"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, January 07, 2020

Links - 7th January 2020 (2) (Anti-Semitism)

French prosecutors drop murder charges against Jewish kindergarten teacher Sarah Halimi's killer - "A French prosecutor has dropped charges against the killer of Jewish kindergarten teacher Sarah Halimi after experts ruled he had suffered a massive psychotic episode by smoking cannabis. Ms Halimi, who was Orthodox, was killed after Kobili Traoré broke into her council flat in eastern Paris on April 4 2017.  Witnesses said the 65-year-old was beaten and called a “demon” by her attacker, who recited Koranic verses as he threw her off her balcony... “You’re saying that people can walk free after carrying out criminal action just because they were allegedly not aware of the effects of drugs or other substances?  “Will this also apply to drunk drivers who kill children on the road?”"
So it looks like France will need to crack down on marijuana to maintain the illusion

Suspect in 2017 Paris killing of Jewish woman won't stand trial - "The appeals court, whose decision Thursday ended Traore’s detention, ordered he be hospitalized or made to attend a drug rehabilitation program... But Traore “does appear to have voluntarily ended the life of Sarah Halimi,” the court ruled, saying the killing was partly because of anti-Semitism.  The court also retained the aggravated element of a hate crime in the indictment against Traore, but determined it would not go to trial because Traore was not fully aware of his actions... The French Jewish community has long claimed Halimi, a physician and kindergarten teacher, was the victim of an anti-Semitic crime.  The appeals court’s decision “marks the advent of a policy that gives impunity to anti-Semitic murder in France... Traore was determined fit to stand trial following an assessment. But that was overturned after a judge requested a second series of tests, which determined that the Malian immigrant was not able to stand trial... Traore pummeled Halimi, a physician and kindergarten teacher, for an hour as police stood outside the woman’s door, according to reports. He shouted about Allah and called her a “demon” before throwing her to her death. Traore had called Halimi’s daughter “dirty Jewess” two years before killing the mother"
I guess this, while terrible, isn't as bad as one would've feared

Zionism, anti-semitism and the left - "The Jews are seen as constituting an immensely powerful, abstract, intangible global form of power that dominates the world. There is nothing similar to this idea at the heart of other forms of racism. Racism rarely, to the best of my knowledge, constitutes a whole system that seeks to explain the world. anti-semitism is a primitive critique of the world, of capitalist modernity. The reason I regard it as being particularly dangerous for the left is precisely because anti-semitism has a pseudo-emancipatory dimension that other forms of racism rarely have... [In the early 20th century] there were Jews, many of them members of Communist parties, who viewed any expression of Jewish identity as anathema to their own notions of what I would call abstract Enlightenment notions of humanity... frequently, this form of anti-Zionism is inconsistent – it is willing to accord national self-determination to most peoples, but not to Jews... After the Holocaust and the establishment of the state of Israel, this abstract universalism serves to veil the history of Jews in Europe. This fulfils a very useful, historically “cleansing” dual function: the violence historically perpetrated by Europeans on Jews is erased; at the same time the horrors of European colonialism now become attributed to the Jews. In this case, the abstract universalism expressed by many anti-Zionists today becomes an ideology of legitimation that helps constitute a form of amnesia regarding the long history of European actions, policies and ideologies toward the Jews, while essentially continuing that history. The Jews have once again become the singular object of European indignation... Another strand of left anti-Zionism – this time deeply anti-semitic – was introduced by the Soviet Union, particularly in the show trials in Eastern Europe after World War Two. This was particularly dramatic in the case of the Slansky trial, when most of the members of the Central Committee of the Czechoslovak Communist Party were tried and then shot. All of the charges against them were classically anti-semitic charges: they were rootless, they were cosmopolitan, and they were part of a general global conspiracy. Because the Soviet Union could not officially use the language of anti-semitism, they began to use the word “Zionist” to mean exactly what anti-Semites mean when they speak of Jews... This strand of anti-semitic anti-Zionism was imported into the Middle East during the Cold War, in part by the intelligence services of countries like East Germany. A form of anti-semitism was introduced into the Middle East that was “legitimate” for the Left, and was called anti-Zionism.  Its origins had nothing to do with a movement against Israeli settlement... there has been a concerted campaign by some Palestinians, carried into the West by the left, to put the existence of Israel back on the table. Among other things, this has the effect of strengthening the right in Israel. Between 1967 and 2000, the left in Israel had always argued that what the Palestinians wanted was self-determination, and that the right-wing notion that they wanted to eradicate Israel was a fantasy. Unfortunately that fantasy was shown in 2000 not to be a fantasy, which has strengthened the right immeasurably in its attempts to prevent the coming into being of a Palestinian state. The Israeli right and the Palestinian right are reinforcing each other, and the left in the West is supporting what I regard as the Palestinian right, the ultra-nationalists and the Islamists. The idea that every nation other than the Jews should be allowed self-determination does come back to the Soviet Union. One has only to read Stalin on the nationalities question...
Israel is far from being as powerful as charged. Yet you have people like my present and former colleagues at the University of Chicago, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, strongly supported by circles in the UK, who argue that the only thing driving American policy in the Middle East is Israel, as mediated by the Jewish lobby. They make this sweeping charge in the absence of any serious attempt to analyze American policy in the Middle East since 1945, which certainly cannot adequately be understood as Israel-driven. So, for example, they completely ignore American policy toward Iran for the past 75 years. The real pillars of American policy in the Middle East after World War Two were Saudi Arabia and Iran... Yet you had a book written by these two academics claiming that American policy in the Middle East was primarily driven by the Jewish lobby without bothering to seriously analyze Great Power policies in the Middle East in the 20th century.   I’ve argued elsewhere that this sort of argument is anti-semitic. This has nothing to do with the personal attitudes of the people involved, but the sort of enormous global power it accords the Jews (as, in this case, the puppet-masters of the good-natured, slow-witted, giant, Uncle Sam) is typical for modern anti-semitic thought. More generally that ideology represents what I call a fetishised form of anti-capitalism... This approach might also help explain the spread of anti-semitism in the Middle East in the past two decades. I don’t think it is a sufficient explanation only to point to the suffering of the Palestinians. Economically, the Middle East has declined precipitously in the past three decades. Only sub-Saharan Africa has fared worse...
I doubt that even the people who proclaim “We are all Hezbollah” or “We are all Hamas” would say that those movements represent an emancipatory social order. At best what is involved is an Orientalist reification of the Arabs and/or Muslims as the Other, whereby the Other, this time, is affirmed. It is yet another indication of historical helplessness on the part of the left, the inability to come up with any imaginary of what a post-capitalist future might look like. Not having any vision of a post-capitalist future, many have substituted a reified notion of “resistance” for any conception of transformation. Anything that “resists” the United States becomes regarded positively. I regard this as an extremely questionable form of thought. Even in the previous period — when solidarity with Vietnam, Cuba, etc. predominated — I think the division of the globe into two camps had very negative consequences for the left. The left too often found itself in the position of being the mirror image of Western nationalists.  Many on the left became nationalists of the other side. Most of them — there were some significant exceptions — were extremely apologetic about what was going on in Communist countries. Their critical gaze was blunted. Instead of developing a form of internationalism that was critical of all existing relations, the left became supporters of one side in another version of the Great Game. This had disastrous effects on the left’s critical faculties — and not only in the case of Communists. It’s absurd that Michel Foucault went to Iran and regarded the revolution of the mullahs as having some progressive dimensions."
Oikophobia means you get very questionable bedfellows

Uh, What?: Rashida Tlaib Blamed Jersey City Shooting on White Supremacy - "Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) tweeted on Thursday how white supremacy was responsible for the deaths in the hours-long shooting in Jersey City. The tweet was later deleted as the alleged gunmen were African-American and one once belonged to a black supremacist group... "This is heartbreaking," Tlaib said. "White supremacy kills."... Tlaib was criticized on Twitter for erroneously placing blame and apparently showing she knew very little about the attack."

Rashida Tlaib blames 'white supremacy' for New Jersey shooting - "An investigation after the shooting found the suspects, 47-year-old David Anderson and 50-year-old Francine Grahm, intentionally targeted a kosher deli. An ensuing gunfight between police and the attackers lasted hours... Tlaib has also been criticized for posing with terrorist sympathizers. In January, she was photographed with a Hezbollah supporter, and in September she posed for a photo with a youth group that advocates for violence against Israel."

Lucas Lynch - "The shooting in New Jersey by one of the black Israelites can only remind me of perhaps the seminal outrage event of 2019 - The "staring seen 'round the world", whereby children from Covington Kentucky staring blankly in at a Native American was seen as the fulfillment of a somehow inevitable conspiracy of white supremacy run amok in America, when the reality is that the only truly homophobic and anti-native abuse was being hurled right nearby by other members of the so-called "black Israelites". Now that the black Israelites have proven themselves to be the dangerous hate group some of us were talking about, are any observers to that event revising what they saw? The answer is no. The story will be totally forgotten within two days.It is perhaps the perfect miniature portrait of the modern left. This smirking but otherwise perfectly civil kid was evil incarnate, a plague against which celebrities were begging people to inflict violence. A producer at Disney tweeted a cartoon in which the kids were thrown into a wood chipper. The black Israelites, who called the Native Americans "uncle Tomahawk", could barely elicit a response.The fact of the matter is that in the Northeast, which is where this crime and many others occur, due to the area being one of the areas with the biggest Jewish populations, in fact hardly ever sees hate crimes from white nationalists. Anti-Semitism is more prevalent in this part of the country than racism against African-Americans and trans phobia against trans Americans, and almost none of it comes from anyone affiliated with a right wing group.In Europe this is even more pronounced. When victims of anti-Semitic hate crimes are polled in terms of the identity of their attackers, they tend to overwhelmingly be of Islamist origin, and in most countries with the exception of Germany second-place goes to purely left-wing sources.The ardent denialism of such racism in the face of such clear and overwhelming data shows yet again where the epistemology of the left is fundamentally broken. Is it of little wonder they can't understand any of the forces that may have helped shape the modern populist movement, and are powerless to defeat it?"

