Wednesday, March 3, 2021

New York's Condo Bust

On the one hand, there’s commercial real estate. As per the last post, it is not doing very well. And then there is residential real estate. As per this Zero Hedge story, it is not doing very well either. But then again, as the story explains, it had not been doing very well before the pandemic.

This is the world of multimillion dollar palaces in the sky. Many developers thought that the sky was the limit, literally, and built amazing buildings, filled with modern amenities, inhabited by no one in particular. You see, most of these places were bought by foreign investors, the better to park their money in a safe haven. Others bought these places to flip them at a profit. 

And yet, as far back as 2020 these new condos were going unsold. Hmmm. The culprit-- the elimination of the state and local tax deduction, a centerpiece of the Trump tax cuts. But then the pandemic hit, and people flew south, forever. No one wanted these places anymore.

Manhattan's luxury condo market peaked a few years ago and has since developed into a nightmare for sellers. Massive supply is quickly eroding values as inventory builds. In early 2020, half of all new luxury condo units constructed after 2015 in the borough were unsold. A confluence of macroeconomic headwinds, as well as SALT deduction caps and transfer taxes, cooled the market. Then came the big bad pandemic that wreaked even more havoc in the borough. 

For instance, you might be in the market for a dazzling new condo on Columbus Circle. It is being offered at a discount of approximately 30%. That's the offering, not the sales price:

Olshan said a deal at 80 Columbus Circle for a 74th-story condo recently listed at $25 million. The seller combined two apartments in the tower, one unit purchased in 2011 for $17.5 million, and the other unit (next door) purchased in 2014 for $18 million. 

Of course, the downturn has brought some people back into the market. They think that they see a bargain. Then again, if large banks are moving operations out of the city, the new places become rather expensive as pied-a-terres.

There is some good news in the luxury real estate market - after writing about the downturn for 18 months and the plunge following the pandemic, the decline in prices has brought buyers to the table

As for whether the market has bottomed out, your guess is as good as mine. You have probably heard the old line about catching a falling knife. Buyer beware.

The fault lies with New York’s radical leftist mayor, Comrade de Blasio:

With Mayor Bill De Blasio doing everything he possibly can to drive both businesses (like Goldman Sachs) and individual citizens out of the city, the effects of his colossal mismanagement and general cluelessness have come at a loss for some wealthy elites who bought luxury condos in the last several years, thinking they could flip the unit(s) for a quick buck. Many have transformed into bagholders, or recently, they want out and are willing to take realized losses. 

Some people will be losing money on their investments. One hopes that they can afford it. And yet, the people who voted for de Blasio are seeing their neighborhoods infested with crime, their children losing their minds and souls because of the school closings, and their jobs vanishing in the cold night air.

Sadly, they voted for this. And they are paying for their vote.

Is JPMorgan Chase Bailing on New York City?

Those who persist in remaining optimistic about New York City often point to the giant expansion of Facebook. It is currently developing a massive complex in Midtown west.

On the other side of the ledger, JPMorgan Chase, a leading financial services firm is bailing on the city. Or so it would seem. True enough, the bank insists that it will build a new headquarters in Manhattan. In the meantime it is putting a large block of real estate up for sublease. To be fair, if you wanted to get out of your lease by subleasing you would be well advised to tout your optimism about the city’s future.

We remark in passing that Conde Nast, a major tenant of the World Trade Center has been trying to do the same with its lease.

Anyway, here is the story. For the record the number is 800,000 sq. ft.

JPMorgan Chase is looking to sublet big blocks of office space in Manhattan, Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

The bank is looking to sublet just under 700,000 square feet at 4 New York Plaza in the Financial District and more than 100,000 square feet at 5 Manhattan West in the Hudson Yards area, the report said.

Why is it doing this? For one, it does not believe that New York City is going to recover. It does not believe that office workers will be returning to their desks in midtown Manhattan:

Due to COVID-19 pandemic-led lockdowns and stay-at-   home orders, fewer people have been going to office, which has prompted companies to reassess the need for real estate.

“It is too early to comment on specifics as we continue to learn and adapt to this current situation and how it impacts our commercial real estate needs. We are committed to New York and are planning for the next 50 years with our new headquarters here,” a spokesperson for the bank said.

Is New York City done yet? If it isn’t, it’s circling the drain.

Joe Biden, "Tragicomic Caricature"

A new book is out. It’s called Lucky: How Joe Biden Barely Won the Presidency. Its authors are Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes. Of course, the title is subject to dispute, but we will ignore that for now. 

