Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Save the Date: My Upcoming Seminar with Scott Von

I posted this information on Monday, but I am told that the poster is inaccessible. For those who could not see it, here is the information about my upcoming conversation with Scott Von about psychoanalysis, about my experience and some larger issues. Taken from the Analytica site:

The Late Lacan and Beyond (Schneiderman): What Is it Like to Work in Analysis with Lacan?

  • Friday, November 4, 2016
  • 7:00pm  9:00pm
  • NPAP40 West 13th Street New York, NY, 10011 
Join us for an intimate discussion with Stuart Schneiderman, the first American Lacanian analyst as he discusses his personal experience with Lacan and his school, and his subsequent years practicing in New York. Last year Stuart Schneiderman and Scott Von held a symposium in NY on “The Last Psychoanalyst” where they discussed the ends of analysis, Lacan’s late work, and his intentions for the future of analysis. This year Dr Schneiderman will be participating in the Analytica Seminar on “The Late Lacan,” where we trace the significance of Lacan’s late work and its dissemination especially in America. Stuart Schneiderman was the first American to work directly with Lacan and his school and has practiced in NY for the past forty years. After working with Jacques-Alain Miller’s group at the University of Paris and the early NY group that became Apres-Coup, Schneiderman became an independent analyst, increasingly disillusioned with the functioning of the psychoanalytic institutes and community. In this event he will speak of his personal experience with Lacan and the future of psychoanalysis.

To RSVP, click on this link: http://www.analytica.org/

The Science of Transgenderism

The report deserves attention. Doubtless, it will receive very little. Or better, it will only receive the most hostile attention, from those who would punish eminent scientists Lawrence Mayer and Paul McHugh for doing a close examination of the science of transgenderism.

Considering that the nation, as a whole, has bought into the notion that your gender is what you believe it is, not what your genitalia say it is and not what your chromosomes assert, this study will—in fact, it already has—elicit unbridled hostility and calls for punishing the bigots who produced it.

If so, science itself is bigoted. Or, if you prefer, God is a bigot.  In the great battle between science and ideology, we are now told that science must yield to ideology.

As it happens, the evidence does not support or sustain the politically correct dogma about the transgendered. Therefore, it must be ignored.

For the purposes of this blog, I will merely examine the summary conclusions of an extensive and well-researched report.

Beginning with this:

The hypothesis that gender identity is an innate, fixed property of human beings that is independent of biological sex — that a person might be “a man trapped in a woman’s body” or “a woman trapped in a man’s body” — is not supported by scientific evidence.

And this also leads to the correlate: you cannot identify transgender individuals by their brain structure:

Studies comparing the brain structures of transgender and non-transgender individuals have demonstrated weak correlations between brain structure and cross-gender identification. These correlations do not provide any evidence for a neurobiological basis for cross-gender identification.

The following point has been made before. Gender reassignment surgery does not solve the mental health issues. In many cases, it aggravates them:

Compared to the general population, adults who have undergone sex-reassignment surgery continue to have a higher risk of experiencing poor mental health outcomes. One study found that, compared to controls, sex-reassigned individuals were about 5 times more likely to attempt suicide and about 19 times more likely to die by suicide.

It has often been noted, here and elsewhere, that giving hormone treatments to a child to stop puberty is a form of child abuse. Given the very high percentage of children who change their minds about their gender, it is exemplary in its cruelty. One cannot express sufficient horror at the fact that our culture is telling us that such hormone treatments are a good thing to do.

The authors conclude:

Children are a special case when addressing transgender issues. Only a minority of children who experience cross-gender identification will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood.

 There is little scientific evidence for the therapeutic value of interventions that delay puberty or modify the secondary sex characteristics of adolescents, although some children may have improved psychological well-being if they are encouraged and supported in their cross-gender identification. There is no evidence that all children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior should be encouraged to become transgender.

The notion that children are actually encouraged to become transgendered boggles the mind. And yet, Mayer and McHugh do not represent mainstream mental health thinking. Their views, however sensible, are most often dismissed as pure bigotry.

