Wednesday, March 21, 2018

How #MeToo Hurts Women

Once upon a time Wall Street was decidedly inhospitable to women. At a time when trading floors were oozing testosterone men seemed to believe that women would ruin the mood. They thought that they needed to max our their the manly aggressiveness in order to succeed in trading. Surely, they did not want to get in closer touch with their feminine side. Or so they thought. Michael Lewis wrote a book called Liar’s Poker where the power players were called “big swinging dicks.”

Evidently, men who suffer a testosterone rush are unlikely to behave in the most gentlemanly fashion toward women.

More than a few horror stories have emerged from those testosterone filled swamps. And yet, the large financial firms have made progress, if not in hiring women, if not in promoting women, at least in not harassing women. At a time when much of the actual trading is being done by computer programs, the threat of being overexposed to female pheromones seems to have been mitigated.

And yet, Bethany Mclean points out that the #MeToo movement is closing doors for women. It is depriving them of opportunities and causing them to lose mentors and sponsors. What would be more ironic than that this mass cri de coeur would work against women? Somehow or other, Mclean points out, women are often labeled complainers, not simply about untoward gestures or harassing behavior, but for other reasons too. People who complain are quickly diminished, for not being team players. 

What is happening to the reputations of businesswomen when we are regaled, on a weekly basis, by the constant whining and complaining of the sorest of sore losers, the champion of women’s empowerment: Hillary Clinton?

Just a thought.

We had heard rumors about how #MeToo is hurting women. Mclean reports:

“But you can be excluded nonetheless, because some men have a fundamental lack of ability to work with women. That’s the killer part. That’s the experience most women I know have had.”

That exclusion is especially devastating to women’s careers. “Power in an organization is all about information and access,” says Melanie Katzman, a New York psychologist who runs a consulting firm that advises corporations, including big financial firms. “If you can’t speak comfortably with a woman with the door closed, that woman is being cut off from information and access.”

And also,

The politically incorrect, but nonetheless widespread, fear is that #MeToo is going to make more subtle forms of discrimination even worse. Even before #MeToo, Sherry wrote in her Times op-ed, she was told by banks’ H.R. departments that men were often afraid of hiring women because of the risk that even innocent comments could be misinterpreted and cause legal problems. “More than once I was told that it’s just easier to fire a guy or—my favorite line—that ‘there’s just less drama with men,’ ” she wrote.

Again, it’s getting worse. Why take the risk of losing your career and your livelihood:

There’s anecdotal evidence that this problem is getting worse. Katzman says she’s hearing stories from men who are “really nervous about being alone with women.” One client told her he wasn’t taking a female colleague on a business trip, because he feared that if he fell asleep on the plane his behavior might be misinterpreted. “I’m very concerned,” Katzman says, “that under the guise of protection we may be legitimizing the marginalization of women.”

She adds, “Some well-intentioned men undermine women by protecting them and sometimes men use ‘protection’ to intentionally undermine women. Women have worked so hard in areas like trading and finance to say, ‘I’m not brittle!’ This is a return to the old concept of women as fragile.”

The evidence is piling up:

“We have heard anecdotally that there is a chilling effect and that men are pulling back from sponsoring women,” says Stellings. She heard that one company made a rule that men and women could not meet behind closed doors in the office. “That is the current environment,” she says. “Most people think that is ridiculous, but there are some people who feel like the lines are not as clear now.” Stellings says she had a conversation with a senior woman executive, whose male colleague told her, “Well, I’m just not going to take women associates out to lunch now.” The woman replied, “I assume, then, that you won’t take the men out, either.”

One might stop for a moment and examine the retort at the end of the last paragraph. The woman thinks she is clever. She thinks she is being a good social justice warrior. Yet, she comes across as impudent, and as more involved with the pursuit of gender equity than with what is good for the company. Does that make her someone you would want to work with?

Could it be that feminism is more the problem as the solution?

Cultural Collapse in Once-Great Britain

We have been covering the grooming scandals in Once-GreatBritain. Consider it a public service, but also a warning: it can surely happen here.