To provide a public service here, we will offer some of the book’s most succulent tidbits. Among them, Barack Obama’s characterization of Joe Biden:

The book, which is published by Crown, says Barack Obama refused to support Biden even though he served as his Vice President for eight years because he feared he was a 'tragicomic caricature of an aging politician having his last hurrah.'

It’s a delightful turn of phrase, well worth the price of admission-- to this blog, that is.

Apparently, Biden did not see anything wrong with his public hair-sniffing fetish. That it was a simulated rape did not bother him or any of his feminist supporters:

And it claims Biden was so out of touch he didn't see why his habit of touching women was a problem because he 'didn't think he did anything wrong.'

Until the coronavirus hit the country, Democrats knew how limited Biden was:

They write that Democrats 'weren't willing to take a chance' on anyone who might jeopardize the most important mission: get Trump out of office.

The book says: 'Everything else, he'd (Biden) gotten wrong. He'd run a lousy campaign, flubbed debates, spent so much money on Iowa and New Hampshire that he teetered on the edge of insolvency, lost three straight states to start the primary, and allowed himself to be defined by his frailties.'

But, Biden was the perfect candidate for a pandemic. Hiding out in the basement did not appear to be an effort to keep the candidate from public view. It appeared to be an prudent exercise:

The coronavirus gave Biden a 'justification to lay low' but it played to his advantage as he could wait it out in the basement of his home in Wilmington.

One Trump adviser said: 'They used coronavirus as an excuse to keep him in the basement, and it was smart.

'Biden was able to hide his biggest weakness, which is himself. And he did it with an excuse that sounded responsible.'

Anyway, one hopes that this summary serves the public interest, whatever that may be.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

The Twilight of Joe

A little cheer to brighten up your day-- this time from one Michael Walsh who writes in The Epoch Times about the impending end of the Biden presidency. (via Maggie’s Farm)

Since I have already predicted as much, I find his points salient. 

He opens thusly:

We’re now six weeks or so into the sham presidency of Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., and already the end of the Biden Era seems near.

A bumbling shell of a man, constantly attended by his wife, Jill, and with the lengthening shadow of his vice president, Kamala Harris, looming in the background, Biden seems incapable of doing anything except signing the slew of executive orders his handlers shove under his nose until at last, exhausted, his team “calls a lid” on his workday and packs him back off upstairs at the White House for a nice lie-down before noontime.

It would be funny if it weren’t so tragic—or perhaps it would tragic if it weren’t so funny. No one has ever mistaken Biden for an intellectual; indeed he has long acted like the bully at the end of an Irish bar, full of bluster and braggadocio, without being able in the slightest to back up his boasts.

Of course, in this nightmare scenario Kamala Harris will soon become the president of the United States. At that point, we might all start missing Joe.

If it happens this year, Walsh opines, the country will have lived through a year with three presidents. He compares it to a moment during the Roman Empire when they had the Year of the Four Emperors. 

Walsh explains:

Here in the United States, we’re on the verge of The Year of the Three Presidents. After all, 2021 began with Trump in the White House, followed by Biden on Jan. 20, with Harris now the odds-on favorite to supplant Sundown Joe once his deterioration becomes impossible even for the lickspittle robinettes in the media to ignore. Imagine, no more hard-hitting stories about Biden’s favorite ice cream, or how he beat his granddaughter in a video game at Camp David....

Keep in mind, one of the few physicians to call out Biden for his senile dementia, one Dr. Michael Burry, has explained that once it gets going,  the condition deteriorates rapidly. 

Stay tuned. 

The Case of the Complaining Wife

Just in case you did not believe that therapy ruins marriages, here is a slice of life from an American marriage. The couple is presumably not young. He is 64, a widower. We do not know how old she is or whether she was married before. We know nothing about children or occupations.

Now, she is complaining. In truth, all she does is complain. Presumably, she wants him to express more emotion. I wonder where she got that idea, which translates-- she wants him to act more like a woman.

I will repeat a remark that I made a while back, namely, that if she is trying to make her husband more like a woman, she would do better to divorce him and to marry a woman. Presumably, procreation is no longer at issue.

But, she has not just bought the therapy culture drivel about expressing feeling; she learned it from therapy and has decided that her husband must go into therapy too. She reminds me of the woman who wrote to Carolyn Hax, complaining that she would never marry any man who had not undergone therapy. Why she imagines that any man would want to marry her, escapes me.

Moreover, today’s complaining wife is also leaning in. She is ranting at her husband all the time about his failings. She is letting him know exactly how she feels. She is trying to force him to do something that feels unnatural, because it is unnatural. And, of course, it isn’t working.

