Sunday, July 14, 2024

Pamela Paul on Transmania

Last week the New York Times published a defense of transmania by a San Francisco psychiatrist named Dr. Jack Turban.

I offered my own comments in these pages.


Two days ago, Pamela Paul used her Times column to review the issue, and especially to ask the salient question. How does it happen that enlightened European cultures have rejected what is called gender-affirming care while the American medical establishment continues to practice it? How did we persuade ourselves to continue to mutilate children?


At a time when we tell our enlightened selves that we follow the science, more than a handful of us have latched on to a series of practices that constitute pagan human sacrifice.


Obviously, Dr. Turban has objected to Paul’s reasoning, not to mention to the Cass Report. He talks the good talk about assessing children who want to transition, but he argues in a new book that puberty blockers should be as easy to get as Prozac. And he does not believe that children should need parental approval before mutilating themselves.


For her part Pamela Paul begins by explaining the conclusions reached by Hilary Cass in Great Britain. One notes that the new Labour government has used this report to ban puberty blockers altogether.


Paul writes:


It’s been three months since the release of the Cass Review, an independent assessment of gender treatment for youths commissioned by England’s National Health Service. The four-year review of research, led by Dr. Hilary Cass, one of Britain’s top pediatricians, found no definitive proof that gender dysphoria in children or teenagers was resolved or alleviated by what advocates call gender-affirming care, in which a young person’s declared “gender identity” is affirmed and supported with social transition, puberty blockers and/or cross-sex hormones. Nor, she said, is there clear evidence that transitioning kids decreases the likelihood that gender dysphoric youths will turn to suicide, as adherents of gender-affirming care claim. These findings backed up what critics of this approach have been saying for years.


Paul continues, noting that governments in other European countries have joined with Britain in banning what is called gender affirming care:


After the release of Cass’s findings, the British government issued an emergency ban on puberty blockers for people under 18. Medical societies, government officials and legislative panels in Germany, France, Switzerland, Scotland, the Netherlands and Belgium have proposed moving away from a medical approach to gender issues, in some cases directly acknowledging the Cass Review. Scandinavian countries have been moving away from the gender-affirming model for the past few years. 


And yet, the American government still allows this form of child mutilation:


Why would our government and medical institutions continue to frame gender-affirming care as medically necessary and lifesaving despite Cass’s assessment? Especially given growing concerns about the risks and irreversible consequences of gender interventions for youths, including bone density loss, possible infertility, the inability to achieve orgasm and the loss of functional body tissue and organs including breasts, genitals and reproductive organs?


Paul considers that the divide in America is based on politics. In truth, it seems to be the case, yet, the notion that only religious and social conservatives reject these practices is a rank distortion.


But in the United States, the issue is held hostage to each political party’s tendency to bend to its extremes. Republicans are beholden to religious and social conservatives. Democrats have bowed to transgender advocacy groups. The result is a struggle between those who believe they are trying to “save” children from transgenderism and those trying to “protect” children from transphobes.


People who believe the science reject the notion of gender affirming care. Surely, the British Labour Party did not ban puberty blockers because its members are religious and social conservatives.


In America, the horror of child mutilation is being promoted by the Biden administration. Perhaps because they consider it a matter of rights. Perhaps because they believe that ideas should prevail over reality. Perhaps they are simply mired in Western idealism, to the point that they reject the verdict of reality.


The Biden administration has essentially ceded the issue to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, incorporating gender-affirming protocols into Department of Health and Human Services policy. Moreover, recently revealed emails indicate that President Biden’s assistant secretary of health, Dr. Rachel Levine, a pediatrician and transgender woman, successfully pushed WPATH to remove age requirements from its guidelines for gender medicine before their publication, because — mixing political and public health concerns — she thought supporters of gender treatment bans might cite them to show that the procedures are harmful. 


In the past psychiatry understood gender dysphoria to be a delusional belief. Thus, a mental health condition. Studies have long since shown that children grow out of it.


The Cass Review concluded that gender dysphoria is real and can cause significant distress, but that it is often temporary. 


Research has shown it tends to resolve with puberty and sexual maturation. Many kids who experience gender distress during childhood or adolescence grow out of it and are often gay or bisexual.


