Regulatory Action Center Review - October 7, 2019   

Cache   

Welcome to FreedomWorks Foundation’s nineteenth regulatory review of 2019! Our Regulatory Action Center proudly updates you with our favorite tidbits from the swamp. We want to smash barriers between bureaucracy and the American people by delivering regulatory news straight to FreedomWorks activists. Check back in two weeks for the next edition.

1) Video of the Week: Unsurprisingly, the United States is not the first country to experience ballooning budgets and astronomical deficits. In the mid-1990’s, Canada’s debt grew to as high as 70% of GDP, similar to our current debt situation. In this weeks video, John Stossell sits down with Canadian economist David Henderson to discuss how Canada managed to tackle their debt problem by cutting government spending and reducing waste.

2) Why Is the CDC Still Fostering Potentially Deadly Confusion About Vaping and Lung Disease?: “Media outlets, following the lead of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), continue to blame recent cases of severe respiratory illnesses among vapers on "vaping" and "e-cigarettes" in general, falsely implying a link to legal nicotine products. This misinformation is fostering public confusion that may lead to more disease and death, both from smoking and from the black-market products that have been implicated in the lung disease cases.” https://reason.com/2019/09/24/why-is-the-cdc-still-fostering-potentially-deadly-confusion-about-vaping-and-lung-disease/

3) FBI using Facebook ads to gather Russian intelligence: report: “The FBI is reportedly using Facebook ads to gather intelligence on Russia, specifically targeting those who may be or know Russian spies. The FBI is running ads in the Washington, D.C., area, CNN reported on Wednesday, that direct to the FBI field office's website that describes its counterintelligence team and encourages visitors to meet "in person." https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/fbi/464069-fbi-using-facebook-ads-to-gather-russian-intelligence-report

4) Federal Court Upholds FCC Decision to Roll Back Obama-Era Net Neutrality Rules: “Today, by a 2-1 vote, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sided largely with the FCC, upholding the primary regulatory rollback as a valid exercise of its authority. In the nearly 200 page opinion, which is heavy on technical detail, the court wrote that while the challengers raised "numerous objections" aiming to show that the FCC's reclassification is "unreasonable," the judges found them "unconvincing." https://reason.com/2019/10/01/federal-court-upholds-fcc-decision-to-roll-back-obama-era-net-neutrality-rules/

5) Trump to issue executive order ‘protecting’ Americans from ‘Medicare for All’ campaign proposals pushed by Democrats: “The executive order, which he is scheduled to discuss at a speech in Florida later Thursday, is intended to bolster Medicare Advantage, private Medicare insurance for seniors that currently covers 22 million people, senior administration officials said on a call with reporters. The plan would also offer more affordable plan options, increase use of telehealth services and bring payments in Medicare fee-for-service program in line with payments for Medicare Advantage, officials said.” https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/03/trump-to-issue-executive-order-protecting-americans-from-medicare-for-all.html

6) Treasury to create tool to help people redeem billions in unclaimed savings bonds: “Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) on Wednesday said that the Treasury Department will create an online tool to help people redeem billions of dollars in savings bonds. About $26 billion in matured savings bonds are in the U.S. Treasury and have yet to be redeemed. Using the department's forthcoming tool, people will be able to verify against Treasury Department records if they have any savings bonds dated after 1974 that can be redeemed, Kennedy's office said in a news release.” https://thehill.com/policy/finance/464057-senator-treasury-will-create-tool-to-help-people-redeem-billions-of-dollars-in

7) Trump takes heat from right over vaping crackdown: “The Trump administration is under fire from conservative groups and some GOP lawmakers, who are pushing back over its planned crackdown on e-cigarette flavors. They say the administration is overreaching, and the flavor ban will harm small businesses, a violation of core Republican free market principles.” https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/464470-trump-takes-heat-from-right-over-vaping-crackdown


          

U.S. House passes marijuana banking bill, with support of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers   

Cache   

Congress took its first step Wednesday toward allowing state-sanctioned marijuana businesses to access banking products without fear of a federal government crackdown.

