Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Forum: : What Is Your Favorite Foreign Cuisine?

Every week, the WoW! community and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher's Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week's question:What Is Your Favorite Foreign Cuisine?

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz: French, and Catalonian, in that order, in-country.
Wonderful cooking, best found in small restaurants favored by locals: The sort of places where the cook (the cook, yes) posts the daily menu on a chalkboard on the sidewalk.

Doug Hagin:Tough choice, but I have to say Italian. Garlic, extra virgin olive oil two of my favorite things. From Lasagna, to all the other incredible pasta dishes, great breads, cheeses. Oh Bruschetta, in so many varieties, Scallopini! Marsala! So many ways to go with great sauces and pastas.

Rob Miller: I have to divide my faves into three categories...stuff I ate before I observed kashrut (Kosher dietary laws), stuff I eat now and stuff I cook. We didn't really cook much in my house when I was a kid, so I taught myself, using cookbooks like Julia Child's classics, Dan Beard's and a couple of others. I did it because I wanted to, shall we say, maximize my social life, which it definitely did. Besides, it was fun! And now that I keep kosher, there's a lot of stuff I can't eat unless I make it.

The first foreign cuisine I ever really ran across was Mexican food, which is way different and much more diverse than most of what we see here. It gave me a hot tooth that still exists. I can't really eat the stuff in the restaurants anymore because a lot of them use lard, but I can make killer enchiladas, refried beans from scratch (including tomatillos, nopalitos and chilies) Pollo con mole, Pollo Anchiote (from Yucatan) and stand up chili at home.

I'm also decent at some of what the French call 'cuisine bourgeoisie' sort of what we'd call home cooking. Stuff like onion soup (no cheese in my version, since it uses beef broth) Poulet Marengo, Poulet Dijon, Bouef Borguignion, Bouef Flamande', stuff like that. I can also make decent pasta dishes and basic sauces like bolognese and yer basic tomato sauce with mushrooms and herbs from scratch, as well as fondue, beef stroganoff(sans sour cream) and a decent Hungarian goulash without the sour cream they osmetimes use. I rate myself as a decent amateur cook.

While I like the continental stuff, my out and out favorite is has always been Thai food, a delightful combination of Indian food (another fave), Chinese and Southeast Asian influences...they even have curries like Musselman Curry, which I now make at home. The food is fresh, spicy, inventive and exotic. One of my favorite Thai dishes is larb, a delightful sort of salad made with beef or chicken, rice noodles, cabbage, chilies, fresh mint and lime juice. I never tried making it myself but my beloved makes a wonderful version of it, so I don't have to.

I like Vietnamese food as well, which combines French influences with Chinese and southeast Asian. One dish I absolutely love is Pho, a wonderful beef soup with a heavenly aroma. I haven't had it in a long time since the beef they use isn't kosher, but one day maybe I'll take a shot at making it. I've been told it ain't easy.

Israeli cuisine is a fave. To me there's nothing like a good felafel with Israeli style salad, pita, fresh tahini and a little shuk to top it off. They also make great shawarma, a distinct kind of couscous, a wonderful egg dish called shakshouka, labna, hummus, burekas, kibbeh (bulgar with meat and vegetables) and delicious lamb, chicken and beef. It's basically a melting pot for the entire Middle East, because the Jews who were ethnically cleansed from the Arab world brought their food with them. And there's also Ethiopian food, eaten with the right hand and with the aid of a spongy bread called Injerah. Rich wats (stews), spicy vegetables and delicious thickened sauces. There's an Ethiopian community near where I live and some really nice restaurants, some I which I used to go to. But unlike the Ethiopian places in Israel, none of them are kosher, so....another culinary challenge awaits!

Patrick O'Hannigan:I guess "foreign" would be a subjective measure. When they were small, my children (one of whom is Korean) saw a movie with an Asian character in America whose most memorable line was about some kind of rice-based dish that she identified as "food of my people." For awhile, that line was a family joke.

All things considered, I'd have to say that my favorite cuisines are Italian (I'm a "pasta head") and Korean (Bibimbap! Beef bulgogi!).

Scott Kirwin:I can’t pronounce the dishes, and half the time I don’t know what I’m eating, but I’ll go with Indian.

I used to work with an Indian-American and we would hit the Indian restaurants around Wilmington Delaware for lunch. We found this one place that served authentic Punjabi cuisine at a little hole in the wall in a neighborhood of questionable virtue.

We both would eat so much at the buffet that we’d be struggling to make it back to the office without exploding.

There’s something about the cuisine that just works for me, and I’m not sure why because I didn’t grow up with it at all.

I’m hoping to travel to India just to eat.

Laura Rambeau Lee:The one food I crave if I haven’t had it for awhile would be Mexican. I love a spicy carnitas (pork) with verde sauce served with refried beans and rice and flour tortillas. And of course crispy tortilla chips and salsa and a refreshing glass or two of Sangria. Muy bueno!

Thanks for the easy question this week Rob. Now I’m craving Mexican. LOL!

Dave Schuler:Tough question. I like everything. Let's start by assuming you mean "cooking" rather than "cuisine". A cuisine is an organized system for for cooking and there are only a few of them: French, Italian, Chinese, Indian, Japanese. There is Swiss cooking but no Swiss cuisine. It's a cuisine paysanne. That's true of Mexican food, Greek food, and many others.