The solution is counseling, the kind that allows the child to overcome the delusional belief:


The Cass Review recommends a more holistic approach to treating gender dysphoria in kids. This involves untangling gender discomfort from common pre-existing conditions like autism spectrum disorder and A.D.H.D. and treating it alongside frequent comorbidities, which include anxiety, self-harm and eating disorders. A mental health counselor can help children with any difficulties during puberty and in coming to terms with their sexual orientation — without pathologizing either.


Then, Paul makes an important point. Gender dysphoria is the only clinical condition where a child’s word is taken to be legal tender. Surely, it is the only condition where children are encouraged to mutilate themselves, to the point where they cause their bodies irreversible damage:


It’s hard to imagine another clinical protocol in which such serious medical decisions, with potential risks and permanent consequences, are so heavily grounded in a young patient’s self-diagnosis. In this light, gender transition treatments for minors can even be considered unethical.


The most frightening part concerns the American medical profession. It has adopted the model of gender affirming care and routinely allows physicians to mutilate children.


Already the gender-affirmation model is taught in leading medical schools, and all the major professional medical organizations in the United States have officially embraced it in their guidelines, a fact often cited by advocates as evidence of their validity.


Paul suggests that the basis for this madness lies in the simple fact that American medicine is a for-profit enterprise:


This wholesale adoption of gender-affirming care is also a result of the differences between a centralized public health system like Britain’s and a privatized, diffuse health care system like ours. “Doctors are paid for each intervention, and thus have an incentive to give patients what they ask for,” The Economist noted in a recent editorial urging the United States to catch up with recent developments in gender medicine.


And considering how many procedures have been performed, if the medical profession changes its mind, it might well be attacked by armies of lawyers.


If the medical profession turns away from the notion that transitioning young people is necessary and lifesaving, it could open itself up to malpractice suits. Consider that in Britain, a lawsuit by a gay girl named Keira Bell against Britain’s leading gender clinic instigated the investigation that led to the Cass Review.


Clearly, something is radically wrong with American medicine. It may feel redundant to keep returning the issue, but children are being sacrificed in a pagan rite, so there is no such thing as too many denunciations.


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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Saturday Miscellany

First, sometimes the only way to grasp the story is to look at it through the lens of satire. This week the celebrity world and a few politicians set out to get Joe Biden. That means, they want to induce him to withdraw from the presidential election, leaving the place to a candidate who has a better chance of winning.

At the center of it all was Amal Clooney’s husband, George, about whom the satirical website The Babylon Bee, had this to say:


In New 'Ocean's 14', George Clooney Pulls Off $30 Million Heist By Tricking People Into Giving Money To Politician Before Revealing He's Demented.


Second, the agonies of the Democratic Party are giving Commentary editor, John Podhoretz-- schadenfreude. If you do not know, the word means gaining joy from the suffering of others.


Podhoretz wrote this about one George Clooney, a major player in the unfolding political drama. It does raise the question: how does it happen that a mere actor becomes a political player?


True, he was a flawed but noble doctor on ER, but Clooney was the worst Batman, and his last meaningful contribution to America in any way was the pretty good movie Michael Clayton sixteen years ago, a movie he neither wrote nor directed (you don’t want me to list the movies he’s written and directed, because just remembering their names will be enough to put you to sleep, they’re so boring and second-rate). The mood shifted yet again when the Bidenites reminded everybody else that Clooney is mad at Joe Biden anyway because his loathsome if visually formidable wife helped draft the arrest warrant for Bibi Netanyahu at the International Criminal Court the administration publicly criticized.


He continued:


The agony here is all on one side. And it’s not my side. It’s being experienced by people who have spent the past eight years bathing luxuriantly in their own self-infatuated sense of their politicial virtue as demonstrated by their fixated hatred on all things Trump. That fixation either deluded them from seeing or prevented them from admitting or gave them the permission structure for lying about the severity of Joe Biden’s condition. Now they are finding themselves in the choppiest political-emotional waters anyone has experienced in politics since the Republican New Hampshire primary in 2016 began to make it clear to non-revolutionary conservatives that their ideas had been supplanted and their understanding of the political rules was outdated. The people who are suffering today thought themselves immune from the self-doubts and sense of despair that gripped people like…me.


