Monday, July 26, 2021

Why the Kerfuffle with Ben & Jerry's

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, two itinerant Jews from New York, found themselves in progressive Burlington, Vermont, joining fellow New York progressive expatriate Bernie Sanders, Mayor of Burlington. Ben and Jerry set up a corner ice cream shop in an abandoned gas station and hit the jackpot. The artery clogging, high butterfat content ice cream was a success. Their appeal as two progressive entrepreneurs helped. Gen Z and Millennials love the ice cream. Ben and Jerry sold Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream to the multi-national Unilever in 2000 for $325 million. Ben and Jerry’s is unique with its appealing image. The merger of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream with Unilever had unusual terms and conditions. Ben and Jerry’s would retain an independent board of directors, perhaps in perpetuity. Unilever agreed to the new subsidiary continuing its social policies “in these critical, global economic and social missions.” Unilever made a Faustian bargain. It could sit back, collect the revenues and profits from Ben and Jerry’s with some occasional blowback. Ben and Jerry’s is the single highest selling ice cream in the United States in 2020 with sales of $863.1 million. That’s what $6/pint can do compared to $4-6/1½ gallon for most branded ice cream. Breyers, another Unilever brand, is the largest seller by volume. Ben & Jerry’s is known for its social activism. It called for President Trump’s impeachment after the January 6 Capitol riots. It’s opposed to GMO products. It’s hypocritical low was after the killing of George Floyd. The almost all white company called out to “dismantle white supremacy in all its forms.” It promoted Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street. Up to one fifth of its advertising budget goes to social causes. Where could go wrong? Ben and Jerry’s joined the BDS Movement last Tuesday. It announced that it will no longer sell its ice cream in the “Occupied Palestinian Territory,” i.e. Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem. Technically it was cancelling its licensing agreement with its Israeli affiliate when the license expires at the end of 2022. It had asked the licensee to stop selling in the occupied territories – an offer the licensee could not accept because Israeli law forbids boycotts of Israeli citizens, Jewish or Arab, based on their location. Unilever remains “fully committed” to its Israeli business and staying in Israel. CEO Alan Jope said: “Unilever remains fully committed to our business in Israel. This was a decision that was taken by Ben & Jerry’s and its independent board in line with an acquisition agreement that we signed 20 years ago.” He said that, but I assume Unilever’s are flyspecking the purchase agreement looking for a loophole. Good luck with that. Most consumers will not understand the legal distinction. Therein lies a problem for Unilever. It cannot in theory control Ben and Jerry’s, but it has to answer companywide for Ben and Jerry’s. Several Jewish retailers in Jewish neighborhoods have dropped the brand. Several individuals have vowed not to buy Tom and Jerry’s, but who knows? Talk is cheap on social media. If a boycott of Ben and Jerrys, or of Unilever generally, is effective, the company will have to act. It may or may not be able to control the subsidiary, but it can definitely sell it or spin it off. Unilever is heavily invested in Israel and is a large exporter of its products from Israel. It invested over $300 million in Israel over the past decade. Naftali Bennett, Israel’s new prime minister, said Ben & Jerry’s ban will have “serious consequences.” Jews in the U.S. are split on BDS and the settlements, but Israel is overwhelmingly unified on BDS. They view BDS as an existential threat to the country. Israel and Unilever are too heavily intertwined, but changes will occur. I am not a fan of boycotts, a favorite tool of the left. The left has unsuccessfully attempted to get Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Tucker Carlson fired by pressuring their advertisers to cancel. Their boycotts of Chick fil-A and backfired with increased sales by those companies. Avi Zinger, CEO of Ben and Jerry’s Israel will survive. 33 American states have enacted anti-BDS statutes that restrict their governments from contracting or investing in companies that boycott Israeli businesses or people. I will continue my personal avoidance boycott of Ben and Jerry’s because I don’t eat the high fat, high calorie, high price ice cream. I’m happy with Breyers and store brands.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Nikole Hannah-Jones, the Squad and Cuba

