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Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Links - 16th March 2022 (2 - Ukraine)

The Two Blunders That Caused the Ukraine War - WSJ - "The first came on Nov. 10, when the U.S. and Ukraine signed a Charter on Strategic Partnership, which asserted America’s support for Kyiv’s right to pursue membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization... The second strategic error was Mr. Putin’s underestimation of his rivals. “He despises the West and what he sees as Western decadence,” Mr. Service says. “He had come to believe that the West was a shambles, both politically and culturally.” He also thought that the leaders of the West were “of poor quality, and inexperienced, in comparison with himself. After all, he’s been in power 20 years.” In Mr. Putin’s cocksure reckoning, the invasion was going to be “a pushover—not just in regard to Ukraine, but in regard to the West.” He’d spent four years “running rings around Donald Trump, ” and he thought the retirement of German Chancellor Angela Merkel left the West rudderless. That set the scene for the “surprise he got when he invaded Ukraine, when he found that he’d inadvertently united the West—that what he’d done was the very opposite of what he wanted.” Mr. Service calls Mr. Putin “reckless and mediocre” and scoffs at the notion that he is “some sort of genius.” What kind of Russian leader, he asks, “makes it impossible for a German leader not to build up Germany’s armaments”? Mr. Putin evidently “hoped there wouldn’t have to be a war” because the massing of troops on the border would lead to the collapse of the Ukrainian government. He underestimated Volodymyr Zelensky... Mr. Service says the key to understanding Mr. Putin is his adamant belief that Russia is “a great global power” and that the Russian sphere of influence should extend to as many of the former Soviet republics as possible: “There’s no state that’s more important to him than Ukraine.” The historian describes the Russian ruler as “not a communist but an anticommunist.” In Mr. Service’s telling, Mr. Putin regards the Soviet period as “a rupture” with the path to greatness that Russia should have taken. “Putin believes in Eternal Russia” and regards Lenin with “ridicule and detestation” for stunting Russia’s expansion. While Mr. Putin may say “occasionally pleasant things about Stalin, he has never said anything positive about Lenin.” In Mr. Putin’s view, according to Mr. Service, Lenin committed a primordial sin in 1922 when the Soviet Constitution set up a federation of republics with their own boundaries within the Soviet Union. “This made possible the breakup of the U.S.S.R. into separate independent states in 1991,” Mr. Service says. Mr. Putin, like Stalin—who fell out with Lenin over these constitutional arrangements—would have liked all these republics to have been merged into a Greater Russia, ruled from Moscow. “Putin despises democracy,” Mr. Service says. “He believes in the right of the leadership to impose the authority of the state on society.” In the Russian president’s view, this is good for citizens because it brings stability and predictability into their lives. He also believes in the importance of the secret police as an adjunct of government. In this, Mr. Service points out, many of his methods are “reminiscent of the Soviet period,” even if his ideology isn’t. Mr. Putin “sees himself messianically,” Mr. Service says—as a leader come to deliver Russia to its destiny. He runs his government like “a court, though the czars were much more polite to their ministers.” Unless they go into political opposition, he doesn’t get rid of people who don’t share his vision. Instead, he “bats them down, and overawes them, treating them like schoolboys.” He “peppers them with questions” to keep them on their toes. He was a senior officer in the KGB, and the KGB is still in his soul. Rebranded as the FSB, “it’s the one agency from the old Soviet Union that has survived.”... "When the Soviets suppressed the Hungarian Revolution, they had to pay for it economically,” Mr. Service says. “They had to subsidize Hungary with oil and gas.” Moscow bore a huge economic burden for “the retention of Hungary within its political orbit, and that would be the case with Ukraine. And they’d be hated at the same time—hated.” Not to mention taking on the weight of appeasing a conquered people at a time of impoverishment in Russia itself. “Putin’s got to be removed from power,” Mr. Service says. That is the only way to end Ukraine’s torment. But how? It could happen in two ways. The first is “a palace coup,” which at the moment “looks very, very unlikely” but could become plausible. The second is a mass uprising, “a tremendous surge in street demonstrations as a result of the economic hardship” imposed by the war and Western sanctions."

Meme - "Feb 2021 4% Inflation is transitory
Oct 2021 6% Inflation is good
Jan 2022 7.5% It's just corporate greed
Mar 2022 10% Putin did it!"

Biden suggests Putin and Russia's war in Ukraine responsible for soaring inflation in new report - CNNPolitics - "While Biden put the blame on the war in Ukraine for February's inflation numbers, rising prices have been a primary political issue for the President and his administration for months. The Covid-19 pandemic and a host of other issues have driven prices on everyday goods higher and higher over the last several months despite Biden's attempts to lessen the impact on Americans' wallets... Biden announced his administration was banning Russian oil, natural gas and coal imports to the US in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a step he warned could lead to a spike in gas prices at home. Biden said during a trip to Texas later that day that the price of gas is "going to go up." "Can't do much right now. Russia's responsible""

Thread by @TrentTelenko on Thread Reader App – Thread Reader App - "This is a thread that will explain the implied poor Russian Army truck maintenance practices based on this photo of a Pantsir-S1 wheeled gun-missile system's right rear pair of tires below & the operational implications during the Ukrainian mud season."
More "psy ops"! These photos must be fake

Ukraine: Why has Russia's 64km convoy near Kyiv stopped moving? - "the column had made "little discernible progress in over three days" and remains more than 30km from Kyiv. Several reasons could explain why the huge column, which includes armoured vehicles, tanks, and towed artillery, has stopped its advance on the capital. They include logistical problems, unexpected Ukrainian resistance, and low morale among Russian troops. Mechanical breakdown and congestion are causing problems, according to the UK government. Food and fuel are said to be in short supply, and there are reports that poor quality and badly maintained tyres may also be an issue."
More Western psy ops. The real reason, we know, is that Putin is magnanimous and wants to show grace

Meme - Emma Salisbury @salisbot: "BREAKING: every woman in your life now has at least a small crush on Volodymyr Zelenskyy and there's absolutely nothing you can do about it"
The Guillotine Implier @implied...: "I am begging liberals to stop treating an actual war like a tv show with fun characters"

Matt Walsh on Twitter - "There was so much concern about potential "Islamophobia" after 9/11, and "anti-Asian" backlash after China unleashed covid on the world, and yet it seems to be open season on Russians right now. It's almost like bigotry is okay as long as the targets are perceived to be white."

Russian businesses in U.S. face threats, vandalism over invasion

*Bear (Russia) roaring at man (Ukraine)* "PRAY FOR UKRAINE"
*Man (Ukraine) with spear facing bear (Russia) with two cubs, with 3 men (the US, NATO and Britain) watching on*
There're actually people who believe this
Presumably the cubs are Donetsk and Luhansk. Ironic, since Russia was the one which took them from Ukraine

Ukrainian Jews push back against Putin's 'neo-Nazi' claim as they gear up for battle - "Konstantyn Batozsky believes he is on a list of so-called “neo-Nazis” to be rounded up “Gestapo-style” and “exterminated” by Russian forces seeking to enter Kyiv. Batozsky, a Jew from eastern Ukraine, said he was informed about the “bounty on his head” by Ukrainian intelligence sources. But as a longtime and avowed Ukrainian nationalist who has collaborated with a paramilitary group that has a reputation for including extremists, he knows that it’s people like him that Russian President Vladimir Putin was talking about when he cited a need for “denazification” as a pretext for invading his country... some of the initial paramilitary fighters against the Russian-backed takeover in Ukraine’s east, such as the Azov Battalion, were extremists and ultranationalists who displayed Nazi symbols. “I know it’s hard for Jews abroad to understand, but these actions were intended as anti-Russian, not anti-Jewish,” Petukov said. “And when it comes to those supporting Ukrainian sovereignty and culture, this is really a tiny element.” Now part of the national guard, the battalion of 900 to 1,500 members publicly claims to eschew all Nazi ideology. Batozsky said he worked closely with the Azov Battalion during the 2014-15 conflict behind the scenes as a political consultant in Donetsk. It is this work, and his outspoken defense of Ukrainian efforts to defeat the separatists, that he says put him on the Russian hit list — and also that makes him confident that Russian charges of neo-Nazis in Ukraine are inaccurate. “They were soccer hooligans and wanted attention, so yeah, I was shocked when I saw guys with swastika tattoos,” he said about the Azov members he got to know. “But I talked with them all the time about being Jewish and they had nothing negative to say. They had no anti-Jewish ideology.” He insists that the image of Ukraine as a hotbed of antisemitism is absurd. “I don’t practice, but still everyone knows I am Jewish — I have such a Jewish face! And I never experienced antisemitism from Ukrainians,” he insisted. “The military guys I am working with now really don’t care that I am a Jew.” He does not have similar feelings toward his Russian neighbors. “I did have a Jew-hating Russian first-grade teacher who mockingly called my long hair payos,” recalled Batozky, using the Hebrew term for the long side curls kept by many Hasidic men. And he said he heard more slurs against Jews from Russians Moscow State University, which he attended in the 1990s, then he ever heard back home. Daniel Kovzhun, a Jew from Kyiv who ran logistics during the war in Donetsk for paramilitary units, described a similar experience. “There were Orthodox Jews in Azov,” he said. “I know because I was there on the battle lines. No one cared who was Jewish, we cared about keeping our country together.”"

Polish nationalists march against “LGBT totalitarianism” on anniversary of WWII uprising - "Polish nationalists marched through Warsaw yesterday to mark the anniversary of the city’s uprising against German occupation in World War Two. A banner at the head of their procession declared opposition to LGBT “totalitarianism” alongside Nazism and communism... At the front of the procession was a banner declaring “Stop Totalitarianism” alongside images of three crossed-out symbols: a communist hammer and sickle, a Nazi swastika, and an LGBT rainbow flag. At the end of the march, the banner was displayed in front of the Warsaw Uprising monument... Bฤ…kiewicz took down two EU flags that were flying alongside the Polish and Varsovian ones. “This is Poland, not Brussels,” he chanted, while they were thrown to the ground. The PiS speaker of parliament recently made a similar declaration. During the nationalist march, participants chanted “hang the communists”, “death to enemies of the fatherland”, and “one bullet, one German”"

Symbols have different meanings in different contexts. Someone (elsewhere) said that in Poland, "no swastika" and "no hammer and sickle" signs don't mean "no Nazism" and "no Communism" (as people were praising the protest for), but are anti-German and anti-Russian symbols. This also applies to the Azov Battalion's use of Nazi symbols

The far right just got humiliated in Ukraine’s election — but don’t write it off just yet - "The Azov movement’s National Corps (which was called a “nationalist hate group” in a U.S. Department of State report published in March), Freedom (Svoboda), Right Sector and others had formed a “united nationalist bloc” the month before the election, running with a combined slate of candidates in an attempt to push past the 5 percent electoral threshold to get into parliament. Yet even combined, with half of the vote counted Monday morning, the far-right bloc had won only 2.3 percent of the vote."
Damn country which is full of and which is run by Nazis!