Nicely put.


Third, and then Washington Post columnist Megan McArdle explained that the shock and awe that befell media professionals when they saw how badly Joe Biden had botched the first presidential debate was merited. They had been covering for Joe. They had deflected all calls that he was suffering from dementia. And they believed their hype. Which is worse than trafficking in misinformation.


Since the Post journalists live in an ideological bubble, they know less, she opined, than the average viewer of Fox News. Call that the most unkindest cut of all.


The media’s treatment of Biden wasn’t a conspiracy to protect a Democratic president, but it looks like one because that was its practical effect. None of our decisions were entirely driven by partisanship. But if we’re honest, many of them were unduly influenced by it.


As Biden’s decline grew more visible, people kept respectfully airing the administration’s insultingly implausible claims: that there was a secretly brilliant president flitting around the back corridors of the White House like Batman, while the videos of that same president acting befuddled on world stages were “cheap fakes.


A lot of articles about Biden’s age ended up so couched in ethereally vague language about “questions” and “concerns,” so defensively swaddled in equivocal context that the necessary SOS didn’t get through.


As a result, viewers of Fox News understood the president’s condition better than our audiences, which ought to be a huge wake-up call for us. We don’t have the exact problem conservatives imagine, but we do have a problem. And the only way to fix it is to add more viewpoint diversity to our newsrooms.


Fourth, our woke military, the one that has made a fetish of diversity, equity and inclusion, tried to build a pier in Southern Gaza, the better to deliver supplies to the poor non-starving people.


Well, the project failed. It has been abandoned:


The Pentagon will shut down the $230 million temporary pier that the U.S. military built to rush humanitarian aid to Gaza, American officials said on Thursday. The project has struggled to overcome rough seas and other problems since it started in May.


Fifth, the debate over puberty blockers proceeds apace. Pamela Paul has written a good column offering both sides of the question for the New York Times.


Over on the other side of the pond, the new Labour government has just banned them definitively. As it happened, the Tory government had banned them for a few months. Labour extended the scope.


Gerald Posner writes this on Twitter:


Good news from across the pond. The new Labour Health Sec @wesstreeting ends speculation about whether the NSH will make the temporary ban on puberty blockers permanent.


Labour moves to ban puberty blockers permanently.


Wes Streeting to agree with Tory ruling on powerful drugs for under 18s as his party toughens stance on trans issues.

 

(This after the outgoing conservative government banned puberty blockers for three months.)


Seventh, my new manuscript, entitled, Can’t We All Just Get Along is looking for a literary agent and/or a publisher. Recommendations and suggestions welcome.


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Friday, July 12, 2024

Life Coaching, a Case Fiction, Part 2

Herewith, the second and concluding half of the case fiction regarding a client named Chauncey. I posted the first half last Friday, July 5th.

Wresting himself free after what seemed an indecent interval, a flustered Chauncey decided to take the rest of the day off. By the time Ursula arrived home, greeting him with her normally cheerful Howdy-do he had descended into a guilt-ridden funk.


Not only could he not face Ursula, but how could he return to the Good Earth and look at Cassandra again?


Worse yet, his mind was flooded with images of the naked and willing Cassandra. He had been flagellating his soul all afternoon trying to suppress them. 


Nevertheless, Chauncey put on a good show. Imagining that he was still suffering the aftershocks of the weekend humiliation, Ursula showered him with charm. Chauncey felt that he had dodged a bullet. He would never allow himself to be so thoroughly compromised again. When they made love that night Ursula found Chauncey unusually ardent. She wondered whether humiliation evoked his greatest passions. In fact, he was fantasizing about Cassandra.


Listening to Chauncey’s story, Claude was trying to extract a semblance of order. He worried that Ursula needed an abject Chauncey, because a more dynamic and successful man might interfere with her career. 


Ten days after the incident with Cassandra, while Chauncey was tormenting himself with another reverie about the nubile twenty-year old, Ursula laid out a new plan. She thought it was time for her to become a mother. Since they had ample means to support a child, why were they waiting?