Black lives Matter and AOC blame Cuba’s misery on the 60 year “absurdly bad” U.S. Boycott. They are either besotted with socialism/Marxism or in a state of denial, refusing to believe the facts – not for the first time. Nikole Hannah-Jones in a 2019 podcast called Cuba “the most equal multiracial country” in the Western hemisphere. She credits socialism for Cuba’s success. She wrote in a 2008 Op-Ed that Cuba has a high literacy rate and a “model” universal health care system. Senator Bernie Sanders, who honeymooned in the Soviet Union, also praises Cuba’s literacy program. Of course the Cuban people have equality Equality in trying to escape Cuba. - often by boat Equality in poverty Equality in lack of access to food, medical care and medicine even though the trade embargo excludes food and medicines. Cubans have three classes of medical care. The highest level is reserved for the leaderaship. The next highest is for foreigners who can pay cash. The leftovers are for the Cuban masses. Equality in driving 70-80 year old cars. Here’s the amazing fact about the U.S. boycott. It only applies to U.S. citizens, U. S. companies, and their subsidiaries. Cuba is free to trade with Canada, Mexico and the rest of the world. Then we have the dictatorship class, headed by the Castro family, which runs Cuba. They are White as is the Cuban Communist Party Central Committee. Blacks were in leadership positions before the Castro Revolution, but no mas. Nikole Hannah-Jones praised Cuba for ending “codified racism.” Now it’s de facto discrimination. Cubans are literate They understand Cuba Libre and Libertad. Thge Cuban protestors are flying both the Cuban Flag and American Flag. American protestors and athlethes are trashing the American Flag. Go figure! The Biden Administration is welcoming undocumented immigrants, but not the Cubans Open Borders, but not Open Seas for Cubans and Haitians. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said: “If you take to the sea, you will not come.” Secretary Mayorkas was born in Cuba in 1959. His parents brought him to America in 1960 So much for Solidarity Forever with Cuban-American Mayorkas! Why? Cuban refugees upon acquiring citizenship vote Republican. Professor Nikole Hannah-Jones, AOL and the rest of the Squad should visit Cuba to see Communism and Socialism in action. Then they should take a side trip to Venezuela to see the once most prosperous country by Latin American standards with a vibrant middle class descend into Cuban style equality of poverty in less than a decade. Not many Americans try to deflect to Cuba. On the other hand, Joanne Deborah Chesimard, aka Assata Olugbala Shakur, was found guilty of first degree murder in New Jersey. She and two fellow Black Liberation Army members killed a New Jersey State Patrol Officer in May 1963. The redistribution of wealth becomes the redistribution of poverty.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Vice President Hamala. Harris May Not Be Ready for Prime Time; But she is Vice President

Vice President Kamala Harris May Not Be Ready for Prime Time, But She is Vice President of the United States Vice President Kamala Harris is being attacked from the left and right. The consensus is President Biden made a mistake. The media is full of report of low morale, staff turmoil, turmoil and communications problems with the Vice President’s staff. Those stories came from inside the Administration. Do not write her off. The internet chatter cannot force her out of office. President Biden cannot fire here. Her term of office runs to January 20, 2025. Let me repeat. No matter how dissatisfied the Bidenites may be, they cannot fire Vice President Kamala Harris. She could be impeached or 25th Amendment. She could unexpectedly die or become disabled. Social media can’t remove her. Or she could resign. Politicians with blind ambition for the White House do not voluntarily resign. The Constitution spells out the Vice President’s office. She is to preside over the Senate, cast tie-breaking votes in the Senate, and succeed the to the Presidency if the President dies in office, resigns or is removed under the 25th Amendment. That’s it! FDR’s Vice President John Nance Garner is reported to have said “the Vice Presidency is not worth a bucket of warm spit.” LBJ was passing into oblivion in the Kennedy Administration until the tragic day in November 1963 when President Kennedy was assassinated. LBJ instantaneously became a different person, the same forceful person he had been as Senate Majority Leader. No signs in the Vice President’s past will indicate a LBJ change as President. President Biden’s Administration was based on undoing everything President Trump did. Thus, Open Borders. President Biden halted construction of the Border Wall and opened the Border to all comers, including rapists, MS-13, drugs, meth, fentanyl, opium and a host of others. He could no longer deny after two months that “problems” exist at the Border. Thus he assigned the Vice President to study the root causes of the migration crisis. She was promptly labeled the Border Tsar. The Vice President was placed in a lose-lose position. She could not say “Open Borders” was the cause, mush less root cause, because Open Borders was the Administration’s Policy and her campaign plank. She therefore avoided going to the Border, until the heat became too strong. She