That step included support from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, an Eastern Washington Republican who has spoken against the state’s legalization of recreational marijuana and received criticism from cannabis reformers hoping to fully legalize the drug.

“I heard from a lot of banks and credit unions about the increased amount of cash that is on our streets, and the danger that it poses for our community,” McMorris Rodgers said in an interview following her vote.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Oregon, prohibits federal regulators from penalizing or limiting financial services offered by lending institutions working with marijuana businesses that followed state laws. The bill passed 321-103with 91 Republicans voting in favor, many of them saying they supported the bill’s narrow scope that is intended to keep such businesses from relying solely on cash. That can make them targets for crime, bill supporters argued.

Many banks and credit unions have avoided working with cannabis businesses, as the drug remains illegal under federal law. Locally, Numerica Credit Union offers a limited set of financial services to growers, processors and retailers.

The U.S. Treasury Department keeps track of banks and credit unions nationwide reporting activity with marijuana businesses as part of its suspicious activity reports program. The department reported in June that there were 715 lending institutions nationwide that were conducting business with marijuana firms.

Advocates pushing for further reform of federal marijuana laws, including the potential declassification of the drug as a controlled substance, heralded Wednesday’s vote. It is the first time Congressional lawmakers have approved any legislation dealing only with marijuana, as more and more states legalize its sale to both medical patients and as a recreational drug.

“For the first time ever, a supermajority of the House voted affirmatively to recognize that the legalization and regulation of marijuana is a superior public policy to prohibition and criminalization,” Justin Strekal, political director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said in a statement.

The bill doesn’t change marijuana’s classification as illegal under federal law. It also doesn’t address the Justice Department’s apparent attempts to keep bankruptcy cases from people declaring marijuana income out of the courts.

McMorris Rodgers said her support for the legislation was due to its narrow scope. But the congresswoman noted that she’s also co-sponsored another marijuana bill introduced by Oregon Democratic Rep. Ed Blumenauer which would enable the sale of marijuana seeds and plant starts to researchers licensed by the federal government for medical study.

“I continue to have concerns about legalization of recreational marijuana, in particular,” McMorris Rodgers said. “I’m concerned about the safety around it, especially for our kids.”

The House’s approval of the bill sends the legislation to the Republican-controlled Senate, where another Western GOP lawmaker has already convened an informational hearing about a companion bill.

Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo, chairman of the Senate’s Banking Committee, held a hearing in late July on similar bipartisan legislation, but no votes were taken. At the time, Crapo said he was interested in learning more about the legislation, but also concerned about a 2013 Justice Department initiative under President Barack Obama that targeted firearm sellers, payday lenders and other businesses believed to be at risk of committing financial crimes.

“Having a conversation about whether banks should be able to provide banking services to entities engaged in federally illegal behavior brings up the issue and concern that there has been a push to choke off legal industries from the banking sector,” Crapo said at the July hearing.

Strekal and representatives of other marijuana reform organizations urged the Senate to take up the legislation in statements Wednesday. President Donald Trump has not given clear indication whether he would sign marijuana banking legislation if it were to pass both chambers of Congress, but he expressed some support for another bipartisan bill introduced in Congress that, among other changes, would give state-sanctioned marijuana businesses access to banking.

Crapo told reporters for the publication Congressional Quarterly on Wednesday that he wanted to consider a banking bill, which could be separate from the House bill, in the Senate soon.


          

Maxine Waters: Banking on Hypocrisy   

Cache   

The bank CEOs sat meekly during Waters' verbal flogging. But as she frothed at the mouth, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank covered the microphone and briefly chastised her. To no avail. Waters' motor mouth kept on running.

Did the banks raise interest rates on credit card customers after they took Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) money, she thundered. Thumping her fists on the table, she then railed about their loan modification policies. "How many require that you have to be behind by two months?" Blustering about underwriting fees they paid themselves on government-backed bond sales, she yelled, "You made money off the TARP money!" One of her fellow Democrats finally ended the diatribe: "I'm going to have to calm you down because when the chairman gets back he's going to have to penalize me."