So, this man has written to therapist Lori Gottlieb. Here, in its entirety, is the letter:

My wife has given up on me and is threatening to leave. She has given me six months to find treatment for the lack of emotion I am displaying towards her. I am 64 years old and love her very much. We have only been married for a couple of years. (I was previously happily married but my first wife died of ovarian cancer.)

My wife says that I just don't display affection to the degree she craves. I get frustrated because this is all we argue about—she says I don't kiss enough, have sex enough, hug enough, etc. All the pressure on me just pushes me further away. So what do I do?

In her first foray into this morass Gottlieb presents the salient point. That is, his wife’s appallingly bad behavior is going to make it less, not more likely that she gets what she wants. Threats never work, saith Gottlieb, and she is correct:

You say that you love your wife very much, so you don’t suffer from a lack of emotion—it’s just that she has specific ideas about how that emotion should be expressed, and demands that it be expressed on her terms. In fact, your wife’s response to not getting the physical affection she craves is ensuring that she won’t actually get the physical affection she craves. I’ve never heard anyone say, “You know what solved our relationship problem? A threat!” 

Then Gottlieb questions whether something else is at issue. Obviously, the question needs to be asked, but I fear that the woman has joined a cult based on therapy precepts, and wants to be living with someone who belongs to the same cult:

What probably hasn’t been explored is what you think the issue is about, what your wife thinks it’s about, how much of this is about you, how much is about her, how much of this is related to what’s happening between you two in the present, and how much is related to your respective histories. 

But then, Gottlieb goes a bit wrong when she recommends that the man offer up:

… a vulnerable display of affection along with a willingness to make things better.

Sorry to say, but vulnerability is the last thing he should offer. That would make him accede to her threats. Since Gottlieb just told us that it was not reasonable to expect him to do so, she is contradicting herself.

If I may, I would humbly suggest that if he wants to stop his wife from leaving him-- which is the headline-- there is a sensible and rational and adult solution-- he should leave her.

There, that wasn’t so difficult, was it?

Monday, March 1, 2021

Are Nude Selfies Art?

How many liberated women, wanting to be respected for their minds, not their genitalia, are down with sending nude selfies? Fair enough, some of the practitioners of this new art form-- that’s what they are calling it now-- are of the male persuasion, but, in truth, the new postmodern practice cares far more about exposing the female body than about the aesthetics of the dick pic.

Now, we have a book all about Nude Selfies, and we have a Guardian review of said book.

I have not read the book. I have no interest in reading it. But I will happily point out two facts that the review does not mention. The first involves the ubiquity of pornography. In truth, we might happily extol the erotics and the aesthetics of the naked female body, but, truth be told, most of these pictures are very likely closer to porn than to great art. 

Naturally, those who practice this art form would be seriously aggrieved by the notion that they are emulating porn stars, but such seems largely to be the case. After all, didn’t Jennifer Lawrence send nude selfies to a boyfriend because he told her that he would rather masturbate to her naked image than to that of a porn star? 

Obviously, the pictures eventually found their way into the public domain, to Lawrence’s mortification. For reasons that completely escape me, she decided to take back her body by going nude in a movie.

Strange thought, but in defiance of the obvious point. If you want people to respect you for your achievements, keep your clothes on. The rest distracts. If you have been caught with your pants down-- so to speak-- the solution is to pull your pants back up and to walk on as though nothing were. To counter involuntary exposure with voluntary exposure is  grievous error. Whoever suggested as much to Lawrence should be fired.

The second observation, unmentioned in the article, is that our very own therapy culture, led by our psycho overlords, has effectively been selling the idea that going naked is healthy. It is especially healthy because it demonstrates convincingly that you have overcome shame. You are showing off your nakedness because you have attained to peak mental health.

And besides, your gesture means what you want it to mean, doesn’t it? In truth, it does not. It takes a high quota of stupidity to fail to understand that the meanings of words and gestures depend on social codes, not personal intention. Regardless of what you are thinking when you are sending nude selfies, the truth remains, that people who see them will think less of you. And that you will be tasked with the challenge of living them down.

As for the notion that words mean what the speaker wants them to mean, we owe that piece of wisdom to a character in a fiction. The character’s name was Humpty Dumpty. And we know what happened to Humpty Dumpty.

Apparently, a generational divide separates those who find it normal to send out nude selfies and a generation that finds the practice horrifying-- and dangerous.

Claire Armistead opens her article thusly:

Have you ever sent a nude selfie? The question draws a thick red line between generations, throwing one side into a panic while the other just laughs.

I am not sure why the red line is thick? Wouldn't a thin red line work just as well?

