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Friday, November 10, 2017

Links - 10th November 2017 (3)

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Iran's 1953 Coup

"The so-called coup d’état that supposedly brought back the shah happened only in the imagination of anti—American ideologists. The Iranian army did not intervene in the events until after pro-shah demonstrators had seized most key government buildings, and then only to restore public order after the new government had been announced. Many hours of newsreel footage of the events are available in archives, including the national Film Archive in Washington, D.C., clearly depicting a popular pro-shah uprising. There are also hundreds of eyewitness accounts by Iranians who observed or took part in the events.

It is interesting that the CIA claims that all its documents relating to the events disappeared in a mysterious fire. We are thus left with two accounts. One is a self-serving book by Kermit Roosevelt, who presents himself as a latter-day, and vastly inflated, Scarlet Pimpernel. The other is an official report commissioned by the CIA and written by Donald Wilber, the agency’s operational director in Tehran at the time. While Roosevelt’s account is obviously fanciful, Wilber’s report is written in a sober, almost self-deprecating style. He shows that the CIA and the British MI6 did have a plan to foment “trouble against Mossadeq after the shah had signed the dismissal decree, but the plan failed as the CIA’s agents and “assets" behaved more like Keystone Kops than professional conspirators engaged in a major big—power clash in the context of the Cold War. Wilber reports that the CIA station sent the message to Washington that “The operation has been tried and failed.’’ The British followed with their own message of failure: “We regret that we cannot consider going on fighting. Operations against Mossadeq should be discontinued.” Wilber blames the CIA’s Iranian “assets" for the failure. The CIA had prepared “a Western type plan offered for execution by Orientals [sic]. Given the recognized incapacity of Iranians to plan or act in a thoroughly logical manner, we would never expect such a plan to be executed in the local atmosphere like a Western staff operation.

Moscow, too, noticed the failure of the CIA-M|6 plot. For two days running, Moscow Radio broadcast an editorial by Pravda, the CPSU organ, headed “The Failure of the American Adventure in Iran.” The editorial claimed that British and American agents had tried to foment street riots against Mossadeq but had failed because “progressive forces," a codeword for Communists and fellow travelers, had rallied behind the old leader.

The official CIA report also refutes the claim that the Americans had bribed a number of Iranian army officers to stage a coup against Mossadeq. Wilber states categorically: “In Iran we did not rely on bribery. . . . We did not spend a cent in the purchase of officers." He also makes it clear that no army units were involved in the events, although a brigade led by Colonel Bakhtiar, a cousin of the shah’s wife, Queen Soraya, arrived in Tehran from Kermanshah after the fall of Mossadeq.

Wilber observed part of the popular pro—shah uprising and offered his version in the report commissioned by the CIA:

In the evening, violence flared in the streets of Tehran. Just what was the major motivating force is impossible to say, but it is possible to isolate the factors behind the disturbances. First the flight of the Shah brought home to the populace in a dramatic way how far Mossadeq had gone, and galvanized the people into an irate pro-Shah force. Second, it seems clear that the Tudeh Party overestimated its strength in the situation. . . . Third, the Mossadeq government was at last beginning to feel very uneasy about its alliance with the Tudeh Party. The Pan-Iranists were infuriated and the Third Force was most unhappy about the situation.

Wilber’s narrative continues:

The surging crowds of men, women and children were shouting: Shah piruz ast (The Shah is victorious). Determined as they seemed, a gay holiday atmosphere prevailed, and, as if exterior pressure had been released so that the true sentiments of the people showed through. The crowds were not, as in earlier weeks, made up of hoodlums, but included people of all classes—many well dressed—led or encouraged by civilians. Trucks and busloads of cheering civilians streamed by. . . . As usual, word spread like lightning and in other parts of the city pictures of the Shah were eagerly displayed.

Some Iranians believe that the CIA retrospectively built up its own role in the August 1953 events so as to restore its prestige, shattered after the Bay of Pigs fiasco in 1961. The agency needed at least one feather if it were to keep its expensive hat. Anti—Americans, especially the Soviets and their agents and sympathizers throughout the world, found it in their own interest to endorse the CIA’s claim as an example of American “imperialism" in action against a Third World nation. The shah’s enemies inside Iran also liked the story, as it absolved them of any responsibility for Mossadeq’s failure. Blaming the foreigner for ones own shortcomings has always been popular in Iran.

not all anti—shah and anti—American scholars have bought the CIA’s claim. According to one British Marxist academic:

There is no doubt that the US government, and specifically the CIA, played an active part in organising the coup of 19 August 1953 that ousted Mossadeq, and that this intervention was the fruit of the build-up of the US presence in Iran that had been under way since the war. However, it is misleading to attribute everything to this factor alone: Iranian nationalists tend to do so—and so, on occasions, does the CIA, Keen to claim credit for a successful operation. The reality is not so simple, since the CIA intervention was only possible because of internal balance of forces in Iran, the existence of elements within the dominant class that were interested in acting against the Mossadeq regime and the weaknesses of Mossadeq’s own position

... Mossadeq himself never blamed the United States for his downfall. And it is quite possible that he was relieved to be pushed aside at a time that he had run out of ideas and lived on a day-to-day basis. He had built his career on opposition to the British and then to the two Pahlavi Shahs. In August 1953, the British were no longer there, the first Pahlavi had been dead for years, and the second was in exile in Rome. What could Mossadeq do now? What did he have to offer? A typical naysayer, he knew only how to oppose, having marketed his ideology as “a balance of negatives" (movazeneh manfi). After a show trial in which he amused himself by demonstrating his oratorical skills once again, Mossadeq was given a three-year sentence, which the shah commuted to one of “surveyed residence.” This meant that the old man would have to live in his estate near Tehran under the watchful eyes of security agents.