Fast-forward a month later. The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the high-and-mighty Waters had a personal and financial stake in Boston-based OneUnited, a minority bank that received $12 million in TARP money under smelly circumstances. The banks' executives donated $12,500 to her congressional campaigns. Her husband, Sidney Williams, was an investor in one of the banks that merged into OneUnited. They've profited handsomely from their relationship with the bank:

"Congressional financial-disclosure forms show Ms. Waters acquired OneUnited stock worth between $250,000 and $500,000 in March 2004, as did Mr. Williams. Mr. Williams joined the board of OneUnited that year.

"Each sold shares in September 2004 -- including Ms. Waters' entire stake -- but Mr. Williams continued to hold varying amount of the company's stock. In the lawmaker's most recent financial-disclosure form, dated May 2008 and covering the prior year, Ms. Waters reported that her husband held between $250,000 and $500,000 worth of the bank's stock.

"Mr. Williams also received interest payments from a separate holding at the bank, also worth between $250,000 and $500,000. The 2008 form doesn't specify what that is. Mr. Williams stepped down from the bank's board last spring. It couldn't be learned whether he still owns stock in the bank. Mr. Williams didn't return calls seeking comment."

Waters (along with Frank) participated directly in pressuring the feds for OneUnited's piece of the bailout pie. She personally contacted the Treasury Department last December requesting $50 million for the company -- and failed to disclose her ties to the bank to them. The government ended up coughing up $12 million in TARP funding for OneUnited -- despite another government agency rapping the bank in October 2008 for "operating without effective underwriting standards and practices," "operating without an effective loan documentation program" and "engaging in speculative investment practices."

Oh, and get this: The favored bank of Maxine Waters was also penalized for alleged excessive executive compensation. The FDIC ordered the bank to "sell all bank-owned automobiles," require reimbursement for executives' car purchases (according to the Boston Business Journal, OneUnited CEO Kevin Cohee was cruising around in a 2008 Porsche SUV), and cease payments on a $6 million Santa Monica beachfront home purchased by Cohee, his wife, Teri Williams, who served as bank president, and others.

Responding to scrutiny of the bank's special treatment, Cohee is now accusing critics of -- yep, you guessed it -- racism.

Now, who is sick of Democratic shakedown artists sanctimoniously lecturing others about the culture of corruption? Raise your hand! Raise your hand!


          

Gaming the System? Treasury Department Complains of Unworthy EV Credit Recipients   

Cache   

Tax credits are a great way to stimulate purchases or participation, and in the politician’s mind, they often take precedence over affordability measures that would benefit broader swathes of society. That being said, they’re here to say… unless you’re referring to the slowly vanishing federal EV tax credit. Automakers like Tesla and General Motors are […]

The post Gaming the System? Treasury Department Complains of Unworthy EV Credit Recipients appeared first on The Truth About Cars.


          

Trade tensions escalate as the US and China barrel toward tariff hikes   

Cache   

trump xi jinping

  • The US and China have seen trade tensions rise rapidly in recent days.
  • That has cast uncertainty on whether the world's largest economies would be able to stave off planned tariff escalations set to take place next week. 
  • The scheduled escalation would lead to tariffs as high as 30% on Chinese products. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The US and China have seen trade tensions rise rapidly in recent days, casting uncertainty on whether the world's largest economies would be able to stave off planned tariff escalations set to take place next week. 

On Thursday and Friday, the two sides are set to hold the first high-level trade discussions on US soil since they fell apart in May. But a series of escalations have unfolded ahead of the thirteenth round of negotiations, which were expected to offer a last-ditch attempt to avoid tariff rates as high as 30% after October 15

The US added 28 technology companies in China to an export blacklist late Monday over alleged human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang was swift to push back against the action and suggest retaliation. 

"We urge the US to immediately correct its mistake, withdraw the relevant decision and stop interfering in China's internal affairs," Geng said at a press conference. "China will continue to take firm and forceful measures to resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests."