responded when asked why she hadn’t gone to the border: “I haven’t been to Europe either.” She proceeded to ignore the Border. Finally, under pressure, she visited Guatemala and Mexico for two days in May. Her solution to the root causes was to offer more billions to them. The Cayman Island and Swiss bankers are salivating. Pressure continued to build. She had to go to the Border. She therefore took a desultory trip to the Border. She dropped into El Paso on June 25 for a photoshoot on the way to Los Angeles. All was wonderful in El Paso because the problems are 300 miles away. She said: “We have seen extreme progress over these last few months.” Border encounters (detentions or arrests) were up only 563% in the El Paso. Over 1 million have illegally crossed the Southern Border in a little over half of this year. Most have been released, indeed often flown by the military into the hinterlands of America. The word “extreme” was right. “Progress” was a figment of her imagination. Vice President Harris uttered these bromides: “Our approach has to be thoughtful and effective” and President Biden is offering a more humane approach. Her trip was ill- planned and widely panned. Her visits and statements did not calm the crisis. George W. Bush received the Republican nomination for President in 2000. He selected Dick Chaney as his VEEP, at which point the media commentators pronounced Dick Chaney brought gravitas, yes GRAVITAS, to the Bush Administration. No one claims Kamala Harris brings gravitas to the Biden Administration. President Biden in June assigned the Vice President to lead the fight to expand voter access. She joined the elitists who believe flyover country is an empty wasteland full of hicks, hayseeds, and yokels, i.e. Walmart deplorables who cling to their guns and religion. She supports the Democrats’ Voting Rights Bill and opposes the Republicans state voting bills. The debate is a fight over the future of the country. The Democrats want Open Borders and Open Voting to stuff the ballot boxes through ballot harvesting, felons and ex-cons, the dead, and non-citizens. Republicans want eligible voters to vote. She attacked state voting laws Saturday: “Well, there are a whole lot of people, especially people who live in rural communities, who don’t – there’s no Kinkos, there’s no OfficeMax near them.” There’s probably no OfficeMax near her either. They were subsumed into Office Depot a few years ago. My first faculty position was at Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio, a rural town still with less than 6,000 residents surrounded by wheat, corn, and soybeans. Memo to the VEEP: These “rubes” have telephones, cell phones, cable or live streaming, the internet, Wi-Fi, computers, printers, copy machines, scanners, cars and driver licenses. I also learnt that the farmers had to smart and technologically savvy to survive. If she believes that statement of hers, then she is manifestly unfit to be president of the American people. If she was just mouthing talking points provided by her staff, then her ignorance shows. If she didn’t believe it, then she was insulting the American people. President Biden’s handlers during the election campaign did a wonderful job muzzling the candidate. They continue to limit his public appearances. We see little of the traditional Biden malapropisms. Vice President Harris is filling the gap. Kamala Harris’ qualifications are District Attorney of San Francisco, Attorney General of California, and more years as a United States Senator than President Obama. She served on the Senate Judiciary Committee during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. She asked piercing questions, but standing out in that crowd of 10 Democrats pillowing Judge Kavanaugh was difficult. Three of them, Cory Brook of New Jersey, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Kamala Harris of California, sought to use their time in the sun to run for President. Senator Harris announced her candidacy on January 21, 2019. The initial response shot her high up in the polls. She had a good first debate, but then started fading. To quote Gertrude Stein: “There is no there, there.” The Senator dropped out on December 3, 2019 before the first debate. The Bush staffers believe they made a mistake adding Senator Harris to the ticket. That wasn’t a mistake; it was a Faustian Bargain. The good news for President Biden is the Vice President is deflecting flak from him. She also will not outshine him. The pundits scoffed at Joe Biden a year ago. Look where he is now.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Rank the Following Democratic Governors, Mayors, and District Attorneys from Worse. to Best, Best to Worse, or Worse to Worst

