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Saturday, February 15, 2020

The Vanity of Guilt

The Vanity of Guilt by Andreas Lombard

"In the decades after 1945, the imperative of forgetting was succeeded by the imperative of remembering. Victims replaced heroes, and remorse and self-accusation superseded pride. A man is no longer allowed to stand up for himself. When I define my homeland in terms of Christianity, it is taken for granted that I insult agnostics and Muslims. It is as if when I say I have a beautiful house, I insult all the other homeowners in my street. The tragedy of twentieth-century Germany arises from this dynamic. It has become axiomatic that if I do not wish to harm anyone, I must harm myself. Everything is inverted as a result—not only the architecture of memorials, which have become scrupulously anti-memorial, but culture and politics. Germans, it is thought, can be humane only insofar as they repudiate their heritage, as opposed to its distortion, and deny their cultural achievements along with their failings. In the most radical expression of this impulse, Germans assign to themselves the world-historical duty of self-denial, even to the point of extinction. This dynamic is pathological, viewed sociologically. But worse, it reflects a vanity of guilt that is dangerous and destructive in its theological arrogance. To a striking degree, the German political and cultural establishment has taken possession of the Holocaust. This terrible crime has become a precious asset to be deployed against anyone who dares to criticize the status quo.

In most societies, collective memory centers on affirmations that sustain communal belonging and self-worth. Germany’s postwar paradigm shift reversed this approach... our constant self-laceration has encouraged a hubristic self-righteousness. Germany is once again conceived as the exceptional nation, called to a singular destiny not of destructive self-assertion, but of self-abnegation... our constant self-laceration has encouraged a hubristic self-righteousness. Germany is once again conceived as the exceptional nation, called to a singular destiny not of destructive self-assertion, but of self-abnegation. Angela Merkel’s declaration to her fellow Germans that “we can do this”—as if Germany had to risk its very identity—shows that the wrong lessons have been learned from the horrors of the twentieth century...

Seeking to invent a new society, East Germany did not cultivate self-accusing guilt. The conflict divides Europe as well. Most of Germany’s neighbors—especially Central and Eastern European countries, as well as Denmark—do not cooperate with German policies and have begun to protect their borders. Since there are calls to join the “Compact for Migration” in international politics, this division has become visible...

Today, there are nearly 1.3 billion people in Africa, and it is projected that by 2050 there will be 2.5 or 2.7 billion. A recent poll in Ghana and Nigeria suggests that three-fourths of the population wants to move to Europe or the U.S. This means that, theoretically, 165 million people could soon be knocking on Europe’s doors from these two countries alone. Hospitality and integration are not sufficient approaches to immigration on this scale...

For many proponents of mass immigration, there are never enough ships crossing the Mediterranean. They finance rescue operations that encourage still more migrants to cross. They believe the multitudes of migrants are more worthy than the “bigots” who object to their arrival (often unpolished members of the working class). When in 2018 an eighty-five-year-old man was killed in his own house in Pomerania by a young man from Afghanistan, the secretary of the interior’s main concern was that this crime not be misused politically by the wrong side. (The daughter of the victim was then active in refugee aid and had given the Afghan a job as a nurse for her father.) In these cases and others like them (they occur again and again), the line between “victim” and “sacrifice” becomes fuzzy—as if the old man had died for the good cause of providing an occasion to fight racism.

Analysts of mass immigration frequently cite ­Milton Friedman, who said that open borders are incompatible with the welfare state...

A discussion paper for the German federal government’s migration summit in 2016 referred to “those who were always already there and those who have recently joined them.” The formulation is telling. The paper does not speak of German citizens. Instead, it relies on a circumlocution...

Ataman and others speak as if Germans and Europeans are sitting on resources to which non-Germans have an equal right—which means nothing less than the opening of a global war over anything and everything...

In 2013, a well-known judge and professor in Frankfurt wrote in the journal Merkur that the German state could no longer create positive family policies and that demographic decline should not be stopped. Because of the crimes of National Socialism, she went on to say, it would only be fair if the territory “on which Germany is located currently” were to be “colonized by other ethnic groups or given back to nature.” This is no isolated opinion. For many years, the German Federal presidents have been referring to “people in Germany” rather than “the German people.”...

The leading voices in Germany have long disputed the existence of a German people, since the concept of Volk is implicated in Nazi crimes. Yet the same voices say that no German can escape his shared responsibility for the historical offenses of the very same Volk whose existence is denied...

German leaders assume that negative nationalism should be obligatory for all of Europe and the world of tomorrow...

It is usually non-Jewish Germans who vigorously press the thesis of the metaphysical singularity of the Holocaust. There is something suspicious about this. Germans claim singularity not as victims, but as perpetrators. The “perpetrator people” now exalt their own crime as the greatest in human history—a monstrous kind of negative pride...

Kierkegaard offers a useful insight: It is a sin—a sin of pride—to despair of God’s forgiveness...

As early as 1946, Hannah Arendt wrote to Karl Jaspers: “This guilt [of the Nazis] in contrast to all criminal guilt, oversteps and shatters any and all legal systems. . . . We are simply not equipped to deal on a human political level, with a guilt that is beyond crime and an innocence that is beyond goodness and virtue.” Today, Germany seems as if it wants to cultivate the human-political impotence Arendt warned against. Is it an accident that those in Germany who are most ardent in maintaining the spirit of self-condemnation are also very hostile toward the State of Israel?

The same spirit of relentless antagonism toward healthy national self-affirmation prevents German politics from achieving normalcy. If Auschwitz is unique, then it cannot be repeated, in which case it should not loom over us as a danger. Yet the threat of its return is supposed to be constant. The honest fear of repetition continues to motivate campaigns by self-appointed guardians of virtue to combat real or imagined “Holocaust deniers,” “revisionists,” or simply “fascists.” Whoever dares to question the myth of German guilt (not the doubtless historic facts, but their civil-religious interpretation) risks severe personal and professional retribution.

The best defense against the accusation of downplaying the Holocaust is to accuse someone else of downplaying the Holocaust. The same could be said about fighting racism or fascism in general: You must malign others in order not to be maligned yourself. This creates a civil war–like situation in which Germans paint one another with the most abysmal accusations. So far, no German president has had the courage to check this fatal dynamic—which could be a German president’s most distinguished task... We need to put an end to poking around in the convictions of others, a compulsive policing misleadingly called “civil courage.” The accusers do not, in fact, need any courage at all; they are always guaranteed to be on the right side.

A long time ago, the rule of law was invented to interrupt the cycle of revenge. And modern European nations signed peace treaties to interrupt the cycle of war, transposing strife to the war of memories. To this day, the Catholic Dictionary of Civic Principles (Katholisches Staatslexikon) points out “the ethical meaning of forgiveness and forgetting.” You cannot decide not to remember, but you can make an effort to forget. Humans cannot live together without forgetting and forgiving. The institution of non-remembrance, of amnesia, is called “amnesty.” An amnesty prevented a civil war after the murder of Julius Caesar. Other instances of amnesty include the Edict of Nantes, the Peace of Westphalia, and the law of Louis the XVIII, which prohibited the commemoration of the Revolution’s terror and even ordered his brother’s murder forgotten, to “repair the chain of time.” In Germany, even in the West more widely, it seems that we are entering an era in which the aim is to remove all statutes of limitation and adjudicate all injustices anew.

Europe’s art of peace was succeeded by the terrible wars of the twentieth century, neither of which ended in peace. World War I concluded formally with the Treaty of Versailles, which was hardly a peace treaty. World War II ended without even that pretense. It ended with Germany smashed to exhaustion. I fear that this development, which is said to constitute progress, in fact represents a return to archaic justice. If a singular crime cannot be atoned for or punished; if it cannot be rectified as a matter of principle; if there is no forgetting and forgiving, also as a matter of principle; then the only answer is to obliterate...

Despite claiming a “negative identity,” Germans today live in the normal tension between past and future. We, too, eat and drink, hope and wait, sleep and love. Our problem is that we refuse to acknowledge our normality. We are morally tainted only in the usual ways, but we speak of our “total,” “unique,” or “radical” guilt. The German example has set a precedent for the West, another feature of our vanity of guilt. The thesis of white guilt for colonialism, for example, ignores progress and good deeds: education, mission, infrastructure, state institutions, health care, and much more. Schuld, the German word for guilt, is related to the word for debt, Schulden, and debt has to be accounted for precisely. Good is mixed with the bad, and if we are morally serious we must think about it with an accountant’s precision—even when it comes to the German people between 1933 and 1945...

Why don’t we let Hitler die? Why don’t we bury him? Can’t we do it? Do we not want to? Are we not allowed? Who would the Germans be if they dared to remove Auschwitz from the center of contemporary German self-definition? This would not entail denying it. But try to imagine a Germany without the mortal stain of Auschwitz. It is difficult—which is the problem in a nutshell...

In 1945, Hermann Broch wrote something illuminating in his correspondence with his fellow émigré, Volkmar von Zühlsdorff. Broch described the German people as exceptional: “the most extreme in good as in evil in the Western World.” Because of their exceptional nature, they would lead the world in overcoming evil. “Germany will play a leading role in the regeneration of the world.” All of a sudden, Germany becomes the nation through which all other nations are blessed—precisely by dwelling on its singular crime. ­Zühlsdorff rejected Broch’s thesis. He worried that a great injustice would arise from insisting on Germany’s crime. He warned, “Another wave will wash over us, that will repeat the crimes of National Socialism in the name of antifascism.”...

In the name of a humanitarian mission derived from its guilt over the destruction of European Jewry, Germany would allow the direst enemy of the Jewish people into the country by means of an overwhelmingly Muslim mass migration. Is what Adorján Kovács recently wrote in the journal Tumult true? That the Germans recognized something in the young Muslim men, “something of themselves as they largely are, but cannot openly be”? Is the willingness to tolerate mass immigration a “subconscious form of resistance of a completely defeated people”?...

The historian Rolf Peter Sieferle has asked: Is the last mission of Germany and Europe to give the world the lesson of their own disappearing? It seems as if some people want this. Too many of them are functionary types and militant agitators. The propagandists of the new world order see themselves as serving History and its mandates, and, like all ideologues, they believe that they must and may suspend traditional moral norms in the pursuit of their goals.