Ursula explained that her career interests would not allow her to take a very active role in bringing up a child, but that she would gladly hire a full time Nanny and that Chauncey could make himself available for the daily grind. 


To Chauncey this made eminently good sense. He was cheered by the prospect of being the kind of father his own father had never been. Perhaps this child would make him feel closer to Ursula and could forget Cassandra. When he explained the plan to his mother the next day, she was more than happy.


His father was another story. Two days later Chauncey picked up the insistently ringing telephone to hear his father rather coldly invite him to a friendly dinner at an obscure restaurant-- The Bronze Helmet. The man was not going to march into Patroon with a bedraggled, pony-tailed young man wearing sweat pants.


The dinner meeting was anything but cordial. The father told his son that he had become increasingly displeased with the course his life had taken. He found his appearance degraded, his job menial, and his so-called relationship with that Teutonic bitch-goddess to be masochistic. Now his son had announced that he was going to become a housewife and mother.


Chauncey tried to defend his decision, even to the point of denouncing his father’s anachronistic view of gender roles. His father stopped him mid-discourse and explained that he was not going to finance this folly. He had redrawn his will to disinherit his son and to leave everything to Yvette and her children.


The news slammed into Chauncey as though he had been blindsided by a Mike Tyson left hook. His head started to reel and before he could recover his equilibrium he had vomited onto his Caesar salad. Mortified and appalled, his father ran from the restaurant. The waiter and busboy helped him to clean up. They put him in a cab and sent him home. By the time he arrived at the empty loft, he felt like his ship had just struck an iceberg. The prospect of always depending on Ursula suddenly filled him with dread.


An hour later Ursula blew through the front door and found Chauncey crumpled at the foot of his bed, in tears. This time she could not reach him. For three days he called in sick to The Good Earth and refused to answer Cassandra’s messages. 


If anything, he was puzzled. Having repudiated his father’s values, it made little sense to live off the profits. His father’s action was more radical than usual, but it was not inconsistent. 


For her part Ursula was becoming more and more concerned. She insisted that if he did not see a therapist she would send him home to his mother. She wanted her Chauncey back and would pay to restore his sanity.


At this point Chauncey stopped telling Claude his story. Now it was his turn to say something that might stabilize Chauncey. Worse, Claude did not approve of Chauncey’s decisions. Rant all you want against insensitive men, Chauncey had gone to the opposite extreme. He was far too sensitive for his own good. He could not even defend himself.


Claude chose to keep these thoughts to himself. He could sympathize with Chauncey’s despair without taking sides in the struggle over the tattered remnants of his manly pride.


The world of men had not offered him a place, largely because he refused its mores. He was surrounded by strong women who loved and nurtured him, but at the price of purloining his manhood. Ursula did not want him to consult with another female therapist who would tell him to get in touch with his feelings.


Claude saw immediately that Chauncey was suffering from an accumulation of humiliations that had finally produced a feeling of complete ostracism. One might have suggested that he was more of a man to Cassandra than to Ursula, but still, their liaison, such as it was, seemed more adolescent than adult. 


Claude saw an intelligent young man who was frittering away his life. He knew that he would need to point Chaucey toward a more substantial career path, even though that might seem like surrendering to his father. Without a sense of real accomplishment Chauncey would never exit his depression.


For now Claude did not want the unhappy couple to try to overcome their funk by having a child. This would have trapped Chauncey and would have made it nearly impossible for him to engage a different career path. Besides, Claude was thinking that the way out of the labyrinth involved Cassandra, the only woman who was not trying to rip off a piece of Chauncey’s flesh. And yet, she was quite young. She had not even finished school.


Rather than offer a solution, Claude intoned: Damned if you do; damned if you don’t. There was no easy solution to this problem and Chauncey’s failure to find one was not necessarily his fault.


So, Claude decided to wax philosophical.  “Your life presents itself in black and white; there are no shades of gray, and certainly no colors. In my experience people who are facing irreconcilable extremes do best to find a middle ground. Or better, to find someone who is not involved in the great drama of your life.”


