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Saturday, April 23, 2022

Links - 23rd April 2022 (2 - Ukraine)

Ryan J. Phillips: The Ukrainian resistance is an example of positive nationalism - The Hub - "The ongoing Ukrainian resistance (and global support thereof) against Russian imperialism offers us a contemporary example of how nationalism can be used as a positive force for social good... The prevailing narrative is that Putin assumed his invasion of Ukraine would be a straightforward military operation, met with little or no real resistance. What Putin almost certainly didn’t account for, however, was the resolve of the Ukrainian people... We need to recognize and name this ongoing phenomenon as Ukrainian nationalism. Nationalism can be negative and used as a weapon against the “Other”, but it can also be a positive tool to help resist imperialism, as well as foster social cohesion and civility during times of peace. In recent decades, many young progressives have become critical of anything that smells nationalistic. Nationalism, after all, has been blamed for giving us Brexit, Trump, and an unravelling liberal world order. But as someone who self-identifies as (relatively) young and (typically) progressive, I feel compelled to warn others that we demonize nationalism, writ large, at our own peril. Nationalism is purely emotional and ultimately unavoidable—national symbols and sentiments will always be used to rally people around causes. Indeed, the ongoing Ukrainian resistance (and the ideologically diverse support thereof) offers us a chance to rethink what nationalism means, as well as how we can harness it for positive social purposes. If we fail to do so, and continue to write off nationalism as inherently problematic or always wicked, then we cede an incredibly powerful political tool to some very dangerous groups... nationalism can also be a constructive force for social good—what John Ralston Saul called “positive nationalism”. As political commentator David Frum has pointed out, whenever natural disasters occur in any part of Canada (like wildfires out west, or floods in the Ottawa Valley), nationalism can be used to help mobilize support and raise funds to help those in need. When serious wildfires were ravaging Alberta a couple of years ago, people from all over Canada donated money and volunteered their time to help with disaster relief for those in need. A big reason they did so was because of some sense of nationalism—they felt connected to their fellow Canadians. Realistically, it would make much more sense for someone from, say, Seattle to care about and want to help people suffering from wildfires in Alberta than it would for someone from New Brunswick or PEI to want to do so, given Seattle’s relative geographic proximity to Alberta. And yet, people from New Brunswick and PEI were much more likely to help their fellow Canadians during these times—an undeniably positive manifestation of nationalism... Another way in which nationalism can be used for social good is by helping to overcome social or political cleavages. If Canadians become too politically divided along lines of class, wealth, education, geography, language, ethnicity, religion, or any other social identity, they can still be made to recognize each other as fellow Canadians and potentially quell any rising tensions or social unrest. Historically, this has been the case—people might not like a particular politician, political party, premier, or prime minister, but they still tend to respect these people’s commitments to Canadian society—even if they disagree on particular policies or perspectives. We can (and should) still work towards resolving other political divisions based on class, race, gender, etc., but a baseline sense of nationalism can ensure that these divisions don’t threaten the stability of our society in the short run. With rising populism though, particularly in the age of social media and outrage politics, we’re increasingly seeing people abandon these sorts of mutual respect and civility for each other as members of the same nation"
Maybe liberals dislike nationalism because they want to divide people with identity politics, and nationalism works against that

Nemo - Russian Amerikan on Twitter - "National Gallery in London renamed Degas Russian Dancers into Ukrainian Dancers. No, not April 1 joke."

shannon sharpe on Twitter - "I’d rather pay 20 bucks a gallon than have Trump in office. Hope that answers your question"
Glenn Greenwald on Twitter - "Extremely rich people continue to announce that they are bravely willing to endure higher gas prices."

Glenn Greenwald on Twitter - "Wimbledon continues to threaten to ban the world's #2 male tennis player @DaniilMedwed of Russia, and the world's #6 female player @SabalenkaA of Belarus, unless they "sign an anti-Putin form" (all while Western elites say Putin kills all dissidents)
(In an alternate world: Wimbledon threatens to ban all American and British players from participating in the tournament unless they sign a form condemning their country's leaders for arming and funding the Saudis' destruction of Yemen)"

Meme - "WAR IS COMING. Adopt a Ukrainian before it's too late. *beautiful blonde*"

Russian fast-food chain backed by parliament to replace McDonald’s reveals near-identical branding

The Russian military is begging China for MREs - "it’s not just that they may not have any MREs, but the ones they do have seem to be years old. At least one video circulating online appears to show a Ukrainian soldier holding up a Russian MRE that expired in 2015... “The Russian military is not as good as we thought it was”... Russia “likely counted on the shock of its invasion to rapidly overwhelm Ukraine’s defenses.” But that hasn’t been the case... one popular YouTube channel which reviews MREs from around the world called China’s MREs “substandard,” and said one meal specifically was “one of the worst quality rations for a large military in the world.”... Is this going to be a situation where Russian soldiers are “killing each other, clamoring to freaking get a Chinese MRE?” Weintraub asked. Not to mention the question of if the Russians soldiers will even be able to read the instructions on how to prepare the MRE if it’s written in Chinese, and could end up just “chewing on raw ramen noodles”... In World War II, as Cancian pointed out, American troops were given “hard to get” items such as chocolate and cigarettes in their rations in an effort to increase morale. And troops implicitly felt they were being prioritized.   That stands in stark contrast with the Russian troops receiving rations that expired years ago. “It gives a message that the nation is not behind them”"