Because the power struggle had taken place within a small elite, most of whose members were related by blood or marriage, Mossadeq’s political and army allies received short prison sentences or were released without charge. Only one was executed: Hussein Fatemi, the foreign minister who had publicly called for an end to monarchy and refused to recant. Some of Mossadeq’s close associates remained attached to the belief, or the illusion, that the United States, especially the Democratic Party, somehow supported them. In the years to come, some of them immigrated to the United States and acquired American citizenship—no sign of bitterness there."

--- The Persian Night: Iran under the Khomeinist Revolution / Amir Taheri

Links - 10th November 2017 (2)

10+ Dark And Unexpectedly Hilarious Comics By David Daneman

Guess Who — ginzers: spoopy-roxxi: ginzers: ... - "I’m really not understanding why you think cultural appropriation would be ok, unless you are assuming that the girl in the picture is part Japanese."
"The only people who think culture shouldnt be shared are racists like you. A vast majority of Japanese people actually enjoy other people making an effort to spread and enjoy japanese culture, and encourage it. Many make businesses in deliberately taking pictures of people in kimono. A common omiage (gift) for foreigners from japanese people is traditional japanese things such as kimonos, tea seats, shisa dog statues, ect. And to top it off, basically 80 percent of japanese customs, traditions, and food, came from other countries. Japanese is an integration of different cultures, like america. Japan takes influences from places like korea, china, russia, and europe. If japan stuck to itself, there would be no tempura, japanese tea, tea ceremonies, kabuki, japanese bread, japanese curry, j- pop, anime, cars, or modern fishing techniques. The picture is not “yellow face” they are not making fun of asians. In fact, it looks like they put extra care and research into their work. The only reason that you have a problem with this is because that little girl is white and you know that it is acceptable on tumblr to crap all over white people. The only racist here is you."
Addendum: This is about a little girl dressed up as a geisha with a Japanese tea party

My Life as an Ivy League Sugar Baby - "My sugar dicks were cliché as they come. I didn't realize that I would be giving more than sex to these men, that they weren't really paying for my body, but my attention. My validation. The light in my eyes that recognized the light in theirs... you get all the perks of running your own business without the need for startup capital or marketing"

What happens after enrollment? An analysis of the time path of racial differences in GPA and major choice - "black/white gpa convergence is symptomatic of dramatic shifts by blacks from initial interest in the natural sciences, engineering, and economics to majors in the humanities and social sciences. We show that natural science, engineering, and economics courses are more difficult, associated with higher study times, and have harsher grading standards; all of which translate into students with weaker academic backgrounds being less likely to choose these majors. Indeed, we show that accounting for academic background can fully account for average differences in switching behavior between blacks and whites."
In other words, blacks switch to easier courses because they're not prepared for the harder ones due to affirmative action. The same is true for legacy admissions. Given that both let in students who are not prepared for the material, that makes sense
Naturally this got protested, even back in 2012

Racial controversy at Duke challenges affirmative action - "A minority group at Duke University is protesting a recent study by university researchers that found that black students take easier classes than white students. The study has inflamed racial tensions on campus... The study also argued that though elite universities are trying to increase the number of minority students in natural sciences and engineering through affirmative action, the policy is actually working against them."

84% of Vegetarians and Vegans Return to Meat. Why? - "I told my mom and dad that my decision was based on animal welfare and the high carbon footprint of meat. But the truth is that while I theoretically cared about animals and the planet, mostly I just wanted to be different... it seemed like I was always hungry no matter how large my bowl of beans and rice. Even worse than constant hunger, I didn't seem to enjoy food the way other people did. Eating was a chore, like folding laundry or paying bills, but even more annoying because if I didn't do it I would die. I was sick of being hungry, I was sick of beans and rice, and so at the age of 31, I have made a decision: I will try and become a meat-eater"

Why Do Most Vegetarians Go Back To Eating Meat? - "thirty-five percent of our participants indicated that declining health was the main reason they reverted back to eating flesh. For example, one wrote, "I was very weak and sickly. I felt horrible even though I ate a good variety of foods like PETA said to." Another wrote, "My doctor recommended that I eat some form of meat as I was not getting any better. I thought it would be hypocritical of me to just eat chicken and fish as they are just as much and animal as a cow or pig. So I went from no meat to all meat." The most succinct response was by a man who wrote, "I will take a dead cow over anemia any time"... About one in five of our participants had developed an irresistible urge to taste cooked flesh once more. This occurred even among some long-term vegetarians. Participants talked about their protein cravings or how the smell of sizzling bacon would drive them crazy. One, for example, said "I just felt hungry all the time and that hunger would not be satisfied unless I ate meat.""

CRISPR used to edit genes of human embryos for first time in U.S. - "Molecular scissors known as CRISPR/Cas9 corrected a gene defect that can lead to heart failure"

Paedophiles 'could be prescribed child sex dolls' to prevent real attacks, says therapist - "Her comments came after a former primary school governor was found guilty of importing a life-size child sex doll from China to the UK. David Turner, 72, will be sentenced in September... "I would love to get to a stage where society can accept that some people are sexually attracted to children and yet they remain completely law abiding, and it is safe for those people to admit to their attraction""

It turns out the iPad was just too expensive after all

Venezuela Bolivar Worth Less Than 'World of Warcraft' Currency

Jin Ji Braised Duck, And The 2nd-Gen Hawker Behind The Revamp - "he sells out almost daily, and has observed a 30% increase in overall sales after the revamp"

Not a shot! Anti-vax movement prompts Brooklynites to withhold inoculations from their pets, vets say - "A Clinton Hill–based veterinarian said she has heard clients suggest the inoculations could give their pups autism, however, echoing the argument of those who oppose vaccinating kids. But even if pooches were susceptible to the condition, their owners probably wouldn’t notice, according to the doctor... There was a recent uptick in canine vaccinations after an outbreak of the bacterial disease Leptospirosis, which infected several people in the Bronx earlier this year and is lethal to dogs, according to Liff, who said it’s not unusual for trends in human medicine to trickle down to animal health care."

