No. 19 Bookworm Podcast – Bookworm Beat 9/26/19: Ukraine stuff and more

In this Bookworm Beat, I cover the motives behind the Ukraine whistleblower kerfuffle, things at college that scare parents, and gender neutral dolls.

Bookworm Beat Honduran Invasion Ukraine(If you prefer listening over reading, the companion podcast to this post is embedded below, or you can listen to it at Libsyn or at Apple podcasts. I’m trying to make a go of my podcasting so, if you like the podcasts, please share them with your friends and on social media. Giving my podcast good ratings helps too.)

Thoughts on the Ukraine whistleblower scam.  As a preliminary matter, I’ve read both the Trump transcript, which was innocuous, and the “whistleblower’s” allegations, which are not only hearsay, but are as ephemeral and meaningless as chalk on a sidewalk before the rains come. Neither document even hints at a quid pro quo. The MSM knows this, which is why it uses ellipses to remove more than 540 words between Trump’s request for a favor and any reference he makes to Biden and his son.

I’ve learned, as others have, that Bill Clinton signed off on a treaty in the 1990s allowing cooperation between the U.S. and Ukraine to investigate and prosecute crimes. I’ve seen the growing suspicion that Adam Schiff engineered this whole thing. And I’ve seen that John Solomon reports that he has hundreds of pages of documents showing the remarkable coincidence that the same prosecutor who was investigating Biden’s son was the person Biden demanded be fired – and remember that Biden did so using the weight of U.S. finances as a cudgel and then boasting about it later. I’m also fully cognizant of the fact that Hunter Biden is a morally lost young man who has made himself fabulously wealthy selling his complete lack of expertise to foreign governments such as China and Ukraine, countries that, at the time, hoped for favors from a Veep who claimed to have Obama’s ear.

All that’s the obvious stuff. I bet you know it too. What I find more interesting is the blind hatred and the actual motive driving the Democrats here. A post from Frank Bruni over at msn news exemplifies what I’m talking about. Bruni pretends to be terrified about impeachment, although he assures readers that “President Trump deserves to be impeached.” Bruni then spells out why Trump “deserves” to be impeached:

Arguably, it’s the only move, at least in terms of fidelity to the Constitution and to basic decency. From the moment that Trump stepped into the office of the presidency, he has degraded it — with words that a president has no business speaking (or tweeting); with ceaseless lies; with infantile and often unhinged behavior; with raging conflicts of interest; with managerial ineptitude; with a rapacious ego that’s never sated; and with foreign dealings that compromise America’s values, independence and interests. How can principled lawmakers not tell him, in the most emphatic manner available, that enough is enough?

Reading over the above, with it’s exuberant use of adjectives, I’m reminded that, just today, the Pope warned people away from adjectives. How boring! Also, how Big Brother-ish to limit people’s thoughts by limiting the words available to them.

What does Bruni’s avalanche of words (including adjectives) really mean? Let me run this through the logical translator:

  • When Bruni says “with words that a president has no business speaking (or tweeting)” he means “he hurt our feelings.”
  • When Bruni says “with ceaseless lies” he means “he’s made statements of fact with which we disagree or that we deliberately (and repeatedly) misinterpret.”
  • When Bruni says “with infantile and often unhinged behavior” he means “Trump’s being an ordinary guy who fails to live up to the hip, no-drama Obama cool image we basked in for eight years.”
  • When Bruni says “with raging conflicts of interest” he means “Trump was and is a successful businessman, rather than a Leftist member of the perpetual political class, and his success more than anything exposes the weakness of our policies and the strength of his.
  • When Bruni says “with managerial ineptitude” he means “we hate that Trump gets more done in a week than Obama got done in eight years and, worse, he’s managed to undo most of what Obama did manage to do.
  • When Bruni says “with a rapacious ego that’s never sated” he means “we deeply resent that Trump has figured out a way to circumvent the fact that 90% of the media is Progressive and refuses to acknowledge his accomplishments.”
  • When Bruni says “foreign dealings that compromise America’s values, independence and interests” he means “we can’t stand that Trump has used his Constitutional authority over foreign policy and national security to turn away from Obama’s love affairs with Islamic theocrats, such as Iran’s mullahs, and hardcore communists, such as Raul Castro, Hugo Chavez, or Xi Jinping and, instead, has turned towards liberty-loving countries such as Israel, the Central European countries that threw off communism’s yoke, and the East Asian nations worried about a rapacious China.”

