"The happiest place on earth"

Get email updates of new posts:        (Delivered by FeedBurner)

Monday, December 04, 2023

Links - 4th December 2023 (1 - Cancel Culture)

Cancel Culture’s Mental-Health Toll - WSJ - "My psychotherapy patients often ask me why so many children are struggling emotionally. The answer is complicated and multifaceted, but it’s become clear that one important aggravating factor is the inflexible, rigid and vicious cancel culture that has swept across our educational system and the country. Children can’t thrive in environments like this. From a developmental perspective, adolescents are highly susceptible to harsh criticism. This seems to be hard-wired in the brain... School-sanctioned shaming and a social media free-for-all of bullying leave teens and young adults constantly walking on eggshells, afraid to express heterodox opinions in class, among peers or in schoolwork. Making mistakes and learning from them is an important part of young people’s development. It’s how they grow to accept themselves as well as others—if peers and people in authority show them empathy, tolerance, patience and kindness. Terrorizing young people is no way to teach them sensitivity and respect."

Cancel culture is not about the powerful - "Being left-wing used to mean agitating against people losing their jobs. How quaint that feels now. In the culture wars of today, the illiberal left’s primary response to any statement it disagrees with seems to be demanding that the person who said it be immediately sacked and made an example of.    For all these people’s blather about ‘Karens’ – that insufferable meme about entitled lower-middle-class white women who always want to speak to the manager – the ultimate Karens today are to be found on the identitarian left. They’ll go straight to the manager of anyone who dares utter a dissenting thought... A rogues’ gallery of illiberal midwits – many of them veterans of cancellation campaigns themselves – have denied cancel culture is even a thing and valiantly argued with caricatures of their opponents’ arguments. Corbynista Guardian columnist Owen Jones says cancel culture is just ‘public figures being criticised on Twitter for things they’ve said’. Here he is apparently struggling with the distinction between ‘being criticised’ and ‘being faced by demands they be sacked’, which is of course what we’re actually talking about.   That he doesn’t seem to know the difference is a little odd, given he spends a good chunk of time doing the latter nowadays. Just a few weeks ago he was calling on Oxford University to fire its deputy director of external affairs and international strategy over something unpleasant he tweeted about Ash Sarkar.  This braindead take, that the backlash to cancel culture is just rich people complaining about being criticised, has been repeated ad nauseam. Nesrine Malik, of the Guardian (again), accused those behind the Harper’s letter of being influential people ‘unaccustomed to being questioned’.  Given the letter was signed by Salman Rushdie, that take doesn’t even hold water if you glance at the list of signatories – unless you think the fatwa was a devastating Twitter thread. But nor does it hold water if you bother to read the text itself... The mobbing of prominent figures doesn’t only have a chilling effect on debate more broadly, by setting the terms of acceptable debate for everyone else; it also legitimises the cancellation of less powerful people – those less able to fight back.   Critics of the Harper’s letter constantly single out one of its signatories – JK Rowling, who has faced abuse and death and rape threats for expressing trans-sceptical views. The idea that this multimillionaire author, with more than 14million Twitter followers, has been ‘silenced’ is ridiculous, they scoff.  But no one, including Rowling, is saying that she has been silenced or cancelled. Rather, it is the people further down the pecking order, those without hundreds of millions of pounds in the bank, who will ultimately bear the brunt of this silencing dynamic.  In fact, in relation to the Rowling controversy, that’s already happened. Children’s author Gillian Philip was sacked earlier this month for the crime of expressing support for JK Rowling. After 24 hours of abuse and complaints, her publisher caved.  This case was put to activist and songwriter Billy Bragg over the weekend, after he rubbished cancel culture in the Guardian (and again). In response, this alleged socialist declared: ‘I believe that employers have a right to act in such circumstances.’...   Brian Leach, a disabled grandfather, lost his job in an Asda store in Yorkshire last year after he shared a Billy Connolly routine, which took the piss out of jihadists, on his personal Facebook page. Someone else on staff took offence, and he was sacked.  That the bourgeois left has become increasingly shrill and intolerant has been clear for some time. But it’s still worth asking why these supposed radicals are so comfortable handing over the power to police speech to the state, bosses and Silicon Valley.  Part of it has to do with their distance from working people. This is now so vast that they have begun to see corporations as the agents of change and pretty widely held beliefs – like thinking that rushing to put kids on puberty-blockers is probably not a good idea – as unspeakable heresies. But it also speaks to how fundamentally unthreatening their ideas are... deeply disappointed with ordinary people, the bourgeois left has resigned itself to policing their opinions, doing by compulsion and censure what it cannot do by reason and argument, with the assistance of the capitalist class where necessary.  No wonder they cling to cancel culture. It’s all they’ve got. In a way, it is all a bit tragic. But it is also a menace to the free speech of precisely the people the left once aspired to represent."
Of course, if you criticise liberals, this is "harassment" and shows why social media companies need to reveal users' identities

Now they’ve even cancelled John Wayne - "The University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts is to remove its John Wayne exhibit due to racist comments the late actor made back in the 1970s...   If we judged all the great film stars by the standards of our time, few people would survive the purge. Laurence Olivier, for example, is widely regarded as one of the greatest actors of all time. But should he be un-personed for his use of blackface, for instance?  Wayne was one of the most iconic actors of the 20th century. It is hard to imagine how a school of cinematic arts could not give some kind of nod towards the hero of so many Westerns"

Conservatives Aren't Cancel Culture Hypocrites, But The Left Is - "The left is the undisputed champion of the craft, having imported its toxic standards into our culture.  There’s really no competition. Leftist cancelers control all our major institutions, and are wreaking consequences for working people, girls, minorities, and the country. While the left throws gasoline on the fire (sometimes literally), the right is engaged in a meaningful effort that most people on the left would probably agree with after throwing back a couple of cabernets in the privacy of their own wine bars... the mounting leftist consensus that conservative criticism of cancel culture is categorically cynical or hypocritical is absurd, reflexive, and facile.  If you’re hired to be a neutral reporter by a purportedly neutral news outlet, you should probably not put “Black Lives Matter” in your Twitter bio and criticize “objectivity.” Wilder could be a great reporter at a leftist outlet, but ideologues operating under the pretense of neutrality is wrong and it’s destroying public trust in media. Good riddance.  Further, while the Very Online know that Hannah-Jones is controversial, she’s a Pulitzer winner whose work ended up in school curricula around the country. It hardly seems unreasonable to imagine some stakeholders at UNC only became aware of her many, obvious journalistic failures after controversy bubbled. Who cares if she’s a leftist? Hannah-Jones is an unprofessional fabulist who has no business teaching students to do journalism.  But, of course, the Enlightened Consensus among Reasonable Observers held that Wilder and Jones were victims of cancel culture. This is a consequence of cancel culture’s inevitable weaponization, its murky definition, and the elite consensus that conservative bad faith is always disproportionate to bad faith on the left...   The purest definition of “cancel culture” refers to unjust consequences for speech, whether it’s bad but years old, whether it’s heterodox but recent. The left wishes to subject even J.K. Rowling to deplatforming over her narrow opposition to trans ideology applied to children. They should just say they love cancel culture and come to terms with it. It’ll save us a lot of time, a lot of bad-faith hackery, and a lot of meta-analysis whenever these stupid controversies erupt."

Cancel Culture Should Look In the Mirror - "Whenever anyone suggests that Cancel Culture might be less than a good thing. That it might, indeed, be bullying, hateful poison which is killing Western culture, the Cancellers screech indignantly. Screeching indignantly is, of course, their default setting, but dare criticise their despicable ideology and they amp the screeching to deafening levels.  With the logical clarity that they’re renowned for, the jowl-quivering land-whales, the flabby, repulsive castratos and the drooling kiddy-diddlers shriek that it’s just the same as any other boycott. Which is arrant nonsense: a boycott is saying, “I won’t buy this”; Cancel Culture says, “You can’t buy, see, or hear this, and you should kill yourself if you do”.  They’re very big on the “kill yourself” thing, the Cancellers. When they’re not threatening to actually do the job for you. Just ask J. K. Rowling, Julie Bindel, Germaine Greer, or Mary Beard, who’ve all been inundated with death threats for questioning transgenderism.   Which is odd, firstly because, if they really believed that “trans women are women”, who “aren’t a threat to women”, then they probably shouldn’t be threatening so many women.  Secondly, a bedrock tenet of Cancel Culture is that “words can kill”.  Which they’re apparently trying to prove by spewing a torrent of words urging people to kill themselves."

DOUGLAS MURRAY: Overgrown babies who say everyone must think like them are invading our bedrooms - "Do you believe in thought crime? In picking people off, one by one, till everybody agrees with just a single point of view? Each week, we see this world come a little closer... Take last week’s attempt to ‘cancel’ the Killing Eve actress Jodie Comer. Her crime? Nothing she has said or thought.   Instead, the online trolls had been enraged to discovered who she is dating. The supposed culprit is an American lacrosse player called James Burke. His crime? Mr Burke is alleged to be a registered Republican and a Donald Trump supporter. Cue an internet meltdown and a demand by activists that Comer be prevented from working again.  It’s ludicrous. How can anyone demand that we restrict ourselves to partners who are in 100 per cent ideological alignment with the views of a Left-wing sect?  The bullying of inoffensive Jodie Comer might be a new low, but I’ve seen it coming for some time.  Two years ago, a 26-year-old racing driver called Conor Daly lost his sponsors because of something said in the 1980s. Daly competes in the full-blooded series run by Nascar – the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing – which is much-loved in the southern USA.  Yet consider this: Daly was not alive at the time of the alleged offence. How had he mis-spoken before he’d even been born?  The answer is he hadn’t. Daly lost his sponsorship because his racing driver father was alleged to have made a racial slur three decades earlier. And there was no reprieve.  This totalitarian instinct has crept up on us with amazing ease. It is the product of a vindictive Leftism which used only to reside on certain US university campuses.  Yet today, boosted hugely by the internet, this half-baked ideology, tribal and dogmatic, obsessed with the language of racial, sexual and gender politics, is running riot... The world these activists are creating is vengeful and vicious, and increasingly dull. Last week, a clip from a recent BBC comedy show, The Mash Report, was posted online. Even for those of us who long ago gave up bothering trying to find anything funny on the BBC, it was jaw-droppingly awful.  It included a segment of two unfunny comedians agreeing with each other in an unfunny manner. At one stage the female comedian declared ‘free speech is now basically a way adult people can say racist stuff without any consequences’. There was no hint of irony... Some people – especially if they are white and male – think the best way to get through this madness is to shut their eyes and swear allegiance to the big lies and presumptions of the time. They have seen how the mob comes for anyone who says something controversial.  Today, charities, public sector bodies and whole corporations are increasingly filled with people who have been told what to say and what to believe. Some have been told by their bosses what books they should read – a sinister development.  Last month I received a leaked letter sent out by an NHS boss in Birmingham. She had told those working under her to read four books on ‘white privilege’ so they could ‘correct’ their attitudes."

