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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Good and bad critiques of economics

Rationally Speaking | Official Podcast of New York City Skeptics - Current Episodes - RS 218 - Chris Auld on "Good and bad critiques of economics"

"Most people think, and survey evidence shows this, is that what economists mostly do is make macroeconomic forecasts. And that is really, really, wrong. Probably less than 1% of academic economists do anything related to macroeconomic forecasting, so it's kind of frustrating to see the same criticism over and over and over again...

'When I studied economics, the two things that I got from people were A, "Oh, so you can forecast the economy?" And B, "Oh, so you can tell me where I should invest my money."...

I think the major thing that people would be surprised about if they actually spent time in an economics department is how shockingly apolitical it is. There's really not much political talk going on at all. It's not political philosophy... You could read Debunking Economics and have absolutely no idea at all that economists actually mostly do empirical work. Something like 65 or 70% of economic research is statistical. Going out and getting data, what's going on in the real world and trying to explain what we see in those data. There's not one mention of any empirical work in Debunking Economics...

He's one of the people who thinks that all that's in mainstream economics is 1950s neo-classical theory...

The rational addiction model. And it makes further predictions about how future prices will affect today's behavior. I think this is one of the few areas where economists have actually made a theoretical prediction, which is counterintuitive, and then later went out and found that that prediction is actually true in data.

So the model predicts that if I increase the future price of the addictive good, addicts will respond by immediately reducing their consumption of that good... So the model says, if the government says on January 1st, we're going to greatly increase the tax on tobacco, people will respond by immediately smoking less. They might go and hoard cigarettes, but they're going to smoke less of them, the model says. I think most people ...

So I teach this every year in health economics classes and I ask people before I give the reveal, "What do you think the model says?" And most people actually predict the opposite. They think something like, "Oh, well if alcohol is going to become more expensive tomorrow, what I should do is get blind drunk today while I still have the chance." The model says, "Nope, you should do the other thing."...

So later, about six or seven years after the theory was published, people showed it was true. About five years after that, people showed in very careful analysis that future price changes on tobacco immediately affect behavior only if they're announced, which is exactly what we would expect. So if the government surprises people by increasing the tax, well, nobody responds to that prior. But if they say six months from now we're going to increase the tax on tobacco, they immediately reduce their consumption."

Links - 19th January 2019 (Trans Mania)

Transgenderism: a fetish that got out of hand? - "In 1995, the transgender Labour Party activist Eddie Izzard was a young comedian who proudly described himself as a transvestite and regularly quipped ‘these aren’t women’s clothes, they’re mine’. In 1995, there were no arguments over what a woman was and social media didn’t exist to censor unfashionable viewpoints. In 1995, it was understood that a vanishingly small number of people suffered from gender dysphoria, and that they might need treatment... In this era of apparent sexual freedom, the suggestion that sexual arousal might be the reason behind the rising numbers of people ‘coming out’ as transgender is still strictly verboten... Transgender women are almost always portrayed as victims, with late-transitioning white computer programmers in the Home Counties weaponising the deaths of Brazilian transsexuals to bolster their standing in the oppression stakes. This insistence of vulnerability plays into a sexist stereotype of femininity, and in my opinion is part of the fetish... Despite the phenomenon of ‘Transgender Day of Visibility’ trans women in the UK are no more likely to suffer violence than anyone else. Indeed, there is some evidence that suggests trans women are more likely to be sexual predators than other groups of males: it is estimated that around 40 per cent of trans women in prison have been convicted of sexual offences. This isn’t to demonise men who identify as women, but rather to explode some of the myths of victimhood and not shy away from the sexual element of transgenderism. To my mind, there is no doubt that the rise in availability of online porn and the huge growth in the numbers of men identifying as women are linked. Anyone who doubts this would do well to look at the research of transsexual Miranda Yardley, who has written extensively on the phenomenon of autogynephilia, the sexual arousal some men experience when thinking of themselves as women. Those seeking a more academic yet accessible approach should read the lesbian feminist scholar Professor Sheila Jeffreys, who pithily describes transgenderism as ‘a men’s sexual-rights movement’. Brave transgender pioneers who have found their identities on sites like Birchplace are paving the way for the human pups (men who wear latex and pretend to be dogs), and the human dolls (men who wear latex and pretend to be dolls), to be accepted in public. Spineless organisations like Stonewall are turning a blind eye to what are the often explicitly sexual reasons for men transitioning. A subsection of creepy men are using a movement that was conceived to stop discrimination against persecuted minorities to cloak their desires, and to force their fetish on the public."

The transgender man who identifies as a dog - "Tony McGinn, known as 'Tony Bark' to his friends, says he has been into animal role-play his entire life, and refers to himself as a 'human pup'.The 30-year-old, who was born female and is transgender, is supported by his husband and 'handler' Andrew who accompanies him to regular play dates with other role-players in their hometown of Los Angeles... He states confidently that he 'identifies as a dog' and says pet play is about getting into the head-space of the animal."
Is it bigotry to say he's not a dog?

Opinion | My New Vagina Won’t Make Me Happy - The New York Times - "Next Thursday, I will get a vagina. The procedure will last around six hours, and I will be in recovery for at least three months. Until the day I die, my body will regard the vagina as a wound; as a result, it will require regular, painful attention to maintain. This is what I want, but there is no guarantee it will make me happier. In fact, I don’t expect it to. That shouldn’t disqualify me from getting it... In this [conservative] view, it is not only fair to refuse trans people the care they seek; it is also kind. A therapist with a suicidal client does not draw the bath and supply the razor. Take it from my father, a pediatrician, who once remarked to me that he would no sooner prescribe puberty blockers to a gender dysphoric child than he would give a distemper shot to someone who believed she was a dog... A gender-affirmative model will almost certainly lead to more and higher-quality care for transgender patients. But by focusing on minimizing patients’ pain, it leaves the door open for care to be refused when a doctor, or someone playing doctor, deems the risks too high. This was the thrust of a recent Atlantic cover story in which the journalist Jesse Singal used the statistically small number of people who have come to regret their medical transitions to argue that transitioning is “not the answer for everyone.” There was a dog whistle here: Hormones and surgery can and should be withheld from patients who want them when such treatments cannot be reasonably expected to “maximize good outcomes.”...
Buried under all of this, like a sober tuber, lies an assumption so sensible you’ll think me silly for digging it up. It’s this: People transition because they think it will make them feel better. The thing is, this is wrong. I feel demonstrably worse since I started on hormones... I take estrogen — effectively, delayed-release sadness, a little aquamarine pill that more or less guarantees a good weep within six to eight hours.Like many of my trans friends, I’ve watched my dysphoria balloon since I began transition. I now feel very strongly about the length of my index fingers — enough that I will sometimes shyly unthread my hand from my girlfriend’s as we walk down the street. When she tells me I’m beautiful, I resent it. I’ve been outside. I know what beautiful looks like. Don’t patronize me.I was not suicidal before hormones. Now I often am.
So if trans surgery isn't really 'life saving'...
Presumably patients who demand opiods should get them
So much for 'first, do no harm'
This suggests that some trans people are doing it just for drama or to be special

Mom Dresses 6-Year-Old Son As Girl, Threatens Dad For Disagreeing - "Six-year-old James is caught in a gender identity nightmare. Under his mom’s care in Dallas, Texas, James obediently lives as a trans girl named “Luna.” But given the choice when he’s with dad, he’s all boy — his sex at birth.In their divorce proceedings, the mother has charged the father with child abuse for not affirming James as transgender, has sought restraining orders against him, and is seeking to terminate his parental rights. She is also seeking to require him to pay for the child’s visits to a transgender-affirming therapist and transgender medical alterations, which may include hormonal sterilization starting at age eight. I learned of James’ plight on a recent visit to Plano, Texas, where I spoke to teenagers about my own transgender story. I lived through a similar scenario when I was his age. I was cross-dressed for two-and-a-half years by my grandmother, who made a purple chiffon dress for me. Somewhat like James, my cross-dressing occurred under one adult’s care, but away from grandma’s I was all boy with my mom and dad. Also, just like James, I found my way into the office of a gender therapist, who quickly started me toward transition... My grandmother didn’t intend to harm me, but her actions destroyed my childhood and my family and consumed nearly 50 years of my life."
Keywords: Jeffrey Younger, Anne Georgulas

