DUBLIN – Poor David Bonderman.
He said the wrong thing. He should be ashamed of himself.
We’ll come back to him in a minute…
Stroll Through the Park
In the meantime, if you want to enjoy summertime as it should be, take a walk through St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin on a sunny day in June.
Yesterday, young people lounged on the grass… taking off shirts and hiking up skirts to get the sun on their skin. Lovers walked arm in arm around the pond. Children kicked balls… old people sat on benches reading.
And your editor strolled with his son.
Warm, sunny weather is rare in Ireland. But when it happens in midsummer, the result is spectacular. The sun rises at 5 a.m. and doesn’t go to bed until 10 p.m. The flowers love it.
“Pretty, isn’t it?” said the younger one.
“Yes, hard to beat.”
“Our family is Irish, isn’t it?”
“I wonder why they left.”
“Oh… Ireland was not always such a pleasant place. Even as late as the 1970s, there were areas in the west that were desperately poor. Children went to school without shoes. And some of the schools had outdoor plumbing.
“Then when the country joined the euro in 2001, it got access to credit at low German rates. That’s when the building boom started. By 2007, property prices had risen to the point that the Irish – on paper – were the richest people in Europe.
“Our family missed the whole cycle. We went from being one of the poorest families in Ireland to being one of the poorest families in Maryland.”
Back in the USA…
There is practically a subgenre in public commentary explaining how political correctness has gone too far.
Colleges have tried to ban words such as “mailman” and “manpower.” The literary world gets in a hissy fit if a white male writer develops a black female character; someone accuses him of “cultural appropriation.”
Even our church readings have been amended to avoid saying the awful words “man” and “he.”
In the early stages of this hysteria, “he” was replaced with the awkward “he or she.”
Later, the people who worried about such things thought it was a form of oppression to force people into a “binary gender system” where they had to choose between one or the other. So “he or she” was replaced with “they.”
“Gender binary,” explains Princeton University’s personnel office, “is the traditional view on human gender, which does not take into consideration individuals who identify as otherwise, including and not limited to transgender, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, and/or intersex.”
There is, of course, no satisfying everybody.
“He” offends the “shes” who don’t want to be included with the “hes.” “He or she” offends (presumably) those who long for more choices. And “they” offends those who don’t like to see the language butchered to please a bunch of weirdos.
Here at the Diary, even our own dear readers occasionally write to tell us that what we write is “offensive.”
Typically, it was only “offensive” to talk smack about members of a victim group – minorities, women, poor people, and so forth.
But recently, one reader thought it was offensive to suggest that President Trump’s generals were not battle-hardened heroes but war-losing Pentagon bureaucrats.
Now, apparently, it’s offensive to criticize armed, rich white men!
Many probably found it offensive for us to notice that our president is a jackass… or that his opponent in the last election was a Big Nurse shrew.
Others find offense when we describe dumb Democrats, blockhead Republicans, fat people, gay people, retards, hicks, hayseeds, geezers, young people, white people, gypsies, Indians, zombies, cronies, insiders… and so on.
Over the years, we’ve managed to offend just about everyone. And if we haven’t… please let us know so we can correct the oversight.
We take no pleasure in it, but life is too short… and real insight is too elusive… to worry about it.
Besides, we don’t take it seriously. Big, small, morons, geniuses, Polacks, Bible-thumpers, wetbacks, and wops. The categories are “public knowledge” – empty and often fraudulent.
Meet a guy… have a pint of Guinness with him… and the categories disappear. He may still be a moron, but we love him. What matters is his specific character, not his category.
Is he honest? Is he kind? Does he have a sense of humor? Is he a decent fellow… or a U.S. senator?
One thing we don’t like is a cowardly billionaire. If you’re lucky enough to score that much money, you should at least have some courage and self-respect to go with it.
But last week, poor Bonderman – a billionaire businessman who sits on the board of rideshare app Uber – went to his knees… and bowed to the pressure of politically correct claptrap.
“I want to apologize to my fellow board members for a disrespectful comment,” he said in an email to Uber employees.
So egregious was his breach that he resigned from the board of directors.
What was his crime?