Cancel culture comes to the classroom: Professor Deborah Appleman on how teachers are navigating the new culture wars - The Hub - "What we’re not used to is the canceling that’s coming from the Left, canceling because of problematic portrayals, because of use of offensive language, and canceling because someone has made a judgment about the appropriateness of the life of an author, for example, Sherman Alexie, and the degree to which that author’s behaviour should keep us from teaching their books... the purpose of reading literature is to unsettle you, is to hurt you in some ways, and is, maybe, in my opinion, most importantly, giving you the opportunity to feel the hurt of other people. That’s where empathy is built. If we cancel or omit all books from our curriculum that have the potential to create emotional distress, I’m not sure what will be left for reading. We’re leaving aside for young people to learn that important skill of empathy in important works... the first thing that they get wrong is that they decide a priori for the students. If one of our goals in education is to teach students to think critically, we should do what other academic Gerry Graff said a long time ago, “We should teach the controversy.” We should say, for example, let’s just say the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, some low-hanging fruit in a way, this book has come under fire because of its portrayal of people of colour and its use of the N-word... although we want to avoid using any language that essentializes or hurts people, when you’re dealing with an author like James Baldwin, for example, James Baldwin uses the N-word to shock and to demonstrate to his readers what harm is being done to African American people. He doesn’t want his—or I shouldn’t speak for him, I know, but I can’t imagine given his goals of his writing and his proactiveness that he would want his works to be banned because of an offending word. Sometimes we forgot about the intent of the author.  Another problem, and this is the last one I imagine for this particular question, is what I am calling in the book the problem of presentism. What liberals and others are doing is superimposing our 21st-century moral code onto the 17th, 18th, 19th, and even the beginning part of the 20th century. We expect the use of pronouns, the way we deal with women, and the way we deal with other marginalized groups, to be reflective of the hard lessons that we’ve learned about what it means to treat people equally. But I don’t think that you can hold someone hostage who lived centuries ago to what it is that we’ve learned... I think that what our society has done, and this has been exacerbated by the pandemic, is we’ve infantilized them. During the pandemic, I had so many of my college students taking a class from their childhood bedroom with their stuffed animals behind them. It’s hard to be a grown-up thinker in that context. I think, again, partly because of our concern for students’ mental health, we’ve mistaken our students for being what we call snowflakes... if we start doing a moral calibration of artists, writers, composers, our museum walls are going to be empty. Our concert halls are going to be empty... There’s also this argument that I’ve heard from some people like there’s a difference between whether someone that we’re censoring is living or dead because we want to keep them from earning money or something like that. That doesn’t make any sense to me either. I don’t know the answer to that. I know that people should not get away with doing terrible things to other people, but I don’t know what that means about my relationship to their work, and I don’t know who it is who can be an arbiter of moral behaviour in a way that is consistent and fair across centuries, across generations, et cetera."
The left claim that minorities can't empathise with majorities, which is why they keep on demanding representation. Looks like they need to learn more literature

Jacob Rees-Mogg: keep calling out ‘snowflakes’ and ‘remoaners’ to stop cancel culture - "Mr Rees-Mogg also waded into the debate around freedom of speech on university campuses, hailing the Cambridge and Oxford debating societies for their safeguards against censorship.  “The great strength of both Unions is that they are independent of their university authorities,” he said.  “When these authorities have been less supportive of free speech than one might sometimes wish - and that’s been more of a problem at Cambridge than at Oxford - the Unions are free to carry on supporting free speech.”  In May 2019, the Oxford Union voted by a margin of 224 to 49 not to support a policy of “no-platforming”, which would mean controversial speakers could be banned from appearing if students objected to their views.  Proposals that would have required Cambridge University staff and students to be “respectful” of different views were overwhelmingly rejected last December.  An amendment from students concerned about academic freedom instead placed the emphasis on “tolerance” of ideological opponents’ views in the university’s revised policy.  Mr Rees-Mogg went on to describe Angela Rayner, the deputy Labour leader, who branded the Government “Tory scum” at her party’s own conference, as “very spirited”.  “We must then stand up for people on the other side who use their free speech to call us scum or whatever it is,” he added. “I’m not sure mere abuse is the best way, even though I do like the mere abuse. The thing is, the scum always rises to the top, so we’ve nothing much to complain about.”"

GOLDSTEIN: The controversial beliefs of Canada’s ‘Famous Five’ suffragettes - "With the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada assessing Tommy Douglas’ “controversial beliefs and behaviours” in light of his early support of the racist science of eugenics, we should definitely take a look at Canada’s ‘Famous Five’ suffragettes as well. Unlike Douglas, who eventually rejected eugenics — the belief humanity could be improved through planned breeding and the involuntary sterilization of the mentally ill — the Famous Five never abandoned their support of the theory. The Famous Five — Emily Murphy, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney and Irene Parlby — were early advocates for the rights of women and successfully spearheaded the 1929 “persons case” which recognized women as “persons” under British law... the Famous Five were also racists, elitists and their support of eugenics — a popular and widely accepted theory among social reformers at the beginning of the 20th century — meant they advocated the forced sterilization of thousands of people in Canada, many of them Indigenous. Murphy, for example, the first female magistrate in Canada and the British Empire, and the most well-known member of the Famous Five, supported the sterilization of the mentally ill and campaigned against immigration, fearing immigrants from China would get white people addicted to drugs... What is also true is that at the time the Famous Five and Douglas — the father of Canadian medicare, first leader of the federal NDP, premier of Saskatchewan and judged “the greatest Canadian” in a 2004 CBC national survey — supported eugenics, their beliefs were widely accepted by political and social elites of the day and in that sense, were not controversial, in what at the time would have been called polite society. This speaks to the simple reality that human progress does not develop along a straight, pristine, moral line, but by stops and starts and that many historical figures who are rightly admired for their accomplishments and contributions to Canada also held views that today we rightly view as abhorrent... As opposed to simply cancelling people out, I agree with what is at least the stated goal of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada in re-assessing Douglas’ legacy — as first reported by Blacklock’s Reporter — which is to convey the full story of historic figures to Canadians so we can better understand them, and the era in which they lived. Especially so, given that, up to now, the focus on this issue has been almost exclusively on historical figures considered to be “conservative” rather than “progressive” in their views."

Meme - "600 AD
I just saved another Aristotle's work from destruction
Good job, we can't let such a brilliant author die just because he was a pagan
2021 AD

Comedy Central Caves to Cancel Culture, Removes Episode from 'The Office' Line-up - "Ironically, the politically incorrect episode satirizes contemporary corporate "diversity and inclusion" policies. It features the impetuous and chronic jester Michael Scott (Steve Carell) forcing his paper company employees to participate in a racial diversity seminar when, in fact, it's his behavior that necessitates the training. During the seminar, he speaks in an exaggerated Indian accent and reprises Chris Rock's notorious standup routine about different kinds of Black people... It follows previous comedic content taken out of viewing line-ups including episodes from Comedy Central's South Park and NBC's Seinfeld... Outside of comedic content, Disney+ in October 2020 dropped several of its classics featuring stereotypical character portrayals from their Kids Profile. The move meant that children under 7 could no longer watch titles like Dumbo, Peter Pan, Swiss Family Robinson and The AristoCats... classic Looney Tunes characters like Pepe Le Pew and Speedy Gonzales have been cancelled and even re-created due to shifting public attitudes."

Now the supporters of cancel culture are being cancelled - "‘Freeze peach!’ That has long been the mocking, infantile cry of the middle-class left whenever anyone complains about clampdowns on freedom of speech. There is no ‘free-speech crisis’, radicals insist. No Platforming right-wingers on university campuses is not censorship – it’s just students freely choosing not to associate with people who have horrible views. And alt-right types being turfed off Twitter and Facebook is not censorship, either – that’s just private companies enforcing their terms and conditions. (Who knew lefties were so supportive of private property rights?)... Some of the left-wing architects and cheerleaders of contemporary censorship, including Britain’s Socialist Workers Party, which has backed the No Platform policy for decades, are now being No Platformed themselves. ‘This is a disgrace!’, they cry, which would be funny if censorship were not so serious. These people helped to build the infrastructure of modern censorship, with its determination to crush ‘hate speech’ and ‘offensive’ views, and now they’re shocked to find themselves falling victim to it? Have they not read any history books at all?... The SWP has played a key role in promoting No Platform policies on campus, which essentially blacklist certain groups and individuals from speaking to students, whether that’s leaders of actual racist organisations, like Nick Griffin, or decent, liberal securalists like Maryam Namazie (perversely branded ‘Islamophobic’).  What’s more, the ideological justifications that the SWP and other leftists have put forward for these acts of censorship – the idea that ‘hateful’ speech must be suppressed, the idea that offensive ideas are wounding, the nasty patrician notion that minority groups need to be protected from difficult discussion by the authorities – have helped to shape the broader, off-campus culture of censorship... Did these people seriously believe they could nurture a policy of No Platform and that it would only ever be applied to people they dislike? To think in that way shows a grave ignorance of history. It is more than 200 years since the great radical Thomas Paine observed that, ‘He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will one day reach to himself’...   Or surely our friends in the SWP have read some Trotsky. In 1938, he ridiculed leftists in Mexico who were seeking to ‘curb’ reactionary right-wing voices, ‘either by submitting [them] to censorship or by banning [them] completely’. Any leftist who ‘arms the bourgeois state with special means to control public opinion’ is a fool, said Trotsky. Worse, he is a ‘traitor’. Why? Because he should know that powers used against your enemy might one day be used against you. We should know from ‘historic experience’, he said, that ‘any restriction to democracy in bourgeois society is eventually directed against the proletariat’... Left-wingers celebrated the removal of everyone from alt-right loudmouths to principled feminists like Meghan Murphy, from nobodies spouting abuse from their bedrooms to the freely elected president of the United States, never twigging that they were laying the foundations for their own censorship. And it isn’t only the SWP. Many other lovers of cancel culture now find themselves cancelled. Some Antifa pages are being removed from social media. Will Wilkinson, a contributor to the New York Times, was sacked from the think-tank the Niskanen Center after joking on Twitter that ‘If Biden really wanted unity, he’d lynch Mike Pence’. Mr Wilkinson has previously made light of cancel culture; now he is swallowed up by it. Meanwhile, YouTube has taken down the channel of La Marea, a leading left-wing website in Spain, on the grounds that its critiques of anti-refugee campaign groups were ‘inciting hatred’."