Inconvenient antisemitism: The daily attacks on Jews in New York - "The murder of three people at a kosher supermarket in Jersey City was mostly ignored in the United States. No rallies or marches against the antisemitism that led to it. No major political upheavals or even much recognition. The usual anger over gun violence after mass shootings was nowhere to be found. The victims and the perpetrators are inconvenient. America as a whole can’t mourn Orthodox Jews and it can’t confront perpetrators when the perpetrators come from a minority community. This is inconvenient antisemitism and it is a kind of antisemitism privilege... The Jersey City murders are the culmination of years of incitement against Jews. But the perpetrators in that case were themselves minorities from the African American community. The perpetrators have been identified as coming from an extremist religious group called Black Hebrew Israelites... major media have endeavored to dismiss the murders as unimportant and unique. The New York Times described the Black Hebrew Israelites as being “known for their inflammatory sidewalk ministers who employ provocation as a form of gospel.” It’s a bit more than that... The group was in the media earlier in the year in Washington DC when they shouted insults at Catholic high school students. Mainstream society wants to view this as “provocation,” because if they viewed it as a burgeoning racist violent movement targeting Jews then they would have to confront it and ask tough questions of why it is tolerated in a community... In American society there is generally only place for one kind of racism. There are far-right white supremacists and everyone else. This Manichean worldview of antisemitism and racism means we are only comfortable with one type of perpetrator. An angry white man... when the perpetrators stray from that we have a problem dealing with it. In New York City, according to a post by journalist Laura Adkins, data shows that of 69 anti-Jewish crimes in 2018, forty of the perpetrators were labelled “white” and 25 were labelled “black,” the others were categorized as Hispanic or Asian. To keep the focus on the white supremacists, headlines need to explain to us that “right wing terrorists” have killed more than Jihadists, as Slate.com said earlier this year. Other types of terrorism are watered down a bit. During the Obama administration Islamist-inspired terror was even rebranded as “violent extremism” so as not to mention the religion of the perpetrators. For some reason even though Islamist terror is also a far-right ideology, it is portrayed as something else. For instance, when Jews were targeted at a kosher supermarket in France they were called “random folk in a deli.” They weren’t random, they were targeted, like the Jews in Jersey City, but they needed to be random or we’d have to ask about the antisemitism that permeates Islamist terror... The suspects in Jersey City were called  “drifters,” anything to make them seem unique, as if their views came from the moon. But the hatred of Jews and almost daily attacks in New York City and surrounding areas doesn’t come from thin air. It is motivated by a very clear ideology that has been appeased and tolerated in the name of tolerance of hatred. Almost every day in Brooklyn Jews are attacked. When this happened in the Pale of Settlement in the Russian Empire it was called a pogrom. If someone said that every day in Kiev Jews were being beaten and attacked on subways and in the streets, we would correctly identify it as a pogrom-like series of attacks. But not in New York... In the US, since it is difficult to accept that minorities might also be racist, the elephant in the room of black antisemitism is not mentioned. Too often, African American officials make openly antisemitic statements without fear of reaction. A school board member attacked “brutes of the Jewish community” after the Jersey City attack. In Washington DC an African American member of the city council claimed the Rothschilds control the weather. Instead of fully condemning him, he was invited to the Holocaust Museum and to experience Jewish holidays with the community. Why is the answer to antisemitism often the invitation to a nice embrace at a Jewish holiday? Does the KKK get invited to a black church as a reward for their racism? How about condemning first, apologies and introspection, and then a reward for reform would be an invitation... Jews “like all white people, part of the racist system that keeps black people under the foot of society.” This is the way a Jewish newspaper explained hatred of Jews. It defined Jews as “white” and gave credence to the idea that antisemitism is motivated by “police brutality and slavery.” This is a window into a very real worldview that openly says Jews are behind police brutality and slavery and gentrification.  In New York the police have stepped up their presence after attacks, but even that has been condemned as sending too many police to a neighborhood of “people of color.” Now Jews will be blamed for the police presence too instead of someone struggling against the violent antisemitism and inter-racial marches of solidarity against it... The New Yorker asked whether an “influx of Hasidic residents in the Greenville [Jersey City] neighborhood spur two assailants to embark on a shooting spree that left six people dead.” Jews, simply for moving somewhere, may cause a shooting spree, in this explanation"
Hilariously, on the New York Times's Facebook, a lot of people were blaming white supremacists and Trump. And some people called me a racist and white supremacist for confronting their fact-resistant asses with reality

Hen Mazzig on Twitter - "If “gentrification” and not antisemitism is driving the attacks on Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn, why aren’t we seeing any hipsters with smashed kombucha and black eyes?"

NBC skewered for describing ‘civic sparring’ between Orthodox Jews & neighbors – but change to ‘anti-Semitism’ only made it worse - "The network coined the euphemism “civic sparring” to describe the often-heated conflicts that take place in the suburbs of New York City when Hasidic Jewish communities – often insular, with large numbers of children, and wary of outsiders – begin expanding, sometimes at the expense of families already living in the area, who may lose control of local government and schools. NBC didn’t stop at coining the cringeworthy term, however. It suggested “some fear the recent violence” – a mass stabbing at a Hanukkah celebration inside a rabbi’s home in Monsey, New York; a shooting that killed three in a Jersey City kosher market; a recent spate of street attacks in New York City – “may be an outgrowth of that conflict” in a since-deleted tweet on Thursday.Many accused the network of victim-blaming, comparing it to other popular blame-transfer mechanisms favored by MSM. “Her dress was too short,” one user snarked. “Or too long in this case,” another commented, slyly referencing Hasidic dress which outfits women in full-length skirts and other ultra-modest looks.  “Civic sparring” joins an ever-growing sea of mainstream media euphemisms devised to insulate readers and reporters both from uncomfortable realities – in this case, the idea that diversity might not always be our strength, and that communities with dramatically different values might not do well living on top of each other. After drowning in angry replies, NBC removed the “civic sparring” tweet, regretting the “error” and promising another, non-offensive message to follow. Instead, they placed their foot deeper in their mouth – though admittedly, just tweeting the article’s headline. “Anti-Semitism grows in Jewish communities in NYC suburbs” made it sound like the Jewish communities were the ones being antisemitic. Social media had other suggestions. MSM has become notorious for whipping up euphemisms to cover up inconvenient truths... These outlets have no problem irresponsibly exaggerating some issues – “Free speech is killing us!” cried a New York Times op-ed that likened online “hate speech” to physical violence in order to demand government censorship – the latest in a long string of articles about social media supposedly turning Americans into froth-mouthed extremists. New York Magazine published “Why Migrant Detention Centers Are Concentration Camps”"

Bari Weiss on Twitter - "Imagine blaming cross burnings on the expansion of black communities."
"That NBC headline notes 'civic sparring' as if the action is reciprocal & Jews are also violent."

ADL Survey Finds Anti-Semitism High in Black Community - "black Americans remain considerably more likely than white Americans to hold anti-Semitic views. In the 1998 survey, blacks (34%) are nearly four times as likely as whites (9%) to fall into the most anti-Semitic category."
From 1989

Rockland County synagogue stabbings: Suspect in police custody - "A knife-wielding assailant stabbed four people in a rabbi’s basement synagogue in Monsey, NY during a crowded Hanukkah celebration Saturday night, according to a law enforcement source.The suspect fled the scene in a 2015 Nissan Sentra, driving over the George Washington Bridge into Manhattan — and was promptly arrested by the NYPD at 144th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem at midnight, the source said. He was identified by a police source as Thomas Grafton, 37."
Curiously, when I ran a Google News search for his name, I only found stories from "unreliable" "right wing" "tabloids" like New York Post, the Daily Mail and New York Daily News, as well as from Jewish sources. From the suspect's picture it's clear why the mainstream media are avoiding this guy like the plague

Victimhood Culture Leads to Anti-Semitism - "Why has yet another African American attacked Jews? Why has black-on-Jewish assault become a continuous feature of life in and around New York? Why now?Because the country is seized by the politics of victimhood and there’s nothing that self-pitying “victims” find easier than blaming Jews for their misery. The names given to the bogeymen of today’s populism are all historical code words for Jews. On the populist right, this means the elite, the globalists, and the media. On the populist left, it’s Wall Street, the wealthy, and the 1 percent. If that’s not enough, the left has also decided that Jews—a minority who make up 2.2 percent of the American population—are “hyper white” and, in Marxist terms, actually part of the power structure that keeps minorities down... it is not only wrong to blame Trump for right-wing anti-Semitism; it’s perverse. How anyone gets away with claiming that the president doesn’t condemn Jew-hatred is beyond me. He condemns it at every turn. He devoted an unprecedentedly large chunk of his last State of the Union address to denouncing anti-Semitism and vowing to fight it wherever it may arise. He recently moved to crack down on anti-Semitism on college campuses (and was denounced as a racist by the left). For his commitment to fighting Jew-hatred and his unfaltering support of Israel he has earned the enmity of far-right anti-Semites... Throughout 2019, African Americans attacked Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn on a more-or-less weekly basis and it barely ever made the mainstream news. It wasn’t until two members of the Black Hebrew Israelites shot up a kosher market in Jersey City in early December that the media was forced into acknowledging reality. The left’s leading populists have fetishized the victim status of certain minorities, including African Americans. They’ve made slavery and its legacy the focal points of American life. They’ve determined, without evidence, that police are on a campaign to kill unarmed blacks. And they speak generally as if we’ve suddenly been transported to a pre-civil-rights-movement America. What’s more, unlike Donald Trump, some of the left’s leading populists have gone out of their way to steer their followers toward blaming the Jews. The stand-out figures here are Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. Their public record of blaming Jewish money for corrupting American politics is so well known that it needs no rehearsing here. And it’s either been ignored of defended by the larger left. If you called either of them out on their anti-Semitism, you were charged with racism and misogyny. Democratic leaders were so petrified of Omar that they couldn’t even pass a House resolution condemning her blatant anti-Semitic remarks. But the problem on the left goes beyond Omar and Tlaib... Historically, indulged victims have needed no encouragement in pointing their fingers at Jews. Telling them that others are responsible for their woes has usually been enough to get them headed in that direction. But some on today’s left have given Jew-hatred an extra nudge. Their winks, dog-whistles, and outright calumnies have served as a noxious propaganda campaign and led to a surge of minority anti-Semitism"
The writer forgets that it's only dog whistling when done by the "right"

NAACP: 'Blacks are dying so that Jews can live' - "The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)'s Passaic, N.J. Branch on Wednesday published a Facebook post claiming that African-Americans "are dying so that Jews can live.""

