiveness. When nondisabled people, when the majority does little to include crips, their exclusiveness is described as a problem according to mass media and the political debate, so kinship is no universal value according to the very crip culture and militancy as defined by mass media and politics. It is “my” kinship, my minority’s kinship, that is good; “your” kinship is oppressive.
Why, in a world where kinship is of any value, should the majority have a duty to accommodate “others” rather than nurture their own kinship? It is an either-or matter. Either kinship is a value and the majority has the right to ignore minorities’ demands because it is its kinship versus theirs, and all kinships are of the same value as kinship is a value per se, or kinship is no value and then when crips defend their sense of kinship they should be left to revel in it inside their margin; the majority will not–should not–heed their demands for inclusion. We no longer accept privileges. When preferential treatments are institutionalized, the truth of this institutionalization is that the special treatment corrects (to any possible extent) an unfortunate situation. If there is no misfortune to correct, a preferential treatment, for instance quotas, is a privilege that, according to liberal worldviews, must be destroyed. The “philosophical” viewpoint that disability is a “tragedy” is not primarily philosophical but sociopolitical: Special measures for inclusion are for those who need them, that is, are in a sorry condition of want without them. It sounds like unabashed cheekiness when the ones accommodated through special treatment are telling those who accommodate them that they are the ones to pity. Maybe crips do not care about inclusion at all and it is a misunderstanding when one talks of a crip militancy for inclusion; this militancy would then be the result of political machines’ activity aimed at votes through creating an inclusion lobby out of nothing where there is only the will to be left alone among one’s kind, reveling in one’s kinship. Yet seemingly, even if the lobby were a machine’s ex nihilo scheme, many, perhaps most members of said kinship culture are conditioned by the plan: They want to be left alone and yet fully endorse the machine’s machinations and combinazioni. A form of hypocrisy.
“Normate culture,” as described, smacks a lot of middle class and suburbia. Yet nondisabled persons are not bound by such prescriptions, they can withdraw, they can ask to be left alone (even if there is a price to pay, it does not seem unreasonable to say it is a price everyone can afford). On the other hand, are crips free to withdraw from their own culture? If not, would it not be obvious that being a nondisabled person, from whom the normate culture is at most a relative prescription, is an ontologically better condition than being a crip, whose crip culture is a true Fatum of iron ineluctability? This the paper leaves unanswered, except that by extoling the crip culture it gives to think that withdrawal is no option. Yet it is the option that makes the difference.
Such fixation on the so-called normate culture betrays absorption. The scholars quoted at length for its description are evidently permeated by it, they find it in their lives, in their surroundings, in themselves; it is first and foremost a self-description. How many nondisabled persons will read this description of “their” life with a mere shrug of the shoulders? As a ballpark estimate I would say one fourth, because, as marriage and child-rearing are given as a central feature of this culture, and about one sixth to one fifth of people in any given population do not beget children–this figure is said by some to have been a constant over time–a rough guess is one fourth, considering the figure to be close to one fifth and subtracting crips and queer people. One nondisabled, straight person out of four simply does not fit in the nondisabled, straight culture as defined, and we only took one of the given criteria, so “exceptions” to the other criteria must also be considered, which is likely, all combined, to reduce the figures of “normalcy” to thin air and to make a joke of the definition. This scholarly work does not address a reality but a mere ghost, and the difference does not seem to occur to the scholars.
Same remark for what is said about queer people. The author fails to address one major part of the queer militancy as presented by mass media and politics and evidenced by surrogacy demands: Queer people want to raise families, to marry and live happily ever after.
It is the obvious consequence of the kinship quality of a culture, that it is normative. A kinship culture of cripness or queerness is as “normate” and ritualistic as any majoritarian one, as a first approach. On a second approach, it is even more normate if withdrawal is less an option, if there is less room for the possibility of withdrawal than in the case of a majoritarian normate culture.
Finally, I would like to stress a legal issue that does not exist in as severe a form in the United States because of First Amendment case law but is a sickening problem in Europe. European countries did not stop at decriminalizing homosexuality, they criminalize critic (“disparagement”) of homosexuality. From the point of view of freedom, the move, therefore, is of a quite dubious worth. Were drugs decriminalized, it would occur to no one to criminalize critic of drugs’ use. Representative associations of this and other minorities protected by group disparagement laws are invited, like true bounty hunters (which character, however and at the same time, European countries purport to have ruled out), to partake in the criminal process and may ask, as “moral persons,” financial damages. This, playful as they may be, really spoils the fun, I find.
This is not to say that a “mere ghost,” as I called it, does not have some kind of existence. For instance, when, in office life, the life of organization women and men, one invites her colleagues to an afterwork office party to celebrate her last kid’s birth (and her return from parental leave), she is asking people to stay with her after work hours while her colleagues might just be tired after the long day and long to be home, especially if one has no plan to have children and is, after reading Peter Wessel Zapffe–nonqueer, nondisabled, anti-natalist Norwegian philosopher–anti-natalist, in which case he would question the celebration’s rationale itself. This person may find excuses on this and that occasion, but most certainly a systematic eschewing of afterwork events would bring him to his hierarchy’s attention, who would look askance at the attitude and perhaps translate it in managerial measures, with more or less obvious sanctions.
