August 2014

Not sufficiently sympathetic

by Limbic on August 9, 2014

Listening to Global Public Square podcast on the way to work the other day, when something caught my attention.

Paul Krugman was explaining how Obamacare was working and that medical costs growing slower, but what caught my attention was this allusion to young, affluent males:

KRUGMAN: The aggregate data shows something, which has got people pinching themselves, which it’s health care costs are growing so slowly it’s really hard to believe. Medicare, Medicare is currently spending about a thousand dollars less per beneficiary than what’s projected at just four years ago. So, Medicare is way down. It’s aggregate health expenditures is growing much more slowly. Premiums are rising, but premiums have risen every year forever. They don’t seem to be rising. They seem – If anything be rising more slowly than before. The thing, you know, you’re going to find basically if you’re a healthy young male in a state that didn’t have community ratings, so California, not New York, and you’re affluent enough that you don’t qualify for a subsidy, yeah, your premiums have gone up. You don’t find a lot of — you know, the anti-Obama care ad campaigns don’t highlight people like that because they’re not sufficiently sympathetic. They keep on trying to find middle-aged or older middle class people who have had big premium increases, but not one of those stories that’s been highlighted and the assets held up under scrutiny. So, it turns out, yes, there are some losers, but it’s pretty narrow group and the people that the program is supposed to help are being helped. The people who really need the care.

Krugman is stating the obvious, but just look at how accepting we are of this.

The young male is “not sufficiently sympathetic” by default in Western culture. When you add colour (sometimes whiteness, sometimes blackness) and especially affluence,  you have true 21st century villains. In the cultural and political narrative, not only does no one cares about the welfare of this demographic, they are seen as a problem to be managed, a pool of tax money to drain for the benefit of others and a political liability.

No wonder so many of young men are going their own way.




See also: Worthless White Male Victim


whiteness and you have super-villains.



The Grim Story of Malthe Thomsen

by Limbic on August 9, 2014

This is a dreadful story.

Either a young paedophile was let loose amongst preschoolers or a young teaching student has been falsely accused and wronged by the US justice system.

It concerns Malthe Thomsen, a 22 year old student teacher who has been accused of inappropriately touching multiple children in his care. Initially exonerated in a school investigation, his accuser approached the police and he was arrested,  jailed and eventually released on bail to await a decision from the authorities as to whether they will proceed with a prosecution.

The case has many complications. His accuser was fired shortly after making the accusations. Some media reports claiming because she was a drama queen and troublemaker, others that she was a victim of whistle-blower revenge.

The police appear to have fooled him into a false confession based on video evidence they may or may nit have and a claim he could return to Denmark and be simply treated for his “problem”. He has subsequently recanted.

It could be a case of Danish standards and practices being misunderstood in the USA. In Danish kindergartens – which are the most enlightened and science-guided and enlightened institutions of their kind in the world – the pedagogues are physical with the kids. They cuddle them if they fall, they hug them, they sit on the teachers knees. All of this is considered normal and healthy. US friends have expressed their surprise at how different and tactile Danish teachers are compared to US counterparts. Maybe this kid fell victim to this gap?

Or maybe he really does have a problem and did touch the children inappropriately.

In any case, in Denmark male kindergarten teachers are considered extremely important and there has been a big push to try and redress the huge gender imbalance in pre-schools.

As one male kindergarten teacher explained to a colleague, the children need to see that there are different ways of handling the world. A male perspective and presence is seen as salutary and worth the very low risk of sexual abuse that having male teachers may increase.

n Denmark the damage done to boys and girls by having an unbalanced gender environment is now recognised. Unfortunately the Malthe Thomsen case reinforces stereotypes – male teachers are a risk and we should only have female pre-school teachers. It is a setback for enlightened Nordic educational practices that are usually decades ahead of the US.

As or  Malthe Thomsen, let’s hope justice is done.

Some links:


Deterring False Accusations

by Limbic on August 9, 2014

A recent article from Denmark reminded me of the shameful injustice men face in the family courts and society at large at the hands of false accusers, both of rape and child abuse.

Child safety procedures and impunity for accusers mean that in Denmark,

“When a mother accuses her child’s father of being a paedophile during custody battles following divorce proceedings, the father immediately loses his visitation and custody rights. It can be virtually impossible for the father to then regain the right to see his children, even if the accusations are later found to be completely unfounded.

There are no immediate consequences for a mother for filing a baseless accusation against a father. In fact, the time the father is forced to be away can help the mother strengthen her relationship with the child, which in turn strengthens her position in any custody cases.

“Courts often decide custody based on which parent has a stronger relationship with the child,” said Sørensen.” – From  Copenhagen Post

False accusers utterly destroy lives. The law should punish malicious accusations forcefully.


Innocense of Denmark

by Limbic on August 8, 2014

"Trust is a reducer of social complexity" by Pelle Sten
“Trust is a reducer of social complexity” by Pelle Sten (Flickr)

I continue to be astounded at how vulnerable Danes and Denmark are to cyber criminals.

Everyone needs Java installed to operate NemID, the authentication mechanism that is used by every government IT system and accepted as a mechanisms for almost all large business too (e.g. banks). Admittedly NemID itself uses a decent two factor authentication system, but an entire country with Java installed.

You need to give your social security to everyone. Video rental stores, dentists, language schools, they all need it. As a consequence there have been some mega breaches of the database. There is no current way to change it either, so it is likely that bad actors have CPR numbers for most adult Danes.

Everyone is in the phone directory by default. People put their names on the their doors and post boxes. It is identity theft paradise and Danish online retailers pay a heavy price for it.

All these systems are interconnected too. I was amazed when I got my passport picture taken at a local studio and they informed me that part of the price was automatic submission of the photos to the passport bureau.

Wonderful convenience. Just what IT should be. But wide open to exploitation?