Clementine Ford: Isolation from platonic touch is a tragedy of modern manhood - "prior to the 20th century it was common for men to be physically intimate with each other without their intimacy being assumed to be sexual in nature. There have been thousands of photographs collated by historians that show men reclined in a comfortable and physical expression of friendship. They are seen leaning against each other, hands draped across each other's thighs and often holding hands. Some sociologists theorise that this freedom was the result of different social assumptions made about homosexuality, and the pathologisation of sexuality at the turn of the 20th century was what changed things. Others suggest it may have been a response to the increase of women's power and their burgeoning presence in public life. Simply put, that with women moving more determinedly out of the domestic sphere and into the public one, men looked for ways to distinguish themselves from them and their inherently "feminine" traits."
On the cultural stigmatisation of male friendship and touch

Malaysia's train operator RapidKL uses Annabelle doll to warn commuters to mind their manners - "Malaysia's MRT and LRT operator RapidKL is trying to spook users into behaving themselves at stations and trains by using Annabelle, a haunted doll from a movie with the same name."

Discuss: Entrepreneurs, stop trying to start a business young - "To me, the best founders are people who have learned how to be employees... I’m looking for people who know what the fuck they’re doing. And these people are those who’ve spent enough time learning, re-learning, studying, gathering experience, and following the right road. They’ve worked in their industry before. They’ve had a boss who’s given them instructions. Their bosses have encouraged them when they’ve done well and come down hard on them when they messed up... Remember, Steve Jobs worked for Atari before he founded Apple."

Into Thin Air: Mountain Climbing Kills Brain Cells - "They found brain damage in virtually every Everest climber but also in many climbers of lesser peaks who returned unaware that they had injured their brain... even when climbers showed no signs of acute sickness, the scans still found brain damage"

Princess Diana's revelations about sex and sorrow to be aired on British TV - "Charles' father, Prince Philip, had given him permission to have an affair if the marriage did not work."

Google's New Hate Speech Algorithm Has a Problem With Jews - "the machines learned the comments sections of The New York Times, the Economist, and the Guardian... “Many terrorists are radical Islamists.” The comment, Perspective informed me, was 92 percent likely to be seen as toxic. What about straightforward statements of facts? I reached for the news, which, sadly, has been very grim lately, and wrote: “Three Israelis were murdered last night by a knife-wielding Palestinian terrorist who yelled ‘Allah hu Akbar.’” This, too, was 92 percent likely to be seen as toxic. You, too, can go online and have your fun, but the results shouldn’t surprise you. The machines learn from what they read, and when what they read are the Guardian and the Times, they’re going to inherit the inherent biases of these publications as well. Like most people who read the Paper of Record, the machine, too, has come to believe that statements about Jews being slaughtered are controversial, that addressing radical Islamism is verboten, and that casual anti-Semitism is utterly forgivable. The very term itself, toxicity, should’ve been enough of a giveaway: the only groups that talk about toxicity—see under: toxic masculinity—are those on the regressive left who creepily apply the metaphors of physical harm to censor speech not celebrate or promote it. No words are toxic, but the idea that we now have an algorithm replicating, amplifying, and automatizing the bigotry of the anti-Jewish left may very well be"
This is good evidence for the New York Times, the Economist and the Guardian's readers' anti-Semitism and pro-Isalmism

SPUTNIK EXCLUSIVE: Research Proves Google Manipulates Millions to Favor Clinton - "It is somewhat difficult to get the Google search bar to suggest negative searches related to Mrs. Clinton or to make any Clinton-related suggestions when one types a negative search term. Bing and Yahoo, on the other hand, often show a number of negative suggestions in response to the same search terms. Bing and Yahoo seem to be showing us what people are actually searching for; Google is showing us something else — but what, and for what purpose?... Google suppresses negative suggestions selectively, not across the board. It is easy to get autocomplete to suggest negative searches related to prominent people, one of whom happens to be Mrs. Clinton's opponent."

Are Conservatives More "Anti-Science" Than Are Liberals? - "A new series of studies by Liu & Ditto (in press) showed that political ideology and moral beliefs influence people's judgments of facts. After reading an essay that argued that the death penalty is barbaric and immoral, people estimated lower crime-reducing benefits and greater costs for the death penalty than after reading an essay that argued that the death penalty was morally justified and showed high regard for human life. They found essentially similar results for several morally charged political issues, including use of torture, promotion of condom use, and stem cell research... Liu & Ditto also found three other interesting patterns. There were modest tendencies for distortions to be strongest among people who: 1. held strong moral convictions; 2. considered themselves most informed; and 3. were conservatives. This last finding was quite modest, so that even if conservatives' views of science are a bit more distorted than liberals, there was ample distortion among liberals. When Liu & Ditto's (in press) findings are combined with this fact -- liberals heavily dominate psychological science (the ratio of liberals to conservatives is about 10:1 in social psychology -- Inbar & Lammers, 2012) -- a serious question about "science" is raised"

Leftists ENRAGED At Dave Chappelle For Telling Jokes About Transgenderism - "Of course, jokes are often offensive by design. In fact, pre-Africa-bound Chappelle almost exclusively dealt with the very real and complex issue of race through funny and, yes, offensive skits. Comedy, which can often be offensive or make one uncomfortable, helps to break down taboos and open up honest dialogue about serious issues. This is particularly useful in a society that attempts to shut down any speech subjectively deemed hateful or merely counter to the views of the so-called oppressed."

