Saturday, August 31, 2019

Say It Ain't So, Tulsi

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has garnered something of a good reputation with right-thinking people. They admire her forthrightness and some of her foreign policy positions. They seem especially drawn to her anti-war positions. They seem comfortable with the way she blames American policy for so many of the world’s ills.

Since Gabbard did not qualify for the next Democratic presidential debate, we can rest assured that her name will not be on next November’s ballot… except perhaps as a return candidate for Congress.

As for the positions that many conservatives find so appealing, consider this summary from the New York Times:

Tulsi Gabbard is running for president of a country that she believes has wrought horror on the world, and she wants its citizens to remember that.

She is from Hawaii, and she spends each morning surfing. But that is not what she talks about in this unlikely campaign. She talks about the horror.

She lists countries: Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Cuba, Vietnam, Iraq. Failure after failure, she says. To drive the point home, she wants to meet on a Sioux tribe reservation in North Dakota, where, she explains, the United States government committed its original atrocity.

“These Indigenous people have been disrespected, mistreated with broken promises and desecrated lands,” Ms. Gabbard says.

Precisely why her efforts to criminalize America are so appealing, I do not have a clue.

Now, consistent with her foreign policy positions, Gabbard has chosen to co-sponsor Rep. Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitic pro-BDS resolution. Moshe Hill reports:

In July, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) sponsored a Pro-BDS resolution in which she compared the State of Israel to Nazi Germany, apartheid South Africa and other human rights violators. After public backlash the resolution was mostly forgotten; there wouldn’t be enough popular support for it to come up for a vote on the House floor, let alone pass Congress. However, recent co-sponsorships of the resolution should make pro-Israel voters sit up and take notice, while the Trump administration’s State Dept. is fighting back.

The resolution was originally co-sponsored by Reps. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and co-sponsorships by other radical-left members of Congress, such as fellow members of “The Squad” Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), quickly followed.  Surprisingly, though, Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) also added her name to the growing list.

Obviously, the resolution will not make it through today's Congress. And yet, it is a canary in the coal mine, a premonition of things to come, especially from today’s increasingly anti-Semitic Democratic Party. 

Someone somewhere should ask Rep. Gabbard how she has managed to ally herself with the Gang of Four Democratic anti-Semites?

Besides, before we knew about Gabbard's love of BDS, we all should have noted that she believes that America has wrought horror on the world, as the Times puts it. Shouldn't that have signaled a candidate who was not going to want to make America great, ever?

Vegan Diets Make Children Dumb

Let’s say you wanted to dumb down American children. After all, these children will go out to compete in the world markets. Surely, we do not want them to excel. We want them to attain to utter mediocrity, the better to ensure that other children around the world will not feel bad for doing less well.

Obviously, the Common Core educational reforms are helping to make American children dumber. But, now, we have discovered another way to achieve this ignoble end: a vegan diet.

You know that the climate alarmists have already told us that we must all stop eating meat or any other animal products, and that we must immediately cease wearing leather belts, leather shoes and even fur coats. It will save the planet, don’t you know.

If you are what you eat, as the old saying goes, limiting your dietary intake to vegetables will eventually turn you into a vegetable. Or some such. Some reports have made clear that feeding a baby only vegetable products will make him malnourished. Now, we also learn that a child who limits himself to a vegan diet will become dumber.

Why is that so? Well, Dr. Emma Derbyshire has argued that a vegan diet lacks a nutrient called choline. The less choline the poorer your mental development.

The New York Post has the story, from the Sun:

A vegan diet may “dumb down” future kids, a nutritional expert has warned.

Writing in the health journal BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & HealthDr. Emma Derbyshire says a plant-based diet lacks choline — a key nutrient for mental development. It is mainly found in beef, eggs, dairy, fish and chicken.

According to Dr. Derbyshire, studies suggest low levels in pregnancy can harm the fetus and raise the child’s risk of memory and brainpower problems.

Nutritionists also say nine in ten adults are lacking in choline and that will worsen as more ditch meat and eggs.

“It could leave many women of childbearing age deficient in this key nutrient,” Dr. Derbyshire said.

“We are at risk of dumbing down the brainpower of the next generation.”

So, a vegan diet will presumably save the planet. Unfortunately, it will also make American youth dumb and dumber, incapable of competing effectively  in the world market. The solution: meat and eggs, fish and poultry.

Friday, August 30, 2019

But, He Has Awful Table Manners

Normally, Philip Galanes is a sane and sensible etiquette columnist. He is not Miss Manners, but, then again, no one is. This time, he offers a bizarre and incorrect commentary, one that is so far off the mark that we wonder whether he knows something that he is not telling us. 