Kathleen Stock on Twitter - "2) One of the main focuses of this piece is ' TERF propaganda'. McKinnon claims that worries about legislation designed to remove sex protections for females are based on lying propaganda... '"There's never been a verified reported instance of a trans woman sexually assaulting a cis woman in such spaces'...
3) This is false, as a simple google will confirm...
4) If we expand the search to ones under 'cross-dressing' - and these days, given the move towards self-ID and the widening of the trans umbrella, this would seem acceptable to many - see [examples]...
5) I could go on. If the argument is that, as soon as crime occurs, the perpetrator ceases to be genuinely trans, I'd like to hear it, especially since the current mood in philosophy seems to make it impermissible to make any distinctions between reasons for claiming to be trans...
7) McKinnon's argument attributes the strawman to her opponents that they think that all trans women are sexual predators, because some are. This is not the claim. The claim is that social spaces are sex-separated for good reasons, one of which is to minimise sexual predation.
8) To remove sex-separation further faciliates predation against females from small number of offenders. That's the argument. Simple. And there is nothing to stop third spaces being resourced to shield trans women from violence.
9)That a respected academic journal should publish a demonstrably false empirical claim, used in the services of pushing a political agenda - and worse, in an article ostensibly about propaganda (!) - is shameful. It should publish a correction."

No, Trump is not ‘erasing’ trans people - "guidance from Trump officials would not ‘narrowly define gender’ – it would clarify the definition ‘sex’, which is the basis of the specific sex-discrimination law under consideration, known as ‘Title IX’. Indeed, it would restore the understanding that existed until the Obama administration slipped ‘gender identity’ into the law in 2014... the Obama administration redefined the meaning of sex in Title IX to cover gender identity and transgender people. They did so not by getting Congress to pass a new or amended law, but by regulation (and even this regulation did not go through the normal internal process of approval). Obama officials simply declared that, ‘Title IX’s sex-discrimination prohibition extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity’... Leaning on their expanded definition of sex to include gender, they imposed mandates on schools nationwide, including rules on pronoun use, bathrooms and lockerrooms, sports teams, among others. What Democrats could not introduce via legislation they dictated by Obama’s pen... What really bothers transgender advocates is any recognition of the biological basis of sex – that’s what they would like to erase... As transgender supporters like to say, gender is socially constructed and fluid. But, in reality, they do not allow for fluidity. Facebook might have 71 gender categories, but the transgender lobby insists that transmen must be recognised as ‘men’ and transwomen as ‘women’... if anyone wants to extend anti-discrimination law to include gender identity, that’s their prerogative, but they should seek to pass a new law, not edge in on an existing law designed to protect women. Of course, that would require transgender advocates to wage a campaign to convince the public and elected representatives – something that the pro-trans ‘movement’ has not done to date. Indeed, this cause has been a thoroughly top-down initiative, originating in the US from a small clique of the Obama civil rights unit administrators and the New York Times editorial board only a few years ago. At a rapid pace, transgenderism has become the conventional wisdom of the political and cultural elite, and anyone who questions its premises risks being labelled a bigot by these elites."
So much for liberalism being science based

Transgender Cyclist Celebrates World Championship In Women's Event, Says Critics Are 'Transphobic Bigots' - "McKinnon, who teaches a class on ethics and inclusion, compared criticism of the victory to racism, adding, “This is bigger than sports and it’s about human rights. By catering to cisgender people’s views, that furthers transgender people’s oppression. When it comes to extending rights to a minority population, why would we ask the majority? I bet a lot of white people were pissed off when we desegregated sports racially and allowed black people. But they had to deal with it.”... Another transgender woman, who competes on a higher level than McKinnon, has argued with McKinnon, acknowledging that the inherent sex differences between men and women making competing against women unfair. USA Today wrote about Jillian Bearden, who asked McKinnon to leave Bearden's cycling team in 2017"

WALSH: On The Left, 'Trans Rights' Trumps Women's Rights Every Time - "McKinnon, behaving rather unladylike in victory, gloated about his achievement and blasted his critics as neanderthalic bigots. The trans cyclist, whom we should note is a college professor, also declared that his testosterone and muscle mass do not give him any sort of physical advantage at all. He said "we have no idea" why men outperform women in athletic events. The subject of male biology is, according to the esteemed educator, "complicated as f**k." He theorized that a man's ability to run faster than a female is probably "sociological, not biological." I should mention again that this individual is employed by an academic institution... e are told that women are tired of being "silenced." But then women are told to shut up and cooperate when the hairy-legged man walks into the locker room and disrobes in front of them. Something doesn't quite add up here."

Why the transbullies are a threat to us all - "Even West Yorkshire police appear to be under their cosh. Last week, a verbal harassment warning was issued to Graham Linehan, the co-creator of the sitcom Father Ted, for pointing out that the transwoman Stephanie Hayden was biologically male, and tweeting her two previous male names – a practice known in the transgender universe as “deadnaming”. Even though, in the course of their spat, Hayden had posted details of Linehan’s wife’s company on Twitter, she still considered herself to be the aggrieved party... That’s five hours of police time, plus the paperwork involved, and for what? For describing a person with XY chromosomes as “he”."

Bafta award-winning creator of Father Ted reported to police in online row with transgender activist - "Addresses linked to Graham Linehan's wife's company were allegedly tweeted by Stephanie Hayden - an activist with a history of threatening Twitter users with legal action and reporting reporting them to police if they disagree with her."

Billboard removed after dictionary definition of 'woman' deemed offensive, transphobic hate speech - "A billboard quoting the dictionary definition of ‘woman’ has been removed after it was deemed transphobic hate speech... Soon after the billboard was installed, NHS doctor and LGBTQ activist Adrian Harrop complained that the posters were dangerous and made transgender people feel unsafe."... “If I was arrested today by a police officer who still had a penis but said he was a woman, he’s allowed to intimately search me”"
Piss Christ was dangerous and made Christians feel unsafe and should be banned

Friday, January 18, 2019

Links - 18th January 2019

Enrollment drops at schools known for 'social justice warfare' - "Universities known for being hotbeds of campus protest and liberal activism are struggling with declining enrollments and budget shortfalls, and higher education analysts say that’s no coincidence. Take Oberlin College... the small liberal arts college famous for social justice hoaxes has had trouble attracting and retaining students, missing this year’s enrollment mark by 80 and racking up a $5 million budget deficit in the process. William A. Jacobson, a professor at Cornell Law School who runs the Legal Insurrection blog, said the “most obvious culprit” in Oberlin’s dwindling admissions is “relentless social justice warfare.”... High school counselors report that, in the past few years, parents have been more likely to express concern about sending their children to schools with progressive reputations. “Many won’t consider Oberlin or Wesleyan, and Brown is completely off the table”... several prestigious, small liberal arts colleges in the Midwest have missed their enrollment marks this year... Declining enrollments have previously been observed at colleges and universities that became notorious for chaotic campus activism, including the University of Missouri and Evergreen State College... mass hysteria ensued [in Oberlin] after racist and anti-Semitic flyers and graffiti began to appear all over campus. Classes were canceled, meetings were held and students began to see racism around every corner, including when someone reported seeing a member of the Ku Klux Klan on campus. It turned out to be a woman walking around wrapped in a blanket to keep warm. Not only that, the perpetrators behind the racist paraphernalia turned out to be two progressive students, one of whom was confirmed to be an Obama supporter, trying to get a reaction out of their classmates and the administration. Rather than admit the whole thing was a hoax and move on, the Oberlin administration doubled down on a social justice agenda, including the implementation of a privilege and oppression “reorientation” for first-year students. In the ensuing years, Oberlin students would go on to make frequent demands of the university, ranging from the end of culturally appropriated meals at the dining hall, such as General Tso’s chicken and sushi, to the elimination of grades below a C... Oberlin students targeted Gibson’s Bakery, a beloved store in Oberlin, Ohio, after an employee called police when he saw someone attempting to shoplift by concealing two bottles of wine under his jacket. The accused shoplifter turned out to be a black Oberlin student. The Black Student Union, Oberlin Student Senate and College Democrats spearheaded a boycott of the bakery and organized protests outside of the store. Even the Oberlin administration, responding to calls from Black Lives Matter supporters on campus, stopped purchasing goods from the bakery. Three students involved in the incident ended up pleading guilty to attempted theft and aggravated trespassing. As part of a plea deal, the students acknowledged that the bakery’s actions were “not racially motivated” and that the store was “merely trying to prevent an underage sale.”"
Get Woke, Go Broke

