Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Wednesday Potpourri

First, consider the source. Arwa Mahdawi is a radical feminist who writes for the Guardian. She is evidently not a Trump supporter.

Yet, yesterday she wrote this:


All of this could not come at a worse time for Biden. His campaign, I don’t need to tell you, is in complete disarray. Day after day there has been headline after headline about the president being too frail and feeble for office. Biden already looked like a weak old man compared to Trump (who is only three years younger than him). Now that contrast has been extraordinarily heightened. Trump is the guy who jumps straight up after being fired at by an assassin; Biden is the guy who stumbles up the stairs. If you’re an undecided voter swayed by which candidate looks more presidential, your mind just got made up.


Second, for reasons that defy reason the Secret Service Director, one Kimberly Cheatle still has her job. Taking responsibility is not endemic to the Democratic Party.


As we suggested on Saturday, she is doubtless a Jill Biden hire:


Embattled Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle, who is facing congressional outcry and calls to resign over security lapses leading to former President Donald Trump’s near-assassination Saturday, landed her role thanks largely to a close relationship with first lady Jill Biden, The Post has learned.

Cheatle, 53, is the first woman to lead the presidential protection agency and secured the non-Senate-confirmed role in August 2022 after a three-year stint as senior director of global security at PepsiCo. Before that, she had served 27 years in the Secret Service, beginning in the Clinton administration.


Four sources close to President Biden’s family, including people who interacted with Cheatle during the Obama-Biden administration, said she was well liked by the future first lady and her most senior aides, including top adviser Anthony Bernal.


“Cheatle served on Dr. Biden’s second lady detail and Anthony pushed for her,” a Democratic insider told The Post. “Anthony has no national security or law enforcement experience. He should have no influence over the selection of the USSS director.”

“I heard at the time she was being considered for director that Anthony had pushed her forward as an option,” another well-placed source told The Post.


Prof. Alan Dershowitz has pointed out the obvious: Cheatle must be fired. The reason is that she does not have enough moral sense to resign in disgrace.


Third, as for Cheatle’s notion that the Secret Service needed more women, especially women who were not tall enough to cover a tall male candidate, Elon Musk commented:


Having a small person as body cover for a large man is like an undersized Speedo at the beach – doesn’t cover the subject.


Fourth, doubtless you are wondering which candidate China prefers in the upcoming election, and why.


To answer the burning question David Goldman wrote this on Twitter:


At NatCon4, moderator Curt Mills asked China panelists whom China preferred as president. Trump without a doubt, I said, to the push back of other panelists. Trump wants deals, not war. He'll drive a hard bargain but always leave something on the table for the other side. He doesn't care about regime change in China or anywhere else. Biden is an ideological fanatic who picked a fight with Russia that he's losing.


It’s always interesting to consider contrary opinion.


Fifth, you will have heard the earnest declamations, to the effect that migrants are no more prone to criminal behavior than you and I.


Apparently, it’s a lie. 


No surprise there. Philippe Lemoine reports on the crime numbers in France:


We're at the point in France where, in most large cities, immigrants are responsible for between 1/3 and 1/2 of reported crime or even more than that, but there are people seriously explaining that Science has demonstrated immigration has no causal effect on crime because a paper using a shift-share instrument in Italy on data that are 20 years old found no statistically significant effect .We are truly reaching level of midwittery previously thought unimaginable.


Sixth, apparently, the French electorate saved that nation from government by the far right-- that is, the pro-Israeli right. And we cannot have that.


The French people voted for Islamists and for far left radicals. At a time when Muslim migrants are an increasing problem, the French public chose to placate them.


Now, the new leadership group is hard at work trying to tax the country to death. Given that it has been tried and has failed, the left now wants to re-impose a wealth tax. Increased taxes on income are also being considered.


The result ought to be the same as the result that happened the last time the French tried this. An exodus of the wealthy, with their wealth.


The Wall Street Journal has the story:


Sunday’s election produced a majority for no one. The largest bloc is a loose left-wing alliance calling itself the New Popular Front (NFP in the French acronym), and the largest vote winner within that alliance is the France Unbowed party of Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Think Bernie Sanders with less economic sense, antisemitism and Gallic hair…. 


One bargaining chip in play is revival of France’s failed wealth tax. NFP included this tax in its pre-election platform, described as a “strengthened wealth solidarity tax.” The goal: “abolish the privileges of billionaires” with this and other tax raids.