Hillary Clinton and the Branch Davidian Holocaust

Do you remember Waco? Do you remember the Branch Davidian compound, led by one David Koresh? Do you remember the siege of the compound and the horrors that ensued?

If you don’t, here’s the story, told by David Hardy at American Thinker:

The 1993 Waco showdown began when federal authorities rushed the communal home of a religious group, killing six of them, and losing four agents in return. The FBI then besieged the place with tanks and other armored vehicles, and ended up with the armored vehicles punching holes in the building, and injecting massive quantities of CS “tear gas.” When that didn’t work, the tanks began to demolish the building, eventually smashing about a quarter of it and damaging the remainder. A fire broke out and 74 people died in the flames, including twenty-one children. It was the deadliest law enforcement operation in American history.

After the tragic debacle, the Clinton administration claimed that Attorney General Janet Reno had been solely responsible for the final assault. There had been no White House input during the siege, and at the end, President Clinton only acquiesced in a decision Reno had made.

The evidence is strong that the Clinton White House was calling the shots, and that Hillary played a prominent role.

As law enforcement operations go, it was the worst. It was a holocaust. Whoever was in charge, whoever gave the orders deserved to be publicly shamed and held accountable.

Unless of course, the responsible party was Hillary Clinton herself.

We know that then-Attorney General Janet Reno fell on her sword—sort of. She accepted responsibility while testifying before a Congressional committee. And yet, she kept her job.

Hardy suggests that the chain of command ran from Hillary herself through her former law partners Vince Foster and Webster Hubbell to Janet Reno. He adds that he believes that Janet Reno kept her job because the Clinton administration needed to keep her quiet.

In normal circumstances, the official who gave the order to attack the compound would have resigned in disgrace. Are we to believe that Reno did not need to resign because she was not responsible for incinerating dozens of people, including many children?

Linda Tripp—of Monica Lewinsky fame- described the reaction in the White House as officials saw what was happening on CNN:

Linda Tripp, White House secretary and Foster associate, described the real Waco chain of command in an on Larry King Live: “[Vincent] Foster, Mrs. Clinton, Webb Hubbell, Janet Reno” – and she described their reaction to the fire and the fiery deaths of 21 children:

L. TRIPP: [A] special bulletin came on [CNN] showing the atrocity at Waco and the children. And his face, his whole body slumped, and his face turned white, and he was absolutely crushed knowing, knowing the part he had played. And he had played the part at Mrs. Clinton's direction.

Her reaction, on the other hand, was heartless. And I can only tell you what I saw.

Foster had a special Waco file. Deborah Gorham, his personal secretary, said that he had a cabinet reserved for his most sensitive files: “There were two. One was Sean Hadden [a White House staffer], and the other was Waco.”

After his death, Foster’s Waco file somehow vanished. Secret Service Agent Henry O’Neil later testified before a Congressional committee that on the night of Foster’s death he encountered Maggie Williams leaving Foster’s office with two handfuls of folders. Williams denied removing any files, and when called upon to explain her presence in Foster’s office that night, claimed she had gone “in the irrational hope that she would find her colleague still alive there.”

Did Foster commit suicide because he knew that someone would have to take real responsibility for Waco?

In the end Hardy does not have a smoking gun connecting Hillary to the Waco catastrophe. And yet, his surmise makes perfectly good sense. One can only assume that Hillary was responsible and that the White House was trying to protect her reputation.

Would it have mattered? Perhaps, not that much. After all, Hillary’s leadership in the Libya incursion, to say nothing of her ability to provide security for Amb. Chris Stevens showed clearly enough her level of manifest incompetence.

As of now, people continue to promote the absurd notion that she is eminently qualified for the presidency.

Racial Violence in Philadelphia

We all know that the president is the national role model. He sets the mood and the tone of the nation. He defines the national attitude and the national character. Even when people do not look up to him they take him—perhaps unconsciously—as a role model.

Many of those who oppose Donald Trump have declared that American can do without his bullying, thuggish demeanor. They thrill to the courtly and genteel man we now have in the White House. It makes sense. Hasn't President Obama has ushered in an era of racial comity? Hasn't his presidency produced a color blind society where the races live in peace and harmony?