Russian National Unity Party - "The Russian National Unity Party (Russkoe nationalnoe edinstvo) emerged iy psn the fall of 1990 and subsequently became one of the most active of the small fascist-style parties that sprang up in Russia in the first post-Soviet decade. Founded by disaffected members of Pamyat, the party was led by Alexander Barkashov, a former electrical worker and Pamyat activist. The party espoused an ultranationalist, anti-semitic ideology. Its program, as set forth in Barkashov's Azbuka russkogo nationalista (ABC of Russian Nationalism ), advocated the establishment of a "Greater Russia" encompassing Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. The rule of ethnic Russians would be assured... Non-slavic peoples would be confined to their "historic homelands" and the state would protect the genetic purity of the Russian nation through the prohibition of mixed marriages. The party advocated a foreign policy that would confront the United States, which was depicted as controlled by Jewish capital, and would be dedicated to ensuring Russia's world supremacy."
Since the Azov Battalion proves that Ukraine is a Nazi state and it's right to invade it, when are the "anti-fascists" going to invade Russia?

Wagner’s Rusich Neo-Nazi Attack Unit Hints Its Going Back Into Ukraine Undercover - "One of the most feared and radical Russian paramilitary groups may have slipped up on social media and revealed its plans to return undercover to Ukraine, where it was accused of committing war crimes during a previous incursion. Task Force Rusich, a Russian mercenary unit which glories in its neo-Nazi reputation, became known for its brutality when it was first deployed to the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine during peak fighting between Russian separatist forces and the Ukrainian military in the summer of 2014. Now it seems Rusich has set its sights on the strategically important north-eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. That could mean the Wagner Group—which counts Rusich among its network of off-the-books fighting cadres posted all over the world—will be well-positioned for the opening salvo"

Croatia on Russian sanction list – “we can be proud” states Prime Minister - "This list was created after Russian President, Vladimir Putin, ordered his government to compile a breakdown of all the countries that have introduced sanctions against Russia due to the invasion of Ukraine."

TikTok Ukraine War Videos Raise Questions About Spread of Misinformation - The New York Times - "“What I see on TikTok is more real, more authentic than other social media,” said Ms. Hernandez, a student in Los Angeles. “I feel like I see what people there are seeing.” But what Ms. Hernandez was actually viewing and hearing in the TikTok videos was footage of Ukrainian tanks taken from video games, as well as a soundtrack that was first uploaded to the app more than a year ago... Many popular TikTok videos of the invasion — including of Ukrainians livestreaming from their bunkers — offer real accounts of the action, according to researchers who study the platform. But other videos have been impossible to authenticate and substantiate. Some simply appear to be exploiting the interest in the invasion for views, the researchers said. In one example, Pravda, a Ukrainian newspaper, posted an audio clip featuring 13 Ukrainian soldiers on Snake Island, an outpost of the Black Sea, facing a Russian military unit that asked them to surrender. The clip was then used in many TikTok videos, some of which included a note stating that all 13 soldiers had died. Ukrainian officials later said in a Facebook post that the men were alive and had been taken prisoner, but the TikTok videos have not been corrected... Removing such content is not easy, partly because of TikTok’s global nature. Once a video is uploaded, it is often recorded over and translated into dozens of languages. If the videos are not reported by users, they need to be independently found by content moderators proficient in those languages before they can be taken down."

Evacuations in 2 Ukraine cities are halted after Russia announces cease-fire - "Ukrainian officials said shelling had halted the work to remove civilians hours after Russia announced the deal."

Thousands of Chinese nationals stranded in Ukraine amid warnings over online jokes - "The renewed attacks on Ukrainian cities came as Chinese nationals stranded in the country called on Chinese social media commentators to stop joking about getting Ukrainian women as a result of the war, as the popular joke was making them a target of suspicion and hostility among Ukrainians... "Some of us are asking us where we're from, and we say we're Japanese," the student said. "Thanks to you guys, we daren't even say we're Chinese." "You lack morality and a sense of truth; you aren't even human. So many people have died, and you say that's a good thing because you can get their women?"... The Chinese embassy issued a statement in the early hours of Saturday morning, calling on Chinese nationals to conceal their identities, and not to display the Chinese flag. The official China News Service also called on social media users to "learn to put themselves in others' shoes, be considerate of the suffering of others during a war, stay moral, and speak rationally about the war, and don’t be a jeering spectator.""

Putin tells EU to step up pressure on Kiev - "Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked the EU to put pressure on Ukrainian authorities to “respect humanitarian law” following three failed attempts to evacuate civilians from the country... Ukraine has accused Russian forces of continuous shelling, which, according to Kiev, makes safe evacuation of people impossible."

Evacuation Route Offered to Fleeing Ukrainians Was Mined—Red Cross - "An evacuation route out of the besieged port city of Mariupol in Ukraine was mined, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)."
I saw one Russia shill (unsurprisingly, also a China shill) blaming the Azov Battalion for mining it. The Azov Battalion must be brilliant to know what route Russia would offer

Revealed: ‘anti-oligarch’ Ukrainian president’s offshore connections | Volodymyr Zelenskiy | The Guardian - "On the campaign trail, Zelenskiy pledged to clean up Ukraine’s oligarch-dominated ruling system. And he railed against politicians such as the wealthy incumbent Petro Poroshenko who hid their assets offshore. The message worked. Zelenskiy won 73% of the vote and now sits in a cavernous office in the capital, Kyiv, decorated with gilded stucco ceilings. Last month, he held talks with Joe Biden in the Oval Office. The Pandora papers, leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and shared with the Guardian as part of a global investigation however, suggest Zelenskiy is rather similar to his predecessors... Zelenskiy has not commented on the claim despite extensive attempts by the Guardian and its media partners to reach him. His spokesperson Sergiy Nikiforov messaged: “Won’t be an answer.”"
So much for biased western media and psy ops

Ukraine–NATO relations - Wikipedia - "According to polls conducted between 2005 and 2013, Ukrainian public support of NATO membership remained low. However, since the Russo-Ukrainian War and Annexation of Crimea, public support for Ukrainian membership in NATO has risen greatly. Since June 2014, polls showed that about 50% of those asked supported Ukrainian NATO membership.Some 69% of Ukrainians want to join NATO, according to a June 2017 poll by the Democratic Initiatives Foundation, compared to 28% support in 2012 when Yanukovych was in power."
Russia shills will just blame the West for seducing Ukraine after Russia's invasion

Facebook - "Look, I’m not a shill for Putin. I just think all Ukrainians are Nazis, blame Biden for the invasion of #Ukraine, oppose the fictional draft of US troops, enjoy fear-mongering about WWIII, and am against any economic sanctions against Russia."

Marc. on Twitter - "They're asking Elon Musk to remotely turn off all Russian Teslas now This has become a looking glass into the leftist future

Meme - "Netflix waiting for the war to end so they can make a movie about a black Ukrainian guy that falls in love with a transgender Russian soldier"

Meme - "Leftists not even a month ago: "Free healthcare! Free college! Kill land lords!!! Abolish the state!"
"The left now: What, you REALLY can't afford $5 a gallon?"

UK says Russia blaming Ukraine of developing biological weapons 'to justify its invasion' - Mar 8
Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter - "U.S. Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland says Washington is working with Ukraine to prevent biological research facilities from falling into Russian hands. She just confirmed every conspiracy theory about the existence of those labs." - Mar 8
"Well that went from conspiracy theory to senate testimony in about 6 days… It used to take six months to go from conspiracy theory to fact."
Was this 6 hours?

Dr. Benjamin Braddock on Twitter - "Putin could unleash biological weapon from seized Ukraine lab, experts fear"
"I was told by fact-checkers that there were no biological weapons in those labs"

Meme - "Looking for eco-friendly way to give to Ukraine. I would like to ensure that no more than 50% of the donation I give goes toward munitions. Yes, I know that war is necessary, but it should not be the main focus. The other main component of this must be a vegan or vegetarian-centric option for feeding the people. Like most of the world, Ukrainians eat too much meat, and this is a great chance to feed them with organic produce and get them used to being more healthy overall. Defeating Russia is pointless if we do not encourage them to scale back meat consumption at the same time. Thanks in advance."

Biden's snub of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is a 'warning' (Feb 2021)
Analysis: Is this the beginning of a Joe Biden comeback? (Mar 4)
Saudi, Emirati Leaders Decline Calls With Biden During Ukraine Crisis - WSJ - "Both Prince Mohammed and Sheikh Mohammed took phone calls from Russian President Vladimir Putin last week, after declining to speak with Mr. Biden" (Mar 8)

Facebook - "How do u negotiate with Putin? First he told the whole world he will not invade Ukraine and was just holding a military exercise nearby. Then he invaded Ukraine. Then he said he was only going to occupy the Donbas region in Ukraine, controlled by Russian backed separatists. But his troops went far beyond the region. Next he said publicly that conscripts “are not participating and will not participate” in the war. But the Russian Defense Ministry later acknowledged that conscripts were sent into battle in Ukraine, and that some had been taken prisoner. How do u cut a deal with someone who would lie at his own convenience? In psychology profiling, this is the trait of a psychopath. Psychopaths repeatedly attempt to deceive their partners and will lie about anything under any circumstances to conceal their behaviour and achieve their goals – whatever they may be. That’s why everyone is wary of Putin. Don’t ever date a psychopath, k? ๐Ÿ˜‚"

Michael Shellenberger on Twitter - "People think Europe depends on Russia for energy because it lacks its own, but 15 years ago Europe exported more natural gas than Russia does today. Now, Russia exports 3x more gas than Europe produces. Why? Because climate activists, partly funded by Russia, blocked fracking."

