Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Who Is Mary Trump?

I haven’t read Mary Trump’s hit piece about her Uncle Donald. Since she is a licensed psychologist, she is pretending that her book is science. From all accounts it is not. The first and decisive hint occurs on the jacket, where Mary Trump declares, in a subtitle, that her uncle is the most dangerous man in the world.

Is that supposed to be science? Seriously, does she believe that she this political judgment, one that manifests profound ignorance, is a scientific fact?

And yet, newspaper reports are trumpeting the news from the book, as though it is illuminating. 

From these reports you can tell that Mary Trump thinks that her Uncle Donald is not in touch with his feelings. How pathetic can you get? When I write on this blog about the idiot advice columnists who tell people to get in touch with their feelings, I am pointing to the fact that psycho professionals, especially the female variety, are obsessed with the fact that men do not feel their feelings the way women do. 

As for the basis of Mary’s argument, namely that childhood developmental traumas caused Trump to be especially dangerous, narcissistic and even sociopathic, it is ridiculous. The truth is, according to psychological theories that she ignores, that most children overcome their childhood traumas. It is called resilience. The statistics say that about two/thirds of abuse victims go on to live normal lives. There is no direct causation between childhood trauma and adult dysfunction. To make a causal connection is irresponsible and unscientific. 

As it happens, and as Lisa Schiffren reminds us on her Facebook page this morning, Donald Trump is not the only president who suffered childhood traumas. Barack Obama was abandoned by both of his parents. Bill Clinton’s mother bore him while unmarried. And Hillary Clinton had a harsh, unpleasant father. We all know this. We do not try to explain these people as a function of childhood traumas. Why have we decided to drool over a hit piece on Donald Trump? Why do we imagine that this is the way to understand any human being?

As for the dazzling pseudo-insights in the book, Mary Trump, who does not know and has barely ever spoken to her uncle, pretends to know precisely what is going on in his mind. The American Psychiatric Association recommended against such unprofessional activity, but, in the case of Trump, the rules have apparently been suspended. We recall the Yale psychiatrists who have been beating their drums about Trump's narcissism for years now. And we recall their abject silence when anyone asks them to diagnose the senility of Joe Biden.

New York Magazine reports some of Mary’s remarks. My God, Mary thinks that her uncle is narcissistic. The dubious diagnostic category, invented by Freud over a century ago, tells us precisely nothing. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual that gives it pride of place has been shown not to be scientific. See some of my posts on the topic.

New York Magazine offers this:

“Nothing is ever enough,” she writes of the president. “This is far beyond garden-variety narcissism; Donald is not simply weak, his ego is a fragile thing that must be bolstered every moment because he knows deep down that he is nothing of what he claims to be.” Elsewhere she writes that “Donald’s pathologies are so complex and his behaviors so often inexplicable that coming up with an accurate and comprehensive diagnosis would require a full battery of psychological and neuro-physical tests, that he’ll never sit for.”

Oh my God, a fragile ego. The horror of it all. As for whether or not Trump knows what he claims to be-- that would be, President of the United States-- one suspects that he knows.

Seriously, what does Mary know about the pathologies of someone she has not examined? As it happens, Trump has undergone a cognitive functioning test and he passed it. He is running against a candidate who has suffered brain aneurysms and who is obviously suffering from a neurological impairment-- one that can be tested, but that will not be.

New York Mag now tells us all about the family dynamic. Note that it’s all about feelings:

It’s a go-to assessment for a psychologist, but Mary Trump’s portrait of the family dynamic asserts that Fred Trump’s callous and neglectful treatment of his children is a root cause of the president’s own tendency to lash out at those around him. “By limiting Donald’s access to his own feelings and rendering many of them unacceptable, Fred [Trump Sr.] perverted his son’s perception of the world and damaged his ability to live in it,” Mary Trump writes. Later, she states that her uncle’s ego “is a fragile and inadequate barrier between him and the real world, which, thanks to his father’s money and power, he never had to negotiate by himself.” Mary Trump adds that the president was able to navigate the family environment because “his personality served his father’s purpose. That’s what sociopaths do: they co-opt others and use them toward their own ends — ruthlessly and efficiently, with no tolerance for dissent or resistance.”