Kathryn Marshall: The cancel culture mob could come looking for you, too - "You know it is getting bad when even Mr. Bean is calling you out. In an interview earlier this month, Rowan Atkinson equated cancel culture with a “medieval mob, roaming the streets looking for someone to burn.”... One aspect of cancel culture I find particularly troubling is how the mob goes after people’s jobs. This is no trite matter. It is one thing to call someone out and shame them on online. But to attack a person’s ability to put food on the table is a line that shouldn’t be crossed. It doesn’t take much pressure from the cancel culture mob to cancel someone’s employment contract. Employers, especially large companies, are terrified of bad press and the thought of trending on Twitter for the wrong reasons is the stuff of nightmares. A few angry emails and an unsightly mention in a BuzzFeed article may be all it takes to get you cancelled at work. Forget about an investigation or proper human resources protocols — there isn’t time for that. One of cancel culture’s greatest strengths is its speed. With social media and the 24/7 news cycle, the process of cancelling a human can take mere hours.  In any other scenario where a complaint is made against an employee, there would usually be a proper investigation process undertaken by the employer that could take weeks, maybe months. The employee would be permitted to present a defence and the full context would be examined. Termination for cause, which is the capital offence of employment law, would be a last-resort option...   A friend once asked me, isn’t cancel culture just the product of a free market, like consumer activism? The answer is no. Cancel culture is about power and control. It is a highly effective tool that gives a self-appointed and often small mob the power to control who has and doesn’t have a platform or voice. What it takes to be cancelled is completely fluid and changes almost daily. Cancel culture is the antithesis of free speech and the enemy of due process and fairness. The goal isn’t just to humiliate or to shame. And it certainly isn’t to elicit an apology. The objective is to literally remove a person from every semblance of their life — personal and professional. To destroy that person’s career, influence, respect and render them so radioactive that no company, person or employer will ever want to touch them with a 10-foot pole. In other words, cancelled.   There are always stories of a cancel culture victim months later, where some reporter has dredged up all the facts and evidence and tells the full story in the proper context. You read it and think — that was really unfair. And then you go about your day, while that person has to live the rest of their life with this humiliation plastered all over the internet."

Why you should hold on to your DVDs - "When the idea of digitally removing or replacing Trump’s cameo in Home Alone 2 was put forward, it was meant as a joke. But that joke almost immediately became a serious suggestion. Even Macaulay Culkin, the star of the movie, agreed that Trump should be deleted.  There has already been a version made that edits out Trump’s appearance. That was broadcast on CBC in Canada, although CBC claimed that the edited version was made in 2014, and that there was no political agenda behind it. In this time of hypernormalisation – when satire and reality merge, and the cycle of approved/forbidden accelerates exponentially – you might have need of your DVDs as a reminder of the pre-censored reality of this or that film or TV show... Whether or not a permanent change to Home Alone 2 is made, consumers of pop culture have long been seeing creeping changes made to films, music and TV shows. Darryl Hannah’s backside in Splash was covered by CGI, which digitally extended the actress’s hair. A scene with a girlie magazine was censored in Back to the Future 2. And many Disney products have been edited, altered or suppressed due to changing social sensibilities... Studios and broadcasters have no commitment to artistic integrity. They are staffed by people who believe their principal duty is not to guard a cultural artefact, but to reform society – sometimes by suppressing attitudes, words and incidents they consider harmful.  Pressure groups know this. They realise that they only need a few hundred ‘likes’ and ‘retweets’ on social media to push a studio or broadcaster into withdrawing a product for fear of otherwise being branded racist, sexist or some similar slur. In this sense, corporations are utterly complicit with cancel culture. Streaming services are supposedly the future. If so, that should worry us all...   Big Tech loves streaming and digital because it is cheap, efficient and allows corporations to monitor you. It loathes physical copies because they permit independent consumption and sharing of information. Issued DVDs, CDs and books cannot be retrospectively edited or withdrawn. When you put on Blu-Ray, Big Tech cannot compile and sell that data to marketing firms."

Sunday, December 03, 2023

Covid Vaccine Does Not Prevent Transmission

From Oct 2022:

Covid Vaccine Does Not Prevent Transmission (aka "Vaccines Never Prevented the Transmission of COVID: Allowing zealots to censor news in the name of ‘science’ is a danger to public health")

"In late 2021 and early 2022, it was commonplace for journalists and public intellectuals to demonize and shame “the unvaccinated,” a group that in the United States was disproportionately low income. The New York Times ran pieces like “I’m Furious at the Unvaccinated,” and “Unvaxxed, Unmasked and Putting Our Kids at Risk.” The Los Angeles Times published a column titled “Mocking anti-vaxxers’ COVID deaths is ghoulish, yes—but may be necessary.” An opinion piece called “The Unvaccinated Are a Risk to All of Us” appeared in Bloomberg, and The Washington Post printed a piece called “Macron is right: It’s time to make life a living hell for anti-vaxxers.”

CNN’s Don Lemon commented that people refusing the vaccines were being “idiotic and nonsensical.” He argued that it was time to “start shaming them” or “leave them behind.” Noam Chomsky, a self-described libertarian socialist, said unvaccinated people should remove themselves from society and be “isolated.” Asked how they would get food that way, he answered, “Well actually, that’s their problem.”

In Canada, columnists for the Toronto Star proclaimed, “Vaccine resisters are lazy and irresponsiblewe need vaccine passports now to protect the rest of us” and “The unvaccinated cherish their freedom to harm others. How can we ever forgive them?” In the U.K., the Daily Mail contended, “It’s time to punish Britain’s 5 million vaccine refuseniks,” and Piers Morgan, a British presenter on TalkTV, suggested that unvaccinated people should not be allowed access to the country’s National Health Service.

Internationally, several politicians threatened to reimplement restrictions and told the public that “the unvaccinated” were at fault. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said unvaccinated people “are very often misogynistic and racist,” and asked, “Do we tolerate these people?” President Joe Biden said that his “patience [was] wearing thin” and that we needed to “protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated coworkers.” Michael Gunner, chief minister of the Northern Territory in Australia, stated that even if you are vaccinated, “if you are anti-mandate, you are absolutely anti-vax.” French President Emmanuel Macron declared that 5 million French people who remained unvaccinated were “not citizens.”

Across parts of the United States, Canada, Australia, and Europe, unvaccinated people were fired from their jobs, excluded from higher education, banned from many sectors of public life, denied organ transplants, and even punished by judges in probation hearings and child custody cases. Meanwhile, COVID cases continued to rise in many highly vaccinated countries with vaccine passports and other restrictions in place.

Vaccine mandates were mainly rationalized through the belief that the higher the rate of vaccination, the less the virus would spread. For example, during oral arguments for Biden’s health care worker mandate, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Elena Kagan claimed that health care workers had to get vaccinated “so that you’re not transmitting the disease.” But recently, on Oct. 10, 2022, a Pfizer spokesperson told the European Parliament that the vaccines had never actually been tested for preventing transmission. While this was presented on social media as “breaking news,” the fact that the vaccines were not tested for this purpose has been documented extensively ever since Pfizer and Moderna received their original Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)...

Simply put, the reason many people believed the vaccines stopped transmission was because government officials and media outlets across the Western world were either careless with their words or did not tell the truth. In 2021, for instance, Director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Rochelle Walensky claimed that vaccinated people “do not carry the virus,” and Dr. Anthony Fauci said they would become “dead ends” for the virus. Any speculation that the vaccines significantly reduced transmission was based on limited results from independent studies and the false assumption that the vaccine would prevent infection. Without adequate evidence, vaccination campaigns called on people to get vaccinated not just for their own protection, but to help “protect others” and “save lives.”

Meanwhile, social media companies coordinated with the Biden administration to censor dissent. Many people who asked questions about efficacy or safety risked banishment from Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube. Now, however, as more and more studies come out, it is increasingly clear that some of the information these companies censored was true...

Being misinformed about potential benefits and risks is an enormous deal for, say, a male college athlete who got vaccinated because he wanted to protect his elderly family members, but who then developed myocarditis. Telling him that this is fine because “there was so much unknown” is probably not much of a consolation, especially since his decision to get vaccinated was never going to protect his family members in the first place, and the vaccine manufacturers were given blanket immunity from liability.

It is one thing for the pharmaceutical companies, the Biden administration, the CDC, and the media to intentionally or unintentionally mislead the public; but it is another thing entirely for them to do this while government agencies actively coordinated to suppress alternative views or inconvenient data. While executives and bureaucrats may excuse their errors by claiming that “the science changed,” the public has every right to demand better. Science is the process of discovery through observation and experimentation; of course it changes. That’s why “settled science” is obviously a political, not a scientific term, and why anyone should be able to publicly question scientific consensus at any time. Instead of allowing for debate, political and bureaucratic officials conducted a campaign of mass censorship and coercion. This effectively undermined the principle of informed consent and has resulted in a scandal affecting millions of people.

It was not until August 2022 that the CDC issued guidance that called for vaccinated and unvaccinated people to no longer be subjected to different testing or quarantine protocols. To justify this change in guidance, the CDC cited the protection provided by previous infection as well as breakthrough infections. Yet studies had already shown by the fall of 2021 that the vaccines did not prevent infection, that natural immunity was at least as protective, that vaccinated people had similar viral loads to unvaccinated people, and that vaccinated people had a role in transmission.

All this was true before the arrival of the omicron variant, and all of this was true before the majority of U.S. vaccine mandates were issued. Nevertheless, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook all had policies that made questioning the CDC, the WHO, and government authorities potential grounds for censorship, prohibiting discussion of alternative treatments or suggestions that vaccination has varying levels of benefits for different people. Documents from the Missouri v. Biden case have revealed that the CDC proposed a monthly “debunking” meeting with Facebook and that Facebook and Twitter sought input from the CDC in deciding what to censor. For the Biden administration, it was a foregone conclusion that everyone should get vaccinated, so the goal of censorship was simply to increase vaccine uptake.

This was an anti-science stance that stripped people of their right to make informed choices or to even access verified data. On Facebook, for instance, a thorough investigation by the British Medical Journal into data integrity problems with the Pfizer trial was flagged as “missing context,” and Facebook directed readers to an inaccurate “fact check” of the investigation. On Twitter, as a result of censorship policies, accounts have been suspended temporarily or permanently for displaying Pfizer’s own trial data and sharing information from peer-reviewed papers. Why? Because the official vaccine message was so rigid that basic reality was considered “misleading.”

By now, many studies have shown that some of the once-censored concerns of “vaccine hesitant” people actually had validity. Facebook explicitly prohibited the claim that breast milk from vaccinated women could be harmful, but now a recent study has found that mRNA was present in breast milk, and the study urged caution when breastfeeding shortly after vaccination. The CDC previously told breastfeeding mothers that getting vaccinated was likely to benefit their babies, and many pregnant women were mandated to get vaccinated even though this population had been excluded from the vaccine trials.