NOT complicated: NBC News fact-checker Erin Biba deletes ACCOUNT after claiming Jew stabbings in Monsey ‘complicated’ - "We see a lot of blue-checks on Twitter who tweet something REALLY stupid and then delete it to save face, but it’s not every day we see one of them not only delete the tweet but their account as well. This is exactly what NBC News fact-checker Erin Biba did after she lectured Tweeps about how the stabbing of five Jews during a Hanukkah celebration in Monsey, NY was ‘complicated’ and that people should stand in solidarity against white supremacy."

Liberal, Not Lefty on Twitter - "So I am at the rally against the anti semitic attack yesterday and I have had the pleasure of being goysplained as to why it is appropriate to turn it into a no to Islamaphobia event"
"- Different faiths, who have both experienced hate, supporting each-other in a visible way (interfaith solidarity in the face of those who want to sow hatred is crucial!)✅✅
- Hijacking a rally for Jewish victims into a pro BDS event about Palestine❌❌
This is sadly the latter"

UNH Prof: Asking black people to speak out about anti-Semitism makes you a ‘garden variety racist’ - "University of New Hampshire physics professor Chanda Prescod-Weinstein took to Twitter on New Year’s Eve to explain why anti-Semitism is exclusively a “white” problem, and why it is inappropriate to discuss anti-Semitic acts committed by black people. Prescod-Weinstein began her tweetstorm by explaining that it is “anti-Black” and “dangerous both to non-Jewish Black people and to Jews” to consider violent attacks against Jews by Black people “equivalent” to “white antisemitism.” “Antisemitism in the United States, historically, is a white Christian problem, and if any Black people have developed antisemitic views it is under the influence of white gentiles”... “There is no systemic Black on Jewish violence,” the professor clarified before insisting that “Putting more police and people with guns outside of synagogues may make white Jews feel safer but it will endanger Jews of color, especially Black Jews and Middle Eastern Jews.”.. She goes on to blame violent attacks against Jewish people on “incarceration” in that it “is a response that begets violence” that “actively endangers” and because “prisons are a hot bed of white supremacist gang recruitment. She then invokes President Donald Trump, calling him the “antisemite in chief.””... She concludes by warning that discussions around Black anti-Semitism are a “distracting” people from the fight against white supremacy."
Black people have no agency! It's good to sacrifice Jews in the fight against "white supremacy"

Suspect In NYC Anti-Semitic Attack Released, Arrested AGAIN In Another Attack - "A woman who was arrested for allegedly committing an anti-Semitic attack on three Jewish women on Friday in New York City was released without having to post bail and has since been arrested again for committing another act of violence that reportedly happened today.“A day after she was released without bail on charges stemming from the Friday attack, Tiffany Harris was charged with assault for slugging a 35-year-old in the face on Eastern Parkway near Underhill Avenue in Prospect Heights at about 9:15 a.m.”"

New York’s governor wants to end cash bail for minor crimes - "New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to end one of the criminal justice system’s worst practices against the poor.Cuomo, a Democrat, will propose ending cash bail for people accused of nonviolent felonies or misdemeanors... Currently, judges can set monetary bail to be paid out of pocket or through a bond company, with the expectation that defendants get the money back or only have to pay a partial sum if they attend court hearings. But if defendants don’t pay up, they remain in jail. Cuomo’s proposal would pull back a practice that has long disproportionately harmed low-income people who can’t afford bail and, therefore, languish in jail while awaiting trial — sometimes for as long as weeks, months, or even years. Low-income defendants, even those who are innocent, are thus encouraged to accept a plea bargain — which can lead to time in prison and a criminal record — just to get out of jail sooner."

The Left’s Race War - "it is... impossible to deny the radical transformation of the progressive intellectual and activist universe in the nearly three years since Trump was elected into a self-appointed politburo that is trying to impose its own aggressively race-obsessed vision on America. Indeed, many of Trump’s opponents on the left have turned themselves into committed ideologues with a programmatic understanding of human behavior and human differences rooted in some biological component that is impossible or nearly impossible to change. The way the left talks incessantly about “white men,” or openly puts membership in victim groups above individual rights and virtues, is the essence of what most people mean by racism... It is also true that there is something about this president that elicits an exceptionally contradictory impulse in his opponents. Progressives who, during the Obama administration, praised the benefits of a “reset” with Vladimir Putin’s Russia, today use talking points lifted straight from the lurid oeuvre of Joe McCarthy in attacking Republicans as Russian “assets” and “traitors.” With his every utterance and action, Trump inspires a Pavlovian response from his critics, who feel that anything he supports must be opposed, and anything he opposes must be supported, to the hilt and in abundance, causing them to embrace some of the worst of their own camp. Trump is like Newton’s Third Law of Physics, inspiring an equal and opposite reaction with absolutely everything he says and does... when Trump attacked Sharpton, a succession of Democratic presidential candidates and liberal media figures, like clockwork, rallied to defend the nation’s premier race huckster and shakedown artist... What’s more troubling is that the Democratic Party began its love affair with Sharpton well over a decade before Trump was anywhere near the White House, rehabilitating one of New York City’s worst demagogues to the ranks of what Politico laughably describes as a “civil rights leader”... Insisting that someone with a “brown” or “black” face must endorse a set of ideological precepts (presumably dictated by Ayanna Pressley)—in other words, that one’s skin color ought to determine how one thinks and acts—is textbook racism. Yet while practically every mainstream media outlet is describing, as objective fact, Trump’s various outbursts as “racist,” not a single one has characterized Pressley’s remark in similar fashion. For a large and growing segment of progressives, absolutely everything has been racialized, to the point where progressives are now pushing the case that Joe Biden, who loyally served by Obama’s side for eight years, is a latter-day Bull Connor who must “atone” for his past. There is more than a whiff of Cultural Revolution “struggle sessions” in the hypervigilance of the left, and its lust for apologies and public humiliations: Last month in the New York Times Magazine, the Jamaican-born poet Claudia Rankine published a paranoid meditation about “white male privilege,” recording a series of mundane encounters with various white men, each and every single one of whom she imbued with an all-enveloping sense of white supremacy. Those men who cut her in the first-class line at the airport? It could not be that they are rude, harried people. No, they were RACISTS. Every single white man Rankine meets, she presumes to be in possession of “white privilege”—an ineffable trait that she describes as having biological qualities. No matter what their station in life, they are mystically endowed with this trait and thus possess more “power” than Rankine—a National Book Award-winning Yale professor, poet, and $625,000 MacArthur “genius” grant recipient. In many progressive circles, the word “white” has become a gleeful synonym for “ignorant,” “bigoted,” or “unenlightened.” In mainstream media and other progressive discourse, attacks on “straight white men” are as ubiquitous as they are indiscriminate. When Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims decided to harass a pro-life demonstrator standing peacefully outside a Philadelphia abortion clinic earlier this year, he described her as “an old white lady,” as if the color of her skin had anything whatsoever to do with the validity of her belief that life begins at conception. Recently minted New York Times editorial writer Sarah Jeong spent years tweeting vile insults about white people that would have ended her career had she written them about any other group or “race.” Meanwhile, in such circles, anything nonwhite is sacralized. “Trans women of color” led the uprising at Stonewall. (Except they didn’t)... Violent attacks on Jews in New York City are at record highs, and are being perpetrated almost exclusively by black and Hispanic men, and yet Mayor de Blasio bizarrely blames it all on a “right-wing movement.” “What if we just let black women run everything,” proposed author Molly Knight, to which the actor Mark Ruffalo smarmily responded, “I’m definitely ready for that. I said a prayer the other day and when God answered me back she was a Black Woman.”... The point of language policing isn’t really a concern over the proper uses of language, of course. It’s an instrument of power. If someone has the power to police your language, it means he has power over you—the power to condemn you as a racist, to have you fired from your job, to make others shun you, to make sure you never work again. That kind of power is intended to inculcate fear. Among progressives, that power is also fast becoming absolute—and the more absolute it becomes, the more arbitrary and corrupt its applications become, which the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights were designed to check.  Moreover, who the hell polices how someone refers to their own husband and children? By the lights of the new progressive jus sanguinis, it doesn’t matter if one is married to a Hispanic person, or a black person, or whomever, and gave birth to mischling Hispanic children: Cheri Bustos is white and must repent. Meanwhile, at the behest of a Congressional Black Caucus that helped water down a House resolution intended to condemn Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitism earlier this year, the DCCC forced the resignation of a lesbian war veteran for no particularly good reason—and an African American woman with a history of homophobic and anti-Hispanic tweets has been promoted. Having overtaken higher education, corporate America, and politics, the “diversity and inclusion” crusade now has its eyes set on culture, an area of human endeavor that progressives have typically taken to the barricades to defend from overweening government bureaucrats... de Blasio announced that the city would link funding for cultural institutions not to the quality of their content or its popularity with the museum and theater-going public, but rather the racial makeup of their staff and boards... the sort of politicized tampering one associates with the various third-world banana republics de Blasio idolized in his halcyon days as a supporter of the Sandinistas... none of it, needless to say, is good for the Jews, whom progressives have, within their mystical and esoteric racial taxonomy, categorized as “white,” meaning that they are in possession of undeserved “power” that must be “redistributed” to those deprived of it. “Whiteness” is an ever-expanding concept, metastasizing to include “white Hispanics” and, soon, Asians."
Even in August, the "white supremacist" Tablet magazine recognised that it was not "white nationalists" attacking Jews in NYC

Ben Shapiro Poster Vandalized with Hitler Mustache at Boston University - "The poster, which was advertising Shapiro’s upcoming November 13 lecture at the school through YAF’s exclusive Fred Allen Lecture Series, was defaced with a Hitler mustache and the word “fascist.” The leftists at Boston University are so terrified of hearing a different perspective, that they resort to defacing posters and holding protests to try and cancel the lecture."
Is it anti-Semitic to call an Orthodox Jew Hitler?