The danger of a violent hubris arises from the idea of a unique guilt. If the worst possible crime is behind us, then nothing that lies before us can ever compare. Everything that comes after Auschwitz (or colonialism, or whatever other “unique” debt may be found) has the character of a mere post-history, a posthistoire. This is the secret maximal permission hidden in the maxima culpa of a history without God. Nothing that we can do will ever be as terrible as the Holocaust. This relaxes our moral vigilance and introduces the idea that everything is allowed—as if there were no God."

Links - 15th February 2020 (2) (Political Correctness at UK Universities)

How on earth does university turn curious, feisty children into such fragile flowers? - "Guidance for academics at Sheffield on creating a “safe and positive learning environment” includes ensuring that such “controversial and sensitive” topics as race, politics, death/bereavement, mental health and gender identity (that’s the whole of Shakespeare, for starters) are not included in compulsory modules, or if they are, that alternative topics are offered. Meanwhile, Newcastle University joins TS Eliot in the conviction that “human kind/Cannot bear very much reality”, offering deadline extensions, resits and approved absence from lectures to students studying “distressing” topics... The best beloved children’s books are fraught with jeopardy, hardship and grief. From the lost children of Grimm’s Fairy Tales to Beatrix Potter’s intrepid Tom Kitten, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s accounts of the rigours of a 19th-century American pioneer childhood, the resilience of Harry Potter in the face of extraordinary trials, and the transcendent courage of that classic of the early teenage years, Anne Frank’s Diary – childhood literature unflinchingly addresses the idea that character is formed by confronting one’s darkest fears. From there it is a strange route that leads to the swerving of difficult topics in tertiary education. A bold curiosity about the world is a quality that tends to get the heroes and heroines of classic children’s narratives into trouble, but it also distinguishes them from their duller peers. The journey from childhood to adulthood has never been easy, but if universities were to celebrate intellectual curiosity as the key to that transition, our academies would be intellectually and emotionally more vigorous places."

An uncomfortable lesson that snowflake students won't forget - "Sir Michael Barber... the chairman of the new Office For Students may just be the bravest man in Britain.  The headline – “Universities must be places of intellectual discomfort” – was enough to prompt a double take. Discomfort? I thought we were done with that word. I thought the very notion had been rejected by the Snowflake Generation... Barber – a global expert on implementation of large-scale system change and authority on educational reform – is imploring the universities who have been restricting free speech by clamping down on ideas, literature, guest speakers and behaviour that are not in keeping with snowflake values not to be afraid of those hard edges... these delicate souls may have missed out on hearing the likes of Germaine Greer and Peter Tatchell speak (on grounds of their supposed transphobia), reading about the “melting transports” of Fanny Hill (dropped from university courses “for fear of offending students”), Shakespeare’s King Lear (too much “violence against women”), and even a handful of contemporary texts featuring general unpleasantness, such as Emma Donoghue’s Room."

Students should be made to feel 'uncomfortable' so they can learn, chair of the Office for Students says - "He said that the OFS will adopt “the widest possible definition of freedom of speech: namely anything within the law”, and urged all universities to follow suit.Writing in the Times Higher Education magazine, he said: “Ideally, we will never have to intervene, but if we do, it will be to widen freedom of speech rather than restrict it.”Sir Michael went on to recount a conversation he had with a “well-informed student" on the topic of freedom of speech.The student agreed the concept was important but added that “it might need to be limited in relation to questions of identity because otherwise it might make some people feel ‘uncomfortable’.”Sir Michael said: “But ‘comfortable’ is the start of a slippery slope towards ‘complacent’ or ‘self-satisfied’. And doesn’t much of the most profound learning require discomfort?”... Universities Minister Jo Johnson announced that universities must pledge to uphold free speech on campus or face being blacklisted by the OFS... Sussex University’s free speech society was told by the students’ union that its inaugural guest must submit his speech in advance for vetting, in case it violates their safe space policy. Students said their speaker was effectively “no-platformed” due to a “prohibitive” list of restrictions imposed by the students' union.  It also emerged that King’s College London hired “safe space marshals” to police controversial speaker events on campus and be ready to take “immediate action” if anyone expresses opinions that breech the safe space policy.  Three marshals patrolled while the Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg addressed students, at the invitation of the university's Conservative Society."

'There is a climate of intimidation at British universities - we are afraid to speak about anything controversial' - "When Professor Jeff McMahan arrived in Oxford, a chance conversation turned him off social media. A fellow philosophy lecturer was rueing the day he had agreed to be his grandson’s “friend” on Facebook, then accepted requests from hordes of students. “I took that as a warning and never signed up,” says McMahan.   He also steered clear of Twitter, which has probably served him well over the past few months as he has been setting up the Journal of Controversial Ideas, a new, peer-reviewed publication dedicated to airing the kind of research on race and intelligence, genetics and gender identity that has recently seen academics no-platformed and drummed out of their jobs... “There is a real climate of intimidation at universities that makes people fearful of speaking out on controversial issues,” he says. “Many people are deterred from publishing ideas or arguments for which they could provide good reasons and evidence because they are frightened of threats to their career or even their physical well-being.”... in the wake of MeToo [Germaine Greer] set Twitter alight by claiming that “most rape is just lazy, careless and insensitive”... Dr Francesca Minerva, a bioethicist at the University of Ghent, who received death threats after co-authoring a paper suggesting that if late abortion of a perfectly healthy baby was permissible in law, killing a newborn of the same gestation should also be legal... She claims to have encountered several scientists working on climate change who had been on the receiving end of death threats from climate change deniers... “Aristotle argued for the permissibility of slavery. Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. We’re going to have to get rid of a lot of people if we go through the past trying to disavow everyone who fails to meet what are quite properly contemporary moral standards.”  More pertinently, such actions feel like a waste of energy: “Students really ought to be tackling problems of racism that exist now, not dealing with symbols”... The big issues of life are out there, but the internet is making meaningful debate all but impossible: “People enjoy being outraged,” says McMahan. “They love exchanging things they think are silly or pernicious on social media so they maintain a permanent state of indignation and irritation and that is very unhealthy. What we’re trying to do is counter those tendencies and encourage calm, reasoned, rational discussion.”"
If a famous feminist "supports" "rape culture", that suggests that the slippery slope is very real

Do you now have to be Left-wing to study at the University of Cambridge? - "I fell into conversation with a planet-brained undergraduate historian. He had got in on his second attempt, he said. The first time around, he had stumbled at the interview. The tutor, in rather a classic Oxbridge way, had pulled out a sugar cube and asked him what he thought.Rather impressively, to my mind, the sixth-former spoke about the way in which trade knitted together previously remote places in the early modern period. He expatiated on the rise of consumerism. He used the move from beet to cane as an example of globalisation transforming landscapes. He described recent shifts in lifestyle that were making sugar cubes rarer. The tutor looked on impatiently, eventually bursting in with, “So nothing about slavery?”“It was my fault, really,” the young historian told me in an apologetic tone. “I ought to have researched her views beforehand. I took a gap year and applied again, but this time I was careful to avoid Marxist dons.”Between 1856 and 1871, Cambridge repealed the various rules that had discriminated against non-Anglicans. But it now seems be introducing a new and unofficial Test Act, one based on politics rather than religion. Once again, the effect is to keep out clever people with the wrong convictions. Consider the sacking of Dr Noah Carl, a sociologist dismissed by St Edmund’s College after a petition by Left-wing academics who accused him of “racist pseudoscience” after he defended the right of academics to investigate the genetic basis of IQ. Note that Dr Carl was not himself advancing any conclusions on the subject. All he was arguing was that scholars should be allowed to follow their research even if it led to uncomfortable places. Yet, incredibly, making the case for academic freedom is itself now treated as a thoughtcrime. Carl’s sacking followed the withdrawal of a visiting fellowship for the acclaimed Canadian academic Jordan Peterson on essentially the same grounds: a Corbynista mob had demanded it. In both cases, the authorities defended their decisions on grounds of “inclusivity”. Yes, they actually used that word, without evident irony or self-awareness... Cambridge was announcing a wide-ranging inquiry into its past links with the slave trade. Now any fair-minded investigation would put that question into perspective. It would recognise that slavery was a near-universal human institution for thousands of years. It would note that the truly unusual aspect of Cambridge’s history was its association with abolitionism. It would acknowledge the role of the university’s vice-chancellor Peter Peckard who, as early as 1784, set an essay competition with the question “Anne liceat invitos in servitutem dare”(“Is it lawful to enslave the unconsenting?”) The winner of that competition, an undergraduate at St John’s College called Thomas Clarkson, did as much to bring about the end of the slave trade as any other human being with the arguable exception of William Wilberforce, also of St John’s.  In other words, a case could at least be made that, in an age when slavery was widely regarded as natural, Cambridge’s chief association with that foul institution was to have contributed disproportionately to its abolition. Yet, two years before the inquiry ends, we can say with certainty that that will not be its conclusion. We can say it because, in a reversal of the empirical method, Cambridge has set up an inquiry to reach a predetermined outcome."

The failure to stand up for conservative thinking is leading us into a new cultural dark age - "British intellectual life has always made room for the conservative voice. From Burke and Hume to Maitland and Oakeshott, British philosophers have offered a continuous reflection on our social and cultural inheritance, with a view to understanding the fundamental idea on which conservatism has been founded – the idea of belonging.They have insisted that the goal of our earthly life is not to remake the world but to belong to it, and that the true political virtues are patience, understanding and humility rather than indignation or revolutionary rage... We were taught to value eccentricity and to speak out in its defence. We learned that the lessons of history are far from simple, and that the truth will never emerge from dogmatic assertions, but only from sceptical and open-minded argument, in which real knowledge rather than comfortable opinion provides the links... Reflecting on recent witch-hunts, my own included, I have been particularly struck by the letters of mass denunciation which are now commonplace in our universities. Letters against Jordan Peterson and Noah Carl, with many signatures, have recently excluded two important dissidents from the University of Cambridge, the very haven where I once learned the true nature of the intellectual life.I was reminded of the petitions that academics in the communist countries were forced to sign, begging for the punishment of their dissident colleagues. But these new denunciations are all the more disgraceful in that the signatories do not have the secret police at their elbow, guiding their pen. The accusers are enthusiasts, inspired by an ideology that sees conservative views and attitudes as evil – not to be discussed but to be silenced, as social democracy was silenced by the Nazis and Shia Islam by the Ottomans. As a rule the signatories make no attempt to examine the scholarship of the one whom they denounce. The victim is charged with a “thought-crime” and the advantage of thought crimes is that nobody knows how to define them, so that nobody knows how you can defend yourself when accused of them. The gap between accusation and guilt has been abolished, and with it that most precious attribute of our legal and moral inheritance, which is the presumption of innocence... We used to look in astonishment on Moscow show-trials, in which the victim, convicted of deviationism, left infantilism, bourgeois idealism, “neo-Schellingism”, Zionist imperialism or whatever, is given a brief chance to confess enthusiastically to his fault, before being taken away to the firing squad. Where was the evidence, we asked, and what exactly was the crime?Now we see respectable thinkers accused of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia and a host of other thought crimes, on the strength of a word out of context, a long-forgotten friendship, or (as with Jordan Peterson) a photograph proving that you are capable of standing next to someone wearing the wrong kind of T-shirt... every attempt at a defence entrenches the accusation. If you point out that the thought crimes are largely chosen to mean whatever the accuser wishes them to mean, then that is sure proof that you are guilty. We are, it seems to me, entering a realm of cultural darkness, in which rational argument and respect for the opponent are disappearing from public discourse, and in which increasingly, on every issue that matters, there is only one permitted view, and a licence to persecute all the heretics that do not subscribe to it.This signifies, to my way of thinking, the death of our political culture, and the rise of a kind of godless religion in its stead."