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, The “Tropical Trump" topping the polls in Brazil - "1936... the Greek dictator Metaxas is determined to crush the Macedonians. Their village names have already been replaced by Greek ones. Now they're forced to hellenize their family names too. Spies listen at the windows to hear if people are speaking or singing in Macedonian. If they are they are fined or beaten"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Secrets of the Peace Prize - "The other thing that struck me was the cost of a food shop. In the UK I spend around 120 pounds a week online to feed the family. In Greece, I spent around 250 euro each week. Now admittedly, we went to the closest shop, not the local market, we had more treats, more chocolate, more wine - we were on holiday. But I was astonished that the squeaky salty Greek cheese haloumi which we all love is actually cheaper in the UK than in its country of origin... her electricity bill for two months in Greece was more than her electricity bill for the entire year in Switzerland, where she also has a much bigger house. So essential living costs are relatively high. And yet Greek wages in both the public and private sectors have fallen considerably. This is the internal devaluation the economists speak of - if Greece can't devalue its own currency, because of course, it uses the Euro, then wages have to be cut to regain competitiveness. But without reform, say to improve the road network to make moving food around cheaper or improving energy supply to cut household bills, then the population will be greatly impoverished, which is precisely what has happened"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, Life Inside Libya’s Migrant Detention Centres - "In India we have a space program, but we don't have a functioning sewer system. That tells you a lot... After graduating from college with good grades, he got a government job, but when he turned up for work, he says that he was asked to clean the toilets. He says that's the caste system for you... The drains have to be unclogged. And how else will it be done?... he uncovers a manhole to show me where the workers gain access to the sewer. The smell of an open drain in the midday heat stays with you, the idea of someone submerging themselves into it frankly horrifying. They often have to get drunk before they go in"

Neil Oliver’s history of the British Isles - History Extra - "Scotland, England, are very old countries… that has been an entity that is more or less Scotland for about 1000 years. And the same is more or less true of say England, Now, Germany, for example, did not coalesce into what we would consider Germany until a couple hundred years ago. Likewise, Italy, Italy was an agglomeration of individual states and statelets and cities...
At the same time as knowing that once you've got farming and a surplus, you’ve probably got a better chance of being able to continue to feed yourself and your family. That's without a doubt. However, there is definitely a romance to the idea of being a hunter, untrammeled by property and untrammeled by the daily grind. And I'm sure as I say in the book, I'm sure there were times maybe for a whole, maybe for a whole lifetime of a given group, the living may well have been good if the climate was in your favor. And if the, if the wild fruits ripened and if the, if the wild animals and the fish were all there at the right times, then there was a good life to be hard. But it would also been terrible times. When the times went bad, there was no safety net, there was no surplus. And so they would have known starvation, they must have been managing the, the reproductive, they must have been managing how many children they had, you know, because you can't have half a dozen children in each couple. If the tribe is on the move, they must have been doing something, some kind of birth control, infanticide or whatever, they must have been managed. So they had, they had challenges to overcome. And then there were the physical dangers… you're hunting wild animals, some of them capable of hurting you back... It must have been a tough sell if you approached hunters in the good times and said, what you want to do is cut down all these trees, dig up all these roots and spend the next rest of your life tending those fields. And on the flip side, you can eat porridge and bread. It's a tough sell to people that are maybe living on wild game and and the fruits of the forest and if they get fed up with the view out the window, they can move on."

The spy who changed the Cold War - History Extra - "[The Berlin Wall] was a dramatic demonstration of the kind of hypocrisy that he lived under until that point, and he was 18 years old. And here was this physical manifestation of the fact that the Soviet Union was telling one thing to its people, but actually doing another. I mean, theoretically, under the Soviet Union, that was the anti fascist wall. It was keeping out, you know, dread capitalism from coming to the Soviet Union. In fact, of course, it was a wall to keep East Germans prisoners in their own country. And that was the first moment but it was one of a series I think. You know, the next one that really, another critical moment in global affairs that really affected Gordievsky was the crushing of the Prague Spring in Czechoslovakia...
There was a long standing, for seven years, there was an escape plan had been in place, it was called Operation Pimlico. And it sounds like something that John LeCarre would right, because it would, it would be triggered by Oleg, had to stand on a particular street corner on a particular day of the week, holding, believe it or not, a Safeway bag from the British supermarket. This would be the indication that he had to get out. The acknowledgement signal from MI6 would be that the MI6 officers who policed this site for seven years, every Tuesday night, whether Oleg was in town or not, they watched this site because of course, they were under surveillance. And if they changed their patterns of behavior they would have been spotted by by the KGB. So they had to, even though they knew he wasn't there, they had to, they had to do the same thing, which meant going down to this bread shop and being there. So that was how it was triggered. The second stage of it, well, it would be acknowledged by the MI6 officer walking past the man with a Safeway bag - who they'd never seen, by the way, they had very no idea what he looked like, they would walk past him and eat a British chocolate bar, either a Mars bar or a Kit Kat. Now, I mean, again, if you made this up in fiction, people would say: nah, that's completely unbelievable. But that is what happened."

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, The Morality of International Aid - "Critics say it perpetuates poverty, creates dependence, insulates bad governments from the consequences of their corruption. They point to Africa, where the World Bank says there are 60 million more people in extreme poverty than there were two decades ago, despite a trillion dollars in aid and compare it to East Asia where extreme poverty has been reduced from 81% to 4% - not by aid but they say by the very global capitalism that Oxfam decries. The aid agencies say this is simplistic and selfish, that the unfairness of the rich world keeps the Third World poor, that their projects are successful in the most challenging and difficult circumstances and that we have a moral responsibility to be charitable...
‘Most of the work that the aid industries do in these countries is not engaging with citizens of those countries want, take for the example of there's an obsession with teen pregnancy and lots of African countries, if you go and speak to people in Ghana or Senegal, what they want is mobile phones, McDonald's and the things that we enjoy. They don't want to be lectured by aid industry, about their lifestyles’...
'When you look at the development of a vast middle class, in China and in India, when you see the number of people who’ve been lifted out of poverty by capitalist policies, does not at least strike you as ironic that Oxfam has become a political organization campaigning against capitalism?’...
‘This curious difference between Africa where there are larger numbers, smaller proportion as it happens, but larger numbers of extremely poor people as compared to East Asia where poverty has almost been eradicated - Bishop David said that there were complicated reasons for this. It wasn't just a question of juxtaposing aid and capitalism. Michael? Well, cultural reasons he, he suggested’
‘Well, I'd say there are, even culturally, if you step back from Africa, there's hardly a decent government in Africa, by which I mean a government that is submitted itself to general election and been replaced by another government of another party. And that that has happened repeatedly. Such examples of democracy are extremely where, rare in Africa. And that lies at the heart of the problem, because that leads to corruption. dictatorship is not good for people, etc, etc, etc. And so you would think, because that is so glaringly obvious, that our agencies will be focused on this above all. Getting rid of dictatorships, encouraging, encouraging good governance, trying to introduce the rule of law, shaming bad governments. But no, none of those things are the priorities. The priority, apparently, is to attack capitalism.’"

Rubbernecking German drivers could be hit by bigger fines - "The increase in rubbernecking is being blamed on social media and a growing obsession with stopping to film or photograph accident sites on mobile phones. Last year, 18 people died in a bus fire on a motorway in Münchberg, with rescue workers in part blaming car drivers’ failure to let them through, largely due to those who were filming the inferno."

9 Free Things You Can Get From The Government Of Canada - "1. Free Official Photographic Portrait of The Queen
2. Free Official Photographic Portrait Of Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh
3. Free Official Photographic Portrait Of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh
4. Mail Free Of Postage
5. Free Credit Report
6. Free Canadian Flags From Parliament Hill
7. Free Guided Tours Of Parliament
8. Free Access to Information and Privacy Online Request
9. Free Order or Download of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms"

Michael Knowles on Twitter - "What if rich people paid taxes"
"The top 1% of income earners earn 19% of all adjusted gross income and pay 39% of all income tax. The top 10% pay more than 70%"

Bret Weinstein on Twitter - "I found out tonight @MrAndyNgo @BretWeinstein that in Germany it is illegal to protest with masks on because then people can commit violence anonymously. § 17a VersG - dejure.org
In checking, it is illegal in many countries, including some U.S. states"
"Very interesting. I have the sense that there has been an evolution. Black Block tactics have morphed and become an opportunity for a branded costume, one that obscures identity from targets and police, while amplifying it to other anarchists. Rather like pseudonymous accounts"
"As I tried to speak with these people in masks, I realized they weren’t interacting with me like normal humans. They were responding to me as if they were vocalizing anonymous tweets."