It’s a horrifying story, a story of human sacrifice, of young girls sacrificed to the gods of multiculturalism. Apparently, #MeToo does not apply in Once-Great Britain, when the rapists are Muslim. To demonstrate their moral backbone, the authorities in Once-Great Britain are quick to deport anyone who has dared ever say a discouraging word against Islam— they punish people for blasphemy.

Mark Steyn sums it all up in a few wonderful paragraphs (via Maggie’s Farm.) I pass them on for your interest:

Because, as in Rotherham, it was white working-class girls being gang-raped by "Asian" men - "Asian" being the coy euphemism for Muslim males of Pakistani origin, notwithstanding that it's immensely insulting to Indian Hindus, Sri Lankans, Chinese, etc. When Douglas indicts the various "arms of the state", we should also add the politicians - Labour and Tory - for whom these stories are not helpful to the multiculti narrative, which is why, in the week of Telford, they chose to ban and deport more explicit threats to public order and social tranquility such as, er, Lauren Southern and Brittany Pettibone. But, as Douglas notes, we should also indict another arm of the state - the dominant national broadcaster. The BBC was so panicked by the mass sex-slavery of Shropshire children by Pakistani men that, as the German media did after the Cologne sex assaults, they chose not to cover it at all. It wasn't on the BBC News homepage, or the BBC England homepage, or even the BBC Shropshire homepage - although in fairness, after 36 hours of negative online comments, someone from BBC Radio Shropshire managed to file a report on the subject that you'd be forgiven for not spotting because it got less prominence than a compilation called "My Telford", the usual bit of feelgood community boosterism.

And then there was the case of Jimmy Savile, famed BBC personality, exposed as a child molester:

When the child-sex crimes of lifelong BBC presenter Jimmy Savile were posthumously exposed, Commander Spindler of the Metropolitan Police piously announced:

Jimmy Savile groomed a nation.

But Savile's old enablers at the Beeb and Spindler's colleagues in the British constabulary are also grooming a nation. They're grooming Britons to accept that the serial mass gang-rape of English girls is just a social phenomenon, part of the natural order - regrettable perhaps, but nothing to be done about it; and thus the mountain of human debris is merely a small price to pay for the benefits of vibrant diversity. Which means the real problem is these ghastly types boorish enough to draw attention to the sacrifice of English maidenhood to the volcano gods of multiculturalism. Whereas the BBC knows that the proper response is a brief story on Radio Shropshire followed by Part 457 of the "My Telford" diversity fairytale.

Ah, yes… “the benefits of vibrant diversity.” Ought we to notice that the nation that gave us gentlemen and ladies, the stiff upper lift, an advanced sense of dignity and decorum has been done in by multiculturalism.

Is the Tech Bubble Bursting?

An Uber self-driving automobile ran down and killed a woman in Tempe, AZ. It apparently got confused by traffic patterns that had not been programmed into its artificial mind.

Also this week, the world discovered that Facebook, even if it does serve as something of a networking tool, is really a data mining operation that attempts to decipher your mind and sell the information to whomever. Or, at times, to give it away to politically sympathetic politicians.

As it happened, Facebook’s stock has been tanking. Yet, great tech geniuses Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg are nowhere to be found. One cannot help but feel a rush of Schadenfreude, especially in the case of Sandberg, a self-proclaimed feminist heroine who has made a second career out of handing out bad advice to women.

Spengler (aka David Goldman) reads the convergence and analyzes:

Now Americans have discovered that cars won’t drive themselves like magic and that the Facebook fishbowl is not a substitute for ordinary human interaction, but rather a vast commercial experiment in profiling their behavior. Only a handful of Facebook users will delete their accounts and cancel their broadband connections, to be sure, but the bloom is off the lily: The Internet giant no longer can sell the concept of community, and it is not clear what it will sell except the sort of connectivity that is provided by any number of competitors.

We can grant Facebook credit for selling the concept of community, but still, it merely masks the absence of same in today’s America.

Spengler adds the important point that Americans, especially the tech elites, got drunk on their own genius and failed to notice that their products required a real infrastructure.