Governors Gavin Newsom. California J.B. Pritzker Illinois Gretchen Whitmer Michigan Tim Walz. Minnesota Phil Murphy New Jersey Andrew Cuomo. New York Kate Brown Oregon Tim Wolf Pennsylvania Ralph Northam Virginia Jay Inslee Washington Tony Evers Wisconsin Mayors Keisha Lance Bottoms. Atlanta (not seeking reelection) Lori Lightfoot Chicago Eric Garcetti. Los Angeles (headed to India) Jacob Frey Minneapolis Bill De Blasio New York (termed out) Jim Kenney Philadelphia Ted Wheeler Portland Jenny Durkin Seattle (not seeking reelection) Muriel Bowser Washington, D.C. District Attorneys Marilyn Mosby Baltimore Kim Foxx Chicago (Cook County) George Gascon Los Angeles Mike Schmidt Portland (Multnomah County) Cyrus Vance, Jr. Manhattan (New York City) Larry Krasner Philadelphia Kim Gardner St. Louis Chesa Boudin San Francisco Dan Satterberg King County (Seattle)

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Memo to President Biden and the Democratic Party: What Goes Around, Comes Around

Memo to the Democrats: What Goes Around, Comes Around Remember the success in threatening to impeach President Nixon? They called it Watergate. He resigned. Remember President Clinton, Monica Lewinsky, Paula Jones, and his obstruction of justice? The Republican House impeached him, but the Senate acquitted him. President Clinton subsequently settled with Paula Jones, pled guilty to obstruction, and was disbarred. Payback came from the Democrats twice impeached President Trump with no legal or factual basis. The Republicans have the memory of elephants. They could impeach President Biden for cognitive impairment or corruption with Hunter Biden, but probably not. Vice President Kamala Harris is President Biden’s impeachment insurance. The time will come. Remember President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid eliminating the Senate filibuster on district court and court of appeals judges? Republicans responded by eliminating the filibuster on Supreme Court justices. Think Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Comey-Barrett. President Obama wanted to minimize the chance the D.C. Circuit would overturn his Obamacare. Three appointees to the D.C. Circuit were approved with the lack of a Republican filibuster Obama used reconciliation to push ObamaCare through. Republicans passed tax cuts through reconciliation that jumped the economy. Remember Speaker Pelosi and other Democrats demanding President Trump take a cognitive functions test and the call for the 25th Amendment? Remember Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, personal physician to Presidents Obama and Trump? President Trump nominated Admiral Jackson on March 28, 2018 to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Democrats then unleashed a barrage of accusations against Admiral Jackson attacking his character and ability to lead the VA. Admiral Jackson withdrew his nomination on April 26, 2018 and then retired from the Navy on December 1, 2019. Remember Ronny Jackson? He’s baaaack! Admiral Jackson is now Representative Jackson from Texas’ 13th Congressional District. Representative Jackson is demanding President Biden take the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) test, the same test Dr. Jackson administered to President Trump. Remember Representative Marjorie Taylor Green? Speaker Pelosi on a party line vote had Congress strip her of all appointments in Congress because of her outspoken remarks. The Republicans will return to House control. The question is which Democrat(s) will the Republicans single out for retribution? Will it be Representative Ilhan Omar because of her incessant anti-Semitism? How about Representative Eric Swalwell still on the Intelligence Committee after sleeping with a Chinese spy? Then there’s Representative Adam Schiff who lied for two years to the American public on the Russian hoax? Why not all three as a trifecta? What about eliminating the nation’s magnet academic high schools to do “equity”? Drive the Asian Americans to the Republican fold. Want to make the District of Columbia and perhaps Puerto Rico states to get more Democratic senators. Watch the Republicans create more conservative states out of eastern Washington, Oregon and California, and elsewhere in the country. Mess too much with the Constitution, watch the Republicans when they control two-thirds of the state legislatures call a Constitutional Convention Force Justice Breyer with a lifetime appointment off the Supreme Court, pack the Court with four new progressives, watch the Republicans pack the Court with six conservatives.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