Clearly, the worst thing that Donald Trump ever did, a remark that deserves to go down in the chronicles of misogynist infamy, was to remark on a 29-year-old Mary’s endowments:

In the early 1990s, when Mary Trump was 29, she recalled an incident at Mar-a-Lago in which her uncle saw her in a bathing suit and said, “Holy shit, Mary. You’re stacked.”

Apparently, she still suffers from the trauma.

The Daily Mail reports on some of Mary’s other efforts at storytelling and mythmaking. As though Donald’s father was not bad enough, his mother had a hysterectomy-- which explains nothing, but therefore Mary believes that it explains everything:

Donald Trump's mother Mary Anne was 'never the same' after she had an emergency hysterectomy, with her absence creating a 'void in the lives of her children', the President's niece claims in her tell-all book. 

The impact was 'especially dire' for her youngest sons Donald and Robert, who were two-and-a-half years old and nine months old at the time, according to the memoir obtained by DailyMail.com. 

Donald's sister Maryanne had found their mother unconscious nine months after Robert's birth in 1948. She was rushed to a hospital to have a hysterectomy due to complications from the delivery. A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus and may also include the removal of the cervix and ovaries. 

Matriarch Mary's absence caused a schism in the Trump family and led to Donald becoming the man he is, writes the President's niece Mary in her new book Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man.

Poor Donald was therefore deprived of maternal affection. Imagine that:

When matriarch Mary Anne withdrew from the family after her surgery, workaholic Fred Sr became the children's main caretaker, but refused to cut back his hours. 

Neglected, Mary claims Donald 'suffered deprivations that would scar him for life.'

Mary calls Fred Sr a ‘high functioning sociopath’, marked by a lack of empathy, a facility for lying and a lack of interest in others.

The greater Donald and Robert’s distress, the ‘more Fred Sr rebuffed them’, Mary claims.

Among the worst things that one human being has ever visited on another was this horrifying scene, etched permanently in Mary’s memory:

As a result ‘needing’ became equated with humiliation and despair’ in Donald’s mind.

Mary describes how when Donald was a boy he used to hide Robert’s favorite Tonka trucks and pretended he had no idea where they were.

The last time he did it, Robert had a tantrum and Donald threatened to pull them apart if he didn’t stop making noise.

Their mother responded by hiding the trucks in the attic, effectively punishing Robert for something that Donald did. 

Clearly, Mary Trump has suffered the mental malformations that characterize the psycho professions. She seems clearly to want to make some money-- which is her constitutional right-- but given the fact that no one with half a brain believes any more that childhood trauma causes adult behaviors, she is basically indulging her impulse to gossip, thereby embarrassing herself and embarrassing many other members of her family.

Perhaps she wants to be a great culture hero. Perhaps she wants to take revenge against a man who once remarked that she was “stacked.” Clearly, without knowing any more about her, we can see that she has no sense of dignity, of decency, of decorum or of shame. 

By all indications, Mary Trump is a nobody who wants to become somebody-- regardless of how many people she has to hurt in the process. Of course, she thinks that she is saving the world: don't you think that she could use some serious treatment herself?

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Fog City Midge


Kipp Academies Self-Deconstruct

As it happens, I only reported part of the Kipp Academy story in my prior post this morning, entitled: "Charter Schools Go Woke." 

Joanne Jacobs has the rest:

In a letter to alumni, [Kipp] co-founder Dave Levin apologizes for a culture that “perpetuated white supremacy and anti-Blackness.”

The most common example of this is discipline practices that center on compliance and control and have not consistently and constructively affirmed, uplifted, and celebrated your identities, your families, your communities, and our Black and Latinx staff.

So, discipline is a sign of white supremacy, And yet, without discipline no one ever learns anything.

Jacobs continues, explaining that Kipp schools no longer expect high achievement. They have adopted the therapy culture idiocy about being authentically oneself. Whatever does that mean?:

Levin also apologizes for pushing college too hard, sending a “college or failure” message. Some graduates have told him they “felt unable to authentically be yourselves, unable to receive professional development designed for your needs, and haven’t had your career aspirations met.”