The real Roger Scruton scandal - "The Roger Scruton scandal is indeed disturbing. Not because of what Roger Scruton said, but because of what the New Statesman did. In order to score a hit against a conservative philosopher cum Tory adviser who has always rubbed leftists up the wrong way, the New Statesman’s deputy editor dispensed with the ethics of journalism, wilfully distorted a quotation, and inferred racism where, to the best of our knowledge, none exists. Scruton’s comments were not particularly shocking, but the New Statesman’s behaviour was... Reading the general media coverage of the scandal, and the New Statesman’s promotion of the interview online, you could be forgiven for thinking that these ‘unacceptable comments’ from Scruton included anti-Chinese racism and anti-Semitism. But they didn’t; it only looks that way because of the New Statesman’s unethical sleight of hand and virtual misquotation – usually a huge no-no in the world of respectable journalism.

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Sir Roger Scruton: I want my name cleared - "‘There's another part of the interview where you talk about George Soros, the Hungarian American and investor. And you say, anybody who doesn't think there is a Soros Empire, in Hungary, has not observed the facts. Now, again, what some people say is that when people talk about George Soros, particularly on the right, that is an anti semitic trope.’
‘Well, that's ridiculous. I mean, there are plenty of businessmen all over the world who have empires. If I were George Soros, I'd be really proud of the empire that he has, you know, because it's not just business. He's managed to establish NGOs, a university, all kinds of networks of, of charitable relief, and education and all the rest. Which would give him a huge presence in Hungarian society. But nobody who knows the facts would say that this is not an empire. It doesn't follow that it's something bad about it.’
‘And there's another part of the interview where actually you speak very positively about Jewish people in Hungary. Did that make it into the paper, do you know?’
‘No, of course not. I mean, only the negative things got in, as you know, very well.’
‘When you were sacked by the government, after the interview had taken place, were you asked by anyone in the government for your side of what had happened?’
‘No. I received a phone call. Well actually I, I learned from my secretary when I telephoned home from Paris on my way home, that I'd been sacked. I have never received any official communication. Nothing at all. And I suspect this is all you know an attempt to flee from the question, I feel very sorry for Mr. Brokenshire... I didn't know what to do. All one can do is sort of lie down and groan for a bit… I'm a conservative thinker. Well known as such, outspoken, but reasonable in my view. And there's been throughout this country and throughout Europe, really, an attempt to silence the conservative voice. We get identified, caricatured, and then demonized and made to look as though we are some kind of sinister, fascist, racist kind of people. And as soon as the Conservative Party sees one of us being demonized in this way, they rush to dissociate themselves from us. This happens, you know, so I gather on social media, all kinds of MP saying, oh, he's not one of us. And there I am out in the cold, my only fault having been trying to defend them. And this I think, this kind of witch hunting of people on the right, is something which is getting worse in our societies. We’ve just seen it with Jordan Peterson in Cambridge, with Richard de lute ko [sp?] in America, you know, all the people who are absolutely first rate thinkers and should be in there, in the dialogue so that we have sort of their wisdom, but we are being excluded...
Okay, now you taken those views, which are snips from BuzzFeed, taken from elaborate arguments that I've made. When I say that there is no such crime as date rape, I'm saying what is true, there isn't a specific legal category of date rape, and I wanted to make that point in order to ensure that people don't use this to obscure the difference between real, real sexual, real sexual violence and, you know, things that have gone wrong. And, you know, I feel that we, it's partly because we're getting our language, so vague and slippery, at the borders of everything, that there's a kind of growing, if you like, distrust between the sexes, there’s a growing distrust between people generally, because we don't know what we can be accused of. We don't know how to vindicate ourselves when we are accused. That's why I made these remarks about getting the language straight and getting it right. It's then misconstrued by the learned editors of BuzzFeed. To attribute to me a thoughtcrime. And this business of constantly manufacturing thoughtcrimes is part of the way that is being used to silence people who are conservative. Okay, the Conservative Party wants to run away from those people. But in doing so, it's running away from its own voters. And this is to me a gesture of suicide"

Modern Search Engine Optimisation

Spammer, 5th February: Hi Gabriel,

I noticed that you have a broken link to a website called eFinancialNews.com. That site was first published way back in 2000 but unfortunately, it is no longer a working website.

You link to eFinancialNews on this page: http://gssq.blogspot.com/2010_08_15_archive.html

We recently published an article that explains what happened to the site. I think it's an interesting story, and it could be useful to your readers.

In addition, since all of the financial content on that site is no longer available, we have included a curated list of the best financial news resources that are still being published.

Here's the article if you want to take a look: *Removed*

Would you consider swapping out the broken link for our article?

Please let me know if you have any questions and thank you for your time.


Spammer, 12th February: Hi again,

I wanted to check in and see if you got my note about the broken link on your site?


Me, 12th February: I have no interest in linking your article and doubt my readers do either. Even if anyone happens to notice the 404 they'll be more likely to want to read the original article rather than one about what happened to the site originally hosting it, an issue about which they in all likelihood could care less about

I hope you have more success promoting your SEO through link insertion to other sites

Spammer, 12th February: Fair enough, thanks Gabriel.

Links - 15th February 2020 (1)

OhMiBod wants to let your Tinder matches control your vibrator
3 years on it seems this isn't a thing yet

He Bought Her a $100,000 Engagement Ring—Then They Broke Up and Things Really Got Messy - "he bought Dickens a four-carat engagement ring about 18 months ago. It's valued at more than $100,000, and despite the dissolution of their plans to wed, she isn't giving it back. About a month after they began dating, says Strasser, she moved into his D.C. condo for three weeks, when repairs necessitated by a car accident prevented her from returning home to North Carolina. (This is the sort of detail that makes for great wedding-toast fodder if the relationship goes well, but is insane if it does not.) When his one-bedroom condo proved too tight for them and their three dogs, they moved in July 2016 to a five-bedroom house in an upscale neighborhood, where he assumed sole responsibility for paying the $4,800-per-month rent and all their living expenses.Also: "Within months" of agreeing to date exclusively, he says—which happened when she moved in!—she gave him a one-year proposal deadline. (Proposal deadlines never go well.)... Dickens reportedly had very specific requirements about diamond-rating criteria, and the ring they eventually selected together, which included fourteen diamonds total, was priced at $119,000—although Strasser was able to secure a slight discount. To help defray the cost, he took out a personal loan, on which he began making monthly payments of $912.71 in February 2017. He will continue to make those same payments through New Year's Day. Of 2020... She refused to leave, and prevented him from taking anything more than a duffel bag's worth of clothes when he moved out.  Then, several months later, he returned to their home to discover that she had abandoned the premises at some point—but not before she turned off the refrigerator, causing meat to spoil inside, and covered the walls in "angry writings" using "pen and permanent marker." The cost of repairs exceeded the amount of his security deposit, although his landlords still returned $1,000 "as a thank you for being a good tenant," both because they were aware of the complicated situation and also apparently because they are the nicest landlords in the world."
If someone agrees to marry you and changes his mind, can you sue for damages?

If one more polyamorous coastal 'queer' tells me Pete Buttigieg isn't gay enough I'll scream. He is — and so am I - "The thing is, many (if not most) gay people are boring and want to live in the real world, which means living in a largely straight world. They want white picket fences, and nuclear families, and monogamy. They spend their time not sniffing poppers at a Fire Island orgy, but praying in a flyover state church. They don’t see their rights deriving from these institutions, as Keating argued, but from the Constitution. Many (but not all!) have politics that are moderate. Some even — quelle surprise! — are capitalists who like their insurance. In short, many gay people either are, or want to be, like Mayor Pete. This notion that the first openly gay candidate for president is insufficiently gay is homophobic. It pretends that if you’re not a polyamorous self-identifying “queer” who lives in New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles (or, to put it bluntly, a stereotype) that you’re not doing homosexuality right — as though there’s ever been a right way to do it"