The Trump administration has also moved forward with discussions on ways to limit investment flows into China, according to a source familiar with the matter. Bloomberg first reported the plan, which was disputed by the White House and the Treasury Department but has been confirmed by several news outlets including Business Insider.

"The chances of these talks yielding any sort of deal was already amazingly small," said Scott Kennedy, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who studies China. "This possible step just adds to the growing pile of reasons why the Chinese have little incentive to make substantial concessions."

President Donald Trump has publicly vacillated between the prospect of a prolonged dispute with China and optimism toward a deal. Against the backdrop of a rapidly-evolving impeachment inquiry that was opened last month, the president could face increasing pressure to scale back tariffs that could alter the calculus of his reelection bid. 

"China is also coming here on — their representatives — they're coming on Thursday and Friday," Trump told reporters Monday in the Roosevelt Room. "As to whether or not we make a deal, I don't know. But there's certainly a good possibility." 

China has increased American agricultural purchases ahead of this week's meetings between Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and a Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He in Washington. Soybeans have been at the center of trade negotiations since China halted imports of them last year. 

But the Trump administration has struggled to win concrete concessions from China on issues that ignited the trade dispute more than a year ago, including intellectual property theft and the forced transfer of foreign technology. The two sides will continue to discuss those topics this week, according to a statement from the White House, along with services, non-tariff barriers, agriculture, and enforcement.

"There is no chance of a comprehensive deal, but there hasn't been any chance since May," said Derek Scissors, a China scholar at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Animated map shows where American accents came from


          

   

Cache   


Can we now vaccinate against lung cancer?

Not so fast.  The report below suggests that we can but it is misleading.

The story starts with a remarkable product that originated in the early 20th century: BCG vaccine. Some patient French scientists produced a weakened bacillus from the form of tuberculosis that cattle get. They used their product as an effective vaccine  against TB for humans. It is actually a live bacterium that they and their successors inject into you as a vaccination.  But it is a real life-saver. Once injected with it, you mostly don't get TB at all and you mostly recover well in a worst case scenario.  It is very widely used so it keeps a large lot of Third-worlders alive.

So is it itself dangerous to your health?  The studies of that differ in their conclusions but the general conclusion is that it is pretty safe.  The study below aimed to settle that for once and for all.  And it did.  With a follow-up of thousands of people across a remarkable 60 year period, people who had been given the vaccine were no more likely to die than anyone else.  You seldom get conclusions as solid as that.

While analysing their data however the authors noticed something interesting. There were a lot fewer lung cancer deaths among those who had received the BCG vaccine.  They cried Eureka and said we now know how to prevent lung cancer.  They were able to show statistical significance for their findings so that is that!

But it isn't. The effect they found is exceptionally small statistically (a hazard ratio of 0.38) and was shown as statistically significant only because of the large sample size.  It has no precedent so is clearly one of those adventitious findings that you often get when analysing a large and complex body of data:  Findings that will never emerge again.

Because you can do it so easily, it is actually regarded as bad science to report such adventitious findings. You are supposed to report the significance or not of only those correlations you have predicted from theory. A lot of last minute theory revisions happen of course.

So all the work behind that study was well-justified by the findings that BCG -- as predicted -- is very safe but the "findings" about lung cancer should be ignored.


Association of BCG Vaccination in Childhood With Subsequent Cancer Diagnoses: A 60-Year Follow-up of a Clinical Trial

Nicholas T. Usher et al.

Abstract

Importance:  The BCG vaccine is currently the only approved tuberculosis vaccine and is widely administered worldwide, usually during infancy. Previous studies found increased rates of lymphoma and leukemia in BCG-vaccinated populations.

Objective:  To determine whether BCG vaccination was associated with cancer rates in a secondary analysis of a BCG vaccine trial.