Muslim Antisemitism Increases the Threat to European Jews - "the BfV report says that Islamist antisemitism differs from radical right-wing Jew hatred in that “it is not racist.” The report’s authors do not explain what that means, exactly. Rather, they say, the violence is based on deeply-held religious and cultural beliefs Muslim immigrants bring with them... when Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad surveyed both Jews and non-Jews about their experiences and views of antisemitism, one man recalled the armed military police that stood outside his synagogue on his wedding day. “It is an image that remains with me always,” he said. And David Suurland, a professor of political theory, noted that much of the hatred comes from “people from Islamic cultures.”  “People pretend it’s about Israel and ‘Zionists,'” he told the NRC, “but in fact they’re talking about Jews. ‘Zionists’ run the media, the banks, the money, politics — everything that is wrong in the world is the fault of the Zionists.” But perhaps most telling of all was the incident last Saturday, Dutch Remembrance Day, at a service honoring the victims of the Holocaust at the former concentration camp in Vught. As happens every year, the entire country came to a standstill for two minutes at precisely 8pm. Trains stopped along the tracks. Planes were grounded at the airports. The country stood in silence. And then, from the prison nearby, Kamp Vught, several voices rang out against the stillness. “Allahu Akbar!” they cried — Allah is great... the Swedish government is helping to fund “radical anti-Israel NGOs that routinely use anti-Semitic motifs in their demonization of the Jewish State and the Jewish people... So sympathetic is Sweden to their cause, in fact, that a Palestinian-born Muslim who took part in throwing Molotov cocktails into a Swedish synagogue was saved from deportation by a judge who feared that “the anti-Semitic nature of this attack could put him in danger from Israel” — effectively demonstrating more concern for the perpetrator’s well-being than the well-being of Swedish Jews. No wonder, then, that the FRA report showed a full 40 percent of Swedish Jews cited Muslims as the perpetrators of attacks.Still, nowhere has violence against Jews been more dire than in France, where a group of more than 250 intellectuals and politicians signed a statement warning of “ethnic cleansing” of Jews by Muslim extremists. Despite oft-voiced concerns about “Islamophobia,” the statement claims: “Jews are 25 percent more likely to be the victims of violence than Muslims.”... Fully 10 percent of French Jews have left the country in that time — a total of about 50,000 people. And more are strongly considering leaving. They no longer feel safe in their homeland."
Of course, only the "right" is capable of dog whistling. Whenever leftists and Islamists claim they are just criticising Israel, we must take them at face value

Opinion | The Old Scourge of Anti-Semitism Rises Anew in Europe - The New York Times - "After polling more than 16,000 Jews in 12 European countries at the end of last year, the European Union’s Agency for Fundamental Rights concluded that anti-Semitic hate speech, harassment and fear of being recognized as Jews were becoming the new normal. Eighty-five percent of the respondents thought anti-Semitism was the biggest social and political problem in their countries; almost a third said they avoided Jewish events or sites because of safety concerns. More than a third said they had considered emigrating in the five years preceding the survey."

The New German Anti-Semitism - The New York Times - "Gemma told me that after arriving in Germany in 1989, she often got a strangely defensive reaction when she told people she was Jewish; they would tell her they didn’t feel responsible for the Holocaust or would defend their grandparents as not having perpetrated it. And so, to avoid conversations like these, she, too, stayed quiet about being Jewish... One teacher asked how he had encountered a synagogue. “I’m Jewish,” Solomon said.“Everyone was shocked, especially the teachers,” Solomon later told me about this moment. After class, a teacher told Solomon that he was “very brave.” Solomon was perplexed. As Gemma explained: “He didn’t know that you’re not meant to tell anyone.” The following day, Solomon brought brownies to school for his birthday. He was giving them out during lunch when the boy he had hoped would be his best friend informed him that there were a lot of Muslim students at the school who used the word “Jew” as an insult. Solomon wondered whether his friend included himself in this category, and so after school, he asked for clarification. The boy put his arm around Solomon’s shoulders and told him that, though he was a “real babo” — Kurdish slang for “boss” — they couldn’t be friends, because Jews and Muslims could not be friends. The classmate then rattled off a series of anti-Semitic comments, according to Solomon: that Jews were murderers, only interested in money. Over the next few months, Solomon was bullied in an increasingly aggressive fashion... he found one of his tormentors pointing what looked like a handgun at him. Solomon’s heart raced. The boy pulled the trigger. Click. The gun turned out to be a fake. But it gave Solomon the scare of his life... students tormented a ninth grader, for months, chanting things like “Off to Auschwitz in a freight train.”... a desire among many Germans to deflect or repress guilt for the Holocaust led to a new form of antipathy toward Jews — a phenomenon that came to be known as “secondary anti-Semitism,” in which Germans resent Jews for reminding them of their guilt, reversing the victim and perpetrator roles. “It seems the Germans will never forgive us Auschwitz,” Hilde Walter, a German-Jewish journalist, was quoted as saying in 1968... 51 percent of Germans believe that it is “probably true” that “Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust”... a number of surveys show that Muslims in Germany and other European countries are more likely to hold anti-Semitic views than the overall population. The 2015 Anti-Defamation League survey, for instance, found that 56 percent of Muslims in Germany harbored anti-Semitic attitudes, compared with 16 percent for the overall population. Conservative Jews see the political left as unwilling to name this problem out of reluctance to further marginalize an already marginalized group or because of leftist anti-Zionism... “No one will protect you,” the man taunted. Then, looking directly at the camera as if addressing Jews everywhere, he added: “All of you go back to your stupid gas chambers. Nobody wants you.” The man had no known connections to any extremist groups, Feinberg later told me. People had considered him to be a regular guy... In metropolises, perpetrators often came from an “Islamist milieu or a milieu that is based on a left-wing, anti-Israel ideology.”... Klein was citing the federal statistic that attributed a vast majority of anti-Semitic crimes in Germany to right-wing extremists, the one that many Jewish community leaders disputed. I asked Klein if he thought the statistic was reliable. He acknowledged that, in fact, the methodology was flawed: When it was unclear who the perpetrators were, they were automatically classified as right-wing extremists... In 2012, the National Front leader Marine Le Pen was backed by 13.5 percent of Jewish voters"
It is heartening to hear how "anti-Zionist" German schoolkids are!
As an aside, this is an interesting lesson on how German guilt is unhealthy


Victim of Berlin anti-Semitic attack was an Israeli Arab who 'wanted to see what it was like' to be Jewish - "One of the victims of an anti-Semitic attack in central Berlin that shocked Germany this week is not Jewish, it has emerged.Adam Armoush told German television he was wearing a Jewish kippah skullcap in an attempt to prove it was safe to wear one on the streets of Berlin.But the experiment went wrong when he and a companion were set upon in the affluent neighbourhood of Prenzlauer Berg and whipped with a belt by three men who shouted “Yahudi”, the Arabic word for Jew.The main suspect in the attack, a 19-year-old Syrian named only as Knaan S, surrendered to police yesterday... A Berlin resident, he said he had worn the skullcap to make a point after being warned by a friend it could be dangerous on the streets in Germany. “I was saying it's really safe and I wanted to prove it, but it ended like that”"
Damn "far right"!

The Price of Envy

"Envy was once considered to be one of the seven deadly sins before it became one of the most admired virtues under its new name, “social justice." Under either name, it has costs as well as benefits. For some, envy can act as a spur to match the achievements or rewards of others currently more fortunate. This can happen in the case of individuals or in the case of whole nations, such as Japan... On the other hand, envy can also engender social strife, whose consequences include the possibility that the society as a whole can end up worse off, both materially and psychically, as a result of mutually thwarting activities, including mob violence and civil war. Among nations, a drive to achieve “a place in the sun" militarily can end in disaster, as happened to Japan in the Second World War and to Germany in both world wars.

The first kind of envy—the more or less natural and potentially beneficial envy that spurs self-development and achievement—creates few incentives for third parties to try to mobilize and heighten it for their own benefit. It is the second kind of envy, expressed in hostility toward others, that is useful for third parties pursuing careers as politicians, group activists, or ideologues. It is this kind of envy which can have high costs to society at large and to the poor especially. It is not simply that the poor may suffer psychically from having less than others and from being encouraged to dwell on their current situation, rather than concentrating on improving it. The very terms of the discussion encourage them to attribute their less fortunate position to social barriers, if not political plots, and so to neglect the kinds of efforts and skills which are capable of lifting them to higher economic and social levels.

For the currently less fortunate members of society, the costs of envy can be especially high when it misdirects their conceptions and energies. Where poorer people are lacking in human capital—skills, education, discipline, foresight—one of the sources from which they can acquire these things are more prosperous people who have more of these various forms of human capital. This may happen directly through apprenticeship, advice, or formal tutelage, or it may happen indirectly through observation, reflection, and imitation. However, all these ways of advancing out of poverty can be short—circuited by an ideology of envy that attributes the greater prosperity of others to “exploitation” of people like themselves, to oppression, bias, or unworthy motives such as “greed," racism, and the like. Acquisition of human capital in general seems futile under this conception and acquisition of human capital from exploiters, the greedy, and racists especially distasteful.

Often members of poorer racial, ethnic, or other social groups can acquire the needed human capital more easily from more fortunate members of their own respective groups than from others. However, the ideology of envy can also make their own more successful members suspect as “traitors”—and therefore also ineligible as either role models or direct sources of advice, skills, or other human capital. What such an ideology does essentially is paint the less fortunate into their own little corner, isolated from potential sources of greater prosperity. To the more fortunate, resistance or rebuffs to their attempts to help the less fortunate may be no more than a passing annoyance but, to the less fortunate themselves, this failure to acquire available human capital can be fatal to their own prospects.

Whole societies may remain mired in needless poverty, not only because envious visions have created a bogus explanation for their poverty that distracts them from readily available means of becoming more prosperous, but also because envy and fear of envy within these societies inhibit individual striving and innovation. Studies of many poor and primitive societies around the world repeatedly show the paralyzing effects of a pervasive fear of provoking envy among neighbors and relatives. Long before Marxian or other “exploitation” theories arose, primitive peoples implicitly conceived of the world as a zero-sum game, in which the good fortune of some was the cause of the ill-fortune of others, whether in economic terms or in terms of health, love, or other benefits.

The cooperation and mutual trust necessary for many kinds of beneficial joint undertakings are more difficult to achieve within this cultural universe, however much such things may be taken for granted in more fortunate societies. Merely transferring capital or technology from these more fortunate societies is seldom sufficient to overcome the cultural handicaps of an envy-stricken society, especially when traditional beliefs are buttressed by more sophisticated modern versions of the envy vision spread by the Third World intelligentsia, often seconded by the intelligentsia in more fortunate countries.