Unfortunately, for the white Temple University students who were set upon and beaten up by a band of black teenagers the other night, such is not the case. Presumably, only black lives matter. White students needed to be punished for their white privilege. Sometimes seemingly judicious rhetoric can, in the wrong hands, provoke violent assaults.

The father of one of the victims posted this:

Joe Lauletta's Facebook post (pictured) has been shared more than 4,000 times. It details how he was watching his son play football when his daughter phoned him, revealing she had been jumped while walking back to her apartment 

The Daily Mail reports:

Four teenagers have been arrested after mobs of juveniles staged a series of vicious attacks on students around the Temple University campus.

Police said students were surrounded, punched, kicked, robbed and in some cases knocked to the ground in a spate of attacks by groups of teens on Friday night.

Packs of between 20 and 100 young people roved the area near the university campus in northern Philadelphia for nearly two hours from 8pm and picked on people at random.

Six students were injured and a university police officer was hurt when he was knocked over. A 15-year-old boy also punched a police horse in the face.

In a separate incident, a young woman was left covered in bruises after she was held down and stomped on repeatedly before employees from a nearby pizza restaurant intervened, her father said.

Another student, a junior, posted pictures of her black eye after she was beaten. 

She says the attackers punched her in the face as she walked back to her apartment with her boyfriend. 

It’s not obvious that the current administration is provoking or inciting violence toward whites. And yet, it has skillfully avoided addressing the issue of black crime and especially black-on-black violence. When blacks commit crimes the criminals are most often exonerated-- because it is all blamed on guns and the NRA. The administration has directed the nation’s attention toward violence committed by white police officers. It has blamed the conditions of black communities on white racism.

At the least, you can feel confident that you will not be reading about this story in the mainstream media.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Against Hillary

Yesterday, Ross Douthat made the case against Hillary Clinton. As it happens, the case he made was not really very strong. He argued that Hillary is an establishment type and that with her we will have more of the same. Even if you believe that the same is not very good and that we are sorely in need of a course change, you must recognize that more of the same is at least familiar. Most people, given the choice, will choose the familiar over the strange.

One might say that the Hillary candidacy harkens back to the days of the first Clinton administration, but most people did not have it so bad during those times. It might be wrong to give Bill Clinton all the credit, but he—unlike the current POTUS-- worked effectively with Republicans in Congress and even signed a number of the laws that arose from the Contract with America.

True,  Clinton was impeached for lying under oath and that much of America was disgusted by the way he treated women, but Republicans, dare I say, have recently lost all credibility on the question.

As it happens, Douthat believes that the American foreign policy establishment, in particular, made grievous errors over the past decades. In that he echoes an article penned by Angelo Codevilla in the Claremont Review of Books.

To read Codevilla you would think that everyone who has been in charge of American foreign policy has thought the same thoughts and implemented the same policies. And that they have all been wrong. One hesitates to embrace unthinkingly such a broad brush indictment.

To return to Douthat, here is his case against Hillary:

The dangers of a Hillary Clinton presidency are more familiar than Trump’s authoritarian unknowns, because we live with them in our politics already. They’re the dangers of elite groupthink, of Beltway power worship, of a cult of presidential action in the service of dubious ideals. They’re the dangers of a recklessness and radicalism that doesn’t recognize itself as either, because it’s convinced that if an idea is mainstream and commonplace among the great and good then it cannot possibly be folly.

Unlike Codevilla, Douthat limited his indictment to the last 15 years:

Almost every crisis that has come upon the West in the last 15 years has its roots in this establishmentarian type of folly. The Iraq War, which liberals prefer to remember as a conflict conjured by a neoconservative cabal, was actually the work of a bipartisan interventionist consensus, pushed hard by George W. Bush but embraced as well by a large slice of center-left opinion that included Tony Blair and more than half of Senate Democrats.