Female Student 'Harassed, Threatened' By College After Insisting Her Boyfriend Did NOT Abuse Her - "On college campuses, men are guilty until proven innocent — even when the accusations are being refuted by the supposed victim over and over again. This story of a top tennis player at the University of Southern California (USC) and her star football player boyfriend is unfortunately a perfect example of such injustice. It all started when former USC football kicker Matt Boermeester was accused of abusing his girlfriend, 22-year-old nationally-ranked USC tennis player Zoe Katz — not by Katz, but by a third party. Apparently a neighbor saw the couple roughhousing with one another and interpreted it as "abuse." This person told their roommate; the roommate told a USC coach; and the coach reported the account to the school's Title IX office. After the allegations surfaced, Katz came out to vehemently deny that she had ever been "abused" by Boermeester. In return, the office “misled, harassed, threatened and discriminated against” her, she claims. Katz was told she was a victim and merely protecting her abuser; she was not believed, but instead treated as a child. Her boyfriend was viewed as guilty and suspended from the school"

Title IX cases that resulted in suicide, a suicide attempt at two colleges prompt fresh debate - "after allegedly bungled investigations into sexual assault accusations under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a University of Texas at Arlington student killed himself and a Cornell University student attempted to do so... Suicides make for compelling examples to many -- not just critics of Title IX enforcement."

No sweat! Fried chicken chain in Japan introduces 'girl's perspiration' flavour - "Tenka Torimasu, which has half-a-dozen take-out outlets in the Japanese capital, launched the new sauce earlier this month. And it is not just any girl's sweat, Tenka Torimasu attempts to replicate the "refreshing sweat of young women working hard to become pop singers", local news websites reported."

A meta-analysis of gender stereotypes and bias in experimental simulations of employment decision making. - "men were preferred for male-dominated jobs (i.e., gender-role congruity bias), whereas no strong preference for either gender was found for female-dominated or integrated jobs. Second, male raters exhibited greater gender-role congruity bias than did female raters for male-dominated jobs. Third, gender-role congruity bias did not consistently decrease when decision makers were provided with additional information about those they were rating, but gender-role congruity bias was reduced when information clearly indicated high competence of those being evaluated. Fourth, gender-role congruity bias did not differ between decisions that required comparisons among ratees and decisions made about individual ratees. Fifth, decision makers who were motivated to make careful decisions tended to exhibit less gender-role congruity bias for male-dominated jobs. Finally, for male-dominated jobs, experienced professionals showed smaller gender-role congruity bias than did undergraduates or working adults"

Anti-Nazism in the Age of Trump

Anti-Nazism in the Age of Trump

"Fascism was hardly poised for a revival in America during the Cold War. Yet the 1984 murder of Denver Jewish radio host Alan Berg by members of an Aryan Nations offshoot, (an event dramatized in the 1988 Costa Gavras film Betrayed), rekindled the American’s media’s fascination with neo-Nazis. At the time, the ADL estimated total membership “of the entire white supremacy movement” to be 10,000, with about a tenth of that number ostensibly “willing to bear arms and fight.” A decade later, spurred by bloody, highly-publicized confrontations involving federal agents at Waco and Ruby Ridge, anti-government militias, (some of them committed to resisting the Z.O.G, or “Zionist Occupied Government”), were believed to command the loyalties of anywhere from 20,000 to 60,000 people. Paradoxically, extreme right organizing then declined again under the administration of America’s first black president, to the point that, by 2011 “the country’s largest neo-Nazi party” could claim only 400 members dispersed across 32 states...

There is no mass fascist political movement in America. To be an “anti-Nazi” or “anti-fascist,” then, is a materially meaningless political identity in America today because literally everybody—with the exception of Richard Spencer and his harem of boys sporting “fashy” haircuts—opposes national socialism and fascism.

And yet ever since Donald Trump assumed the presidency, an increasing number of serious people seem to believe that they are engaged in a twilight struggle against Nazis, just like Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca. The hysteria began with the label Trump’s political opposition adopted for itself, “The Resistance,” a moniker that, unless you are burying weapons in the forests of Poland or hiding in the basements of French country houses, one has no right to assume...

So where do all these legions of Nazis and passionate brigades of anti-Nazis come from? They come from the land of political hyberbole, which is where Trump came from, too...

Fighting Nazis is a free and easy moral victory because there is almost no one on the other side. This suggests that whoever generally advertises themselves to the polity as a brave and forthright fighter of Nazis is either immature or deploying lazy rhetoric to get their listeners to join in the unwitting pursuit of some other, presumably much less popular or acceptable goal. In other words, it’s a con job.

The use of Nazis as a political straw man was long a propaganda technique of the Soviet Union, which casually slapped the label “fascist” on anyone or anything it didn’t like. (The tradition continues with today’s Kremlin propagandists, for whom “fascist” or “Nazi” is interchangeable with “critic of Russian foreign policy.”)... What should worry us is a lazy and agenda-driven mainstream media that continues to treat a political smear operation with a shady Cayman Islands bank account [Ed: The SPLC] as a dispassionate moral authority that fights Nazis...

Anti-Nazism is a substitute for hard thinking. And it is important to recognize the rhetoric and tactics of contemporary anti-Nazism for what they are: not a proportional or apposite response to the actual American political situation, but instruments of a virulent new form of political warfare that insists on demonizing one’s political enemies. One sees a similar dynamic at play with the notion of “white supremacy,” which, in the America of 2017, means anyone or anything that a cohort of angry Twitterati doesn’t like...

Today, the term “white supremacist” is recklessly applied to everyone from David Duke to Columbia professor Mark Lilla (a liberal critic of identity politics) to the American Civil Liberties Union, recently the target of protest at the College of William & Mary by members of Black Lives Matter chanting “liberalism is white supremacy,” an assertion that is the logical endpoint of the new progressive politics.