China’s Mistress-Dispellers | The New Yorker - "His clients are women who hope to preserve their marriages by fending off what is known in Chinese as a xiao san, or “Little Third”—a term that encompasses everything from a partner in a casual affair to a long-term “kept woman.” Mistress dispellers use a variety of methods. Some Little Thirds can be paid off or discouraged by hearing unwelcome details of their lovers’ lives—debts, say, or responsibility for an elderly parent—or shamed with notes sent to friends and family. If the dispeller or the client is well connected, a Little Third may suddenly find that her job requires her to move to another city. A female dispeller sometimes seeks to become a confidante, in order to advise the targeted woman that the liaison will inevitably crumble. In certain cases, a male mistress dispeller may even seduce the woman... Yu took pictures of the two women and then got the friend to take several of him and Wang with their arms around each other. Once the weekend was over, these pictures found their way to Wang’s boyfriend. “A picture speaks louder than a thousand words, and, in a jealous man’s imagination, it can speak ten thousand,” Yu told me. The man ended the relationship, and returned to his wife, appreciative, if nothing else, of her loyalty. The mission had taken around four months in all... When I asked why his Wuxi client hadn’t considered divorce, he was incredulous. For a woman, divorce was rarely a sensible choice. “In today’s world, a secondhand woman is like a secondhand car,” he said. “Once it’s been driven, it’s not worth a fraction of its original selling price.” A secondhand man, on the other hand, Yu explained, is like renovated property in China’s real-estate market: “The value only appreciates.”... “There are no enduring marriages,” she told me matter-of-factly. “Only mistresses who haven’t worked hard enough at tearing it apart.”... There is little sense that a couple should work together to address the underlying dynamics of their relationship. Instead, the clients seek training in how to win back their husbands through unilateral effort, mostly while keeping the consultations secret. One of them told me, “If he finds out I went to a therapist, he’ll think this is a ploy and that I am actually entrapping him with my newly learned techniques.” Ming’s lessons consist of strategy tips that amount to a kind of Art of War for marriage. A wife who has run out of things to say to her husband might be advised to buy him presents or to plant an unexpected romantic note in his suit pocket. From a Western perspective, Ming’s method offers an odd vision of empowerment, achieved through pragmatic acceptance of a retrograde model of marriage. Husbands are to be flattered, seductive clothes worn (“a relationship necessity”), and all the work of the relationship done by the wife, without the husband ever being aware of it... Occasionally, she discovers that clients have embarked on sham divorces, in order to buy property on preferential terms that are available only to unmarried people. Men have been known to lure their wives into this arrangement and then take up with mistresses as soon as the papers are signed. The phenomenon is common enough that, last year, it constituted the plot of a critically acclaimed film, “I Am Not Madame Bovary.”... Zhang’s services include sheltering women thrown out by their husbands, but her specialty is coaching clients on confronting and beating up the mistresses. She recently told a Chinese newspaper that violence was therapeutic for the wives: “Those who don’t dare to beat will develop diseases including esophageal cancer, uterine cancer, lung cancer.”... When comparing the experiences of her two marriages, Li used the words “heaven and earth.” “My first husband wasn’t a bad sort,” she said, but, amid the poverty of rural China, there was little to their relationship beyond day-to-day survival. “We needed each other to just keep our stomachs full and our bodies warm at night,” Li said. The kind of desire Li discovered with her second husband, with its “somersaults of excitement and yawns of blissful fatigue,” was an awakening.  Li paused again and drew a deep breath. “The enemy of marriage is time,” she said, smiling. By the eighth year, the honeymoon period had long given way to “the salt and vinegar of daily life.”"
The corollary of the 2011 decision is that before, the law had advantaged women by letting them keep property bought before marriage. Given that in China men need a property to get married, it is clear where the injustice is

Alligator spotted crossing the street in Montreal - "the alligator was returned to its rightful owner, who had all the necessary permits, and the animal was actually part of an educational project."

Indian students wear boxes on their heads to prevent cheating - "The Bhagat Pre-University College in Haveri, in India's southwestern Karnataka state, implemented a trial run of the new measure... The school had faced a widespread and persistent cheating problem last year -- leading to new anti-cheating experiments like the boxes... There has been a number of cheating scandals across India in recent years. One particularly prominent scandal in 2015 saw parents and family members in Bihar state scaling the exterior walls of school buildings to pass their children cheat sheets... Critics have pointed to such pressure as a motivator to cheat, and a source of poor mental health among students -- earlier this year, 19 students in the southern Indian state of Telangana took their own lives after the release of exam results."

Bihar cheating scandal: What parents in India will do for good grades - "a father in the city of Mathura was caught strapping his 8-year old daughter to a motorcycle after she refused to attend school to take her assessment.Tied with a multi-strand rope to the back of a bike, onlookers captured images of the trussed girl, her bare feet hanging low, scraping the asphalt. According to local police officials, the girl's parents offered her several incentives, such as chocolates and toys to entice her, however when the girl was still reluctant, her father decided to take matters in his own hands. After photos started making the rounds on social media, police officials took the man into custody and charged him with "breach of the peace." He is now out on bail. "Even after he got out, the father showed no remorse. He has five children to feed and he believes the only way they can get out of this poverty trap is through education""

Melissa Chen - "The Boston Tea Party looms large in the folklore of American nationalism and in the annals of civil disobedience, and somehow along the way the truth has mutated over the course of history.You probably have been told that the "tea party" was to protest the outrageously expensive British tea and that it had something to do with high taxes or "taxation without presentation."The truth is that it wasn't actually a protest against high taxes. In fact, it was sparked by a tax cut, not a tax hike. You see, the English Parliament passed an Act that exempted the British East Indies Company from the tax on importation of tea to North America.So in reality, the tea was cheap - too cheap, in fact - and it became a problem. The good people of Boston had been making quite a living smuggling Dutch tea into the Colonies. Now the Brits had cut the price of tea to undercut the smugglers... So yeah, the Tea Party was prompted by a corporate bailout and actually symbolized protectionism more than the feel-good libertarian cause of protesting high taxes that we have been taught to believe over the years. Just as the tea from the shattered chests darkened the waters of the Boston Harbor on the night of December 16th in 1773, so too has the story we tell ourselves about this event in America's history been corrupted."

𝐅𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐚 𝐈𝐧 𝐕𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐚𝐜𝐞 on Twitter - "Richest woman in the world - Mackenzie Bezos
Net worth - $40 billion
Source of income - divorce"

Killer Rabbits in Medieval Manuscripts: Why So Many Drawings in the Margins Depict Bunnies Going Bad - ""The usual imagery of the rabbit in Medieval art is that of purity and helplessness – that’s why some Medieval portrayals of Christ have marginal art portraying a veritable petting zoo of innocent, nonviolent, little white and brown bunnies going about their business in a field." But the creators of this particular type of humorous marginalia, known as drollery, saw things differently. "Drolleries sometimes also depicted comedic scenes, like a barber with a wooden leg (which, for reasons that escape me, was the height of medieval comedy) or a man sawing a branch out from under himself"... Then, of course, we have the bunnies making their attacks while mounted on snails, snail combats being "another popular staple of Drolleries, with groups of peasants seen fighting snails with sticks, or saddling them and attempting to ride them.""

Barack Obama: Women are better leaders than men - "If women ran every country in the world there would be a general improvement in living standards and outcomes, former US President Barack Obama has said."
Sexism is good when it's anti-male

Wind chill is a terrible, misleading metric. So why do we still use it? - "The wind chill index is designed for a very precise, very narrow purpose. "It was developed solely to assess the risk of frostbite on unclothed parts of the body"... Those are very particular conditions, and they don't really describe our full range of experiences outside. So, more often than not, wind chill dramatically exaggerates the cold we actually feel.  This is not a secret. Many people have pointed this out over the years. In 2007, Slate's Daniel Engber suggested that "rather than trying to patch up wind chill's inconsistencies, we should just dump it altogether." The real mystery, then, is why weather forecasters continue to use wind chill — even though most experts know that it's wildly flawed... Bluestein's updated wind chill formula is relatively simple: You plug in the temperature and wind speed, and it spits out your risk of frostbite.But this formula is based on the assumption that each one of us inhabits the same body — about 5-foot-6, and heavyset, with the exact same size face — and therefore each of us loses heat at the same rate... different people lose heat at dramatically different rates... This is one of many oversimplifications that are now baked into the wind chill formula we use daily. It assumes the sun isn't shining at all, and that whenever you're outside, you're constantly walking at a speed of about 3 miles per hour straight into a steady wind... Moreover, the wind speeds generally used to calculate wind chill come from airport weather stations, but as Bluestein notes, "if you're walking in an urban environment, buildings and trees are going to cut down wind speed. At the airport, there's nothing blocking it."... even the new formula dramatically exaggerates what it "feels like" to be outside... some meteorologists and weather buffs want to do away with these sorts of "feels like" metrics entirely, relying solely on a single number that tells you exactly what it promises: the temperature. "[Wind chill] is a parameter which has huge variation from person to person and depends significantly on how we dress, what our environment is like and on many factors where there will always be some level of uncertainty," writes Vrolijk, the Canadian meteorologist. "While we have gotten used to explicit declarations of the wind chill value, reality is far more fuzzy.""

Tarekh Rana is an acclaimed Ajax businessman. Is he also a fugitive crime boss? - "Both Rana and the wanted man, Khandekar Tanvirul Islam, alias Joy, an alleged leader of the Seven Star crime group, are 52, similar in appearance and lived in Kolkata, India.Police and court records allege that a man identified by his co-accused as the Seven Star leader was arrested in Kolkata in 2007, and that he used the alias Md. Tarek Rana. The Ajax businessman also goes by Md. Tarekh Rana.A photo allegedly taken following the 2007 arrest of the suspect alleged to be Joy shows a man resembling Rana... The birth date, father’s name and wife’s name in the passport match those of the Ajax entrepreneur.Shown the passport, Rana confirmed it was his but denied being arrested in Kolkata or anywhere else and raised the possibility he had been the victim of identity theft.“I am now really shocked because for some reason someone is using my passport & picture,” he responded in an email... According to court documents, the man arrested in India 12 years ago has a remarkably similar health history to Rana’s, having undergone surgery on both legs in Kolkata in early 2007 to treat severe arthritis. Rana said he had undergone the same procedure in Kolkata in late 2006 and early 2007.The Indian court file of the man alleged to be Joy includes a driver’s licence, bank statements, business records and tax returns — all under the name Md. Tarekh Rana. They describe the suspect as born on March 3, 1967. Ontario property records show the Ajax developer has the same date of birth."

Friday, February 14, 2020

How meal-delivery apps are hurting your favourite restaurants

How meal-delivery apps are hurting your favourite restaurants

"Most restaurateurs, however, seem resentful, feeling that these companies have poached their customers, and that they can’t afford not to pay the ransom in the form of a sales commission. They’d rather not trust a third-party company with delivering their food hot and on time. But they feel they can’t say no, as these companies gobble up market share by transforming diners into delivery customers...

“I would have less of a problem with it if the charge was passed onto the customer rather than the restaurant,” says Grant van Gameren, who co-owns a half-dozen restaurants in Toronto. “Restaurants often feel forced to join in order to remain competitive even if they know that Uber will take any bit of profit. I hope for a day when everyone on Uber revolts and gets off it. Uber’s new rate takes 35 per cent from the restaurants now and takes customers out of the seats.”

Again and again I heard restaurateurs describe being on the losing end of the disruption-technology industry’s strategy — getting between successful businesses and their customers, then charging the businesses to access their former customers...

