The deep meaning of Goldie

I offered 10 notes on Erik Larson’s In the Garden of Beasts in “In Larson’s garden.” The book tells the story of United States Ambassador William E. Dodd as he witnessed the rising terror of Hitler’s rule. Larson gives us Hitler and the Nazi regime through Dodd’s eyes in Berlin in mid-1933 when the future was an open question. In my tenth note I asked: if you had been an American in Berlin in 1933, what would you have seen? What would you have said? What would you have done? What conclusions would you have drawn?

Since the Hamas massacres of October 7 and the marches supporting them in the United States, the questions have hit closer to home. Yesterday, for example, an anti-Semitic mob screamed threats into Philadelphia’s “Jewish-owned falafel store” (as the Daily Mail describes it) Goldie.

Goldie describes itself on its About Us page:

Goldie is a vegan, Israeli-style falafel shop serving fresh-to-order falafel, French fries, and tehina shakes. Named for “baby Zahav” (“Zahav” is the Hebrew word for “gold”), the heart of Goldie’s menu is Chef Caitlin McMillan’s so-fresh-you-forget-it’s-fried falafel with tehina, Israeli salad, cabbage, optional amba, harissa, or schug condiments, all tucked inside delicious pita. Goldie has a “no toppings bar” ethos – we build each sandwich with our practiced hands. We also serve falafel salad, shawarma spiced French fries, and tehina shakes. Oh, and we’re Kosher!

Clearly this cannot stand. Led by the Philly Palestine Coalition, the mob marched at the Goldie restaurant in Philadelphia’s Center City chanting: “Goldie, Goldie you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide.” The Daily Mail rounds up the news from Philadelphia (and there is more from the University of Pennsylvania) including the video below here.

Sam Harris reformulated my Garden of Beasts questions to fit current events in his November 7 podcast:

Incidentally, if you ever wondered how you might have behaved had you been a German on the morning after Kristallnacht—if you’ve ever wondered whether you would have just gone about your business or done something to resist the slide of your society into absolute depravity—more or less everyone on Earth is now getting the chance to see just that. There was a mob chanting “Gas the Jews” in front of the Sydney Opera House. We have Jewish students in Ivy League universities cowering behind locked doors in fear for their physical safety. All university administrators, and Diversity Equity and Inclusion geniuses, and Hollywood celebrities who rushed to sign open letters in support of the Palestinian cause, without taking a moment to understand what actually happened on October 7th, or understanding it and not caring, you are all now part of history.

History marches on.

Post 12/2 Presidential Reflections

On December 2, 2015, workers at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, gathered for a holiday party. For 14 of the workers, the event would be their last. American-born Syed Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik, a green-card holder born in Pakistan, shot down Robert Adams, Isaac Amianos, Bennetta Betbadal, Harry Bowman, Sierra Clayborn, Juan Espinoza, Aurora Godoy, Shannon Johnson, Larry Daniel Kaufman, Damien Meins, Tin Nguyen, Nicholas Thalasinos, Yvette Velasco, and Michael Wetzel.

The two Muslims wounded many others before fleeing in an SUV. Local police took them down, with no further loss of civilian life. The next day, the composite character president David Garrow profiled in Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama issued this statement:

Yesterday, a tragedy occurred in San Bernardino, and as I said in the immediate aftermath, our first order of business is to send our thoughts and prayers to the families of those who have been killed and to pray for a speedy recovery for those who were injured during this terrible attack.

I had a chance to speak with Mayor Davis of San Bernardino and I thanked law enforcement in that city for their timely and professional response.  I indicated to Mayor Davis that the entire country is thinking about that community, and thanked him and his office for the way that they’ve been able to manage an extraordinarily difficult situation with calm and clarity, and very much appreciated the coordination that’s been taking place between local law enforcement and the FBI investigators.

At this stage, we do not yet know why this terrible event occurred.  We do know that the two individuals who were killed were equipped with weapons and appeared to have access to additional weaponry at their homes.  But we don’t know why they did it.  We don’t know at this point the extent of their plans.  We do not know their motivations.