Attempting to conflate the majority of Americans who recoil at this sort of wildly divisive politics with the minuscule number of actual overt Nazis, and treating Richard Spencer as an emblematic and important political figure whose ill-attended rallies and pompous communiqués make front-page headlines, is the height of political idiocy. Not just idiocy in the factual sense of being wildly inaccurate, but idiotic in the practical sense, in that it alienates potential allies and will destroy any conceivable anti-Trump coalition, which, after all, mathematically speaking, will need to include at least some present or former Trump supporters. One saw this idiocy at work a few months ago in Boston, where tens of thousands of people descended upon the Common to denounce a handful of political eccentrics (including Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Indian-American Republican challenger) as “Nazis” and “KKK.” This politics of conflation makes sense if you are Richard Spencer, hoping to convince every white person that they must join his movement. And it also makes sense if you are a hard leftist who believes that polarizing and dividing society is the way for your radical beliefs to triumph. Which is, ironically, one of the ways Germany got Hitler...

In their predictions of impending fascist doom, many “resisters” are beginning to sound like right-wing survivalists. For all the talk of Trump violating the “norms” of American politics, which he has done repeatedly—beginning with his calls for his opponent to be jailed—so too are his opponents. Resolute in their righteousness, they have taken to playing dirty, violating democratic procedural norms themselves on an ongoing basis.

To take only one relatively trivial example, the unprecedented leaking of the transcripts of phone conversations between the president and various foreign leaders, while maybe providing a few laughs for late-night television hosts, is likely to have profoundly negative effects on the future of American diplomacy. “No leader will again speak candidly on the phone to Washington, D.C.—at least for the duration of this presidency, and perhaps for longer”... Violations of democratic norms by the “Resistance” exist on a spectrum that begins with leaking transcripts of the president’s phone calls, progresses through intelligence community manipulation of domestic politics, and ends with street violence.

And that is where the politics of anti-Nazism leads. For if Trump is a proto-Hitler, if it is “pretty much inevitable” that he will stage his own Reichstag fire, then the response to his rule must be commensurate with the challenge. Hitler, after all, wasn’t stopped by the filibuster, never mind pussy hats. And if Churchill and FDR allied with Stalin to fight Hitler, why shouldn’t liberal Democrats link arms with the goons of antifa, as suggested by progressive luminaries like Cornel West?

In the late 1960s, an element of the West German “extra-parliamentary” left adopted a critique of the postwar Federal Republic which claimed the country was not a real democracy but a mere continuation of the Nazi regime. One of the movement’s leaders devised the term “Raspberry Reich” to describe a place where bourgeois consumerism masked the ruthlessness of a capitalist-imperialist state. Belief in this nonsense persuaded a group of young radical Germans to form a criminal gang called the Red Army Faction that killed over 30 people in a decades-long string of bombings and targeted assassinations. It was the same nonsense that motivated the Weather Underground, the Red Brigades and countless other left-wing terrorist groups around the world...

The inclusion and celebration of Angela Davis—laureate of the Lenin Peace Prize and the East German Star of People’s Friendship; enthusiastic supporter of the Jonestown People’s Temple cult—at the Women’s March was a worrying sign, as is the continued glorification of the empty-headed but reliably pro-Islamist Linda Sarsour. These are not good heroes to have.

In Europe, left-wing terrorism is already on the rise... the Berlin state interior ministry warns that “2016 was marked out by a spiral in left-wing violence that not only led to a multitude of serious crimes but also in part to a radicalized tone. … The inhibition threshold regarding physical attacks is sinking, and we are now at the stage where targeted assassination of political opponents no longer appears completely unrealistic.”

In addition to licensing violence, another danger of calling your opponents “Nazis” is the spell of absolute and unassailable righteousness that the word casts over those who employ it, rendering them unable to see the weeds that are thriving in their own gardens...

Today, the undoubtedly proud anti-Nazi history of the British Labour party is utterly irrelevant to understanding why it has become the most influential anti-Semitic institution in the Western world...

Paradoxically, while anti-Jewish social prejudice, like saying the words “smelly kike,” for example, or refusing Jews admittance to your country club, has become a serious social crime—the sort of transgression that can destroy careers—actual anti-Semitism (“a cabal of rich Jews secretly manipulates and controls American foreign policy to benefit Israel,” “Israel is an illegitimate foreign colonial implant whose bloodthirsty leadership hates peace and delights in killing Palestinian children”) has become increasingly acceptable, even mainstream on some parts of the left. Standing up to Nazism, as the members of the Democratic Socialists of America valiantly did in Charlottesville, serves as a convenient fig leaf behind which they can hide their institutionalized organizational anti-Semitism, which they giddily expressed just a week prior at their annual convention in Chicago, chanting “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will be Free,” after passing a motion in support of the Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment movement against Israel...

Anti-Semitism is a conspiracy theory, one whose lethality has been proven century after century. Anti-Semitism is lethal to the societies in which it takes root because it provides an entirely false account of how and why things happen. Try running a maritime trading nation, or a large empire, if you truly believe that the reason your ships sunk or your armies were defeated is because of a secret and malicious conspiracy of Jews, whose aim is to harm you. Anti-Semitism is a primitive superstition, an ideological virus. Left unchecked, it can drive entire societies insane. Social prejudice may be annoying, depressing, and generally unpleasant, but it’s anti-Semitism that has proven to be physically dangerous—and very often lethal—to Jews.

The politics of anti-Nazism under Trump serve an important identity function for multiple groups. They allow the hard left, including its hardcore anti-Semitic elements, to pose as great friends of Jews, even while attacking Israel—and “Zionists”—as uniquely perfidious entities. And they allow liberal Jews, who have plenty of reasons to feel besieged, (as both Jews and as liberals), to make common cause with the left under a banner that makes them feel safer, or at least nominally protected by someone. Now, they can be the loudest and most visible anti-Nazis, and thereby serve a useful and honorable function in the larger identity politics constellation—as long as they resolutely shut their ears to some of the less pleasant and more anxiety-provoking implications of the surrounding chatter...

It takes no courage or discernment whatsoever to condemn Nazis in America. It’s like condemning pedophiles or cannibals.