Opinion: Gen. Petraeus: Invasion reveals a host of weaknesses in Russia's military - "Retired Gen. David Petraeus, who commanded US forces in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, says the Russians are facing a Ukraine military that is exceptionally determined, surprisingly capable and innovative, and one that is fighting on its home territory for its very survival. In contrast, the Russian invaders have displayed a host of weaknesses: flawed planning; overly optimistic intelligence projections about how the conflict would play out; underestimation of the Ukrainian forces and people; inadequate maintenance and logistics; unimpressive equipment; a reliance on conscripts and an inability to mount effective cyberwarfare... He is skeptical that the Russians have enough forces to take, much less to control, the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and some of the other major cities, saying that continued urban warfare generally will favor the Ukrainians. Nonetheless, he also notes that the Russians have enormous capacity for -- and history of -- destroying cities, civilian facilities and critical infrastructure, and they will "rubble" urban areas in an effort to take control... They clearly have very poor standards when it comes to performing basic tactical tasks such as achieving combined arms operations, involving armor, infantry, engineers, artillery and mortars. They are very poor at maintaining their vehicles and weapon systems and have abandoned many of them. They are also poor at resupply and logistical tasks. We have known for decades that the Soviet system, now the Russian system, has always lacked one of the key strengths of US and Western militaries, which is a strong, professional noncommissioned officer corps. And part of the problem is that the Russian military has a fairly substantial percentage of conscripts. It's very hard to determine how many of them are in Ukraine. We know in the Russian military overall, probably in the range of 20 to 25% are conscripts. And there are particularly large numbers of conscripts in a critical area, which is logistics -- including drivers of trucks and fuel tankers and soldiers in maintenance units.  The Russians also have found it difficult to go off-road. Their wheeled vehicles get mired in mud very quickly. The ground is not frozen the way they had hoped it would be. Even tracked vehicles seem to be getting mired in mud. And the Russians are just not performing sufficient preventive maintenance on their equipment. I've served in mechanized units, with a mix of tanks and armored personnel carriers. And every single time you stop, the driver and the crew members are outside checking road wheels and final drives, pumping grease, topping off fluid levels. If you don't do preventive maintenance, then you will end up with such vehicles breaking down.  Beyond that, the Russians just have relatively unimpressive equipment, given the investment supposedly made over the past decade or so. They certainly don't have equipment comparable to what the United States has. Their precision munitions aren't very precise: This was underlined by the fact that they didn't crater the runways in Ukraine in the first hour of combat the way we did in Iraq in 2003 to completely deny the Iraqi Air Force any opportunities to take off. In fact, the Ukrainian Air Force is still flying. As modest as it is and as many losses as it has sustained, it's still up in flight.  So Russian precision munitions are lacking. We can also see this with the sheer frequency of the Russians hitting civilian infrastructure, like the hospital in Mariupol, other medical facilities and the government center in Kharkiv -- unless they truly meant to hit those targets, which obviously would be nothing short of horrific. They also have problems in very basic tasks such as staying dispersed. A column never closes up on a major highway where it can be spotted by a drone and hit by artillery, as was seen recently. The 40-mile traffic jam we saw outside of Kyiv -- this is just incompetent movement control for which normally there is doctrine and organizational structures and procedures. And then it took them days just to disperse that 40-mile column into the tree cover as opposed to being out in the open. They've also been incapable of combining what should have been a huge advantage for them, which is integrating air and ground operations together. They're not really doing true close air support, just ahead of their ground formations. Rather, they're just doing air attacks. Russian cyberwarfare has also been unimpressive, perhaps because they overused it in the past and the Ukrainians, possibly with some help, learned how to deal with it...  Much of the population also hate the Russians, and that hatred is being deepened with every strike on civilian infrastructure. Not only are the Russians not winning hearts and minds, they are alienating hearts and minds... Usually, the rule of thumb for urban warfare is that it requires at least five attackers to every defender. In this case, I'd argue it may be more than that because the Ukrainians are so resourceful. They will work together to prevent the Russians from taking urban areas the way that infantry and combined arms normally would do, such as the way the United States military cleared and then held cities during the Iraq War in, e.g., Ramadi and Fallujah as well as parts of Baghdad and other cities... there's a huge limiting factor, and that is the apparent inability of Putin to replace the forces that are presently fighting. How and when does he replace his forces? It's not apparent to me. In fact, the Russian conscripts are only on 1-year rotations, so it's no wonder that they demonstrate very poor standards of everything, given that they barely made it through basic and advanced training and then unit integration and now they are in combat (and their tours were supposed to have ended in April, until Putin extended them).
BERGEN: US officials say that Russia is asking China for military and other forms of aid. What do you make of this?
PETRAEUS: The report by US officials is interesting in several respects. First, if accurate, it indicates that Russia is running out of certain weapons systems and munitions -- another reflection of how Russia seriously miscalculated so many aspects of the war they launched.
Second, this presents a very difficult issue for China. It was one thing for China to abstain from the UN General Assembly vote in which 141 countries condemned Russia for its unprovoked aggression. It would be a very different matter if China was to accede to Russia's request and thus actively side with a country that is truly becoming the evil empire, the target of unprecedented sanctions and experiencing a decoupling from the global economy. It also might result in some sanctions on China. Third, beyond those issues, President Xi Jinping clearly has to be irritated with Russia's invasion, as Ukraine's largest trading partner was China. Finally, Xi, having gotten through the Olympics had likely hoped for no drama in the months leading up to the Communist Party gathering in the fall during which he undoubtedly will be reelected for an unprecedented third term as President, while retaining his leadership of the Party and the Military Council. Putin could thus put Xi in a very awkward position. So, it has not been a complete surprise that both Russia and China have stated that no such Russian request for aid was issued... I think you must give credit to the US and to NATO and to the EU. I think that the Biden administration has performed impressively, and I say this as someone who publicly criticized the administration for the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan and the conduct of the withdrawal in August 2021...  instead of Making Russia Great Again, what Putin has done is to Make NATO Great Again... You can't dismiss what the [Biden] administration is saying is possible, given that so much of what they said about Putin's plans for and goals in Ukraine, which was either initially dismissed or seen as unlikely, has now come to pass...  It appears that they have taken more fatalities in the first two weeks of the war than the US took in 20 years in Iraq; somewhere around 5,000 or so by most accounts, which is just stunning... No one can predict what the results of the sanctions, frozen assets, corporate decoupling and other actions will be on Russia and the Russian people."