Likewise the financial crisis: Whether you blame financial-services deregulation or happy-go-lucky housing policy (or both), the policies that helped inflate and pop the bubble were embraced by both wings of the political establishment. Likewise with the euro, the European common currency, a terrible idea that only cranks and Little Englanders dared oppose until the Great Recession exposed it as a potentially economy-sinking folly. Likewise with Angela Merkel’s grand and reckless open-borders gesture just last year: She was the heroine of a thousand profiles even as she delivered her continent to polarization and violence.

And, of course, there are other problems:

This record of elite folly — which doesn’t even include lesser case studies like our splendid little war in Libya — is a big part of why the United States has a “let’s try crazy” candidate in this election, and why there are so many Trumpian parties thriving on European soil.

He continued:

Indeed what is distinctive about Clinton, more even than Bush or Obama, is how few examples there are of her ever breaking with the elite consensus on matters of statecraft.

She was for the Iraq War when everyone was for it, against the surge when everyone had given up on Iraq, and then an unchastened liberal hawk again in Libya just a few short years later.

She was a Russia dove when the media mocked Mitt Romney for being a Russia hawk; now she’s a Russia hawk along with everyone else in Washington in a moment that might require de-escalation.

She cites Merkel as a model leader, she’s surrounded by a bipartisan foreign policy cadre that’s eager for a Details To Be Determine descalation in Syria, and she seems — like her Goldman Sachs audiences — intent on sailing serenely above the storm of nationalism rather than reconsidering any of the assumptions of her class.

Saying that Hillary Clinton has been hanging around with the wrong crowd does not feel very persuasive. Douthat might have noted the stench of corruption that surrounds her and that has infested the FBI and the Justice Department. And he might have asked whether she is competent. Surely, that is a more pertinent issue. Sinecures are one thing. Concrete achievements are quite another.

Douthat seems to believe that Hillary can be discredited for having the wrong ideas. I think it will take more. If it is even possible any more. If the election were being run as a battle between ideas, Trump would be winning. Unfortunately, it is a battle between two people. On that score Trump has not presented himself as the candidate of ideas or of competence.

The people in charge of American foreign policy have made significant errors—Codevilla lists them in excruciating detail—but it does not seem fair to lump them all together. Hasn’t there been a significant divide in the foreign policy establishment, between idealists and realists for a century at least?

Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson did not see the world the same way. We saw how Wilson dealt with World War I and we can read what Roosevelt would have done in four volumes of contemporaneous newspaper columns. The difference was stark. Surely, we know that the American Senate rejected the call to join the Wilsonian (and Kantian) folly called the League of Nations.

In England Neville Chamberlin and Winston Churchill did not see the threat of Nazism the same way. In America, Dwight Eisenhower and John Kennedy did not act in the same way when they were presented the chance to intervene in Vietnam.

Like it or not, the fall of Communism presented America with an enormous foreign policy challenge. As it happened G. H. W. Bush handled the crisis skillfully.  No one really pays it much mind.  Historians prefer chaos and drama to effective leadership.

Codevilla offered his indictment:

Since Woodrow Wilson, Progressive Democratic and Republican statesmen have confused America’s interest with mankind’s. In practice, they have taken upon themselves the role of mankind’s stewards (or sheriffs, leaders, pillars of order, or whatever) and acted as if, in Wilson’s words, America has “no reason for being” except to “stand for the right of men,” to be “champions of humanity.” Accordingly, a series of statesmen has forsaken war and diplomacy for strictly American ends and with means adequate to achieve them, and adopted foredoomed schemes pursued halfheartedly—Charles Evans Hughes (commitment to China’s integrity and renunciation of the means to uphold it), Franklin Roosevelt (seeking world co-domination with Stalin and the U.N. to banish “ancient evils, ancient ills”), Harry Truman (pursuing peace through no-win war in Korea), Nixon/Kissinger (scuttling Vietnam to help entice the Soviets into a grand detente), George W. Bush (democratizing the Middle East because America can’t be free unless and until the whole world is free).

True enough, George W. Bush got caught up in the ideological fervor when he announced that he would bring liberal democracy to the Middle East. But, Nixon and Kissinger drew down the Vietnam War because the American people were no longer willing to fight it. And, de-escalating Vietnam surely had something to do with the diplomatic opening with China. That must surely count for something.