Never mind that France has already tried a wealth tax, most recently beginning in 1989. The threshold and rates varied by year, but at its worst it taxed wealth above €10 million at 1.5%. The gimmick was what one might call, in French, un failure.


The promised revenue never materialized. At most the tax raised 0.2% of GDP in any one year, says Cristina Enache of the Tax Foundation. Capital, talent and entrepreneurs left instead of paying it.


Between 2000 and 2014, France lost some 42,000 people with net assets of $1 million or more, according to New World Wealth, a South African global wealth-intelligence firm. The French economist Éric Pichet reported that between the wealth tax’s passage in 1988 and 2007 capital flight amounted to some €200 billion. 


The wealth tax stifles entrepreneurial initiative.


Entrepreneurs were stung especially by the law’s treatment of paper gains and losses, which could leave them paying a wealth tax on holdings in their own companies after those stakes lost market value. It was safer to leave and start companies elsewhere.


There was a time not so long ago when Paris admitted this. Mr. Macron abolished the wealth tax in 2018, only partially replacing it with a complex real-estate tax. Between 2018 and 2021, an average of 370 people who would have been subject to the old wealth tax returned to France each year and 260 left. Between 2011 and 2016, some 950 of these wealthy individuals had left each year and only 370 moved in, according to France Stratégie, a government-funded policy advisory.


Seventh, the executives at MSNBC took Joe and Mika off the air on Monday. That would be Joe Scarborough and Mika Brezinski.


Apparently, these suits did not trust the dynamic duo to avoid making a stupid remark about the attempt on Donald Trump’s life.


Now, Joe and Mika have taken serious offense at this vote of no confidence. And they are threatening to retire.


It brings to mind an old line from Clint Eastwook: Go ahead. Make my day!


Eighth, over at Microsoft, DEI has DIEd. The company is getting rid of its diversity, equity and inclusion team.


The Daily Mail reports:


Microsoft sparked internal revolt after it fired its diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) team, leading the program's leader to slam the company's 'changing business needs.' 


The tech giant's move was exposed in an email obtained by Business Insider, which appears to show the DEI internal team leader criticizing the fact diversity was 'no longer business critical.'


Microsoft joins a number of tech companies in walking back DEI commitments that were made in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, including Google, Meta and Zoom.  


Please subscribe to my Substack, for free or preferably for a fee.

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Giving Advice to Your Boss

For good or for ill, Adam Grant’s reflections on management are worth considering.

Grant wrote a column regarding how people can tell Joe Biden that for the good of the country and the good of the party he should drop out of the presidential race.


Grant discerns that Biden is so small minded that he does not listen to other people. He does not seek their counsel and follows his gut. Perhaps he also follows the bad advice offered by his wife, but Grant does not consider the point.


A manager who does not listen to staff and who does not allow others to express contrary opinions or to offer up information that would undermine policy is not going to be a very good manager.


Without stretching things too far we can see from the Grant summary that Joe Biden is incompetent as a manager.


They entered with courage and exited as cowards. In the past two weeks, several leaders have told me they arrived at meetings with President Biden planning to have serious discussions about whether he should withdraw from the 2024 election. They all chickened out.


One notes the rumor that has been flying through the media, namely that the decider in this case has been Jill Biden. Being eminently whipped, Joe Biden will not contradict his wife.


A manager who wants to hear alternative points of view must be clear about it. People read cues in their interlocutors. If they see or sense that a contrary opinion is unwelcome they will stifle themselves.


Grant postulates that Biden has made it clear to everyone around him that he does not want to hear a contrary opinion. Biden did suggest that he would heed the word of God, but the statement was grandiose and empty.


Mr. Biden has done the opposite, declaring first that only the Lord almighty could change his mind and then saying that he’ll drop out only if polls say there’s no way for him to win. That sends a strong message: If you’re not an immortal being or a time traveler from the future, it’s pointless to share any concerns about the viability of his candidacy.


Evidently, Biden lacks humility. He also lacks character, among other moral qualities. Grant suggests that a competent manager will invite dissent. Or better, will invite differences of opinion. He can do so by asking staff what they think. When others see the way that he reacts they will conclude that different opinions are or are not welcome:


But a little humility could go a long way: “I believe I’m the best qualified to govern, but I don’t know for sure. I think I can win, but I might be wrong.” Along with inviting dissent, these acts of receptiveness might make Mr. Biden more persuasive. People put more faith in a balanced argument and a leader who wants to learn.