The 4th of July is a day of national celebration. The day the Declaration of Independence set the American people on the course of becoming the greatest nation and democracy in the history of the world. America - a democracy shining the light of freedom and the Statue of Liberty to the world. America opened its doors to the world. The 4th of July – a day for the American people to come together and share their common creed. The day for a nation of immigrants and the sons and daughters of immigrants to celebrate their common heritage as Americans. Most countries are centered on an ethnicity, a religion, or DNA, but not America. The United States is the melting pot of the world adapting its culture from throughout the globe. The 4th of July – a day for fireworks and parades, the Flag, patriotic music, a day for BBQ’s and hot dogs, hamburgers, steak, soda and beer. Joey Chestnut again won the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Competition, gulping down a record 76 hot dogs. The 4th of July – celebrating independence and personal freedom, protected by the Bill of Rights. The 4th of July – not so much this year. The nation is under attack from within from those canceling the heritage of America either out of hatred for America or with the goal of creating a new nation built on utopian fantasy. America has experienced the rapid rise of cancel culture since the George Floyd killing. The founding fathers, the visionaries of a democracy when none existed in the world, have been cancelled, their monuments trashed and discarded. Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Lincoln – all defiled and deviled. Anyone associated at any time with slavery, racism, sexism, homophobia, colonialism must be erased a la George Orwell’s 1984 from American history. The cancellation of American history and culture will leave a tabula rasa upon which this new, woke intolerant society can be built. Our children and college students are being taught America was and is built on oppression enforced through the military and the police. The oppressors? White (males) The oppressed – everyone else except possibly Asian-Americans. The National Education Association, the largest teacher’s union, says “critical race theory” is “reasonable and appropriate” for school children. The NEA then goes farther. It adopted a measure to investigate opponents of critical race theory and the 1609 Project and then target the so-called “anti-racism” opponents. The NEA’s political power is based on two facts: 1) the unions are among the largest financial backers to the Democrats and President Biden; and 2) the teacher unions elect local school board members because of low turnout in schoolboard elections. Thus, we see a number of school boards pushing critical race theory into the classrooms. School board members are attempting to cancel the nation’s prestigious academic magnet high schools because they are not racially balanced and thereby lack inclusion and equity. The result is a further discrimination against Asian American children, which goes back to 1850 in San Francisco. Parents are beginning to fight back. Interesting school board elections and recalls are coming up in the next couple of years. Conservatives are muzzled on the nation’s campuses; students are scared to express conservative views. Names are being stripped off buildings and programs, but Brown and Stanford will retain theirs. The National Archives, technically The National Archives and Records Administration, is considering joining the cancel culture movement. The Rotunda contains the original Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights, the foundations of America’s independence and freedoms, for all to see. The Agency’s Task Force on Racism send a report in April. It called the display an example of “structural racism.” It accuses the display of lauding “wealthy White men in the nation’s founding while marginalizing BIPOC (Blacks, indigenous, and other people of color), women and other communities.” The task force is calling for trigger warnings and dances or performances inviting dialogue on the mythization of the founders. The Agency then issued a follow-up statement. The documents are the “cornerstone of American democracy,” but they ‘guaranteed liberties for some, but not all, of the people.” It will update the Rotunda to be more inclusive “of all people who contributed to the nation’s history at the time of its founding.” The American Flag with 50 stars for 50 states is the symbol of the United States of America. The Flag is now divisive for the cancel culture because it symbolizes America.. Two writers for the New York Times view the flag as divisive. Athletes, who are making large earnings from the American economy, kneel during the flag. A writer for the Washington Post says the Statue of Liberty is way too tall. It should radically shrink to reflect history. E Pluribus Unum – Out of Many, One. Today it’s identity politics leading to tribalism. Fireworks? Macy's spectacular 4th of July Fireworks, but not Mount Rushmore. President Trump last year in the midst of all the riots and lootings hosted the 4th of July Fireworks at Mount Rushmore as a show of patriotism. President Biden this year in his anything Trump did, I will do the opposite node of government, refused South Dakota’s request for fireworks at Mount Rushmore. President Biden, who promised to unify America, keeps calling America a country of “systemic racism.” Parades? Evanston, Illinois cancelled 4th of July out of fear of Covid-19. Evanston, Illinois held Juneteenth and Gay Pride Parades. The National Anthem? PBS is having Vanessa Williams sing the Black National Anthem along with The Star Spangled Banner at the D.C. ceremonies Happy 4th. The Spirit of America will prevail, hopefully before July 4, 2022.