So, Claude shifted the focus: “Have you discussed this with your sister or brother-in-law?”


Chauncey replied quickly that he had not. The two were implicated in his father’s decisions. How could he trust them? Claude was undeterred. “You do not really know unless you have tried.”


Chauncey looked puzzled and said that he felt he was being set up for more disappointment. At best, Claude continued, you have nothing to lose. Unless your sister is extremely greedy, she is hardly unlikely to countenance your father’s abuse.”


Chauncey noted that Yvette had always been good to him. She had put a significant distance between her family and her parents by moving to Omaha. 


Besides, any constructive gesture, any move in the game, would have redounded to Chauncey’s benefit. Picking up the phone would have been just such a move.


Then Claude asked whether Chauncey had any friends. To lift the sense of isolation that was plaguing Chauncey, Claude sought to picture Chauncey involved in a social group, a group of his peers.


As it happened Chauncey still had some contact with a few of his friends from Yale. By name they were Curtis, Edouard and Sebastian. Most of them spoke well of Ursula, and within the circle she was considered to be exotic and charming. Sebastian, however, believed that she was Kali reincarnated, the goddess of destruction. He had told Chauncey that he would do better to leave her.


So Chauncey arranged a dinner with his friends, and reluctantly shared what was going on. Needless to say, he did not provoke any sympathy, but did receive some advice-- to find a more serious career and to jettison his overbearing girlfriend.


These solutions were far too radical for Chauncey’s delicate constitution, but they served a purpose. His friends wanted him to take charge of the situation, and this was surely an improvement. 


The wild card was Cassandra. Chauncey was so guilty about their encounter in the storeroom that he kept his counsel. Claude was not going to ask his client to recount his feelings toward Cassandra, but he asked whether he had discussed anything about what was going on with her. Does she know about Ursula? Does she know his family history?


Over a lunch of bean sprouts and alfalfa she told Chauncey that she could not understand what he was doing at The Good Earth. She added that she herself wanted to become a marine biologist and is applying to graduate programs in the field. She had even suggested that he apply to several of the programs himself.


Chauncey was not impressed. He declared that she had ulterior motives, especially wanting the two of them to form a constituted couple. To which Claude responded: “the fact that a beautiful young woman finds you attractive ought not to make you feel diminished.”


Within Chauncey’s mythical kingdom Cassandra was not a prophetess of doom; she was a seductress luring him away from fidelity. Feeling guilty at finding her attractive, he was avoiding her. Now, Claude wanted Chauncey to return to work as soon as possible, and to develop a plan for dealing with Cassandra.


Apparently, there was more to the story than Chauncey had let on. It did not make him look very good.  


“Something did happen, but it is almost too painful to recount. After ignoring her for two days, I ran into her one morning when we were both waiting for the store to open. I was trying not to make eye contact, but she approached me and said: ‘I’m sorry if I hurt you.’”


Chauncey was taken aback. He went dumb. He could barely tolerate that she was blaming herself.


Uncharitably, Claude opined that Chauncey had run away. So, he added that perhaps Chauncey owed the woman an apology. To which his client declared that it would be too much of a risk. She might reject the apology.


Claude replied that it is indeed risky, but still, no one should treat another human being with impunity and just walk away from it. He added that the young woman was acting more like an adult than was Chauncey. Apologizing would be the more manly gesture, taking responsibility for bad behavior. He added that it was better not to allow her to think that his behavior had something to do with her. 


Chauncey continued to demur. He believed that he had feelings for Cassandra and that if he opened himself up to her, he would put himself in danger.


Claude replied that Chauncey seemed to have been questioning his feelings for Ursula, to say nothing of his current living arrangement.


Claude did not want to take this line of reasoning too far. He had wanted to show Chauncey how to accomplish something difficult and how to act like an honorable adult. He was not concerned with whether the two young people really loved each other. He wanted Chauncey to get out of his mind and into his life.


And yet, Claude did not know very much about his client. So in his next session he asked a series of standard interview questions. Since Chauncey had been trained to free associate, he felt uncomfortable answering such banal questions. 


The questions were not chosen at random. All were designed to measure Chauncey’s involvement in worldly activities, the better to place the young man somewhere other than in the throes of a mythic dilemma. 