In sum, what Bruni really means is that Progressives hate everything Trump stands for, that they don’t trust the voters, those stupid, stupid voters who elected Trump in the first place, and that they must kick Trump out of office in 2020 or sooner, because he’s just a totally icky, white supremacist troglodyte.

Bruni ostensibly worries that impeachment, rather than driving Trump out of office, will solidify his hold on the White House. Moreover, he legitimately worries that the Democrat base will be enraged when, despite the House’s efforts, the whole initiative comes to a dead-end in the Senate.

Still, angry Progressives notwithstanding, when Bruni says he’s terrified he’s being disingenuous. Of course he knows impeachment will fail. Even the squad – that weird sister foursome of Omar, Tlaib, Occasional-Cortex, and what’s her name again –understands this. To the extent Bruni is tapping the brakes here, he does so only to spare the fanatics too much disappointment when impeachment goes down in flames. But Bruni himself still really wants impeachment. Why?

Daniel Greenfield, aka Sultan Knish, nails what’s really going on here:

Impeachment plugs into the same narrative [as Russian collusion] which is not just about winning, but delegitimizing.

Democrats want to win elections. Radicals want to delegitimize the entire idea of elections. Pelosi wants to win an election. The radicals don’t want to win elections. They want to destroy them. Their real goal is to use blind hatred of Republicans to convince Democrats that elections are inherently illegitimate. All their arguments, whether about Russian Facebook bots or the Electoral College circle back to that.

The choosing of governments, it follows, is too important an issue to be left to mere voters whose voting machines and brains are all too easily hacked by disinformation campaigns and FOX News.

And the removal of President Trump from office is also too important to be left to those same voters.

This true motive, to delegitimize both Trump and the entire Constitutional, electoral system is something that I can assure you Bruni supports wholeheartedly.

Put another way, what we’re seeing here is the twin to the motive that Christine Blowsy-Fraud and other Leftists had when making their manifestly false and salacious claims against Justice Brett Kavanaugh – delegitimization. We suspected that, of course, but Blowsy-Fraud’s attorney totally gave the game away:

It will be fascinating to watch this story unfold, although it will be fascinating in the same way one watches a horror movie, frozen with fear as the killer sneaks up on his victim. The best outcome would be for this whole charade to destroy the Democrats.

When I read my Facebook feed, though, which is mostly made up of Democrats who became part of my life during the decades I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, I see that they are true believers and will never give up. Instead, they’ll become only more outraged and enraged. This is a scary thought because most of them are college-educated and in positions of power over the culture and over up-and-coming generations. Their children also show every sign of following in their footsteps.

Maybe Democrats are wising up to problems with college. Those who know me know that I have a real bee in my bonnet about American college education. My hostility to higher ed isn’t new. Indeed, it goes back to my days at UC Berkeley, at the end of the 70s and the beginning of the 80s.

I excelled at Cal as a liberal arts major, which is not a boast. It’s a complaint. I’m not that smart and I didn’t work at all. I ought not to have excelled. The fact that I did so means that standards for liberal arts majors, even back then, were abysmal. Being marginally literate was enough to push you to the head of the class.

I also had a real problem with the Marxist gloss so many of the classes had. I didn’t realize it was Marxist because I was politically uninformed. I did realize, though, that teachers were contorting themselves in ridiculous ways to put a class veneer on medieval, Tudor, Stuart, and Hanover England. Their lessons made no sense, and one thing I do have is a fairly good BS meter.

That was all a long time ago, and things have only gotten worse. In my last Bookworm Beat post, I launched one of my obsessive attacks on today’s colleges and universities as the incubators for every bad idea in America. I’ll spare you and won’t repeat it here. I’ll say only that, if Americans want to return our country to its Constitutional roots, the best way for them to do so is to demand that their congressional representatives enact a bill to withdraw all federal funds (aka taxpayer money) from colleges and universities (although I might be amenable to a tiny, tiny carveout for research directly related to national security issues).

Given that I just went on this rant a few days ago, why am I doing it again? I’m doing it again because a couple of my true believer Progressive Facebook friends have been sharing a June 2019 article entitled “A Very Dangerous Place for a Child is College.” It’s fascinating and worth reading in its entirety.