Well, obviously French. I'm a French cook and I don't exaggerate in claiming that I'm probably the best French cook you'll ever encounter who isn't a professional chef. You know that exercise in the book/movie Julie and Julia? I did the same thing thirty years previously: taught myself French cooking by making every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I had an advantage in that I came from a cooking family, had worked as a short order cook, had cooked for crowds as large as 500 people on a regular basis, I even catered a little.

In addition to French, I particularly like Hungarian food, Japanese food, and I'll admit to a fondness for British pub food.

Bookworm Room:My two favorite cuisines are Chinese food (from the Northern region, not Hong Kong style) and Middle Eastern food. Growing up in the Bay Area, Chinese food was a given.

Because my parents grew up in the Middle East, they were good at finding the best Middle Eastern restaurants around. In those days, back in the late 1960s and 1970s, before the average Arab on the street had become hyper-politicized, we were greeted warmly in those restaurants. Now, I seldom eat Middle Eastern food, because when I walk in, I'm usually faced with pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli propaganda on the walls. Those things make me lose my appetite.

Well, there it is!

Make sure to drop by every Monday for the WoW! Magazine Forum. And enjoy WoW! Magazine 24-7 with some of the best stuff written in the 'net. Take from me, you won't want to miss it.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Forum: Who Wins The War Between Trump And California's Sanctuary Policies?

Every week, the WoW! community and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher's Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week's question:Who Wins The War Between Trump And California's Sanctuary Policies?

Dave Schuler:Honestly, I have no idea. I think that while it's possible for the federal government to win the fight it's likely that California will. It's also possible that California's politicians will overreach, make a misstep, the president will invoke the Insurrection Act, and California's state government will be removed.

I think it's clear that California is presently an outlier in an number of ways ranging from politics to demographics to economy. Under the circumstances just about anything can happen.

Rob Miller : First, it's important to look at the real issue here. And it isn't some kind of humanitarian 'immigration' issue. It's about ethnic politics and political power.

Over the past three decades or so, the state's population has largely been deliberately replaced, especially in the coastal areas where the population is. It was done using open borders, sky high taxes, massive and complex 'regulations' on businesses and punitive laws favoring illegal migrants and 'takers' rather than makers.

Well funded political organizations like MeCHA, La Raza and MALDEF based on creating and exploiting ethnic grievance also played a role. As things rolled along, laws making it easy for voter fraud to occur and for illegal migrants to vote have exacerbated things. Meanwhile, small business owners, new college graduates, and many working families have simply left because of the artificially created high cost of living and doing business. Large corporations are also starting to leave the not-so-Golden State, because of the high taxation, strangling regulations and the difficulty in attracting employees because the high cost of housing and daily living. Even Silicon Valley has started to move to places like Boise, Idaho,Texas, Phoenix and Colorado among other places.

My point is that this is a political issue that has nothing to do with immigration or humanitarianism.

So who wins? Well, the Constitution says plainly that immigration is one of those powers the Federal Government has reserved for itself, like coining money or issuing postage stamps. Since California's sanctuary laws are in violation of federal immigration laws, it would seem that once this gets to the Supreme Court, if it does, that President Trump wins this one. However, since a lot of appellate judges, especially Obama's appointees seem far more concerned with political posturing rather than the law, it's likely to be a real cobra vs. mongoose battle.

One thing the president could do to bring things to a head is to send federal marshals to Oakland to arrest the mayor, Libby Schaaf for obstruction of justice (a felony) prosecute her, and sentence her to a jail term. Ms. Schaaf is the mayor who warned illegal migrants of ICE activities that she was informed of in advance by ICE. Because of her actions, an estimated 800 illegal migrants with felony convictions are still running around loose. I believe that putting a few examples like Ms. Schaaf in prison would do a great deal to end this standoff, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if President Trump does just that. If I were placing a bet, I'd put it on President Trump to win this one.

Image result for Trump Smiling

Fun fact: It's no secret that one of the Supreme Court justices is planning to retire this summer, and the name that keeps being mentioned is 81-year-old Anthony Kennedy. A Trump nominated justice definitely affect how this goes.

Laura Rambeau Lee: The majority of Americans understand we have a very real problem with illegal immigrants who have entered and are continuing to enter our country. They are undermining the fabric of our society; driving down wages for low income and mostly minority workers; and bankrupting our states with the additional costs expended for education, medical care, and other government entitlements paid out to them. It seems daily we are hearing reports of illegal immigrants committing crimes against American citizens and getting away with them. All too often our system is protecting the criminals and not delivering justice to the victims.

This battle being fought between the Justice Department and the State of California presents a constitutional crisis for our country. California has officially become a sanctuary state and recently passed three laws which the Justice Department says violate the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a son of legal Mexican immigrants, not only refuses to comply with federal immigration policies, he recently asserted his department would prosecute any business that willingly complies with federal law by allowing federal immigration officers on their property.

Putting an end to illegal immigration was the primary issue of Trump’s campaign and the reason he won. We know the majority of Americans are behind him and his efforts to build the wall, end illegal immigration, and find an acceptable solution to deal with the illegal immigrants already living here.

The federal government must win this war.

Well, there it is!