Mike Berg on Twitter - "Psaki sounding very smug and dismissive on drilling permits: "What additional permits do they need? I don't think they need an embroidered invitation to drill.""

Facebook - "People don't seem to realise that the same "๐˜ธ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ญ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ, ๐˜ธ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ'๐˜ต ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ?" doubt and "๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ฐ๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ช๐˜จ๐˜ฉ๐˜ต ๐˜ซ๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ต ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ช๐˜จ๐˜ฉ๐˜ต ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฏ๐˜ถ๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด!" uncertainty that now paralyses western governments trying to deal with Putin, holding them back from declaring a no fly zone is the ๐™จ๐™–๐™ข๐™š ๐™—๐™ก๐™ค๐™ค๐™™๐™ฎ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ that caused North Korea, Russia and China to not push their luck when the Orange Man was in office. Just flip the mental telescope. Just like you might think that provoking regular joe at the bar is reasonable risk while provoking a crazy looking hobo at the same bar is a bad thing. The first one is likely to at most escalate to a shove, giving you opportunity to de-escalate... but the latter might go nuts and try to eat your face right off the bat. Most I'll give is that it might have delayed the war by 4 years. But Orange Man Mad was actually a legit thing."

Video shows climate protest in Austria, not war report in Ukraine - "CLAIM: Footage of a person moving under a “body bag” shows misleading news coverage of the war in Ukraine.
AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The video shows protesters participating in a climate change-related demonstration in Austria in early February, and has no connection to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Some iterations of the video spreading online are edited to add audio from real NBC News coverage of the conflict and a fake news chyron to the unrelated visuals from Austria... The video has been misrepresented online in the past, as the AP has previously reported. In February, some social media users falsely claimed that it showed crisis actors posing as people who died due to COVID-19."
Damn Western psy ops!

McDonald’s closure marks ending of Russian era - "It was Jan. 31, 1990. Russian journalists, foreign correspondents like me, and even a few diplomats had joined the impatient crowd, not wanting to miss the opening of the first ever McDonald’s restaurant in what was still the Soviet Union. A few dozen policemen had been dispatched in case the crowd got out of control. Reporters gathered around George Cohon, the 52-year-old Canadian who had taken the initiative to bring American fast food to Russia. The rumour was that McDonald’s had avoided the country for political reasons, preferring to let the operator of its franchises north of the U.S. border take the first step. Cohon explained how he had toured Soviet farms – which were still mostly inefficient, and all under state ownership – to find suitable cows to turn into beefburgers. He also imported a special variety of potato, to be grown in Russian fields, which would make the right kind of French fries... The golden arches signalled that democratisation and liberalisation were irreversible. The proof was in the eating of a Big Mac. More than three decades later, history has gone into reverse. McDonald’s said this week it would close its 850 restaurants in Russia, arguing it could not ignore the “needless human suffering” caused by Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The Chicago-based company said the closure was temporary, though this seems more of an expression of hope than a plan. McDonald’s said it would still pay its 62,000 Russian employees but acknowledged that it was “impossible to predict when (the restaurants) might be able to reopen.” McDonald’s no longer has the same scarcity value. Russian diners could until recently get their fast food from a range of outlets including KFC, pizza purveyor Papa John’s , and Burger King, among others. Several of those have now halted their operations or stopped investing in Russia, while coffee chain Starbucks (SBUX.O) has also shut its doors. Yet for those with longer memories McDonald’s still has symbolic relevance. It was the first major international brand to set up shop in Moscow. Pizza Hut followed a few months later... In 1990, most Russians were forbidden from holding foreign currencies, so McDonald’s priced its burgers in the non-convertible rouble. The downside was that a Big Mac cost between 2% and 3% of the average Russian’s monthly salary. The equivalent bill in the United States today would be $60. The price wasn’t a deterrent, though, and McDonald’s served more than 30,000 meals that first day. The Big Mac was not just an exotic food but a taste of the United States, whose brands had been a subject of fascination and envy, and of active black-market trading, in the grim years of the Soviet Union. The fast-food chain signalled that Russia was joining the globalising world economy, where Russians were at last allowed to travel. A few months before the opening, citizens had congregated in Pushkin Square to use their new-found freedom to demonstrate and express their impatience at the slow pace of reform. Opening a McDonald’s could almost be seen as Gorbachev’s reply to the protesters: See how real all this is. Today the rapid departure from Russia of Western brands from Apple (AAPL.O) to Zara, combined with the domestic clampdown on citizens’ remaining liberties, shows that none of it was irreversible"

Russian McDonald’s fan chains himself to restaurant to stop it closing - "In response to the announced closures, customers turned to Avito, a Russian auction site similar to eBay. One meal, consisting of two burgers, two drinks and a cherry pie was listed, with the seller asking for 7,500 Russian rubles, equivalent to £47 (as of 3pm on last Wednesday). Other companies to pull out of Russia include Cadbury and British tea brand, Yorkshire Tea, as well as Starbucks, Kelloggs, Kraft Heinz and PepsiCo. Heineken, the Dutch beer company, also announced it would halt the production, advertising and sale of its beer in Russia."

Ukrainians Find That Relatives in Russia Don’t Believe It’s a War - The New York Times - "“He started to tell me how the things in my country are going,” said Mr. Katsurin, who converted his restaurants into volunteer centers and is temporarily staying near the western Ukrainian city of Ternopil. “He started to yell at me and told me, ‘Look, everything is going like this. They are Nazis.’” As Ukrainians deal with the devastation of the Russian attacks in their homeland, many are also encountering a confounding and almost surreal backlash from family members in Russia, who refuse to believe that Russian soldiers could bomb innocent people, or even that a war is taking place at all. These relatives have essentially bought into the official Kremlin position: that President Vladimir V. Putin’s army is conducting a limited “special military operation” with the honorable mission of “de-Nazifying” Ukraine. Mr. Putin has referred to the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, a native Russian speaker with a Jewish background, as a “drug-addled Nazi” in his attempts to justify the invasion. Those narratives are emerging amid a wave of disinformation emanating from the Russian state as the Kremlin moves to clamp down on independent news reporting while shaping the messages most Russians are receiving. An estimated 11 million people in Russia have Ukrainian relatives. Many Ukrainian citizens are ethnic Russians, and those living in the southern and eastern parts of the country largely speak Russian as their native language. Russian television channels do not show the bombardment of Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, and its suburbs, or the devastating attacks on Kharkiv, Mariupol, Chernihiv and other Ukrainian cities. They also do not show the peaceful resistance evident in places like Kherson, a major city in the south that Russian troops captured several days ago, and certainly not the protests against the war that have cropped up across Russia. Instead they focus on the Russian military’s successes, without discussing the casualties among Russian soldiers... “No one is bombing Kyiv, and you should actually be afraid of the Nazis, whom your father fought against. Your children will be alive and healthy. We love the Ukrainian people, but you need to think hard about who you elected as president.” Ms. Kremyr said she sent photos from trusted media sites of mangled tanks and a destroyed building in Bucha to her brother, in Krasnoyarsk, but was met with a jarring response. “He said that this site is fake news,” she said, and that essentially the Ukrainian Army was doing the damage being blamed on Russians."
Damn Western psy ops. Clearly we must listen to the unbiased Russian media Russian journalist protest: Fears for 'missing' Marina Ovsyannikova after on-air demonstration against Ukraine war - "Fears are growing for a Russian journalist who is said to be missing after interrupting the main news programme on the country's most popular TV channel, holding a sign which told viewers: "They are lying to you." During the live broadcast on Channel One on Monday evening, Marina Ovsyannikova, who is thought to have worked for the company for years, walked on to the set behind the presenter with a placard denouncing the country's invasion of Ukraine - a move the Kremlin has described as "hooliganism"... She said that "unfortunately" she had been working for Channel One in recent years, working for the "Kremlin's propaganda and I'm very ashamed of it - that I was letting them tell those lies from the TV screen... and allowed the Russian people to be zombified". She added: "We kept silent in 2014 when all of this was just in the beginning (annexation of Crimea). We didn't go to rallies when the Kremlin poisoned Navalny. We just silently watched this inhumane regime. Now the whole world has turned away from us, and even 10 generations of our descendants will not be enough to wash away the shame of this fratricidal war." Clearly a CIA asset!

Global Oil Prices - Not All About the USA


"Tell me the truth... I'm... I'm ready to hear it"
"The price of Gas in London is $7.75USD... So, Joe had nothing to do with it. You're just easily fooled into anger because you enjoy it.

Well, it's also because most of you consider high school to be higher learning.

A: Why do gas prices in England matter? They do not produce much of their own petroleum and every drop that comes into the country is highly taxed. They have no bearing on price or supply to the United States.

Me: QEII land accounts for 1.6% of the world's total oil consumption so absolutely there is some influence on global prices

A: At 1.6% of total consumption, there is very, very little influence, if any at all, on global pricing and supply.

Me: 1776 freedom land accounts for 20.3% of world oil consumption

So 1776 freedom land has 12 x (very very little influence, if any at all) on global pricing and supply

A: Since our beloved Sloppy Joe has killed our petroleum industry, our global influence on supply/demand and pricing has dwindled. However, if the USA stopped buying oil and gas tomorrow, there would be a large effect on gas prices globally. You should probably brush up on the principles Supply and Demand.

Me: The short run elasticity of oil prices to demand is estimated to be 0.25

Btw I have a degree in economics

A: from where, the Bernie Sanders School of Socialist Economics?

Me: I'm sure you are better at economics than economists working at the Federal Reserve who all have Ph.Ds in economics

Oil Price Elasticities and Oil Price Fluctuations
Caldara, Dario, Michele Cavallo, and Matteo Iacoviello

"thirty studies estimate the short-run price elasticity of demand. Estimates of the demand elasticity range from −0.9 to −0.03, with the bulk of estimates between −0.3 and −0.1.

The “consensus” in the literature... is that... the demand elasticity is −0.13."

B: If we wanted the opinion of a Keynesian, we'd beat it out of you. Or turn on the propaganda machine on the wall.

A: and the consensus doesn't fit the studies because....what? Capitalism? Orange Man Bad? Google fucked up ? Or maybe you fat fingered the keys while yelling at squirrels?