The idea that Americans would be the designers and Asians would be the manufacturing worker-bees had an obvious and fatal flaw. At some point, the advancement of the technology requires real physical infrastructure, and research and development will come to grief without a working partnership with the factory floor. Without the sort of physical infrastructure that China is building into its new cities, computation can’t solve all the problems that arise in intersections like the corner of Mill Avenue and Curry St. in Tempe, Arizona.

The people of China have leapt from traditional life into the modern world, and their entire life experience is a sequence of innovations. They are far more eager than Americans or Europeans to adopt new technologies because they never made a habit of old ones. For example, E-commerce now accounts for 30% of retail sales in China, but less than 10% of retail sales in the United States.

He is making the obvious point, namely that our confidence in our genius and our brilliance has blinded us to the fact that other nations are catching up to us in technological innovation. But also that the world of bits and bytes will eventually come a cropper when everything around it is disintegrating. 

Doesn’t Spengler’s analysis bring to mind the picture of San Francisco, a city that was built by and for the tech oligarchs, but where their magnificent mansions and high priced life styles are surrounded by squalor and misery, by homeless encampments and rising poverty, and where environmentally friendly homes protect the oligarchs from having to deal with streets filled with every manner of filth.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

When the Crown Prince Met the Crown Prince

Today, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia arrives at the White House to meet with President Trump and his foreign policy team. More importantly, it seems, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will be meeting again with the America’s Crown Prince, Jared Kushner. Link here. 

To say that this does not please the foreign policy establishment would be an understatement. And yet, considering how bad America’s relations with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates were after eight years of Obama, one can be forgiven for being distrusting the skill and acumen of those who have been conducting America’s foreign policy.

No band of professionals will ever admit that it has been outdone by a mere amateur. And rest assured, in the world of foreign policy, Kushner is an amateur.

And yet, bands of professionals can all become convinced of the same bad idea and can all get suckered into following the same losing approach. Sometimes, fresh eyes from someone not beholden to the errors of the past, is needed.

Besides, our most recent secretaries of state have certainly not done a very good job. Evidently, Rex Tillerson knew nothing about foreign policy… though he did have relationships with foreign leaders. Hillary Clinton was completely incompetent and John Kerry was weak and feckless. As for Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, they did not do very well managing the aftermath of the Iraq War. We could go on.

We certainly value experience and we value the brain power that a Mike Pompeo will bring to the State Department. Other than that, America’s foreign policy hands have not done a great job.

Still, Kushner is anything but popular. He does not leak to the press. His comings and goings, his parleys and his negotiations have stayed silent. This does not make him popular in the media. Moreover, a certain number of dubious business dealings has prevented him from gaining maximum security clearance… thus, he is not fully apprised of the most sensitive intelligence.

Yet, Kushner has one trump card that other foreign policy hands lacked: his interlocutors know that he speaks for the president. Tillerson was speaking for himself; Kushner speaks for Trump.

The foreign policy establishment has long since thought that the solution to the problems of the Middle East was to negotiate a peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians. The fact that the Palestinians were terrorists committed to destroying Israel did not seem to register. The fact that willingness to negotiate with one group of terrorists empowered other groups of terrorists did not seem to send up any warning flares. Willingness to make concessions to staunch terrorism never worked. And yet, the foreign policy establishment persisted.

Until the Saudi Crown Prince met the American Crown Prince. With new leadership in Saudi Arabia, and new leadership in the United Arab Emirates, the Sunni Arab world joined the war against terrorism… and made a grand public display of its commitment. The event should count as momentous.

But, the Sunni Arab nations also came to accept a point that I have been suggesting for some time: when it comes to the problems in the Middle East, Israel is the solution, not the problem.

Examine what has happened since young Jared Kushner took over relations with Sunni Arab nations. Admittedly, some of them happened behind the scenes. Some have not been announced publicly. And yet, we can read the tea leaves and draw some conclusions… or better, we can draw a picture of the political and diplomatic breakthroughs.

Saudi Arabia is liberalizing, it is opening its country to the outside world and it is promoting more free enterprise. None of it, I contend, would have happened if MBS did not think that Donald Trump had his back.

Saudi Arabia is cracking down on corruption, and on the billionaire princes who have—in my view—been funding terrorism and the propaganda mills called madrassas. It probably happened in consultation with Trump and Kushner.