Make sure to drop by every Monday for the WoW! Magazine Forum. And enjoy WoW! Magazine 24-7 with some of the best stuff written in the 'net. Take from me, you won't want to miss it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Forum: Is Europe Doomed?

Every week, the WoW! community and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher's Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week's question: Is Europe Doomed?

Can it survive the Muslim migrant invasion? Will the EU separate into different factions? Will relations with the U.S. deteriorate? Will it collapse financially

Patrick O'Hannigan: Yes to all of the above. Europe can survive the mass Muslim migration into its borders, but not with its heritage intact. The Brexit vote in England and the more recent results of elections in Italy both suggest that the continent is split by different factions already. Relations with the United States will deteriorate if and when your prism for analyzing bilateral relationships between countries depends exclusively on the longstanding prejudices of career diplomats and "community organizers." For a more hopeful outlook, you have to talk to people not in the upper echelon of politics (as President Trump seems to understand, and Marion Le Pen of France made clear in a rousing speech at CPAC this year).

I don't follow European economic news as closely as some of my friends do, but as far as I know, the EU still depends on Germany to be its economic engine, and Germans are increasingly tired of subsidizing Greek pensions (for example).

When the truth-tellers in Europe realize that Western patrimony is worth preserving, and courageous politicians push assimilation into Western ways rather than suicidal accommodation with people who don't care for European culture but have made their way into its sphere of influence for economic reasons, then we'll all be better off. There are hopeful signs of developments like that in places like Poland, although you have to read past charges of "insensitivity" and "xenophobia" in the mass media to intuit as much.

My guess is that the people who think Europe should roll over are the same people who would have faulted Saint Patrick for taking the Druid priesthood of his adopted country to task, back in the fifth century.

Bookworm Room: Can Europe survive the Muslim migrant invasion? No. If Europe does not put a stop to the Muslims pouring in from Africa and the Middle East, Europe as we know it will be gone in a few decades. Just look at Sweden. Things are so bad there that even the New York Times can no longer pretend that Sweden is still the sweet, crime-free, gender-equal, completely Progressive country it once was. Already ten years ago, British people were telling me that vast areas of Northern England had turned into no-go zones. Indeed, one of the things the Muslims did was deliberately settle into Jewish neighborhoods and then harass them into leaving. One only has to look at the constantly rising antisemitism in France to see how that works once the Muslims reach a comfortable critical mass.

This is not racism on my part, because Muslims are not a race. This is "ideology-ism" because Islam is a mindset, just as Naziism was -- and it's as foul a mindset as Naziism was. I won't belabor the obvious commonalities here. The only real differences between the two are that the Nazis saw themselves as a race, which, as I noted, Muslims do not; and that the Nazis were fairly supportive of female equality. Otherwise, in terms of their approach to the greater world (rather than the sufferings they visit on their own acolytes), they are the same: antisemitic, anti-Christian, anti-free market, totalitarian, hungry for world domination, excessively violent and cruel. No wonder Hitler greatly admired Islam and Islamic leaders.

No nations can survive the sustained physical and cultural invasion Europe is experiencing, especially because European leadership, not only resolutely refuses to fight back, but is encouraging the invasion. Keep in mind that Europe rebuffed Hitler for two reasons only: Britain (through Churchill) and America. Today, though, Britain is in the forefront of cultural Islamisization and, over the protests of the ordinary people, importing more Islam. Meanwhile, America would be a fool to step in if war breaks out in Europe between Muslims and a few stalwart remaining traditional Europeans. It would be like Afghanistan, only much worse. The Wilson doctrine of saving an ungrateful world is finally over. Under Trump, America is appropriately interested in saving herself. The only reason for America to intervene, therefore, would be if one could credibly believe that, if the Muslims take over Europe, America is next.

Will the EU separate into different factions? It should, but inertia says it won't. As we see in England, despite the Brexit vote the British government is doing so much foot dragging it's unlikely that it will ever really separate. Slightly more than 50% of British voters hate this fact, but they seem incapable of addressing it. The EU has inextricably intertwined itself into British law, culture, and politics. The same will hold true for the rest of Europe excepting, perhaps a few Balkan nations. Unfortunately, both Poland and Hungary, having started the "emotional" process of separating from the rest of Europe, are falling back on their old friend antisemitism.

Will relations with the U.S. deteriorate? As Europe becomes more and more Muslim, yes, relationships will deteriorate -- that is, as long as we have Trump or other true conservatives in the White House. If we get Obama Part II, the U.S. will reach out to Islamic Europe and attempt to recreate the same scenario in America.

Will Europe collapse financially? Yes. As Linda Sarsour foolishly boasted, the great thing for everyone if sharia comes into play is that we'll no longer have to pay interest on loans or credit cards. She's too dumb to realize that part of what powers the Western World's economic engines is the ability to borrow money and buy on credit. If that system is abused, both lender and borrower suffer. If it's mostly a functioning system, though, it provides the capital necessary to keep the economy moving and growing. The only reason that Muslim nations in the Middle East have succeeded financially over the past decades is oil money. Take that away and there's nothing left. They have a little bit of trade, but that's it. Bring that Muslim economy to Europe and in a few short years, Europe will look like Zimbabwe or Yemen.