[On commission] “Uber is 30 per cent for us,” says Mollie Jacques, executive chef at Lambretta Pizzeria in Toronto. “And the app gets worse every time they upgrade; we now have no control over anything, and it is definitely losing us customers. Foodora is 25 per cent and DoorDash is a bit lower. Foodora has the best service. Doordash, we don't make the food until the driver is in the door, as they are often so late the food is cold and we have to remake it.”

According to a recent story in The New Yorker, “How delivery apps may put your favourite restaurant out of business,” making a profit on delivery alone is not possible, as the labour cost of the delivery is too high (also, these companies are themselves as-yet unprofitable tech ventures). So the profit margin has to come from somewhere else: the pockets of restaurateurs. Meanwhile, according to a survey by Morgan Stanley, “forty-three per cent of delivery patrons said that a meal they ordered in was replacing one they would have otherwise eaten at a restaurant” — suggesting the problem is only going to get worse.

A lot of restaurateurs say they use these apps strictly for marketing purposes, hoping to break even on the high commissions while exposing their product to a larger audience. But I spoke with a former salesperson for multiple delivery apps, who, in addition to confirming the rates I was hearing from restaurateurs, also told me that the average customer doesn’t use these platforms to discover new restaurants, but instead orders repeatedly from the same half dozen.

In 2015, California chain In-N-Out Burger went so far as to sue Doordash in order to have their restaurants removed...

However, everyone seems happy with Ritual. It’s pick-up only. But the system has a feature called “Piggyback,” which can prompt coworkers to add on to your order by alerting them that you’re going to grab lunch from a favourite place. Ritual CEO Raymond Reddy tells me that about a third of the orders in Toronto end up piggybacking, which effectively creates a network of free delivery while increasing order sizes for restaurants. Ritual also (sorry to sound like a Ritual shill, but it is the only company that no one complains about) has much lower fees of 10 per cent, which restaurants can negate entirely with their regulars, if they get them to sign up as customers of the restaurant.

It wasn’t always this one-sided. In 2015, when UberEATS launched in Toronto, it was a good deal for everyone. But it was a different system. Back then, UberEats had only a handful of options every day. Restaurant partners would prep hundreds of orders of one or two items and load them into Uber vehicles, to be delivered over the lunch period. Consumers got meals out of orbiting cars within minutes. And restaurants were able to maintain food waste and labour cost by pretty much guaranteeing large-volume sales on a dish of their choice. But within a year UberEATS had transformed into a more traditional, “We’ll pick up food from a restaurant for you,” service. At the same time, they drastically reduced payment rates for their drivers.

One driver told me that to make any money, it’s necessary to work for multiple companies. With UberEATS, which prompts customers for tips after delivery instead of while ordering, he only receives a tip about 10 per cent of the time. We tend to think that it’s not necessary to tip for delivery because there are no servers. But there is just as much work for the kitchen, with no share of tips that would be collected from orders in the restaurant.

At the middle and high-end range of restaurants, dining out is about an experience. So people are going to keep going out to eat, because it’s more for entertainment than sustenance. But the lower range, where customers will always choose what is easiest for them, is ripe for automation of labour and exploitation by parasitic tech companies. The convenience of phone app delivery makes even quality and price less important. A Just Eats spokesperson told me they guarantee the same prices as ordering directly from the restaurant. But my Burger’s Priest bacon double cheeseburger was $11.99, instead of the $9.99 in the restaurant. DoorDash similarly marks up prices. Pad Thai from Sukhothai, ordered through UberEats, is the same price as in the restaurant, but the portion is smaller. Meanwhile, delivery ramen becomes less than the sum of its parts, the wow factor of hot broth over springy noodles lost to winter chill. And it is simply not possible to keep fries hot and crispy for delivery. In an open container they go cold. In a closed container they steam."

Links - 14th February 2020 (2)

Michelin drops Jiro sushi restaurant from Tokyo guide - "To win a coveted seat at the restaurant, you either need to be a regular customer, have special connections or go through the concierge of a top hotel."

Institutional Foundations of Legislative Speech - "Participation in legislative debates is among the most visible activities of members of parliament (MPs), yet debates remain an understudied form of legislative behavior. This study introduces a comparative theory of legislative speech with two major implications. First, party rules for debates are endogenous to strategic considerations and will favor either party leadership control or backbencher MP exposure. Second, in some systems, backbenchers will receive less time on the floor as their ideological distance to the party leadership increases. This leads to speeches that do not reflect true party cohesion. Where party reputation matters less for reelection, leaders allow dissidents to express their views on the floor. We demonstrate the implications of our model for different political systems and present evidence using speech data from Germany and the United Kingdom."
Proportional representation - even a hybrid form as in Germany, leads not just to representatives who don't represent anyone in particular but MPs who are beholden to the party, not voters

Prince Dagus on Twitter - "Spoke to my ex after 10 years. 'Miss or Mrs?' he asked. 'Dr', I said"
"He was asking if you're single or not. God! I would never want anyone that stupid to be my doctor."

The Four Cuisine Regions of China - "I have asked many Chinese friends in Beijing which region of China has the poorest food. “The north!” is always the answer, accompanied by a rueful smile. General opinion deems northern Chinese cooking the ‘poorest’ of the four schools, because of the lack of variety in ingredients and preparation relative to other regions... Northern cuisine favors straightforward tastes, with garlic, scallions, leeks and chilies some primary flavor notes. Mutton and pork are the meats of choice (mutton being particularly used in the Muslim northwest.) Poultry is only used by the wealthy or on special occasions (chickens are commonly kept by poorer folk, but used for their eggs.) Seafood is rare. Northern cuisine uses salt and oil liberally and doesn’t shy away from animal fat (especially pork fat.) These last two seasonings have the advantage of adding calories to the diet in the north’s bitterly cold winters. Often northern Chinese will preserve vegetables for the winter...
Eastern Chinese cuisine, found in the cities of Shanghai and Hangzhou as well as the surrounding provinces, is primarily a cuisine of sweetness. This school uses sugar, wines, and vinegars to provide sweet tastes and create subtlety of flavor. Like the north, eastern cooks favor oily dishes, although these are more subtle than in those in the north. Seafood is abundant... Pork and poultry are used as well. Soups and soupy dishes are very popular. Shanghai is known for its unusual ‘soup inject,’ dishes, which are meatballs, dumplings, or buns filled with a gelatin and stock mixture and cooked until the inside is soup...
The food of China’s west, including the provinces of Sichuan, Hunan and Yunnan, is nothing less than vibrant. It combines a cornucopia of eastern spices with a natural abundance of ingredients... This is a sophisticated and highly spiced cuisine, often extremely spicy hot...
The food of the south is widely regarded as the country’s best. Southern Chinese cuisine centers on Guangdong province and its capital, Guangzhou (once called Canton), and Hong Kong. A famous proverb illustrates the fame of Guangdong food: “Live in Hangzhou, marry in Suzhou, dine in Guangzhou, and die in Luzhou.” (These cities are said to have the best view, the prettiest women, the best food, and the best coffin wood, respectively). This subtropical region is rich in resources, and Guangdong chefs have abundant produce, seafood, and meats at their disposal. Guangdong cuisine incorporates ingredients from all over China and is known for its sometime use of ‘exotic’ animals. As another culinary proverb states, in Guangdong cuisine, “anything that walks, swims, crawls, or flies with its back to Heaven is edible.” To be sure, travelers to this region will notice a perhaps-shocking array of animals for sale in the marketplace—dogs, cats, snakes, and turtles are some of the more commonplace... Above all else, classical Guangdong cooking emphasizes absolute freshness of ingredients and correct technique. Ingredients are usually prepared with a light touch, just enough cooking and seasoning to bring out the natural flavors of the foods."

Need help with your dating profile? These ‘doctors’ are in. - "Dean was recently approached by a client who wanted a monogamous relationship but wasn’t having any success. When Dean looked at her dating profile, he realized what the problem was: her pictures.“I was horrified,” he says. “It was just a bunch of intense modeling shots with a lot of cleavage, her staring in a sultry way into the camera. She had lots of little quippy one liners, like “How about we get drinks?” and “I’m always up for hopping on a flight!” She was a caricature of a person with no vulnerability. Everything was just coded to say, ‘I’m desperate for attention.’”... “I had to work with her on using photos that tell stories, suggesting that she was a real person and not just an Instagram model. Modeling shots aren’t useful unless you want to provide masturbatory material for guys who are scrolling at 2 a.m.,” Dean says. “She was finding exactly the kind of man she didn’t want to find because her profile was built to attract them.”... You should actually hope you get rejected, and often. Dean says most people make the mistake of trying to be likeable, which can mute their unique attributes and bring them thousands of matches that aren’t ideal fits"

Fintech: the rise of the Asian ‘super app’ | Financial Times - "One reason for the premium valuations of fintech start-ups such as Grab and its Indonesia-based competitor Go-Jek, which is valued at $10bn, is that these companies do much more than financial services. As well as GrabPay, its payment platform and Ovo, its lending partner, Grab also runs the GrabCar and GrabTaxi ride-hailing businesses and other operations including GrabBike for on-demand motorcycle services, GrabFresh for grocery shopping and GrabFood for food delivery... It is an open secret that Asia’s fintech feeding frenzy has been enabled by decades of aloof, inefficient and expensive service from traditional banks and other financial institutions.  A survey of 4,500 banking customers in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia conducted this year by PwC, the professional services company, found that the proportion experiencing problems with their bank was 82 per cent in Hong Kong, 71 per cent in Singapore and 65 per cent in Malaysia... when customers were asked to think of an animal that characterised their current bank, many chose “sloth, elephant or mosquito” to describe the inadequate service they received... Currently in Hong Kong — for example at HSBC, the territory’s biggest bank — it is far from unusual to wait months for a credit card approval... traditional lenders face an added problem. As they pick fintech partners, they must judge which are likely to survive what analysts predict will be a thorough winnowing process.  Even some of the best known fintech champions are haemorrhaging cash... For Go-Jek and Grab in south-east Asia, actual profitability is an aspiration rather than a short- or even medium-term goal. But at some stage even the most well-heeled of investors will start demanding that the start-ups demonstrate a pathway to profitability. Those that cannot will perish."

Chinese journalist publishes article full of errors, netizens say it's okay because she's pretty - "BD News journalist Xing Chengbo caused quite a stir online when she flubbed the names of 15 of the 23 national footballers taking part in the EAFF E-1 Football Championship... the criticism of Xing was soon side-tracked when pictures of her in a tight, pink dress began circulating online."