I doubt that you will have much difficulty with this situation. As always, we know nothing about the people in question beyond the man’s appalling table manners. We do not know what he does for a living. We do not know what his fiancee does for a living. We know nothing except what we read in this letter:

Our polite 33-year-old daughter is about to marry a man with dreadful table manners. He chews with his mouth open, slumps and shovels his food, and brandishes his cutlery like weapons. His table manners revolt her. She won’t bring him to social events because he embarrasses her. She’s asked him to change, but he thinks she should love him as he is. (I weighed in and was also dismissed.) I’d love to hear an argument for table manners and how to learn them later in life.

Let’s be clear. This is a deal breaker. If she cannot bring him to social events she will not be able to make a life with him. Under any circumstances. Besides, if his table manners are that bad, his career prospects will be very dim indeed. He might come from money. He might have a trust fund. He might be a genius. But, clearly, his imperious demand that she love him as he is should be instantly rejected. You start wondering why this woman has such poor judgment. And you wonder how many of her friends have told her to bail.

Sadly, Galanes gets it completely wrong. Examine his thinking:

Right now, my priority is saving a man from marrying a woman who is revolted by him and by whom she is too embarrassed to bring into public. Where’s the love and respect here?

If this couple is unable to communicate and compromise effectively about something as low stakes as table manners, they should skip the honeymoon and proceed directly to divorce court. And you, S, should untangle yourself from your daughter’s most intimate relationship and let her sort it out like an adult on the verge of matrimony — which, perplexingly, she seems to be.

How many mistakes can you make in two short paragraphs? Let us count them.

First, we should concern ourselves with saving the woman from marrying a man whose table manners are revolting. If you want to save the man you should send him to charm school. Frankly, he is a boor, a social misfit. To imagine that the issue involves love and respect is absurd.

You cannot reasonably respect someone you cannot take out in public. And, what about bringing him home for Thanksgiving. Will his manners be so revolting that he will ruin the festivities for everyone? And what will happen at the wedding reception when she feels completely mortified by her husband’s bad behavior?

The woman is revolted by her fiance because he is revolting. Only a high school student would not know that true love will be killed by such a character flaw.

Galanes is also grievously wrong when he labels table manners “low stakes.” In the business world, people are routinely interviewed over lunch or dinner. If a job candidate has bad table manners, he will not get the job. His failure to observe proper decorum counts as a significant character flow. If you cannot get such low stakes issues right, if you cannot control your behavior in favor of producing a harmonious dinner table, then you are not going to be able to control yourself when the issue is of greater import.

True enough, if this marriage does take place, the couple is headed for divorce court. The issue should be, whether there is any way to persuade the woman that her fiance is a loser and should be discarded as soon as possible… even if that means not showing up for the wedding.

The Backlash to #MeToo

Without any doubt the #MeToo movement addressed a real problem. Workplace sexual harassment is real. It happens far too often. And yet, the #MeToo solution seems to have produced what some are calling a backlash.

As has been noted here and elsewhere, #MeToo has rendered women radioactive. It has diminished their chances for interacting with men. And it has reduced their career prospects. Why would you trust someone who might potentially threaten your livelihood and your life? After all, if the goal of #MeToo is to stop sexual harassment in the workplace, that can be accomplished by hiring fewer women and by having fewer contacts with those who are hired.

Moreover, the #MeToo movement wrapped itself in violent revolutionary rhetoric. Women were angry; they were outraged; they were going to destroy men; they were going to bring down the patriarchy; they will overthrow capitalism.

Now, ask yourself this: if you believe that women harbor such sentiments would that make you more or less likely to hire them, to trust them, to promote them, to collaborate with them? Declaring yourself to be the vanguard of the Revolution is not going to advance your career prospects. True enough, most young women are not feminist revolutionaries. That is not the question. The question is, why assume the risk? If you hire a male, even a male who is less competent, the chances of his denouncing you for sexual harassment are nil.

And ask yourself this: if you media and your sensitivity training sessions are filled with images of women being harassed, thus, being passive, vulnerable and weak, will you be more or less likely to respect women for their achievements? When women are marching in the street wearing what they call “pussy hats” will you be more or less likely to respect them for their minds?

Anyway, a new research report, conducted at the University of Houston, reported by the Harvard Business Review and The Daily Mail lays out the cost of #MeToo.

This, from the Daily Mail:

Men are now significantly more reluctant to interact with their female colleagues in the wake of the #MeToo movement, a new study suggests.

Research to be published in the journal Organizational Dynamics has found that 27 percent of men avoid one-on-one meetings with female co-workers, a possible backlash to the movement which outed manipulative men in powerful positions....