B: Lemme lay something on you... Did you know the cost of living in Colombia is different than in the US? How about in China? Also different. I wonder, Mr. Economics Degree, why is that? I mean, they have stuff there, we have stuff here. So all the prices are really just the same, right?

Me: Guess you think that housing, like oil, is a tradable commodity

Law of One Price Definition

"The law of one price is an economic concept that states that the price of an identical asset or commodity will have the same price globally, regardless of location, when certain factors are considered."

B: Have you EVER read this concept before? This is in a frictionless market, lol. Do you think oil in the UK exists in a frictionless market? Or anything anywhere exists that way? It's in the absence of laws, currency rates, transaction costs, and EVERYTHING ELSE. Unbelievable. But that scans with your commie view of the world.


"Everyone I Don't Like is a Communist. A child's guide to online political discussion"

C: well that was a great way to sidestep the question

Me: I've spent enough time on the internet to recognise pointless arguments

But if you're interested: all economic models rely on assumptions. They are analytical tools. When you relax the assumptions then results start to change. But just because one assumption is relaxed does not mean that the result becomes totally different
Indeed, as I mentioned earlier, pointing to the different costs of living in Pablo Escobar land, 1776 freedom land and the Middle Kingdom as a way to refute what the law of one price suggests about the global oil market shows that one is lacking in wisdom and knowledge, because while oil is a tradeable good, rent (a key component of the cost of living) is not
Since oil is a fungible commodity (The Fungibility of Oil - The Strauss Center), global prices for the same type of oil are not going to be that different, except maybe due to the cost of transport (Oil Pricing). That is why when you read reports about the price of crude oil ($X a barrel), it is a global price rather than being particular to any individual country. Indeed, arbitrage takes place in the crude oil market, which stabilises prices (Dynamics of Arbitrage | Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis | Cambridge Core)
Ironically, B almost surely uses economics 101 charts to "prove" that the minimum wage is bad and costs jobs - even though that only applies under perfect competition in the labour market, with no information asymmetry, search costs etc.


I think these Americans hate Keynesians almost as much as they hate "commies"

Links - 16th March 2022 (1 - General Wokeness [including Wokeness as Bigotry/Virtue Signalling)

Kentucky's concealed carry law shows your life doesn't matter to gun-loving Republicans - Quintez Brown
Louisville mayor candidate shot at: Quintez Brown accused of shooting

Emily Schrader - ืืžื™ืœื™ ืฉืจื™ื™ื“ืจ on Twitter - "Belgians chant “death to Jews” at “pro-Palestinian” protest today."
Just "anti-Zionism"

Quote by Joe Haldeman - "Bad books on writing tell you to "WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW", a solemn and totally false adage that is the reason there exist so many mediocre novels about English professors contemplating adultery"
Too bad nowadays that's "cultural appropriation"

Meme - Philip O'Connor @philipoconnor: "There is nothing more soul- destroying than young religious people. #rtept"
"Muslim sisters outside the GPO serving food to those who need it. On a decisive day for compassion and common sense, Ireland showing some of its best qualities."
Religious = Christian

GameSpot on Twitter - "The Simpsons has recast a gay Cuban character previously voiced by Hank Azaria with an actual gay Cuban-American actor."
How come Bart can be played by a woman?

Facebook - "Cruz Amdt. No 1456: To prohibit Federal funding for any institution of higher education that discriminates against Asian Americans in recruitment, applicant review, or admissions. Amendment Rejected"
"It is a source of constant amazement to me to hear the claim that Democrats and progressive liberals are anti-racism."

How This Teen Is Revolutionizing Social Justice Publishing - "Evelyn Woodsen is one of those enterprising teens. As a 16-year-old in Baltimore, Maryland, Woodsen founded Affinity Magazine, a social justice online magazine written and published by teenagers, for teenagers. Started in 2013, the site reaches an average of 350,050 readers each month in over 200 countries and, in its own words, works to amplify and publish “the voices of teens — regardless of age, gender, race, and sexual orientation.”"
Meme - @evelynvwoodsen: "Black girls with white friends scare me so much, like what do you have in common with the white girls."
The tweet was from June 2021. Social Justice = hating white people

Ellie Kemper Apologizes For Veiled Prophet Ball Participation - "The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt actor said she was not aware of the organization's history when she was 19, but added that "ignorance is no excuse.""
She better apologise for living in the USA too, since it has a racist history

Actress Ellie Kemper In Hot Water Again After Photos Emerge Of Her Using Aunt Jemima Syrup | The Babylon Bee - "Actress Ellie Kemper is facing scandal once again after photographs emerged of her using Aunt Jemima maple syrup, a product that has troublesome racist ties... Kemper responded on Twitter with a vague statement denouncing racism in all its forms and promising to "be better.""

Lara Hogan on Twitter - "A teeny-tiny inclusive language thing I've tried to get better at this past year is avoiding northern hemisphere-specific seasonal language. Like instead of "this summer," I say the months I mean, or Q3. Because it might be that season for ME but not that season for everybody!"
Bob Seawright on Twitter - "A teeny-tiny inclusive language thing I've tried to get better at this past year is avoiding time zone-specific language. Like instead of "noon" I say "Greenwich Mean Time - seven." Because it might be noon for ME but not noon for everybody!"
Cam Yzerman (@CamYzerman) - "A teeny-tiny inclusive language thing I've tried to get better at this past year is avoiding heliocentric temporal language. Like instead of "May 29," I say "Stardate 36792.4""

Meme - Thefatsextherapist: ""expecting non violence from those oppressed or colonized is racist" from How Nonviolence Protects the State - Peter Gelderloos."
I guess Hobbes was wrong

Meme - Mike Williams: "As a white man I'm by no means an expert on race or anything I tweet out. I am, however, willing to learn, educate myself, and use what limited platform I have to elevate and amplify black voices, key issues, and hopefully enlighten others living in their privileged bubbles."
Meme - Dominique Samuels (black woman): "I AM NOT A VICTIM. Why is that so hard for people to accept? The race hustlers can go around foreheads with victim tattooed on their foreheads but I'm not. I'm nobody's charity case."
Mike Williams: "Don't you get tired dog whistling to the right? Because it's exhausting to watch."
Only black liberals get their voices elevated and amplified

Meme - "Do I ironically call myself anti-establishment even though I fall for all the corporate bait thrown at me? Or am I an opportunist dirtbag who wants to manipulate emotional people to push my real agenda? Doesn't really matter. I just want to destroy a civilization because I refuse to be held responsible for my own failures."

meme - Leonydus Johnson: "The pattern isn't difficult to spot... Leftists "fight extremism" by being extremists. Feminists "fights sexism" by being sexist. Antifa "fights fascism" by being fascist. Black Lives Matter "fights racism" by being...?"

jenn m. jackson on Twitter - "We have to be more honest about what 9/11 was and what it wasn't. It was an attack on the heteropatriarchal capitalistic systems that America relies upon to wrangle other countries into passivity. It was an attack on the systems many white Americans fight to protect."
Wait till she discovers what happens to women in Muslim countries


Mums furious at Asda education pack that 'normalises paedophilia' - "Mums have taken to the Internet to express their fury and concern at an email received from Asda promoting an education pack they claim is 'normalising paedophilia and child abuse'.  The Safe Schools Alliance, which works with schools to ensure safeguarding, Tweeted to say they'd been contacted by many concerned parents about the email from George at Asda.  Parents are angry that an exercise included in the Primary School learning pack, created by Diversity Role Model, includes the message 'love has no age limit', which they claim could be seen to normalise paedophilia. Another issue comes from one of the recommended reading materials in the Secondary pack, a book called Beyond Magenta. It includes explicit sexual references, including: "From six up I used to kiss guys.... and perform oral sex on them. I liked it. I used to love oral."  It also references perverts touching themselves and saying 'come here, sweetie'."
Homophobia strikes again!

Meme - "Asked my Salvadorian coworker if he ever uses "Latinx" instead of Latino and he called me a pendejx"
The gender neutral version of pendejo

New Gorgeous Disney Belle Breaks All Standards - "Jade Jones stars as “Belle” in a production of “Beauty and the Beast” at the Olney Theatre Center in Maryland."
She is certainly breaking some standards

Meme - "naomi markman stand... May 12, 2016: "happy @Castle_ABC got cancelled, I like the show but don't like the message that you can continue on without your leading ladies"
naomi markman stands...: "my dear troll friends, you do realize that literally hundreds of people lost their jobs today, right? jobs we loved and cared about? we're gonna be emotional. also, most if not all of us found out today, with the public.
just because you don't like the food at a restaurant doesn't mean you would celebrate when it closes down tf. you wouldn't mock the waiters or chefs. I beg of you to touch some grass and give someone you love a hug naomi markman stands...
my entire life was turned upside down less than 12 hours ago along with hundreds of my dearest peers. consider having a god damn ounce of compassion or empathy."
Addendum: On Cowboy Bebop getting cancelled

Meme - "You're BLIND to your own privilege"
"BLIND?! That sounds ABLEIST to me."
"That's... uneducared and ignorant"
"you're in my personal space"
"FAT Shaming."

Titania McGrath on Twitter - "Be sure to put your pronouns in your bio. That way, when you’re calling your opponents evil lowlife scumbags, trying to get them fired, or gloating if they die, everyone will know that you’re actually incredibly compassionate."