Claude wanted Chauncey to be more engaged with his friends, whether by going to a sports bar or by joining an advocacy group. He recommended that Chauncey read newspapers more carefully, to form his own opinions about politics. He added that Chauncey ought to join a gym, not only to mitigate the effects of his depression but to get in better shape.


Claude wanted to foster human social connections. He was happy that Chauncey had had a couple of conversations with his sister and brother-in-law. He was pleased that Chauncey had been willing to go back to work and was considering other career paths. 


Was this counseling going to allow Chauncey to construct something of a life? How long would it be before Ursula would insist on having a baby, event that would abort these plans? And, he needed to keep in mind that Ursula was controlling the couple’s purse. How long before she decides that she does not like what Chauncey is becoming and pulls her financial support? And what will happen when Cassandra leaves her position and enrolls in a marine biology program in Florida?


Resolving these complexities was not going to be easy.


I have several free consulting hours in my own life coaching practice. If you are interested, please email me at StuartSchneiderman@gmail.com.

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Anti-Semitism Returns

Matti Friedman asks the right question in his column on the Free Press. Given the fact that we have all learned of the horrors of the Holocaust and the abominations committed in the name of anti-Semitism, how does it happen that the Western world is awash in Jew hatred?

Wasn’t all that enhanced consciousness supposed to ensure that it never happen again? 


Friedman writes:


It has now been nearly 80 years since the Holocaust, and generations of kids across the West have been taught terms like Zyklon B and crematoria. Films like Schindler’s List have been earnestly canonized. Countless Holocaust museums have been built at a cost of billions of dollars. 


Yet never since the Holocaust have anti-Jewish ideologies been so potent, so close to the surface, or so dangerous. 


Readers with access to shelves of Auschwitz books find themselves, since last October 7, accustomed to mass rallies against the Jewish state and its supporters; to elite colleges teaching that the world is afflicted by a malevolent force called Zionism; and to mobs outside synagogues and Jewish-owned restaurants in cities like Toronto and Los Angeles. 


One of the victors in French elections this week was the leftist leader Jean-Luc M√©lenchon, who has called French Jews and their communal organizations “aggressive,” “arrogant,” and “sectarian,” and once worked a mention of Jewish deicide into an ordinary TV interview. Across the Channel, the British election bestowed a seat upon Jeremy Corbyn, who called Hamas and Hezbollah his “friends”; he’ll be joined in parliament by a politician from Yorkshire calling for a boycott of “every brand and every product that has been supporting Israel and Zionism from the beginning of time.”


Learning about the Nazis was supposed to prevent any of this from recurring, or at least help us understand when it did. Neither has happened. 


As it happens, our culture, thanks to therapy, has told us that enhanced consciousness of a problem works to eliminate the problem. But, what if it aggravates the problems? 


Unfortunately, all of this Holocaust awareness tends to paint Jews as victims. There is a reason for this. If Jews are innocent victims, that means that what happened to them was a grave injustice. And that they deserve everyone’s sympathy, if not pity. 


But this is only part of the story of modern Judaism. Alongside the Holocaust awareness industry is the fact of the state of Israel. The people who built Israel into a great nation succeeded against all odds. They built a modern nation with a thriving economy and a world class military-- out of nothing.


Hamas fighters can commit the most cowardly terrorist actions, but they cannot defend themselves or their people against the Israeli military. And they are incapable of building a nation. 


Ever since Israel invaded Gaza, the better to defend itself and to punish those who would destroy it, serious thinkers and unserious politicians have chosen to gang up on Israel. As though the Jewish state did not have a right to defend itself or to fight for its survival. 


Worse yet, some Jews are afraid to succeed, because they believe that their disproportionate success feeds the radical narrative and makes it seem like they deserved to be persecuted. 


And the dominant narrative, Friedman explains, made the Nazis look like men of action. Would you rather be a victim or an action man?


One of the blithe assumptions of Holocaust narrative has always been that no one would identify with the Nazis, but this is wrong. They’re villains, to be sure, but also strong figures, men of action. 