So, Kipp students have notably done very well. But, in today’s cultural environment, we can’t have that.

Most KIPP students — 95 percent black or Latino, 88 percent from lower-income families — outperform students in district schools, the network reports.

For low-income students, attending KIPP and other high-performing charters quadruples their odds of earning a bachelor’s degree, writes Richard Whitmire, author of The Alumni, in LA School Report.

Transgenderism and Therapy

To express my unsurpassing charity I will note that Lori Gottlieb’s column yesterday demonstrates, first and foremost, that she does not sell as many books as JK Rowling. Whereas Rowling can get away with calling out the transgender lobby, Gottlieb seems to believe that she cannot.

So, in response to a woman who is properly distressed to discover that her son, upon returning from his year at college, now believes that he is a girl, Gottlieb offers up a mountain of senseless drivel about compassionate understanding and working on feelings.

She does not ask and does not suggest that the boy's mother question how this happened. She has not a word about referring the young man to a psychiatrist to evaluate his condition. She says nothing about suing the college and its guidance services for brainwashing her son.

Gottlieb shields herself from the mob by imagining that a boy who believes he is a girl really is a girl. If one were inclined to be philosophical here one would point out that the boy’s error, and that of those who accept this nonsense, is grammatical. These people have no understanding of the difference between being and believing. Just because you believe something does not make it a fact. It does not make it real. What you believe you are is not necessarily what you are. When your belief negates your biological reality the endgame is not going to be good.

Of course, Gottlieb argues for acceptance and trots out some pathetic pseudoscience to suggest that transgender children do better when they are accepted for what they believe they are. This is nonsense. It will be exposed as nonsense in the locker room. It will be exposed as nonsense when the child begins to mutilate his body. As noted previously, anyone who thinks that the problem is pronouns does not know how to think.

The mother who writes to Gottlieb is distressed at the simple fact that her son has been brainwashed:

Last summer when my son came home from college, he told my husband and me that he is trans. He said he is a girl, and I am having trouble with this.

My son and I were always very close. I struggled to get pregnant and when it happened, it felt like a miracle. He is my only child, and I was a stay-at-home mom while my husband traveled and worked a lot.

Now she has a new name, one I had no say in choosing. She confides in my husband more than me, which leaves me feeling like an outsider. Although I’m assured that I’ve gained a daughter, my input on clothing and hygiene is no longer solicited.

I expected some loss when I sent my child to school. I knew I couldn’t be his best friend forever, but I didn’t think I’d lose everything. It feels like a death. I don’t know how to process the grief. It sneaks up on me, and I have to hide in the bathroom to cry. It’s overtaking everything.

I’m not conservative. I love and accept her, but I’m worried for her. I ache when she doesn’t eat or drink during the six-hour drive back to school, because she’s avoiding public restrooms.

My husband works really hard to nurture me. He doesn’t pressure me to meet his emotional and sexual needs, but we don’t talk about what’s happened either. He doesn’t share my sadness.

The other night, my mom and I were looking at old photos of my child when he was young. His second birthday, his trains, his ripped-up blankie he wore like a superhero cape. It was too much. I told her to put it away, and I feel awful for that.

Please guide me.

Ann

As seems to be happening more often these days, the parents of transgender children are not raving conservatives. Thus, they feel a special need to adapt to their child’s beliefs, however delusional they are.

And you will notice, if you read Gottlieb’s response, that she has no real empathy or compassion for this seriously distressed mother.

Dare we mention that the mother had every reason to be distressed. And dare we mention that she might feel better if she did not feel obliged to pretend that a belief was real. She should think about how she might stop the boy from undergoing any irreversible treatments. She might consider it a stage. She might stop using the wrong pronouns for her son.

Anyway, if you want to see a clear picture of what is wrong with therapy today, read this article. 

As the poet said:

Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate.

If your Italian is not up to speed these days, the phrase means:

Abandon all hope, you who enter here.