Facebook - "If you want to watch an unbelievably sniveling piece of American left propaganda, I highly recommend “Ukraine on fire“, produced by Oliver Stone.  Among the things the documentary thinks is pertinent is how the Ukrainians sided with Sweden in military conflict between Russia and Sweden in the late 1700s, as well as speculation that virtually all of the prominent victims of the Maidan revolution faked their own beatings or their own deaths.  Also definitely pushes the line that everyone involved is a Nazi, forgetting that the right wing parties combined have a total of one seat in Parliament, down from about a total of 10 in 2012.  The sycophantic interviews with Putin where Putin talks about his concern for the people’s will with no pushback from Oliver Stone are just disgusting. "

Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 on Twitter - "Did Jen Psaki and the White House provoke Russia by deliberately lying about them for years about Hunter? Did they ever stop once to consider that the Kremlin might take it as a threat?"
4D chess. Lying about Hunter to get Russia to invade Ukraine

Meme - "Ever since DUMPf's stupid tariffs, I've had to pay $0.25 more for avocados and a $1.00 more for guac!"
"What do you mean paying $10.00 per gallon of gasoline isn't worth it to stop Putin, TRAITOR?!"

Forum: Ukraine war highlights importance of not allowing sovereignty to be trampled on - "I am intrigued by the view, expressed by learned professionals, that Russia invaded Ukraine because Ukraine wanted to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato)...   That Russian President Vladimir Putin chose to invade Ukraine before it had actually joined Nato suggests that Nato is not the real cause.  In Mr Putin's mind, Ukraine does not historically deserve to be a nation and has to be reined in by force... Some Singaporeans, having heard Russia's version of why it is invading Ukraine, may conclude that Russia-Ukraine history is indeed complex and that Russia may well have a point in claiming that Ukraine has always been part of Russia.  I would remind them that Singapore-Malaysia history is no less complex and that by this logic, Malaysia may also have a point in claiming that Singapore has always been part of Malaysia.  History is history. What matters is that today, both Ukraine and Singapore are UN members with internationally recognised sovereignty that must not be trampled on with impunity."
The China shills didn't get the memo about ancient history being irrelevant

Facebook - "The speed with which the populist right is becoming as irrational, superstitious and outright dumb as the woke left has impressed me."

Facebook - "What happens when a civilisation that believes "Diversity is Our Strength" meets a civilisation that believes "Strength is Our Strength"?"

Reported Deaths Of 5 Generals Is Evidence That Russia's In Trouble, Warns Gen. David Petraeus - "Petraeus said four of the deaths have been confirmed.  “I think the fifth we’ll hear today,” he added.  Petraeus attributed the deaths to a variety of factors, including Ukrainians jamming Russian communications, skilled snipers and a Russian military structure that keeps decisions in very few hands. “The bottom line is that their command and control has broken down. Their communications have been jammed by the Ukrainians,” Petraeus said. “Their secure coms didn’t work. They had to go to a single channel that’s jammable ― and that’s exactly what the Ukrainians have been doing to that.”  Without communication options, the military column gets stopped. And when an impatient general heads to the front to find out what’s going on, he’s shot and killed... Retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the former commander of the U.S. Army in Europe, also said the Russians were in trouble in Ukraine.  “Russian generals are running out of time, ammunition and manpower,” Hodges wrote in an assessment last week for the Center for European Policy Analysis. “That’s not based on any inside intelligence — it’s clear from open source information and my own experience.”  In the latest blow to Russian military leadership, officials confirmed Sunday that navy commander Andrei Paly was killed in fighting in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, Agence France-Presse reported. Paly, 51, was the deputy commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet."

British volunteer fighters may have triggered deadly strike on Ukrainian base after their phones were detected - "It has raised fears that the hired guns were able to use their own scanning equipment to intercept the numbers and pass them to Russian intelligence, which linked the details to former British military personnel and immediately ordered an attack...   Russia is thought to have access to a vast trove of phone numbers linked to elite British units, compiled through secretive surveillance operations near military bases in the UK...   There is also concern that the burgeoning volunteer force that responded to the call to arms of Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, has been easily infiltrated by Russian spies... British volunteers who, by a stroke of fortune, left the base just hours before the attack told the Telegraph earlier this week that they were alarmed at the chaotic nature of the operation to prepare foreign recruits...   A “small number” of serving soldiers are known to have gone absent without leave to try to enter the battlefield, the British Army admitted earlier this month...   The Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, warned any troops who leave to fight in Ukraine will face prosecution on their return."

Space Conference Censors Name of First Human in Space Because He Was Russian - "Whipping themselves into a Freedom Fries-esque fit of censoriousness, a space industry conference has removed the name of celebrated Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first human to travel into space, from an event.  The nonprofit Space Foundation announced  in a now-deleted note that “in light of current world events” it would be changing the name of a fundraiser from “Yuri’s Night” to “A Celebration of Space: Discover What’s Next” at its Space Symposium conference... It’s a rather dubious show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people, especially considering that Gagarin worked for the USSR, a completely different country from modern day Russia. And the icing on the cake? Ukraine actually appears to be rather fond of Gagarin and his monumental achievement... a 2011 Ukraine stamp commemorated the 50th anniversary of his pioneering space flight. And the recently-bombed Chernihiv Stadium was renamed by the Soviets as the “Yuri Gagarin Stadium” back in the 1960s, and is also still referred to as such by fans despite a new official name."