UK ranks as one of the worst countries to live in the world - "Britain is one of the worst countries in the world to live as an expat... Britain came in at 62nd place, out of 64 countries for personal happiness. The UK also scored low for quality of life, thanks to the current political climate — 42% of expats rated political stability negatively versus the global average of 17% of people being dissatisfied. This has hit opinion on the economy and job security.  One German expat said: “Brexit makes our future uncertain.”  The weather also had an effect on scores — 49% of people rated the climate negatively. A Lithuanian expat even adds that “the weather affects my general health and wellbeing.” Expats moving to the UK also find it hard to settle in when comparing it to the global average. Some 52% feel at home in the local culture versus 60% globally while 16% don’t think they will ever feel at home in the UK versus the global average of 13%. An American expat adds that “the locals are reserved and won’t go out of their way to be overly social. They may let you into their fold, but never in their inner circle.”  Britain is also an expensive place to live... Childcare is also considered hard to afford, say 69% of expats."

Japanese method of cooking rice with 2-piece KFC original recipe chicken looks absolutely delicious – Mothership.SG – News from Singapore, Asia and around the world - "The simple recipe calls for soy sauce, chicken stock, KFC original recipe chicken, uncooked rice"

Is There an Upside to Having No Social Life? - "From my own experience interviewing highly successful artists, writers, and creative entrepreneurs I’ve found one of the most common responses to the question of how they can be so prolific to be, ‘well, I don’t have a social life.'... a 2016 study of 48 people, which measured their mental state, mood, fatigue and stress over 12 days, found that extraverted behaviour raised people’s moods and energy levels – but this behaviour also led to higher fatigue after a three-hour delay"

Wishing Christians 'Merry Christmas' is a sin, worse than murder - Islamic cleric, Zakir Naik

Thousands Of 'Penis Fish' Wash Up On A Beach In California - "in some cultures they're considered a delicacy. In Korea and China people eat them with sesame oil and gochujang"

Sanctuary City Sues Trump Administration Over Arrival Of Too Many Immigrants - "The State of New Mexico and the sanctuary city of Albuquerque have filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration for releasing too many immigrants into the state’s border cities. The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico on Monday, alleged that President Trump’s administration has enacted an “indiscriminate practice of releasing migrants in communities,” in violation of the federal “safe release” policy... In February, Grisham scoffed at the predicted influx of immigrants at the state’s southern border, calling the matter a “charade,” and withdrew National Guard troops from border locations, according to The Los Alamos Monitor.  The sanctuary city of Albuquerque currently receives between 150 and 250 immigrants every week, KVIA reported."
I guess migrants aren't so good after all?

Saudis recruited Twitter workers to spy on critics of Saudi regime, U.S. charges - "Federal prosecutors in San Francisco charged two former Twitter employees and a Saudi national with a plot to provide the Saudi government with information about Twitter users, including critics of the Saudi government... Ali Alzabarah, 35, of Saudi Arabia, and Ahmad Abouammo, 41, of Seattle were Twitter employees. According to the complaint, between November 2014 and May 2015, Ahmed Almutairi, 30, of Saudi Arabia, and Saudi officials convinced the two men to use their employee credentials to access nonpublic information about the individuals behind certain Twitter accounts.  The Saudis sought email addresses, IP addresses, and dates of birth for individuals who had published posts deemed by the kingdom's royal family to be critical of the regime"

The World Bank demanded that Taiwanese staff get Chinese passports - "This year, the World Bank told current and prospective employees of Taiwanese nationality they must present Chinese travel documents in order to maintain or pursue employment.
Why it matters: China has recently ramped up its campaign to systematically force Taiwan and its citizens out of the international community. But forcing out its own staff in this way violates World Bank employment principles."

Teens lured gay men on Grindr then tied them up and urinated on them - "Mohammed Sohail Khan, Qaasim Ahmad, and Muhammad Umar, all aged 18, created fake Grindr profiles before meeting their dates in Birmingham.They attacked and robbed their victims, tied them up and assaulted them as they yelled homophobic comments.One victims was spat at and urinated on during a traumatic two hour ordeal."
Damn colonialism!

Buses may seem slow and annoying now due to orders from Operations Control Centres - "bus drivers can actually get fined if they arrive too late or leave too early from a bus stop. The driver was probably simply trying to stay within the allotted schedule... The framework provides monetary incentives to transport companies in hopes of minimising instances of irregular and prolonged waiting times. This means that the Operations Control Centres (OCCs) of are now more vigilant in ensuring that their drivers maintain a reliable schedule bu providing better guidance to their drivers along routes, regulating bus speeds, and reducing long gaps between consecutive busses. This would mean that sometimes, buses will end up having to wait at certain stops for a minute or two in order to avoided space out bus arrivals at stops further along the route. This would be especially important when traffic is light."

Young professionals are leaving Hong Kong in droves in search of better lives where family, friends, and fun comes first

Young professionals are leaving Hong Kong in droves in search of better lives where family, friends, and fun comes first

"“Life in Iceland is certainly not as luxurious and eventful as it could be at home. And sometimes I do feel bored, but I’ve also learned to enjoy the simplicity here. In Iceland, no one will force you to do extra work, and my boss gives me freedom to practise different ways of doing my job.”

The number of locals leaving for countries hit a five-year high of about 24,300 last year, according to government data. The upwards trend is continuing this year, with one migration consultancy saying it has seen a 15 per cent increase in business compared with last year...

A small but growing number of young adults are moving to Iceland, New Zealand and Taiwan. The number for Iceland is not available, but Lau estimates there are about a dozen Hongkongers living there. For New Zealand, the number of the city’s residents moving there saw a 67 per cent increase in 10 years, while Taiwan saw a 50 per cent increase in five years.

Significantly, the United States is no longer the top choice for emigrants. The number of applications dropped by half compared with 10 years ago. Canada and Australia remain the most popular countries for Hongkongers to move to.

Experts cite a mix of reasons people are leaving: the stressful lifestyle, unaffordable housing, high cost of living, lack of political freedom, and a rigid education system.

Aside from the rising number leaving, Hong Kong is seeing fewer arrivals from the mainland too...

What is noticeable about those leaving Hong Kong is that professionals are not seeking better prospects for career and salary, but a more leisurely lifestyle that involves shorter office hours and more time for their family...

“The belief in Hong Kong that you’re only successful if you make a lot of money is overrated. This is something I want to steer my child away from”...

[In Australia] Choi started her own marketing business, while her husband works as a part-time delivery man.

“That’s the beauty of life here, no one will judge you by your job or family roles”...

“Most of them have lost hope for the city’s future, and they’re seeking to leave this place because they are not seeing any light at the end of the tunnel,” Hu says, referring to the high property prices, limited personal space, poor quality of life, and rigid education.

“It doesn’t matter to them if they won’t make as much money, or will not be able to climb up the [social] ladder at all”...

When blogger Lau arrived in Iceland, she was amazed by the totally different approach to work and lifestyle there compared to her homeland.

She has a flexible working schedule, spending just 7.5 hours in the office each day, and has time to explore the mountains and waterfalls close to her home...

She has found Icelanders to be more friendly to strangers in daily life, whereas Hongkongers tend to be more wary of others...

A Chinese University survey in September 2016 found that nearly two in five Hongkongers would leave the city if given the chance.

Last year, some 24,300 locals left Hong Kong – a five-year high...

He decided to move to Taipei in 2016, giving up his computer programming job in Hong Kong to become a bartender.

His monthly income is about HK$11,000, much less than the desk job salary of about HK$20,000.

“I do not want to make big money,” Chan says. “In Taiwan, we can enjoy a very simple life by earning much less money, at the same time there are plenty of cultural activities to enjoy.”...

“Youngsters have come to me expressing how they would rather make less money elsewhere than spend more than half of their paychecks on a mortgage,” Chung says. “They say it’s not worth it.”

Although the official data did not record the age group of those who emigrate, Chung says those leaving Hong Kong in recent years appear to be much younger than in the past...

He warned the impact might be worse than the mass migration before the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997.

“Previously, emigration was mainly an option for those in the middle class, wanting to move their whole family to a foreign country. But now, young people fresh out of college are the ones seeking to migrate”"

From 2018, no less

Links - 14th February 2020 (1)

THOMAS SOWELL: Random thoughts spill out - "If you want to see the poor remain poor, generation after generation, just keep the standards low in their schools and make excuses for their academic shortcomings and personal misbehavior. But please don't congratulate yourself on your compassion.
The very same people who say that the government has no right to interfere with sexual activity between consenting adults believe that the government has every right to interfere with economic activity between consenting adults.
What makes movie stars think that they have something worthwhile to say about serious and complex issues, when their only expertise is in faking emotions? Why should the rest of us take them seriously?...
It is bad enough that so many of our public schools offer nothing to challenge smart students. What adds insult to injury is that, when these students become bored and restless, this boredom is given the fancy name "attention deficit hyperactivity disorder" and the students are drugged with Ritalin.
One of the biggest advantages of having money is not having to worry about money. But some people with lots of money live so high that they still have to worry about how they are going to pay for it all...
People who want to test their typing often type: "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog." But you can also get all the letters of the alphabet in a shorter sentence: "Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs."...
Loving someone is not enough to maintain a relationship. You have to be able to see them as someone who is more than just the object of your love. You have to see them as someone who deserves consideration for their own needs and desires."