The author, Louis M. Profeta, is an emergency room physician who decided to take on the road the information he’d learned from seeing college kids head into the ER.  His point, and it’s a good one, is that too many American kids are immature and naïve to the point of death or permanent disability.

Dr. Profeta’s crusade started a couple of years ago when he wrote his first essay on the subject, “A Sunday Talk on Sex, Drugs, Drinking, and Dying with the Frat Boys.” That’s the title. In fact, it’s not just about frat boys. Profeta is talking about young people generally who are drowning in data and who pull all the wrong lessons from what comes their way.

Thanks to that article, Dr. Profeta got a second gig as a college speaker. In his current article, he describes, not just the information he gives the students, but also the questions they ask him. These questions make sense only if you consider that this is the “hey, let’s eat Tide Pods” generation:

I hadn’t held anything back from the students. I warned them beforehand. I was coming from a different place, a place where doctors do rape exams, pump veins full of narcan and epinephrine, look at the clock and pronounce time of death and break horrible news to moms and dads. I had become kind of sick of it (giving out the bad news, I mean). It didn’t seem like much was working to change the tide of opiate abuse, reckless behavior, and other causes of death in young people so I figured I’d start going to the source and begging these students to, well, grow the fuck up.

Most loved the candor, the openness, the willingness of a seasoned ER doctor to answer uncomfortable questions about drugs and alcohol, sexual assault, and hazing, and a whole host of semi-taboo topics. But it was the questions when the “adults” were out of the room that made me say to myself, “Holy shit … so many of these ‘kids’ have absolutely no business being in college.”

“What about whippets, what if I just snorted one xanax, can you really soak a tampon in alcohol and get drunk, is cough syrup OK to mix with vodka, is ecstasy and molly the same thing, can’t you just strap a backpack to them to keep them from rolling over so they don’t choke on their own vomit, what about phenergan, what’s in skittles (not the candy), how many milligrams of THC can you eat and not die, are they starting to add stuff to coke (not the cola) that makes you more hyped, how much does it cost to go to an ER, will you call my parents if I go, how can you tell if your roommate is suicidal, what if you know your roommate is using heroin … should I tell their parents, how do I tell if the ‘bars’ I bought online are not fentanyl, I got raped last year … should I tell someone now, I think my roommate is going to probably kill herself…who do I tell?”

For a long time, Leftists have been assuring us that colleges are the “rapiest” places in the world. (No, this isn’t a non sequitur. Stick with me.) For example, here’s presidential wanna be, and chief groper and hair sniffer, Joe Biden, when he was still Veep, parroting that claim:

Of course, we’ve long known that parents don’t really believe that 20% of all college women will be raped. If they did, they’d never send their daughters to a place that has a higher rape rate than South Africa, a country that annually sees around 95 rapes per every 100,000 people.

Because the sex ratio in South Africa is roughly equal, that means that, out of every 50,000 women in South Africa, 95 of them can expect to be raped (and that includes women from ages 1 day old to 100 years old). If my math is correct, means that roughly .2% of the South African female population risks rape. In other words, I think we can all reasonably believe that Biden and the feminists have been exaggerating by at least a factor of 100 the risk of rape on American college campuses.

What isn’t exaggerated is what Dr. Profeta talks about. Progressive parents know in their heart of hearts that this the risks he describes are the real deal: It’s a youth culture saturated in drugs, depression, and dangerous behavior. Knowing this is what may make these Progressives finally turn their back on these colleges and have their children enter the real world, instead of pushing them into a dystopian Marxist fantasy-land, one that almost proudly assures parents that, by graduation 30% of all the kids could be diagnosed with a mental health disorder.

Certainly that’s what Dr. Profeta thinks should happen. He urges parents to save college for when their kids have grown up a bit:

We need to encourage our kids to slow it down, to take a longer path to college, perhaps. Expose our kids to real education—the kind of education that comes with a W-2, a boss, getting up early and working late and interacting with people who can’t afford a higher education. Make them appreciate the life experiences that come with nailing a 2 x 4, washing dishes, wheeling people to X-ray, picking up garbage, answering telephones. Make them earn their spending money BEFORE college and decide on their own if they’d rather use it on alcohol, weed, a four-block Uber ride, or laundry and food.

Teach them these things and send them off to school as adults.