Grant suggests that it is not enough to ask for opinions. A manager or even a leader must show that he respects them.


Now, Grant, in a less than coherent sentence, suggests that people close to the president have figured out that he does not want to hear any advice about dropping out.


Over the past week, I’ve raised these ideas with several leaders close to the president who reached out for advice. They’ve each made it clear that they’re afraid to put their relationship on the line and they don’t think Mr. Biden will listen to them. I’ve reminded them that they’re lucky to have a president who doesn’t punish dissenters with an indefinite prison sentence or a trial for treason. 


Grant’s glib repartee is not very helpful. So he adds that if staff wants to get through to the president, they should tell him that withdrawing is an opportunity not a loss.


No one will get anywhere by insisting that the president is too old or demanding that he quit. A more compelling message would position the possibility of withdrawing as an opportunity, not a failure. And it would be delivered with humility. It might go like this:


You could be hailed as a hero like George Washington for choosing not to seek another term. Regardless of the result, you could make history through your selfless stewardship of the next generation. Personally, I don’t know if that’s the right decision. I just want to make sure it gets due consideration. Would you be open to hosting a meeting to hear the dissenting views?”


Washington went out when he was on top. He did not leave because he believed he could not win an election. He did not go out because he was suffering from dementia.


Appealing to Biden’s selflessness might be considered a cheap trick. It would be like telling him that he is not really a loser, but a hero. It feels like a cheap trick, so cheap that it has certainly already been tried.


Finally, Grant offers a paean for honesty. He prefers honesty to loyalty. Of course, if honesty means shooting your mouth off, disrupting proceedings and believing so fervently in your ideas that you compromise loyalty, the appeal to honesty is going to be cold comfort. 


In dysfunctional groups, people favor loyalty over honesty. In healthy groups, honesty is an act of loyalty. There’s a reason Americans pledge allegiance not to people or power, but to principles. When we express unconditional support for a leader, we compromise our integrity.


No one expects blind support for a leader. But, the staff member whose ideas have been rejected will still, because of his loyalty, do his best to implement the policy that has been chosen. It is not so much about encouraging dissent but in making clear that dissent is not disloyalty. As happens with relationships, it is also true that one ought not rationalize obnoxious and useless chatter by claiming it to be honest.


Please subscribe to my Substack, for free or preferably for a fee.

Monday, July 15, 2024

Raising Funds

Time flies, or, as the old saying goes, tempus fugit. 

Anniversaries are normally celebrated, and I am happy to invite everyone, especially those who have not done so before, to offer some financial support to the blog. It’s not just a good cause; it’s a great cause.


It seems like only yesterday, but for slightly more than sixteen years I have been writing my blog, Had Enough Therapy? 


Obviously, it takes time and effort to do the job, and I could not have done it without the financial support of you, my readers.


I try to make my writing sound effortless, and, as the old saying goes, it takes a lot of work to make anything seem effortless.


The internet is awash in blogs. I am grateful to those who have chosen to spend a small part of their days reading mine. I have tried to be worthy of their confidence, by presenting reflections and analysis that are unlikely to be found elsewhere. 


If you would like to express your gratitude by donating please make use of the Paypal button on this page. If you prefer, you can mail a check to 310 East 46th St. 24H. New York, NY 10017.


If you have already donated, please pass along word to your friends, family, associates and colleagues.


Thank  you in advance.


There's More to Life than Rhetoric

For all intents and purposes the presidential election campaign ended last Saturday. American got to see the true face of the anti-Trump faction and, by all indications, will turn away from it.

And yet, there is more to life than rhetoric. One can say that the eliminationist rhetoric, directed at Donald Trump, incited the maniac in Pennsylvania, but still there is plenty of responsibility to go around.


Evidently, the United States Secret Service, led by a woman who comes to the job from work at Pepsi-- no kidding-- failed.


Apparently, Kimberly Cheatle was a fan favorite of the Biden family, because she worked with them previously. But it does not take too much imagination to understand that she was chosen for her gender, the better to make the Secret Service more diverse.


If she had any decency she would resign. After all, observers saw the shooter before he took his shots. They alerted the proper authorities. Said authorities did nothing. 


The Wall Street Journal lead headline this morning reads:


Trump Shooting Is Stunning Failure for Secret Service.