According to the research, a further 21 percent of men said they would be reluctant to hire women for a job that would require close interaction, such as business travel.
And a shocking 19 percent admitted they would be hesitant to hire an attractive woman.... 

Worryingly, the data suggests that the trend is worsening. The responses collected in 2019 from workers across various industries showed a growth in men's fears around female colleagues.

Or, from the Harvard Business Review:

But more than 10% of both men and women said they thought they would be less willing than previously to hire attractive women. Twenty-two percent of men and 44% of women predicted that men would be more apt to exclude women from social interactions, such as after-work drinks; and nearly one in three men thought they would be reluctant to have a one-on-one meeting with a woman. Fifty-six percent of women said they expected that men would continue to harass but would take more precautions against getting caught, and 58% of men predicted that men in general would have greater fears of being unfairly accused.

The question involves risk. Do you want to take the risk of hiring a woman who is a living breathing threat or do you prefer to hire a male and sleep better at night?

One notes that women managers are also less likely to hire young women. From the Daily Mail:

Meanwhile, according to the study, women also appear wary of hiring other women. And there was also an indication that men are more reluctant to shake a woman's hand in case she thinks it's harassment.   

To present all sides of the issue, I refer you to an article by feminist firebrand Arwa Mahdawi, from the Guardian. She is paranoid and hostile, imagining that women are now being punished for standing up for themselves and for rebelling against the patriarchy.

When it comes to explaining why women managers are less likely now to hire female employees, Mahdawi explains that they too are suffering from misogyny. And that they are afraid of women. Inspiring fear in others is not the same as commanding respect from others.

It’s not just men who are afraid of women, by the way. Women also appear to be increasingly wary of hiring women. The 2018 survey results found that 10% of men and women said they expected to be less willing than before to hire attractive women. (Note: the 2019 results for women are not yet public.) Internalized misogyny really is a bitch.

Obviously, Mahdawi’s remark is insulting to professional women. She is suggesting that they are tools of the patriarchy. If they do not toe the feminist party line they are simply going to voted off the island. 

By the way, would you be more or less likely to hire a female employee who thinks like Arwa Mahdawi.

Anyway, she continues:

So there you go: most men are perfectly aware of the difference between a friendly hug and a creepy hug. They are perfectly aware of what constitutes harassment and what doesn’t. Which makes you wonder why so many men are afraid to interact with women at work?

The answer to that question, perhaps, is that a lot of men aren’t so much afraid of being accused of anything as they are they are angry that #MeToo ever happened. They’re angry that they’ve been made to think about their behavior, made to interrogate power dynamics they always took for granted, and they are punishing women for it by refusing to interact with them.

There you have it, angry patriarchal men, upset for being called out for their male privilege are rejecting by refusing to shake hands with women. Again, would you hire a young woman who thinks like Arwa Mahdawi? 

If we were asked to offer a different interpretation, try this. What if, just for instance, these managerial executive men are married. They have wives and children at home. How many of them were told by their wives, in no uncertain terms, that they must never ever hire or socialize with an attractive young female employee. I can assure you that some of them have.

Men might want to be magnanimous toward young women. They might know that young males are such pathetic losers that if you want to get something done, you do better to hire a woman. And yet, when they go home, their wives are telling them clearly: Thou shalt not risk your home, your family and your children in order to appear to be “woke.”

And, we might well add that the situation is probably worse than the survey suggests. How many men or even women are answering such questions honestly?

Thursday, August 29, 2019

The Case of the Revenant Boyfriend

It’s an easy letter to answer, but, perhaps it is a bit too easy. When you read it you wonder what is the matter with the letter writer, who dubs herself Aargh. It’s an old letter to Carolyn Hax and Hax understands well what the woman should do. And yet, why is it really an issue worth addressing to an advice columnist.

Here goes:

Five years ago I started what would become a three-year relationship with a man who I now recognize was extremely controlling and emotionally abusive (and, once, physically abusive). He finally stopped calling two years ago.

Fifteen months ago, I started dating the wonderful, caring, supportive man who recently became my fiance. I couldn't be more thrilled.

Six months ago, ex emails me to say he's changed, life is good, etc. I responded that I was happy for him and was dating a great guy.

Today, he emails again and says perhaps he was too subtle before, but he's changed and wants to be with me. He proceeds to list 11 reasons I should take him back
My question is how to respond. He has been pining away for almost three years and has apparently made big changes in his life in the hope of winning me back. If I let him down harshly, he might backslide and think all his hard work was for nothing.

Clearly, this isn't technically my problem anymore, but is it so wrong for me to want him to have a nice life that doesn't involve me?