As to parental leave, the uncompensated increase of workload for the colleagues of the woman on leave is often measurable (yet often unmeasured). Her colleagues pay for a public natality policy and women’s inclusion policy. Admittedly, it is not too high a price in the U.S., nothing in comparison with Europe, which must be a feminist Eldorado for American gender scholars, I presume. To avoid making it look like too blunt and shocking a privilege for women in the workplace, European legislators have extended the parental leave to fathers (not on a par with women’s leave though, because of some obscure biopolitical reasons, this said tongue in cheek). Childless workers of both sexes pay the full price for women’s inclusion and natality policies, and that includes uncompensated increase of workload besides, of course, tax money.
For French women, the legislation is, for children 1-2, 16 weeks leave for each, for children 3+, 26 weeks, paid 405 euros per month, namely 89.03 euros per day to which applies a tax rate of 21 per cent. (I thought it was a percentage of the working income, by the way, and to be honest, this subsidy is a little comical, since the poverty line in the country is at 1,100 euros per month for a single person: an obvious slap in the face of single mothers, in case they do not pocket alimony too). For the father, the leave is of 25 working days, the amount of subsidy not a flat fee, unlike the mother’s, but a percentage of the three last paychecks, namely X divided by 91.25 for each day, so for 6,000 euros (income of 2,000 euros per month), 65.75 euros per day for 25 days, 1,643 euros in all.
In comparison, “There is no obligation for US employers to give paid maternity or parental leave to their workers. Instead, maternity leave is a matter left to each employer to decide upon. … However, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires that US employers (with 50 or more employees) to allow mothers and fathers to take unpaid time off (up to 12 weeks) for the purpose of pregnancy or child-rearing. They must hold the worker’s job and health insurance in place. There is no requirement to provide pay.” (Foothold America)
The comical nature of these “achievements” will hardly escape the reader. The maternity leave means living in abject poverty if the woman is not supported by a partner or someone else’s income or by alimony: either relinquishing income (“no requirement for the employer to provide pay”), in the US, or being paid thrice less than the poverty threshold, in France.
I wanted to stress that there was another aspect to the question, namely that fertile women who pocket maternity leaves during their career–and we saw that for a French woman who gave birth to, say, four kids, that means 84 weeks leave, 1.6 year,–demand nonetheless the same progression pattern in the organization’s hierarchy as those who worked those 84 weeks for the organization, in the name of–what?–women’s rights and the bubbling natality of the nation. I wanted to stress that but, seeing the true nature of the achievement that maternity leave is, namely a mere Mrs Jones’s achievement (who lives on Mr Jones’s income too), that would be a little futile.
One will say 16 weeks (for child 1 and child 2) is only 4 months, so it is only a question of saving money for these four little months (up to 3 months in US), like one saving before a sabbatical year, and then life goes on, with a new soul in this world. No doubt a single mother with law firm partner income can afford to singly raise on leave as many children as she wants. As has just been said, it is only a question of saving money. For subprime profile Charnesia LeBlanc, almost drowned already in consumer credit repayments, one may call her maternity leave the rope around her neck. She will not take it.
I said money for leaves is nothing in US in comparison to Europe (taking France as example) but this deserves further discussion. US legislation says, “There is no requirement to provide pay.” A simple war-of-the-classes reasoning leads to “Don’t count on it.” However, it must be assumed, as always, that it is only at one end of the spectrum that one doesn’t count on it, while at the other end some women probably get maternity leave packages that no French woman can dream of.
The federal state has provided “paid parental leave” (which has got its acronym: PPL) for its civil servants since 2020 (Federal Employee Paid Leave Act FEPLA of Dec 2019). Before that, “[s]ome individual US states and possessions, however, do provide for paid maternity benefits, including Rhode Island, Hawaii, New Jersey, California, New York and Puerto Rico.” (International Labor Organization, 1998)
Try as I might, and I tried hard enough, on official websites with memos and FAQs, I could not find a single clue on how much money the PPL is for its beneficiaries, to compare with French figures. Talk of transparency!
“This new benefit will likely improve the desirability of Federal employment … the Office of Personnel Management said” (Washington Post). It will do more than that, it will make of the US a bureaucratic state. In a country where, according to the same WashPo paper, only 21 percent of private sector employees are eligible to paid parental leaves, because for them the rule is that there is no requirement to provide pay, for bureaucrats paid leave is now an entitlement. Of course, this will achieve civil servants’ whole desolidarization from private sector employees. So much for feminist solidarity: Die, Charnesia, die on the altar of Mrs Jones’s PPL!
Not only is maternity leave creating a differential treatment between men and women or rather childless workers and fertile (or adopting) women in the workplace, but a pregnant woman’s workload is also adjusted before her leave. For instance, if there is night work, the pregnant woman will be dispensed from it; that means more night work for her colleagues. The rationale is that the pregnant woman is some kind of disabled person.
Disability in the workplace may be the nondisabled workers’ misfortune, I am sorry to put it so bluntly. When one organization has defined what some call a “theoretical workforce,” for instance in an administration, and that theoretic workforce has been defined for one department as, say, 20 people, they are not going to count a disabled worker one half or whatever fraction of a person in this workforce. The disabled worker is 1 out of 20, but his work is adjusted according to his or her disability, so for the same workload, with the same figure of 20, you must count yourself as lucky if no disabled person works in the same theoretic force in which you belong. This, obviously, does not consider those who are always happy with their workload, however bloated it becomes, and I am told this kind of people exist. – A simple solution would be to not count a disabled worker as a whole unit in the workforce, to adjust not only their work but also their weight accordingly in the theoretic workforce…
Back to pregnant women, those other disabled workers. One line of legitimation for such differential treatment is that everyone benefits from the system, the woman’s partner, the next woman to become pregnant, etc. Everyone who reproduces, that is. A blunt disregard for the others.