Rob Miller: The answer to the above is, it depends on who you're talking about. Donald Rumsfeld, one of our most underestimated and unfairly maligned public servants had it exactly right when he talked about 'new Europe' and 'old Europe.'

'Old Europe' largely consisted of the traditional Western and Northern European states. Thanks to the American taxpayer paying for their defense and America's willingness to incur trade deficits, these countries slacked off on spending any money for defense and gradually put together socialist welfare states instead. 'New Europe', placed under Soviet domination experienced communist barbarism, brutality and real socialism.'Old Europe'has gradually has let its liberties, its individual sense of nationalism and freedom slip away as it embraced the EU and became more hardcore socialist. 'New Europe,' freed in the 1980's has become more nationalistic and far more insistent on its freedoms.

Like Muddy Waters once sang, you can't miss what you never had.

So, will Europe survive the Muslim migrant invasion? Most countries probably will, some may not. The countries of 'New Europe' likely will, because they have simply refused to respond to Mutti Merkel and Brussel's arm twisting and take the Muslim migrants she insisted on bringing to Germany off her hands. Denmark, Norway and Switzerland (the country that outlawed Minarets and refuses to grant citizenship to migrants on welfare) will likely survive as well, since all three are fairly independent minded by nature and aren't really letting Muslim migrants enter in large numbers...nor are Norway or Switzerland EU members by choice. The Norwegians have actually been deporting a number of their Muslim migrants and if memory serves me, have built a border wall on their northern border with Sweden. Austria and Italy look promising, having changed their governments recently after having numerous incidents with the migrants that horrified the electorate in both countries.

France, I think, will survive, but it will not be without bloodshed or a change in government. The French still have a strong sense of nationalism, albeit diluted by the always pernicious French Left...merde a la Gauche! On the plus side, France actually has an army (most of which is deployed in her cities) and now that the general public realizes how badly they were fooled and lied to by the socialist Macron, we may see things changing for the better.

The major countries most in danger, IMO are Sweden, Germany and the UK, with Belgium and the Netherlands not far behind. Sweden's story is so well known that it needs scant retelling here. We are talking about a country where grenade attacks by Muslim gangs have become commonplace and Sweden's National chief of police is begging the government to mobilize the military to help restore some kind of order. The Swedes are actually being moved out of their homes by government order to provide houses for the increasing number of Muslim migrants, and the already high taxes need to be increased to pay for their welfare benefits.

Germany's situation is dire, since Merkel has now resumed the chancellorship in a coalition with the Socialists in a successful bid to keep the right leaning, euroskeptic and migrant critical AFD Party out of government. Merkel's government is so well, anti-German as to go out of its way to promote sexual relations and Muslim conversion for young teenage German girls with adult Muslim males, and to give Muslims coaching on how to pick up young German females. The end result of many of these relationships is quite forseeable.

Germany has other problems as well. For one thing, the Bundeswahr is a joke and incapable of fending off any major threats from within or without.  And many of the migrants, instead of working and paying taxes the way Merkel and her friends planned are simply living the good life on welfare and assorted freebies while making German cities increasingly dangerous, especially for women. There are some signs the peasants are revolting...AFD's strong showing, certain cities that have defied the government and refused to take in migrants and general unrest in Catholic Bavaria, where the bringing in of Muslim migrants is far from popular. So we'll see.

The UK is also in major trouble. The population is disarmed, Scotland Yard admits there are thousands of jihadis with British citizenship back from Iraq and Syria they can't account for, no go areas in London abound and the government, under the fatuous Theresa May is far more concerned with curtailing free speech and keeping anyone even remotely critical of the current state of affairs banned from entering the UK. 

London itself is ruled by Mayor Saddhiq Khan, a man with Islamist ties who after the slaughter on London Bridge famously said that London needs to get used to terrorist attacks every so often.

Britain's birth rate is down except among Muslims, the country has nothing like the leadership it will need to survive as it is and things show few signs of changing. Even the defiance of Brexit seems muted these days, largely because of Theresa May's opposition - she was a staunch remainer.

Another cheery wild card when it comes to who survives in Europe is Turkey's Tayyip Erdogan, who has the largest conventional army in Europe...and Muslim outposts like Kosovo en route along the old Ottoman path of conquest, not to mention Muslim supporters embedded in Europe's cities. So again, we'll see.

Will the EU fragment? It already has, as I described above. The EU has at best another five years left. And the finances are, yes, a part of it. The entire EU bureaucracy basically was designed to benefit Germany and allow them to export in euros rather than higher value Deutsche marks.  At this point, what was once a profitable scam has now backfired, with German taxpayers paying for Greek and Spanish pensions...along with all those migrants. That can't last much longer. And President Trump's long overdue tariffs are going to hurry the collapse of one of the most illegitimate attempts at 'unity' in history.

Relations with America will likewise vary, depending on the country.  A look at the British and German press and their hostility to President Trump and American policy generally doesn't seem to forecast close relations in the future. Nevertheless, particularly when it comes to the UK and France, America might once again step in to save their sorry behinds, if for no other reason than to keep their nukes out of unfriendly hands. Our eastern European allies are likely to be quite a different story, with good relationships with America, especially the Visograd countries.