A claim on Facebook or Twitter like “children who have had COVID should not get vaccinated” could also be subject to censorship, but new data suggests that young children who were previously infected might not see long-term benefits from vaccination. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine now shows that children ages 5-11 who had a prior infection but were not vaccinated had a lower risk of being reinfected than children who had a prior infection and did get vaccinated. After five months, protection against reinfection for the vaccinated children was negative.

Concealing important data and censoring the debate helped create an illusion of consensus and, as people were removed from social media platforms, erased the record of disagreement and skepticism. Open discussion of conditions like myocarditis and pericarditis or cardiac deaths was also penalized despite 2021 data from Israel that confirmed elevated rates of myocarditis linked to vaccination. A later Israeli study from May 2022 found that cardiac arrest among people under 40 increased by 25% during the vaccine rollout. In the United States, the CDC was supposed to make its “v-safe” safety data public by Sept. 30. The CDC failed to do so but was forced to reveal this data through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. Of 10 million people in the “v-safe” program, 25% had a vaccine side effect that caused them to miss school or work and 7.7% had to seek medical care. Should Americans only be hearing about this kind of safety data now, or should it have been available before vaccine mandates were put in place?

Censorship of medical dissent is now being expanded in California, where Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed Assembly Bill 2098 into law, officially granting the California Medical Board the authority to penalize and suspend the licenses of doctors who intentionally spread “misinformation or disinformation” about COVID risks and prevention, as well as the safety and efficacy of COVID vaccines. In the U.K. and Sweden, by contrast, COVID vaccines are no longer offered to healthy children under 12, and in Denmark boosters are not available for anyone under 50. Clearly there is no international consensus on COVID vaccines for young people. Should California doctors really lose their medical licenses if they favor guidance from Sweden and Denmark over guidance from the CDC?

Apart from being a potential first amendment violation and intrusion on the doctor-patient relationship, this new misinformation bill raises the question of whether, after everything we have just witnessed, a single medical authority should really be presumed to be all-knowing or infallible. Time and again, the “medical consensus” has proved to be incorrect. In the 19th century, doctors believed it was safe to deliver babies without washing their hands, resulting in the deaths of countless women from puerperal fever. In the 20th century, compulsory sterilization of disabled people was considered to be a legitimate and ethical medical practice, and in 1949, the developer of the lobotomy won the Nobel Prize for medicine. As recently as this year, scientists discovered that the entire basis for over a decade of Alzheimer’s research was fraudulent.

In the case of COVID, while claiming that it was the dissenters who caused harm, it was in fact the censors and enforcers of speech restrictions who caused immense damage to the social fabric and to the lives of individuals. The excuse that medical segregation was once necessary but is no longer necessary because “the facts changed” or “the science changed” is demonstrably false. The facts didn’t change. They were just banned."

Of course, vaxholes continue to claim that no one was forced or coerced into getting vaccinated, at the same time as being told that any form of pressure or incentive for something liberals don't approve is oppression.

One cope will be that it was reasonable to think that the vaccines reduced transmission. But making policy based on this assumption and ostracising and dehumanising the unvaccinated is a different story.

Liberals are only against interfering with the patient-doctor relationship or telling doctors what to do when it's about restricting abortion or transitioning kids. Of course vaxholes will claim that this is different for public health, but since the vaccines don't prevent transmission...

Even if the facts or the science really changed, this just shows how censorship is unjustified.

Links - 3rd December 2023 (The 1619 Project)

Cancel the New York Times - Claremont Review of Books - "The Left’s cultural revolution is in one of its periodic Jacobin phases: statues defaced, beheaded, burned, and torn down; streets and schools and other things renamed; public spaces occupied by gun-wielding thugs. The iconoclasm has spread from attacks on Confederate monuments to statues of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Christopher Columbus, Ulysses S. Grant, Catholic saints, and even white abolitionists. New York’s American Museum of Natural History is taking down its famous Teddy Roosevelt statue.  New York’s mayor, Bill de Blasio—a man (born Warren Wilhelm, Jr.) who knows something about name changes—is reviewing the racist and/or slave connections of street names. He has already mentioned the avenue named for Robert E. Lee, and is looking for others. Columbus Avenue, Columbia University, the Washington Bridge, maybe even Madison Avenue and Washington Square are not long for this world. Meanwhile, Princeton University intends to rename its Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs because of Wilson’s notorious racism, and several elementary and high schools named for Jefferson are contemplating a re-branding because of his racism and slave ownership. Activists make similar attacks on Washington. There is talk of renaming James Madison College at Michigan State University. Consistency demands that Yale University, named after the slave trader who endowed the institution, also change its name. Perhaps the University of Pennsylvania and Brown University will be renamed, too, since William Penn also owned slaves, and, although the Brown for whom the school is named was an abolitionist, his family had been involved with the slave trade.  If we really wish to remove names associated with slavery, one obvious candidate, and I am hardly the first to mention this, is New York City itself. It was named for James, Duke of York, brother of King Charles II of England. Together, they attacked the Dutch outpost of New Netherland and, after its capture, rechristened it “New York.” Like his brother, James was a would-be tyrant, particularly where the colonies were concerned... James masterminded the newly created “Royal African Company” that set out to take the African slave trade from the Dutch... History is, of course, more complicated than partisans would like it to be. And those complexities have much to teach about today’s “1619 riots,” as Charles R. Kesler called them recently in the New York Post. He notes that the New York Times seized upon 1619 as the year for their rewrite of U.S. history because that’s the year the first slaves arrived in Virginia. Racism is, in the words of Nikole Hannah-Jones, the reporter the Times put in charge of the 1619 Project, “in the very DNA of this country.” But DNA, Kesler notes, is something that cannot be changed. Hence the rhetoric of the 1619 Project is rhetoric of futility. Like bringing democracy to Iraq or a sense of humor to Presbyterians, ending racism in the U.S., from this point of view, is impossible.  Yet the 1619 story rests on false history. For starters, it is not, in fact, clear that the slaves the Dutch brought to Virginia in 1619 were, after their sale, treated as slaves. Slavery did not yet exist in colonial law. Some may very well have been treated as slaves as the term came to be defined, but others probably were not. Good scholars, like Princeton’s Nell Irvin Painter, have argued that they were all servants. The Times, reflecting its ever-growing devotion to “narrative” over facts, simply ignores such possibilities. That simplification sets up the Times’s account of the American Revolution. The 1619 Project originally asserted that “one of the primary reasons the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery.” That follows from the “racist DNA” line—the U.S. was created to save slavery from Britain. But it’s fake news. After months of criticism by historians of all political persuasions, a Times update stated: “We recognize that our original language could be read to suggest that protecting slavery was a primary motivation for all of the colonists. The passage has been changed to make clear that this was a primary motivation for some of the colonists.” Since “some” could mean anything from 0.1% to 99.9%, the Times has retreated from a dubious but bold assertion to an unfalsifiable, meaningless one. “We stand behind the basic point,” the Times insisted, either dishonestly or ignorantly. Logically, the Times’s small verbal tweak masks a huge concession, one that shatters a central contention of the 1619 Project. So what actually happened in 1619? We don’t have enough evidence for there to be a definitive answer... Race in our sense of the term did not yet exist. Even in the 18th century, Jill Lepore notes in These Truths: A History of the United States (2018), the English regarded Germans, Italians, Swedes, and others as “swarthy.” If that’s the case, then it’s wildly anachronistic to call Western civilization “white.”... The great colonial historian Edmund Morgan noted in his book American Slavery, American Freedom (1975) that “before 1660, it might have been difficult to distinguish race prejudice from class prejudice.” (Morgan used the term “might” advisedly. Historians are still debating the point.) Scholars have weighed in since Morgan, but they have not cast his nuanced point into doubt... Douglass recognized that the U.S. was not a slaveholding republic, and the Constitution, rightly interpreted, is not a pro-slavery document. So much for slavery being in our DNA. As for the Declaration, Lincoln and Douglass, and later Martin Luther King, Jr., held that the Declaration was, as King put it, a “promissory note.” Not surprisingly, Douglass is virtually absent from the 1619 Project. To make its fatalistic point, the Times has to silence his voice. To recover Douglass’s voice, we must recognize that the Declaration put anti-slavery and anti-racism, not slavery and racism, into the republic’s DNA... Why not turn to DeWitt Clinton, the man who truly made New York the “Empire State”? Clinton served as either the city’s mayor or the state’s governor for most of the quarter-century from 1803 to 1828... Thanks to Clinton’s work, slavery was responsible for only 5% (not the 50% some leftists claim) of U.S. economic activity. Clinton’s importance used to be more recognized: in the 19th century, his picture was on our currency (a $1,000 bill). His name is worth honoring again. So let New York State and City be re-christened “Clinton.” Then the New York Times would be known forever by the name it could have adopted during the 2016 presidential campaign: the Clinton Daily."