Kaitlin Bennett on Twitter - "One Christian travels to an island & is killed for his culture: liberals say he had it coming because they had a right to be left alone
Millions of illegals travel to the US to take welfare & erode our culture: liberals say you're a racist if you don't let them take over America"

Southeast Asian Elites on China

In The News: "State of Southeast Asia: 2019" Survey - ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute

"The "State of Southeast Asia: 2019” survey was conducted by the ASEAN Studies Centre at ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute between 18 November and 5 December 2018. The survey assessed the views of over 1,000 Southeast Asians on the region’s strategic and economic situation in 2019, as well as views on major power engagement in the region"

From the report:

"The ASEAN Studies Centre at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute conducted the “State of Southeast Asia: 2019” online survey between 18 November and 5 December 2018 to seek the views of Southeast Asians on regional affairs. The survey used the purposive sampling method, canvassing views from a total of 1,008 Southeast Asians who are regional experts and stakeholders from the policy, research, business, civil society, and media communities. As such, the results of this survey are not meant to be representative. Rather, it aims to present a general view of prevailing attitudes among those in a position to inform or influence policy on regional political, economic and social issues and concerns...

The respondents were asked to share their views on China’s re-emergence as a major power with respect to Southeast Asia. Most respondents (45.4%) think “China will become a revisionist power with an intent to turn Southeast Asia into its sphere of infuence.” This is the top response in six ASEAN member states: the Philippines (66.4%), Vietnam (60.7%), Singapore (57%), Cambodia (50%), Thailand (45.1%), and Indonesia (37.7%)...

Less than one in ten respondents (8.9%) sees China as “a benign and benevolent power.” Country-level results paint an equally pessimistic picture of China with only four countries breaking into modest double digits for this response: Laos (13.8%), Myanmar (13.1%), Cambodia (12.5%) and Indonesia (12.3%). This result, coupled with the majority view that China will be a revisionist power, is a wake-up call for China to burnish its negative image across Southeast Asia despite Beijing’s repeated assurance of its benign and peaceful rise...

Respondents from countries having BRI projects or are negotiating BRI projects (i.e. all ASEAN member states except Singapore) were then invited to comment on the lessons to be drawn for their respective country from past BRI projects, in particular the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka and the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) in Malaysia. The overwhelming majority of the respondents (70%) opine that their government “should be cautious in negotiating BRI projects, to avoid getting into unsustainable financial debts with China.”...

The majority of the respondents (51.5%) have either little (35.5%) or no confidence (16%) that China will “do the right thing” in contributing to global peace, security, prosperity and governance. Less than one in five respondents (19.6%) has positive views on China in this respect, with 17.9% and 1.7% of the respondents respectively indicating their “confidence” and “high confidence.” The top three countries with negative views on China are Vietnam (73.4%), the Philippines (66.6%) and Indonesia (60.9%). It is noteworthy that the degree of trust in China among the respondents from Cambodia – largely seen as a “China-leaning” state – is low. More than half of Cambodian respondents (58.3%) have little or no confidence in China, outnumbering the positive views (20.9%) by more than two to one. Bucking this trend of negative views is Laos where 41.3% of the respondents are either confident or very confident that China will “do the right thing.” Laos is the only country to register more than 30% positive views on China, followed by Brunei (26.6%) and Malaysia (25%)...

Japan is viewed most favourably by Southeast Asians. Nearly two-thirds of all respondents (65.9%) are either “confident” (53.5%) or “very confident” (12.4%) that Japan will “do the right thing” in global affairs. The percentage of 65.9% is the highest among all major powers, effectively earning Japan the mantle of the most trusted major power in the region...

Southeast Asians’ perceptions of the US are gloomy. 50.6% of the respondents have “little confidence” (36%) or “no confidence” (14.6%) in the US to “do the right thing” in global affairs...

How confident are you that... will "do the right thing” in contributing to global peace,security, prosperity and governance?

... The last cluster of questions in the survey look at the application of soft power in the region, namely: (a) Which country would be your first choice if you (or your child) were offered a scholarship to a university?; (b) Which country is your favourite destination to visit, or would like to visit in the near future; and (c) Which foreign language do you think is the most useful and beneficial for your work and professional development? Collectively, these three indicators provide some insights on the strength of soft power...

The top choice for tertiary education is the US with about one third of the respondents (31.5%) choosing American universities as their most preferred destination. America’s popularity is followed by the EU (28.4%), Australia (21.2%) and Japan (12.4%). More Southeast Asians prefer an ASEAN member state (3.5%) over China (2.7%) for their higher education...

Europe is Southeast Asians’ dream vacation destination with 34% respondents selecting a European country as their favourite spot. About one in four respondents (26.2%) looks forward to experiencing Japan in their travel plan. Rounding up the top three travel destinations is an ASEAN member state (11.7%). The fact that ASEAN edges out what are thought to be more popular destinations such as the US (11.4%), Australia (10.7%), China (4.1%) and India (1.9%) is a healthy sign that Southeast Asians are gaining a sense of regional affinity and show a higher interest in their ASEAN neighbours. Europe is the most popular tourist destination among the respondents in all ASEAN member states except Singapore and Thailand, which prefer Japan above all others...

The English language is the most popular foreign language in the region. An overwhelming majority (91.3%) of the respondents consider it “the most useful and beneficial for their work and professional development.” 44.7% consider Mandarin to be “useful and beneficial”, much lower than English but not an insignificant number, which speaks to China’s growing economic, political and cultural inf luence and the increasing use of Mandarin in trade, commerce and tourism in the region. The recognition of the importance of Mandarin is highest in Singapore (71.1%), Brunei (62.2%), Malaysia (55.9%) and Indonesia (54%)...

From a micro perspective, the results of this survey suggest that Chinese soft power penetration in mainland Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam) is surprisingly low despite the popular belief that these countries have a closer cultural affinity with China. Chinese universities are the least preferred choice for higher education among respondents from Myanmar and Vietnam. In terms of tourism appeal, China ranks the second last, before only India. China’s most potent soft power tool is the Mandarin language. Even then, the number of respondents in mainland Southeast Asia choosing Mandarin as the “most useful and beneficial foreign language” is surprisingly lower than in maritime Southeast Asia: Thailand (49.1%), Cambodia (37.5%), Laos (24.1%), Vietnam (27.6%) and Myanmar (18.7%). The low appeal of Chinese education institutions and tourism and moderate interest in its national language are critical soft power challenges for China in the region. However, we caution the readers to digest these findings with the caveat that elite thinking may not necessarily reflect popular views."

The US is still more trusted than China, with 27.3% confident or very confident it will do the right thing (vs 19.6% for China). Meanwhile more (16%) have no confidence in China doing the right thing (vs 14.6% for the US)

In other words, Southeast Asian elites have been brainwashed by the biased Western Media into rejecting China's challenge of White Supremacy in the form of a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.

Links - 18th January 2019 (Trans Mania)

Child starts gender transition before first day of kindergarten - "A four-year-old child who identifies as transgender has begun to transition before their first day of kindergarten.The child, who is unidentified for privacy purposes, is part of the Safe Schools program and hopes to complete the gender transition by next year.But psychologists have questioned whether the preschooler is too young as gender transition among young children skyrockets"

Boys can have periods too, children to be taught in latest victory for transgender campaigners - "The advice to teachers was approved by Brighton & Hove City Council as they try to tackle stigma around menstruation.The new advice follows a council report which said: "Trans boys and men and non-binary people may have periods", adding that "menstruation must be inclusive of all genders".Bins used for menstruation products will be provided in all toilets for children, according to the report. It also calls for transgender students and pupils to be provided with additional support from a school nurse if needed. The report recommends that "language and learning about periods is inclusive of all genders, cultures, faiths and sexual orientations. For example; ‘girls and women and others who have periods'"."
Since not all girls and women are cis isn't it transphobic to say women have periods?