Cardiff Philharmonic removes Tchaikovsky from programme in light of Russian invasion of Ukraine

National Mustard Museum returns Russian mustards to display after removing them - "Mustard should bring people together, not drive them apart.  The National Mustard Museum recently went viral when visitors noticed a sign near one of the displays explaining the Russian mustards had been removed in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. After the initial response, however, the museum has decided to return the innocent mustards back to the display...   The museum made headlines when a visitor noticed that a sign had been placed near a mustard display that read, “The Russian mustards have been temporarily removed. They will return once the invasion of Ukraine is over and Russia recognizes and respects the sovereign nation of Ukraine.”  Levenson confirmed that the sign has been replaced with a new one that reads, “We know that the makers of the Russian mustards are not responsible for the war in Ukraine. That is why these Russian mustards are still on display. We ask you to consider a donation to the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a non-governmental organization that provides much needed humanitarian support to the refugees who are fleeing Ukraine.”"

Pianist Alexander Malofeev speaks out against Russian invasion's impact on musicians - "After his concert in Vancouver was cancelled, Russian pianist Alexander Malofeev has spoken out against the impact the Russian invasion of Ukraine is having on Russian music.  The 20-year-old pianist’s concert with the Vancouver Recital Society was cancelled due to the ongoing conflict in Kyiv. The society’s founder and artistic director Leila Getz explained that the decision had been made because the society could not ‘present a concert by any Russian artist at this moment in time unless they are prepared to speak out publicly against this war.’...   In reference to the Vancouver Recital Society’s claims that he had been asked to speak out publicly against the Russian invasion, Malofeev described having been contacted by journalists, asking for statements, but that he had felt ‘uncomfortable’ about how it could ‘affect [his] family in Russia.’"

Univ. of Florida changes name of study room dedicated to Karl Marx following criticism - "The University of Florida told The National Desk that given the current events in Ukraine and elsewhere in the world it determined it was appropriate to remove Karl Marx's name, which was placed on the group study room in 2014."

Meme - Democratic Party: "Make no mistake-this is Putin's gas price hike. And President Biden is taking every step within his power to minimize its impact on Americans."
Spike Cohen: "Any particular reason why Putin's gas price hike started last year?
As always, you can safely ignore the opinions of anyone who responds by calling me a Republican or Trump supporter, as they've already demonstrated that they don't spend 10 seconds figuring out what they're talking about before going off. Have a great day everyone"

Facebook - "Hear me out: Antifa has an unprecedented opportunity to put their money where their mouth is by volunteering in Ukraine. Of course they won't."

Identity politics is eroding the values which set the West apart from Putin - "Between 1933 and 1945, Ukraine had the highest mortality rate on Earth. Again and again, its people suffered indiscriminate slaughter at the hands of the authorities: the liquidation of the kulaks, the campaigns against supposed Polish and Ukrainian nationalists, the starvation of Soviet and German POWs, the Einsatzgruppen massacres, the NKVD executions, the reprisal killings... It might seem a trivial thing, but look at how quickly we have extended our quarrel with Putin to all Russians. An orchestra in Montreal cancels a Russian pianist, despite his opposition to the invasion; Tchaikovsky is dropped from programmes; Russian paintings are removed from exhibitions. My tribe good, your tribe bad.  These cancellations are happening in a culture newly primed to categorise and condemn. We damn institutions for some ancient benefaction. We stop publishing authors because of opinions that had nothing to do with their work. We teach identity politics, encouraging people to believe that they have grievances or obligations purely on grounds of their physiognomy.  Can we still rely on Pinker’s thesis, derived ultimately from the Australian philosopher Peter Singer, of expanding moral circles? The publication of his book in 2011 was followed by the Syrian war – another enormity in which Putin had a bloody hand – which reversed some of some of the graphs showing declining violence. The second decade of this century saw the global trend towards law-based democracy thrown into reverse. The lockdowns revealed a terrifying appetite for authoritarian rule, even in traditionally liberal societies. Perhaps we have passed the uplands and are back in the shadows.  Yet there are signs of hope. Ukraine’s war is, in effect, a struggle for Western values... Still, are we clear about what it is we are defending? Do we continue to believe that individuals trump groups and that laws must be general, equal and certain? Or are we sliding into our own version of collectivism, where group rights are what count, where we are treated differently according to our physical characteristics, and where the greatest achievement of the West – the dissemination of science, law, and the Enlightenment – is regarded as contemptible imperialism?"