Far harder to condemn is the University of Chicago professor who makes lists of good Jews and bad Jews, the idealistic college student who supports boycotting and then somehow doing away with the world’s only Jewish state and ending hurtful words and Constitutional protections for free speech, the murderous anti-Semitism and violent misogyny that pervades Muslim communities across Europe, or the colleague who celebrates an unhealthy obsession with “Zionist racism” and “warmongering neocons” on his Facebook page. In that silence breeds the potential that might give us actual Nazis, or whatever new kinds of monsters will emerge from the rubbishing of the Western liberal order—which is what the polarizing elements of both the right and left are truly aiming at"

Of course, Tablet Magazine, an American Jewish publication, are Nazis too

Links - 10th November 2017 (1)

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Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Links - 7th November 2017 (2)

Having It All—and Hating It - "Some women prioritize career. Others prioritize their kids. It's those who try to juggle both who often feel they aren’t succeeding at either... many women admitted that part of what they liked about attempting to juggle it all is the sense of engineering their own destiny in every avenue. As the nonprofit lawyer put it: “I could ask [my husband] to make more of the doctors’ appointments, but I kind of want the control. I like getting the kids on the bus every day. I love the routine. The fact is, I call a lot of the shots.”"
The Second Shift and Emotional Labour are very often voluntary

Stop Calling Women Nags — How Emotional Labor is Dragging Down Gender Equality - "What I wanted was for him to ask friends on Facebook for a recommendation, call four or five more services, do the emotional labor I would have done if the job had fallen to me... It was obvious that the box was in the way, that it needed to be put back. It would have been easy for him to just reach up and put it away, but instead he had stepped around it, willfully ignoring it for two days. It was up to me to tell him that he should put away something he got out in the first place. “That’s the point,” I said, now in tears, “I don’t want to have to ask”... I don't want to micromanage housework. I want a partner with equal initiative... I’ll admit that I probably enjoy certain types of emotional labor far more than my husband, like planning our meals and vacations"
Addendum: Basically a lot of "emotional labour" is women voluntarily caring about things that don't need to be cared about, then blaming men for not caring about them

Smart People Are More Likely to Stereotype - "people who performed better on a test of pattern detection—a measure of cognitive ability—were also quicker to form and apply stereotypes... while smart people learn and apply stereotypes more eagerly, they also unlearn those stereotypes quickly in the face of new information... white people with better verbal abilities were less likely to be prejudiced against blacks, more likely to acknowledge racial discrimination, and more likely to support racial equality in principle. But they didn’t put their money where their mouths were: Compared to the less verbally skilled white people, the more eloquent whites were less likely to support school-busing programs or affirmative action."
Smart people don't fall for the base rate fallacy
And smart people don't support feel-good measures that hurt people they're meant to help

Meet The Hotel Founder Who Made His Fortune In Singapore's Red-Light District - "In 1995, he opened his first Hotel 81, using the unit number of his home at the time. "Because I no study, I cannot put Shangri-La. I don't know how to spell," he laughs with self-deprecation. "Hotel 81? I know how to write.""

The story of how a worm turned... into a bringer of medical miracles - "Their blood, say French researchers, has an extraordinary ability to load up with life-giving oxygen. Harnessing it for human needs could transform medicine, providing a blood substitute that could save lives, speed recovery after surgery and help transplant patients, they say"

Singapore flagged as a city to avoid for software engineers - "According to a study on the top countries for software developers, it was found that Singapore developers are paid $440.74 (US$324) on average, leading it to be ranked at the bottom of the top cities list at number 20."

Criminal serving his sentence with monks pleads to be sent back to prison... because monastery life is too hard - "A convicted criminal who was serving out his sentence in a monastery has escaped for the second time and asked to be sent back to prison because life was too tough."

The polygamous town facing genetic disaster - "Since inbreeding tends to uncover “recessive” mutations that would normally remain in hiding, studying these communities has helped scientists to identify many disease-causing genes. That’s because genetic information is useless on its own. To be meaningful to medical research, it must be linked to information about disease. In fact, more human disease genes have been discovered in Utah – with its Mormon history – than any other place in the world."

"Science refuses to take root in Muslim countries" Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy - "Shia Iran and Sunni Turkey are somewhat better off in scientific terms. Their social cultures are relatively more advanced and secular. Iran has a pre-Islamic history of which they are very proud – perhaps too proud. Still, one feels an intellectual depth in Iranian society that is absent from Pakistan, Bangladesh, or Arab countries. Remarkably, even in Khomeini’s time there was no attempt to create a specifically Islamic science unlike in Pakistan under Zia-ul-Haq... I had had an acrimonious public debate with a senior director of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), Bashiruddin Mahmood, who wrote a paper saying that jinns – the invisible creatures that Allah made out of fire just as He made man out of clay – could be captured and used to solve Pakistan’s electricity problem. I called it nonsense, and he accused me of being an enemy of Islam... University and college admissions should be based on a student’s ability to pass a test that is on science itself and requires them to solve problems at different levels of complexity. I would take away the 20 extra points that are granted to those who have memorised the Quran"

Why Women's Restroom Line Is Longer Than Men's - "A unisex approach (with two stalls to one urinal) would allow men to use urinals and both genders to use bathroom stalls—and it would reduce overall wait times by a whopping 63 percent."
Or you could train women to use urinals

Fish & Co. thanks NSmen for blood, sweat & tears with discounts on weekdays only - "It’s only valid from Monday to Thursday, and on Fridays till 5pm."

Oregon couple loses custody of children for low IQ scores - "Domestic abuse and neglect were not factors in the custody case."
The fetish for "protecting" children strikes again

Fruit Juice Vs. Soda? Both Beverages Pack In Sugar, Health Risks - "on average, fruit juice has a fructose concentration of about 45.5 grams per liter, only a bit less than the average of 50 grams per liter for sodas. The sneakiest — and sweetest — juice is Minute Maid 100 percent apple, with nearly 66 grams of fructose per liter. That's more than the 62.5 grams per liter in Coca-Cola and the 61 grams per liter in Dr Pepper... if we're getting fructose from whole fruit, that's a different story. The fructose in whole fruit comes with fiber, which slows down and reduces the absorption of the sugar in the body, "serving as a sort of antidote to the negative effects of fructose metabolism"... Goran recommends diluting juice you buy at the store with 50 percent water."