The Inclusive Case for 1776, Not 1619 - The Atlantic - "That revisionist ambition quickly brought out critics—in outlets as normally antagonistic as The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page and the World Socialist Web Site—who challenged the Times’s reframing and the factual claims offered as its basis. Last month, five historians alleged significant factual errors in a letter published in the magazine, alongside a response from Jake Silverstein, its editor in chief, who declined to issue corrections. That prompted another round of critical coverage from the World Socialist Web Site and historian Gordon Wood, a leading scholar of the period, who was irked most by the Times Magazine’s doubling down on the claim that a primary reason American colonists favored independence was to protect slavery. “I don’t know of any colonist who said that they wanted independence in order to preserve their slaves,” he wrote. “No colonist expressed alarm that the mother country was out to abolish slavery in 1776.” That movement conservatives, tenured historians, and the editors of the World Socialist Web Site align so substantially in their critiques has broader significance. The debate over the relative salience of class, race, and hierarchy in the United States has divided the left while yielding odd convergences, and not only between classical liberals on the left and right. Both Trotskyist and movement conservatives can be fiercely protective of the revolution of 1776 and worry that centering race in history and politics divides America in corrosive ways (though they differ wildly on what should or will likely happen if racial fissures recede)... Linker argued that the paper treated history “in a highly sensationalistic, reductionistic, and tendentious way, with the cumulative result resembling agitprop more than responsible journalism or scholarship.” Other early critics worth engaging include Rich Lowry, Michael Brendan Dougherty, and Phillip W. Magness at National Review; Andrew Sullivan at New York; Glenn Loury and John McWhorter at Bloggingheads.tv; Lucas Morel at The American Mind; Wilfred M. McClay at Commentary; Timothy Sandefur at Reason; and Magness again at the American Institute for Economic Research. But little constructive debate about the substance of these critiques ensued, in part because center-left publications such as Vox, Slate, and The Nation tended to mock or pathologize those conservative responses to the 1619 Project that they found vapid (Newt Gingrich came up a lot), instead of grappling with the most thoughtful objections.  The most sustained, ambitious critiques came later—and from an unexpected source: the World Socialist Web Site, published by the Trotskyists at the International Committee of the Fourth International. Social-media users circulated the site’s interviews with academic historians who believe that the 1619 Project got something important wrong about slavery. Among them were Texas State University’s Victoria Bynum, Adolph Reed Jr. of the University of Pennsylvania, Brown’s Gordon Wood, the City University of New York’s James Oakes, and Princeton’s James McPherson. They raised some of the same counterpoints as the widely ignored center-right critics. Why did a socialist website invest so much time and attention to the 1619 Project? In the view of the site’s editors, The New York Times is engaged in a reactionary, politically motivated “falsification of history” that wrongly centers racial rather than class conflict. “The establishment of a racialist narrative is extremely dangerous,” the Marxist theoretician David North, chairman of the site’s international editorial board, told me in a phone interview. “I cannot think of any action, intellectually or politically, more harmful to the struggle to unite the working class than an argument which asserts the primacy of race as the motivating factor in history.” His efforts to rebut the project flow from his related belief that “the uncompromising defense of the progressive heritage of the two American revolutions”––the Revolutionary and Civil Wars––“is necessary for resisting intellectual retrogression and political reaction, educating the working class, and building a powerful American and international socialist movement.”... “There is an implication running through much of the 1619 Project that slavery is a subject that somehow is rarely if ever spoken of in American history,” McClay writes at Commentary. He adds, “The shelves of American libraries groan with books on the subject by many of the greatest American historians, from Oscar Handlin and John Hope Franklin to Winthrop Jordan, Edmund Morgan, Eugene Genovese, Lawrence Levine, David Brion Davis, Stanley Engerman, Gavin Wright, and so on.”... In my colleague Adam Serwer’s recent article about five scholars who criticized the 1619 Project in a letter, he noted “a recurrent theme” among historians he spoke with who saw the letter but declined to sign it. “While they may have agreed with some of the factual objections in the letter or had other reservations of their own,” he wrote, “several told me they thought the letter was an unnecessary escalation.” Similarly, North told me the World Socialist Web Site’s editors contacted several historians who have factual critiques but fear the backlash from voicing them publicly. Insofar as such historians are refraining from public comment at all, they do a disservice to public discourse... she told Serwer that the 1619 Project was not history “as I would write it,” but added, “I felt that if I signed on to that [letter], I would be signing on to the white guy’s attack of something that has given a lot of black journalists and writers a chance to speak up in a really big way.” I’d fault Painter only for implying that the race of a historian is among the factors that should influence whether colleagues sign on to his or her critiques... Against charges of arbitrariness or problematic implications, the Times offers no adequate or even straightforward defense of the premise that the arrival of slaves in Jamestown was our true founding, leaning on vague, slippery formulations like “No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the years of slavery that followed.” Isn’t it equally true that no aspect of subsequent history “has been untouched” by the birth of Christ [etc]? To substitute 1619 as America’s true founding not only centers one original sin, chattel slavery, over an earlier sin that was also abhorrent and consequential: the genocide and subjugation of indigenous North Americans... What relationship, I wonder, does an indigenous Hawaiian have to 1619? How about Andrew Yang?... the 1619 Project itself at times treats African slaves of bygone centuries and African Americans born after Jim Crow ended as one coherent group and bygone slaveholders and today’s white Americans as another, echoing a contestable, reductive, widespread, yet perhaps inevitable conceit."
For all that they claim that they want to "teach history" (what they claim CRT is), liberals seem to be pushing a lot of the made-up sort
Lots of historians think the 1619 project is bunk, but they're scared that the lynch mob will turn on them if they speak the truth

The 1619 Cover-Up - "This was the first civil suit in the Thirteen Colonies to declare a person of African descent a slave for life. It also established the right of free blacks to own slaves... the 1619 Project might not be guilty of a cover-up, but it definitely washed its hands clean of a free black man’s contribution to slavery. The 1619 Project’s editor probably believed it was unconscionable to taint their narrative with such an anomaly, but that doesn’t help American students know the full story of slavery."

Steve Guest on Twitter - "Nikole Hannah-Jones: Parents shouldn't be in charge of their kids' schooling: "I don't really understand this idea that parents should decide what's being taught. I'm not a professional educator. I don't have a degree in social studies." Yet she wants the 1619 Project in schools."

When teaching about race, faculty members should avoid imposing a singular interpretation or ideology (opinion) - "surely our past encounters with race are subject to multiple interpretations, too. We saw that in the controversy over The New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning “1619 Project,” which highlighted how slavery and racism have affected everything from housing and labor to health and education. It also triggered stark objections from several leading historians, who said the project distorted or downplayed the role of Americans -- of every race -- in resisting racism and creating a more perfect (albeit still imperfect) union.  Like McWhorter and Williams, these scholars did not shrink from identifying slavery, segregation and racism as key factors in shaping America. But they rejected the idea that racism “runs in the very DNA of this country” -- as the project’s lead author, Nikole Hannah-Jones, wrote -- and the implication that it limited what Americans could imagine or accomplish. “The function of these tropes is to deny change over time,” historian James Oakes told an interviewer, criticizing “The 1619 Project.” “The worst thing about it is that it leads to political paralysis … If it’s the DNA, there’s nothing you can do. What do you do? Alter your DNA?”  Oakes’s interview ran on a socialist website, which should tell you something. “The 1619 Project” became a punching bag for red-meat conservatives like Newt Gingrich, who flatly called it a “lie” perpetuated by hidebound leftist elites. But it also drew fire from staunchly liberal scholars like Oakes, who applauded the Times for exploring racial histories but disputed its interpretation of them. Again, Oakes might be wrong, or right, or any number of shades in between. But surely any teacher using “The 1619 Project” in class -- as many have already begun to do -- owes it to students to present contrasting perspectives on it.  Don’t hold your breath for that. Despite all of the rhetoric about “hard work” and “courageous conversations,” we seem to be gearing up for a spate of single-minded indoctrination around race. I find Kendi’s own recommended reading list -- which the Times published earlier this spring -- a case in point, as it pretty much studiously avoids any author whose assumptions break fundamentally from his. Introducing the list, Kendi wrote that “we need to read books that are difficult or unorthodox, that don’t go down easily.” But a truly difficult approach would require us to grapple with different ideas about race, instead of inscribing a new orthodoxy about it.  It would also pay homage to the great James Baldwin, who knew just how hard all of this would be. Pleading for an education that taught students to “examine everything” -- and to come to their own conclusions -- Baldwin admitted that “no society is really anxious to have that kind of person around.”  Yet it remains our basic duty, as teachers, to cultivate precisely the type of person that Baldwin had in mind. Presenting a single story about race -- and pretending it's a holy writ -- won’t make students more aware or informed; it will instead make them into cynics who mouth the right incantations when we say the word. Our job is to teach them to ask questions of the universe, not to answer the questions ourselves."

New York Times reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones says 'all journalism is activism' - "New York Times Magazine reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones declared that "all journalism is activism" as the Gray Lady faces constant criticism that it favors liberals... Former Times columnist Bari Weiss ripped the paper’s staffers last month as "activist journalists who treat the paper like a high school cafeteria." Weiss said the once-proud paper foments "rage, polarization, distrust" which betrayed her values. She famously quit the Times in 2020 with a scathing resignation letter in which she detailed bullying in an "illiberal environment."   It seems Hannah-Jones agrees with her theory that the paper’s reporters don’t have a neutral position. However, critics don’t think Hannah-Jones is accurate when claiming activist reporters try to be truthful.   "The New York Times journalist might have a point if she actually strived to be "fair and accurate." She doesn’t," NewsBusters associate editor Scott Whitlock wrote. "The problem with The 1619 Project is a problem with facts. Distinguished historians, including Pulitzer Prize-winners, hammered the errors.""
Only far right conspiracy theorist fascists don't trust the media

Andrew Sullivan: NY Times Abandons Liberalism for Activism - "“Our democracy’s ideals were false when they were written.”... How can an enduring “ideal” — like, say, freedom or equality — be “false” at one point in history and true in another? You could of course say that the ideals of universal equality and individual liberty in the Declaration of Independence were belied and contradicted in 1776 by the unconscionable fact of widespread slavery, but that’s very different than saying that the ideals themselves were false. (They were, in fact, the most revolutionary leap forward for human freedom in history.) You could say the ideals, though admirable and true, were not realized fully in fact at the time, and that it took centuries and an insanely bloody civil war to bring about their fruition. But that would be conventional wisdom — or simply the central theme of President Barack Obama’s vision of the arc of justice in the unfolding of the United States... Even though those ideals eventually led to the emancipation of slaves and the slow, uneven and incomplete attempt to realize racial equality over the succeeding centuries, they were still “false when they were written.” America was not founded in defense of liberty and equality against monarchy, while hypocritically ignoring the massive question of slavery. It was founded in defense of slavery and white supremacy, which was masked by highfalutin’ rhetoric about universal freedom. That’s the subtext of the entire project, and often, also, the actual text. Hence the replacing of 1776 (or even 1620 when the pilgrims first showed up) with 1619 as the “true” founding. “True” is a strong word... the insistence that everything about America today is related to that same slavocracy — biased medicine, brutal economics, confounding traffic, destructive financial crises, the 2016 election, and even our expanding waistlines! Am I exaggerating? The NYT editorializes: “No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the years of slavery that followed … it is finally time to tell our story truthfully.” Finally! All previous accounts of American history have essentially been white lies, the NYT tells us, literally and figuratively. All that rhetoric about liberty, progress, prosperity, toleration was a distraction in order to perpetrate those lies, and make white people feel better about themselves... It seems to me that the New York Times’ editors and reporters want to say this, but not quite so explicitly. So the issue is riddled with weirdnesses like the opening sentence. 1619 is the “true” founding at one point, and then only “as important as” 1776 at another. The original ideals were false, and then the country was founded on “both an ideal and a lie.” It’s as if liberal editors reined in radical writers but couldn’t do so coherently, and lost the plot at times. Which is a good way of understanding the NYT as a whole right now, and the internal conversation that took place in the office soon after... a reporter asked the executive editor, Dean Baquet, why the Times doesn’t integrate the message of the 1619 Project into every single subject the paper covers... “I just feel like racism is in everything. It should be considered in our science reporting, in our culture reporting, in our national reporting. And so, to me, it’s less about the individual instances of racism, and sort of how we’re thinking about racism and white supremacy as the foundation of all of the systems in the country.”  It’s a good point, isn’t it? If you don’t believe in a liberal view of the world, if you hold the doctrines of critical race theory, and believe that “all of the systems in the country” whatever they may be, are defined by a belief in the sub-humanity of black Americans, why isn’t every issue covered that way? Baquet had no answer to this contradiction, except to say that the 1619 Project was a good start... the objective was to get liberal readers to think a little bit more like neo-Marxists. The New York Times, by its executive editor’s own admission, is increasingly engaged in a project of reporting everything through the prism of white supremacy and critical race theory, in order to “teach” its readers to think in these crudely reductionist and racial terms. That’s why this issue wasn’t called, say, “special issue”, but a “project”. It’s as much activism as journalism... I’m constantly told that critical race theory is secluded on college campuses, and has no impact outside of them … and yet the newspaper of record, in a dizzyingly short space of time, is now captive to it. Its magazine covers the legacy of slavery not with a variety of scholars, or a diversity of views, but with critical race theory, espoused almost exclusively by black writers, as its sole interpretative mechanism. Don’t get me wrong. I think that view deserves to be heard... But I sure don’t think it deserves to be incarnated as the only way to understand our collective history, let alone be presented as the authoritative truth, in a newspaper people rely on for some gesture toward objectivity. This is therefore, in its over-reach, ideology masquerading as neutral scholarship. Take a simple claim: no aspect of our society is unaffected by the legacy of slavery. Sure. Absolutely. Of course. But, when you consider this statement a little more, you realize this is either banal or meaningless. The complexity of history in a country of such size and diversity means that everything we do now has roots in many, many things that came before us. You could say the same thing about the English common law, for example, or the use of the English language: no aspect of American life is untouched by it. You could say that about the Enlightenment. Or the climate. You could say that America’s unique existence as a frontier country bordered by lawlessness is felt even today in every mass shooting. You could cite the death of countless millions of Native Americans — by violence and disease — as something that defines all of us in America today. And in a way it does. But that would be to engage in a liberal inquiry into our past, teasing out the nuances, and the balance of various forces throughout history, weighing each against each other along with the thoughts and actions of remarkable individuals... But the NYT chose a neo-Marxist rather than liberal path to make a very specific claim: that slavery is not one of many things that describe America’s founding and culture, it is the definitive one...   I don’t believe most African-Americans believe this, outside the elites. They’re much less doctrinaire than elite white leftists on a whole range of subjects. I don’t buy it either — alongside, I suspect, most immigrants, including most immigrants of color. Who would ever want to immigrate to such a vile and oppressive place? But it is extremely telling that this is not merely aired in the paper of record (as it should be), but that it is aggressively presented as objective reality. That’s propaganda, directed, as we now know, from the very top — and now being marched through the entire educational system to achieve a specific end. To present a truth as the truth is, in fact, a deception. And it is hard to trust a paper engaged in trying to deceive its readers in order for its radical reporters and weak editors to transform the world."