Escape The Echo Chamber - Posts | Facebook - "Calling discrimination “reverse discrimination” doesn’t make sense. I wish writers would stop using that phrase.  This employee was fired from his job due to his race and sex. This was the result of a corporation attempting to quickly change the demographics of its leadership to meet demands of todays woke activists. Efforts to change group representation in an organization necessarily requires discriminating against individuals. This is viewed by many as positive as they believe that discrimination based on race or gender is valid if it’s done for the ‘right’ reasons. This happens.  I have a friend, who will remain anonymous, who worked in the highest levels of a Fortune 500 company’s Human Resources department. Her team had to fill a VP position. They settled on three highly qualified candidates and presented them to the hiring committee. All three were rejected without interviews because they were white males. They were instructed to get new candidates with different physical characteristics. Of course that was highly illegal but it’s an accepted practice today just as it was once acceptable to discriminate against minorities and women in years past. The same sin, different sinners."
White Guy Awarded Millions By Jury In Reverse Discrimination Case After Diversity & Inclusion Team's Misstep - "White guy David Duvall, a former North Carolina hospital marketing executive, has several million dollars in the bank, pending appeal, thanks to a federal jury that decided his firing was a form of reverse discrimination.  The federal jury in Charlotte announced Tuesday that Duvall, who in 2018 was fired from his job at Novant Health where he served as senior vice president of marketing and communications, should be paid $10 million in punitive damages. Duvall’s claim was that he’d been fired as the Novant Health diversity and inclusion team started making itself known within the company.   After being fired in 2018, the company split Duvall’s job between two women — one white and one black. The white woman had served under him in the department while the black woman was moved into the position of Chief Marketing Officer... An attorney for Duvall argued that his client was fired as part of the company’s “five year plan” to show diversity by 2020. The attorney wrote in the lawsuit that Novant had fired other white executives as part of this diversity and inclusion plan, including the Chief Legal Officer, Medical Group President, Chief Information Officer, Patient Experience Officer and President of Haymarket Medical Center. In each of the cases, the attorney says that Novant replaced white men with a black person or a woman... "Mr. Duvall was committed to D&I, sat on a system committee to promote it and his team created marketing materials""
You can try to ride the Diversity tiger, but it will end up eating you

Politicizing Medicine is Dangerous - "Politicizing medicine is dangerous. Tens of thousands of people are dead because vaccines became politicized and people chose political identity over rationality. Yet instead of trying to depoliticize medicine, the AMA has doubled down and is going full woke. The AMA’s Advancing Health Equity: A Guide to Language, Narrative and Concepts is so over the top I thought at first it was satire from the BabylonBee. The guide, for example, recommends that instead of talking about poor health among low-income people that physicians should blame “landowners and large corporations” for “increasingly centralizing political and financial power wielded by a few” and limiting “prospects for good health and well-being for many groups.” Put aside that this is at best tendentious and at worst utterly fallacious and just imagine that you are a landowner or work for a large corporation (that’s most of us!). Would you trust a doctor spouting this rhetoric or might you feel that such a doctor doesn’t have your best interests at heart?"

The AMA Embraces Leftist Language — and Leaves Patients Behind - The Atlantic - "the AMA and AAMC urge physicians and other health-care workers to replace many “commonly used” words, such as vulnerable, with “equity-focused” alternatives, such as oppressed. The document is a classic example of how administrative bureaucracies of all sorts are thinking about social justice in 2021... Medical vulnerability is not synonymous with oppression. Men are more vulnerable to COVID-19 than women, but not because men are more oppressed. My grandmother is far more vulnerable to the disease than a wrongfully incarcerated teenager, yet she is far less oppressed. Meanwhile, a warehouse worker whose boss fails to update workplace-safety protocols might indeed be vulnerable to COVID-19 because of lopsided power relations. But if exposed to a public-health message urging vaccination for “the most oppressed,” he might think, That’s not me, whereas a message informing him that “indoor workers are among the most vulnerable” is far more explicit about whom the advice is for... Advancing Health Equity is rife with specious reasoning, questionable assumptions, and dubious judgments, all presented in an effort to get doctors talking like ideologues of the social-justice left... it calls on doctors to reject individualism, to prefer equity to equality, to overturn “a dominant narrative” that “regards health as a personal responsibility,” and to “expose the political roots underlying apparently ‘natural’ economic arrangements, such as property rights.” No guidance is offered to doctors who agree with any of the dominant narratives in question, or who prefer to separate their clinical interventions from their politics or activism. One supposes, for example, that many AMA members believe that property rights are beneficial to the societies where they are protected, and that probing the political philosophy behind them is far beyond a doctor’s professional expertise. Worse still, the new guide is likelier to hinder equity than to advance it. The most vulnerable Americans suffer disproportionately insofar as the medical system adopts language to advance an ideology rather than to communicate clearly––especially if it leads doctors to use language that is most intelligible to people with degrees from fancy colleges and relatively inaccessible to almost everyone else. Fundamentally, doctors should talk in ways that listeners understand... A new drug that performed as dismally in clinical trials would never reach the public––but the medical profession’s normal standards of rigor seem not to apply to efforts branded as “anti-racism.”... The guide is also politically naive. The AMA and AAMC imagine that if doctors and other health-care professionals adopt the suggested language, they will bring about progressive change by way of the credibility that their words carry. More likely, they will squander that credibility. The medical profession won’t remain more broadly trusted than left-wing activists if the two become indistinguishable. And that’s what will happen if doctors follow the guide’s advice. Instead of saying, “Low-income people have the highest level of coronary artery disease,” it urges health professionals to substitute this doctrinaire sentence: “People underpaid and forced into poverty as a result of banking policies, real estate developers gentrifying neighborhoods, and corporations weakening the power of labor movements, among others, have the highest level of coronary artery disease.”... The guide posits that instead of doctors asking the conventional question, “How can we promote healthy behavior?” they should ask, “How can we democratize land use policies through greater public participation to ensure healthy living conditions?”"
So much for mocking people for realising that teachers, all broadcast media and David Attenborough are Marxist

Opinion | The AMA’s new guide to appropriate language is alarming - The Washington Post - "After Donald Trump took office in 2017, there was a surge of interest among the intellectual left in “1984,” George Orwell’s classic novel about statist repression.  So it’s ironic that, in this first year of the Biden administration, those same leftists are set on coopting the language in a distinctly Orwellian way... Let’s leave aside for the moment the obvious question of why it’s the AMA’s business to lecture anyone about what counts as acceptable language. As far as I know, the folks at Fowler’s Modern English Usage have never issued a guide to performing thyroid surgery. Be that as it may, the country’s most powerful medical associations have decided that the “dominant narratives” of inequality in health care must be “named, disrupted and corrected,” according to an introduction that reads like it came from Mao’s “Little Red Book.”... part of what we learned in the 20th century, during a series of long wars against tyrannical governments and ideologies, is that all repressive movements start by mandating versions of history and their own lists of acceptable terminology.  These medical groups — and, more to the point, the elite academic movement they’re kowtowing to — may believe they’re bringing history and language more in line with the goal of social justice. What they’re actually doing is trying to control what their members are allowed to think and say... the AMA is one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington and has long fought a litany of progressive reforms to the health-care system. Only recently did the organization drop its blanket opposition to some very limited kind of “public option,” and only then in an effort to head off proposals such as Medicare-for-all.  So if the medical profession really wants to get on the side of social justice, there are things it can do that would be more meaningful than banning a bunch of words that have nothing to do with medicine... If you want to set the stage for a triumphant Trump return, keep issuing edicts that make it immoral to use terms such as “colorblind” and “tough on crime.”  Finally, while the AMA’s new guidebook may seem trivial compared with pressing issues like climate change or immigration, I’d argue that it’s actually a powerful testament to where we are at the moment — and it should frighten you as much as it does me, even if we’re sympathetic to the underlying cause.  When one of the most elite and powerful industry groups in the society senses so much external pressure that it feels compelled to banish words and institute new, tortured phraseologies, it tells you that no group is immune to what Orwell, in his famous essay on politics and language, called “the worst follies of orthodoxy.”"

Meme - "Zombie apocalypse starts, 14 year old girl: zombies are also humans"

Meme - Joy-Ann (Pro-Democracy) @JoyAnnReid: "One more note: you want to know how California went from a reliably red state to a solidly blue one? Demographics." "Gotta love how the left openly shows their hand. They know conservatives are too afraid of being called racists to do anything meaningful about it."

Meme - Anonymous dog account: "Hey guess what? If people have been taught from birth to view you as their "oppressor" they're going to be willing to do horrible evil shit to you."

Competitive victimhood as a response to accusations of ingroup harm doing. - "Accusations of unjust harm doing by the ingroup threaten the group's moral identity. One strategy for restoring ingroup moral identity after such a threat is competitive victimhood: claiming the ingroup has suffered compared with the harmed outgroup. Men accused of harming women were more likely to claim that men are discriminated against compared with women (Study 1), and women showed the same effect when accused of discriminating against men (Study 3). Undergraduates engaged in competitive victimhood with university staff after their group was accused of harming staff (Study 2). Study 4 showed that the effect of accusations on competitive victimhood among high-status group members is mediated by perceived stigma reversal: the expectation that one should feel guilty for being in a high-status group. Exposure to a competitive victimhood claim on behalf of one's ingroup reduced stigma reversal and collective guilt after an accusation of ingroup harm doing (Study 5)."
Why intersectionality and victim culture are poisonous

Thread by @JonathanShedler on Thread Reader App – Thread Reader App - "Severe personality problems find *camouflage.* No one thinks "I'm a sadist" or "I'm a malignant narcissist."They find a belief system/social group that validates their most hateful, destructive impulses & construes them as virtues.
The most toxic and hateful people in the world are 100% convinced they fight for what is true and right. They find a way to give free rein to their cruelty, to attack, to treat others cruelly and viciously. *And they find allies to cheer them on* who also believe they are on the side of all that is true and good. For colleagues looking for more theoretical explanation, the psychological processes are splitting, projection & projective identification. Splitting means not recognizing one's own capacity for hate, cruelty, and destructiveness. The person is blind to the bad in themselves. Instead, they project the badness onto some designated other. And this other person, via the defense of projection, is now seen as the repository of all that is bad and evil and necessary to destroy. That's the projection.
The person now feels fully justified in unleashing their viciousness and hate on the other person, who is now seen (via projection) as someone monstrous who must be destroyed at all cost. If the person who is projected on attempts to protect or defend themselves, this is now seen as further confirmation of how hateful and evil they are (this is what is called is "projective identification.") The end result is that the person can deny their own sadism, cruelty, and hate—while simultaneously acting it out without restraint. And feel themselves to be 100% on the side of truth and right as they do it"
Replies: "This is shocking.They beat him for holding a sign that said "Children Cannot Consent to Puberty Blockers!" The "be kind, have empathy" faction at it again...
Considering how the violence has been increasing lately (see also the attacks on feminists in France last weekend), I tend to think that some movements attract a certain kind of personality type."
"I interviewed a psychologist who noted that narcissism is epidemic in the non-profit sector. Who would have thought? LOL"
"So true. The most toxic people I have ever met in my life saw themselves as the victims of others, to whom they responded with disproportionate cruelty"

Moral grandstanding and political polarization: A multi-study consideration - "Americans are increasingly polarized in their political ideology and reactions to political others.
Moral grandstanding is related to endorsing more extreme ideological positions.
Moral grandstanding motivated by a desire to seek prestige is related to ideological extremism.
Prestige motivated grandstaing is related to more polarized emotional reactions to political others."
So virtue signallers are extremists

Shant Mesrobian on Twitter- "The reason why so many extremely woke people turn out to have been bigoted in the past is because bigotry used to be the best way to bully and intimidate people, but now performative anti-bigotry is the best way to bully and intimidate people. An evolving toolset for sociopaths."
Given that anti-racists are the biggest racists...

