This Is Happening In America

On Tuesday, The City Journal posted an article about a recent event in Seattle, Washington.

This is the story:

Ahmed is a Pakistani immigrant, a faithful Muslim, and until recently, a financial consultant to Seattle’s high-tech sector. But when he reached me by phone in October 2020, he was just one more frightened father. Days earlier, he and his wife had checked their 16-year-old son into Seattle Children’s Hospital for credible threats of suicide. Now, Ahmed was worried that the white coats who had gently admitted his son to their care would refuse to return him.

“They sent an email to us, you know, ‘you should take your ‘daughter’ to the gender clinic,’” he told me.

At first, Ahmed (I have changed names in this essay to protect the identities of minor children) assumed there had been a mistake. He had dropped off a son, Syed, to the hospital, in a terrible state of distress. Now, the email he received from the mental health experts used a new name for that son and claimed he was Ahmed’s daughter. “They were trying to create a customer for their gender clinic . . . and they seemed to absolutely want to push us in that direction,” he said when I spoke to him again this May, recalling the horror of last October. “We had calls with counselors and therapists in the establishment, telling us how important it is for him to change his gender, because that’s the only way he’s going to be better out of this suicidal depressive state.”

The article goes on to explain the the child involved was autistic and during the Covid lockdowns had become fixated on the idea that he might be a girl.

The story continues:

But unlike some other parents I would later speak with, Ahmed’s cool head prevailed. Believing he might be walking into a trap, Ahmed reached out to both a lawyer and a psychiatrist friend he trusted. The psychiatrist gave him advice that he believes saved his son, saying, in Ahmed’s words: “You have to be very, very careful, because if you come across as just even a little bit anti-trans or anything, they’re going to call the Child Protective Services on you and take custody of your kid.” The lawyer told Ahmed the same: “What you want to do is agree with them and take your kid home. When the gender counselors advise you to ‘affirm,’ go along with it. Just say ‘Uh-huh, uh-huh, okay, let’s take him home, and we’ll go to the gender clinic.’”

Ahmed assured Seattle Children’s Hospital that he would take his son to a gender clinic and commence his son’s transition. Instead, he collected his son, quit his job, and moved his family of four out of Washington.

Was Ahmed’s reaction extreme? When I first heard it, back in October 2020, I wondered whether he hadn’t overreacted. But as a growing number of parents began contacting me with similar stories, and I delved into the state laws of Washington, Oregon, and California, I came to a different conclusion. Taken individually, no single law in any state completely strips parents’ rights over the care and mental health treatment of their troubled minor teens. But pieced together, laws in California, Oregon, and Washington place troubled minor teens as young as 13 in the driver’s seat when it comes to their own mental health care—including “gender affirming” care—and renders parents powerless to stop them.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It includes other examples of parents’ rights being trampled to further the transgender movement. This is a degree of government child abuse we have not seen before. Parents need to be very aware of what is being pushed on their children, and parents need to fight it legally to save their children from irreversible decisions that they will very likely come to regret later.

Warped Programming

There is a saying in computer circles, “Garbage in, garbage out.” That saying also applies to learning and governance. A person’s basic perspective on life will determine their success, their ability to get along with people, and their general happiness. All of us at one time or another have avoided someone who simply is not pleased with or grateful for anything. Their warped perspective has prevented them from being happy. Well, we are about to see another warped perspective invade an area of our government.

Yesterday The City Journal posted an article titled, “Cult Programming in Seattle.” The subheading on the title is, “The city is training white municipal employees to overcome their “internalized racial superiority.”” This sort of thinking (and training) is not going to promote racial harmony. As soon as you accuse someone of something negative because of their race, you are making a racist statement. It really doesn’t matter what race you are or what race you are attacking–it is a racist statement. What is the difference between saying ‘you are racist because you are white’ and ‘you are less intelligent because you are black’?

The article reports:

Last month, the City of Seattle’s Office of Civil Rights sent an email inviting “white City employees” to attend a training session on “Interrupting Internalized Racial Superiority and Whiteness,” a program designed to help white workers examine their “complicity in the system of white supremacy” and “interrupt racism in ways that are accountable to Black, Indigenous and People of Color.” Hoping to learn more, I submitted a public records request for all documentation related to the training. The results are disturbing.