Some trans activists want to call women "bleeders" to be inclusive of "trans men" - "Now, I wonder why women would get offended by being referred to as “bleeders”?"

Aristophanes’ Orphans: A Disabled Trans Woman Surveys the Grey Zone Between Love and Fetish - "however many distinctions I can draw between my “girl cock” and a “boy cock,” that doesn’t change the fact that it is a penis and not a vagina. And for those of us lucky enough to have “the snip,” I’m happy you have taken steps to create a replica that makes you feel better about yourself and address your dysphoria, but it still isn’t the real thing. So when a person is attracted to me, I do believe they are attracted to a body that is conceptually distinct from a male body, and from a female body. Which is to say: I am, at the very least, open to the possibility of an emergent sexual orientation that allows the attraction I receive as a trans woman to be conceptualized outside of paraphilia."

Mount Holyoke, a Women’s College, Can’t Find a Logo Gender Neutral Enough to Please Its Trans Students - "Trans activist students and their allies are fighting a proposed new logo for the school, which resembles the symbol for Venus when turned on its side.Vice President Charles Greene apologized recently for proposing a logo that "represents the erasure of others," and announced that administrators were going back to the drawing board"

Young mother barred from pub for wearing a T-shirt saying 'Woman: human female' - "You might have thought it was the most innocuous item someone could wear: a simple black T-shirt bearing the dictionary definition of woman as ‘human female’.But a young mother has been barred from her local pub after a complaint that the words discriminated against transgender people.The unlikely new front line of the ongoing war between feminists and transgender campaigners is the snug Five Clouds Tap and Bottle in the historic market town of Macclesfield.Rebekah Wershbale said she was ‘stunned’ when a barwoman at the pub informed her she was banned because of the definition... ‘I sat down next to him and asked him how he was,’ Ms Wershbale said. ‘He said, “I don’t want to talk to you to be honest – please leave me alone.” ‘So I said OK and left it.’Thirty minutes later a member of the bar staff named Heather came to Ms Wershbale’s table to tell her she was no longer welcome at the pub. ‘Heather said I’d been upsetting people and Mika was crying,’ Ms Wershbale said. ‘She told me that the way I talk about radical feminism was a problem and said: “The T-shirt you’re wearing is upsetting and not inclusive.” I replied that it simply said the dictionary definition of being a woman – how can it be offensive?"
If a T-shirt can make you cry and be upset...

Man Who Posed as Doctor to Sexually Assault Women Says He’s Trans, Wants Transfer to Women’s Prison: Patrick “Tara” Pearsall - " Patrick Pearsall is a 53-year-old serial sex offender who identifies as transgender and now calls himself Tara, which is the name of his ex-wife. The convict is demanding to be incarcerated with female inmates."

Britain’s first transgender family reveals son, 5, is also transitioning - "Britain's first two-generational transgender family have revealed how they have been 'shunned' since they revealed their five-year-old son is transitioning."
What are the odds?

Evangelicals sue for right to deny shelter to homeless transgender people - "Alliance Defending Freedom, the far-right evangelical legal group that defended the “right” of a baker to deny service to gay couples before the Supreme Court, has a new target.This time they’re suing to give a homeless shelter in Anchorage, Alaska, the “right” to deny help to transgender people... Hope Center, a Christian nonprofit that operates the shelter for homeless women, turned away a transgender woman twice in January... an attorney for the shelter told a local newspaper that they would never admit a “biological male” into the facility despite how the vote turned out."
This is a great move. Since no one cares about discrimination against cis men, framing it as a transgender issue can expose anti-male sexism (though the most likely copout is to allow self-identified women in - but then the workaround will be very easy - just ask cis men to identify as trans women)

I'm trans, but it doesn't mean I was born in the wrong body - "Born in the wrong body isn’t the narrative of all trans people.Some people feel this way, many, many do not.What was wrong for me was people labelling me a boy and treating me a certain way based on that... My body wasn’t what was wrong, but the expectations of the world around me were.The expectation was that I wouldn’t grow up to look this way, to act this way, because when I was born I was labelled a “boy”.And the hard part wasn’t that I was trans in and of itself, but that being trans meant I had to live in defiance of those expectations."
Presumably being trans just means you defy gender norms - so this 'trans' person has more in common with 'TERFs' than it might think
Maybe this person is just transtrender

'Womxn' row as companies worry the word 'women' excludes transgender people - "Companies have come under fire for using the word “womxn” instead of “woman,” after worrying the latter word excludes transgender people. Feminists have argued that it is biological women who are being excluded by the newly popular word, and that no one calls men “mxn.” The Wellcome Collection apologised on Wednesday after being criticised for using the word to describe women and non-gender-conforming people in promotional material for its new exhibition “daylighting”, a piece of artwork that “explores the presence of womxn through their art, thinking and speculations”. Jess Phillips, the MP for Birmingham Yardley said in response: “I've never met a trans woman who was offended by the word woman being used, so I'm not sure why this keeps happening. As if internet dissent now replaces public policy. I get what they are trying to do but why is it only women not men where this applies." Feminist campaigner Carolie Criado Perez agreed, adding: “What the hell? You can’t just make up words
When you need to virtue signal and you cater to the lowest common denominator, it's no surprise this keeps happening

THE WOKENING: Twitter permanently bans trans woman for misgendering HERSELF [screenshots]

There is no such thing as a ‘trans kid’ - "Last night Channel 4 aired Trans Kids: It’s Time to Talk. It was a compassionate but critical documentary in which serious questions were raised about the rush to diagnose kids as trans and even to treat them – with puberty-blocking drugs, hormone interventions, and so on (surgery is illegal until adulthood).It was presented by psychotherapist and author Stella O’Malley. She made the point that when she was young, she was convinced she was a boy. Now, however, she is married – to a man – and has kids. She wondered what might have happened to her if she had been a boy-identifying girl today rather than in the 1980s. Camille Paglia has made a similar point about her tomboyish childhood – would I be diagnosed as gender dysphoric today and be packed off for treatment, she asks? There’s a chance she would be. It depends in large part on the parents, of course, and whether they are PC and child-centric or more firm and traditional: the former might buy into the trans eccentricity while the latter are less likely to. But it’s an inescapable fact that gender-confused young people are today being shoved towards diagnosis and treatment... The problem here is not some all-powerful trans lobby – it’s the unwillingness of institutions to withstand the transgender worldview. Schools are embracing the new religion of gender-neutrality and are encouraging their charges not to prejudge people’s gender and to believe that sex at birth is irrelevant in comparison with what you feel. The binary that has traditionally allowed children to negotiate an otherwise confusing world – between female and male, mother and father, girl and boy – is being erased, leaving kids socially bereft, uncertain, and re-engineered to think in the way the new elite thinks they should. It feels like children are being experimented on. Both morally and physically. Morally in the sense that they are having every traditional‍, anchoring view of sex erased from their minds, and physically via drugs and hormone interventions. In order to give more weight to their own preferred lifestyles, some trans activists seem determined to hold up confused children as ‘trans kids’, and, by extension, as proof that transgenderism is perfectly normal and can manifest in early years. They seem to view the disorientation of children as a price worth paying to add the legitimacy of nature to their way of life. Future generations will surely wonder why we behaved like this with children"

Children who believe they are transgender 'could have autism', says controversial expert - "Latest figures show that the number of children under 10 in Britain being referred to the NHS over transgender feelings has quadrupled in five years.One psychologist says these youngsters are seven times more likely to be on the autistic spectrum.Dr Kenneth Zucker believes autistic traits of "fixating" on issues could convince children they are the wrong sex... The film presents evidence that most children with gender dysphoria eventually overcome the feelings without transitioning and questions the science behind the idea that a boy could be born with a "female brain" or vice versa... "It is possible that kids who have a tendency to get obsessed or fixated on something may latch on to gender. Just because kids are saying something doesn't necessarily mean you accept it, or that it's true, or that it could be in the best interests of the child."He later adds: “A four-year-old might say that he’s a dog – do you go out and buy dog food?”"