Laura Rambeau Lee : In the mid 20th century many European countries encouraged Muslims to immigrate as they needed low skilled, low wage workers. Over a couple of generations while their numbers were low these Muslim immigrants appeared to assimilate into Western culture and improve their social status. While their populations were small these countries did not have to deal with the cultural differences they are experiencing today. As their populations have increased the cultural disparities are becoming alarmingly evident. What we are seeing is civilization jihad, where young Muslims have been groomed to become bankers, businessmen and lawyers and run for political office. The city of London, along with several other cities in England and in Europe, has elected a Muslim mayor.

In more recent years the influx of young Muslim men into Europe seems more like an invasion. They have not been exposed to Western culture and are intent on transforming their newfound country into a Muslim dominant society controlled by Islamic law. They have become more brazen and violent against non Muslims as we have seen in the sexual grooming of young girls, and the violent attacks and gang rapes of young women in recent years. There are some areas in large cities where local police will not venture and Islamic law is practiced. Non Muslim girls and women dare not leave their homes for fear of being attacked and raped. And strict gun control laws prevent them from protecting themselves.

Europeans who do not want their countries and culture destroyed by Muslims are called intolerant, racist, and white supremacists – all to intimidate and silence them while the Muslim population grows large enough to take control through democratic processes. They are using Western laws to overthrow Western governments.

The leaders of these European countries willingly opened the floodgates to allow hordes of Muslim males invade their countries with no concern for the consequences of their actions. It will get worse and it looks like there will have to be a new crusades to drive Islam out of Europe. Does Europe have the determination and will to drive out the Muslim invaders? That is the real question isn’t it? It seems inevitable that a continued tolerance of non-Western cultures will be the death of Europe.

Well, there it is!

Make sure to drop by every Monday for the WoW! Magazine Forum. And enjoy WoW! Magazine 24-7 with some of the best stuff written in the 'net. Take from me, you won't want to miss it.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

How To Stop Mass Shootings In America

Is there a way to stop mass shootings in America?

The latest tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida  cost 17 young lives.

What strikes me is how similar the response to these things always is.  Someone of my acquaintance who works in the administration of a large city in my area told me that less than 15 minutes after the news was reported, several busloads of 'protesters' with ready made signs were already descending on the lawn outside City Hall. The usual suspects in Hollywood and in DC were making statements calling for massive gun control and their friends in the media were doing their bit. CNN even staged what amounts to a faux 'town hall' where a couple of target 'conservatives were subjected to what was obviously a staged, scripted event. It was a blatant example of how America's children are being indoctrinated and taught not to think critically.

This stuff has been going on since Columbine. Let's examine some  interesting similarities these mass shooting events seem to share as well as what's been tried in response. Maybe we can come up with an answer.

Here are some similarities:

Most of these shootings were carried out by people already known to be people of interest well known to local authorities. They were known to be moody trouble makers already on the edge. The most recent Florida shooter fits the profile perfectly.

In many mass shootings, certainly Sandy Hook as well as this most recent one, even basic security practices were not followed. Adam Lanza was known to be trouble, yet someone let him into Sandy Hook Elementary, where he murdered 20 young children. This was a direct violation of the school's lockdown procedures, and we've never found out who let him in. At Stoneman Douglas, there was an actual Broward County Sheriff designated to guard the kids. Somehow, the shooter got past him, and when the shooting started the sheriff refused to go into the schoolroom to confront him and take the shooter out. The deputy resigned in order to avoid a suspension and probably a later dismissal. The Gabby Giffords shooting was a similar case, with yet another troubled loner well known to local police  able to shoot a number of people including Congresswoman Giffords because the local sheriff didn't see fit to assign a couple of men to oversee security in a large, open crowd at a shopping mall. This pattern is a recurring one.

Each shooting was followed immediately by calls for increased gun control laws, lots of media hubris and political posing and absolutely ZERO action that made any difference. Remember this one, we will explore it in a bit more detail later.

Let's look at the kind of action proposed and sometimes implemented  to solve this problem. It always ranges from confiscation to laws that make it difficult or impossible for law abiding citizens to own firearms to protect themselves. Heavy taxation on guns and ammo, outright banning of many weapons, bureaucratic resistance to concealed carry laws or firearms permits, all have been used, especially in Democrat controlled urban  kingdoms and states. How well have these policies worked?

Chicago, Baltimore, and Washington DC have incredibly strict gun control laws. They haven't decreased homicide rates. Apparently people bent on evil aren't having any trouble getting their hands on firearms. France has even stricter gun control laws, there being no 2nd Amendment. That didn't stop the Bataclan jihadis frrom getting their hands on actual military assault weapons and murdering a large number of people in Paris, and that is by no means the only time this has happened. The Russian Federation has some of the strictest gun laws on the planet, virtually eliminating private ownership of firearms.  Just today, four people were shot leaving church after Lent services in Dagastan by a jihadi, and there have been other similar incidents.  I could cite many more examples of where extreme gun control doesn't stop killers from obtaining weapons.

Obviously, severe gun laws or prohibitions don't stop people intent on obtaining guns from getting them.