And I just received a briefing from FBI Director Comey, as well as Attorney General Lynch, indicating the course of their investigation.  At this point, this is now a FBI investigation. That’s been done in cooperation and consultation with local law enforcement.  It is possible that this was terrorist-related, but we don’t know.  It’s also possible that this was workplace-related.  And until the FBI has been able to conduct what are going to be a large number of interviews, until we understand the nature of the workplace relationship between the individual and his superiors — because he worked with the organization where this terrible shooting took place — until all the social media and electronic information has been exploited, we’re just not going to be able to answer those questions.

But what I can assure the American people is we’re going to get to the bottom of this and that we are going to be vigilant, as we always are, in getting the facts before we issue any decisive judgments in terms of how this occurred.

More broadly, as I said yesterday, we see the prevalence of these kinds of mass shootings in this country and I think so many Americans sometimes feel as if there’s nothing we can do about it.  We are fortunate to have an extraordinary combination of law enforcement and intelligence and military that work every single day to keep us safe.  But we can’t just leave it to our professionals to deal with the problem of these kinds of horrible killings.  We all have a part to play.

And I do think that, as the investigation moves forward, it’s going to be important for all of us — including our legislatures — to see what we can do to make sure that when individuals decide that they want to do somebody harm, we’re making it a little harder for them to do it.  Because right now it’s just too easy.  And we’re going to have to, I think, search ourselves as a society to make sure that we can take basic steps that would make it harder — not impossible, but harder — for individuals to get access to weapons.

So there will be, I think, a press conference later today led by the Attorney General.  Director Comey will continue to brief not only the press but also members of Congress about the course of the investigation.  Our expectation is, is that this may take some time before we’re able to sort it all through.  There may be mixed motives involved in this, which makes the investigation more complicated.  But rest assured that we will get to the bottom of this.

And in the meantime, once again, I want to offer our deepest condolences to those who’ve been affected by this terrible tragedy.  And for those who’ve been injured, we hope that they get well quickly and that they’re able to be back together with their families.

Thank you very much, everybody.

Some context may prove helpful. The Islamic State was then on the rise and urging Muslims in western countries to kill non-Muslims. In January, 2015, in Paris, Islamic terrorist attacked the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine, killing 17 people, including 11 journalists. In November, 2015, Islamic terrorist attacks in France claimed at least 130 victims. Then came 12/2 in San Bernardino.

For the American president it was a “tragedy,” which had somehow “occurred.” The president said “I” a full 12 times but failed  to name Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, identify them as Muslims, or condemn the attack as terrorism.

Four times the president said “we don’t know” what the attack was about or what motivated the shooters. The attack could have been “workplace related,” an echo of his pronouncement that Nidal Hasan’s murder spree at Fort Hood on 11/5/09 was “workplace violence,” not terrorism or even gun violence.

The San Bernardino victims included African Americans, Asians and Hispanics, but the president failed to raise the possibility that Farook and Malik could have been motivated by racism. The president did not call out the attack as a hate crime or gun violence and he failed to name a single victim of the 12/2 attack. He expressed concern for those who were “injured” when the accurate term, as any lawyer would know, is “wounded.”

The attack did involve “access” to weapons, he said, and since the FBI was investigating, “we are going to get to the bottom of this.” According to the president, we are fortunate to have law enforcement, intelligence and military that “work every day to keep us safe.” Relatives of the 12/2 victims had cause to wonder.

The people of America weren’t safe on February 23, 1993, when Islamic terrorists bombed the World Trade Center, killing six and wounding hundreds. The people weren’t safe on September 11, 2001, when the FBI, intelligence community and military failed to prevent the worst attack on the United States since Pearl Harbor, with 3,000 dead.

American soldiers weren’t safe at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009, when Maj. Nidal Hasan, a self-proclaimed “soldier of Allah,” gunned down 13 soldiers, including Pvt. Francheska Velez, who was pregnant. The FBI knew Nidal Hasan was communicating with al Qaeda terrorist Anwar al Awlaki about killing Americans, but someone in the FBI’s Washington office called off the surveillance. It has not emerged what the FBI knew in the run-up to 12/2.

As a police report notes, Farook and Malik deployed two .223-caliber rifles and 1,879 rounds of .223 ammunition. Magazines had been taped together for rapid switching and continuous fire. Police also found a 9mm handgun, 484 rounds of 9mm ammunition, and a trigger device for an explosive (IED) left at the Regional Center to kill and maim the first responders. Police also found medical supplies such as quick-clot agents, tourniquets, and emergency bandages.

Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik had been trained, armed and financed, all without detection by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Whatever the FBI knew about Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the bureau did nothing to stop the 12/2 massacre and played no role in taking down the terrorists.

The president called it a tragedy, failed to name or condemn the terrorists, and failed to name a single victim. If any of their loved ones thought it was more about collaboration than incompetence it would be hard to blame them.

Want Healthy Kids? Go Right

Reality is what you already know. Data is when someone puts numbers to reality. Like, for example, this Institute for Family Studies/Gallup survey, via Breitbart:

Children of conservative parents are more likely to have good mental health compared to children of liberal parents, according to a new Institute for Family Studies (IFS) and Gallup research brief published Thursday.

As it happens, being raised by liberal parents is a much larger risk factor for mental health problems in adolescence than being raised in a low-income household with parents who did not attend college,” wrote the brief’s author, Jonathan Rothwell, the principal economist at Gallup and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

That is a rather stunning finding!

“Children of conservative parents score significantly better on mental health using either a comprehensive measure of mental health based on several items, or just asking either parent or adolescents to summarize their mental health on a 1-5 scale. The gap is large,” Rothwell continued.
Rothwell wrote about his findings in an IFS blog post, noting that parents’ political ideology “is one of the strongest predictors” of a child’s positive mental health.

That is consistent with my experience, but it is nice to see someone quantify it. Conservatives have better relationships with their children than liberals do, on the average, in part because they discipline them:

“Conservative and very conservative parents are the most likely to adopt the parenting practices associated with adolescent mental health. They are the most likely to effectively discipline their children, while also displaying affection and responding to their needs,” he wrote.

Conversely, he said “liberal parents score the lowest, even worse than very liberal parents, largely because they are the least likely to successfully discipline their children.”

“By contrast, conservative parents enjoy higher quality relationships with their children, characterized by fewer arguments, more warmth, and a stronger bond, according to both parent and child reporting,” he continued.

Interestingly, “very liberal” parents do somewhat better than merely “liberal” ones. But conservative parents are best:

By the numbers, researchers found that adolescents with very conservative parents are 16 to 17 percentage points more likely to be in good or excellent health compared to their peers with very liberal parents.

“Only 55 percent of adolescents of liberal parents reported good or excellent mental health compared to 77 percent of those with conservative or very conservative parents,” the study found.

So on average, conservative parents do a better job of raising their children than liberals. And it is doubly good news, since conservative parents, on average, also have more children than liberals. So congratulate yourselves!

A White Coat Supremacy Reader

Of all the members of Congress in all the districts across all the nation, as Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) might say, only Sen. Rand Paul was willing to throw down with Dr. Anthony Fauci. Sen. Paul, a medical doctor, has chronicled the conflict in Deception: The Great Covid Cover-up, and the signs were apparent from the start.

CDC director Robert Redfield, a virologist of long experience, found evidence that Covid virus originated in a lab. Fauci, who is not a virologist, cut Redfield out of discussions on the origins of the Covid virus, which Fauci claimed arose naturally in the wild. When other scientists found evidence of a lab origin, Fauci bullied them into changing their position. His control of their funding gave him leverage.

As Paul notes, “COVID-19 seemed to show up in Wuhan instantly pre-adapted to transmit easily in humans.” Deceptionshows how this can be achieved, and how gain-of-function research can make viruses more lethal and transmissible. Dr. Fauci funded that research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), and lied about it to Congress. Paul told him it was a crime and readers get the full exchanges, plus a lot more.

Fauci and his men “had a conflict of interest,” and were fully aware that “the billion-dollar ‘business of science’ could be damaged if the public becomes aware that the pandemic may have originated in a lab.” At time of his writing “not one Democrat committee chairman has consigned the release request for COVID records from the Biden administration.”

In the pandemic, “we had entered a frightening new era of medicine, where the training and expertise of one’s physician are secondary to the rigid rules and edicts of government bureaucrats.” The Senator thus exposes dynamics of white coat supremacy, and its central figure.

“Despite his extraordinary accumulation of power over nearly four decades,”  Paul observes, “the Senate never once voted to confirm Anthony Fauci.” If he ever practiced medicine, it was only for a short time.

Anthony Fauci earned a medical degree in 1966 but in 1968 took a cushy “yellow beret” job with the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Fauci’s bio showed no advanced degrees in biochemistry or molecular biology but by 1984 he was heading the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID).