Charter Schools Going Woke

As everyone knows and no one is allowed to say, the solution to black and minority underperformance is a cultural transformation. Not a cultural revolution, not tearing down America’s past, but an educational system that values learning and that imposes rigorous standards-- and that does not just do it in the classroom but that enlists parents as co-teachers so that the educational experience does not end at the end of the school day.

Such has been the approach of the Success Academy schools in New York City. They have consistently succeeded where public schools have failed. Their students can compete against anyone in science, math and algebra.

For now they are sticking to their program. The Wall Street Journal editorialized this morning:

... Eva Moskowitz, the founder and CEO of Success Academy charter schools in New York...announced measures to address concerns about racial diversity and prejudice, but she also reaffirmed the schools’ mission and values.

“We seek to reverse racial inequity and upend power dynamics by equipping children of color with a world-class education,” she wrote.

And then there are the Kipp academies, a group of charter schools that was much lauded by Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Outliers. The Journal explained that Kipp schools have succeeded:

Today the Kipp network educates 100,000 students in 242 college-prep, public charter schools. More than 95% of its students are black or Latino. Kipp has succeeded when so many traditional public schools fail precisely because it has high expectations for students.

But now, it appears that Kipp is going woke.

In a tweet Wednesday, Kipp put it this way: “We are retiring ‘Work hard. Be nice.’ as Kipp’s national slogan; it diminishes the significant effort to dismantle systemic racism, places value on being compliant and submissive, supports the illusion of meritocracy, and does not align with our vision of students being free to create the future they want.”

As the Journal explains:

This is woke nonsense. 

And yet, it is frightening to see a successful enterprise, one that has greatly improved the education of minority children cave to the mob and denounce meritocracy. Children at these schools, like children from Success Academy schools excel and can compete against anyone. Why compromise their ability to achieve in favor of the stupid notion that they should be “free to create the future they want.”

Monday, July 6, 2020

Will New York Ever Come Back?

The prognosticators are sounding New York’s death knell. Based on the unerring projections of their crystal balls and a few computer models they have concluded that New York is down and about to be counted out. 

By the laws of contrary opinion this means that New York might again rise from the ashes. It did so after 9/11. It did so after the 2008 financial crisis. But, will history repeat itself again? Your guess is as good as mine.

Anyway, the Daily Mail reports the bad news:, beginning with the new crime wave (via Maggie's Farm and Lucianne:

Two bullet-ridden bodies lay sprawled on bloodstained concrete steps. Alongside, relatives of the victims are wailing and collapse to the ground. In another part of the city, a gang of youths use spray paint to disable security cameras before robbing a corner store. Later, video footage captures police officers sitting helplessly in their patrol car as a baying crowd hurls glass bottles at them.

This is lawless New York – a city that was once America’s glittering crown jewel but which risks descending into mob rule.

Murder figures have skyrocketed and a combination of the coronavirus pandemic, Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests and weak political leadership is in danger of achieving what Osama Bin Laden never could: bringing the Big Apple to its knees.

As for the numbers, here they are:

According to figures released by the New York Police Department, for the first six months of this year, there were 176 murders, an increase of 23 per cent on the 143 killed during the same period last year.

The number of shooting victims has gone up 51 per cent to 616 this year. In June alone, there were 250 shootings compared to 97 in the same month last year. 

Month-on-month, burglaries are up 119 per cent and car thefts up 48 per cent.

Anyone who lives here knows that the fault lies largely with our mayor, Comrade de Blasio, an inept radical leftist who believes that the solution to the minority crime problem is to decriminalize crime:

Many blame New York’s liberal mayor, Bill de Blasio, who has slashed police funding by $1 billion (£800 million), ended the NYPD’s controversial ‘stop-and-frisk’ policy (which allowed police to stop and search anyone solely on the basis of ‘reasonable suspicion’) and who last week vowed to paint a huge Black Lives Matter sign outside President Trump’s flagship Trump Tower.

De Blasio has also introduced criminal justice reforms, including changes to bail for dozens of offences, which has meant violent criminals released on to the streets.

Of course, the city has led the nation in coronavirus deaths, far surpassing the totals in red Southern states: 

Parts of Manhattan, famously the ‘city that never sleeps’, have begun to resemble a ghost town since 500,000 mostly wealthy and middle-class residents fled when Covid-19 struck in March.