Doritos Roulette Tortilla Chips | Doritos UK - "Doritos Roulette brings an exciting twist to your favourite snack. Most of the Doritos in the pack are the delicious Tangy Cheese flavour that you love, but one chip in every handful is so spicy it may bring you to tears. WARNING: Some of these chips are ultra spicy"

On neoconitis - "The Muslim Council of Britain dismissed the finding by a thinktank, the Policy Exchange, that anti-semitic and anti-western hate literature was on sale at a quarter of UK mosques as another of the: "transparent attempts to try and delegitimise popular mainstream Islamic institutions in the UK and replace them with those who are subservient to neo-conservative aims."... The left is vulnerable to neoconitis because it takes its cue from what it is against rather than what it is for. In conversation with the Polish anti-Stalinist dissident Adam Michnik in 1993, the liberal philosopher Jurgen Habermas admitted "he had avoided any fundamental confrontation with Stalinism". Why, asked Michnik? He did not want "applause from the wrong side" replied Habermas. You have to read that twice, and then think about the enormities of Stalinism, to realise just how appalling it is. But Habermas was only expressing a piece of liberal-left common sense."

British teacher locked up in China for "not being friend of country" made to watch Nicolas Cage films - "Bobby Silby spent 10 days in a detention centre in Beijing - where he had to watch propaganda videos or films starring Nicolas Cage - for "not being a friend of China" after he publicly criticised the country... He was stopped at Beijing Airport while catching a connecting flight back to the UK after a family holiday in the Philippines"

China’s ageing solar panels are going to be a big environmental problem - "China’s solar power plants are mostly located in poor, remote regions such as the Gobi in Inner Mongolia, while the majority of recycling industries are in developed areas along the Pacific coast. Transporting these bulky panels over long distances could be very costly, Tian said. Another cost comes from separating and purifying the waste materials, an industrial process that not only requires plenty of labour and electricity input, but also chemicals such as acids that could cause harm to the environment. “If a recycling plant carries out every step by the book to achieve low pollutant emission, their products can end up being more expensive than new raw materials,” he said."

The Danger of Progressives’ Inhumanity to the Humanities - WSJ - "Literary study ought to be concerned with the search for meaning and value in life. The humanities teach wisdom—or at least exercise the faculty that leads to that elusive end. Without wisdom, so-called progress can lead to corruption and devastation. When the humanities desert their mission and seek to ally themselves with progress, they become dangerous adjuncts to ideological agendas. Students come to feel there is a definitive, “virtuous” reading of an event or a text; they excoriate great authors of the past for not abiding by the standards of the present; they come to see the world as divided into victims and oppressors. They create a climate that arouses opposition from those who feel excluded or demeaned by such thinking but who lack the humanistic training to do more than lash out"

P&G Cuts More Than $100 Million in ‘Largely Ineffective’ Digital Ads - WSJ - "The company targeted ads that could wind up on sites with fake traffic from software known as “bots,” or those with objectionable content."

Asian Students Still Idolize Western Professors - WSJ - "Potential clients told our local partner, “Why should I pay American prices for one Chinese and one Indian?” Many of them expected an American professor to be a white male... Asian executives and students want to be taught by whites, and to study with whites in class. They express disappointment when they perceive there are too many Asians in both faculty and student ranks... where does this cult of white-male superiority originate? Dismissing it as a mere colonial hangover is too simplistic. Western colonialism disappeared from Asia more than a half-century ago, and some Asian countries that exhibit these values and behaviors—for instance China, Japan and Korea—were not colonized by whites... I speculate that this adulation reflects a continued deep-seated Asian sense of inferiority to the West in one area where Western hegemony remains unchallenged—the realm of ideas. This explains why elite Asian students prefer to attend second- and third-tier Western universities, or their satellite campuses in Asia, even as Asian universities climb the global rankings... all else being equal, both whites and Asians will choose a white person over an Asian for a leadership position in different U.S. occupational contexts, including universities and corporations. Interestingly, this anti-Asian bias disappears if the Asian in question is not stereotypically Asian and behaves like a prototypical Westerner in being gregarious, extroverted and articulate."
Maybe this just shows that Asians like gregarious, extroverted and articulate instructors

How Having Kids Changes Parents' Sense of Empathy - "when people are stressed, past research has found, they’re more likely to feel a stronger sense of “groupiness” and to help only others who are close to them"

What Isn’t for Sale? - "When we decide that certain goods may be bought and sold, we decide, at least implicitly, that it is appropriate to treat them as commodities, as instruments of profit and use. But not all goods are properly valued in this way. The most obvious example is human beings. Slavery was appalling because it treated human beings as a commodity, to be bought and sold at auction. Such treatment fails to value human beings as persons, worthy of dignity and respect; it sees them as instruments of gain and objects of use."
Among other things this is an argument against libertarianism

The Color of Crime - "The evidence suggests that if there is police racial bias in arrests it is negligible. Victim and witness surveys show that police arrest violent criminals in close proportion to the rates at which criminals of different races commit violent crimes... There are dramatic race differences in crime rates. Asians have the lowest rates, followed by whites, and then Hispanics. Blacks have notably high crime rates. This pattern holds true for virtually all crime categories and for virtually all age groups... In 2013, of the approximately 660,000 crimes of interracial violence that involved blacks and whites, blacks were the perpetrators 85 percent of the time. This meant a black person was 27 times more likely to attack a white person than vice versa. A Hispanic was eight times more likely to attack a white person than vice versa... In 2015, police killings of blacks accounted for approximately 4 percent of homicides of blacks. Police killings of unarmed blacks accounted for approximately 0.6 percent of homicides of blacks. The overwhelming majority of black homicide victims (93 percent from 1980 to 2008) were killed by blacks."
Black lives only matter in certain circumstances

Iran performed over 1,000 gender reassignment operations in four years - "Iran carries out more gender reassignment operations than any other country in the world besides Thailand. Under the current Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the state has begun providing grants of £2,250 ( € 2,766 US$ 3,625) for operations and further funding for hormone therapy. It is also provides loans of up to £2,750 ( € 3,380 US$ 4,429) to allow those undergoing surgery to start their own businesses."