Even more interesting, in a number of places where gun controls are fairly lax, mass shootings are reare or even non-existent.  I'm thinking of two countries in particular, Israel and Switzerland. Israel has mandatory conscription for most of its population, and reserve duty afterwards. People actually keep real, fully automatic military assault weapons as well as emergency rations, ammo and even hand grenades at home.  Yet there are hardly any mass shootings. In fact, the last major school shooting was carried out by  'Palestinian' terrorist who attacked a school in Ma'alot. It began when three armed 'Palestinians'  attacked a van, killing two Israeli Arab women while injuring a third and entered an apartment building in the town of Ma'alot. There they murdered a couple and their four-year-old son in cold blood.From there, they headed for the Netiv Meir Elementary School, where they took more than 115 people including 105 children, many of them children on a field trip. They ended up slaying 25 hostages and injuring 68 more. This happened in May, 1974.

After the initial horror faded, the Israelis ramped up border security. Since many of the schoolteachers actually served in the military, they also implemented plans for enhanced school security. The teachers all took firearms and ammo to class, and needless to say, they knew exactly how to use them and had contingency plans to secure the schools. It's a strange sight to American eyes to see a couple of young schoolteachers escorting kids on a field trip with Uzis in hand, but it also is a secure one, because you know these children aren't going to be slaughtered like the ones in Ma'alot.

In Switzerland, nothing like Ma'alot ever occurred and compulsory conscription was recently ended, but many Swiss still train with the reserves and likewise keep weaponry in their homes that would make the average America Leftist politician faint. Again, no mass shootings, and crime is more likely to involve ledgers and computer programs than firearms.

There are other reasons why these two countries lack mass shootings and have what I'd call a healthy gun culture, but the bottom line is that gun control doesn't prevent mass shootings and lack of it doesn't cause them. The state in the union with the loosest gun laws also has the lowest gun homicide rate per capita in America...and that's Vermont.

Confiscation and bans don't really work either. Just ask the Australians.

One thing we do know for certain is that after all the rhetoric from the Left, nothing much has been done to stop mass shootings. Why do you suppose that is? After all, since Columbine, the Democrats have controlled both Houses of Congress with veto proof majorities on different occasions. They never came up with anything to solve the problem, have they? And you can't blame the NRA, since they have little or no influence on Left leaning Democrats. So why has nothing been done,  if they're so passionate about 'protecting kids?'

Well, I live in reality. I  think what the Left really cares about is confiscating firearms and disarming the American populace. Like most totalitarians, the Left salivates over the idea of an America where  they and the government forces they control are the only ones legally allowed to bear arms. And people cheering for that need to digest one of my favorite Machiavelli quotes; "When you are disarmed, you are not only helpless, you are despised."

That's the only logical reason for why the Left refuses to actually address the problem of mass shootings. To come up with a real solution would  get rid of their entire cause celebre', banning and confiscation. They're still hoping that after a few more incidents like this, they will eventually get popular support for that. It's a fool's hope in my opinion, but apparently they're willing to risk kids' lives to take a shot at it, no pun intended.

The answer to the question I pose is an obvious one. Yes, mass shootings can be severely curtailed and perhaps even ended with time. But here's what it would take:

1) Far more emphasis on school security. Non -students should not be allowed on campus without explicit permission and should be walked through a metal detector. At my former high school, a fence surrounded the place and a police patrol car circled the place all day long and at night for things like athletic matches. It worked for the most part. Arming members of the faculty, particularly those who know how to use firearms effectively and safely would be a pretty good idea as well. School kids should also be drilled on exactly what to do and where to go in the event a killer gets in.

2) When local police have knowledge of a potential shooter who fits the pattern of almost any of the killers who pull this stuff off, there's no reason a confidential list couldn't be circulated to local gun dealers to put a hold on purchases. This won't always work (the Sandy Hook killer was actually refused an attempted purchase and simply murdered his mother and took her guns) but it would definitely help. Local dealers would absolutely cooperate, too. Contrary to what you might hear on CNN or MSNBC, most gun dealers are scrupulous in cooperating with law enforcement on matters like these. Being on the 'hold' list would also have to be subject to appeal in the courts, of course.

3) I've always believed that an effective way to cut way down of gun crimes is simply to make use of a firearm to commit a felony a capitol crime. It might not effect the kind of born losers who commit mass shootings overly much but would definitely effect a lot of other gun criminals. After all, somebody aiming a .32 at the head of a convenience store clerk is signifying his or her willingness to kill that person and take their life. And more than one helpless person has been murdered merely to make sure they won't bear witness against a criminal, even in robberies that involved an insanely small sum of money. A death penalty for using a firearm in this way might make a lot of people think twice and help remove those from society who don't. It could also have a significant effect on America's gun culture, which used to be healthy but which now, thanks to Hollywood and the music biz tends to lionize such thuggish behavior.

4) We need to totally remake America's gun culture. Aside from the above step, we need to train kids so that they see guns as protection and defense used by responsible adults rather than things used to obtain instant gratification and coercion. I think Hollywood, the music industry and the game industry could be persuaded to help here. A big part of the poisoning of America's gun culture can be traced to certain changes in the entertainment business in terms of what kind of behavior it promotes. That applies to a lot of things, but definitely in how America's young view guns, particularly in certain communities. If the Left really wants to strop these mass shootings, they ought to be willing to go along and encourage the entertainment biz to go along...unless. of course, they're more interested in mega-donations from that industry rather than kid's lives, right?