Note that MBS is wildly popular in his own country. Since America is a close ally, the people of Saudi Arabia are more likely to be well disposed to our nation.

If you listen to the Israeli prime minister, you will hear the joy in his voice as he talks about the improving diplomatic relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Without the Trump administration this would not be happening.

As noted her and elsewhere, last week Kushner convoked a meeting at the White House among leaders of Sunni Arab nations with Israel present. It was the first public sit down among these nations.

The Trump administration did something that no previous administration had done: it recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. I believe that this would not have happened without the acquiescence of the Crown Princes of Saudi Arabia and the Emirates. Clearly, the American foreign policy establishment was opposed to this move. If it happened, the relationship between MBS and Jared Kushner was part of the equation.

Finally, the Crown Princes of Saudi Arabia and the Emirates told Mahmoud Abbas that they had had enough of the Palestinian cause and that he should make peace with Israel, on Israel’s terms.

You will notice that Abbas has lately been sounding more unhinged and angry than usual. He is furious that his precious cause, a cause given legitimacy by the geniuses of our foreign policy establishment, was a lost cause. The sound of Abbas baying is the sound of a man who has just been told that he has been defeated.

This is part of the backchannel dialogue and negotiation between the two Crown Princes. Under normal circumstances I much prefer that foreign policy be conducted by professionals, not amateurs. And yet, judged on the merits, Kushner has certainly amassed an enviable record of success in the Middle East.

Anti-Semitism in Washington D.C.

This man is a member of the District of Columbia City Council. You would expect that respectable government officials would have some command over the English language. You would expect that they would comport themselves with dignity. You would not expect that they would be promoting the anti-Semitic notion that Jews control the weather. If so you would be wrong.

The Washington Post has the story:

A D.C. lawmaker responded to a brief snowfall Friday by publishing a video in which he espoused a conspiracy theory that Jewish financiers control the weather.

D.C. Council member Trayon White Sr. (D-Ward 8) posted the video to his official Facebook page at 7:21 a.m. as snow flurries were hitting the nation’s capital. The video, shot through the windshield of a car driving west on Interstate 695 through downtown Washington, shows snowy skies while White narrates.

“Man, it just started snowing out of nowhere this morning, man. Y’all better pay attention to this climate control, man, this climate manipulation,” he says. “And D.C. keep talking about, ‘We a resilient city.’ And that’s a model based off the Rothschilds controlling the climate to create natural disasters they can pay for to own the cities, man. Be careful.”

So, you take a little climate change mania and add a bit of Louis Farrakhan and you get Trayon White’s anti-Semitic rant. 

When first called out on it, White refused to apologize:

In a series of text messages, he confirmed the voice in the video is his but expressed surprise that his remarks might be construed as anti-Semitic. Asked to clarify what he meant, he wrote, “The video says what it says.”

He did not understand that he was trafficking in anti-Semitism. Huh? Lucky he was not a Republican. He would quickly have been run out of town on a rail.

In time, White did apologize. He took down the video. And yet, shouldn’t he resign his office in disgrace? An apology that is not accompanied by a self-inflicted penalty is not sincere.

The Derangement of John Brennan

The Wall Street Journal calls it yet another sign of “the madness of American politics.” Editorializing about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ firing of former deputy director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, the Journal opines:

Mr. Sessions acted on a recommendation by the FBI’s own Office of Professional Responsibility, but Democrats and the media ignored that and called the firing part of Donald Trump’s plot to undermine the FBI and steal American democracy. Mr. Trump then seemingly tried to confirm the accusations with a Twitter fusillade hailing Mr. McCabe’s firing and escalating without cause to attack special counsel Robert Mueller. Which triggered another round of claims that Mr. Trump’s days in office are numbered, or should be.

One is hard put to dispute the Journal’s assertion that Trump would have done better not to make himself the central issue. His “Twitter fusillade” muddied the waters and obscured the madness of his opponents. To be fair, Trump’s opponents are not really opponents. They are enemies, furies consumed by a will to destroy. 