Firefox 57 Could Break Add-Ons So Much, Some Devs Won't Bother Fixing Them - "WebExtensions are great for adding functionality to the browser, and without a doubt are versatile and easy to use. However, manipulation of the browser window's interface and functionality will be extremely limited by definition, and even if it wasn't, the implementation of such abilities is nearly impossible to achieve in WebExtensions."

Xi to PLA: Be ready to fight those who offend China - "Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday ordered troops to prepare for battle and defeat "all enemies that dare to offend" their country as he presided over a massive military parade to mark 90 years of the founding of the People's Liberation Army. It was the first time China marked Army Day with a military parade since the communist revolution in 1949. Nearly half of the 600 pieces of hardware on show at the Zhurihe Training Base in Inner Mongolia had never been paraded in public before."
China's peaceful rise

Health benefits of the Mediterranean diet are confirmed, but just for the upper class - "No actual benefits were observed for the less advantaged groups... "Given a comparable adherence to the Mediterranean diet, the most advantaged groups were more likely to report a larger number of indices of high quality diet as opposed to people with low socioeconomic status -- explains Licia Iacoviello, head of the Laboratory of nutritional and molecular Epidemiology at the Department -- For example, within those reporting an optimal adherence to the Mediterranean diet (as measured by a score comprising fruits and nuts, vegetables, legumes, cereals, fish, fats, meat, dairy products and alcohol intake) people with high income or higher educational level consumed products richer in antioxidants and polyphenols, and had a greater diversity in fruit and vegetables choice. We have also found a socioeconomic gradient in the consumption of whole-grain products and in the preferred cooking methods"

Zhang Wumao: Chinese blogger forced to apologise for revealing essay - "Zhang, who has lived in China’s massive capital since moving there as a 25-year-old in 2006, used his essay to take aim at everything. The enormous size of the crowded city. The unfriendliness of its residents. Its overwhelmed infrastructure and real estate market. And the central, stinging message of the essay — which has been translated to English as “Beijing Has 20 Million People Pretending to Live There” — was that the city was on a quest to become one of the world’s great metropolises but that was coming at the expense of its soul."

It's Time Indian Filmmakers Told Their Own Stories Instead Of Getting Upset At The 'Dunkirk' Whitewash - "Nolan was not the only one who forgot the desis at Dunkirk. So did many desis themselves. The history of the Indians who fought that war has found scant mention in India's own films and popular books. Shrabani Basu's 'For King and Another Country' about Indian soldiers in World War I is a notable exception. We have the budget these days to make grand Bollywood films about all kinds of heroes. There is no reason India needs to wait patiently to be included in Christopher Nolan's telling of Dunkirk or be grateful for a fleeting appearance as the turbaned man who dies within ten minutes. Indians have the resources to tell that story themselves, to control their own narrative."
Comment: "1800 Asian Indians in an operation involving 300,000 men. That's 0.6%. They would not have been distributed among the evacuees, but would have formed up as units. 3 companies on a beach with more than 500 companies waiting for evacuation. I think it would have been patronizing if the film had gone out of its way to show them."

Why the lack of Indian and African faces in Dunkirk matters | Sunny Singh
Comments: "the film is consistent with the historical proportion of the British Expeditionary Force that were non-white. The author concedes there are non-white faces in crowd scenes, but is unhappy because these soldiers are fleeing and not fighting. It seems the director can't win TBH."
"Where are the Belgians? The generous southcoast Englanders who gave up their boats and time? Only one or two are featured, but there were hundreds! Where were the Brummie accents? Why only Southern and northern? See, we can all pinpoint grievances to suit our agenda."
"If anything, this film is racist against destroyers. There were 49 off the coast of Dunkirk, and yet we only see one. A clear case of little boats-washing."
"I was wondering when we were going to get an article like this - you could almost set your watch by it."
"Next up will be Hadley or someone saying there should have been more front line female soldiers."

Dunkirk Feminist Review: Women Absent — Why? - "Feminists have a habit of obsessively dividing the world into teams — us, them. Ideas and even facts get considered in the light of whether they are good for Team Woman or not. Instead of seeing men and women as close collaborators in the human project, feminists often suppose that the sexes are rivals, opponents. This is sheer tribalism. Bonner looks at Dunkirk and is irritated that men like the film. She sees it as a celebration of manly courage and bravado, or at least manly endurance and grit, and this repulses her. Feminism means constant maintenance of an imaginary set of scales, and she fears Dunkirk adds weight to the masculine side, tipping the culture away from women. If Dunkirk — “Christopher Nolan’s new directorial gift to men,” she calls it — shows men at their best, it must therefore be bad for women."

Big Issue: "No women or 'people of colour'" - are Dunkirk's critics for real? - ""It annoys me because it makes it sound like women are complaining about everything, and they're not. I want equality but I'm not expecting it in a film about World War Two. I don't want someone fighting a battle on my behalf, especially one that doesn't exist." Ian is of similar opinion. "Why is a war film a celebration of maleness?" he asks. "As a man, I don't consider war something to celebrate. People aren't going to see this film to get a testosterone boost, they're going to remember the bravery of others. It's a stupid thing to say. Would that critic say visiting the war cemeteries of World War One was a celebration of maleness? Presumably she would. "I think it's them who should take a look at themselves because all they are trying to do is make a name for themselves off the back of other people's deaths.""
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