"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Links - 19th March 2019 (2)

The Atlantic - Posts - "The Gender Politics of Pockets: A man can simply swipe up his keys and iPhone on the way to a rendezvous with co-workers and slip them into his pocket. A woman on the way to that same meeting has to either carry those items in her hand, or bring a whole purse with her—a definitive, silent sign that she is a woman."
Comments: "Listen, I’ve heard men given shit for having cargo shorts full of pockets for years"
"If women really wanted pockets, clothes would come with pockets. Capitalism isn't great for a lot of things, but it's pretty good at meeting demand for clothing styles."
""Gender politics waddle further into irrelevance" ~ The Atlantic"
"So, I am married to a designer, and the issue isn't always that designers are not putting pockets in, or that the pockets are too small. The issue is that when pockets are put in many clothing items, complaints come back in that the pockets ruin the line of the dress or pant. So, it is up to each person to decide whether they want the look to be streamlined, or whether they want to have an actual utilitarian pocket. I will admin that there are pants I wear that I either don't put anything in my pockets, or only minimal things, because it makes the pants look terrible, and that there are pants I have that look really good, but I can't actually put my phone or keys in the pockets because they are too small."
"It's important to make sure that you politicize everything in order to keep people irritated."
"Right, because we couldn't tell otherwise"
"Man between this and the bathroom article we’ve really reached the bottom of the barrel for issues facing women."
"Pockets ruin the lines of clothing. Happy with a purse. You don’t need to bring an overnight bag - just enough for basics"
"I wear a suit or blazer. I have pockets. 🤷🏻‍♀️ This is not difficult."
"I carry a wallet, keys, glasses, a phone, and an inhaler pretty much everywhere. Pockets don't cut it but a small belt bag works just fine. It's really not an inconvenience."


BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, US mid-terms elections - "Often they don't particularly like him as a person, but they like what he's doing. And they like the way the nation is being run...
The priorities of the Democratic Party, of her party, of elite America don't really match those of her constituents.
'When you're working one or two jobs, or you're a single mom, which 52% of the women here are and have more than one child. You're not thinking about climate change, you're not thinking about the environment. You're thinking about: how am I going to get my kids to school this morning? How am I going to feed them in the afternoon and I'm gonna be late because I have nobody to get them at the bus.'...
'Do you resent people who are super rich in America?'...
Here's where American attitudes get very interesting and troubling for those looking for an alternative to Trump. They don't blame the rich for their troubles. But they do have a tendency to blame the upper middle classes, the hectorers, the lecturers
'They feel like - and rightfully so - that that class of people talk down to them and basically tell them that they're wrong and that they, they're not smart enough to figure out that Donald Trump isn't the right person... What's funny is the Democratic Party is made up the elite people that have money and tend to be, you know, fairly educated. And then you've got this big drop off to the people that are less economically fortunate. So you have this big hole in the middle, the middle class, and then you've got the Democrats on the other side saying, well, you don't care about, you know, eliminating plastic straws in California, because it's killing ocean life out in the middle of the Pacific, or, you know, the transgender bathroom issues in Washington and Oregon'...
What's happening here? Why is the anger at the elites greater than anger at the rich? In part, according to Richard Reeves, senior fellow at the Washington think tank Brookings and author of Dreamhoarders: how the American upper middle class is leaving everyone else in the dust, in part, he says it's because of politics. But also it's because of real grievance
'Part of the political skill of Donald Trump has been to turn the anger into an anti elite anger rather than anti rich anger. And to persuade people that the issue here is upper middle class professionals, those who are kind of condescending to them... obviously, the famous comment from Hillary Clinton about deplorables and all that sort of speaks to was a sense of being judged, being kind of looked down on by the upper middle class, the people who are winning in the meritocracy, the people who are embracing immigration, free trade etc, and flourishing in that world. And so it's actually as much a kind of sense of the anger at the disdain with which people felt they were being treated with.'...
The figures for the people who have already voted. I mean, I think it's something like over 35 million Americans have voted early. Just give you one state in Texas, more people have already voted early than voted in total turnout for years ago. That is the level of interest that has been generated on both sides. One thing that no one can argue about Donald Trump has made politics exciting"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, US Now Eyes 2020 - "These elections underlined one thing above all others. Donald Trump dominates the politics, the thinking, the life of his nation like few other presidents in modern times. He galvanises people to back him, to oppose him. And assuming he chooses to run for reelection in 2020, his chances are enhanced, not diminished by what happened in America's midterm elections... The fact is that in race after race, though, in states where Donald Trump is popular, and campaigned hard, the candidates he supported won. That's why the Senate Majority for the Republicans has actually gone up - highly unusual in a midterm election...
‘Commemorating World War One has, if anything become more significant, even as the events themselves have become more remote.’
‘Well, each generation has reinterpreted the history of the First World War in the light of its own values. So for example, in 1928, 10 years after the end of the war, when Earl Haig, the Field Marshal who lead British troops in France and Flanders from 1915 to 1918, when he died, his funeral procession, the streets of Edinburgh, the city of his birth, and London were lined with hundreds of thousands, perhaps as many as a million people. He was buried as a national hero, the man who delivered National Salvation to a grateful nation. And yet by the 1960s, he's a villain, he's the Butcher of the Somme, the man who sent hundreds of thousands of young men to their deaths needlessly in what became known as the futility narrative. So each new generation looks afresh at the First World War. So it's in 1968, for example, then the 1960s for example, that the war poetry of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon gains popular traction really for the first time. Those poets were known in the 1920s and 1930s, but they weren't known popularly, didn't enter the national consciousness, the national discourse until the 1960s, a time of exploding youth culture, Vietnam, protest, growing anti war sentiment, and that's when those poems, that poetry found its time. And so since then, in the 50 years since the 1960s, that interpretation of futility narrative, the horror, the pity of war, has again receded. And again, there’s a generation now of revisionist historians who are saying, wait a minute, the song was not futile, the Somme was the beginning of the path to victory, and the process by which the Allies delivered Europe from German militarism...
How do you remember your own war dead when you belong to a nation that turned out twice to be on the wrong side of history [like Germany]? How do you grieve for those you lost without appearing to whitewash the crimes committed in their name, or in some cases by them, or indeed condoning those crimes? And this has been problematic for Germany since the end of the Second World War in particular, and I think one of the great achievements of post war Germany is it did not seek scapegoats. It did not seek to blame others for its plight, but it reconciled its own guilt to the new world and as a symbol of the way in which Germany has been transformed since 1945 that it's at peace with all nine nations with whom it shares a land border. And that's never been true in German, since the unification of Germany at the beginning of the 1870s. It's an achievement I think, many German diplomats before the Berlin Wall came down, would not have believed that they would live to see'"

BBC World Service - The World This Week, No laughing matter: the truce on trade - "‘There's a very real fear that because of the close ties between the Chinese government and Chinese business and the fact that there is a law there that says, at any point, if there's a private individual or an institution that is asked to hand over information to the government, they may well be obliged to do. It's that fear that many companies, countries who are now seeing Huawei being caught up in this crossfire of the US-China trade war, this other war, as you mentioned earlier, which is making them very reluctant to do business with Chinese companies like Huawei’…
‘Huawei can't be classified effectively as a private institution, in a sense that a company in the United States might be private in that it's received billions of dollars of investment from the Chinese government. As you said, there are laws requiring it to hand over information. And of course, we can't forget that the founder of Huawei was at one point a member of the Chinese military. Is this a sort of a wider problem for Chinese companies?’
‘Yeah, I think it's always going to be an issue because, you know, we are looking at Chinese companies through the prism of how the Western world operates. And you can't do that. There are a number of reasons why the Chinese economy is so different from anything else in the world. It operates within its own ecosystem and try as much as they might these companies, I think it would be fair to say, they operate in a very global way, they are very innovative, they are proceeding ahead with technological advances that far outpaced in many ways, the ability of Western companies, but the reality remains that they operate under the auspices of the Chinese government. And there is that fear, although I think it is important to stress that so far, we haven't seen any credible evidence of that. But that possibility that if they were asked to hand over data, they may well be obliged to do so.’...
The report on religious freedom tries to understand why religious persecution is on the increase and how it's not higher on a list of public priorities. It suggests that the rise of ultra nationalism is contributing as many countries opt for populist politicians and policies. But it ultimately concludes that religious violence has fallen down the list of human rights priorities. Because there are now so many competing concerns. The #metoo movement that's championed the rights of women. LGBTQI communities, who are demanding equality of opportunity, having faced centuries of discrimination. And these are the Human Rights priorities that tend to dominate social media."
Another reminder of how obsessing over non-issues means real problems get ignored