— Aargh

Of course, Hax is correct to tell Aargh to blow off her ex-boyfriend. If he has really changed, Hax says, he will graciously accept it. Of course, we would want to know where he was and what he was doing for the two years he was incommunicado. Was he in prison???

Then again, she already told him that she was dating a great guy, so why did he believe that his lust for her would cause her to  change her mind? Did he list the reasons why she should take him back because he cannot stand the thought that she is with someone else? 

More salient still, why does she think that she owes him anything? Why does she care about a man who was extremely controlling and who physically abused her? And why does she think that she should be his therapist? When she says that she is worried that he might fall back into his bad habits, she is talking like a therapist. What difference does it make to her whether he backslides or falls into a ditch?

If I had to guess, I would say that she feels threatened. And that she worries about being harsh with him because she fears that he will return the disfavor. For my part I believe that she should respond with an email to the effect that she is currently very happily engaged to be married, and thus must kindly reject his suit. And that she wishes him all the best in his future life.

Hopefully, that does not sound too harsh.

Anti-Semitism in Brooklyn

Lately, there has been a rash of hate crimes against Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn. And yet, the Forward reports, no one mentions it. No one cares. In New York City, where large numbers of citizens are Jewish, no one stands up for Jews.

Troubling? Perhaps. Predictable? Of course.

The Forward reports:

And almost no one will stand up for us. Even when Orthodox Jews are brutally attacked, those with power limit their reaction to a single tweet. After yesterday’s attack in Crown Heights, New York City officials posted obligatory calls for tolerance, yet the lack of any real action is troubling. In June, at the Jewish American Heritage Month party at Gracie Mansion, Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to immediately open an office devoted to combatting anti-Semitism; it’s two months and several anti-Jewish hate crimes later, and Jewish communal representatives are saying that they have yet to get an update on this. (The Anti-Defamation League is the notable exception in this case, offering a $5,000 reward for information.)

Tweets and press releases have yet to stop a single attack.

Why will no one speak up on our behalf? Why don’t people rush to call out these hate crimes? Instead, they wont even call it a hate crime. We have to hear them call it a mugging, or tell us it wasn’t due to the black hat or yarmulke — but actually due to a development, the schools, measles outbreaks, tax evasion, don’t you know.

Of course, you know why it is so. The reason is quite simple: the perpetrators of these hate crimes are invariably people of color. If they were white supremacists, the woke New York Jewish community would be up in arms. But, when it comes to people of color, woke New York Jews are more concerned with not being called racist.

It reminds us of the grooming gangs in Rotherham, England. The local citizens and the constabulary all knew that Pakistani men had been gang raping and sex trafficking high school girl. For years they looked the other way. Why? Because they did not want to be called racists.

Armin Rosen explains it in The Tablet:

There have been dozens of violent incidents targeting Jews in New York over the past couple of years, but few have produced images of blood-soaked religious objects, an especially visceral reminder of how any outward expression of identity can endanger Jews even in some of the most Jewish places in the most Jewish city in America. And yet the daily experience of anti-Semitism in the city is often more routine. Later on the morning of Gopin’s attack, an East Flatbush resident named Yossi Blachman tweeted, “My 12 year old was just at that park 2 hours ago. As soon as he gets there he sees an Anti Semite talk to his friend pointing at my son saying those F***ing Jews…. he was frightened and immediately left the park.”

He continues:

Yesterday’s incidents offer a snapshot of the city’s ongoing anti-Semitism outbreak. Jews of all ages are subjected to violent attacks, along with daily cases of more mundane forms of harassment. The incidents aren’t exactly a secret. It didn’t take long for Mayor Bill de Blasio to tweet about the attack on Gopin, announcing that the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force was on the case. Of course, this is about the bare minimum one could reasonably expect in reaction to an incident in which the attacker allegedly called his victim a “dirty Jew” before smashing him in the face with a large stone. Everyone knows that violence against Jews in the city has climbed sharply over the past couple of years, and yet City Hall has offered little in the way of a specific or organized response to the problem.

Led by Mayor de Blasio New York Jews are fighting white supremacy. They are fighting white Nazis. Meantime, the perpetrators are people of color:

 De Blasio has also repeatedly insisted that the attacks against Jews in New York are driven by a white supremacist movement connected to Donald Trump despite clear evidence that this is not the case and, in fact, many of the attacks are being carried out by people of color with no ties to the politics of white supremacy.


On the national level, discussions of anti-Semitism rage without apparent reference to the violence in Brooklyn, which defies any easy categorization, has little apparent relationship with national politics or political figures, and involves members of racial minority groups rather than white nationalists or other more expedient villains. 