At the beginning of the session, the trainers explain that white people have internalized a sense of racial superiority, which has made them unable to access their “humanity” and caused “harm and violence” to people of color. The trainers claim that “individualism,” “perfectionism,” “intellectualization,” and “objectivity” are all vestiges of this internalized racial oppression and must be abandoned in favor of social-justice principles. In conceptual terms, the city frames the discussion around the idea that black Americans are reducible to the essential quality of “blackness” and white Americans are reducible to the essential quality of “whiteness”—that is, the new metaphysics of good and evil.

Again, the idea that white is evil and black is good is racist, just as the reverse is racist.

The article continues:

Once the diversity trainers have established this basic conceptual framework, they encourage white employees to “practice self-talk that affirms [their] complicity in racism” and work on “undoing [their] own whiteness.” As part of this process, white employees must abandon their “white normative behavior” and learn to let go of their “comfort,” “physical safety,” “social status,” and “relationships with some other white people.” As writer James Lindsay has pointed out, this is not the language of human resources; it is the language of cult programming—persuading members they are defective in some predefined manner, exploiting their emotional vulnerabilities, and isolating them from previous relationships.

It’s important to point out that this “interrupting whiteness” training is not an anomaly. In recent years, nearly every department of Seattle city government has been recruited into the ideological fight against “white supremacy.” As I have documented, the city’s homelessness agency hosted a conference on how to “decolonize [their] collective work”; the school system released a curriculum explaining that “math is a tool for oppression”; and the city-owned power company hired a team of bureaucrats to fight “structural racism” within their organization. Dozens of private companies now offer diversity training to public agencies. The idea that all whites have unconscious, “implicit bias” that they must vigilantly program themselves to overcome has become an article of faith across corporate boardrooms, academia, and law-enforcement agencies, even though the premise is unscientific and impossible to verify.

The endgame is to make Seattle’s municipal government the arbiter of the new orthodoxy, and then work outward. At the end of the session on “internalized racial superiority,” the diversity trainers outline strategies for converting outsiders and recommend specific “practices for interrupting others’ whiteness.” In effect, the activists have organized an ideological pyramid scheme—using public dollars to establish their authority within the government, then using that authority to recruit others into the program. As Lindsay writes, “the goal is no longer to indoctrinate on what is ‘rightthink’ and ‘wrongthink.’ It is to make the [subject’s] thinking be completely in line with the view of the world described by the cult doctrine.”

Please follow the link to read the entire article. It is chilling.

Some Helpful Suggestions

Yesterday The City Journal posted an article with the title:

False Prophets

If you really want to help black America, don’t look to Black Lives Matter.

The article notes:

Over the past two weeks, we have seen peaceful protests, but also looting, businesses torched, attacks on police, and the desecration of some of the nation’s most revered memorials. All of this is numbing. Recently, I thought that I had finally turned the corner on my anger over the Floyd killing. (I’m African-American myself.) “Where do we go from here?” I wondered. “How do we get something positive out of this?”

But then the demands shifted. Cries for justice morphed into “Defund the police.” We started hearing calls from white Americans to do something to help ease the difficulties blacks are facing. On the surface, this seems good; the intentions definitely are good. The problem is that, with no context or reference to what is needed in the black community, and often with few black friends or colleagues to consult, many Americans—from those in corporate America to vocal social media consumers—are throwing support and resources behind Black Lives Matter, without considering carefully what the group actually stands for.

Black Lives Matter was started in 2013 to shed light on mistreatment of and brutality against blacks by police, but it has become a radical leftist organization. The “Herstory” section of its website, for example, reads: “Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise.” This proclamation is demonstrably untrue: there is no evidence that anyone—including the police and white supremacists—is killing black people in a targeted campaign, nor are the numbers of such deaths significant compared with the number of blacks killed by other blacks. But beyond BLM’s inflammatory and false rhetoric, there are important reasons to avoid the group.

The article notes that defunding the police would hurt the people that BLM claims to want to help. It would create chaos in already dangerous neighborhoods. This would probably result in businesses and commercial enterprises leaving these neighborhoods.

The article continues:

BLM was started by three black women, but their stated goal—to achieve equality for blacks—masks a different agenda. In the “What We Believe” section of the BLM site, they highlight the work they do to “dismantle cisgender privilege” and their desire to “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure”—a structure that many, including myself and Kanye West, believe is key to rebuilding black communities. The mission statement mires a message that should be about black lives in a slew of buzzwords and Marxist psychobabble. Not all the sentiments are bad, but none will create positive change in the black community.