Nobel laureate Kary Mullis, inventor of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests,  is on record that Fauci “doesn’t understand electron microscopy and he doesn’t understand medicine. He should not be in a position like he’s in.” In other words, Fauci should never had the job in the first place, which he confirmed with his handling of AIDS.

See Inventing the AIDS Virus, by Peter Duesberg, whose career Fauci ruined, effectively shutting down professor Duesberg’s promising cancer research at UC Berkeley. See also The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS by Michael Fumento and The Real AIDS Epidemic by biologist Rebecca V. Culshaw. The author calls the rush to approve mRNA vaccines for Covid, “essentially a massive clinical trial conducted in real time on the entire population.”

Dr. Fauci also turns up in The Search for an AIDS Vaccine: Ethical Issues in the Development and Testing of a Preventative HIV Vaccine, published in 1995. Author Christine Grady, a nurse with the National Institutes of Health, does not reveal that she had been married to Dr. Fauci for ten years. The NIH concealed that relationship when they named Grady chief of the Department of Bioethics of the NIH Clinical Center in 2012. That set up the mother of all conflicts of interest, justifying Fauci’s drug trials with black foster children in New York.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. covers those trials in The Real Anthony Fauci, ignored by the establishment media but well worth reading. See also China and Viruses: The Case of Dr. Xiangguo Qiu, by Israeli molecular biologist Dr. Dany Shoham, released in January, 2020. Dr. Qiu headed the special pathogens program at Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) and from there shipped a cargo of deadly pathogens to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which she visited five times in 2017-18 alone.

Like evidence of the lab origin, this study was ignored by the establishment media, which hurled charges of “conspiracy theory” at anything less than worshipful of Dr. Fauci. Though allegedly retired, Fauci may still be running the show through his successor Jeanne Marrazzo, pretty much same as the old boss.

This Lysenko figure, who claimed “I represent science,” caused vast damage but has never been held to account. Every member of Congress should read Paul’s book and get on with that task. White coat supremacy is no basis for a system of government.

Down and Out In Paris and London

Actually, of course, we were anything but down and out. Rather, on vacation. Our plan was to spend a week in Paris, where we had never been, followed by a week in London, where we go pretty often. It didn’t quite turn out that way. Here are a few observations for those who might be interested:

* We saw absolutely no political activity–no pro-Hamas demonstrations, in particular. On the contrary, both Paris and London are decorated for Christmas and teeming with shoppers. I did see, however, that a German tourist was stabbed by a Muslim extremist near the Eiffel Tower yesterday.

* Paris was great. Our principal interests are art, history, and food, in all of which Paris abounds. Versailles and the Louvre were terrific, of course. The Louvre is huge and its collection is vast. But signage isn’t great and I don’t think the collection is as well maintained as it could be. I actually prefer London’s National Gallery.

The Hall of Mirrors at Versailles

The Seine, shot from a window in the Louvre

* The National Marine Museum has just re-opened after being closed for several years. It is a fun visit with lots of ship models, among other things.

* We saw two homeless people in Paris and none in London. No doubt there are people in both cities who can’t afford lodging, but they are not allowed to camp out in the streets. Urban decline, such as we see in San Francisco, Los Angeles and many other American cities, is a choice.

* We took the Eurostar train from Paris to London through the Chunnel. We showed up at Gare du Nord on the appointed day and found that our train had been canceled due to a strike somewhere along the way–a very European occurrence that unfortunately still can happen. We re-booked for the following day, which meant that we spent seven nights in Paris and five in London. Happily, the train then ran as scheduled. It is great–Paris to London in something like three hours.

* In Paris, we stayed at the St. James Hotel and Club which was excellent, like being in the country only in the 16th arrondissement. Highly recommended. In London, we stayed at our usual haunt near the corner of St. James’s and Pall Mall, an easy walk from Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace and Piccadilly. Both cities are great for walking, especially at Christmas time.

* Britain’s National Portrait Gallery has re-opened, having been renovated during a two or three year shutdown. I think portraits tend to be boring, but the Portrait Gallery is fantastic, and its collection is sparkling after being cleaned while the museum was closed. The Portrait Gallery is next to the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square and both are a must-see, in my opinion.