But, that’s not all. We must not discount the role of stupidity. To those of feeble mind the war against anti-Semitism is a war against the radical political right. Thus, Jews have unfortunately chosen to ally themselves with the radical left, to combat the danger of right wing whatever.


So we find people thrilling to the fact that the radical right was defeated in France by an alliance of Communists, Socialists and Islamists. Whereas the right wing group, led by Marine Le Pen, had denounced anti-Semitism and had supported Israel, the left accepted Islamist anti-Semites into their midst. And the leader of the French Socialist Party, Jean-Luc Melenchon had notably made anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli statements.


Failing to understand that today’s anti-Semitism derives from the Islamist left has allowed certain members of the Jewish community to support it, because they believe that their enemy is the far right.


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Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Wednesday Potpourri

First, I reported information provided by the Free Press. Namely, that a neurologist had offered a diagnosis for Joe Biden-- Parkinson’s Disease.

Funnily enough, Alex Berenson then discovered, by searching through White House records, that President Biden had undergone any number of neurological consultations with an expert in Parkinson’s disease.


Suspicious, I would say.


Naturally, the White House is denying it all. By now they have no credibility, so assume that the doctor was not examining Joe Biden for bunions.


Surprisingly, the media is doing its job this time. The Daily Mail reports on a specialist hired by NBC:


A leading neurologist said it's a 'fact' that President Biden suffers from a degenerative brain condition - claiming he could 'diagnose him from across the mall.'


Dr. Tom Pitts, a New York-based specialist, appeared on NBC to give his devastating take on the president's neurological health in the wake of several notable gaffes, culminating in a disastrous debate performance in June….


'His motor symptoms are degenerating,' Pitts said. 'He has Parkinsonisms. That is a fact. He has degeneration of the brain. Show me the MRI. Show me he doesn't. Put your money where your mouth is. He definitely has it.'


Parkinsonisms is an umbrella term for degenerative brain conditions that include Parkinson's.


Second, when it comes to fighting anti-Semitism you do not want Columbia University president Minouche Shafik to be leading the charge.


Remember the deans who exchanged anti-Semitic text messages during a meeting about campus anti-Semitism. Childish, you will say. Worthy of more than a slap on the wrist.


Well, three of the deans have been reassigned, but not fired. A fourth has been allowed to keep his job.


Aaron Sibarium explains in the Free Beacon:


Columbia University will not fire the four deans who exchanged caustic and derogatory text messages during an alumni panel on anti-Semitism, opting instead to reassign three of them while letting the most senior administrator, Columbia College dean Josef Sorett, remain in his post, according to three people familiar with the university's decision and an announcement from university president Minouche Shafik.


Sorett's subordinates, Susan Chang-Kim, Cristen Kromm, and Matthew Patashnick, who exchanged the bulk of the messages, will be removed for their positions and reassigned, the people said. Sorett was allowed to remain in his post on the condition that he issue a full-throated apology for his role in the exchange and undergo anti-Semitism training, according to a source familiar with the matter.


"I continue to learn from this experience and understand the impact that my texts, as well as those between my staff, have had on our community," Sorett said in the apology, sent Monday morning. "We must and will do better, on behalf of the entire Columbia community."


Surely, the incident has exposed Shafik’s weakness. You can whine all you want about strong, empowered women, but those women who exercise executive authority must show their strength by doing something decisive and consequential when faced with campus bigotry.


Shafik is not alone in being incapable of doing so.


Third, Chicago’s gangs celebrated the Fourth of July in style. They shot up the city, killing 19 people and injuring nearly 100.


The mayor of that city, Brandon Johnson, naturally blamed-- Richard Nixon. You cannot make it up.


Black death has unfortunately been accepted in this country for far too long. And we had a chance 60y ago to fix that and people mocked President (Lyndon B) Johnson. And we got Nixon.


Of course, the people who are suffering this gun violence voted for the politicians who are countenancing it.


Now, as you well know, the city of Chicago is preparing for the Democratic National Convention. Will it be accompanied with fireworks?


Fourth, the great reckoning is fast approaching. American companies, even including law firms, are declaring that participation in anti-Israeli protest might be a reason for being disqualified.