He interrupted fellow board member Arianna Huffington with a joke.
Ms. Huffington was arguing in favor of bringing more women onto the board. And Bonderman dared to say: “It’s much more likely to be more talking.”
Do we know that adding women to the board would increase the amount of talking?
Do we know that more talking would be a good thing or a bad thing?
Do we know that adding women to the board would be good for Uber, the shareholders, the employees, the customers… women… men… two-headed circus freaks?
No serious person could take Bonderman’s quip seriously. In our limited experience, women do talk more than men. They are more social. But is that good or bad?
We have no opinion. We generally prefer the company of women to men. They’re prettier. And we don’t know why, but they’re slightly less susceptible to the bunkum that passes for public knowledge.
Women are usually more cunning and clever than men, too. They focus a lot of attention on their husbands’ failures; they can’t help but notice their colleagues’ weaknesses, too.
Is that good? Bad?
What seems to work best, at least from our experience, is the combination – men and women together… each compensating for the imbecilities and vanities of the other.
Couples seem to work in private life. Groups of men and women seem to work in business, too.
So what’s the matter with Mr. Bonderman?
Is his position on the Uber board so important that he’s willing to debase himself with mindless groveling?
Does he so crave money… or the approval of the mainstream media… that he is willing to go along with nonsense?
An important measure of a man is his ability to stand up to peer pressure and public hysteria. Bonderman failed.
Currency Insight: Confidence in the Dollar Fades
BY CHRIS LOWE, EDITOR AT LARGE, Bonner & partners
Currency investors have cast a vote of “no confidence” in the U.S. economy.
Since the dollar went off gold in 1971, currencies have risen and fallen against one another based on supply and demand.
The best way to think of a rising currency is as a “vote of confidence” in that economy.
Investors buy currencies when they see stronger economic growth ahead. And they sell currencies when they see weaker economic growth ahead.
Today’s chart is of the U.S. Dollar Index. It measures the exchange value of the dollar relative to its major trading partners.
From Election Day to its peak last December, the dollar rose 6.6% versus its rivals.
Investors were placing bets that President-elect Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure spending plan and his proposed tax cuts would lift the economy and cause interest rates to rise.
But since President Trump took office, investors have lost confidence in the president’s ability to push through these plans.
They’ve reversed those earlier bets. And the dollar has fallen 6% versus its rivals.
– Chris Lowe
Just Keep Buying?
Stocks continue to hover near all-time highs, making some investors nervous. But there may be a reason to just keep buying.
Why Bitcoin Refuses to Die
The mainstream media has declared bitcoin “dead” more than 100 times since 2011. But the cryptocurrency has continued to surge higher. Colleague Teeka Tiwari reveals why.
The Housing Recovery Is Leaving Out Most Americans
The American real estate market has been recovering steadily since the financial crisis. But not everybody is benefiting…
Last Thursday’s Diary, “America’s First Failed State,” has gotten some readers thinking…
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out our financial problems. You just need to be able to add and subtract. You can never get your balance sheet to balance if you have more going out than you have coming in.
I am restricted when it comes to how much debt I can take on, but the government has the power to raise the debt ceiling all it wants. It’s all supported by paper money walls which will eventually start leaking like a sieve and structurally collapse. Our rocket scientists today have been putting watered-down rocket fuel in our rockets and many of them are failing to even get off the launching pad.
– James B.
People say Bill is a complainer who does nothing to help. But let’s not forget that, during the last administration, when Ben Bernanke resigned as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Bill offered himself for the position. But President Obama never so much as called him in for an interview!
– Scott G.
I get so tired of pundits saying unfunded federal obligations are $200 trillion. Come on, be honest. You project out 50 years, or whatever, but don’t also project the tax receipts over that same period. Am I wrong? Would it still be a big number? Absolutely. And yes, it is a problem, a big one. But $200 trillion? I think not.
– Glenn M.
In Case You Missed It…
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a study…
There is an undiagnosed epidemic in America killing one person every 24 seconds. And it’s growing faster than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined.
Researchers believe they have now identified the source of this global health scare: the cell phone in your hands. Get the full story right here.