The woke wars have sapped the West of its ability to fight true evil - "As a new battle of civilisations rages in Ukraine, the culture war continues to rip the West apart. One might have hoped that Vladimir Putin’s neo-fascism would have put the West’s descent into pointless arguments over “woke” trivialities into perspective. With liberty now so openly pitted against authoritarianism, our squabbles over statues and gender pronouns seem grotesquely self-indulgent. In short, this should have been the moment when we rallied around the values that make Western civilisation unique: freedom, individualism, sovereignty, democracy, and the rule of law. Instead the West remains tormented by ideological schisms and self-loathing... On both sides of the Atlantic, the far-Left either rails against Nato “imperialism” or calls out Western sympathy for Ukrainian refugees as racist (apparently our solidarity suspiciously exceeds that with victims of war in other countries.) Activists remain more energised by what they see as truly Manichean moral fights: against trans-prejudice, structural racism, and the perils of selfish individualism.   The anti-woke Right has become equally muddled on what Western civilisation stands for – and whether it is even worth defending anymore...  I can’t buy the narrative that Ukraine has saved the West from its self-inflicted existential crisis – one that has left us divided over what we stand for and what makes our societies distinct. No wonder, given how our core values are routinely denounced or degraded. Covid has led many to regard liberty as a selfish and dangerous impulse that must be controlled. The progressive optimism that once inspired and propelled our civilisation has disintegrated into nihilistic fatalism. Our intellectual commitment to pluralism has collapsed into a vapid obsession with diversity.   The woke preoccupation with slavery and the supposedly unique “crime” of British colonialism even makes it more difficult for us to frame the West’s conflict with Russia in the most obvious way: between sovereignty and empire. How can we convincingly tell ourselves a story that pits the UK and its allies against the evils of empire so long as we remain trapped in a one-sided and ideological debate that dictates that the West has to atone for its history?  On this, as on so many of the other fronts of the culture war, politicians who should be standing up bravely for Western values run scared...   The challenge for Western civilisation is not to beg forgiveness for the sins of the past, but to construct a new system that can deliver progress and freedom to all within it, not just a privileged few (without sliding into impoverishing welfarism). This is what neoliberalism tried and failed to do with its universalist utopia of free market globalised freedom.  And so here we are, filling the vacuum with a culture war. Ukraine may look to the West as a beacon of liberty but in truth, we are fast losing our sense of ourselves, consumed by victimhood, tortured by history, foreboding about the future, and possessed with a greater hatred for our internal opponents than our external enemies. This is much to the delight of not just Putin, who has declared liberalism “obsolete” but also to Xi Jinping, as he seeks to prove that the top-down Chinese model is superior to the “chaos” of democracy.  Unless the West wins its internal struggle, it simply will not be able to weather a long existential confrontation with authoritarian civilisation states like Russia (and also China). The tragedy is that the stakes are higher than ever for the West, but we have never been more uncertain about what it takes to triumph."

Meme - "come to turkey
meet with me
turkey supports russia"
"I'm from Ukraine"
"turkey supports ukraine"

Trump was right, Merkel was wrong – and it’s made it harder to save Ukraine - "He said that the Germans (and other Europeans) were getting over-reliant on Russia for energy; and that they weren’t spending enough on their own defence. Goodness, how we mocked his boorish ways, his undiplomatic language and crude analysis; yet Germany and the EU ought to have heeded his warnings. For now we can’t slap an embargo on Russian oil and gas – and stop funding Putin’s war machine – because we’d crash the European economy... At home and abroad, governments could subsidise basic food costs, and they could boost the incomes of the poorest via cutting taxes and increasing benefits for those at the bottom of the income scale. The rich would face higher taxes on their spending on luxury items (via new VAT bands, a post-Brexit freedom) and on their incomes... Longer term, the solution both to the energy crisis and the climate crisis is to build more renewable energy sources – wind, solar, hydro and wave, as appropriate. We all know there’s a problem when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow, but the scientists and engineers ought to able to crack that with enough time and investment – who thought the electric car had a viable future a few years ago?"
Good luck. The poorest already pay little/no income tax, and exempting whole categories of goods from VAT will reduce tax takes. But of course to liberals, money is unlimited. Not to mention the fantasy that renewables can cover base load (at least he acknowledges it's a fantasy as far as we know)

The woke EU is too decadent to fight for European civilisation - "“We even suggested that the European Union Army could be a good solution, but it doesn't happen. It didn't happen for years, so I do not believe in the European army. It's not a good idea," he tells me. “I prefer Nato. The role of the USA and Great Britain is more important to me, so [talk of a European army is] not stabilising the situation.”  Mr Gliński, who regularly works late into the night closely tracking the situation in Ukraine, is clearly concerned not just about the future of his own country, but that of the whole of Europe. “As we can see in Ukraine, [the will to fight] is something which is absolutely the most important factor," he says. “Because even if you have weapons, if you have technologies, you could be very weak if you have not got this ability to sacrifice your life, to defend your values, your family, your nation. And I'm not sure if contemporary Europe is ready for such a confrontation.”...   He describes dreams of a European superstate as “utopian”, and Poland knows better than most where utopian ideologies end up. “[Utopian thinking] caused a lot of victims and a lot of, really, really horrible things, like communism; one hundred million victims," he says. "This utopia of European culture and European society is ... politically motivated because a lot of interest groups are interested to introduce it."  The Polish approach is to look back to tradition and to build on history. "Of course, we are for those institutions which are effective economically and culturally," he explains. "What we observed in Ukraine … if we can say about conclusions after three weeks, it proved that real character of values and priorities based on stabilised basic social institutions like family, like nations… These are something which is most effective not only for satisfying people's needs but also for surviving and for defending our sovereignty and independence.   “These experiences from the Ukraine war support our vision, not the vision of something which is artificial, which is ineffective and is naive in its assumptions.” A professor of sociology specialising in culture and civil society before entering professional politics, Mr Gliński serves not only as Deputy Prime Minister but as a Minister within the Department of Culture and National Heritage...  Is Europe woke? “Yes,” says Mr Gliński. “They lost the feeling of what is important really in the life of nations. They have lost it years ago. The first visible crisis was probably after the war, when they were so focused on Leftist or communist ideas, of course, they were still in the Christian tradition to some extent ... but there were [signs of] the first pro-decadent changes.   “There was post-modernistic thinking or ideas and these different kinds of Marxism were very popular amongst intellectuals in Europe. The weakness of Europe is stemming from this tradition, generally speaking. European institutions are not ready to build any effective opposition to the danger from the East.”... Before Putin’s invasion, Britain, Poland and Ukraine signed a trilateral cooperation agreement, and all three have worked closely together in preparing Ukraine’s defences.   There have been some who have suggested that Brexit has diminished Britain’s influence in Europe and around the world. According to Mr Gliński, the exact opposite is true. “There is a new coalition [between] London, Warsaw and Kyiv. This is because Great Britain is now independent from the European Union and so it's easier for us… in some respects to build a coalition with Britain, that's for sure.”"