Some presidents have pursued policies based on idealism, on the notion that we are all citizens of the world. Others have pursued balance-of-power realism and nationalism in the conduct of foreign affairs.

Yet, Codevilla throws it all into the same basket. He concludes that we should support Trump because he going to break things up and overthrow the establishment elites. One might ask with whom he is going to do this. One might ask which foreign policy experts will know enough to do it efficiently and effectively.

We can make the case against Hillary’s incompetence and corruption. We can make a case that she has done poorly in just about all of her undertakings. One can argue against her by looking at the horrors that have befallen the Middle East, in Syria, in Iraq, during the Arab Spring, since she and Obama—another rank amateur—took charge of American foreign policy. One can argue against her, not merely for pursuing ideals, but for implementing policies that signified, not American idealism, but American weakness around the world.

But, to argue for Trump on the grounds that he will be a bull in the china shop fails to see that no matter how incompetent Hillary is, she does seem familiar. A country has to be in miserably bad shape to take the risk that Trump would represent. And if it is in really bad shape, we would want to hire someone with demonstrated competence in foreign affairs. If the ship of state is sinking you want a captain who has navigated a ship before.

Codevilla supports Trump. He is right to say that Hillary will not cause the world to respect America. Not so much because of her ideas but because of who she is and how she got the job. World leaders might fear a Donald Trump more, because he is far less predictable, but if you believe that they would not relish the chance to take him down, you are simply wrong. He of the orange bouffant hairdo, he who is woefully underinformed about all foreign policy matters, will not restore respect for America.

Codevilla is quite right to say that we have lost the habit of winning wars. We no longer see conflict in terms of winning and losing. And yet, we did win the Cold War… even if crypto- Marxist ideas risk taking over the minds of America’s youth. We even won the first Gulf War. In fact, as Barack Obama himself said, the Iraq War had been concluded successfully… until he chose to surrender the victory.

Having created a monster, Codevilla suggests that anything is better:

The 2016 election is about whether that pattern should change. How much, if at all, it would change under Trump matters much less than the mere possibility it might change. Trump’s virtue in foreign policy lies in having voiced this simple, vital thought: U.S. foreign policy must put America first, and deliver victories rather than defeats. Whether Trump really believes that, whether he would act on it, or even whether he understands past mistakes, is secondary. 

As of today, most Americans disagree.

Save the Date: My Upcoming Seminar with Scott Von

FYI-- the NPAP is located at 40 West 13th St. New York City

Link to analytica.org here.

Sabotaging Your Job

During World War II the Office of Strategic Services (the OSS) wanted people who had been forced to work for Axis powers to sabotage their jobs. It produced a “Simple Sabotage Field Manual” to show how to be a bad employee, how to make your company less efficient and effective, how to waste time and effort. And how to make it that no one knew what you were doing.

During the War it was a noble calling. Today, not so much.

Business Insider has reported some of the suggestions. It added that in many companies today, management gurus have made such proposals the norm.

You can reduce productivity by doing everything… by the book. Refuse to allow anyone to take shortcuts or to exercise discretion and you will slow down the enterprise.

If you are at a conference, you can undermine the work by speaking a lot, by speaking about yourself, by introducing irrelevant topics, and by trying to refer all matters back to committee.

Does this seem familiar yet?

Managers can best sabotage their jobs by praising and rewarding people who are inefficient and ineffective. Then managers can give them undeserved promotions. They can also insist on perfection and hassle people over the trivial errors.

Of course, managers might also treat those who work well and those who work less well as though they work the same. Everyone gets a trophy; everyone gets the same promotion; everyone gets the same raise. Surely, that will demoralize the best employees and reduce productivity.

Employees can help sabotage their companies by working slowly and deliberately. They should seek out reasons to interrupt their work, by taking coffee breaks or bathroom breaks or simply gossiping with their coworkers. When they do bad work they should always shift the blame, to the tools or to the management. If they can't focus they can blame it on their meds, or lack of same. Finally, they should never try to mentor younger and less experienced workers. Let them flounder. It’s good for the war effort.

Something to think about this morning.