The world would be a better place if the Obama alumni who are stoking the rage had shown the same will to destroy when faced with ISIS or with Islamist terrorists. Instead, in that war they manifested the silence of the lambs. Not even a bleat.

Playing Mr. Tough Guy was former CIA Director John Brennan. The Journal picks up the story with Brennan’s ill-tempered tweet:

John Brennan, Barack Obama’s CIA director, tweeted in response to Mr. Trump’s tweet that, “When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history.”

Given the way the Obama team thinks of Trump, is it difficult to believe that Andy and Peter and Lisa were conspiring to prevent him from winning the election? Or that they were taking out what they called an “insurance policy” to prevent him from governing?

Brennan is clearly unhinged. He obviously has a problem with impulse control. This man was the Director of the CIA. But, what do we really know about his temperament, his decorum, his loyalties, his ability to maintain his composure in the line of fire? It’s one thing to denounce Trump for manifesting a less than presidential demeanor. And yet, you cannot sustain the argument if you seem to be even more deranged.

Brennan was not alone in flying into a rage over it all. Many media commentators got in touch with their inner outrage and spewed it over the media. Their goal: to obscure the issue and to persuade people that when the Attorney General was following a recommendation made by the FBI, Donald Trump was pulling the strings. 

But who, in the end, was pulling John Brennan’s strings? Shouldn’t we know more about him and his temperament and what he was doing at the CIA? Clearly, the anti-Trumpers from the Obama administration are attacking Trump because they want to protect their Messiah. What are they trying to hide?

Monday, March 19, 2018

Universities Breaking Down

Powerline’s Steven Hayward has been tracking the break up and break down of American universities. By his lights, universities are now dividing between the STEM fields and the rest. More numbers-based fields like economics will find themselves with the STEM fields. (via Maggie’s Farm)

Hayward explained his thought in a lecture at Arizona State University:

I think we’re already seeing the beginnings of a de facto divorce of universities, in which the STEM fields and other “practical” disciplines essentially split off from the humanities and social sciences, not to mention the more politicized departments.

At this rate eventually many of our leading research universities will bifurcate into marginal fever swamps of radicalism whose majors will be unfit for employment at Starbucks, and a larger campus dedicated to science and technology education.

The break up is starting to happen, he continues, at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point. That school has now decided to eliminate a significant number of humanities and social science departments.

He quotes Inside Higher Education:

Programs pegged for closure are American studies, art (excluding graphic design), English (excluding English for teacher certification), French, geography, geoscience, German, history (excluding social science for teacher certification), music literature, philosophy, political science, sociology and Spanish.

Some commentators responded to Hayward by noting that while English and French were being eliminated, the fever swamps of leftist thinking, gender and ethnic studies were not.

Hayward responded:

To which I would say, you’d be astounded at how politicized some foreign language departments are. Many English departments are totally lost to the left; one easy screen is to see whether they have dropped Shakespeare as a requirement for an English degree. When you see that, you can cross them off your list. I’ve already written here about how most Geography departments have become leftist fever swamps that have nothing to do any more with what you’d recognize as “geography,” and I’ll bet “geoscience” is doubtful too. History is often more than half lost to the left, too, though there is more variance in History.

But, Hayward sees a silver lining in it all. Perhaps the English professors who are about to lose their jobs will band together and take out after the identity politics departments and the oppression studies faculties:

It will further isolate the crazy “studies” departments, and may galvanize the faculty members who know, but lack the courage to say, that these “studies” programs are mediocre fever swamps. If more and more tenured faculty in traditional departments face the axe, they just might start to find some courage to say aloud what everyone knows—that the academic emperor of oppression studies isn’t wearing any intellectual clothes.

Calling them “mediocre fever swamps” seems a mite generous to me. They are indoctrination mills designed not only to brainwash students but to make it impossible for them to learn much of anything within the context of the humanities and the social sciences.

I would appear that the students who have suffered this brainwashing are being rendered dysfunctional, unable to function with a normal work environment. Yet, I have been informed by a commenter on this blog that the corporate world has been working to adapt to the dysfunctionality and does not hold young hires responsible for their malformation. If such is the case, we are in worse shape than we think.