A New York Times columnist tut-tuts the risk to young people and decides that we should not condemn the practice out of hand. She is apparently ignorant of the fact that a thirteen year old girl who is induced to send such pictures will suffer extreme emotional distress and will make herself vulnerable to all manner of abuse. 

The risk to young people is very real. And we ought not to dismiss it because adults have the right to emulate porn stars. If condemning the practice will protect young people, then perhaps we should not be so cavalier about defending it-- and making it feel like a normal part of adult living:

But for all the worries about the vulnerability of underage senders, it would be wrong to condemn the practice out of hand, according to New York Times columnist Diana Spechler, who argued that, in lockdown, nude selfies had become a symbol of resilience, “a refusal to let social distancing render us sexless”. The selfies she and her friends were exchanging, she wrote, weren’t “garish below-the-belt shots” but pictures that were “carefully posed, cast in shadows, expertly filtered”. In short, they were works of art and deserved to be considered as such.

If her friends were so proud of their exhibitionism they would not be pretending that what they are doing is art, not pornography. Besides, do you believe that porn is not “carefully posed” and “expertly filtered.”

Naturally, some women come to understand that sending out nude pictures is maybe not such a good idea. Heck, it is not even liberating. As for the notion that a woman will be more loveable because the hockey team is ogling her nakedness, keep in mind, these women want to be respected for their minds:

“When I sent nudes to men in my early adulthood,” says contributor Ellie Nova, “there was a mismatch between the sender and the receiver. For the men, I think, it was a brief thrill. But for me, it was an attempt to find connection and reassurance that, despite my darkest beliefs, I was lovable after all.” Her freeform memoir describes a student life in which the selfie becomes an act of ritualised self-sacrifice to the casualness of male desire, a ritual that is tangled up with self-harm.

And then, one Claire Askew sees it all from a more positive angle. She thinks it’s all liberating. I imagine that she feels liberated from the repressive constraints involved in wearing clothing. As for the gift of her vulnerability, does that make it any the less vulgar. Why does she think it’s alright to give away her vulnerability? And why does she think it’s alright to encourage teenage girls to do the same?

Poet and crime novelist Claire Askew is more positive: “Sending nudes is a new form of intimacy that can feel liberating, but it also makes a gift of our vulnerability,” she says. In her poem 8 Ways to Lie in a Hotel Bed Alone, she imagines herself in a cheap hotel, accidentally sending a picture to a lover before checking where the recipient is: perhaps in the pub or standing in a chip shop queue, while she tries to settle on a hard hotel mattress.

What Is Biden Doing Here?

Another day, another Biden attempt to speak off-the-cuff, another embarrassing verbal mishap, derived largely from Joe’s advancing senile dementia. Remember that Dr. Michael Burry, when pronouncing Joe to be suffering from dementia, added that the disease progresses rapidly.

What do you wager that Joe does not make it through four years?

Anyway, for the edification of those who believe that Joe does not know where he is or what he is doing, Matt Margolis reports on something that Joe said in Houston. While mangling the names of various congresspeople, he got flustered and uttered the truth about his condition. In his words: “What am I doing here?” 

On Saturday, Joe Biden did it again. While attempting to list off the names of several Democrats, even he was surprised by his own forgetfulness.

“… and Representatives Shir-Shirley Jackson Lee, Al Greene, Sylvia Garcia, Lizzie Penelley, ugh, uh, excuse me, Pannill, and, ugh, what am I doing here? I’m gonna lose track here,” Biden wondered aloud. Her name is Sheila Jackson Lee… and she’s hardly forgettable. 

But his remark, “What am I doing here?” was very telling. Of course, we’ve all been wondering that for weeks. What is Joe Biden doing there in the most powerful position in the world?

And this is the president of a great nation, and the leader of the free world. As we remarked recently, people around the world are taking notice.

The Hunter Biden Saga

I must be feeling especially charitable this morning, so I will not name any of those who proclaimed, on the basis of nothing whatever, that the Biden presidency would lead us back to decency.

When you think of decency you do not think of Hunter Biden. It’s a minimal assertion, one that easily puts paid to Joe Biden’s mindless twaddle about how he is proud of his crackhead son, Hunter.

Besides, didn’t Hunter write a book about his recovery from crack addiction? And, didn’t he receive a considerable sum of money for doing so? And didn’t a bevy of celebrities and authors write glowing blurbs for his sad ouvrage? The book is coming out next month.

Of course, I do not need to tell you, but the Hunter story is pathetic. The more important part, the part that is being investigated by federal officials, seems to have all the makings of a criminal conspiracy, an influence peddling scandal. We all understand that nothing will come of the investigation. Different people play by different rules.