Vida Rz - "Cultural Tidbit
Hajji Firuz, a comical uncle figure is a fictional character who appears in the streets by the beginning of Nowruz. His face is covered in soot and dressed in bright red clothes, he dances through the streets while singing and dancing.
Fascinating enough, the Dutch have a similar Hajji character called Zwart Piet, which has been condemned and removed and Haji Firuz is on his way out too, which I agree with. The tradition may make sense in Iran, but in a multi-ethnic country like America, putting on a black face and singing about pleasing your master is demeaning. In Iran we used to sing along as kids..."
This suggests that diversity means you can't enjoy your own culture anymore

‘This is legit brownface’: Ad by Singapore’s e-payment solutions initiative attracts backlash - "A recent advertisement by E-Pay, an initiative by the government to roll out electronic payment solutions in coffee shops, hawker centers, and industrial canteens across Singapore, is being slammed for featuring Chinese Mediacorp artiste Dennis Chew as characters of other races."
Naturally he didn't get slammed for cross-dressing, despite the culture context of blackface being offensive being imported from abroad. Ahh, cultural imperialism!
So much for unity in diversity and us being all the same (brought home by one person playing 4 different roles - presumably meant to highlight the oneness of NETS's unified payment system)

When liberals no longer can tell what is right or wrong - "The fact is they tried to portray all the four races, which means they were not targeting maliciously at any particular one. Funnily, I haven’t seen many in the Malay community as well as women complaining about it being offensive against their communities. It is just not clever, some say distasteful but it doesn’t cross the line, as our government officials declared.But the rap video. It is offensive, racist and toxic. It leaves no ground for subtlety. To put it crudely, the siblings basically F-ed up the entire Chinese community. Even a kid would know it is wrong. In their coordinated attack, yes, coordinated because they were using same sentences and intros, liberals and those who have left their brains behind came up with three justifications to defend it. First, they didn’t start it. The cause of it is the distasteful ad, they argued. Second, they are only targeting some racist Chinese, not the entire Chinese community. Third, no lah, it is just a joke and why can’t you Chinese take a joke.Wrong on all three counts. First, to say that it is not their fault because they didn’t cause it – it is like saying I went out to commit a serious violent crime against someone because I didn’t like what the person was acting as in a movie. It is his fault, not mine... Ironically, the video actually said two wrongs do not make a right and went on to do exactly that. To make it worse, it is now revealed that long before even this Dennis Chew ad came out, Preeti had released an offensive video where she dressed as a Chinese with two hair buns and mocked Chinese and Chinese New Year... the justification that they are only targeting some racist Chinese, and not all. Yet the lyrics say “Chinese people always out there f*cking it up”. If someone had said “Indian people always out there f*cking it up”, certainly these people will not accept that it only refers to a few racist ones... it is just a joke, according to the likes of our usual liberal idiotic cheerleaders like Kirsten Han. Miss Han says why you Chinese can’t take a joke? I was wondering why she didn’t ask the same question – why can’t the Indians take a joke over the Dennis Chew ad. Clearly, because she knows the Indian community won’t take it as a joke if she goes out in public and question them over why they are unhappy with the “brownface’’ ad. She will get hammered. Or even get threatened. How is the rap video a joke? You use the F word, you show the middle finger against an entire race and you pass it off as a joke? The easiest way to understand this is to reverse the race. If I, as a Chinese, put out there a rap song and sing “F you all Malays, you all always F it up as a race,’’ I can bet to my last dollar that no one in the Malay community will take it as a joke. Or as a Muslim, I put out a video that raps “F you all Hindus, you guys always mess it up and go back to India’’, no one in the Indian community is going to say it is just a joke. Don’t believe me, Miss Han, I challenge you to do that on your blog. Test out with two such ”jokes’’ against the Malays and Indians and make it public... If we do not want Chinese privilege, we certainly do not want Indian privilege as well where they can get away with murder while the others can’t.  A frightening thought- what if the majority decides ‘enough is enough of all these minority protection and privilege, it’s time for the majority to claim back what should be dictated only by the majority’ – just like in other countries? (Look up north). Then things will really get nasty."
I remember the days when liberals knew that offence was taken, never given

Nadim van der Ros - "*Hossan Leong playing multiple Disney princesses*
For this week's assignment on wokeness, this ad shows one person depicting multiple races and at least one minority race that is present in Singapore.
Some evidence of skin colour alteration (perhaps whitened, perhaps slightly bronzed) and potential shaping of the eyes has been done to reflect the racial background of the characters.
Some of these Disney characters are modeled on real-world personalities with a genuine racial background (e.g. Pocahontas) while some are entirely fictional but root themselves in a particular racial context (e.g. Jasmine). Does this also count as casual racism and should it be called out? Discuss.
Bonus Credit: Does racism towards a perceived privileged race count as racism?...
Extra Credit: If the races depicted in this were upset, would a vulgarity ladened rap video by the offended race targeting the actor's race be a) appropriate b) not so appropriate?
Extra Special Credit: The examiner respects and admires Hossan Leong and his work, and found the ad amusing. Does this make him a bad person? Discuss."
Comments: "am offended that gender appropriation is not reflected in the question. The dismissal of female representation is symptomatic of the real-world film industry's unfair salaries for female actresses."

Tushar Ismail - "I read what is possibly one of the most condescending paragraphs written about minorities in Singapore.
“Expecting someone from a minority race who is already systematically disadvantaged to remain objective and cool-headed when talking about race, while educating the majority race on the discrimination they face, is the very manifestation of privilege … and stupidity.”
That gem was written out by a certain Grace Yeoh in her ricemedia article, “If the Preetipls Video Caused Any Damage, It Was Only By Revealing How Stupid Chinese People Are”.  No, Ms Yeoh, expecting less of me because of my race is far more racist, even if motivated by some mix of misplaced guilt and compassion, than what Dennis Chew or Preetipls were guilty of. The phenomenon even has a name - the soft bigotry of low expectations.Born from the liberal West’s apologetic gymnastics regarding Muslim immigrants, since we’re so keen on adopting their culture wars, it seems to have found a foothold here as well. Ayaan Hirsi Ali said of it,“The West tends to respond to the social failures of Muslim immigrants with what can be called the racism of low expectations. This Western attitude is based on the idea that people of color must be exempted from “normal” standards of behavior.”What’s even more appalling is how ready many members of minority races seem to be to accept this lowering of standards. As a member of the minority, I do not wish to see us so mired in a victimhood narrative that we start celebrating when a member of the majority race lowers their standards for us. It will only retard the improvement of our standing.We should listen when Maajid Nawaz says, “The real victim of that double standard are the minority communities themselves because by doing so we limit their horizons; we limit their own ceiling and expectations as to what they aspire to be;”What the past week has proven is that when this sort of transgression occurs, and we let outrage guide our conversation we all lose. There were no winners last week - well, except maybe those who profit off of outrage.Havas and NETS weren’t winners... I can see that someone thought, “Dennis Chew could be the Everyman that represents every Singaporean!” Like communism it sounds great on paper, but is doomed to fail. Especially seeing as how it was so clumsily executed... Saying that brownface and blackface are the same thing because they’re both about darkening skin artificially to pretend to be a minority race is like saying that a cake is the same thing as a cookie because they’re both baked in an oven... The portrayals of the Indian man and Makcik was as inherently offensive as the blue collar Chinese guy, and the stereotypical Ah Lian character. The only offence was that it was a Chinese guy doing the portraying.Neither were Preetipls and Subhas winners.Their response to the ad was half-baked and even less thought out...  Artists aren’t winners either, because any moron can call the police and complain about something that offends their sensibilities. And be taken seriously. I honestly feel like we need to give the police power to say, “huh? You complain about a YouTube video? KNN close the browser lah!”  And, of course, Singaporean’s aren’t winners because it seems we’re still calling that toggle brouhaha a case of brownface - meaning we still don’t know what that really means. And that we don’t have a grasp on satire. People can come up with varying justifications saying that punching up is ok and punching down is not. These are the sorts of people who think that dehumanising and othering is only damaging in one direction. I think that’s stupid... In a time when the dominant currency is outrage, it seems foolish to hope for cooler heads to prevail through reason... but hope I will."
SJWs say to shut up and listen when a racial minority talks about race. But they will slam him as an Uncle Tushar
Naturally, SJWs saw deliberate racism (in the Preetipls/Subhas video slyly condemning all Chinese people under the guise of plausible deniability) as forgiveable, but not accidental "racism" by advertising executives trying to be creative (so much for bemoaning Singaporeans' lack of creativity!)

˗ˏˋ FAT ☭ REBEL ˎˊ˗ on Twitter - "Casual fucking reminder that white race scientists invented fatphobia and the concept of obesity. If you are EVER fatphobic or are on some 'oh well fat is unhealthy uwu' bullshit, I hope you fucking know that someone's white ancestor is smiling in their grave."
What racial minority activists say makes them look far worse than anything a 'white supremacist' could

Women work longer hours than men - "Women are working longer hours while men are putting in less time for their money.And yet the pay gap between the sexes has widened, research revealed yesterday.A nationwide survey of 1,600 employees found that women now work almost 34 hours a week on average - half a day longer than the figure of 30.4 hours five years ago... Over the same five-year period, men's average work hours fell from 45.5 hours per week to 44.8 hours... the average UK worker puts in 43.6 hours a week compared with 38.4 hours a week in Belgium, which boasts Europe's shortest working week."
Amazing logic! Or maths

Casual racism on twitter. : iamatotalpieceofshit - "People have a tendency to forget that racism isn't just a one way street."
"Institutionalized racism is a one way street. Racism as used is sociology, history, economics is institutionalized racism."
"Thats a made up definition peddled by post modernists in a misguided attempt to level the playing field. However it instead deformed a simple and equal definition into one so that only one race can be guilty of it. I see no benefit to equality here at all"
"You're white, right?"
"No, im actually Samoan Tongan living in New Zealand. Shock. Horror.  And the fact you think that you could assume my race because of my opinion confirms who the real racist is here."
Screenshot from before the racist comment got deleted: Steven Clyde - Found in the MurderedByWords subreddit:

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Links - 13th February 2020 (2) (Trans Mania)