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Robotic surgery - "Every single heart operation risks a life. It's different with robotic prostate surgery or surgery on the bowel. Every time you stop a heart and try and restart it it does risk that patient’s life and the smallest of mistakes can cascade into disaster. There was an old saying in cardiac surgery: this operation should be awfully simple, but I've made it simply awful…
‘If you… had a heart problem and needed an operation would you allow it to be carried out by somebody operating a robot?’
‘No, no, I will take the standard saw up the middle of the breastbone and heart surgery was made safe by doing it under direct vision in controlled circumstances that were highly reproducible. When I did mitral valve repairs, usually the operations took between two and three hours and the patient left hospital in between five and seven days with a valve that would last them forever. The sternotomy incision, though intimidating to look at, is nowhere near as painful as some other surgical incisions. I think it's wrong to trade off the length of a surgical incision for the safety and longevity of an operative procedure."

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Lords sexual harassment - "‘To even think of being cross examined by the alleged perpetrator is absolutely, it was horrendous, and a horrendous thought for me.’
‘But where, can we look at one inconsistency in in particular… a week after these alleged events, you signed a copy of your book for Lord Lester with this inscription: Anthony, thank you so much for your love and support. It has been my pleasure to meet you. Love and admiration’
‘When this happened to me at that time, I was absolutely shocked and horrified. And one of the things I did as a victim of sexual harassment was to go into autopilot.’...
‘I sign many books in that way for many people. I was trying to be normal, I just wanted to carry on as normal’
‘But you could have signed it in a very basic way, couldn't you, but instead, to put in an inscription that says, thank you so much for your love and support now’
‘Because I have to say, and I'll be very clear here, I do have admiration for Lord Lester’s work, absolutely. But what I don't have admiration for is what he did to me. And I was trying to be normal. Many victims of sexual harassment do do that. Otherwise, they draw attention to that harassment. And I was just trying to get on with things. It was the most debilitating experience and for me to draw attention to do something differently, would have made me happen to accept that I was a victim and I was trying to get on with it’
‘But it took you 12 years to come forward’"
Due process is horrible and there's no way to tell credible from non-credible accusations

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Religious freedom - "‘Martin gave us some horrific examples of Christians being persecuted, Coptic Christians being persecuted in Egypt. Is there though a general view here that Islamophobia is a bad thing, anti-Semtism it a bad thing. And of course they are. But we don't hear the same sort of talk about anti-Christians’
‘I think the problem is that Christianity is seen as a Western development whereas we know it started in the Middle East. And so we tend to have a sensitivity in the West because we are talking about people coming into the communities. Of course, that is no longer true. People are moving across each other's paths all the time. And because there is in my mind, a certain expression for it, a concept of it, then it's left to happen. Of course, people express their support and they try to do things, but it's not seen as a phenomenon, which we know it is. We know it’s a phenomenon in many countries. It is just as deplorable as anti semitism, Islamophobia and anything else that targets people precisely for their faith. And so it therefore must be addressed at the same level’
‘Is part of the problem that we don't have a word for it? We have a word for anti semitism. We have a word for Islamophobia. We don't have a word for being, not liking Christians, I don't know what the word is.’
‘Well, in the world of 280 characters on Twitter and very quick newsfeeds I think that is part of the problem. You can't have a hashtag that says persecution of Christians. Christ knows that. So that's one concept. The other thing is, it's more than a word, there isn't a concept for it. And so that, therefore there's a greater sensitivity to speak about it. But then there isn't a way of collaborating or called creating a coalition of people who speak against it. And I think that's what, when there is a concept, a word and ethos, it's much easier to bring people around it.’"
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