Admiral Horatio Nelson and Lady Emma Hamilton, his mistress

* The National Gallery is awesome and highly accessible compared to the Louvre. I am a fan of John Constable, among others:

Constable’s “The Hay Wain”

* For some reason, Europeans are more into Christmas than Americans, at least in terms of public celebration. London is very much in the holiday spirit, with streets decorated and multiple Christmas markets:

* Covid and its idiotic shutdowns are a distant memory. People are everywhere, air travel is setting records, stores and restaurants are bustling. Thank goodness. Let’s hope the would-be fascists don’t try to do it again.

* We ate some great meals, as you would expect. Some of our favorites were at less formal spots like Le Stella, a brasserie that is a short walk from where we stayed in Paris. Probably our favorite restaurant in the world is London’s Jamavar, and not far behind is Il Vicolo, a family-owned Italian restaurant located in an alley near St. James’s Square. (Il Vicolo means “The Alley.”) Recommended if you are in the vicinity.

* We left London early Saturday morning. A snow storm hit later in the day, shutting down a number of airports across Western Europe, so our timing was good. I doubt that the snow would have closed down MSP, however.

* As always, it is good to be home.

Democracy, Democrat style

I had my say on “My Cousin Dean” (i.e., Rep. Dean Phillips) just before he announced his campaign to challenge President Biden for the Democratic nomination for president. I intend to leave it at that unless events transform the shape of the nomination contest — and the Democrat powers-that-be are doing their best to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Jonathan Turley observes Dean’s treatment to democracy, Democrat style, in his Hill column “Democrats try to strip candidates from the ballot, in the name of democracy.” Though this is not unprecedented, for some reason or other it hasn’t received the coverage it deserves:

Henry Ford once promised customers any color so long as it is black. Democrats are adopting the same approach to the election: You can have any candidate on the ballot, as long as it’s Joe Biden.

This week, the Executive Committee of the Florida Democratic Democracy told voters that they would not be allowed to vote against Biden. Even though he has opponents in the primary, the party leadership has ordered that only Biden will appear on the primary ballot.

And if you want to register your discontent with Biden with a write-in vote, forget about it. Under Florida law, if the party approves only one name, there will be no primary ballots at all. The party just called the election for Biden before a single vote has been cast.

Professor Turley quotes Dean speaking in the spirit of the optative (or wishful) mood of ancient Greek verbs: “Americans would expect the absence of democracy in Tehran, not Tallahassee. Our mission as Democrats is to defeat authoritarians, not become them.”

The Democrats of course principally seek to treat Trump to democracy, Democrat style. That is the wish found in the optative mood of their actions. Professor Turley’s mockery of the Democrats adds some sugar to this lemon, but a lemon it remains, and I am grateful to him for turning his attention to it.

In Re: Fetterman

I’m starting to think that maybe we should wish for more Democratic politicians to have strokes like John Fetterman, because it seems it might make them better. It looks to be so in the case of John Fetterman.

He’s clearly on the mend, not just physically, but mentally. First, in the aftermath of October 7, he has been unequivocally on the side of Israel, even seen parading outside the Capitol, in the midst of leftist pro-Hamas demonstrators, carrying an Israeli flag, which has infuriated the left.

And now he has said, hey—if we’re going to kick George Santos out of the House, when are we going to kick out Robert Menendez (the “Senator from Egypt,” Fetterman calls him) from the Senate? And he said this on The View, which has to be the least receptive possible outlet for this”

To be sure, one wonders whether Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer put Fetterman up to this, hoping to bring pressure on Menendez to resign, and spare Democrats the agony of possibly losing his seat next year.

UPDATE: Turns out the Babylon Bee is thinking along the same lines:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a bizarre coincidence, Senator Jon Fetterman has suddenly become more conservative after his brain resumed working.

Previously a die-hard liberal, Fetterman has stunned audiences by staking out a variety of conservative positions over the past several weeks, at the same time as his brain regained the ability to speak in sentences. With Fetterman’s cognition continually improving, conservatives have sat dumbfounded as they found themselves nodding along with the Democrat.

“I don’t know if I should be worried, but Fetterman sounds like he’s speaking coherently and making valid arguments,” said local conservative John Rogers as he watched the Senator on television. “I should probably go check my blood pressure to make sure I’m not the one stroking out.”