The ultimate in envy is the dog in the manger. In one of Aesop’s fables, a horse wants to eat some straw in his manger but a dog is lying on the straw. Although the dog does not eat straw, he refuses to move so that the horse can eat it, simply because he begrudges the horse the pleasure of eating the straw. The fact that this story has survived for thousands of years suggests that such attitudes are not unknown among human beings.

After the First World War, Romania acquired territory from the defeated Central Powers and these territories included universities that were culturally German or culturally Hungarian. At that point, roughly three-quarters of all Romanians were still illiterate, so the Germans and Hungarians at these universities were not keeping most Romanians from getting a higher education. Nevertheless, the government made it a priority to force Germans and Hungarians out of these universities. Moreover, when ethnically Hungarian students in Romania began going to universities in Hungary, the Romanian government forbad them to do so.

Such dog-in-the-manger attitudes are not peculiar to a particular country, race, or civilization. When Nigeria acquired its independence in 1960, many of the civil servants, professionals, and entrepreneurs in northern Nigeria were from tribes in southern Nigeria. One of the top priorities of the political leaders in the north was to force these southerners out of these occupations. Because of huge disparities in education, skill levels, and entrepreneurship, between the two regions of the country, there was no realistic hope of replacing southerners with northerners in any timely fashion. But northern political leaders were prepared to hire European expatriates in the interim, or to suffer a decline in the services formerly provided by the southerners, rather than suffer the blow to their egos of being so dramatically outperformed by their fellow Africans.

Similar attitudes existed halfway around the world in Malaysia, where discriminatory policies against the more educated, skilled, and entrepreneurial Chinese minority led many of them to leave the country. It was much the same story in the South Pacific, where the Fiji government’s discrimination against the more educated, skilled, and entrepreneurial minority from India caused many of the Indians to emigrate.

Dog-in-the-manger attitudes are not confined to situations where there are ethnic differences. Tax policies are often shaped by a desire to “soak the rich,” whether or not such policies are beneficial to the overall economy or even to the government’s tax receipts. One of the most bitterly resented policies of the Reagan administration were tax-rate reductions referred to as “tax cuts for the rich,” even though (1) tax rates in general were cut, (2) the government’s tax receipts rose after the rates were cut and incomes rose, and (3) the upper-income brackets not only paid more total taxes than before, but even a higher percentage of all taxes. What was intolerable to critics was that “the rich” were able to pay these greater sums in taxes as a smaller percentage of their rising incomes. Estate taxes are an even clearer example of dog-in-the-manger attitudes, since they are a trivial proportion of total taxes collected by the government and it is questionable whether these taxes exceed the collection and compliance costs. But they serve the political purpose of striking a blow against inherited wealth...

Society as a whole can lose opportunities when people in various decision-making capacities have their decisions biased by envy. For example, a former admissions official at an Ivy League college warned prospective applicants not to say or do things that would reveal their educational or economic privileges, as that would tend to bias admissions officials against them. For example, she advised:

The best thing you can do if you come from a privileged background is deemphasize it as best you can. For example, if you and your family took a ten-thousand-dollar vacation to Africa to go on Safari, it would probably be best not to write about it on your application.... It may rub admissions people the wrong way, since most do not have the money and resources to take such an exotic trip

Since the whole reason for having admissions committees in the first place is to select those applicants best able to make use of costly educational opportunities, envy here serves to undermine that goal when the decision-makers’ biases are aroused against students who would otherwise be considered on their qualifications. Nor is this something confined to college admissions committees.

Similar reasoning has promoted educational policies which seek to create more equal outcomes for “special education” students with mental, physical, or psychological handicaps—again, with little or no regard for the financial costs of this to the taxpayers or the educational costs to other children in whose classrooms they are to be “mainstreamed,” often with little regard to the disruptive effects of their special needs. These financial costs can be several times what it costs to educate the average student, while the educational results for a severely mentally retarded student may be imperceptible. The educational cost can also include a substantial part of a teacher’s time being devoted to one or a few students, to the neglect of the majority. Yet, clearly, it is an injustice, from a cosmic perspective, that the minds and psyches of some are unable to cope with what ordinary students handle routinely. But just as some students suffer handicaps through no fault of their own, so can other children suffer from mainstreaming policies, likewise through no fault of their own.

It is also cosmically unjust that some students are born innately so unusually bright and/or have had such unusually favorable environments that they are capable of far higher levels of intellectual achievement than other children their age. One such student was able, in the fourth grade, to score higher than the average high school graduate on the mathematics portion of the Scholastic Aptitude Test. Yet the suggestion that he be given higher levels of mathematics to study than his classmates was rejected by the school principal, and this youngster was assigned the same fourth-grade mathematics as others, on grounds that it would be “a violation of social justice” if he were given higher levels of mathematics instruction.

Nor was this principal unique. A member of a national commission on teaching mathematics opposed teaching computational skills because that means “anointing the few” who master these skills readily and “casting out the many” who do not, and urged that we throw off “the discriminatory shackles of computational algorithms.” More broadly, ability-grouping in different classes or in different schools is bitterly opposed by most public school officials on similar grounds. In short, both the mentally gifted and the mentally retarded are to be “mainstreamed” as part of the quest for cosmic justice—with little or no regard to the costs of this for the students, the taxpayers, or the society into which they are to go as adults...

The mere sorting of people by such common titles as “mister” and “miss,” and the differentiation of people by having adults address children one way and children address adults another, are all repugnant to many who pursue the mirage of equality. The practice of putting everyone—friends and strangers, young and old—on a first-name basis is one of the symptoms of this mindset. Much more serious are the systematic undermining of parental authority which can be found in public school textbooks and other materials which depict all sorts of moral and intellectual issues as things which each person must decide for himself or herself, not according to what has been taught by parents or by an always suspect “society.”

It would be hard to imagine a more reckless gamble than encouraging youngsters with less than a decade of experience in the most elementary aspects of life to substitute that narrowly circumscribed experience, and their own undeveloped reasoning processes, for principles distilled from the experiences of millions of adults over generations of time. The child’s own personal safety is often at stake in his willingness to respond to the imperative tone of a parent, in situations where there is no time to explain—or where the child does not yet have a sufficient background of experience to understand an explanation.

The verbal differentiation which reminds everyone of his own role—calling people “mother” and “father,” instead of by their first names—or differentiation in dress, manner, or otherwise are all methods of establishing a social hierarchy that serves social purposes. But those to whom equality is an over-riding moral imperative see in all this only personal privilege and oppression. Yet authority may serve those who do not have it more than it does those who do. The parent who understands the underlying reasons for the things told to a child is benefitted less by authority than the child who does not understand those realities—and who needs to observe the cautions and apply the rules nevertheless. The specialized knowledge of the scientist, the physician, or the military commander is likewise used primarily to guide the actions of others who lack that knowledge and who would be much worse off to operate in ignorance. Authority is one of the ways of using the knowledge of some for the benefit of others.

Like everything human, authority is imperfect and subject to abuse, so it cannot be unlimited—and it is not. But to invoke the blanket slogan “Question Authority” is to raise the question: By what authority do you tell us to question authority?...

There has now been created a world in which the success of others is a grievance, rather than an example. Irrational as such ideological indulgences may be, they are virtually inevitable when equality becomes the social touchstone, for equality can be achieved only by either divorcing performance from reward or by producing equal performances. Since the latter is all but impossible, if only because everyone is not equally interested in the same kinds of performances, the passion for equality leads toward a divorce of performance and reward—which is to say a divorce of incentive and behavior, and even a divorce of cause and effect in our minds."

--- The Quest for Cosmic Justice / Thomas Sowell

Links - 7th January 2020 (1) (Trump and Iran)

Dancing on the streets of Baghdad after killing of top Iranian general - "People in Baghdad are said to have danced on the streets in celebration after the killing of Iran’s top security and intelligence commander.General Qassem Suleimani died in the early hours of Friday in an air strike ordered by President Donald Trump."

I, Hypocrite - "The attack on our embassy in Baghdad is horrifying but predictable. Trump has rendered America impotent in the Middle East. No one fears us, no one listens to us. America has been reduced to huddling in safe rooms, hoping the bad guys will go away. What a disgrace." - Chris Murphy, Dec 31 2019
"Soleimani was an enemy of the United States. That’s not a question.  The question is this - as reports suggest, did America just assassinate, without any congressional authorization, the second most powerful person in Iran, knowingly setting off a potential massive regional war?" - Chris Murphy, Jan 2 2020
And yet, people are digging up Trump's tweets on Iran and Obama from 2011 and 2013. Apparently Iran attacked the US embassy in 2011 too

Lucas Lynch - "Dear #Iran, The USA has disrespected your country, your flag, your people. 52% of us humbly apologize. We want peace with your nation. We are being held hostage by a terrorist regime. We do not know how to escape. Please do not kill us. #Soleimani"
"To think, people on the far left claim to have a problem with Tulsi Gabbard being all buddy buddy with al-Assad, and yet today nobody is clutching pearls harder for a murderous regime than American leftists.It's one thing to think that intervention is immoral or unwise, quite another to prostrate yourself before a terrible regime that murders gay people and enforces Islamic codes on women in supplication and apology.Rose McGowan just went full Gabbard. Never go full Gabbard."

𝕊𝕜𝕪 on Twitter - "I’m Iranian by birth. Iranians are happy. Do you realize that this guy was psychopath? Part of a group that tortured, raped, sodomized its own citizens? Do you have any F***ing clue or do you just want attention? #Soleimani makes Hervey Weinstein look like a saint. Let that sink!"

Will Chamberlain on Twitter - "The reckless move wasn't Trump killing Suleimani The reckless move was Suleimani attacking a United States Embassy"

The Alt-Leftist Empire - "Trump attempts diplomatic solutions to pacify a dictator in NK, the Left goes apeshit: “TrUmP LoVeS diCtaToRs”.
Trump takes out a terrorist supporting, no2 figure in an Islamic dictatorship, The Left: “that was too mean,he should have tried a diplomatic solution”."