Whistleblower teacher makes shocking claim that 'most are autistic' - "An astonishing 17 pupils at a single British school are in the process of changing gender... Most of the youngsters undergoing the transformation are autistic, according to a teacher there, who said vulnerable children with mental health problems were being ‘tricked’ into believing they are the wrong sex.The whistleblower says few of the transgender children are suffering from gender dysphoria – the medical term for someone who feels they were born in the wrong body – but are just easily influenced, latching on to the mistaken belief they are the wrong sex as a way of coping with the problems caused by autism.Earlier this year, The Mail on Sunday revealed that a third of youngsters referred to the NHS’s only gender identity clinic for children showed ‘moderate to severe autistic traits’. It means that 150 autistic teenagers were given puberty blocker drugs which stop the body maturing. The teacher says she felt compelled to speak out to protect pupils, many of whom she believes could already be taking the powerful drugs and may go on to have life-changing surgery... She was advised to keep parents and other teachers in the dark if a pupil claimed to be transgender;... Pupils who say they were born the wrong sex mimic transgender YouTube stars Carol believes are partly to blame for convincing vulnerable children they have gender dysphoria... The teacher, who has her own child, also believes many of those who say they are the wrong sex are simply gay but would face bullying if they were to ‘come out’. By contrast, she says, transgender children at the school are idolised by other pupils.She has also raised concerns that many teachers are now too scared to challenge students’ claims they are transgender because they fear being sacked or sued for being transphobic. The 17 pupils now identifying as transgender are following in the footsteps of a teenager who has now left the school and is planning a double mastectomy.That student, who was born female, told Carol she wanted to identify as non-binary-a person – with no specific gender – in January 2014, at the age of 16 and two years after being diagnosed as autistic... the 17 pupils who have ‘come out’ as transgender have become powerful within the school, Carol says.They wear identical clothing and hairstyles and often adopt the names of transgender YouTube stars... ‘They are just young people with mental health problems who have found an identity and want to be part of a group of like-minded people’"

I’ve seen girls who’ve changed gender groom younger ones to do the same - "After consulting with the child’s parents, it agreed to change the student’s name on the register to one that was gender neutral.Teachers also started to refer to them using both male and female pronouns depending what gender the student identified as on any given day. ‘The pronouns could change from hour to hour depending how the student was feeling,’ Carol said. The teen asked if she could hold an assembly to tell other pupils at the school about being transgender, but Carol blocked this. Now she understands the pupil informally ‘educated’ fellow students, which Carol suspects could have been the catalyst for a wave of ‘copycat’ cases among autistic pupils. She says the process reminds her of ‘grooming’... In all but a very few cases, she says, the children were officially diagnosed as autistic by the local education authority.Those not formally diagnosed showed clear signs of being on the autistic spectrum... The dramatic increase in the numbers of pupils wanting to change gender coincided with a growing clamour from activists demanding more rights for transgender people... some of the more outspoken transgender children police language and behaviour, often accusing teachers and fellow pupils of ‘misgendering’... transgender pupils tend to convert in ‘clusters’ of two or three around the age of 14 and in a very uniform manner: wearing their hair in a quiff and dyeing it blue, black or blond, and starting to wear large round glasses, Dr Martens boots, donkey jackets and tight trousers... transgender pupils at her school sometimes adopt the names of trans YouTubers who have found fame online. There have been times when a group of pupils who are identifying as boys all use the same name."

How only NHS children's transgender clinic 'buried' fact that 372 of 1,069 patients were autistic - "Since 2011, specialists at The Tavistock Centre’s Gender Identity Development Service in London have seen more than 1,000 under- 18s.An internal review discovered 372 of these patients – some 35 per cent – exhibited ‘moderate or severe autistic traits.'... The mother of an autistic teenager says she is ‘appalled’ at how the Tavistock Centre accepted her son’s claims that he was transgender but overlooked serious mental health problems... a senior psychologist accepted her son wanted to change sex, despite knowing he had autism and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)... Autism expert Dr Sally Powis said autistic teenagers searching for a reason why they did not fit in could fixate on the idea they were born into the wrong body – when gender might actually have nothing to do with it."

We'll look back on the rush to change our children's sex as one of the darkest chapters in medicine - "I have been a psychotherapist for more than 30 years and, in that time, I have worked with a small but significant number of patients who wished to change gender.For everyone’s sake, I believe that surgery – which is irreversible – should only ever be a last resort. We should always begin by working to help the mind fit better with the body before we start altering the body to fit the mind.Yet in today’s NHS, professionals are enabling hundreds – possibly thousands – of teenagers to have major surgery to change their gender.It is being done, almost unchallenged, in the name of transgender rights. But in 20 years’ time, I believe we will look back on this folly as one of the darkest periods in the history of modern medicine.We will question why we failed to challenge their belief that they were born in the ‘wrong’ bodies.We will ask why we so readily ignored the clanging alarm bells that many were autistic, or had mental health problems... Rather than understanding where it might be coming from – feeling lonely or isolated, being bullied, having an autistic spectrum disorder or struggling with any number of issues from sexuality to abuse to self-harm – we are allowing them to change sex.It’s a lazy and damaging solution and one which NHS professionals, teachers, politicians and the law are all too eager to embrace to signal their progressive views. In 2015, I published a prize- winning but controversial paper examining whether therapy could replace some patients’ perceived need for surgery.Personally, I believe that as a society we should celebrate gender variance. Some of my patients have been able to live creatively with the mismatch between their mind and body. Where that isn’t possible – and where a patient is obviously suffering – we should always do something about it.Yet the debate on this issue has been silenced by transgender activists who label as ‘transphobic’ anyone who dares to challenge their dogma.This blind adherence to ideology has real, dangerous consequences.In my field, for example, many psychotherapists are now afraid to properly question a patient who identifies as trans: afraid to explore their past, ask questions of their sexuality, or look into their mental health. They won’t go there, for fear of being struck off.One major problem in today’s blinkered reality is that, if you don’t ‘affirm’ a patient’s claim to be transgender, you can run the risk of being accused of practising ‘conversion therapy’... The danger is that, once on the medical pathway which leads to a sex change, it’s very hard to get off.Youngsters referred to the Gender Identity Development Service run by The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in London undergo just six sessions to assess whether or not they are trans. Several members of staff have told me they are quietly appalled that, too often, no psychotherapy is offered before they start medical treatment.They are then given ‘puberty blocker’ drugs which halt physical developments – powerful medicines not even licensed for transgender treatment which we know can weaken the bones, perhaps for life. There is little long-term data on their safety yet the NHS routinely hands them out.Then most will receive cross-sex hormones, which carry their own risks. Giving testosterone to females, for instance, can raise the risk of ovarian cancer.Exactly how many make the full surgical transition to the ‘opposite’ sex is unclear. Whether it brings lasting happiness is even less so. Short-term studies, usually conducted soon after surgery, suggest patients are immediately happier. But the few long-term studies that exist paint a different picture.One, which followed men who had transitioned to be women for 15 to 20 years after surgery, showed they had a 20-times higher risk of suicide than others matched for age, social class and mental health problems. On YouTube, some transsexuals are now posting videos warning young people not to go ahead with reassignment.The backlash has begun.It surely can’t be long before more difficult questions will be asked by a new generation. They will ask why nobody stopped them, told them treatment could destroy their sex life – or warned them that it would make them infertile and might not make them happy after all. They might also have lawyers asking the same questions, eyeing millions of pounds in compensation."

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Touching message I got today

"I was very impressed by your patience in this thread, in the face of some ugly ad hominems. I want you to know that your poise has not gone unnoticed, and I feel proud to be represented by you."