As you know, reporting about Hunter has been tamped down of late. The sordid details have been dropped down the memory hole of history. With this exception, a story from the Daily Mail. Anyway, given that no election is pending, this story might not be canceled from Twitter. 

Anyway, the Bidens are the best people. As you know, when Hunter’s brother Beau died from brain cancer, the grieving Hunter took advantage of the situation to have an affair with Beau’s widow, Hallie. Naturally, the Biden family saw no problem in this liaison.

By now it is not news. What is news is the added fact that, while he was romancing Hallie, Hunter also took up with Hallie’s sister, one Elizabeth Secundy, a married mother of several children. Keeping it in the family, I suppose. One does not know what to say about the familial bonds between Hallie and Elizabeth, but seriously.

Anyway, the Daily Mail reports:

Hunter Biden had a controversial affair with his brother Beau's grieving widow Hallie, while exchanging raunchy texts, 'partying', and even renting a house with her sister, can exclusively reveal.   

Hallie Biden's older sister, Elizabeth Secundy, who was recently separated from her husband of 15 years, referred to Hunter as her 'prince' and told him she loved him, in a series of text messages dating back to 2016. 

It continues, becoming slightly more sordid:

A text message exchange recovered from the laptop hard drive revealed a sexual conversation between Hunter and Secundy from September 2016 - at the time he would have been dating Hallie. 

Hunter offered to teach Secundy 'how to masturbate' and referenced buying her 'panties'.

Secundy, now 49, also referred to Hunter as her 'prince' and told him she loved him in the texts. 

Surely, it’s the kind of behavior that would make a father proud. But, it’s not all:

After raising some eyebrows for dating his sister-in-law, the former lobbyist was then revealed to have fathered a child with a DC stripper whose paternity he initially denied, and later married his current wife, Melissa, just six days after meeting her in 2019. They too now have a one-year-old child, named after Hunter's late brother. 

We will see whether Twitter cancels the Daily Mail now. Anyway, how's that for a little Biden family decency with your morning coffee.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Biden Declares War on Saudi Arabia

By now you know that the Biden administration has released a report claiming that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

It has elicited gale force outrage from the bastions of the media and former Obama administration officials. Nicholas Kristof-- a writer we praised yesterday-- insisted that America visit great punishment on MBS-- because Khashoggi was Kristof’s friend. It's always good to stand for principle.

It almost feels unnecessary, but not one of these sanctimonious hypocrites cared in the least when the Iranian ayatollahs were crushing domestic dissent in 2009. The Obama administration could not even muster the courage to denounce it. And, as for the thousands of gay youth that have been murdered by the Iranian regime-- for the crime of being gay-- the Obamaphile media has simply forgotten to report it. Dare we mention that the anti-homophobia left has been as silent as a lamb. 

Anyway, the Obama administration has returned to power. Among its first tasks, undermining the Abraham Accords that count as one of the most consequential achievements of the Trump administration. The high priests of identity politics hate the accords because they were fashioned by Trump and by his Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Anti-Semitism is alive and well in the Biden administration, on the National Security Council and in the State Department.

Besides, if you prefer another interpretation, the Trump management of the Middle East made former government officials look like incompetent buffoons. Didn’t the surgically enhanced John Kerry intone, with the maximum of conviction, that no peace would ever come to the Middle East until we could solve the Palestinian problem. Now, the Gulf Arab states do not care about the Palestinian terrorist strategy and are doing business with Israel.

So, the administration needs to find a way to mask the shame of John Kerry and other Obama officials. 

Of the articles I have seen, the best was written by Caroline Glick. One might say that the Trump administration was practicing Realpolitik while the Biden administration is practicing idealistic foreign policy-- with a hefty dose of anti-Semitism.

Glick begins by saying that releasing the report, an indictment of MBS will be:

...destructive to U.S. national security and to the security and stability of the Middle East.

And yet, the action was perfectly intelligible. Glick offers a sage reading of the policy:

It was predictable for 2 reasons. First, this is Obama’s 3rd term. And in Obama’s 1st term he played a central role in overthrowing Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the anchor of the U.S.’s alliance system in the Sunni Arab world in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood, the ideological anchor of every Sunni terror group in the world.

Obama’s consistent policy for 8 years was to side with the jihadists. Obama’s anti-colonialist worldview bred his anti-Western sensibilities. He and his neo-Marxist advisors viewed the jihadists as the “authentic” voice of the Islamic world. They were favored because they were “revolutionary” and anti-Western. In every conflict that pitted either conservative Sunni leaders, Iranian anti-regime forces, or Israel against jihadists from Hamas to Hezbollah, to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Houthis, or Iran, Obama and his people supported the jihadists. For this reason, Obama admired both Turkish dictator Erdogan and the Qatari ruling family. Like him, they supported jihadists.