Profeta’s advice is sound no matter how one looks at it. Not only will kids do fewer stupid things, it also means that young people who have indeed seen how the real world works will be less vulnerable to the social justice warrior, victimhood, Marxist politics preached at America’s institutions of so-called “higher education.”

As an aside, or maybe a follow-up, the crazy isn’t just in college. Our K-12 schools are staffed by graduates of these Marxist fantasy lands. That’s why we get stories about 5-year-old autistic boys being accused of sexual harassment for kissing a classmate on the cheek. And that’s why we get stories about a 6-year-old girl being arrested and led off in handcuffs and fingerprinted when she threw a tantrum at school and kicked a classmate. It’s hard for me to imagine the extenuating circumstances that could justify labeling a 5-year-old as a sexual harasser, especially one with autism, or cuffing a 6-year-old girl having a tantrum. The children were reacting, as children do; the adults were overreacting, as progressives do.

Not all college grads go into education, though. Most go into corporate America, which is how we get my next story, about a doll….

What happens when college grads get hold of dolls. Toymaker Mattel has admittedly taken a lot of grief over the years for Barbie, the impossibly voluptuous doll launched in the 1950s. I could never understand the outrage. I adored playing with my Barbies and, to the best of my knowledge, did not fight going to college or law school because of Barbie, nor did I develop a complex because I didn’t get a triple D bust, a 16 inch waist, 32 inch hips, and legs proportionately longer than Wilt Chamberlain’s with feet stuck in permanent high heel mode. To the extent I’m not normal, I blame my parents [joke] and a childhood in San Francisco [sort of a joke], not Barbie.

But as I said, Mattel got the flack. Fortunately, now that it’s fully staffed with woke college graduates, Mattel has a new plan: “Gender neutral dolls.

From that video, I want to focus specifically on the words you heard from Jess Weiner, a 1995 University of Pennsylvania graduate. Let me repeat them for you:

This will be really challenging for a population of people. We will challenge people’s points of view about how they think boys and girls should play. You know, it’s so funny parents often tell me that they want to raise their boys to be really wonderful fathers. How do we expect to raise wonderful, nurturing fathers if we don’t encourage nurturing play when they’re boys?

I raised a boy (and sometimes it seems as if I raised a dozen boys, because so many were always in my house). Asking them to play with dolls was anathema. They wanted to run, roll, tumble, tussle, yell, shoot play guns, do sports, and just about anything but play with dolls.

I raised my son, and my friends raised their sons, to be wonderful, nurturing people by helping them understand that, to be good men, they had to care for those weaker than they are, and that to be good people they had to be kind and, within the family unit, loving. Buying a Mattel doll wouldn’t have reinforced these ethical lessons about being a good man; they would have confused and disgusted the boys.

If you watch the whole video, you’ll see a few other people earnestly assuring parents that the way to raise the best boys and girls (but especially the best boys) is to get them playing with dolls who look like confused refugees from a San Francisco hipster Starbucks. As I  noted above, Weiner is a UPenn grad. Other voices are Lisa McKnight, a Denison University grad; Kim Culmone, a 1992 Louisiana State University grad; Linda Jiang, a 2013 Otis College of Art and Design grad; and Monica Dreger, a Boston University grad from (I’m guessing) the early to mid-1990s.

To give you a little idea about the colleges from which these women graduated, UPenn hosted a toxic masculinity seminar during this past year’s Super Bowl; Boston University just got hit with a $100,000 verdict against it in a lawsuit that John Doe brought because they mishandled sexual assault allegations against him; Denison was home to a professor who felt that the chant “all lives matter” was irritating and showed covert racism; Louisiana State University made news when the administration tampered with photos to remove crosses that students were wearing; Boston University is placing audience size restrictions on Ben Shapiro’s upcoming talk; and at Otis College, to the extent faculty members made political donations, 100% of those faculty members gave money to Maxine Waters.

Did I mention that we need to take federal money out of academia?

The only place in which I find gender confusion even marginally amusing is in the Kinks’ great song, Lola – which I’d like to believe never changed anyone’s sexuality:

Girls will be boys and boys will be girls
It’s a mixed up, muddled up, sup world, except for Lola
La-la-la-la Lola
Well, I left home just a week before
And I’d never ever kissed a woman before
But Lola smiled and took me by the hand
And said “Dear boy, I’m gonna make you a man”
Well, I’m not the world’s most masculine man
But I know what I am and I’m glad I’m a man
And so is Lola