The New York Post reports:


Now, a prominent Wall Street law firm is taking a more direct approach with protesters. Sullivan & Cromwell, a 145-year-old firm that has counted Goldman Sachs and Amazon among its clients, says that, for job applicants, participation in an anti-Israel protest — on campus or off — could be a disqualifying factor.


The firm is scrutinizing students’ behavior with the help of a background check company, looking at their involvement with pro-Palestinian student groups, scouring social media and reviewing news reports and footage from protests. It is looking for explicit instances of antisemitism as well as statements and slogans it has deemed to be “triggering” to Jews, said Joseph C. Shenker, a leader of Sullivan & Cromwell.


Candidates could face scrutiny even if they weren’t using problematic language but were involved with a protest where others did. The protesters should be responsible for the behavior of those around them, Mr. Shenker said, or else they were embracing a “mob mentality.” Sullivan & Cromwell wouldn’t say if it had already dropped candidates because of the policy.


Since the universities are incapable of tamping down the bigotry, it befalls other people to do their dirty work.


Fifth, the stupidification of America proceeds apace. The latest news comes to us from the Duke Medical School. One would imagine that such an organization would be dedicated to the healing arts.


Well, one would be wrong. The Duke Medical School has joined the war against white supremacy. The New York Post reports:


Duke Medical School claims it is “white supremacy culture” to expect people of color to be on time in a strategic plan for creating an “anti-racist workforce.” 


The medical school said its goal is to “catalyze anti-racist practice through education” in a 2021 plan titled “Dismantling Racism and Advancing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the School of Medicine.” The guide — praised by the school’s dean — called out what it deemed “white supremacy culture,” with its purported nitpicking about being on time, dress code, speech and work style. It also contains a series of negative terminology vis-√†-vis white culture. 


“White supremacy culture is the idea (ideology) that White people and the ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions of white people are superior to People of Color and their ideas, thoughts, beliefs and actions,” the document stated. 


The document stated that America is rigged for the interests of white people, who get privileges, i.e., the “unquestioned and unearned set of advantages, entitlements, benefits and choices bestowed on people solely because they are White.” 


One suspects that behind it all lies the simple fact that Duke Medical School, like many other outstanding institutions of higher learning, has lowered its standards to the point where significant numbers of students cannot do the work. 


The solution is to lower standards and even standards of proper conduct and good behavior.


Consider this:


“In the workplace, white supremacy culture explicitly and implicitly privileges whiteness and discriminates against non-Western and non-white professionalism standards related to dress code, speech, work style, and timeliness,” the document said. “Some identifiable characteristics of this culture includes perfectionism, belief that there’s only one right way, power hoarding, individualism, sense of urgency and defensiveness.” 


If this is not pathetic, the word has no meaning. According to Duke Med, you can dress like a slob, mumble and curse all you want, and show up when you feel like it.


Does any sentient adult believe that this will improve the quality of medical care? If members of your team show up when they feel like showing up, how can you hold meetings? How can you do surgery? If you do not understand what they are saying, how can you consult? If they are dressed inappropriately, you are more likely to avoid their company.


And how can you schedule surgery when some if not all of the team members decided to show up when they feel like showing up? What will you do if the anesthesiologist decides to show up late?


At the very least this demented set of rules will make it impossible to have care teams or to practice medicine. Imagine trying something like that in the military.


Sixth, in the world of medical abominations, we have the Canadian love for euthanasia. Considering how much it costs to treat patients under the aegis of the National Health System, Canada is promoting assisted suicide as a solution.


Naturally, the practice is being abused. The Daily Mail has the story:


Canada is on track to break euthanasia records once again with 15,280 doctor-assisted suicide deaths in 2023 — a 15 percent jump on the previous year, a campaign group warns.


The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition says growing numbers of people who are not terminally ill now use the government's doctor-assisted suicide program, known locally as MAiD.


They include sufferers of autoimmune conditions, diabetes, and chronic pain who may be able to live for many more quality years, if they had better healthcare.


Finally, I now have several open consulting hours in my life coaching practice. If you are interested, please contact me at StuartSchneiderman@gmail.com


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