Good Ideas Vs Bad: Discussion Group - "While quick to ally themselves with the worst villains Trump Derangement Disordered White left IslamoFeminists are silent when Iran publicly executes LGBTs[1], hangs gay men from crane booms half a dozen at a time, silent when “According to a 2008 British WikiLeaks dispatch, Iran’s mullah regime executed “between 4,000 and 6,000 gays and lesbians” since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.” ... They never ask why the Iranian Islamic regime is one of the top executioners of gays the world has ever known.Islamophilic Feminists are silent when Iran shoots protesters[2] opposed to the Islamic regime in both Iran and Iran.They are silent when Iran invades Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen.[3] Silent when Iran kills French and US soldiers in Lebanon.[4] Silent when the Iranian mullah’s regime sponsors Jihadi terror attacks in France, Israel and Saudi Arabia.[5] IslamoFeminists are silent when Iran invades a US embassy, repeatedly[3, 5]... IslamoFeminists are silent when Iran openly and repeatedly threatens to nuke the West."

Oz Katerji on Twitter - "On Twitter, lots of Brits and Americans wailing and gnashing teeth over the death of someone most had never heard of before tonight. On Telegram, hundreds of Iraqis and Syrians celebrate the news of Soleimani's assassination. Disparity could not be more stark."
When you hate your countries and fetishise "resistance" and think that the enemy of your enemy is your friend...
Luckily although liberals hate their countries, Iraqis and Syrians don't


Thread by @ksadjadpour - "
1. No man in the world was directly involved in more conflicts, in more countries, over a longer period than Qassem Soleimani. His death is a HUGE loss for an Iranian regime that's actively fighting 3 cold/proxy wars-with America, Israel, and Saudi Arabia-that could all turn hot
2. As Iran's undisputed military commander, Soleimani built a Shia foreign legion that played an indelible role in the region’s bloodiest conflicts, including Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. Though he was never going to die a natural death, his personality cult left no clear successors
3. Trump’s inaction after numerous Iranian attacks throughout 2019—against regional oil tankers, a US drone, and Saudi Aramco—led Khamenei to believe, understandably, that Trump was all bluster. Khamenei's open taunting of Trump proved a miscalculation
4. Soleimani wasn't a US ally in the fight against ISIS. His complicity in Assad's mass displacement/murder of millions of Syrians (including via repeated chemical weapons attacks), and patronage of Iraq's violent Shia militias fueled the Sunni radicalism that helped spawn ISIS.
5. Soleimani was a polarizing figure in Iran: Beloved by the regime (both hardline and “moderate” factions), admired by zealous Persian/Shia nationalists for his fight against Arabs/Sunnis, and loathed by many Iranians tired of living under a police state...
8. While many are predicting WWIII, the last 40 years of Iran’s history reflect that what’s paramount for the Islamic Republic is its survival. Tehran can ill-afford a full-blown war w/ the US while facing onerous economic sanctions and internal tumult, especially w/o Soleimani
9. What’s more likely is sustained proxy attacks against US interests/allies regionally and even globally. Iran has a long history of such attacks in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America, with mixed success; regime apparatchiks are already telegraphing"

Thread by @AlinejadMasih - "For many Iranians Qassem Soleimani was a warmonger who caused massive casualties in Syria. He was no hero to average Iranians who chanted against the country’s support for Hezbollah and Hamas
Unfortunately Western media misses the point by glorifying Soleimani— He was the common enemy for people in Iran, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria. His Involvement in crackdown against university students in late 1990s was another black mark against him."

Maajid Nawaz - "10 signs to watch for by people posting who know nothing about the Middle East but will now talk as if they do:
1) before yesterday they’d never heard of #Soleimani & still struggle to remember what his first name was
2) they’ll proactively and without invitation, condemn “America in the region” without saying anything at all about “Iran in the region”, thinking this wins them brownie points from brown people from the region. It doesn’t.
3) at some stage, they’ll either accidentally tweet out or otherwise approve of official Iranian state propaganda & voices sent by the theocratic regime, without realising, because they have absolutely *no idea* how to recognise Iranian proxy propaganda voices
4) their narcissistic obsession with hating Trump will be what really guides their Middle East “analysis”, not what’s objectively happening on the ground even at the expense of hundreds of thousands of dead Arab civilians caused by Iran’s militias, and the medieval theocratic oppression of millions of Iranians inside Iran
5) just as they’ll struggle to recall #Soleimani’s first name, they think watching Aziz Ansari on Netflix (no offence my bro 🏽) qualifies as “knowing a Muslim voice” in order to then pronounce their emotionally charged “hot takes” on Middle East politics in “defence of Muslims”
6) they will be unable to recognise or even name Iran’s terrorist militias everywhere in the world (responsible for war crimes that were often on par with or worse, than ISIS in Syria & elsewhere) and all the wars Iran has interfered in
7) they will be unable to tell you which is Soleimanis largest & most effective terror group, who leads it and which country it practically runs entire regions in.
8 ) they’ve never heard the word “Hashd” and cannot tell you what it means
9) nor could they name the entire Arab countries & populations who absolutely despised & hated Soleimani as a genocidal maniac & who will be dancing in the streets with joy right now
10) they will read the above thread and turn very binary on me, by accusing me of being pro-Trump or pro-Saudi rather than understanding the mixed picture I’m painting, without ever having had a relationship with anything in the Middle East, beyond Facebook."

Petraeus Says Trump May Have Restored U.S. 'Deterrence' by Killing Suleimani - "As a former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and a former CIA director, retired Gen. David Petraeus is keenly familiar with Qassem Suleimani, the powerful chief of Iran’s Quds Force, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad Friday morning.After months of a muted U.S. response to Tehran’s repeated lashing out—the downing of a U.S. military drone, a devastating attack on Saudi oil infrastructure, and more—Suleimani’s killing was designed to send a pointed message to the regime that the United States will not tolerate continued provocation...
It is impossible to overstate the importance of this particular action. It is more significant than the killing of Osama bin Laden or even the death of [Islamic State leader Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi. Suleimani was the architect and operational commander of the Iranian effort to solidify control of the so-called Shia crescent, stretching from Iran to Iraq through Syria into southern Lebanon. He is responsible for providing explosives, projectiles, and arms and other munitions that killed well over 600 American soldiers and many more of our coalition and Iraqi partners just in Iraq, as well as in many other countries such as Syria. So his death is of enormous significance... Many people had rightly questioned whether American deterrence had eroded somewhat because of the relatively insignificant responses to the earlier actions. This clearly was of vastly greater importance. Of course it also, per the Defense Department statement, was a defensive action given the reported planning and contingencies that Suleimani was going to Iraq to discuss and presumably approve.This was in response to the killing of an American contractor, the wounding of American forces, and just a sense of how this could go downhill from here if the Iranians don’t realize that this cannot continue... Iran is in a very precarious economic situation, it is very fragile domestically—they’ve killed many, many hundreds if not thousands of Iranian citizens who were demonstrating on the streets of Iran in response to the dismal economic situation and the mismanagement and corruption. I just don’t see the Iranians as anywhere near as supportive of the regime at this point as they were decades ago during the Iran-Iraq War. Clearly the supreme leader has to consider that as Iran considers the potential responses to what the U.S. has done...
FP: Will the Iraqi government kick the U.S. military out of Iraq?
DP: The prime minister has said that he would put forward legislation to do that, although I don’t think that the majority of Iraqi leaders want to see that given that ISIS is still a significant threat. They are keenly aware that it was not the Iranian supported militias that defeated the Islamic State, it was U.S.-enabled Iraqi armed forces and special forces that really fought the decisive battles."

No, killing Soleimani doesn’t mean war | Spectator USA - "Everybody knows Donald Trump is going to start a war. His critics have been saying so since his first year in office — remember the war with North Korea they predicted right after Trump tweeted about unleashing ‘fire and fury’ on the Little Rocket Man? That war didn’t happen. Nor did an insurgency break out when President Trump moved the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, an act that the Trump haters were certain would incite waves of violence and unquenchable turmoil. But maybe the third time’s the charm — maybe the killing of Gen. Qasem Soleimani, leader of the Quds Force division of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, in a US airstrike in Iraq will finally give the president’s detractors the war they’ve been anticipating.Or maybe not — maybe the critics are just as wrong as they’ve been every other time: about wars that Trump didn’t start, about collusion with Russia that didn’t happen, about the crash of America’s economy…the list goes on. The president should be reassured to have enemies who are so reliably wrong... President Trump ordered the strike that killed Soleimani because Iranian-backed demonstrators and militias were harassing the US embassy in Iraq and an American contractor was killed in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base in December. The Trump administration has said that Soleimani was planning more mischief, which is easy to believe: far from being a martyr to peace and non-interventionism, Soleimani was a man whose business was fomenting war and insurgency"

Lucas Lynch - A leftist I know personally. The ecstatic mourning... - "Rest in peace handsome... #RIP *fist* Who defended the world from middle easten "terrorists" (US own creations)"
"A leftist I know personally. The ecstatic mourning is truly a delusional spectacle to behold."
Comment: "Iran is a Russian ally...and Trump is supposedly his puppet..."
"Is this the new Che Guevara?"
"This thought crossed my mind. Soon we will see t-shirts and posters and paintings hanging in living rooms everywhere."