Cultures that have ‘third genders’ don’t prove transgenderism is either ubiquitous or progressive - "Trans activists claim that transgenderism has existed throughout history. To prove that “gender identity” is not a modern invention, they point to non-Western societies where, historically, more than two genders have been culturally accepted. This claim is rarely subjected to critical analysis. A feminist analysis is ignored in favour of a superficial analysis of race and colonialism that goes as follows: if a third gender exists in non-Western, non-white societies, the “sex binary” must be a colonialist Western concept that has been imposed on all of us.But while a third gender really does exist in some societies, that doesn’t necessarily mean that these non-Western views of sex and gender roles are anti-sexist, nor does it mean the application of this idea to Western societies is automatically progressive. If you compare India’s transgender population to Pakistan’s, you’ll notice an interesting similarity: an overwhelming majority are males. Hijra, as they are called in India, are men or boys pressured to become women on misogynistic grounds: these males love hanging out with women, help women with domestic work, have features that are considered  “feminine,” or are suspected of being homosexual. They are often castrated and aren’t allowed to marry or own property. While they may be called upon to bless newborns and celebrate marriages, society generally shuns them and they are rejected by their ashamed families. Seen as accursed, they are given a ritual, religious purpose to counterbalance their ungodly condition. They often become dancers and prostitutes and, like in Pakistan, have to seek the guardianship of a guru (who essentially functions as their pimp) in order to avoid homelessness... Those who claim transgenderism is universal will also bring up Indigenous societies to show that “male” and “female” are simply rigid inventions of Western, colonial culture, offering  “third genders” and “two spirit” people as proof of this... The Navajo, for example, have a traditional third gender class called “nadleeh.” While, today, the term is applied to both trans-identified males and females, it originally referred exclusively to males. According to an essay by Wesley Thomas in the book, Two-Spirit People, “Navajo Cultural Constructions of Gender and Sexuality,” men who showed proclivities for traditionally female activities such as weaving, cooking, and raising children, became nadleeh... gender roles still existed in Navajo society... Traditionally, the Navajo believed that the power of creation belonged to women. It is safe to say that they never believed that nadleeh — “feminine males” — were actually women, because they didn’t have the ability to bear children. They were regarded as feminine on the basis of social occupations but were not called women — azdaa — in the Navajo language. Society was organized on the principle of collective work divided by men and women on account of their physiological differences — women’s activities, for example, were based on their reproductive capacity and status as life-givers.In this case, the concept of nadleeh cannot be understood as “gender identity” or gender/sex dysphoria, as it was related to social occupations and behaviors connected to sex... It also is misguided to assume that non-Western, non-white “third genders” necessarily shatter the gender binary. The existence of other “gender” castes shouldn’t be assumed to challenge the “sex/gender binary” — they need to be examined within their own cultural and political contexts, from a feminist perspective.The fact that those placed in this “third” gender category are usually males raises another red flag. It suggests that, while men can be downgraded to the status of females, women cannot rise up to the status of men
When I cited this to complicate the narrative of Bugis and Native American genders showing gender diversity was "natural", this was dismissed as a TERF blog, naturally. "Transphobia" is basically anything a trans activist doesn't like, principally disagreement or opposing arguments

Morgan 🇬🇭🇧🇿🇺🇸 on Twitter - "Within 5 years of gay “marriage” being legalized, we have
transgender kids, gay sex being taught in schools, endless genders, drag queen story hour, people advocating for the decriminalization of AIDS transmission, and grown men in woman’s bathrooms
On the "myth" of the slippery slope

Teacher Says Parents “Don’t Know What’s Best” - "Anthony Lane, an English teacher at Willis High School who has vocally defended the school’s decision to bring in an adult male entertainer who performs at strip clubs to spend a day with the children, lashed out on Facebook at parents who have complained... WISD administration has been enmeshed in controversy ever since Houston drag queen and adult entertainer “Lynn Adonis” was invited into the school by the cosmetology department. Adonis exchanged social media contact information with several of the children."

Now trans and gay hate crime will mean SIX months in jail after judges are ordered to crack down - "Offenders found guilty of stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexuality should get at least six months in prison, new sentencing guidelines state... The instructions, released yesterday by the judge-led Sentencing Council – the statutory body that recommends punishment levels – mean transgender hate offences will receive harsher sentences than domestic burglaries... The instructions, which will come into effect on January 1, follow a series of cases in which police have been accused of launching heavy-handed investigations into transgender hate crime allegations... This year Surrey Police quizzed a Catholic mother-of-five after she was accused of ‘misgendering’ the trans daughter of an activist on social media by using the pronoun ‘him’... This is the only public order offence for which offenders can be convicted for what they say, write, broadcast or post on the internet or social media... The Sentencing Council said the least serious offences of stirring up racial hatred, in which people spread hate ‘recklessly’ without intending to do so, should be handed community punishments rather than jail time.But the same does not apply to spreading hatred on religious or sexual orientation grounds... The Council said it wanted to reassure ‘concerned respondents the guideline is not politically influenced or motivated’.But prison charity The Howard League criticised judges for advocating short jail terms.It told the Council’s consultation: ‘The guidelines should be encouraging the use of effective community programmes rather than expensive, ineffective short-term prison sentences.’"
Clearly knife crime is not an issue in the UK

Transgender woman claims discrimination after she is snubbed from porn for having a penis - "A transgender woman says she is a victim of 'transphobic' discrimination after being snubbed for a job as a female porn star - because she still has a penis.Ria Cooper, 25, who became Britain's youngest trans person when she transitioned 10 years ago, had decided to embark on a career in porn when a photographer messaged her asking if she wanted to have sex with him for a film.But when the photographer heard Ria still had a penis he refused to work with her, bluntly proclaiming he couldn't do so because she 'has a c***'. Ria has hit out at the 'transphobic behaviour' and says she's being unfairly discriminated against in her pursuit of a modelling career. Ria, from Hull, East Yorkshire, has reported the comments to Humberside Police, which is investigating the incident as a hate crime... he wouldn't work with her because 'Playboy won't accept that'... Ria has described the comments as 'discriminatory' and 'appalling', comparing the abuse to that of a racist... 'The way he spoke to me after that was absolutely disgusting, no one should be discriminated against for their lifestyle choice.'"
Why no one takes "hate crimes" seriously anymore

Rachel McKinnon, Transgender Cyclist, Wins Women World Championship - "McKinnon set a women’s world record in the qualifying event, the BBC reported. McKinnon, a philosophy professor at the College of Charleston, won the same event in 2018. McKinnon told Sky News in an interview that aired Friday that it would be unfair if the cyclist was kept out of women’s events. “So, if we want to say, that I believe you’re a woman for all of society, except for this massive central part that is sport, then that’s not fair,” McKinnon said.McKinnon said in a tweet Sunday that a “real champion” would accept biologically male athletes competing in female athletics.“I have yet to meet a real champion who has a problem with trans women. Real champions want stronger competition,” McKinnon wrote. “If you win because bigotry got your competition banned … you’re a loser.” In another tweet late Saturday night, McKinnon argued that “ignorant” people oppose allowing biologically male athletes in female sports."
So much for "Equal rights for others does not mean less rights for you. It's not Pie"

Rachel McKinnon: Transgender athlete sets world best but rules out Tokyo 2020 - "Ex-swimmer Sharron Davies said it will take female athletes "being thrown under the bus" at Tokyo 2020 before changes are made to transgender rules... Former British Masters champion Victoria Hood, who competes in the same category as McKinnon but is currently injured, told BBC Sport that other riders "sacrificed" the opportunity to compete at the World Championships because "they don't want to compete" against McKinnon."The science is there. The science is clear - it tells us that trans women have an advantage," she said."The world record has just been beaten today by somebody born male, who now identifies as female, and the gap between them and the next born female competitor was quite a lot."The world record was two tenths of a second. I know that doesn't sound like a lot but it is."The gap between them and the next female competitor was four tenths, which to put into perspective in a sprint event like this, that would be 15m of the track, when sprint events are usually won by centimetres."It is a human right to participate in sport. I don't think it's a human right to identify into whichever category you choose."... "If people want to push this through some misguided idea that they are being inclusive, it is not inclusive. It is excluding women and girls from their own category. It's not fair," Hood said.  "The IOC need to make fair policies that are based on the science that we have, because if they can't then they are not fit for purpose.  "They are washing their hands of it and it is becoming more political than it is about science and biology.""

Rachel McKinnon, Transgender Cyclist, Wins Women World Championship - "“I have yet to meet a real champion who has a problem with trans women. Real champions want stronger competition,” McKinnon wrote. “If you win because bigotry got your competition banned … you’re a loser.” In another tweet late Saturday night, McKinnon argued that “ignorant” people oppose allowing biologically male athletes in female sports."

Blaire White - Posts - "Sometimes I'm embarrassed to be transgender.. Not because of gender dysphoria, not because of transphobes, not because of any personal struggle.. BECAUSE OF THE COMMUNITY.Every day it seems like this community is finding new ways to bully the public into supporting us rather than making a peaceful, logical, honest case for ourselves."

Motorcyclist Who Identifies As Bicyclist Sets Cycling World Record | The Babylon Bee - "Professional motorcycle racer Judd E. Banner, the brave trans-vehicle rider, was allowed to race after he told league organizers he's always felt like a bicyclist in a motorcyclist's body."Look, my ride has handlebars, two wheels, and a seat," he told reporters as he accepted a trophy for his incredible time trial. "Just because I've got a little extra hardware, such as an 1170-cc flat-twin engine with 110 horsepower doesn't mean I have any kind of inherent advantage here."... Some critics say he needs to cut off his motor in order to make the competition fairer, but he quickly called these people bigots, and they were immediately banned from professional cycle racing."

Transgender lobby gets Always to rid sanitary towels of female logo - "The maker of Always sanitary pads has given in to claims of discrimination by transgender men and removed the ‘Venus’ symbol of the female sex from the wrapping.Outraged women are now boycotting the leading brand after the decision by makers Procter & Gamble (P&G) to kowtow to trans activists who were born female and still use sanitary products.Last night, feminists warned that the concession is a chilling move towards the ‘elimination of women’s biology’... many of Always’s female customers have responded angrily to the move and are vowing to switch to other sanitary products.Leading feminist campaigner Julie Bindel told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Removing the female symbol from sanitary towel packaging is basically denying the existence of women... Maya Forstater, a women’s rights advocate who lost her job as a think tank tax expert for saying transgender women are not women, tweeted: ‘The venus sign in biology is used to represent the female sex (you know, the ONLY people who will ever need these products). It does not represent gender identity.’Another objector, Lizzi Watson, said: ‘Biological women should just boycott the brand, then they might realise real women have feelings too, which they have somehow ignored.’"

Researchers Test Facial Recognition Technology on Transgender Women - "Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder recently tested a number of leading AI-based facial analysis services on photos of cisgender, transgender and otherwise gendered Instagram users. They gathered the 2,450 photos by searching the hashtags #woman, #man, #transwoman, #transman, #agenderqueer or #nonbinary.According to the hyper-woke researchers, the names of the hashtags were “crowdsourced” exclusively from “queer, trans, and/or non-binary individuals.” Overall, the facial recognition and detection services all proved very good at guessing the gender identity of cisgender people — with an accuracy rate of about 98 percent for both men and women. However, the services performed significantly worse when it came to transgender people. Based on the Instagram photos, they classified transgender men as female, their birth sex, in nearly 30 percent of cases. And they classified transgender women as male about 23 percent of the time.Furthermore, because the facial analysis services can “see” only male or female, they failed to categorize 100 percent of the agender, genderqueer and nonbinary people according to their preferred gender identity."
I suppose in addition to algorithmns being racist, sexist etc, they are also transphobic
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