New York Times 1619 Project: No One Year Unlocks Meaning of America - "Whether the subject is slavery or liberty, American history is a story of contested principles. A single birth year cannot unlock the very meaning of the nation, not least because how historians and others explain the past hinges on how they understand the present. An overemphasis on 1619, 1620, or any other year, makes our history far too simple."

Down the 1619 Project’s Memory Hole - "The history of the American Revolution isn’t the only thing the New York Times is revising through its 1619 Project. The “paper of record” has also taken to quietly altering the published text of the project itself after one of its claims came under intense criticism.. The passage, and in particular its description of the year 1619 as “our true founding,” quickly became a flashpoint for controversy around the project... For several months after the 1619 Project first launched, its creator and organizer Nikole Hannah-Jones doubled down on the claim. “I argue that 1619 is our true founding,” she tweeted the week after the project launched. “Also, look at the banner pic in my profile”—a reference to the graphic of the date 1776 crossed out with a line. It’s a claim she repeated many times over. But something changed as the historical controversies around the 1619 Project intensified in late 2019 and early 2020. A group of five distinguished historians took issue with Hannah-Jones’s lead essay, focusing on its historically unsupported claim that protecting slavery was a primary motive of the American revolutionaries when they broke away from Britain in 1776. Other details of the project soon came under scrutiny, revealing both errors of fact and dubious interpretations of evidence in other essays, such as Matthew Desmond’s 1619 Project piece attempting to connect American capitalism with slavery. Finally back in March, a historian who the Times recruited to fact-check Hannah-Jones’s essay revealed that she had warned the paper against publishing its claims about the motives of the American Revolution on account of their weak evidence. The 1619 Project’s editors ignored the advice. Throughout the controversy, the line about the year 1619 being “our true founding” continued to haunt the Times. This criticism did not aim to denigrate the project’s titular date or the associated events in the history of slavery. Rather, the passage came to symbolize the Times’s blurring of historical analysis with editorial hyperbole. The announced intention of reframing the country’s origin date struck many readers across the political spectrum as an implicit repudiation of the American revolution and its underlying principles. Rather than address this controversy directly, the Times—it now appears—decided to send it down the memory hole—the euphemized term for selectively editing inconvenient passages out of old newspaper reports in George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984. Without announcement or correction, the newspaper quietly edited out the offending passage... Discovery of this edit came about earlier this week when Nikole Hannah-Jones went on CNN to deny that she had ever sought to displace 1776 with a new founding date of 1619. She repeated the point in a now-deleted tweet: “The #1619Project does not argue that 1619 was our true founding. We know this nation marks its founding at 1776.” It was not the first time that Hannah-Jones had tried to alter her self-depiction of the project’s aims on account of the controversial line. She attempted a similar revision a few months ago during an online spat with conservative commentator Ben Shapiro. But this time the brazen rewriting of her own arguments proved too much. Hannah-Jones’s readers scoured her own Twitter feed and public statements over the previous year, unearthing multiple instances where she had in fact announced an intention to displace 1776 with 1619... Whatever the exact occasion for the changes, the Times did not disclose its edits or how they obscured one of the most controversial claims in the entire 1619 Project. They simply made the problematic passages disappear, hoping that nobody would notice."

Entry Questions: A group where we only share cringey mobile game ads

These aren't silly, but actually smart and relevant:

"You are meeting your mother in law at a moments notice, what do you choose to wear?
You can choose one option
A perfectly appropriate cute floral dress with nice flowing hair
A less appropriate but still classy business suit with a low bun
Put a clown suit on, burn all your hair off, don’t shower for 2 months prior (flies are the best accessory a girl can wear) and be sure to keep as much body hair as you can.

You suddenly find yourself 4 months pregnant and have no money. What should you do?
You can choose one option
Seduce your boss and pretend the baby is his hoping he can’t do math.
Move to an abandoned old shack in the middle of nowhere and build a mansion out of nothing with just a hammer.
Try again

How do you fix a window?
You can choose one option
Hair straightener
Cry and freeze to deth"

Saturday, December 02, 2023

The West must find the moral courage to say "no" to refugees

The West must find the moral courage to say "no" to refugees

“Is the German public aware of this?” Elon Musk posted on Friday morning. His Tweet highlighted a video from the Mediterranean Sea, appearing to show illegal immigrants getting rescued from a small craft by the masked and uniformed crew of a much-larger ship. 

“There are currently [eight] German NGO [non-government organization] ships in the Mediterranean Sea collecting illegal immigrants to be unloaded in Italy,” the commentary read. These NGOs are subsidized by the German government.”

“Yes,” the German Foreign Office responded an hour later. “And it’s called saving lives.” 

It may have seemed like an insignificant interaction–a tech CEO getting snarky and a ministry “clapping back”–but it’s an illustrative back-and-forth, highlighting the forces behind the mass migration crisis facing the West, from Texas’s Eagle Pass to Italy’s Lampedusa island

The first thing it sheds light on is how organised mass, illegal migration to the Europe and the United States is. The second is how most people have no idea it’s all organised in the first place. The third is that those behind these efforts shield themselves in a self-righteousness incredible to behold. And finally, that because of this righteousness, they hold the electorate – the angry and the ignorant alike – in total contempt and disregard.

A common narrative of illegal immigration is a hard-scrabble family striving fleeing war or persecution, boarding a ship filled with other families, and sailing in under the Statue of Liberty. This view of the past may have been rose-colored, but today it’s an utter fantasy, replaced by the reality of teeming caravans and ships filled with military-aged men, actively run (and often, trafficked) by brutal criminal gangs, cartels, and the bleeding-heart NGOs that provide a humanitarian shield for the whole operation.

Few people realize all this – and that’s intentional. When people, even powerful people like Musk, talk about it, they’re shunned. Commentators who speak to this reality are called conspiracists or racists. Those who warn about the consequences are called the same. It took years for reports of rising homicides or gang activity in Sweden, for instance, to break into the public consciousness. Those who were ostracized for warning it was happening receive no apology, the victims themselves receive little justice, and it all goes on as before.

There’s a reason Western elites feel so perfectly justified in allowing mass-illegal immigration, assisting it, and then silencing its critics: they hold an ironclad belief in their own moral superiority. Take the tweet from the German Foreign Office: if you don’t think the men in sprawling migrant camps should outnumber citizens on an Italian island, you’re on the side of more dead refugees.

This belief leads to all sorts of consequences for those on the wrong end of the elite’s debate. Punishments for politicians who fight to protect their country’s borders – from Italy’s Matteo Salvini to the Netherland’s Inger Stojberg to Donald Trump – begin with relentless attack, and end in prosecutions. The message is clear: Cross the system, pay the price.

The results are clear for all to see. The hundreds of thousands of expensive tents that popped up all over American cities over the past three years weren’t bought by the mentally ill drug addicts who live in them, but by activist groups. The crime waves sweeping American cities aren’t the results of changing weather patterns, but activists and politicians closing schools, decriminalizing law-breaking, ending bail, and handicapping police. The mass illegal migrations swamping Italy, overwhelming Texas and causing panic in England aren’t caused by gravity, but by virtually-open-borders policies facilitated by criminal gangs and lubricated by nonprofits.

It may be too late to end this, but we have to try. If we’re to stand a chance at stopping this mess, the first step to recovery will be admitting we have a problem, and that it isn’t entirely a natural one. Our decline is a choice.


Links - 2nd December 2023 (Schools in the US)

California public schools can’t suspend students for disobeying teachers, new law says - "Starting next school year, it will be illegal for public schools in the state to suspend students in first through fifth grade for willfully defying teachers or administrators. Then, from 2021 through 2025, it will be temporarily extended to kids in grades six through eight. Supporters say suspensions for willful defiance are disproportionately used against students of color."
When student discipline worses, they'll inevitably... blame 'racism'"

California wants to ban schools from suspending pupils for disruptive behavior because it's 'racist' - "African-American students made up 5.6% of enrollment in California schools in 2017-18, but accounted for 15.6% of willful defiance suspensions. Conversely, white students made up 23.2% of statewide enrollment but made up only 20.2% of willful defiance suspensions.”... it’s the teachers and principals on the front line who make the decisions about who should be suspended. Is the State of California saying its teachers are racist? Or is this an excuse to create “racial parity?” That’s what Jason Riley at The Wall Street Journal believes. In a piece last year about Obama administration guidance to schools on the issue, he noted, “Put another way, the [Obama] administration was demanding racial parity in school discipline, regardless of who was being disruptive, which is as silly as demanding racial parity in police arrests, regardless of who’s committing crimes. The result is that more schools have been disciplining fewer students in order to achieve racial balance in suspension rates and stay out of trouble with the federal government.”... A great deal of the coverage of this issue comes from a legacy media that also prefers to applaud the numbers game, as though lowering the percentage of students being suspended somehow indicates improvement in the quality of those students’ lives. Nothing could be further from the truth... Promoting a focus supporting troublemakers abandons the innocent students, also kids of color, who are in the classroom to learn. Why are these students thrown aside, left to navigate increasingly disturbing and dangerous environments?... It does appear that Democrats, whose policies destroy the economy and increase poverty, are trying to cover up the results of the corresponding despair and hopelessness that also manifests in the classroom. Their answer is not to face what’s happening in neighborhoods struggling with poverty, gangs and drugs, and the impact on young people. Instead, it’s to game the system making life even more difficult (and dangerous) for every student so Democratic politicians can look better on paper."