I'd also like to see a re-establishment of the cabinet post of Secretary of Civilian Marksmanship. Yes, we actually had one of those, who worked with the NRA on programs to teach kids how to safely and effectively use guns properly and see them in their proper context in society. An increased emphasis on discipline and proper behavior in the public schools wouldn't hurt either.

Kids really do live what they learn.

Taking these four steps might not eliminate mass shootings. But it would definitely make them very rare.

Forum: Should Prostitution Be Legalized And Under Government Control?

Every week, the WoW! community and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher's Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week's question:Should Prostitution Be Legalized And Under Government Control?

Bookworm Room: Wow! That's a seriously good question -- and one that's not very pleasant to think about because, no matter how you frame your answer, the core issue is how we as a society deal with the inevitable fact that people are forced to, or sometimes want to, have sex with strangers in exchange for money.

I think an honest appraisal of facts says that we're never going to do away with situations in which people use their bodies for sex in exchange for food or money, with some doing it out of desperation, some doing it because they are forced into it through violence, and some doing it because it's a good money maker. That being the case, the real question is whether we can structure a free society in a way that best protects those people driven into prostitution due to desperation or force.

One obvious thing that limits prostitution is a wealthier society. Wealth means fewer people need to sell their bodies to survive. Donald Trump's economic policies, by driving down unemployment and driving up real wages, can be seen as a tremendous blow against prostitution. Most people who can earn money in ways other than selling their bodies for sex will do so.

Another thing we can do is have a society that encourages fatherhood -- by which I don't mean the procreative act of providing sperm to create babies. I mean a society in which men marry the mothers of their children, and then stay with and provide for the family.

We know that children raised in a home with a father are more successful. The boys are less likely to get in trouble with the law, which means they're more likely to earn money, have stable lives, and not need prostitutes. Even more importantly, the girls are more likely to grow up with high self-esteem, making them infinitely less vulnerable to pimps or gangs such as the Rotherham Muslim gang that prostituted over 1,200 non-Muslim girls in England.

Encouraging fatherhood is not a matter for law enforcement. It's about cultural pressure. This pressure would challenge the Progressive paradigm holding that men are toxic, vile creatures, and that women do better relying on Mr. Welfare than they do relying on their children's father(s).

Incidentally, having fathers present would also mean that fewer children would be exposed to their mother's boyfriends. Study after study shows that these boyfriends are exceptionally dangerous to children that are not their own, whether they beat them or rape them. Children who are subjected to this abuse, if they survive, either become runaways who survive through prostitution or, even if they do not run away, their egos are so horribly damaged that they are easy prey for pimps.

Theoretically, then, economic and societal changes can diminish the number of people who seek out prostitutes or who are forced through poverty, fear, or low self-esteem into prostitution. That's certainly a good start for dealing with a bad problem.

But as I noted above, there are always going to be people who slip through the cracks and end up selling their bodies and there are always going to be buyers for those bodies. (Strange at is seems, there will also always be people willingly earn a living on their backs because, for reasons most of us cannot understand, they want to or even like to.) So, having theoretically used economics and cultural pressure to shrink substantially the number of people buying or selling sex, what do we do with the remainder?

For starters, I would arrest anyone who has sex with an underage prostitute or who pimps out such a prostitute. Moreover, I would make the penalty incredibly harsh. In theory, doing so would make potential customers very nervous around any prostitute, male or female, who looks even remotely within statutory range and make children less profitable for pimps. I'm sure there's a law of unintended consequences lurking somewhere within this idea, but I'm not seeing it now.

After that, I'd be tempted to go the Nevada route and legalize prostitution, confining it to licensed houses -- with any other forms of prostitution being subject to criminal consequences for both the prostitute and the customer (and any pimps, of course). The goal would be to protect women (and men) from human trafficking and violent coercion by placing them in environments with some level of oversight (not that the government seems up to the job of oversight more often than not). It might also slow the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

An excellent question and one for which I do not see any easy answers. Instead, there are just a lot of incremental, societal steps, plus a little law enforcement to protect the most vulnerable.

Don Surber: My objection to legalized prostitution is we would tax it. Government keeps legalizing vices to collect taxes. Money is power and power corrupts. States are rather slimy in legalizing vice.
Let me give you an example from West Virginia. Our state constitution prohibits gambling.

We voted to allow a lottery in 1984. Within six years, that was interpreted as allowing slot machines at the two dog tracks and the two horse tracks. We turned them into racinos, ostensibly to protect the jobs of track workers.
To promote greyhound dog breedinbg, we set up a slush fund. Freda Tomblin, mother of the state Senate president (and later governor) received $250,000 a year from this slush fund.

Quickly 10% of the state budget came from gambling, even though the state constitution bans it.

There were good reasons we banned gambling, drugs, and prostitution.
But now to make a quick buck, we will legalize sin -- if you pay an indulgence.
In 500 years we have gone from popes doing this to the government doing it.
Who says there is no state religion? The religion of the state is the state.
Pit me down for a no on legalizing prostitution.

There is enough vice in the world. We need more virtue.

Dave Schuler: No. I've known prostitutes socially (not professionally) and IMO it's inherently abusive. Most prostitutes are coerced in one way or another. You may be able to find exceptions but they're exceptions.