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Links - 15th January 2019

« A friend of mine took this picture of an old... - Nicolai Gamulea Schwartz - "« A friend of mine took this picture of an old gravestone. Six children, murdered by their mother. 1901.
The town blamed the father for not making enough, and the community for not taking care of them.
The mother? A poor, innocent victim.
Patriarchy my ASS. » - Windy"
Elizabeth Ann Craig and Frank Naramore

USC Library Censors Article on ‘Female Privilege in Prison Sentencing’ - "The University of Southern California (USC) library system has seemingly begun censoring a 2012 academic article documenting that men, on average, get slapped with a 63 percent longer prison sentence than women for the same crimes... The study in question, “Estimating Gender Disparities in Federal Criminal Cases,” was the first major academic article to find that men face harsher prison sentences than do women"

Democrats' trend of bashing white men is dangerous and could backfire - "It’s become often enough that it is seemingly now normal to just casually attack a broad group of the country’s citizens. And sometimes race is inserted gratuitously even when it isn’t an issue, like during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings: the Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee were attacked as old white men. Besides, there is the strangeness in the spectacle of certain white people calling out certain other white people on their whiteness. What gives? What is happening is that everyone’s id is now not just out in the open, it has gone berserk... Today’s Democratic Party is predicated on having and expressing open hostility toward white citizens. They are making the dangerous bet that most minorities and immigrants will jump on the white-male-bashing bandwagon. But it could backfire and turn off many voters. If you ask most minorities and immigrants, they’ll probably tell you they just want a fair, equal shot at the American Dream, and that they’re not angling for racial payback or Civil War Take 2"

Why Many Americans Are Averse to Unironic Expressions of Patriotism - "American and world history is rife with examples of bad actors distorting and exploiting the patriotic impulses of the masses. Unthinking patriotism has contributed to millions of horrific deaths. The impulse to temper it with skepticism is a healthy one, and going too far in that direction has never resulted in any calamity."
Given how many millions (and more) have died due to Communism and other attempts to improve the world in the name of equality and social justice, many Americans are averse to unironic support for Communism and social justice... right?

Donald Trump's nationalism is a patriotic appeal for unity - "You know America is in trouble when the president is viciously slammed simply for saying good things about the country. Appeals to the inherent goodness and manifest greatness of America used to be a staple of political oratory. It was so commonplace that it was entirely noncontroversial. Love of country was taken for granted. But when President Donald Trump described himself as a “nationalist” at a rally in Texas, it set off a firestorm of criticism. Nationalism is now the new “n-word.” CNN’s Jim Acosta pathetically insinuated the president was making a secret appeal to racism. MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace invoked her History Channel-based education to tie in Nazi appeals to German nationalism, while perhaps being unaware that the Nazis also were ardent socialists. Maybe she missed that program. This predictable progressive panic is baseless and tiresome. It is a willful misunderstanding of what Trump means when he says nationalist. The president framed the term against “globalist,” which in his words is “a person that wants the globe to do well, frankly not caring about the country so much.”... Trump’s nationalism is also a patriotic appeal for national unity and pride. It is a response to progressive tribalism, which seeks to divide the country into grievance groups and promote a narrative of shame. Decades of revisionist history and grievance ideology have corrupted the American story. The left defines politics in terms of alleged oppression that forms the root of their demands as purported victims. Any notion that the United States is praiseworthy disrupts their relentless quest for proof of victimhood. Thus when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said America "was never that great,” he was simply expressing the dominant progressive view in very mild terms. And woe to any Democrat who forgets that America exists only to be criticized. In Pennsylvania, Allegheny County Democratic Party Executive Director Mark Salvas, a former Marine and veteran, was driven from his position for posting “I stand for the flag, I kneel at the cross” on social media. He failed to realize that on the left, flags are for kneeling or burning and crosses are for tearing down. Then-Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, in the wake of the 2017 violence at Charlottesville, innocently invoked “patriots … Thomas Jefferson and George Washington who brought our country together” as an appeal for unity in the wake of the tragedy. He was immediately slammed by the left for daring to praise icons of U.S. history who were “seeding white supremacy.” To the progressives, the Founders were slavers, the Constitution is racist, and Mount Rushmore should be blown up... Donald Trump is appealing to this time-honored idea; not just restoring economic growth and international clout but reviving the greatness of the American spirit. Part of making America great again is restoring the American story, and with it our sense of destiny, dynamism and optimism. Whether you call it nationalism, patriotism or Americanism, it is our common legacy. We discard it at our peril."
This is a more convincing for why many Americans disapprove of displays of patriotism

65-year-old retiree acquitted of asking underage girl for sex - ""I'm an old man and I don't have sexual urges any more. I'm truly thankful for my lawyers, Mr Patrick Fernandez and Ms Cheryl Tan, for helping me these past six months." Mr Fernandez told ST on Tuesday that prior to the acquittal, he sent Mr Jamalludin for a medical examination and a doctor found the elderly man has erectile dysfunction. The lawyer added: "Due to his condition, it was unlikely that my client was able to commit the offence.""

5% of Americans Made Up 50% of U.S. Health Care Spending - "In 2008 and 2009, 5% of Americans were responsible for nearly half of the country's medical spending.Of course, health care has its own 1% crisis. In 2009, the top 1% of patients accounted for 21.8% of expenditures"

The Crackdown on Little Free Library Book Exchanges - "in Kansas, a 9-year-old was loving his Little Free Library until at least two residents proved that some people will complain about anything no matter how harmless and city officials pushed the boundaries of literal-mindedness... "Crime, homelessness and crumbling infrastructure are still a problem in almost every part of America, but two cities have recently cracked down on one of the country's biggest problems: small-community libraries where residents can share books," Michael Schaub wrote. "Officials in Los Angeles and Shreveport, Louisiana, have told the owners of homemade lending libraries that they're in violation of city codes, and asked them to remove or relocate their small book collections."... This is what conservatives and libertarians mean when they talk about overregulation disincentivizing or displacing voluntary activity that benefits people. We've constructed communities where one must obtain prior permission from agents of the state before freely sharing books with one's neighbors! And their proposed solution is to get scarce public art funds to pay for the needless layer of bureaucracy being imposed on the thing already being done for free. The power to require permits is the power to prevent something from ever existing. This lovely movement would've never begun or spread if everyone who wanted to build a Little Free Library recognized a need to apply and pay for a permit. Instead they did good and asked permission never."

No books loaned from Barrow Island library in a year - "Eighteen books were technically "checked out" at the library on Barrow Island, Cumbria, but they were by IT staff making sure the machine worked."
Yet if the library is to be closed, suddenly everyone will show up and protest

Poorer conservatives more generous than wealthy liberals – new study - "Less well-off families from red states donate a relatively higher – and growing – proportion of their money to charity, while those at the top have been giving a smaller share as their income has increased, a new extensive study has revealed"

I,Hypocrite - refollow - Posts - "Vice: "Most Money Advice Is Worthless When You’re Poor
Savings tips are classist garbage and belong in the trash."
Comments: "It's always somebody else's fault that you're poor, and if anyone ever tries to help you, they're part of the problem."
"This is why the poor stay poor"
"Yeah, just spend all your money on Jordans and Yeezys. SOLID financial planning there."

A Map of China, By Stereotype – Foreign Policy - "Why is the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang “so chaotic?” Why are many from the southern metropolis of Shanghai “unfit to lead”? And do people from central Henan Province really steal manhole covers? These are just some of the questions — ranging from the provocative, to the offensive, to the downright ridiculous — that Chinese people ask about themselves and each other on Baidu, the country’s top search engine, which says it processes about 5 billion queries each day... Netizens associate several northern regions with varying degrees of violence. Liaoning, Jilin, and Heilongjiang — collectively called the Northeast — are famous for their Siberian winters as well as their beautiful women, but the apparently pugnacious locals are also known for starting fights"

Mapped: Chinese Stereotypes of the Americas – Foreign Policy - "In a final look at Canada, a few ranking queries ask about the country’s immigration rules, as well as why the visa process is so slow. In final preparations for this article, FP discovered a new suggested question asking why “Canada doesn’t want rich Chinese people.” The query may be a puzzled reaction to the Canadian government’s cancelling of an investor visa program popular with wealthy Chinese; it may also have to do with popular suspicions that moneyed Chinese are responsible for driving up Vancouver housing prices. If so, Chinese netizens may inadvertently have stumbled upon Canadian fears of a different kind of invasion from a different superpower."

Guantanamo Bay: A History of How the U.S. Military Got There - "as part of the Platt Amendment, the document that governed the end of the occupation, the new Cuban government was required to lease or sell certain territory to the United States"

Paging the patriarchy! You’re now a straight-up sexist if you dare ask a woman this question - "Today, we learned that “upbraid” is racist … and asking a woman about her two laptops is sexist... Why? Because feminism, that’s why!...
'“Women are strong and powerful”
*deals with any little thing that any other human would encounter*
“Help, I’m being oppressed!”'"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, The Return of Jacob Zuma? - "‘You're going to Galicia? You’ll eat well there’... They eat well there is the standard Spanish response to anyone over 25 who's going anywhere in their country. As everyone knows, that once you're no longer interested in only clubbing, the only good reason to go anywhere is to eat... Alberinio wine...
It always amazes me how news savvy these scams can be. Just a few days after Muammar Gaddafi was caught and shot dead hiding in a sewer in Libya. I got an email from someone claiming to be his lawyer and offering me a chunk of his huge fortune"

The Devolution of Social Science

The Devolution of Social Science

"This article has two themes: first, how in “soft” science fields, increased specialization has led to fragmentation, incoherence and, ultimately, nonsense. And second, an example of the process: race and ethnic studies (RES) and the concept of color-blind racism (CBR) — the idea that treating people according to the content of their character, not the color of their skin, is itself racist. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous definition of non-discrimination is not accepted by, for example, the 2018 President of the American Sociological Association...