Libs of TikTok offered this:


Secret Service Director a few months ago: We’re focusing on hiring more women to be more diverse.


Yesterday:


- Female agent couldn’t holster gun.


- Female agent frantically shouted “what are we doing? Where are we going?” after the shots.


One adds that this same Secret Service refused to provide protection for Robert Kennedy, Jr. Given the history of his father and uncle you would imagine that the minimum the agency could do would be to provide protection. Apparently not.


Again, the Pepsi saleswoman was not up to her job.


And Megan Kelly had this to say on Twitter:


Women are not empowered by attaining jobs for which they are not qualified or well-suited, and neither a president nor any of us should be endangered to make someone feel better about their obvious limitations.


And then we recall, with some chagrin, the list of Congressmen who offered legislation stripping Donald Trump of Secret Service protections. Led by Rep. Bennie Thompson.


Of course, one of Thompson’s aides said this:


Following the attack, Thompson's Case Manager and Field Director Jacqueline Marsaw's Facebook page had the following post:


"I don't condone violence but please get you some shooting lessons so you don't miss next time oops that wasn't me saying that," the post read.


The post has been deleted. And Marsaw has been fired.


Still, Rep. Thompson led a group of representatives who wanted to strip Donald Trump of his secret service protection.


Their names were:


Troy Carter, Barbara Lee, Frederica Wilson, Yvette Clark, Bonnie Coleman, Jasmine Crockett, Joyce Beatty, Steve Cohen


And, of course, the New Republic just published a cover featuring Trump as Hitler.


Victor Davis Hanson explains the rhetorical flourish on Twitter:


But in a wider sense, if the common referent day after day on the Left is that Trump is another Hitler (cf. a recent The New Republic cover where Trump is literally photoshopped as Hitler), then it seems reckless not to imagine an unhinged or young shootist believing that by taking out somewhat identical to one of the greatest mass murderers in history, he would be applauded for his violence?

 

So is their logic, shoot Trump and save six million from the gas chambers?

 

After all, The New Republic defiantly explained their Hitler-Trump cover photo this way, "Today, we at The New Republic think we can spend this election year in one of two ways. We can spend it debating whether Trump meets the nine or 17 points that define fascism. Or we can spend it saying, “He’s damn close enough, and we’d better fight.” 


Hanson continues, calling out the rhetorical extremists, generally half-wits who are trying to gain attention:


If ad nauseam, a Joy Reid is screaming about Trump as a Hitlerian dictator ("Then let me know who I got to vote for to keep Hitler out of the White House”) or Rachel Maddow is bloviating about studying Hitler to understand Trump, then finally the message sinks in that a mass murderer is about to take power—unless....


This is not recent and it is not all. Hanson recalls some of the rhetoric surrounding Trump:


So since at least 2016 there has been a parlor game among Leftist celebrities and entertainers joking (one hopes), dreaming, imagining, and just talking about the various and graphic ways they would like to assassinate or seriously injure Trump: 

 

By slugging his face (Robert De Niro), by decapitation (Kathy Griffin, Marilyn Manson), by stabbing (Shakespeare in the Park), by clubbing (Mickey Rourke), by shooting ( Snoop Dogg), by poisoning (Anthony Bourdain), by bounty killing (George Lopez), by carrion eating his corpse (Pearl Jam), by suffocating (Larry Whilmore), by blowing him up (Madonna, Moby), by throwing him over a cliff (Rosie O’Donnell), just by generic “killing” him (Johnny Depp, Big Sean), or by martyring him (Reid Hoffman: “Yeah, I wish I had made him an actual martyr.”).


You might or might not have noticed, but most of these people are profoundly stupid. They say outrageous things because they are incapable of saying anything intelligent, anything that contributes to the national conversation. Most of them are celebrities, seeking attention and clicks.


Sadly, those of limited intelligence take them seriously. Perhaps we ought to consider them to be entertaining. Unfortunately, when their idiocies translate into action, it is not funny. 


In the end, we are living in an idiotocracy. And we are paying a price for it.


And, let’s not forget the immortal words of President Joe Biden, on July 8, 2024:


"We’re done talking about the debate, it’s time to put Trump in a bullseye."


There’s more to life than rhetoric, but still ….


Please subscribe to my Substack, for free or preferably for a fee.


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.


Please subscribe to my Substack, for free or preferably for a fee.