Tim Pool on Twitter - "I love how Trump is simultaneously starting World War Three over Iran because they are allies with Russia but also that Trump is working for Putin and doing what Putin wants"

Hussain Abdul-Hussain - "For non-Arabic speakers, reporting in the main news outlets NYT and Wash Post is so misinformed (either on purpose or because of incompetence) that you might think that the Iraqi State has officially voted for ejecting US forces from Iraq (because of Trump's miscalculated move to kill Soleimani). What happened is different.
1- Iraqi PM Abdul-Mahdi sent a letter to Parliament in which he argued that US troops exist in Iraq, not based on a treaty ratified by Parliament, but on two letters from past cabinets to the UN. Hence, Parliament has no role in ejection.
2- Iraqi PM is trying to trade disarming Shia militias for limiting scope of mission of US troops. He clearly wrote: "Whoever wants to become a political power, has to surrender arms, join armed forces, and forgo any political allegiance (i.e. to Iran) other than to the military and commander-in-chief."
3- You won't read this in crappy US reporting, but Iraqi parliament barely had a quorum for the session on ejecting US troops. The Sunni and Kurdish blocs boycotted the session (thus taking America's side over Iran), and thus quorum was 170 of 328 (half + six, just like Hezbollah designated a PM in Lebanese parliament with half + four).
4- The text Iraqi Parliament voted on was not a legislation, but a non-binding resolution.
5- To deflect Iranian anger inside Iraq, Abdul-Mahdi said that US troops will have to leave, but according to a timetable. Troops of the Assad dynasty occupied Lebanon for 29 years, with Assad and Lebanese government always saying that withdrawal was on its way, but tied to a timetable. (In most Mid Eastern countries, timetables often mean indefinitely).
6- In his letter to Parliament, Abdul-Mahdi clearly states that Iraqi interest is to maintain neutrality between America and Iran, and that if Iraq antagonizes America, it risks losing its international status (and implicitly oil revenue, just like Iran).
7- NYT is, by far, much more pro-Iran than Wash Post (this assessment is about their coverage of the US-Iran showdown only). The post reported that "tens of thousands" mourned Soleimani in Ahwaz. NYT made the number of mourners "hundreds of thousands." NYT has Erdbrink based in Iran (which means he can never print anything that angers the Mullahs), while Farnaz Fassihi clearly mixes her Iranian patriotism with her allegiance to the Mullahs. Her "sources" provided her with a video of Soleimani's poem about his love of martyrdom, which she Tweeted and called it reporting. What kind of reporting glorifies death (and likely invites people to die like the "fallen hero.")
Bottom line is, Iraqi parliament vote was an Iranian face-saving measure. Iran remains in a bind: If it retaliates against America and does not claim its attack, it does not count as revenge for Soleimani. If Iran claims the attack, regime risks further wrath, in a country whose economy is in free fall.
The most probable outcome of Soleimani's killing is more of the same: Low-intensity Iranian warfare against America, Iran never engaging in direct war, but maintaining her proxy war, fighting America to the last Arab. But with Soleimani out, Iranian proxy war will be much weaker."

UN agency IAEA reports Iran has again violated terms of nuclear deal | News | DW | 09.11.2016 - "For the second time, Iran has surpassed the 130 metric tonne threshold for heavy water, used to cool reactors that can produce substantial amounts of plutonium, according to the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)...   In February, a month after the deal went into effect, the IAEA had noted for the first time that Iran had exceeded its allotted limit of heavy water. That time, Iran exceeded the limit by a greater amount, with 130.9 tonnes. Some of the excess was exported to the United States under an arrangement which was criticized by lawmakers in the US congress who saw it as a measure facilitating Iranian violations of the accord. The timing of the report is sensitive, given president-elect Donald Trump's statements on the nuclear deal during the US election campaign."
Some people with TDS were claiming that Iran was abiding to the terms of the deal until recently. When I pointed out they had been violating it in 2018, I was told that I was ignorant because Iran only violated it after the US pulled out. Of course they will have some excuse for this too

Soleimani posted memes antagonizing Trump on social media - The Washington Post - "For a high-level commander in a regime that bans most major social media platforms for its citizens, Soleimani was unusually Internet savvy. That same month, he shared with his nearly 70,000 Instagram followers an image of the White House exploding, which was later archived by the Middle East Media Research Institute. The poster appeared to have been taken from the 2013 film “Olympus Has Fallen,” and doctored so that Soleimani stands in front of the inferno with a walkie-talkie in his hand."

Federalist writer banned from Twitter for speaking out against Iran - The Post Millennial - "David Marcus, Senior Contributor to The Federalist and New York Post columnist has been banned from Twitter for advocating for a massive bombing of Iran, should they retaliate against the American killing of Qasem Soleimani, leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard... HuffPo, among other outlets, wrote about what a great guy Qasem Soleimani was. Colin Kaepernick had his own take, claiming that the action against Iran was racist, and had nothing to do with legit concerns... “The big secret is that if you’re on the right, you’re going to get banned, if you’re on the left, you’re going to get celebrated,” Marcus said. “I criticised Iran. I said we should take Iran down. They throw gay people off of roofs, and that’s what I got taken down from Twitter for? Go f*ck yourself, Jack.”   In July, Soleimani’s forces shot down a U.S. drone, and Trump declined to retaliate, since no one was killed. December saw these forces kill an American contractor in Iraq, and support a violent attack against the American embassy in Baghdad"

ZUBY: on Twitter - "Anti-patriotism is now so strong amongst 'the woke' that they will literally defend terrorists and murderers, just to sh*t on their own country. When did treason become so trendy? It's a bad look."
When they hate their countries, championing terrorists and murderers is nothing

Claire Voltaire on Twitter - "I’d like to quit twitter but absurdities hook a reaction. When I see sections of the left holding vigils for terror bastard Soleimani - or Michael Moore’s public acts of self-arousal - I don’t want the modern left to form any government anywhere. They are a threat to civilisation"
"Michael Moore has delusions of grandeur. I may be mistaken, but I don't recall any of these people ever sending Assad, Hamas, Putin, Erdogan, or the Ayatollah letters to stop killing their own and others."

LDR243 on Twitter - Corbyn: "Two days since I asked Boris Johnson these vital questions about the US assassination of Qasem Soleimani and its consequences. And no answer."
"Oh NOW you’re interested in prompt responses. Too bad you didn’t feel that way during the election when asked to call out antisemitism, but for terrorists, we need immediacy."

Tzippy Yarom-Diskind صِپورة on Twitter - "This has been an astonishing day. So many people on Twitter with #MAGA tags & pro Trump pics in their profiles saying how glad they are I found safety in Canada and wishing me well as a refugee. Politics is far more complicated than the labels being thrown around 🇨🇦 ❤️ 🇺🇸 ❤️ 🇮🇱"
"We want to #MAGA by doing the Right thing and if Trump freaks people out I don't mind. Where would you be if Obama had kept 1 of his red lines?"
"This actually was one of my strongest points against Obama. Seeing Syrian children dying with foam on their lips AFTER Obama said that gas attacks would be a red line, and waiting for him to do something and get nothing - I just couldn't forgive him."
Maybe the issue is that some labels are wrong

Aboud Dandachi on Twitter - "This isn't about "far left". If you support #SoleimaniAssassination, you're in favor of violating international law & the ensuing death of Americans & Middle Easterners. It's easy to promote US, a lying warmongering country, when you're safe in Canada...or can easily fly abroad."
"😐 My God you are right. Me, being “safe in Canada”. What gives me the right to opine about Suleimani. I should check my privilege. Only thing is, do you know why Im in Canada right now...? BECAUSE I WAS A REFUGEE FROM THE FUCKING SHIT SULEIMANI DID TO SYRIA!!!!!!"

Frustratedinuk on Twitter - "Did Soleimani violate laws international or otherwise, when he killed or arranged the death of thousands of people. These acts tool place in his country and on the sovereign soil of other countries which straight away violates int law,did we hear you or the left complain? No! Why"

Peter Conroy on Twitter - "How does it violate int’l law to eliminate a uniformed combatant who just days ago organized an attack on sovereign US soil (the embassy)? And while that combatant is on foreign soil himself.. Do people think that being a General makes someone off limits in a war zone?"

Yoni Michanie on Twitter - "I am Jewish. I was not brought up to celebrate anyone's death. However, I am absolutely glad that the man who threatened to commit a second Holocaust by wiping Israel off the map, is gone. That does not make me a Republican or a Democrat. It makes me a human being."

Monday, January 06, 2020

Links - 6th January 2020 (2)

Lies, damned lies and sex work statistics - The Washington Post - "Imagine a study of the alcohol industry which interviewed not a single brewer, wine expert, liquor store owner or drinker, but instead relied solely on the statements of ATF agents, dry-county politicians and members of Alcoholics Anonymous and Mothers Against Drunk Driving... You’d probably surmise that this sort of research would be biased and one-sided to the point of unreliable. And you’d be correct. But change the topic to sex work, and such methods are not only the norm, they’re accepted uncritically by the media and the majority of those who the resulting studies. In fact, many of those who represent themselves as sex work researchers don’t even try to get good data. They simply present their opinions as fact, occasionally bolstered by pseudo-studies designed to produce pre-determined results. Well-known and easily-contacted sex workers are rarely consulted . There’s no peer review. And when sex workers are consulted at all, they’re recruited from jails and substance abuse programs, resulting in a sample skewed heavily toward the desperate, the disadvantaged and the marginalized... those who are truly interested in decreasing exploitation in the sex industry would be better off supporting decriminalization of prostitution.  New South Wales, Australia, decriminalized sex work in 1995, and a subsequent government-sponsored 2012 study found ” . . . no evidence of recent trafficking of female sex workers . . . in marked contrast to the 1990s when contacted women from Thailand were common in Sydney . . . ” New Zealand legalized prostitution in 2003. A study by the New Zealand Ministry of Justice five years later found “no incidence of trafficking,” and sex worker advocates say the law has made it easier for sex workers to report abuse, and for law enforcement to make arrests for crimes against sex workers.  Some anti-prostitution activists have tried to claim that Germany’s liberal form of legalization has encouraged sex trafficking. But they actually cite coercion among illegal sex workers (for example, those who are too young to legally work at a German brothel) and claim that their exploitation had somehow been caused by the legal framework from which those women had been excluded. Despite plenty of evidence of the harm caused by criminalization, there’s still a tremendous amount of money in representing it as the “cure” for a situation it actually exacerbates... Michael Horowitz, a fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute who led efforts to pass the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, told the Las Vegas Review Journal that the anti-trafficking movement has become more about securing grants for research than protecting victims...  you will often read that the average sex worker enters the trade at 13, a mathematical impossibility which appears to have originated as a misrepresentation of the average age of first noncommercial sexual contact (which could include kissing, petting, etc.) reported by underage girls in one 1982 study as though it were the age they first reported selling sex. The actual average age at which they began prostitution was 16.  And though the number was already dubious when applied to underage prostitutes, it became wholly ludicrous when applied to all sex workers. Because prostitution is illegal in most of the world, the most reliable data on the proportion of sex workers that are underage will come from places where the industry is legal and it can be studied openly, like New Zealand. And there, estimates put the figure at about 3.5%... fewer than half of street workers have pimps, and about half of the pimps are actually the employees of the women they manage, not the other way around"