As the old saying goes, it is all about the narrative. American Jews are up in arms about white supremacists.They ignore people of color who spout anti-Semitic hatred or who commit anti-Semitic violence. It’s a sad portrait of weakness and cowardice.

The Rogue Federal Reserve Official

It is, effectively a very big story. I reported on it yesterday in a post on the Politicized Federal Reserve.

The story is getting very little play, for two salient reasons. First, no one really understands the machinations of the Federal Reserve and the way it manipulates monetary policy to serve political ends. In our dumbed down world, we only hear news that the masses can grasp easily.

Second, the Bloomberg column written by former Federal Reserve official William Dudley makes it seem that President Trump was right to attack the Federal Reserve for bad policymaking. And we cannot report anything that makes Trump look right.

For now, examine some of the reactions. First, from Lawrence Summers, a loyal Democrat and a Harvard professor, formerly Treasury Secretary for Bill Clinton and a member of the Obama administration. Summers tweeted:

Bill Dudley's Bloomberg oped, The Fed Shouldn't enable Trump, is the worst case of @realDonaldTrump derangement in the financial world. via @bopinion

— Lawrence H. Summers (@LHSummers) August 28, 2019

And also,

Bill Dudley's @business oped might be the least responsible statement by a former financial official in decades.

— Lawrence H. Summers (@LHSummers) August 28, 2019

Of course, for all we know, Summers was most disturbed that Dudley had spoken an unspeakable truth, thus making it more difficult for the Fed to work its political magic through means that no one understands.

Or else, it made the central bank look like an arm of political partisanship... which is not the same as being a trusted independent institution.

Via Zero Hedge, here is a commentary from MarketWatch, by a British central banker:

Adam Posen, the president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and a former central banker at the Bank of England, said Dudley’s column was “horribly mistaken.”

“It feeds conspiracy and it was totally irresponsible to talk that way,” he said. Fed officials will likely react by circling the wagons and become disciplined in their speeches, Posen said.

And then, from Neel Kashkari:

Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, in an interview with NPR prior to Dudley’s essay, said that when a central bank plays politics “it leads to really bad outcomes over the long run for the economy."

As it happens, the United States Senate is now on the case. In particular, North Carolina Republic Thom Tillis called for an investigation:

Quoted by Politico, Tillis said "I am very disappointed that former Fed monetary Vice Chairman Bill Dudley is lobbying the Fed to use its authority as a political weapon against President Trump. The President is standing up for America against China after 30 years of our country and our workers being ripped off and there is now an effort to get the Fed to try to sabotage the President’s efforts.”

As for presidential efforts to interfere with the independence of the Federal Reserve, here is a quote from The New York Times, from the Lyndon Johnson administration:

... in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson, who wanted cheap credit to finance the Vietnam War and his Great Society, summoned Fed chairman William McChesney Martin to his Texas ranch. There, after asking other officials to leave the room, Johnson reportedly shoved Martin against the wall as he demanding that the Fed once again hold down interest rates.

“I hope you have examined your conscience and you’re convinced you’re on the right track.” Lady Bird Johnson said to William McChesney Martin, on his arrival at the LBJ ranch.

Martin caved, the Fed printed money, and inflation kept climbing until the early 1980s.

And there is this, from the comments section, responding to the Dudley op-ed, on Bloomberg:

This is so arrogant, cynical, ironic and completely disingenuous that it can’t pass without comment.

A $500B trade war does not tank the global economy. But a 10-year campaign to publicly bail out reckless private banks and insurance companies while blowing the largest most comprehensive debt bubble in history and then raising interest rates on $250T in global debt surely the hell will.

I don’t care who is, has been or will be President, the Federal Reserve and ONLY the Federal Reserve should be blamed for the tepid economy of the last 10 years. A world full of zombie companies, mountains of productivity-crushing debt and disconnected stock markets that reward a tiny minority of the citizenry with bloated “gains.” All this while regular people live hand-to-mouth saddled with stagnant wages and, dare I say it, daily inflation eating at their incomes.

For a Fed official to blame a paltry trade war for its own foolishness and THEN recommend the Fed purposely crush the economy with a deep recession in order to punish His Orangeness, is terrifying and nearly Soviet in its punitive childishness. Like all good technocrats, Mr. Dudley believes only his class of Brahmins may decide for you unwashed masses what is best. The Road to Hell and all that…

What is coming should be pinned forever on the hubris, blindness and arrogance of the Fed. Naturally, regular people will be hurt the most.

Sad to say, most people will not understand this, but surely it is interesting to see the writer downplaying the trade wars and emphasizing the importance of the Federal Reserve. Where have we heard this before?