New York state has suffered the highest death toll in America, with more than 24,000 dead, nearly 10,000 more than the second-hardest hit state, New Jersey, and eight times the number killed by terrorists on 9/11.

Business has been especially hard hit:

Streets once teeming with tourists are virtually empty. Shops and restaurants are boarded up to protect against looters. Hotels are closed. According to one resident: ‘New York has become a place where the soup kitchens are full and skyscrapers are empty.’

And the entertainment industry, especially Broadway, is dead. The subway system, necessary to the city’s economic well being, is moribund:

The Broadway theatre district sits in darkness, unlikely to open before next year. The subway, which once carried 750,000 commuters a day, is mainly deserted. In Times Square, a handful of street vendors offer hand-sanitiser and face masks in place of knock-off designer sunglasses and bags.

As it happened, the city could not deal with the virus. The Daily Mail quotes noted urbanologist, Joel Kotkin:

‘... Millennials went home to their parents. That left poor people and immigrants living in incredibly crowded conditions with high levels of poverty and multiple generations in one household. Add to that the [BLM] riots and the protests and New York was a perfect storm of everything that could go wrong – and did.’

Significantly, Kotkin believes that people being able to work from home will dramatically change the nature of life in New York for ever. ‘When the Twin Towers were hit in 2001, the internet was still in the early stages. Now it is easy for people to work remotely.

‘A city which is perceived as dangerous and dirty doesn’t hold any appeal. It makes sense to locate to suburban regions and smaller towns that are generally safer, cleaner and less expensive.’

Of course, suburban and exurban towns are less exciting than New York. But perhaps crime waves and shuttered stores are not the kind of excitement people want for their children. Of course, it is going to take quite some time for the tourist business to recover:

With no reliable forecast when tourists might return, up to a third of the city’s small businesses – including 186,000 shops – could fail. Gregg Bishop, commissioner of the city’s Small Business Agency, said: ‘I don’t know if the New York we left will ever come back.’

More than 1.2 million people have lost their jobs, mostly low-paid roles in restaurants and retail. 

But, hope gleams eternal, and one should never count New York out:

And an executive with a major Wall Street bank said: ‘No one should write off New York. After the 2008 fiscal crisis hit, we reinvented ourselves and attracted tech companies like Facebook. We need a progressive leader, someone who can restore faith in law and order and give people hope.’

He flouted his own call for people not to make unnecessary journeys by being chauffeur-driven to his gym.

But the Wall Street executive added: ‘New York has always been a beacon for people from around the world who come here believing in the American Dream.

‘That dream may have become a nightmare but there’s a toughness and resilience in New York that people shouldn’t underestimate.

‘New York is definitely down. But you should never count us out.’ 

If New York were a stock, one would say that its value had been seriously out of sync with its inflated market price. Now, the market price, led by real estate, is correcting. We might even say that it crashing. Something similar happened in the mid-1970s, when they were practically giving away some of New York’s prime residential real estate. The question is, how low will the price need to fall before the city catches a bid.

Vehicular Homicide in Seattle

We remember reading about the horrific accident that occurred in Seattle this Saturday morning. A suspect drove a white Jaguar into a group of demonstrators, hitting two and killing one.

The Australian press has the story (via Instapundit):

One Black Lives Matter protester has been killed and another seriously injured by a car driven through a small group of demonstrators in Seattle.

A 27-year-old man is alleged to have driven a white Jaguar through a closure blocking a freeway and into the crowd at 1:40am on Saturday (local time), hitting the two protesters.

Have you noticed that no American news outlet has identified the suspect. Thus, we have all concluded that some white American racist was responsible.

In truth, such is not the case. The Australian press reports that the suspect was black. Thus, the news black-out in America. Isn’t it great to have a free press:

The suspect was later identified as Dawit Kelete, a black man from Seattle who studied business and commerce at Washington State University between 2011 and 2017.

Mr Kelete was charged with two counts of vehicular assault on Saturday and denied bail.

Local officials were trying to determine the motive for the attack on the freeway, which has been shut for the last 19 days due to protests.