Of course, Obama always sided with the radical jihadist. He refused consistently to denounce radical Islam. And he refused to denounce anti-Semitic actions committed by Islamists-- i.e., the attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris. About that, Obama said that a couple of guys had done a couple of things.

Now, when Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates found new young leaders, leaders who were working to reform Islam, to modernize and liberalize their nations, this posed a problem for an administration that had cast its lot with the jihadists. Worse yet, these new leaders wanted to have better ties with Israel, and the Obama administration flunkies hated them, to the roots of their deluded souls.

We will add that these leaders are wildly popular in their nations. For America to attack them with the Khashoggi indictment will certainly damage the administration reputation in the Middle East. Of course, the mullahs and the Palestinian terrorists will be cheering:

MBS and MBZ from the UAE were big problems for Obama, Robert Malley and their ilk. They appeared out of nowhere.

Young and vigorous, they seek to liberalize their conservative societies. They are deeply opposed to Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. They are open to peace and cooperation with Israel. They support Israel in its campaigns against Hamas and Hezbollah. And they are certainly “authentic” Arab Muslims. When the UAE declared the Muslim Brotherhood, and Obama’s key supporters and ideological allies at CAIR terrorist organizations, Obama and his comrades were so angry they could barely put together a coherent sentence.

As for Jamal Khashoggi, besides being a friend of Nicholas Kristof, his resume is anything but clean. In fact, he was a terrorist sympathizer:

 He was a Qatari agent of influence. He was a former Saudi intelligence officer who sided with the Wahabist jihadists in the royal family who supported al Qaeda. He was friends with Osama bin Laden and mourned his death. The al Qaeda, ISIS, Iran and Hamas supporting Qatari regime was essentially writing his columns in the Washington Post.

And, Glick suggests that he was an agent of international Islamist terrorism:

Khashoggi’s receipt of a green card made no sense. His gig as a columnist at Jeff Bezos’s paper made no sense unless seen as an effort of Obama’s deep state friends, particularly former CIA director John Brennan, who opposed MBS from the outset. And then it made perfect sense. In other words, Khashoggi, a terror supporting Qatari agent against a modernizing, pro-American, anti-jihadist and pro-Israel Saudi Crown Prince was an important political warfare asset for Obama’s clique. His job was to discredit MBS and legitimize the terror-supporting Qataris while making pro-jihadist progressives feel good about themselves.

At the least, the Obama administration flunkies want the old Saudi Arabia back. Whereas the current king has wanted to support Palestinian terrorism, his son wants to recognize the legitimacy of the state of Israel. And, we can’t have that, can we, Obamaphiles. So, the Biden administration is working to undermine the Saudi line of succession and to reduce the power of MBS. We are willing to try to crush reform in order to restore anti-Semitism.

Glick explains:

They immediately set out lionizing Khashoggi as some sort of Nelson Mandela so that they could turn MBS into Hitler or whatever. As Smith reported in another article, Robert Malley, who is now in charge of Biden’s Iran policy, was the first pushing the line that in response to Khashoggi’s death, the U.S. should end its support/alliance with Saudi Arabia in retribution and side with the Iran-controlled Houthis against Saudi Arabia.

It was a testament to Donald Trump’s common sense and his political courage that he refused to bow to their pressure. And it was equally obvious back in 2018 that if a Democrat beat Trump in 2020, the next Democrat administration would resuscitate the Khashoggi affair to try to push MBS from power.

And, of course, the Biden administration wants to undermine or abolish the Abraham Accords:

The worst thing that happened to the Obama nee Biden crowd were the Abraham Accords. This is why the first thing that Biden and his handlers did was bow out of the U.S. side of the deal by freezing the arms sales to the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The Abraham Accords put paid their false claims that the jihadists are the authentic voice of the Arab world. The popularity of the deals among the citizens of the Gulf and much of the wider Arab world – like Morocco and Sudan — made clear that Obama (Biden) and their ilk were basing U.S. Middle East policy on the propaganda being taught in Middle East Studies departments throughout the U.S. rather than on anything even vaguely resembling the reality of the region and the views of people who actually live here.

Glick does not want to predict whether MBS and MBZ will survive. Obviously, if either of them make gesture of conciliation with the American administration it would constitute a loss of face-- so they will probably not concede anything at all.