Signaling virtuous victimhood as indicators of Dark Triad personalities - "We investigate the consequences and predictors of emitting signals of victimhood and virtue. In our first three studies, we show that the virtuous victim signal can facilitate nonreciprocal resource transfer from others to the signaler. Next, we develop and validate a victim signaling scale that we combine with an established measure of virtue signaling to operationalize the virtuous victim construct. We show that individuals with Dark Triad traits-Machiavellianism, Narcissism, Psychopathy-more frequently signal virtuous victimhood, controlling for demographic and socioeconomic variables that are commonly associated with victimization in Western societies. In Study 5, we show that a specific dimension of Machiavellianism-amoral manipulation-and a form of narcissism that reflects a person's belief in their superior prosociality predict more frequent virtuous victim signaling. Studies 3, 4, and 6 test our hypothesis that the frequency of emitting virtuous victim signal predicts a person's willingness to engage in and endorse ethically questionable behaviors, such as lying to earn a bonus, intention to purchase counterfeit products and moral judgments of counterfeiters, and making exaggerated claims about being harmed in an organizational context"
In other words, woke virtue signalling is a way to enrich yourself and is done by evil people who think they are better than others and who do bad things

A cleansing fire: Moral outrage alleviates guilt and buffers threats to one’s moral identity - "Why do people express moral outrage? While this sentiment often stems from a perceived violation of some moral principle, we test the counter-intuitive possibility that moral outrage at third-party transgressions is sometimes a means of reducing guilt over one’s own moral failings and restoring a moral identity. We tested this guilt-driven account of outrage in five studies examining outrage at corporate labor exploitation and environmental destruction. Study 1 showed that personal guilt uniquely predicted moral outrage at corporate harm-doing and support for retributive punishment. Ingroup (vs. outgroup) wrongdoing elicited outrage at corporations through increased guilt, while the opportunity to express outrage reduced guilt (Study 2) and restored perceived personal morality (Study 3). Study 4 tested whether effects were due merely to downward social comparison and Study 5 showed that guilt-driven outrage was attenuated by an affirmation of moral identity in an unrelated context."
i.e. The lady doth protest too much, methinks, This also explains why virtue signalling is a good sign that the person has some skeletons in his closet, e.g. ""The "male feminist ally turns out to be a creeper/harasser" is the "family values politician turns out to be gay" for millenials."" Like this prominent virtue signalling male liberal I know was terrible towards his ex

Moral outrage porn - "We offer an account of the generic use of the term “porn”, as seen in recent usages such as “food porn” and “real estate porn”. We offer a definition adapted from earlier accounts of sexual pornography. On our account, a representation is used as generic porn when it is engaged with primarily for the sake of a gratifying reaction, freed from the usual costs and consequences of engaging with the represented content. We demonstrate the usefulness of the concept of generic porn by using it to isolate a new type of such porn: moral outrage porn. Moral outrage porn is representations of moral outrage, engaged with primarily for the sake of the resulting gratification, freed from the usual costs and consequences of engaging with morally outrageous content. Moral outrage porn is dangerous because it encourages the instrumentalization of one’s empirical and moral beliefs, manipulating their content for the sake of gratification. Finally, we suggest that when using porn is wrong, it is often wrong because it instrumentalizes what ought not to be instrumentalized."

Hollywood casting light-skinned actors to appeal to China - "The study, “Impacts of Chinese Colorism on Hollywood Castings” published by Johns Hopkins University, looked at 3,000 films between 2009 and 2015 and discovered that the flicks made after 2012 showed an 8 percent increase in the number of light-skinned actors in starring roles.That means that “for 1 of every 3 films in this category, the film went from having 2 out of 3 as very light-skinned actors, to having 3 out of 3 very light-skinned actors,” which the study’s authors termed “light-skin shift.”The shift happened in summer blockbusters and action movies that the Chinese government allows Chinese film-goers to see and that are created by Hollywood with the Chinese market in mind.Other films, like horror and comedy movies — that aren’t produced with the Chinese market’s preferences taken into account –didn’t show the same shift."
So much for all the Hollywood virtue signalling. Indeed, it could be seen as a way to compensate

Bus company apologises after rebranding a 'Pride bus' into an 'NHS bus' - "Plymouth Citybus suffered stinging criticism from the LGBT+ community after it announced last Saturday it both renamed and altered the double-decker bus it featured in Plymouth Pride parades."
When one national religion clashes with another

Monday, March 14, 2022

Links - 14th March 2022 (2)

Canadians paid more in taxes last year than they did for the basic necessities of life: Fraser Institute - The Hub - "As authors Jake Fuss and Leo Plumer calculate, over the last year the average Canadian family earned $96,333 and paid $35,047 in taxes, or 36.4 percent of their income. For basic necessities—housing (including rent and mortgage payments), food and clothing combined — families paid $34,105, or 35.4 percent of their income... The tax bill has also greatly outpaced the increase in the Consumer Price Index"

Woman makes 3 million yuan by taking out insurance on flights she thought would be delayed - "A woman has been arrested by police in Nanjing for getting rich off the tendency in China for flights to take off late.  The 45-year-old woman, surnamed Li, booked hundreds of flights from 2015 to 2019. She had no intention of actually taking these trips. Instead, her only goal was to purchase flight delay insurance to turn the flight into a money-making opportunity.  Before buying the insurance, Li would analyze local weather conditions and online reviews to judge which flights would be most likely to be delayed or canceled.  In this way, she booked over 900 flights in those five years, using her name as well as the names of her friends and family members and made a whopping 3 million yuan ($423,000) in the process."

Mother finds out her son's bride is her long-lost DAUGHTER on their wedding day - "The woman was reportedly able to recognise her daughter, from whom she had been separated from many years ago, by a birthmark on her hand on the day of the ceremony... The wedding was able to go ahead after it was established that the woman's son had been adopted, meaning they were entirely unrelated to each other... She was prompted to ask the bride's parents if their daughter had been adopted.   The parents were taken aback by the question before saying that they had adopted the child after finding her by a roadside over 20 years ago.   On hearing the story, the bride burst into tears and described the moment of meeting her biological mother as 'happier than the wedding day itself'"

Gordon Ramsay's dwarf porn double Percy Foster dies in badger den - "A DWARF porn star who was Gordon Ramsay's double has been found dead in the most bizarre of circumstances, according to UK tabloid The Sunday Sport.  Percy Foster's 107 centimetre (3'6") body was discovered in a badger's den in Wales.  The report says the 35-year-old was found, "deep in an underground chamber by Ministry of Agriculture experts ahead of a planned badger-gassing program."... "Porn lookalikes get more money than normal actors. Dwarf lookalikes are as rare as hen's teeth and so can command top dollar.  "I've already ordered a new BMW and a diamond-encrusted Soda Stream""

Facebook - "Classic Art Memes That Prove Nothing Has Changed In 100s Of Years"

Gad Saad on Twitter - "Think about the original conception of a government in a free society. It was supposed to offer some very basic services (domestic protection; protection from foreign enemies, etc.) and then step out of your way. Over the years, governments have encroached on every possible personal decision. In Quebec, the government will tell you when you are allowed to open your outdoor f***ing terrace (if you are a cafe owner). They will tell you how you are allowed to make changes to your OWN home. They tell you everything. And we simply acquiesce. Imagine if we were to stand up in unison (therein lies the impossible challenge) and reject the current reality. Imagine if we were to reject ANY governmental intrusion beyond the original libertarian mandate. Oh what a wonderful word this would be (in the words of Armstrong)."

Tony Posnanski on Twitter - "And @VitaCoco don’t come at me with your shit is pressed or comes from the finest baby coconuts. Your shit is nasty like all coconut water."
"Let us send you some, don't knock it till you try it."
"Fuck that. Save that nasty shit for someone else. I would rather drink your social media persons piss than coconut water."
"Address?" - Blonde girl in toilet with jar of yellow liquid

Facebook - "Listening to Glenn Greenwald on Joe Rogan. Astonishing. He is now exactly where many of us were five years ago, and he’s in the first phase of angry realization about how this ideological movement is discarding traditional liberal values of free speech. I can’t believe this is the same guy not that long ago more concerned with the content of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons than the fact that people were and continue to be murdered over them.   Things are playing out as we warned. That Twitter and Facebook are now exercising veto power over the New York post, founded by Alexander Hamilton, whatever the merits of the Post, is deeply troubling.  Greenwald makes a solid point. Ask people what they think of Facebook, they despise Mark Zuckerberg. Ask what they think about the court system, they think it is authoritarian and oppressive. Ask people what they think about the US government, they think it is a fascist state run by Donald Trump. Then ask them – so you think all those people should be given much greater power to regulate the speech you create and consume? The answer is enthusiastically yes.   Don’t be surprised after Biden likely wins when the same movement very quickly starts to make his life impossible, and not in the good faith way of honestly holding politicians accountable. "

Boys Who Got Lost in MacRitchie Forest to Find Shrine Were Found by Soldiers - "they didn’t inform their parents, nor did they bring along food or water because they assumed there would be vending machines there."