I’ve never known of a nonprofit organization more than two years old and with national name recognition that posts no financial report on its site and no glowing list of “wins.” Most charities get donations by pulling at your heartstrings, highlighting all the lives they have touched. The only thing remotely resembling action on the Black Lives Matter website is a timeline under “Global Actions,” listing activism on behalf of illegal immigrants. Even this consists mostly of petitions and demonstrations.

Many well-intentioned people want to support the black community, especially now. We need to point them in the right direction. The most vulnerable blacks, and the ones most adversely affected by racism, are struggling financially. The best thing that we can do for them is lift them out of poverty. Defunding the police, dismantling the nuclear family, or focusing on immigration will not accomplish that goal.

The two most important things we can do to help the black community are to encourage the formation of nuclear family and encourage better educational opportunities. Part of the problem in the black community is the culture, and the community itself needs to begin to change the culture. Those of us outside the community can help and encourage, but we can’t do it for them.

How Is This Different From The Mafia?

Yesterday The City Journal posted an article about what is happening in Seattle. As you know, Antifa has taken over a six-block square area of the city and declared it to be the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone.”

The article reports:

On the new rebel state’s first night, the atmosphere was festive and triumphant. Hooded men spray-painted the police station with slogans and anarchist symbols, renaming it the “Seattle People’s Department East Precinct.” Raz Simone, a local rapper with an AK-47 slung from his shoulder and a pistol attached to his hip, screamed, “This is war!” into a white-and-red megaphone and instructed armed paramilitaries to guard the barricades in shifts. Later in the night, Simone was filmed allegedly assaulting multiple protestors who disobeyed his orders, informing them that he was the “police” now, sparking fears that he was becoming the de facto warlord of the autonomous zone. A homeless man with a baseball bat wandered along the borderline and two unofficial medics in medieval-style chain mail stood ready for action.

The article concludes:

The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone has set a dangerous precedent: armed left-wing activists have asserted their dominance of the streets and established an alternative political authority over a large section of a neighborhood. They have claimed de facto police power over thousands of residents and dozens of businesses—completely outside of the democratic process. In a matter of days, Antifa-affiliated paramilitaries have created a hardened border, established a rudimentary form of government based on principles of intersectional representation, and forcibly removed unfriendly media from the territory. 

The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone is an occupation and taking of hostages: none of the neighborhood’s residents voted for Antifa as their representative government. Rather than enforce the law, Seattle’s progressive political class capitulated to the mob and will likely make massive concessions over the next few months. This will embolden the Antifa coalition—and further undermine the rule of law in American cities.

Please follow the link above for further details. This bears more of a resemblance to the French Revolution than the American Revolution, and I fear that this is not going to end well for anyone.

The Homeless Are A Danger To Themselves And To The Rest Of Us

The once beautiful streets of San Francisco are now littered with needles and human waste. The homeless commit crimes to support various drug habits. Diseases that we have not seen in America for decades are appearing in the community. Who knows how the coronavirus will impact these people. The city does not seem to be able to deal with the problem. Where do you start?

On Tuesday The City Journal posted an article about the homelessness problem. The article reminds us that new data undermines the idea that homelessness is the result of high rents and lack of economic opportunity.

The article reports:

But new data are undermining this narrative. As residents of West Coast cities witness the disorder associated with homeless encampments, they have found it harder to accept the progressive consensus—especially in the context of the coronavirus epidemic, which has all Americans worried about contagion. An emerging body of evidence confirms what people see plainly on the streets: homelessness is deeply connected to addiction, mental illness, and crime.

Homeless advocates argue that substance abuse is a small contributor to the problem, and that no more than 20 percent of the homeless population abuses drugs. Last year, when I suggested that homelessness is primarily an addiction crisis—citing Seattle and King County data that suggested half of homeless individuals suffered from opioid addiction—activists denounced me on social media and wrote letters to the editor demanding a retraction. But according to a recent Los Angeles Times investigation, 46 percent of the homeless and 75 percent of the unsheltered homeless have a substance-abuse disorder—more than three times higher than official estimates from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

In the interest of preventing “stigmatization,” progressives downplay the connection between schizophrenia, severe bipolar disorder, and homelessness. In general, cities have claimed that roughly 25 percent to 39 percent of the homeless suffer from mental-health disorders. As new data from the California Policy Lab show, it’s likely that 50 percent of the homeless and 78 percent of the unsheltered homeless have a serious mental health condition. For residents of cities like San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle, this should come as no surprise. The people smashing up property and yelling in the streets are clearly suffering from mental illness. The numbers confirm the ground-level reality.