For now the governments of both countries have denounced the indictments in the strongest terms. And, we note again, that they are both very popular among their people. Saudi subjects are very happy with MBS’s reformation. For our part we will look to see any movement in the relationship between Israel and the Muslim states that are part of the Abraham Accords. And we will also look at whether or not these countries start doing more business with Russia and China. 

I don’t know if MBS will survive this blow or not. There is reason to fear that at the end of the day, the leaders of the UAE and of Saudi Arabia will decide they are better off making an arrangement with Iran supported by the U.S. than standing up for their sovereignty and their interests with Israel. And if they do, it will be a disaster of epic proportions. The danger of war will rise exponentially. Jihadists of the Sunni and Shiite varieties will be empowered as never before. And Israel will be in a pretty horrible position.

But in the midst of all of this, leave it to the fake human rights activists and real terror supporters and jihad sympathizers like Malley and his comrades in Obama’s new administration to pat themselves on the back for ushering in an “authentic” era in the Middle East.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Destroying Education in America

Writing on the Hot Air Site, John Sexton quotes at length from a recent Nicholas Kristof column about school closures. (via Maggie’s Farm) This saves you the indignity of subscribing to the Times.

As Sexton points out, Kristof is quite correct to lay the blame at the foot of Democratic politicians. And yet, he or his editors do not mention the greater blame, which belongs to the teachers’ unions.

Here are excerpts from the Kristof column:

The blunt fact is that it is Democrats — including those who run the West Coast, from California through Oregon to Washington State — who have presided over one of the worst blows to the education of disadvantaged Americans in history. The result: more dropouts, less literacy and numeracy, widening race gaps, and long-term harm to some of our most marginalized youth.

The San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank this month estimated that educational disruptions during this pandemic may increase the number of high school dropouts over 10 years by 3.8 percent, while also reducing the number of college-educated workers in the labor force. This will shrink the incomes of Americans for 70 years, until the last of today’s students leave the work force, the bank said…

“We have to acknowledge that there is a large percentage of kids that have ‘disappeared’ — students who have never logged in, or logged in and never fully engaged,” said Melissa Connelly, chief executive of OneGoal, a nonprofit that does outstanding work with low-income high school students…

“The evidence on remote learning suggests that despite the best efforts of teachers it doesn’t work for a large share of kids,” said Emily Oster, a Brown University economist who has studied the issue. “I think we’ve deprioritized children in a way that will do long-term damage.”

Sexton comments:

There’s a lot to like about this piece but there are still a couple of obvious problems with it. For one, it blames Democrats generally but doesn’t quite single out teacher’s unions which are the main source of opposition to reopening, with or without the vaccine. Yes, it’s true that Democrats are responsible for this problem at every level, but it’s also true that some Democratic mayors and governors have been doing their best, even suing school districts to light a fire under them and the unions. The word union never appears in the piece, which is very odd.

The data on safety is in and the need of students is great. This is the moment the president should be cranking up the bully pulpit to full volume and saying all the things that Nick Kristof says in his column. The fact that the White House is not doing that means its not just teacher’s unions who are abdicating their responsibility to America’s children, it’s President Biden as well.

Of course, many private and parochial schools have remained open, giving their students an advantage. Up to a point, that is. Yesterday, Megan Kelly explained to Bill Maher why she had taken her two boys out of New York’s Collegiate School. For those who are unfamiliar with New York private schools, Collegiate sits at the summit. Parents would sell their souls to get their children into that school.

The Daily Mail reports:

She said her sons' school in particular troubled her.

When he was in third grade, she said, they 'unleashed a three-week experimental trans-education program.'

Kelly said it was difficult for her son to understand, and not helpful.

Her son was in a class where the children were eight and nine at the time.

'It wasn't about support — we felt that it was more like they were trying to convince them,' she said. 'Like, come on over.'

She also said her kindergartner, Thatcher, 'was told to write a letter to the Cleveland Indians objecting to their mascot.'

And then, Bill Maher himself read from an anti-racism letter that had been circulating at the school.

Maher read from a letter which was circulated among a diversity group at the school that said things like 'there's a killer cop sitting at every school where white children learn.'

The letter, written by the executive director of Orleans Public Education Network, Nahliah Webber, also claimed 'white kids are being indoctrinated in black death'.

Maher continued reading: 'I'm tired of white people reveling in their state-sanctioned depravity and snuffing out black life with no consequences.'

He added: 'There [are] racist problems problems in this country, but this is hyperbole. And this is making people crazy. This is not the way we get to the Promised Land.'