'As a result of my upbringing, I am properly clothed at all times': When S'pore made nudity in own home illegal (in public view) - "In Ho's speech on the amending the bills, he pointed out the need to "maintain a certain level of public morality and behaviour" and that the crux of the bill was to protect the "morality and dignity of neighbouring residents and passers-by"...   The issue of intent was brought up during the 1996 parliamentary session as well.  No less than then-nominated member of parliament, and future Attorney General, Walter Woon brought up the issue.  Woon said that in the times Singaporeans were in (1996 of course), whether just the sight of a nude body was "so disgusting" that Singapore had to criminalise it becomes a contentious issue.  He then warned of potential future private prosecutions by "prudish prim busybodies". Thus, Woon argued, with the inclusion of the word "intentionally" in the first line of section 27A, many of those woes could be deterred.  Now, if you're reading about this in 2020, you would most likely know that the word "intentionally" was not in fact placed in the first line, or at all... intent is not an unheard of modifier to any private nudity laws that might come up... Woon also gave a very succinct piece of advice for those who offended by the sight of a neighbour's nudity:      "Stop looking into your neighbour's windows!"  Choo took umbrage at Woon's remarks, asking him if he was on the side of the public, or the side of the nudists.  To that Woon directly asked Choo if he bathed fully clothed, or if he ever disrobed completely... Choo, rounding up the exchange, gave a passionate defence on his moral stance:      "Since Prof. Woon asked about my private life, I think I ought to reply. As a result of my upbringing, I am properly clothed at all times.""

The Case for Disaggregating the European Union: It Has Never Acted as One Body, and It Will Work Better if Treated as Such - "Prior to the Maastricht Treaty, the European project was commonly referred to as the “European Communities.” There was the European Coal and Steel Community, the European Atomic Energy Community, and the European Economic Community—all governed by the same set of Brussels-based institutions. If, 30 years in, the bundling of these groups into the EU has not produced greater unity, perhaps it is time to start thinking about the EU in pluralistic terms again. It may not be one monolithic entity but a multiplicity of only partially geographically overlapping projects of economic and political integration... The idea is by no means radical. The EU has long featured a single market, in which several nonmembers take part. There is also the Schengen Agreement and the currency union, which both include subsets of EU members and some nonmembers. While the EU strives to make its lowest common denominator attempts at common security and foreign policies viable, member states, large and small, often act on their own. Explicit and implicit carve-outs and special accommodations exist in many other areas, including the Irish protocol on the Lisbon Treaty, Denmark’s opt-outs from the Maastricht Treaty, and Poland’s opt-out from the Charter of Fundamental Rights...  An unbundling of the EU would be a simple acknowledgment of reality today. Its alternative, namely obstinate insistence on European unity and one-size-fits-all solutions, will not lead to an ever closer union. Instead, it is the surest path to the bloc’s paralysis and ultimate irrelevance."

‘Culture wars’ are fought by tiny minority – UK study - "A disproportionate amount of political comment on social media is generated by small, politically driven groups, according to the analysis. It found that there was actually widespread agreement in the UK over topics such as gender equality and climate change – often seen as culture war issues... 12% of voters accounted for 50% of all social-media and Twitter users – and are six times as active on social media as are other sections of the population... 62% of Brits said they had used social media in the past 24 hours, but that this was much higher for certain groups. The figure rose to 83% for those it described as “progressive activists”. It found that most voters balanced competing political concerns and ideas. Its polling found that 73% believe hate speech is a problem, while 72% believe political correctness is an issue. Some 60% believe many are too sensitive about race, but 60% also recognise issues around “white privilege”. Researchers found significant differences between the US and UK. They found a stronger inclination towards moderation in Britain, with 55% of the population saying they were in the centre of politics. While the questions asked in the US were not identical, only 33% identified as moderate. “The overall picture in the US is two wings which hate each other and an exhausted majority in the middle,” the report states. “In the UK it’s more a kaleidoscope, which makes us well placed to avoid going down the path towards full polarisation… The seven segments form different coalitions depending on the issue.”"

Meme - "Somewhere there's a poor schmuck with a warehouse full of these that he's desperately trying to unload on an unsuspecting African country that's short of pillows."
"Cuomosexual Definition Pillow
Cuomosexual Pillow Designed and Sold by lemonpepper
Cuomosexual noun [Kwoh-moh-sek-shoo-uhl]
in love with competent, reassuring governance by a leader who uses complete sentences and displays common sense during a pandemic."

Chris Cuomo accused of sexual harassment following brother’s downfall | The Star - "Following the downfall of former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, his younger brother and confidant, CNN prime-time host Chris Cuomo, has been accused of sexually harassing his former boss in 2005.  Shelley Ross, a journalist who used to be Cuomo’s producer at ABC News, accused him of touching her inappropriately at a going-away party for a colleague in New York. After bear-hugging her and squeezing her buttock, Cuomo told Ross he could “do this now that you’re no longer my boss”"

Portrayal of Kashmir in new Superman video met with backlash in India - "Indians fans of DC Comics are criticising the comic book publisher for portraying Kashmir as a disputed territory in its latest animated film Injustice."

Meme - "Scientists then: I can't wait for someone to try to disprove my findings
scientists now: If you challenge anything I say than that's hate speech"

Facebook - "Shutting down dissent: “the science is settled”
When proven wrong: “the science evolves”"

Escape The Echo Chamber - Posts | Facebook - "Old study, yada , yada. It came up in an online discussion about the efficacy of the FBI and child abductions. A few lines stood out that have been true for decades. There are 50 million school age children in this country and less than a hundred are abducted by strangers each year."
“According to a 2002 federal study on missing children, 99.8 percent of children reported missing were located or returned home alive.”…
“The study estimated that most of missing children cases involved runaways from juvenile facilities and that only an estimated 0.0068 percent were true kidnappings by a stranger. The primary conclusion of the study was that child abductions perpetrated by strangers rarely occur.”…
Won't stop the moral panic

I masturbate to pictures of Ben Shapiro almost every day just because I know he would hate the idea of a male wanking to him : confessions - "it's actually really difficult because I don't find him sexually attractive in any way and especially just his headshots but I have done it every day for about 2 years because I found it funny at first but now I'm so used to it that it makes me feel incomplete if I don't do it every day."
This is like the guy who claims to masturbate over Islamic clerics for similar reasons

"You matter, don't give up" or "You don't matter, give up?"

This cardboard standee in a S'pore supermarket proves we don't understand double entendres - ""I've tasted pussy, have you?"... Pussy is an energy drink first started in the UK by one Jonnie Shearer, now a millionaire from its success.  It is currently banned in the UK by their Advertising Standards Authority for being too sexually explicit, though we aren't sure why."

Polish man wakes up in a morgue refrigerator after being declared dead - "A 25-year-old Polish man who was declared dead after drinking too much vodka woke up and found himself in a morgue.   And rather than go home to sleep after the terrifying ordeal, the man went straight back out to re-join his friends at the pub.  The man, called Kamil, passed out after indulging on the spirit in Kamienna Gรณra, a town in the south-west of the country... The account was similar to an incident in Russia last year where a man who had been partying in the Khansanky region in the country's far east also found himself in a morgue... In 2014, Polish woman Janina Kolkiewicz, 91, spent 11 hours in cold storage in a mortuary after being declared dead."

Meme - Ally Oop @novelideal4: "Happy 60th birthday to a former President, who's biggest scandal was wearing a tan suit. #HappyBirthdayObama"
9" snails @filth_waste: "am i at a wedding in kandahar because this is killing me"

chauncey on Twitter - "I miss Obama. His only scandal was a tan suit/Chelsea Manning's torture/the extrajudicial murder of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki/destroying Libya/arming and enabling the Saudi destruction of Yemen/letting the bankers off scott-free/mass deportation/the drone kill list/Espionage Act/..."

You Aren't Actually Mad at the SATs - "The University of California system is getting rid of its SAT/ACT requirement. More will follow... Liberals repeat several types of myths about the SAT/ACT with such utter confidence and repetition that they’ve become a kind of holy writ. But myths they are.
1. SATs/ACTs don’t predict college success. They do, indeed...
2. The SATs only tell you how well a student takes the SAT... The SAT doesn’t just predict college performance, though it does that very well. It predicts all manner of major life events we associate with higher intelligence. And since the SAT and ACT are proxy IQ tests, they almost certainly provide useful information about all manner of other outcomes as well. Intelligence testing has been demonstrated to predict constructs like work performance over and over again. The SAT/ACT are predictive, and they predict differences between test takers because not all people are academically equal. Obviously.
3. SATs just replicate the income distribution... I believe that this research represents the largest publicly-available sample of SAT scores and income information, with an n of almost 150,000, and the observed correlation between family income and SAT score is .25. This is not nothing. It is a meaningful predictor. But it means that the large majority of the variance in SAT scores is not explainable by income information...
In general, progressive and left types routinely overstate the power of the relationship between family wealth and academic performance on all manner of educational outcomes. The political logic is obvious: if you generally want to redistribute money (as I do) then the claim that educational problems are really economic problems provides ammo for your position... what correlation does exist between SES and academic indicators might simply be the metrics accurately measuring the constructs they were designed to measure. And throwing money at our educational problems, while noble in intent, hasn’t worked. (People react violently to this, but for example poorer and Blacker public schools receive significantly higher per-pupil funding than richer and whiter schools, which should not be a surprise given that the policy apparatus has been shoveling money at the racial performance gap for 40 years.) All manner of major interventions in student socioeconomic status, including adoption into dramatically different home and family conditions, have failed to produce the benefits you’d expect if academic outcomes were a simple function of money...
4. SATs are easily gamed with expensive tutoring. They are not...
5. Going test optional increases racial diversity. This one, I think, must be called scientifically unsettled. However both Sweitzer, Blalock, and Sharma and Belasco, Rosinger, and Hearn find no appreciable increase in racial diversity after universities go test-optional. “Holistic” application criteria like admissions essays almost certainly benefit richer students anyway. What’s more, we have to ask ourselves what “diversity” really means in this context. Private colleges and universities keep the relevant data close to the vest, for obvious reasons, but it’s widely believed that many elite schools satisfy their internal diversity goals for Black students by aggressively pursuing wealthy Kenyan and Nigerian international students, whose parents have the means to be the kind of reliable donors that such schools rely on so heavily... the controversy over college entrance examinations stems not from the examinations themselves, but from the fact that they reveal profound differences in human capital that make progressives uncomfortable. The SATs don’t create inequality. They reveal inequality... the more valid a test is, the more powerful it is, the more inequality it reveals, as it becomes capable of demonstrating finer and finer-grained distinctions between test takers. Most people are bothered by this tendency to reveal inequality because of troublesome and persistent group differences. Traditionally the gender education gap was cited as a source of concern, but because the gender positions have flipped (outside of a few stubborn fields), most progressive people don’t care much. The racial achievement gap, however, is still the singular obsession of the American education politics, policy, and research world, and despite periodic predictions that it will soon close, it remains stubbornly real... [there is] a rapidly-congealing social prohibition against talking about these gaps in progressive spaces. If you refer to a racial achievement gap in a lot of liberal or left contexts now, you’ll find that people clam up fast and get visibly uncomfortable, even if you take pains to point out that an academic achievement gap does not imply an academic potential gap... When I was in grad school more than a half-decade ago, I observed with some considerable unhappiness that it had become increasingly socially unacceptable to speak of some students as simply better students than others, as being more talented, harder working, or more prepared. All of this was seen as inegalitarian and, eventually, as “white supremacist” even if every student being compared in a given context was white. There were many instructors back then who bragged about giving all students As, etc., and I must assume this practice has only grown over time. In the humanities and social sciences especially there is a growing movement to reject assessment, including grading - the means through which we sort better students from worse - as the hand of illegitimate power that “does violence” to the students who voluntarily attend college... Assessment is as old as education, but many in academia now don’t argue about how to do it (which is an essential conversation) but that it should not be done at all... in rejecting the entire sorting function of the university, academia will collapse. Wealthy parents aren’t paying Harvard to enrich their children in the humanistic sense. They’re paying Harvard to act as a marker of their child’s superiority in the labor market and the social hierarchy. Employers value college because it provides at least some meaningful information about who will succeed as a worker; remove that function and the financial justification for a hideously expensive system dies... (These tenured radicals, of course, never are so moved by the inherent inequities of academia that they quit the profession.)... hierarchies of relative academic performance are remarkably stable throughout life, due to differences in inherent or intrinsic academic ability of whatever origin... Trying to fight educational inequality by getting rid of the SAT is like trying to fight climate change by getting rid of thermometers."