The article concludes:

Residents in the most progressive enclaves of West Coast cities have quietly begun to demand policy changes to address the obvious causes of the homelessness crisis. In San Francisco, city leaders have launched a new initiative to focus on the 4,000 individuals who suffer from the “perilous trifecta” of homelessness, addiction, and mental illness. Mayor London Breed has spoken frankly about the human causes of homelessness, and Anton Nigusse Bland, a physician and director of mental health reform for the city, has pledged to “develop a strategic approach to mental health and substance use services for people experiencing homelessness in San Francisco.”

This is a small but promising step. Especially now, with the threat of an infectious disease becoming a national crisis, it is imperative that city leaders come to grips with the dangers of letting people live in encampments that lack even rudimentary sanitation. We can only hope that this new awareness extends to other cities. For now, more than 100,000 people in California, Oregon, and Washington continue to languish in the streets.

Rhode Island has put in place a program that has been successful in dealing with the problem of homelessness. The problem includes counseling, drug rehabilitation, reintegration into the community and reintegration into family units. The program is a public-private partnership that has been successful in getting many of the homeless reintegrated into society. Similar programs need to be instituted on the west coast. It is a disgrace that America has not done more to help those among us living on the street. Throwing money at the problem or ignoring it is not the answer. It takes a commitment to helping the homeless deal with the mental problems that have resulted in their living on the street.

An Interesting Perspective On Homelessness

Christopher F. Rufo posted an article in The City Journal about the homelessness that has become so prevalent on the west coast of America. The title of the article is, “An Addiction Crisis Disguised as a Housing Crisis.” Please follow the link above to read the entire article; it is very insightful.

The article states:

By latest count, some 109,089 men and women are sleeping on the streets of major cities in California, Oregon, and Washington. The homelessness crisis in these cities has generated headlines and speculation about “root causes.” Progressive political activists allege that tech companies have inflated housing costs and forced middle-class people onto the streets. Declaring that “no two people living on Skid Row . . . ended up there for the same reasons,” Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, for his part, blames a housing shortage, stagnant wages, cuts to mental health services, domestic and sexual abuse, shortcomings in criminal justice, and a lack of resources for veterans. These factors may all have played a role, but the most pervasive cause of West Coast homelessness is clear: heroin, fentanyl, and synthetic opioids.

Homelessness is an addiction crisis disguised as a housing crisis. In Seattle, prosecutors and law enforcement recently estimated that the majority of the region’s homeless population is hooked on opioids, including heroin and fentanyl. If this figure holds constant throughout the West Coast, then at least 11,000 homeless opioid addicts live in Washington, 7,000 live in Oregon, and 65,000 live in California (concentrated mostly in San Francisco and Los Angeles). For the unsheltered population inhabiting tents, cars, and RVs, the opioid-addiction percentages are even higher—the City of Seattle’s homeless-outreach team estimates that 80 percent of the unsheltered population has a substance-abuse disorder. Officers must clean up used needles in almost all the homeless encampments.

The article reminds us that drug-dealing is a lucrative industry for the cartels:

For drug cartels and low-level street dealers, the business of supplying homeless addicts with heroin, fentanyl, and other synthetic opioids is extremely lucrative. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the average heavy-opioid user consumes $1,834 in drugs per month. Holding rates constant, we can project that the total business of supplying heroin and other opioids to the West Coast’s homeless population is more than $1.8 billion per year. In effect, Mexican cartels, Chinese fentanyl suppliers, and local criminal networks profit off the misery of the homeless and offload the consequences onto local governments struggling to get people off the streets.

The article concludes:

No matter how much local governments pour into affordable-housing projects, homeless opioid addicts—nearly all unemployed—will never be able to afford the rent in expensive West Coast cities. The first step in solving these intractable issues is to address the real problem: addiction is the common denominator for most of the homeless and must be confronted honestly if we have any hope of solving it.