Rob Miller: My answer would be a very qualified yes.

As I'll point it, legal or quasi legal prostitution already exist in America.

But before we go there, here are two examples of legalized prostitution as most people think of it, one that works fairly well and one that works horribly.

The one that works is in certain counties in Nevada in places like the famous 'Bunny Ranch.'
Having never been a patron, I can only go by reports on these places. The workers appear to be treated well and paid well, to be able to come and go freely to their own dwellings when they're off work, to be protected by bouncers, to be subjected to health checks and and overall, a fairly safe work environment. In other words, willing buyer, willing seller.

Germany legalized prostitution nationwide in 2002, but has found that there were major problems with it. Essentially, a lot of the unsavory characters whom used to pimp and engage in trafficking now import impoverished young girls from Southeastern Europe openly, where they're installed in 'cut rate' brothels under terrible conditions and the pimps who manage the establishments deduct hefty fees from their earnings.

According to the law as originally passed, a 'manager' could be considered 'exploitative' if he took over 50% of a girl's earnings, and safe conditions with normal hours were mandatory. However, as the Germans found out, it was very difficult to prove violations since the girls knew what would happen to them if they didn't keep quiet.  Many women ended up being forced to service numerous clients on a daily basis around the clock, earned very little money and were actually made to live in the rooms they worked in...for a hefty rent which came out of their earnings. In spite of the laws, very few of the women appear to have actually signed an employment contract, let alone have it honored.

Frankly, one of the big differences here is that the German brothels are largely run by Muslims - mainly Albanians, Chechens and Turks. Many Muslim men have a certain attitude about women, especially infidel women whom the Qur'an teaches them to regard as booty, 'what thy right hand possesses.'

Americans, by comparison tend to treat women relatively well, no matter what the usual feminist harpies are screeching. Also, Americans, being better businessmen and businesswomen know that happy, heathy workers have far more productivity and tend to last longer.

If we were to have legalized prostitution, it would be better to follow the Nevada model, obviously, where local jurisdictions could vote to allow it or not. A commission to award licenses would be essential, and like Vegas, people with any history of involvement in pimping, organized crime or human trafficking would be barred not just from a license but from any employment in brothels. The commissions could also oversee conditions to make sure the sex workers weren't being exploited, which is how it's run in Nevada today.

My primary interest in this topic comes from my revulsion and disgust at the scourge of human trafficking. Legalized brothels and harsh new laws would go a long way towards curtailing it, at least in America and a few other civilized nations. One reason it's so prevalent is because the profits are high, in many countries the chances of ever serving any time are low and even when caught, sentences can be fairly low. The UN certainly won't do anything, since their Blue Helmets and 'aid workers'are some of the worst offenders, again not a surprise when you find out what countries they mostly come from.Personally, I'd love to see a death sentence limited to one appeal for anyone caught pimping or involved in human trafficking in America. These ghouls steal people's lives, and only the possibility of losing their own miserable skins might make it worthwhile to them to get out of their 'business.'

Whether people realize it or not, prostitution already has legal standing in every state in the union, and not just in a few counties in Nevada.

Strippers who want to make more money routinely offer private 'lap dances' to customers for a fee, which involves the stripper gyrating in the man's crotch until he has an orgasm. And many massage parlors offer 'happy endings' to customers willing to pay for it.

Both by definition are sex for money, AKA prostitution. And they're legal, at least de facto in most communities.

My own experience with sex workers has always been social rather than professional, as Dave says, but my overall impression was different.Many of the ones I met seemed to enjoy the money they were making at work if not the overall experience, something they have in common with a lot of people!

That started when I met a cute girl at a laundromat and agreed to meet her for drinks after work at the club she worked at, which yes, was a strip club.

I'll skip the amusing details, but I thought she was a cashier or waitress or something, not part of the entertainment! We ended up dating for awhile, until I found out that she wasn't exactly being truthful about our deal that she give up offering lap dances to the clientele since we were seeing each other. Sweet girl, but...

The environment itself was safe, bouncers kept the girls from being treated inappropriately and my friend and most of her buddies seemed perfectly happy, at least at work.

If legalizing prostitution and cracking down on human trafficking can rid the earth of this scourge, at least in America, I say do it along the lines I've mentioned. Virtue can unfortunately not be legislated, but practices some of us might consider not virtuous can at least be legislated so as to do as little harm as possible.

This issue is going to take an interesting turn as sex robot brothels become more common.

Laura Rambeau Lee: Trading sex for money will always have a social stigma in our country and the reasons people engage in the practice either as a prostitute or a customer are as varied as one can imagine. Realistically we know that prostitution will continue whether legalized or not. Making it illegal only keeps it in the shadows and makes it more difficult to protect those who are forced into human sexual trafficking and sex slavery, which have reached alarming numbers in the United States. Leave it up to the states and the people of a state to legalize prostitution. If the people agree to legalize prostitution then yes the state government should make laws to regulate it. The laws should protect both parties involved in the transaction. Voluntary sex workers should be monitored for sexually transmitted diseases and should also be protected from abuse by their managers and their customers. Legalizing prostitution would give us the opportunity to monitor sex workers and the places they work, and make sure no one underage is involved or someone is being forced to engage in it against their will.

Well, there it is!

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