The War on Sex Trafficking Is the New War on Drugs - "the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2006 described this figure as "questionable" due to "methodological weaknesses, gaps in data, and numerical discrepancies," including the rather astonishing fact that "the U.S. government's estimate was developed by one person who did not document all his work." And even if he had, there would still be good reasons to doubt the quality of the data, which were compiled from a range of nonprofits, governments, and international organizations, all of which use different definitions of "trafficking"... "Because sex trafficking is considered horrific, politicians appear willing to cite the flimsiest and most poorly researched statistics—and the media is content to treat the claims as solid facts"... A 2010 study from Rutgers University professors James Finckenauer and Ko-lin Chin took an in-depth look at Chinese women working in America's illicit massage parlors, which are routinely denounced by politicians as hotbeds of sexual slavery... 93 percent of the women he interviewed would be considered sex trafficking victims under common legal definitions... Yet not one of the 149 Chinese women interviewed said she was sold into prostitution, and only one reported being forced or coerced into it... Pimps themselves claim to steer clear of underage sex workers... most tried to avoid business relationships with teens (though these respondents, along with the police officers Urban interviewed, also claimed it was common for teenagers to lie about their ages). "I was determined to stay away from the younger bitches; 16 gets you 20"... The utter failure to "end demand" for drugs hasn't dented optimism that we can accomplish the trick with prostitution... researchers examined end-demand efforts in four metro areas over a four-month period. Between 50 and 60 percent of these efforts involved police decoys pretending to be teens, and no actual victims. A typical tactic is for police to post an ad pretending to be a young adult sex worker, and once a man agrees to meet, the "girl" indicates that she's actually only 16 or 17. Shared Hope is candid about the fact that most of the men soliciting sex here are not pedophiles and not necessarily seeking out someone underage. But "distinguishing between demand for commercial sex acts with an adult and demand for commercial sex acts with a minor is often an artificial construct," its report asserted. So to save the children, we need to prosecute men who have no demonstrated interest in children, because in the future they may seek sex with adults who could actually turn out to be old-looking teens—got that?... At a time when Republicans and Democrats can barely agree on anything, human trafficking bills have attracted huge bipartisan support... if it doesn't pass, for whatever reason, it's ripe for demagoguery: "My opponent voted against a bill to fight modern slavery!"... The resources spent on prostitution stings and public awareness campaigns are resources diverted from mundane but more effective strategies for helping at-risk youth, such as adding more beds at emergency shelters... "homeless youth often trade sex for a place to stay each night because of the absence of available shelter beds"... many of the policies in place to fight trafficking actively work against their own stated mission. The criminalization of prostitution keeps sex workers from reporting abuse and keeps clients from coming forward if they suspect someone is being trafficked. Victims themselves are afraid to go to police for fear they'll be arrested for prostitution—and indeed, they often are."

Florida Cops Went to Absurd Lengths to Entrap Man Who Showed No Interest in Underage Sex - "How do you catch a predator in Sarasota, Florida? You create one.The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office (SCSO) is going to "outrageous lengths" to make law-abiding lonely guys into sex offenders. That's according to Noah Pransky, a fearless journalist who has been covering Florida's addiction to entrapment for years... They log onto adult sites, claiming to be adult age. It's only once they establish some kind of bond with an adult who went online hoping to find a legal-age companion that they then confess that they are underage.Normally, the SCSO destroys the records of these stings, preventing the public from understanding the sordid process that produced the arrest of the supposed sex offender. But in the case highlighted above, the 20-year-old man was actually a civilian employee of the SCSO, and he preserved the chat log"

Massachusetts Bill Would Impose $200 Fines, 6 Months in Jail for Using the Word ‘Bitch’ - "Massachusetts is taking the fight against nasty words to the next level with a new state bill that would ban the use of the word bitch in certain contexts.State Rep. Daniel Hunt (D–Boston) has put forward H. 3719 that would prohibit the use of the big, bad b-word when deployed to "to accost, annoy, degrade or demean" another person. Anyone who did so would be considered a "disorderly person" under state law... Specifying that the use of the word bitch could be a criminal act at the very least seems superfluous given that Massachusetts' disorderly conduct law already bans any "offensive and disorderly acts or language" used to "accost or annoy another person."It's also a violation of the First Amendment's free speech protections, says Jim Manley, an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), a public interest law firm that litigates free speech issues...
Hunt clarified late Tuesday that the bill in question was filed on behalf of a constituent exercising her right to directly petition the legislature. Massachusetts' constitution allows citizens to author and introduce bills directly into the state legislature. A legislator is still required to sign and file a citizen's bill. Most legislators file citizen bills even when they do not necessarily support the underlying legislation"

Melanesians: Meet the world's only natural black blondes - "The Melanesian people of the Solomon Islands are the point of interest when it comes to dark skin and blond hair. The Solomon Islands are located in the South Pacific, the very heart of Melanesia, just Northeast of Australia, between Papua and Vanuatu and is an independent state within the British Commonwealth.Although the indigenous Melanesian population of the islands possess the darkest skin outside of Africa, between 5 and 10% have bright blond hair. There have been several theories on how they got their blond hair — from sun and salt whitening, high fish intake, or genetic heritage from mixed-breeding with Americans/Europeans who founded the islands... The Melanesian people have a native TYRP1 gene which is partly responsible for the blond hair and melanin, and is totally distinct to that of Caucasians as it doesn't exist in their genes."

Singapore an advanced surveillance state, but citizens don't mind - "Leaks of top secret documents by intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden has exposed Singapore as a key “third party” providing five countries, including the United States and Australia, secret access to Malaysia’s communications data.This is done by way of Singapore intelligence tapping on the SEA-ME-WE-3 internet cable, which runs from Japan to Singapore, Djibouti, Suez, and the Straits of Gibraltar to Northern Germany. SingTel, Singapore’s largest telco which has close relations to the government, allegedly facilitated providing access to the cable. Malaysia and Indonesia are said to be key targets for Australian and Singaporean intelligence.However, the news, which suggests that the state has the resources to spy on its own citizens, got little traction within the country. Revealed in August, the pageviews only snowballed recently, and even so, it garnered a weaker reaction than the entrance of extra-marital dating site Ashley Madison into Singapore, a move which sparked an outcry among conservative Singaporeans.It seems that citizens are more concerned about moral policing than the possibility of having their actions monitored by the state... Online services and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Singapore are at the mercy of the government. Laws are so broadly phrased that the government can obtain access to sensitive data like text messages, e-mail, call logs, and web surfing history without court permission. Contrast this with the United States, where a court order or search warrant is required to obtain data without the user’s knowledge.Singapore’s Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act has been amended to let the government compel organizations to do pre-emptive surveillance. The Criminal Procedure Code is phrased in such a way to enable investigators to forcibly obtain any information they need.The newly enacted Personal Data Protection Act, meanwhile, is aimed more at restricting companies’ use of private data. Government agencies are exempted from most parts of the Act... According to a Global Government Request Report released by Facebook, the Singapore government has made 107 information requests in the first half of 2013, which when adjusted to population size, makes it one of the highest in requests per capita (but still lower than the United States)... In response to a question made in Parliament about these data requests, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean responded that the government has made about 600 combined requests a year to Google, Facebook, and Microsoft from 2010 to 2012, of which the majority were for investigating Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act offenses, while the rest were for crimes like corruption, terrorist threats, cheating, theft, gambling and vice. These requests were for non-content data like account-related information and login details... Singaporeans, however, don’t seem to mind having more surveillance in exchange for better security. A search of Parliament records for the keyword ‘surveillance’ in the past year indicated that Members-of-Parliament raised concerns regarding the lack of adequate surveillance to tackle crime. In contrast, Americans have grown more worried about privacy, placing it above the possibility of terrorist attacks in light of the NSA leaks... Singapore’s Prime Minister himself has admitted that the government prioritizes public housing upgrades in sectors that have voted in favor of the ruling party. A future government could take this one step further and prioritize services for citizens based on desired behavior. It could also use uncovered crimes – which include mundane acts like using copyrighted content without permission – as leverage against individuals... Member of Parliament Hri Kumar Nair was quoted saying that since police powers in Singapore are restricted by the courts, cyber surveillance should be similarly subjected to checks and balances"

Why Do Canadians Say ‘Eh’? - "“Eh” has proven to be a very difficult thing to study; as an oral tic, it’s rarely written down, and studies have relied on self-reporting—basically, asking people whether and how they use the word. “It’s a very hard thing to do research on, really hard to quantify how much it’s used, who uses it, how it’s used,” she says. Those self-reported studies are necessarily flawed, as Canadians have a tendency to underestimate their use of the word. Gold told me about several instances in which people insist they hardly ever say “eh,” before using the word without realizing it in subsequent thoughts. (“I hardly ever say ‘eh,’ eh?”)Because it’s so hard to study, it’s not really known where “eh” came from, or precisely when it entered the Canadian lexicon. Gold says that by the 1950s, the word was firmly established enough that in some articles it’s already identified as a Canadianism. Today, it’s actually heard outside the country as well; the sections of the U.S. Upper Midwest that border Canada often have “eh” speakers, and it’s fairly common in New Zealand as well. It is possible that the word came originally from some population of Scots-Irish immigrants, a major early group in Canada. “Eh” is still used in Scotland and in Northern England, but it’s used in a much more limited way, primarily to indicate that the listener hasn’t heard the speaker—it means “what?,” or “pardon?” In Canada, it’s mutated into a much more versatile interjection.With the caveat that self-reported studies are not all that accurate, Canadian linguists seem to agree that “eh” is much less common in Canada’s cities and more common in rural areas, especially in the sparsely-populated west. “It’s considered rural, lower-class, male, less educated,” says Gold. Aside from males, those groups are all stigmatized, which means that any language features associated with those groups are stigmatized as well. Within Canada, saying “eh,” especially the narrative “eh,” is considered kind of a hick thing to do. This does not appear to have lessened the essential Canadianness of the word.Other dialects of English and other languages have some similar tags. “Right,” “okay,” “yes,” and “you know” are all used in some of the same ways as “eh.” In French, “hein” (pronounced “anh,” the same vowel sound in “splat”) is quite similar, as is the Japanese “ne,” the Dutch “hè,” the Yiddish “nu,” and the Spanish “¿no?” These differ in some ways from “eh,” as “eh” can be used in some ways that the other tags cannot be and vice versa, but what really makes “eh” different is less about the way it’s used and more about its place in Canadian society."
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