When the American Psychological Association (APA) was founded in 1892 it had just one division, but after World War II it merged with various other psychological organizations and created 19 divisions. By 2007, this number had expanded to 54...

Sorting through some old papers, I found this quote from an unnamed British sociologist speaking at a talk in 1986: “Theories in science are not constrained in any way by empirical facts.” I noted that most of those listening agreed with him.

The quote is absurd and in the years that followed I noted how widespread this assault on the scientific method has become. A whole field devoted to discrediting science has sprung up under the banner of “Science Studies” which, needless to say, is now a recognized academic discipline with its own association and cluster of peer-reviewed journals. One such is Social Text, which published a brilliantly nonsensical piece ‘Transgressing the boundaries: Towards a transformative hermeneutics of quantum gravity‘ by physicist Alan Sokal. Sokal succeeded by using the right words, like “transgressive” and “hegemony,” and promoting the correct political views, like “science as gendered domination” and putting “objective” in quotes.

The anonymous sociologist’s claim that empirical facts are irrelevant does apply to much of social science. It raises an important question: if theories in the social sciences are not constrained by empirical facts, what are they constrained by? As I will try to show, the answer seems to be that theories in Race and Ethnic Studies (RES) sociology are mainly constrained by the political opinions prevailing in that branch of the field...

The concept of “truth” appears to be equally suspect. Indeed, in another place, Bonilla-Silva scorns the very idea, speaking of the “devil of ‘objectivity’” (note the scare quotes).

Without the possibility of objectivity, there is no science. Has sociology become, then, just political activism? To some extent, yes. According to Zuberi and Bonilla-Silva: “The aim is to attain epistemic liberation from White logic … We see this edited volume as part of the long march of resistance to White domination in society and in academe.” The Maoist allusion is probably not accidental.

By the end of the book Zuberi and Bonilla-Silva have backtracked slightly, making a shallow bow to objectivity: “Rather than leading to a science of objectivity, White logic has fostered an ethnocentric orientation … however, scholars of color are potentially much closer to being objective…” This will leave many readers puzzled: is the work “biased” when the sociologist is white — or, rather, “White,” to add the mandatory square quotes — but objective when she is a person of color? The authors attempt to clarify by quoting Charles W. Mills: “Hegemonic groups characteristically have experiences that foster illusory perceptions about society’s functioning, whereas subordinate groups characteristically have experiences that (at least potentially) give rise to more adequate conceptualizations.” So the worm’s-eye view is more “objective” than the bird’s-eye view — or, to use the jargon, apparently “subordinate” groups (e.g., people of color) see things more clearly than “hegemonic groups.” Since Jamaican-American Mills presumably considers himself a member of a subordinate group (even though he is a distinguished professor of philosophy in the CUNY Graduate Center) his claim of subordinate superiority invites the Mandy Rice-Davies response: “Well, he would [say that], wouldn’t he?”...

“White logic” is the idea that white people think differently than people of color and that it is embedded in “the structure that generates racism,” in the words of Anna-Esther Younes, reviewer of Bonilla-Silva and Zuberi’s White Logic. She concludes that “ultimately, what connects all authors is their view of academia as ‘a form of [White] cultural and political hegemony.’” (“Hegemony” is a popular term in the RES literature. It seems to mean “wrong ideas that are accepted by too many people.”)...

Just as the authors seem about to define a term or justify a claim, the football is pulled away, to be followed by repeated assertions about links to colonialism or white feelings of superiority. The closest we get to a definition of white logic is Zuberi’s answer to the hypothetical: “Are you suggesting social scientists practice racism when they use statistics?” His conclusion, although he never says so directly, is “yes.” His reason: Francis Galton, Darwin’s half-cousin and a founder of the statistical method, “[W]as obsessed with explaining racial hierarchy in social status and achievement.” Well, yes, Galton was interested in what made for success in life. In his 1869 book Hereditary Genius, he says that “the negro race” is an “inferior race,” but he also says that “the average ability of the Athenian race is, on the lowest possible estimate, very nearly two grades higher than our own — that is, about as much as our race is above that of the African negro.” He also says: “There is nothing either in the history of domestic animals or in that of evolution to make us doubt that a race of sane men may be formed who shall be as much superior mentally and morally to the modern European, as the modern European is to the lowest of the Negro races.” If Galton was racist he was even-handed, and by no means biased in favor of modern Europeans. And in every case, he made a coherent argument based on the best evidence available to him. It is simply ridiculous to claim that “current statistical methodologies … continue to reflect the racist ideologies” of the eugenics movement...

Yancy’s dependence on jargon — “embedded reality, opacity, subject formation, epistemic bonding, interpellation,” and so on — is characteristic of many of the sub-disciplines of social science and humanities. The terms are almost never clearly defined, but serve at least two purposes: they convey expertise — technical competence — while at the same time obstructing outside scrutiny.

This kind of academical obscurantism is not new. Thomas Hobbes in Leviathan (1561) complains about “names that signifie nothing; but are taken up and learned by rote from the Schooles, as hypostatical, transubstantiate, consubstantiate, Eternal-now, and the like canting of Schoole-men.”3 Theological writing is perhaps clearer now, but the rhetorical techniques of the “Schoole-men” have not been lost.

Subjective experience — private feeling, Erlebnis, known to philosophers as qualia — is obviously very important to whiteness studies and, indeed, to sociology generally (the theme of the 2018 national conference of the ASA is “Feeling Race”). The problem is: qualia cannot be measured by a third party. Subjective experience can be shared through drama or literature, or simply story-telling, which is a major part of RES literature. But qualia are not part of science...

McIntosh in 1988 circulated a list of 46 “privileges” accorded to white people. The piece, entitled “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” turned out to be a big hit...

Basically, what McIntosh is saying is that blacks more often think about their race than whites do about theirs, which is probably true for many minorities. The “knapsack” document makes interesting reading, but as science or proof that privilege is something other than the obverse of racial discrimination, it fails. Nevertheless, the term has become popular and McIntosh has found a receptive audience of sympathetic, high-status white people...

“As an anti-racist, when I see racial disparities, I see racism,” writes Ibram X. Kendi, who directs the Anti-Racist Research and Policy Center at American University — a definition which makes it unlikely that the Anti-Racism Center will ever succeed in its mission. The reason, of course, is that individuals differ, and if individuals differ, so will groups...

The taboos against researching possible endogenous causes of racial disparities — family structure, the abilities and interests of African Americans, etc. — have turned out to be almost insurmountable. The research isn’t done, so systemic racism stands unchallenged as the cause of all these problems.

Systemic racism also performs another function. It allows the charge of racism to stand even if no individual white person behaves in a racist way...

The supposed existence of a vaporous systemic racism implies “Racism without Racists,” which is the provocative title of Bonilla-Silva’s book, a book which might as well have been called “Racism without End” since disparities will always prove racism exists, according to Bonilla-Silva, and disparities will never vanish — unless, that is, the state enforces a totalitarian “equality of results,” which is precisely the solution proposed by many CBR sociologists.

The problems of sociology have been apparent for many years: In 1986 philosopher Roger Scruton penned a Times op-ed called “The Plague of Sociology.” How did sociology lapse from Durkheim’s high standard? Political forces are always present. In the “harder” sciences they are restrained by rigorous methods of experiment and theory that are universally accepted. Sociology began this way, but differences soon led to many divisions, with each new branch accepting a different set of standards for what constituted valid data and acceptable methodology. This separation reduced the variety and force of criticism. Soon, everyone in RES sociology agreed that anecdote is okay, story-telling is as scientific as chemical analysis, “neo-liberal Amerikkka” is to be condemned, activism is scholarship and the politics of Foucault and Marx are settled truth."
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