Design, Setting, and Participants  Retrospective review (60-year follow-up) of a clinical trial in which participants were assigned to the vaccine group by systematic stratification by school district, age, and sex, then randomized by alternation. The original study was conducted at 9 sites in 5 US states between December 1935 and December 1998. Participants were 2963 American Indian and Alaska Native schoolchildren younger than 20 years with no evidence of previous tuberculosis infection. Statistical analysis was conducted between August 2018 and July 2019.

Interventions:  Single intradermal injection of either BCG vaccine or saline placebo.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  The primary outcome was diagnosis of cancer after BCG vaccination. Data on participant interval health and risk factors, including smoking, tuberculosis infection, isoniazid use, and other basic demographic information, were also collected.

Results:  A total of 2963 participants, including 1540 in the BCG vaccine group and 1423 in the placebo group, remained after exclusions. Vaccination occurred at a median (interquartile range) age of 8 (5-11) years; 805 participants (52%) in the BCG group and 710 (50%) in the placebo group were female. At the time of follow-up, 97 participants (7%) in the placebo group and 106 participants (7%) in the BCG vaccine group could not be located; total mortality was 633 participants (44%) in the placebo group and 632 participants (41%) in the BCG group. The overall rate of cancer diagnosis was not significantly different in BCG vaccine vs placebo recipients (hazard ratio, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.66-1.02), including for lymphoma and leukemia. The rate of lung cancer was significantly lower in BCG vs placebo recipients (18.2 vs 45.4 cases per 100 000 person-years; hazard ratio, 0.38; 95% CI, 0.20-0.74; P = less than .005), controlling for sex, region, alcohol overuse, smoking, and tuberculosis.

Conclusions and Relevance:  Childhood BCG vaccination was associated with a lower risk of lung cancer development in American Indian and Alaska Native populations. This finding has potentially important health implications given the high mortality rate associated with lung cancer and the availability of low-cost BCG vaccines.

JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(9):e1912014. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.12014

*********************************

U.S. unemployment falls to 50 year low of 3.5% with 136,000 jobs added in September, Donald Trump takes sarcastic victory lap

President Donald Trump gloated on Friday after the Labor Department released a rosy summary of America's employment picture during the month of September, tweeting a sarcastic jab about Democrats' desire to impeach him despite the nation's economic health.

'Breaking News: Unemployment Rate, at 3.5%, drops to a 50 YEAR LOW,' the president tweeted. 'Wow America, lets impeach your President (even though he did nothing wrong!).'

U.S. employers added a modest 136,000 jobs in September, but it was enough to help lower the unemployment rate to a new five-decade low of 3.5 per cent.

President Donald Trump gloated on Friday after the Labor Department released a rosy summary of America's employment picture during the month of September

Hiring has slowed this year as the U.S.-China trade war has intensified, global growth has slowed and businesses have cut back on their investment spending. Even so, hiring has averaged 157,000 in the past three months, enough to absorb new job seekers and lower unemployment over time.

Despite the ultra-low unemployment rate, which dropped from 3.7 per cent in August, average hourly wages slipped by a penny, the Labor Department said Friday in its monthly jobs report. Hourly pay rose just 2.9 per cent from a year earlier, below the 3.4 per cent year-over-year gain at the beginning of the year.

The unemployment rate for Latinos fell to 3.9 per cent, the lowest on records dating from 1973.

With the U.S. economic expansion in its 11th year and unemployment low, many businesses have struggled to find the workers they need. That is likely one reason why hiring has slowed since last year.

But it's likely not the only reason. The jobs figures carry more weight than usual because worries about the health of the U.S. economy are mounting. Manufacturers have essentially fallen into recession as U.S. businesses have cut spending on industrial machinery, computers and other factory goods.

And overseas demand for U.S. exports has fallen sharply as President Donald Trump's trade conflicts with China and Europe have triggered retaliatory tariffs.

A measure of factory activity fell in September to its lowest level in more than a decade. And new orders for manufactured items slipped last month, the government reported.

Persistent uncertainties about the economy in the face of Trump's trade conflicts and a global economic slump are also affecting hotels, restaurants and other service industries.

A trade group's measure of growth in the economy's vast services sector slowed sharply in September to its lowest point in three years, suggesting that the trade conflicts and rising uncertainty are weakening the bulk of the economy.