Obama’s Racial Preferences Made Schools Dangerous - WSJ - "In 2014 the Obama administration sent school districts “guidance” letters that essentially threatened federal action if black suspension rates weren’t reduced. The letter stated that even if a school’s suspension policy “is neutral on its face—meaning that the policy itself does not mention race—and is administrated in an evenhanded manner,” the district could still face a federal civil-rights investigation if the policy “has a disparate impact, i.e., a disproportionate and unjustified effect on students of a particular race.”Put another way, the administration was demanding racial parity in school discipline, regardless of who was being disruptive, which is as silly as demanding racial parity in police arrests, regardless of who’s committing crimes.The result is that more schools have been disciplining fewer students in order to achieve racial balance in suspension rates and stay out of trouble with the federal government. Civil-rights lawsuits are embarrassing—to be accused of racial discrimination is often tantamount to being found guilty of it. They’re also expensive to fight, and the federal government has far more resources than any school district. The easier course for schools is to pretend that students from different racial and ethnic groups misbehave at similar rates. School safety becomes secondary. In Oklahoma City, principals told teachers not to request a suspension “unless there was blood.” After school districts in Los Angeles and Chicago softened their policies to curb suspensions, teachers reported more disorder, and students reported feeling less safe. Following a similar move in Philadelphia, truancy increased and academic achievement fell. Schools in Wisconsin that followed the guidance also saw subsequent reductions in math and reading proficiency. Like other liberal advocates of school-discipline reform, Arne Duncan, who was serving as President Obama’s education secretary when the guidance was issued, insisted that blacks are suspended at higher rates than other groups only because school officials are racially biased. “It’s not caused by differences in children,” he said. “It is adult behavior that needs to change.”Yet many of the schools where these uneven discipline rates persist have minority principals and no shortage of minority teachers and administrators. What would be their motive for singling out black and brown kids for suspensions and expulsions, unless those students’ behavior warrants it? And why shouldn’t we expect to find varying rates of misbehavior among racial and ethnic groups in school, when that is exactly what we find outside school?The bigger problem with these anti-suspension crusades is that they ultimately harm the groups they are supposed to help. After New York City made it more difficult to remove troublemakers from the classroom, schools with the highest percentages of minority students were more likely to experience an increase in fighting, gang activity and drug use. A federal report on school crime and safety released last year by the National Center for Education Statistics found that 25% of black students nationwide reported being bullied, the highest proportion of any racial or ethnic group.Some kids go to school to learn, while others go to generate disorder. If we want to narrow racial gaps in academic achievement, policies ought to prioritize the needs of the former—and a school stripped of its ability to effectively discipline students will be hard-pressed to effectively teach them"
Thanks, Obama

NY educrats’ plan to make schools less safe - "Officials are proposing that schools be evaluated in part by suspension rates: The higher the rate, the lower the score. The lower the score, the higher the odds of being labeled failing and being targeted for state intervention, and no school wants that. What could go wrong?... I analyzed student and teacher perceptions of school safety in the wake of Mayor de Blasio’s landmark suspension-reduction initiative. After his plan was implemented, perceptions of order and safety plummeted district-wide, most precipitously at schools serving 90-plus percent minority students. Students at 50 percent of those schools said violence was more frequent, compared to 14 percent where matters improved, and reports of drug use and gang activity increased at approximately four times as many schools as it decreased.New York City is hardly a unique case. After Chicago limited school suspensions, researchers found a significant deterioration in teacher-reported classroom order and student-reported peer relationships. After Los Angeles limited school suspensions, the percentage of students who said they felt safe in school plummeted from 72 to 60. After St. Paul. Minn., limited school suspensions, the number of student assaults on staff tripled in one year. After Oklahoma City limited suspensions, one teacher reported she was “told that referrals would not require suspension unless there was blood.”... why would New York make this a statewide policy? It stems from the ideological conviction that suspensions harm students, putting them into the “school-to-prison pipeline.”There is, however, remarkably little evidence that suspensions harm students. In fact, perhaps the most rigorous study, by University of Arkansas researchers, found a small academic benefit to suspensions, and a study by a University of Georgia professor found that efforts to decrease the racial-suspension gap actually increase the racial achievement gap... social-justice advocates will insist that suspensions cause harm, that the racial disparity in suspensions is caused by teacher bias rather than differences in student behavior and that the state must step in to fix it.But what better way to amplify a “school-to-prison pipeline” than by removing consequences for students’ misbehavior?"

When Disruptive Students Are Coddled, the Whole Class Suffers - "NBC Nightly News aired a segment on the latest classroom-management technique to sweep America’s schools: “room clears”: When a child throws a tantrum that could physically endanger his peers, teachers evacuate all of the other students from the classroom until the troublemaker has vented his rage upon empty desks, tables and chairs. The technique was virtually unheard of five years ago. But 56 percent of surveyed teachers and parents in Oregon now report having experienced a room clear in their or their child’s classroom over the last year.Surrendering the classroom to a single student: The average reader might well ask why anyone thinks this would be a good idea. Yet the policies that make this approach inevitable have been applauded by a wide range of authorities... The emergence of room clears is a product of several fashionable education-policy trends designed to protect the rights of troubled students, often with little regard for the rights of their classmates. These include the provisions contained in the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which mandates that special-education students be subject to the “least restrictive environment” possible... In a national poll, two thirds of surveyed teachers at high-poverty schools reported that there is a student in their classroom who they believed shouldn’t be there; and 77 percent of surveyed teachers report that a small number of disruptive students cause other students to suffer. Unfortunately, IDEA’s provisions don’t adequately account for the rights and interests of general-education students, and teachers typically have little say over who is in their classroom. Once they are assigned to a traditional class, EBD students can become virtually untouchable as far as discipline goes. Schools are discouraged by federal policy and activist groups alike from disproportionately disciplining students with disabilities—the effect of which is that principals are required to overlook many otherwise unacceptable transgressions. (Two thirds of teachers say that special-education students are treated more leniently than general-education students for the same offenses.) The worst-behaved students effectively are taught that the rules don’t apply to them in the same way they apply to others. Even when misbehavior edges toward violence, EBD students are becoming physically untouchable... Teachers report feeling powerless to enforce order and ensure the safety of their students. But their voices are ignored, in part because the same ideology that undergirds these policies also serves to heap the blame for student misbehavior on educators. Statistical disparities in student discipline are taken as a prima facie indicator of institutional racism or ableism. And to the extent that student misbehavior is seen as being a product of trauma, anyone who applies disciplinary measures to the student is accused of exacerbating that trauma.The Obama administration took aim at traditional discipline, arguing that suspensions “don’t work” and pressuring school districts to opt instead for “restorative justice” or “healing circles.” After two years of enforcing the Obama administration’s war on suspensions, the current Education Secretary, Betty DeVos, finally ended it. Yet Trump-administration appointees continue to enforce other policies that have contributed to the room-clear spike... The Department of Education also seems intent on faithfully implementing another misguided special education policy, known as “Equity in IDEA.” Under Barack Obama, Department of Education bureaucrats had become alarmed by aggregate statistics showing that minority students were more likely to be designated as disabled, and that students with disabilities were more likely to be placed in alternative classrooms and more likely to be disciplined. Under the regulations they created to address “significant disproportionality,” school districts whose race-disability ratios exceed a certain threshold were required to demonstrate “progress” toward greater statistical parity, or else see their special education funding forcibly re-allocated to programs intended to accomplish that goal.By the time Donald Trump took office, it had become clear that the Department of Education’s concerns were unfounded: Researchers had determined that after controlling for misbehavior, students with disabilities were no more or less likely to be disciplined than their general-education peers. What’s more, minority students were actually substantially under-represented in special education compared to similarly situated white students. So the primary effects of “Equity in IDEA” will be to deny minority students special-education services, pressure schools to keep EBD students in traditional classrooms, and inhibit teachers from disciplining them... The teacher who spoke to reporters retired after being stabbed by a student without consequence; not a single expert NBC News spoke to questioned the policies that created the status quo; and a school-district bureaucrat cited the chaos as evidence that schools need more taxpayer funding."

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights embraces alternative facts - "without any statistics to support its point, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has stamped its imprimatur on the central lie of school discipline reform, that “students of color as a whole, as well as by individual racial group, do not commit more disciplinable offenses than their peers.”If true, this would be astonishing. Black students are disciplined at more than three times the rate of white students. If their actual rates of misbehavior were precisely statistically equal, then the only explanation for the discipline disparity would be that teachers and administrators are tremendously, deplorably, and irredeemably racially biased... According to the Youth Risk and Behavior Surveillance System survey, black students are substantially more likely than whites to say that they have been in fights at school (15.5 percent versus 6.5 percent), more likely to carry a gun (6.5 percent versus 4.1 percent), and more likely to skip school (9 percent versus 4.9 percent). According to the National Center for Education Statistics, black students are substantially more likely than white students to say that they arrive late to class “sometimes” or “often” (20.9 percent versus 12.2 percent). And Heriot’s dissent points to a raft of similar data.None of this suggests, however, that these differences are attributable to race. Instead, the heartbreaking reality is that black students are substantially more likely to come from single-parent homes, to be raised in poverty, to have received substandard prenatal care, to be malnourished, to be exposed to “adverse childhood experiences,” and to be the victims of abuse and neglect... It endorses the aggressive discipline reforms imposed upon schools by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. But it ignores every rigorous study on the effects of these reforms. In Philadelphia, Matthew Steinberg and Johanna Lacoe found significant academic harms from a discipline ban. The commission’s report does not cite their study. In Pittsburgh, RAND found significant academic harms to black students from its restorative justice initiative. The report does not cite its study. In California, Dominic Zarecki found significant and dramatic damage to math achievement. The report does not cite his study. (Although, notably, the two dissenting commissioners cite them all.)Teacher surveys in more than a dozen districts suggest that teachers do not believe that these policies work in practice. The report does not cite them.When teachers are provided an opportunity to speak anonymously on the effects of the reforms endorsed by the commission, the same horror stories are told in districts from Buffalo to Oklahoma City to Fresno: Principals refuse to administer discipline for anything except violent offenses (if even then), and teachers are left without any authority to stem a rising tide of disruption.But teachers will not speak out against these policies on the record—partly because doing so would invite retaliation from their principals. And partly because doing so is certain to court accusations of “racism” from politically correct bureaucrats, activists, and Twitter trolls who hew to the falsehood now propagated by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights... America has a long, shameful history of interest groups who distort social science to promote their strongly held beliefs on race at an untold cost to citizens of color. Unfortunately, rather than rectify the legacy of these groups and their policies, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has apparently determined to write itself in as the latest chapter in this tragic story."