Japanese Pitching

"The occurrence of various types of voice disorders does not appear to differ significantly across racial and ethnic groups. However, a combination of social and cultural factors seems to influence voice and the subsequent development of voice disorders. For example, Japanese women tend to speak with a higher pitch (F0) level than their Western female counterparts. The high-pitch voice is assumed to project a vocal image associated with femininity. In contrast, Japanese men tend to use a lower pitch (F0) level compared with Western males. The lower pitch voice is used to emphasize masculinity. In both of these situations, the differences in F0 are not due to anatomical differences in size of the larynx. Rather, the use of F0 is altered due to sociocultural reasons. Presumably, this somewhat unnatural use of F0 may place Japanese speakers at a higher risk for voice disorders due to possible misuse of the voice."

--- INTRO: A Guide to Communication Sciences and Disorders, Third Edition / Michael P. Robb

Sociocultural aspects of pitch differences between Japanese and Dutch women

"Japanese women have been found to have higher pitches than Dutch women. This finding has been explained in the past by assuming that Japanese women raise their pitch in order to project a vocal image associated with feminine attributes of powerlessness. In the present study three hypotheses underlying such an assumption were tested experimentally: (1) the association of high pitch with attributes of physical and psychological powerlessness (short, weak, dependent, modest) in the Dutch and Japanese cultures, (2) a stronger differentiation between the ideal woman and man, in terms of powerlessness/power, in Japan than in the Netherlands and (3) a preference for high pitch in women in Japan and for medium or low pitch in women in the Netherlands. All three hypotheses were confirmed. However, results also suggest a strong emphasis in Japan on masculinity in men, possibly leading to a lowering of pitch."

Tokyo Journal;Japan's Feminine Falsetto Falls Right Out of Favor - The New York Times

"European women no longer rearrange their bodies with corsets, and Chinese no longer cripple their daughters by binding their feet. But many Japanese women speak well above their natural pitch, especially in formal settings, on the phone or when dealing with customers.

"When slaves talk, they have their slave language," said Fujiko Hara, an interpreter in Tokyo. "Those girls are trained to be robots. With the elevator girls, you don't see a person but a doll."

Yet in a sign that the dolls are coming to life, women's voices in Japan are dropping significantly. Japan still has many squeakers, but a growing number of women speak in natural voices.

"When girls speak in really high voices, I just want to kick them in the head," said Mari Shimakura, a 15-year-old in Tokyo. "It's totally fake and really annoying. It gives me a headache. Mom tells me I speak in too low a voice, and that I should raise it. But I can't change it."

One standard-bearer of the changing times is Miyuki Morita, who was rejected when she first tried to enter broadcasting, as a disk jockey. "They said my voice was too somber, and they wouldn't hire me," Ms. Morita recalled. She eventually found a job with a television station in northern Japan, and she tried to imitate other female journalists who spoke in high voices.

"Then when I saw a video of myself, I saw my face, but it wasn't my voice," she said. "It didn't sound convincing. So I settled back to my voice."

That voice is now among the best known in Japan. Ms. Morita is the evening anchor of NHK News, the most popular television news program in the country.

Other evidence that women's voices are dropping comes from taped announcements on subway platforms in Tokyo. Older recordings are clearly higher pitched than the newer ones.

The pitch of female singers is also falling. Tadahiro Murao, professor of music at Aichi University of Education, has analyzed the frequency of 200 songs dating from the 1950's, and found a clear trend. "From the late 1980's, the pitch of female songs has dropped dramatically," Professor Murao said. "In fact, there was a popular duet last year in which the female vocalist sang the lower part, and the male sang the higher part."...

Almost everyone agrees that high pitch is wrapped up in the Japanese preoccupation with courtesy. In polite conversation in Japan, people routinely denigrate themselves and try to sound unsure even about things they are certain of.

One technique women use to sound tentative, and therefore polite, is to raise their pitch and let their sentences trail off, the way Americans sometimes ask questions.

"A lower voice sounds too bullying, too aggressive, too manly," said Julie Saito, a reporter at Asahi Shimbun.

Ms. Saito said Japanese men seem attracted by high voices and girlish behavior, which some Japanese women then emulate. The attraction to young girls is known here as the Loli-con -- short for Lolita Complex -- and it is a Japanese phenomenon, the basis for endless psychoanalyses of the Japanese mind and libido.

"A high voice sounds more cute, more like a girlish image of women," Ms. Saito said. "In the United States I project more confidence, while in Japan I find I act in a more cute way."

Ms. Saito, like many bilingual women, speaks in a higher pitch in Japanese...

To be sure, in normal conversation at home or with friends, Japanese women sound normal to an American ear. But listen to the same woman apologizing to her boss on the phone, and her voice may go off the register...

Professor Kasuya has found that female television announcers in the United States speak in a significantly lower pitch than female Japanese announcers. But his latest measurements this year found that the voices of female Japanese announcers had dropped noticeably since his first survey four years ago...

"It may be hard for Americans to understand," said Sayori Iwata, a Mitsukoshi spokeswoman, "but in Japan, it's considered beautiful to sacrifice yourself for the service of others.""

Links - 23rd April 2022 (1 - General Wokeness)

Black Leadership Group Blasts LeBron for Wearing Logo from Vendor that Sells Confederate Merch - "Project 21, a project of the National Center for Public Policy Research that focuses on black leadership, is calling LeBron James a hypocrite for claiming America is a racist country while wearing the logo of an online retailer that sells Confederate merchandise."