Part of the problem here is that some cities and states are moving toward legalizing recreational drug use. Obviously not all of that drug use will lead to further problems, but a percentage of it will–adding to the homeless problem. The other problem is that treating a drug addict will not be successful unless the addict desires to be free of drugs. You can lock up an addict until he is clean, but there are no guarantees that he will stay clean once he is out on the street again.

 

This Is Simply Harassment

Anyone who celebrates the Congressional search for any smidgen of dirt on Donald Trump might want to consider that if this continues, it could happen to any President or any citizen. The two-plus year witch hunt needs to end, and those responsible need to be held accountable. The latter seems to be about to happen. The former has no end in sight.

On Tuesday The City Journal posted an article about Congress’ demand for President Trump’s tax returns (including years he was not in office). This is harassment. However, you only have to look at the events of the past week or so to find out what is actually going on–the quest for tax returns is simply a bright shiny object put in front of the American public to divert from the news that John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, will be investigating the origins of the surveillance on the Trump campaign and transition team.

The article points out:

Disappointed by Robert Mueller’s failure to demonstrate President Trump’s perfidy, Democrats are focusing anew on the president’s tax returns. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is refusing to order the release of Trump’s federal returns to the House, saying that there is no legislative purpose for doing so, but a new effort to expose Trump’s tax history runs through Albany, where Democrats in 2018 gained solid control of the state senate for the first time in decades. Governor Andrew Cuomo has promised to sign a bill making its way through the legislature that would submit any New Yorker’s state tax returns to Congress, on request from the chairs of any of three revenue-related committees.

The excitement among Democrats is palpable. “We are facing a constitutional showdown,” says State Senator Brad Hoylman, the legislation’s sponsor. “New York, as the home of the president’s state taxes, has a special responsibility to step into the breach.” Assemblywoman Pat Fahy concurs, saying that “we can help hold the president accountable and we will set future precedents for all elected officials, that neither you as a president nor your business interests are above the law.”

Is anyone going to want to run for office under these ‘new’ rules?

The article concludes:

It’s likely that Trump’s pursuers don’t expect to find smoking guns in Trump’s tax returns. Decades in public life, including multiple infamous bankruptcies, have produced no hint of major scandal or criminality. So why should we expect his tax returns—already submitted to the government and scrutinized by forensic professionals with power to arrest—to reveal anything shocking?

Those demanding Trump’s tax returns probably just want to embarrass him by proving old rumors that he isn’t as rich as he pretends to be. For all this effort, though, that would be a weak payoff—especially since the people likely to care about such revelations aren’t Trump voters, anyway.

This is what desperation looks like.

Leadership Matters

Yesterday The City Journal posted an article which contained the following statement from New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio:

the “way our legal system is structured to favor private property” provokes his “anger, which is visceral.” The mayor elaborated on this point, insisting that “people all over this city, of every background, would like to have the city government be able to determine which building goes where, how high it will be, who gets to live in it, what the rent will be.”

Wow. Private property is one of the foundations of our Representative Republic.

In December 2010, I posted an article showing the relationship between private property ownership and the lack of poverty in a country. The article was based on a Townhall article by John Stossel.

The article stated:

”To get an address, somebody’s got to recognize that that’s where you live. That means … you’ve a got mailing address. … When you make a deal with someone, you can be identified. But until property is defined by law, people can’t … specialize and create wealth. The day they get title (is) the day that the businesses in their homes, the sewing machines, the cotton gins, the car repair shop finally gets recognized. They can start expanding.”

“That’s the road to prosperity. But first they need to be recognized by someone in local authority who says, “This is yours.” They need the rule of law. But many places in the developing world barely have law. So enterprising people take a risk. They work a deal with the guy on the first floor, and they build their house on the second floor.”

What Mayor DeBlasio is suggesting is communism or socialism. Historically, neither has been proven to work.

The article in The City Journal concludes:

De Blasio insists that New Yorkers fervently want to have a powerful government that gets involved in the minutest details of how they organize their lives. Based on their voting behavior, he may be right. But New Yorkers are also obstreperous, entrepreneurial, and small-d democratic; they typically reserve a Bronx cheer for authorities who dare to tell them what to do. De Blasio has now come out explicitly as a central planner whose politics sound frankly Bolshevik. We’ve been warned.

Benjamin Franklin replied when asked what the Constitutional Convention had created, “A republic, madam, if you can keep it.” Obviously, not everyone wants to keep it.