The job market is the economy's main bulwark. As long as hiring is solid enough to keep the unemployment rate from rising, most Americans will likely remain confident enough to spend, offsetting other drags and propelling the economy forward.

But a slump in hiring or a rise in the unemployment rate in coming months could discourage consumers from spending as freely as they otherwise might during the holiday shopping season.

Consumers are still mostly optimistic, and their spending has kept the economy afloat this year. But they may be growing more cautious. Consumer confidence dropped sharply in September, according to the Conference Board, a business research group, although it remains at a high level.

Americans also reined in their spending in August after several months of healthy gains. The 0.1 per cent increase in consumer spending that month was the weakest in six months.

Other parts of the U.S. economy are still holding up well. Home sales, for example, have rebounded as mortgage rates have fallen, helped in part by the Federal Reserve's two interest rate cuts this year. Sales of existing homes reached their highest level in nearly 18 months in August. And new home sales soared.

Americans are also buying cars at a still-healthy pace. Consumers would typically be reluctant to make such major purchases if they were fearful of a downturn.

SOURCE

**********************************

Young Snowflakes observed

by Elisa David.  She writes from Germany but what she says is recognizable elsewhere

When I was studying in gymnasium [academic High School], I got into a “strings” class. That means my class had an extra two hours when we learned to play a string instrument. Today I know I will definitely not be another Anne-Sophie Mutter.[2]. Those years were not useless, however, for I learned something quite different. Since the idea of extra strings practice did not appeal to many boys, we had a rather unusual gender division, with three boys and twenty girls. So for five years in my class, a collective of puberty-driven teenage girls set the tone — for my own self at the time, it was an absolute horror. But now I know what the consequences can be when women gain the upper hand.

I am no longer amazed at any political movement. My time in school has, to a certain extent, prepared me perfectly for Fridays for Future, #MeToo, and all these trends which my generation has absorbed, because they are tailor-made for them. Generation Snowflake is sensitive, does not wish to be confronted by unfamiliar opinions, is united in “otherness”. Because that is the point — being “other” but “belonging” to it; a certain uncertainty, coupled with the habit of considering oneself important; the need to be seen and simultaneously to conform. My observation is that these completely new views, this strange, contradictory behavior — which major portions of society and above all my generation display — depend on it.

One result seems to be the inflationary increase of psychic illnesses. Not being quite right in the head seems to be the first and decisive step to welcoming otherness. In my class, it was a proven method in the constant battle for sympathy. Passing through distinct stages of puberty is normal, but many took this to a higher level. I still remember how we discussed eating disorders like anorexia in biology class, and shortly thereafter, half the class was anorexic. The imaginary ill predictably announced their new suffering loudly to the world.

The Cutting Trend

Our teacher showed us pictures of an anorexic patient and explained that it is definitely unhealthy for the rib cage and the spine to show so clearly, and that help is needed urgently. Before the very next sports hour, a bunch of girls were standing in front of the mirror, lamenting loudly that their bones were not showing, so they must be overweight and would eat nothing for the entire rest of the day.

Our teacher explained the food pyramid and why a balanced diet is important for the body. My fellow female students were already planning what foods they would avoid to reach the desired weight loss through deficient nutrition. At some point, the attention they received for these actions was no longer enough. When, every hour on the hour, somebody runs out to throw up, it is no longer anything special.

Then, as if by divine will, there came a conference day on the explanation and recognition of depression. There is no denying how important it is to recognize depression. But a side effect of presentations which explain in detail what the symptoms of these illnesses are is that these symptoms are served to young attention-needy girls on a silver platter. All they have to do is write it down and act it out. And in fact, even writing it down isn’t necessary, since glossy brochures are passed out at the end.