Most college students think America invented slavery, professor finds - "For 11 years, Professor Duke Pesta gave quizzes to his students at the beginning of the school year to test their knowledge on basic facts about American history and Western culture.  The most surprising result from his 11-year experiment? Students’ overwhelming belief that slavery began in the United States and was almost exclusively an American phenomenon... “Most of my students could not tell me anything meaningful about slavery outside of America,” Pesta told The College Fix. “They are convinced that slavery was an American problem that more or less ended with the Civil War, and they are very fuzzy about the history of slavery prior to the Colonial era. Their entire education about slavery was confined to America.”   Pesta, currently an associate professor of English at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, has taught the gamut of Western literature—from the Classics to the modern—at seven different universities, ranging from large research institutions to small liberal arts colleges to branch campuses. He said he has given the quizzes to students at Purdue University, University of Tennessee Martin, Ursinus College, Oklahoma State University, and University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.  The origin of these quizzes, which Pesta calls “cultural literacy markers,” was his increasing discomfort with gaps in his students’ foundational knowledge.  “They came to college without the basic rudiments of American history or Western culture and their reading level was pretty low”...   Often, more students connected Thomas Jefferson to slavery than could identify him as president, according to Pesta. On one quiz, 29 out of 32 students responding knew that Jefferson owned slaves, but only three out of the 32 correctly identified him as president. Interestingly, more students— six of 32—actually believed Ben Franklin had been president.  Pesta said he believes these students were given an overwhelmingly negative view of American history in high school, perpetuated by scholars such as Howard Zinn in “A People’s History of the United States,” a frequently assigned textbook.   What’s more, he began to observe a shift in his students’ quiz responses in the early 2000s. Before that time, Pesta described his students as “often historically ignorant, but not politicized.” Since the early 2000s, Pesta has found that “many students come to college preprogrammed in certain ways.”  “They cannot tell you many historical facts or relate anything meaningful about historical biographies, but they are, however, stridently vocal about the corrupt nature of the Republic, about the wickedness of the founding fathers, and about the evils of free markets,” Pesta said. “Most alarmingly, they know nothing about the fraught history of Marxist ideology and communist governments over the last century, but often reductively define socialism as ‘fairness.’”   Pesta also noted that, early on, his students’ “blissful ignorance was accompanied by a basic humility about what they did not know.” But over time he said he increasingly saw “a sense of moral superiority in not knowing anything about our ‘racist and sexist’ history and our ‘biased’ institutions.”  “As we now see on campus,” Pesta said, “social justice warriors are arguing that even reading the great books of Western culture is at best a micro-aggression, and at worst an insidious form of cultural imperialism and indoctrination.”  Pesta, an outspoken critic of Common Core, said he believes that these attitudes will become more pronounced moving forward, due to Common Core architect David Coleman’s rewrite of Advanced Placement American and European history standards.  Pesta argues that Coleman, now president of the College Board, “has further politicized the teaching of history, reducing the story of Western culture to little more than a litany of crimes, exploitations, and genocides, while simultaneously whitewashing the history of ideologies like socialism and communism.”...   “We must absolutely teach those areas where Western culture has fallen short, but always with the recognition that such criticism is possible because of the freedoms and advantages offered by Western culture”"
So much for critical race theory teaching students accurate history

In defense of Prof. Saida Grundy: There’s a good chance she never learned black people owned slaves - "while some of her other Tweets declared her utter contempt for white college males – that’s the norm for most feminist professors. There’s nothing groundbreaking there.  The real problem is she is going to incorrectly teach our nation’s history to young people. If, as they say, “history is written by the victors” – then Ms. Grundy will have the last laugh.  The feminist sociologist of race and ethnicity is an incoming assistant professor of sociology and African-American studies at Boston University...   Don’t scratch your heads and wonder why so many college grads think America’s founders were racist scum – just look at Grundy and other scholars like her – they are teaching our young people America’s founders were racist scum!  But here’s a twist – does Grundy even know her comments are factually inaccurate? In response to her Tweets making national headlines, many have pointed out how Grundy’s statements are not at all an accurate representation of the history of slavery. Not even close.  Perhaps she doesn’t even realize she is wrong. She completed her doctorate at the University of Michigan this month, maybe we should blame its scholars for their poor job of teaching Grundy.  The bottom line is most scholars teach high schoolers and college students that slavery WAS a white people thing! That’s 100 percent the narrative, and unless enterprising minds actually go out and seek the truth, they will believe “deal with your white sh*t, white people. slavery is a *YALL* thing.”   Consider this: I had no clue freed black Americans pre-Civil War owned slaves until last week. Literally last week. I was sitting on my living room couch watching Dinesh D’Souza’s latest documentary “America” (before all this news about Grundy came to light) when he goes into how it really wasn’t uncommon for freed black people to own slaves in the south, and points out at least one very rich black slave owner who even helped fund the Civil War – for the Confederacy.   Feeling shocked, I asked my husband about this. He’d never heard of black slave owners, either. In fact he was incredulous, and Googled it and found it to be the case – including that the first legal slave owner, in what would eventually become the United States, was a black man.  I earned a high school diploma and college degree, and have a nearly two-decade career in journalism under my belt, but never learned this information until recently. And my husband, who took AP classes in high school, got a nearly perfect score on his SATs, and attended college on an academic scholarship, never had either.  It’s because it’s not being taught. It’s not even being mentioned. Doesn’t fit the narrative... D’Souza goes on to mention the 300,000 Union soldiers who died to free the slaves, and how the Founding Fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence and Constitution in such a way for future statesmen to abolish slavery. Additional points rarely mentioned by modern scholars.  Instead students learn from the late historian Howard Zinn – a controversial Marxist whose infamous A People’s History of the United States is required reading at many colleges. Zinn openly admitted that the book is biased in what it includes and omits in order to paint an anti-American picture.  So can we blame Grundy for thinking slavery is a “white people thing”? She was taught that. She managed to get her PhD and still believe that – obviously enough to state it publicly and stake her career on the argument.  Can I throw a stone at Grundy when I only learned the truth a mere two weeks ago? The real culprits are administrators who turn a blind eye to the indoctrination going on in classrooms, and teachers who warp history for their own ideological gains.  If scholars just taught the truth, maybe race relations in America wouldn’t be in such a catastrophic mess."