Keep in mind, this is the best that New York City is offering. If you want to know why wealthy people are leaving town and moving to Florida, the reason is simple. Once their children’s schools became consumed in woke madness, there was no longer a reason to stay.

Dr. Rachel Levine Meets Dr. Rand Paul

Smug and supercilious Monica Hesse makes a strange effort to challenge Senator Rand Paul’s views of the current transgender social contagion.

You see, Hesse knows the truth about transgenderism. She is effectively a true believer and she wants to hold Rand Paul to account for not knowing as much as she does. Besides, Dr. Paul is an eye doctor and Dr. Rachel Levine, candidate for assistant secretary of HHS, is a pediatrician.

Of course, Levine is transgendered. To speak the unspeakable, anyone who thinks that Levine looks like a woman needs to see an eye doctor, at the least.

Note Hesse’s dismissive and contemptuous tone:

Rachel Levine, the physician nominated to become the Biden administration’s assistant secretary of health, came to her confirmation hearing prepared to politely discuss matters such as the covid pandemic, the opioid epidemic, behavioral health and racial disparities in medical treatment.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), however, seemed more interested in talking about children’s genitals.

“Dr. Levine, you have supported [minors] being given hormone blockers, and surgical reconstruction of a child’s genitalia,” Paul said, in a tirade in which he also conflated genital mutilation (a horrifying practice that public health experts view as a human rights violation) with the transition-related surgeries chosen by some transgender individuals to help their bodies conform with their gender identity.

Genital mutilation is bad, though one recalls that when Egypt elected as president a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, one Mohamed Morsi, after his organization provided easy access to female genital mutilation, the first world leader to visit Cairo to legitimize his election was that great champion of women’s rights-- Hillary Clinton.

But, I digress. Hesse is saying that when a transgender female undergoes surgical castration, it is not genital mutilation because-- take a deep breath-- of the intention. You see, if an individual believes with deep conviction that he is really a she, when he undergoes surgical or chemical castration, his goal is to make his body conform to his belief. To imagine that this is no longer mutilation beggars belief. The same applies to female children who take puberty blocking hormones and to teenage girls who have double mastectomies.

Now, Hesse is clearly convinced that Rand Paul was wrong. After all, Paul was citing the preponderance of the research, showing that children are influenced into becoming transgender by their teachers and their peers. As Abigail Shrier and Lisa Littman have shown, transgenderism seems precisely to be a social contagion. Paul also noted that the vast majority of children who believe they are transgendered, ultimately change their minds.

About that the all-knowing pretentious fool Hesse has nothing to say, except to prostrate herself before the brilliance of Dr. Levine. Seriously, does it get any worse:

 She [Dr. Rachel Levine]  would have been within her rights to be enraged by Paul’s ignorance, but she responded on Thursday by repeating a steady message: 

“Transgender medicine is a complex and nuanced field,” she said twice. It was composed of “robust research,” and standards of care. She would be happy, she said, to come to Paul’s office and discuss the issue in-depth.

She continues with an absurd non sequitur:

In Paul’s telling, children chose to be transgender because of peer pressure, or pressure from doctors. In his world, those children would be fine if only doctors like Levine would deny them treatment.

In truth, as noted by everyone who has studied the question, the vast majority of such children change their minds. If they are treated, thus mutilated by physicians, the damage is irreversible.

As for Dr. Levine’s special expertise, in public health, the reason she was purportedly chosen for the job, Tyler O’Neil reports on Sen. Richard Burr’s outline of her qualifications:

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) laid out the scandal in his opening remarks at Levine’s confirmation hearing on Thursday.

“Along with testing challenges from last spring, your state failed to adequately protect nursing home residents from the virus and is making unacceptable mistakes in the vaccine distribution process,” Burr noted.

“Pennsylvania ranks as one of the most dangerous states for long-term care residents battling COVID-19. Fifty-two percent of Pennsylvania COVID-19 deaths came from nursing homes, and three in ten of the deadliest facilities in the country were in Pennsylvania. Your state came in 46th in the country in its effort to put safeguards in place that managed the spread of infections in these settings with only 16 percent of the state’s nursing homes receiving infection control inspections that could have saved residents from the spread of COVID-19,” Burr claimed.

Indeed, 52 percent of COVID-19 deaths in Pennsylvania have occurred in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. As for the 46th in the country rating, that appears to trace back to Families for Better Care, which ranked Pennsylvania near last for dangerous conditions in nursing homes when it released its 2019 Nursing Home Report Card.

So, Dr. Levine failed in Pennsylvania. She might be nominated for the Andrew Cuomo award as the Lord High Executioner of the coronavirus. For the Biden administration that counts as a qualification.