If you think a mob of supposedly anorexic girls is bad, just wait until you see what artificially depressed girls can do. It started when half of them had bandages on their arms and because of that, wore short sleeves in winter, so everyone would ask what had happened. “I cut myself” was the answer, and that was the beginning of the cutting trend. Later, the bandages came off and countess scars appeared. Still in short or rolled-up sleeves, they bore the scars proudly, until they noticed someone looking at them, then they theatrically hid them behind their backs. I felt like I was in a madhouse, and there was no other time that deadened me to this junk pile of feelings like this one did.

Otherness Through Sympathy

Biology wasn’t the only dangerous class for us. One of the most important studies was geography. Before that, we led a dull existence, and ate what tasted good. Then, in geography, we saw a film about the meat industry and my little snowflakes realized that even the gelatin in gummy bears did not grow on trees, but came from sweet little piggies. At a stroke, all of them were vegetarians. And it is not enough to just be a vegetarian, you have to live it. To the shock of how cute cutlets were when alive came a second, more important one — that almost no one was a vegetarian at the time.

The situation was brilliant for my classmates. They were special again with their new insight and could set themselves off from the masses, see themselves as better, more enlightened. What I find comforting is that, of those where prepared to go under the axe with every dead piglet, hardly any of them today will give up her schnitzel. Not eating meat has become quite normal, and nobody wants to be that conformist. The little bit of attention is not enough reward for the sacrifice. So, either go right to being vegan, or forget food altogether, and declare yourself a non-binary, pansexual, rainbow person. Since there are now over sixty genders, there is not much competition.

So what can be learned from my classmates? First and foremost, that they would do anything for attention, whatever the price. Approximately following Madonna’s byword: “Even bad publicity is publicity”, they take what they can get. They get this attention through otherness. Apparently, my classmates wanted sympathy above all. At any rate, group pressure must be factored in. We are, after all, herd animals. Aside from that, the tone of the Snowflake Generation is set by girls, and it isn’t just going to the powder room that they don’t like to do alone — they don’t become anorexic, depressed or bisexual alone. They always like to have like-minded people around them. Just so long as they are not those who are considered normal and boring.

The question remains: why is something like this happening now? In the 21st century, we are living in a time when technical, medical and scientific advances — at least in the West — have secured prosperity. We have never had it so good. I am not one of twenty children, of whom only three have survived. I have had my shots and have grown to the age of eighteen without fear or problems. My grandmother is not worshipped as the oldest in the tribe, although she can no longer light candles on her birthday cake. It would look like the Atlanta fire. That is, many people nowadays grow “old” (quotation marks because of her vanity). I did not write this article on a typewriter and so did not have to start fresh after every mistake.

The ability to read is not a privilege, but normal. Almost all of us carry small devices that give us access to boundless knowledge. But not all of us use this knowledge. Our quality of life has never been so good, yet some cultivate starvation and conjure up psychic disturbances that we would not wish on our worst enemy. And how contemptuous this behavior is of those who actually suffer from these illnesses, the seekers of attention do not care.

But where does this sudden self-destructive urge come from? Why is it striking the very generation that has everything? I think the lack of responsibility and challenge has made us incapable of living. We no longer have to worry about ourselves, there are no expectations of us, and if we have no real problems or don’t even care to see them, then we make some up for ourselves.

SOURCE 

**********************************

IN BRIEF

IRS WHISTLEBLOWER: The Washington Post claims, "An Internal Revenue Service official has filed a whistleblower complaint reporting that he was told that at least one Treasury Department political appointee attempted to improperly interfere with the annual audit of the president's or vice president's tax returns."

MCCARTHY COUNTERATTACKS: "Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) on Thursday called for Speaker Nancy Pelosi to halt the House's impeachment inquiry into President Trump 'until transparent and equitable rules and procedures are established to govern the inquiry, as is customary,'" National Review reports, while Trump is issuing his own floor-vote dare.

SAN FRAN ADMONISHED: "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday sent a notice that San Francisco is violating the federal Clean Water Act." (NBC Los Angeles)

THANKS, OBAMA: Survey: Family health insurance now averages more than $20,000 a year (The Federalist)

*********************************

For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here

**************************




Next Page: 25

© Googlier LLC, 2019