City student passes 3 classes in four years, ranks near top half of class with 0.13 GPA - "A shocking discovery out of a Baltimore City high school, where Project Baltimore has found hundreds of students are failing. It’s a school where a student who passed three classes in four years, ranks near the top half of his class with a 0.13 grade point average... "He didn't fail, the school failed him. The school failed at their job. They failed. They failed, that's the problem here. They failed. They failed. He didn't deserve that.”... in his first three years at Augusta Fells, he failed 22 classes and was late or absent 272 days. But in those three years, only one teacher requested a parent conference, which France says never happened"
Clearly it's the school's fault he was so often late or absent

Top SF high school sees record spike in failing grades after dropping merit-based admission system - "San Francisco’s Lowell High School is seeing a record spike in D’s and F’s among its first batch of students admitted through a new lottery system.  The new system replaced the school’s established merit-based admissions practice, which had catapulted it to become one of the best high schools in the country... Proponents of the new lottery system argue that the merit-based system was racist as it resulted in an underrepresentation of Black and Hispanic students; opponents say it would harm Asian students – who compose the majority of the student body – and undermine the benefits of a competitive academic environment... remote learning in Lowell began in fall 2020, when only 51 students reportedly received a D or an F. That first-year class was the last batch admitted through the old merit-based system... The lottery system was born out of a long, contentious battle that began in the wake of George Floyd’s death"
Obviously the problem is the racist grading system, so liberals will say that needs to be reformed

School Board Votes to Reinstate Lowell’s Merit-Based Admissions

NPR - Posts | Facebook - "Some students started using ChatGPT, a text-based bot, to do their homework for them. Now a new app, created by 22-year-old Edward Tian, can tell teachers if an essay was written by AI."
It tells you something about US school culture that many of the comments are slamming him for being a snitch, saying the curriculum is out of date since you can "“cheat” using publicly available resources" (apparently the fact that plagiarism is a thing means the curriculum is out of date), saying teachers don't produce original work so students shouldn't have to either, claiming students shouldn't have to do work after school hours, that this is "focusing on what tech they use to present their thoughts" and we should teach "children how to think", that people against AI doing homework are old bitter people who can't embrace technology and just want kids to suffer etc. Some even outrightly say that cheating is acceptable

Boston Public Schools Suspends Test For Advanced Learning Classes; Concerns About Program’s Racial Inequities Linger - "A selective program for high-performing fourth, fifth and sixth graders in Boston has suspended enrollment due to the pandemic and concerns about equity in the program... Superintendent Brenda Cassellius recommended the one-year hiatus for the program, known as Advanced Work Classes, saying the district would not proceed with the program for new students next year... A district analysis of the program found that more than 70 percent of students enrolled in the program were white and Asian, even though nearly 80 percent of all Boston public school students are Hispanic and Black."

To Increase Equity, School Districts Eliminate Honors Classes - WSJ - "A group of parents stepped to the lectern Tuesday night at a school board meeting in this middle-class, Los Angeles-area city to push back against a racial-equity initiative. The high school, they argued, should reinstate honors English classes that were eliminated because they didn’t enroll enough Black and Latino students.  The district earlier this school year replaced the honors classes at Culver City High School with uniform courses that officials say will ensure students of all races receive an equal, rigorous education.   These parents disagreed. “We really feel equity means offering opportunities to students of diverse backgrounds, not taking away opportunities for advanced education and study,” Joanna Schaenman, a Culver City parent who helped spearhead the effort, said in the run-up to the meeting. The parental pushback in Culver City mirrors resistance that has taken place in Wisconsin, Rhode Island and elsewhere in California over the last year in response to schools stripping away the honors designation on some high school classes. School districts doing away with honors classes argue students who don’t take those classes from a young age start to see themselves in a different tier, and come to think they aren’t capable of enrolling in Advanced Placement classes that help with college admissions... “Parents say academic excellence should not be experimented with for the sake of social justice,” said Quoc Tran, the superintendent of 6,900-student Culver City Unified School District. But, he said, “it was very jarring when teachers looked at their AP enrollment and realized Black and brown kids were not there. They felt obligated to do something.”... Mr. Frigola said he disagrees with the district’s view of equity. “I was born in Cuba, and it doesn’t sound good when people are trying to achieve equal outcomes for everyone”... “There are some people who slow down the pace because they don’t really do anything and aren’t looking to try harder,” Emma said. “I don’t think you can force that into people.”... In Santa Monica, Calif., high school English teachers said last year they had “a moral imperative” to eliminate honors English classes that they viewed as perpetuating inequality... “I just don’t see how removing something from some kids all of a sudden helps other kids learn faster,” said Scott Peters, a senior research scientist at education research nonprofit NWEA who has studied equity in gifted and talented programs"
Damn extremists and terrorists!
Teachers don't see their jobs as educating students, but of advancing social justice

Fairfax trained teachers to disregard objections to 'equity grading' - "Teachers in Virginia's Fairfax County Public Schools were required to undergo professional development training on equity grading that includes a slideshow on responding to people who oppose equity initiatives... Tenets of equity grading include the elimination of "0" grades through the implementation of a 50% minimum grade on all assignments, the removal of deadlines, and the opportunity to redo assignments...   "Equitable grading hurts the very kids its proponents say they want to help," Nester said. "Kids who come from low-income families benefit most from fair systems based on merit and achievement. Equitable grading removes this rung in the ladder to success and opportunity for those kids. It sets the bar low and disincentivizes hard work. It also makes it harder for Fairfax students to compete with students from other districts that base grading off of student performance.""
Equal is not fair, under woke logic

SPLC Adds Parental Rights Groups to Hate Map - "“Schools, especially, have been on the receiving end of ramped-up and coordinated hard-right attacks, frequently through the guise of ‘parents’ rights’ groups,” the SPLC’s “Year in Hate and Extremism” report claims...   “At the forefront of this mobilization is Moms for Liberty, a Florida-based group with vast connections to the GOP that this year the SPLC designated as an extremist group,” the report notes. “They can be spotted at school board meetings across the country wearing shirts and carrying signs that declare, ‘We do NOT CO-PARENT with the GOVERNMENT.'”  The SPLC report does not once mention the Left’s aggressive promotion of sexualized material for children in schools and at other venues. It does not mention the “Drag Queen Story Hour” movement or the fact that many of the books which parents demand removed from school libraries include pornographic content. It does not mention how many on the Left champion the idea that children should be able to identify with a gender opposite their biological sex, hide that identity from their parents, and even obtain life-altering drugs without parental consent. Instead, it acts as though the parental rights movement emerged in a vacuum, or worse, is motivated by hatred.   The SPLC long has demonized conservative Christian groups such as Alliance Defending Freedom as “anti-LGBT hate groups,” national security groups such as the Center for Security Policy as “anti-Muslim hate groups,” and immigration groups such as the Center for Immigration Studies as “anti-immigrant hate groups.”  The SPLC’s 2022 report—released Tuesday—includes a new designation: the “antigovernment movement.”...   The SPLC revealed a focus on parental rights groups in April, when the organization’s Maya Henson Carey compared parental rights advocates to the “Uptown Klans” of white Southerners trying to maintain segregation after the Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education... the SPLC’s accusation against the Family Research Council inspired a terrorist attack in 2012. A shooter targeted the council’s Washington, D.C., office, using the “hate map.” He intended to kill everyone in the building, but a brave security guard prevented him. The shooter is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence...   The SPLC has faced numerous scandals and hits to its credibility. In 2019, it fired its co-founder, Morris Dees, amid accusations of racial discrimination and sexual harassment tracing back decades. Amid that scandal, a former employee came forward as having been “part of the con.” He wrote that the SPLC’s hate accusations are a “highly profitable scam.”"
Parents have no rights. If you push back against the government, you're hateful

Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ on Twitter - "The Oregon teachers union is contemplating a "progressive dues structure" that will charge white teachers higher fees than their "BIPoC" counterparts. This is racism in the guise of anti-racism."

Richard Hanania on Twitter - "NYC had a test for teachers. Whites passed at a higher rate than minorities. Now the city has set aside over $1.8 billion to pay failed applicants One woman failed 10 times. When she heard about the lawsuit, she felt vindicated because she learned the test was the problem."
Black, Latino Teachers Collecting $835 Million in Discrimination Lawsuit - WSJ - "The Liberal Arts and Sciences Test contained 80 multiple-choice questions and one essay covering math, science, humanities, history, communication skills and other topics. An expert hired by the teachers at a 2002 trial testified that part of the discrepancy in passing rates could have been due to cultural knowledge underpinning the questions."
Ahh... disparate impact!

Texas' Marlin High School postpones graduation after 85% of class fails to earn diploma - "A high school in Texas postponed its graduation after the vast majority of the class failed to earn their diplomas.  Just five of the 33 senior students at Marlin High School near Waco, Tex., met the requirements for commencement, with grades or attendance issues dooming most students...   The school had recently moved to a four-day school week in an attempt to reduce absences."

Oregon again says students don’t need to prove mastery of reading, writing or math to graduate, citing harm to students of color - "Oregon high school students won’t have to prove basic mastery of reading, writing or math to graduate from high school until at least 2029, the state Board of Education decided unanimously on Thursday, extending the pause on the controversial graduation requirement that began in 2020.  The vote went against the desires of dozens of Oregonians who submitted public comments insisting the standards should be reinstated, including former Republican gubernatorial candidate Christine Drazan... Opponents argued that pausing the requirement devalues an Oregon diploma... leaders at the Oregon Department of Education and members of the state school board said requiring all students to pass one of several standardized tests or create an in-depth assignment their teacher judged as meeting state standards was a harmful hurdle for historically marginalized students, a misuse of state tests and did not translate to meaningful improvements in students’ post high school success. Higher rates of students of color, students learning English as a second language and students with disabilities ended up having to take intensive senior-year writing and math classes to prove they deserved a diploma. That denied those students the opportunity to take an elective, despite the lack of evidence the extra academic work helped them in the workplace or at college, they said."

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Latest posts (which you might not see on this page)

powered by Blogger | WordPress by Newwpthemes