A belief in meritocracy is not only false: it’s bad for you
Comment: "What a load of poorly argued drivel. Just because luck (genetic and environmental) has a lot to do with who has merit doesn't mean meritocracy is an illusion. Meritocracy doesn't mean those who try the hardest rule. Look at how much test scores and educational attainment in sought after disciplines determine financial success in the usual range of salaries. You can always argue that you can be as smart and hard-working as you want and are extraordinarily unlikely to become a billionaire. Who ever doubted that much luck is involved there. To use that to argue that merit has really nothing to do with success in general is beyond absurd."
Though actually many Americans deny the role of luck. Claiming one makes one's own luck is a common line. When you point out that those who work hard don't necessarily succeed they just claim you need to work both smart and hard

Meritocracy Is Worth Defending - WSJ - "Once upon a time there was a college in New York City that people referred to as the “Harvard of the proletariat.” Many of its graduates were poor or the children of working-class immigrants, yet they went on to become physicians and lawyers and distinguished scholars. Nine alumni were later awarded Nobel Prizes.  In 1970 the school watered down its admissions standards and began admitting anyone who had graduated from high school. “The result was a simultaneous boom in student numbers and a collapse in academic standards,” Adrian Wooldridge writes in his new book, “The Aristocracy of Talent.” Within a decade, “two out of three students admitted to the college required remedial teaching in the three ‘R’s. Dropout rates surged. Talented scholars left. Protests and occupations became commonplace.” In 1994 a task force concluded that the college was “in a spiral of decline.” Five years later, the open-admissions policy was declared a failure and finally reversed.  Mr. Wooldridge’s book is a broad defense of meritocracy—judging people based on their abilities—and its origins. He presents New York’s City College as a cautionary tale for the U.S., where the war on standards has intensified in recent years. Last month, Oregon ended its requirement that students show proficiency in reading and math to earn a high school diploma. Two of the nation’s most prestigious schools, Boston Latin Academy and Thomas Jefferson High School in Virginia, have scrapped their admissions tests to achieve more racial balance. New York’s mayor has engaged in a multiyear battle to end testing at the Big Apple’s elite schools... Meritocracies weren’t designed to degrade and exclude. Rather, the goals were to replace a system based heavily on patronage and nepotism, to treat people as individuals rather than as members of groups, and to distribute opportunities according to ability and talent. “For millennia, most societies have been organized according to the very opposite principles to meritocracy”... meritocracy has done a better job than its alternatives in moving societies forward. It has provided upward social mobility for the poor, for women and for racial and ethnic minorities. Whatever meritocracy’s shortcomings, the cure is clearly more meritocracy, not moving back in the direction of what it replaced.  Despite the attacks from elites, most people still prefer a system based on merit. A Pew poll from 2019 found that 73% of Americans, including 62% of blacks, opposed the use of racial preferences in college admissions. Gallup surveys show that among the 15% of the world’s adults who want to emigrate from where they live, the most popular destination countries are the U.S., Canada, Germany, France, Australia and the U.K.—generally the most meritocratic... Nations such as China, Japan, South Korea and Singapore have been pursuing meritocracy for decades—and have the growth to prove it—while American elites are nudging us away from meritocratic systems and toward race-conscious policies to achieve more-equitable outcomes"
An obsession with redistribution rather than growing the pie only works as long as there is pie to redistribute. So the liberal hatred of achievement is ironically one of the signs of "late capitalism"

Rising property prices a key driver in wealth inequality, ills of ‘hereditary meritocracy’ exist: Ravi Menon - "Wealth is far more unequally distributed than income in almost all societies as rising land prices drive up property values... As people’s income rises, they tend to apportion an increasing percentage of their disposable income to buy property in prime locations."
This conflates hereditary privilege with hereditary meritocracy

Wake Up, Singapore - Posts | Facebook - "Taken this morning at the AYE. How many more lives have to be lost before we learn that lorries should transport goods, not humans? We must legislate to change this. If construction companies need to pay more to switch to buses, ask them to cut their fat salaries and bonuses."
For some reason they're obsessed with foreign workers travelling in the back of lorries. Too bad NSmen don't benefit from their advocacy
Of course they are the same people who will be the first to bitch when rising costs from the policies they demand spill down

Gavin Williamson criticised for ‘galling’ comment on ‘dead-end’ university courses - "The National Union of Students (NUS) has criticised Gavin Williamson for “galling” comments after he spoke of “dead-end” university courses.  The education secretary has faced backlash over remarks on courses which “leave young people with nothing but debt”... A Department for Education spokesperson told The Independent earlier this month reforms “are designed to target taxpayers’ money towards the subjects which support the skills this country needs to build back better”."
Far better to have lots more graduates resentful that their university degrees have left them in penury, so they will readily lap up left wing rhetoric about how the world has done them in

Arrest after squirt gun fight turns into real gun battle at Fayette County park - "Authorities said they have arrested a 20-year-old Jonesboro man for murder in a squirt gun fight that turned to actual gunfire, killing one and injuring another.  Sean Allen turned himself in to the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office on Monday afternoon. Investigators said he is charged with felony murder and aggravated assault."

Pete ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง on Twitter - "New Zealand to cut ‘low-skill’ immigration and refocus on wealthy" "Its interesting that the likes of Ardern & Trudeau are able to selectively limit/control immigration in this way without a whole swathe of activists & intelligentsia in their respective countries having a meltdown that this constitutes some kind of sign of a descent into fascism. Nixon goes to China. Just as Nixon, the ultimate anti-Communist hawk could achieve detente with China in a way that someone like, say, a Henry Wallace type theoretically wouldn’t be able to, liberal-ish-centrist types can be hawkish on immigration in a way that right-wingers cant Obama deported more people than any POTUS in history, inc Trump, but there was no freak-outs during his two terms in office about America descending into outright fascism like there was during Trump’s one term in office."

Am I normal? A systematic review and construction of nomograms for flaccid and erect penis length and circumference in up to 15 521 men - "Nomograms for flaccid pendulous [n = 10 704, mean (sd) 9.16 (1.57) cm] and stretched length [n = 14 160, mean (sd) 13.24 (1.89) cm], erect length [n = 692, mean (sd) 13.12 (1.66) cm], flaccid circumference [n = 9407, mean (sd) 9.31 (0.90) cm], and erect circumference [n = 381, mean (sd) 11.66 (1.10) cm] were constructed. Consistent and strongest significant correlation was between flaccid stretched or erect length and height, which ranged from r = 0.2 to 0.6."
So much for the liberal claim that it's a "myth" that bodily characteristics affect penis size - we are told that nothing correlates with penis size

As a Sex Worker, Don’t Ask Me to Rank Men’s Penis Sizes by Their Race - Sorry, but don’t ask me to rank men’s penis sizes based on their race. I won’t help fuel my readers’ racist ideas... Do you mean to tell me that every man whose ancestors originated on the massive continent known as Africa has a larger penis than every man whose ancestors originated in the tiny area of the world that is Europe? And every man whose ancestors come from the giant area that’s considered Asia has a smaller penis than men of European ancestry? That is a patently absurd notion... people of European ancestry— e.g., White people — have simply clumped all Asian people and all African people together, viewing them through a distinctly Eurocentric lens. By focusing on non-white men’s penises as larger or smaller than white men’s, the idea that white men’s penises are the “norm” is entrenched.  Besides, many white people in the U.S. don’t even understand how large and diverse both Africa and Asia are."
"Reality is uncomfortable so I will pretend it doesn't exist. Also I don't understand the concept of correlation when it comes to a subject I don't want to understand. But I almost certainly excoriate white people for having 'privilege' because it's a 'stereotype' that aligns with my political views. And though I slam 'white people' for lumping all Asians and all Africans together, I will happily lump all white people together in order to be racist against them"

Doctor explains how to tell penis size — without a ruler - "  A doctor has divulged an unconventional hack to gauge the size of a man’s penis without him dropping his trousers — simply by glancing at his hands. A virtual TikTok clip of the member-measuring shortcut has topped 915,000 views on the video platform.  “You can guess the size of a man’s cactus by how short his index finger is,” Dr. Karan Rajan — who goes by @dr.karanr on TikTok — said in the 27-second sexplainer. The good doctor cited a 2011 urological study in the Asian Journal of Andrology, which he said found that “a shorter index finger compared to ring finger correlates to a bigger ‘snozwaggler.’ “ “This is known as the second to fourth digit ratio, calculated by dividing the length of the index finger by the length of the ring finger,” Rajan continued. “The smaller the index finger, the lower the 2D 4D ratio.” Think of it as the urological version of using one’s forearm to calculate foot size."

Nose size indicates maximum penile length

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