Black Leaders Once Championed the Strict Drug Laws They Now Seek to Dismantle - "This notion that strict drug laws have done more harm than good in black America is widely-accepted. Black elected officials have been instrumental in reforming strict sentencing laws in recent years.  What's less well-known is that early on, many African-American leaders championed those mandatory minimum sentences and other tough-on-crime policies. These efforts could be seen at the federal and state levels, as well as across black communities such as Harlem.   "African-Americans are portrayed as passive victims to this, as the prison boom just washed over their communities, as if they were just completely victimized," said Vanessa Barker, author of 'The Politics of Imprisonment.' "I find that stance dehumanizing, I also find that stance empirically, historically inaccurate."  Barker and others argue that in the 1960s, residents of black neighborhoods felt constantly under threat from addicts and others associated with the drug trade, and their calls for increased safety measures resonated at community meetings, in the pages of black newspapers like 'The Amsterdam News,' and in churches.  Reverend George McMurray was lead pastor at the Mother A.M.E. Zion Church in Harlem in the 1970s when the city faced a major heroin epidemic. He wanted convicted drug dealers to spend the rest of their lives behind bars.  "When you send a few men to prison for life, someone's going to pass the word down, 'It's not too good over here,'" McMurray said. "So instead of robbery and selling dope, [they'll think] ‘I want to go to school and live a good life...’"  Black support for the drug war didn't just grow in New York. At the federal level, members of the newly-formed Congressional Black Caucus met with President Richard Nixon, urging him to ramp up the drug war as fast as possible. But the drug epidemic was especially bad in New York, and especially in black neighborhoods.  "The silent black majority of Harlem and New York City felt constantly accosted by drug addicts, by pushers, by crime," said Michael Javen Fortner, a political scientist and historian from Rutgers University... But the notion that black leaders played a pivotal role in the drug war is controversial. Some black historians, including Michelle Alexander, author of the bestselling book "The New Jim Crow," have downplayed the role of black America in promoting and sustaining the drug war. Alexander declined to be interviewed for this story, but in public comments she has portrayed the drug war as the creation of white politicians, deliberately targeting black Americans... Fortner disagrees, and said his research on the prominent role black leaders played in fostering the drug war is unpopular among those who subscribe to the backlash theory.  "If you think that everything can be explained by white backlash, if you think the white racial order is somehow omni-present and all-powerful, and is always trying to re-establish itself, then you hate what I do”...   The debate leading up to passage of the laws in 1973 was fierce, exposing rifts within the community. Some black lawmakers dismissed Gov. Nelson Rockefeller's black allies as "palace pets." Others, like Brooklyn’s Vander L. Beatty, one of the top black legislators at the time, said the Rockefeller laws didn’t go far enough. He wanted the death penalty."
Damn racism and white supremacy! Blacks have no agency
Critical race theory would blame the internalised white supremacy of these black leaders making them promote structural racism

Our Intersectional Health Service - "The NHS is at risk of being overwhelmed… by wokeness. At the weekend, its ‘Glossary A-Z’ of words and phrases related to ‘equality, diversity and inclusion’ came to light... You might have thought that healthcare was the No1 priority of the National Health Service. But diversity managers at NHS trusts can earn considerably more than junior doctors and nurses. Last year, on the cusp of the second wave of the pandemic, NHS bosses were sounding the alarm about white privilege. At one point, volunteers were reportedly barred from taking part in the NHS’s Covid vaccine programe until they had completed diversity training."

WATCH: Mexican Fans Chant Anti-Gay Slurs, Throw Bottles at US Men's Team - "The United States Men’s National Soccer Team (USMNT) game against Mexico was briefly shut down Sunday in Denver over waves of chants comprised of a gay slur and objects thrown on the field... fans rained cups full of drink and bottles of water down onto the field. At one point, U.S. midfielder Giovanni Reyna was struck the face with an object as fans continued to throw things on the field."
Lucky they're not "white"

Marvel Studios Promotes Executive Who Believes The X-Men Name Is "Outdated" - "“I don’t know where the future is going. It’s funny that people call it the X-Men, there’s a lot of female superheroes in that X-Men group, so I think it’s outdated.”...   Alonso has also declared that she wants the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be “diverse and inclusive.”... she claimed that the studio was leaving money on the table by not representing."
This is why Eternals was such a big box office hit

Rod on Twitter - "We have our first openly gay superhero who has a husband & a child. It’s a wonderful milestone that is barely getting talked about… If Phastos was white & “skinny” the internet would STILL be raving about this.. Loki’s one bisexual hint got more attention than this.. #Eternals"
So SJWs are racist?

Marvel’s Eternals Trailer Gets Close to the Problematic 'Ancient Aliens' Theory
Nothing will ever be enough for grievance mongers

‘Eternals’ Banned in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait - "Sources suggest the decision was likely made over the inclusion of a same-gender couple in the film and the MCU’s first gay superhero. In one scene, the character, Phastos (played by Brian Tyree Henry), and his on-screen husband, Ben (Haaz Sleiman), share a kiss.  Homosexuality is still officially illegal across the Gulf, and films containing anything related to LGBTQ issues are frequently pulled from release. Last year, the Pixar title Onward was banned across Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia over a single line referencing a lesbian relationship."
They'll probably lose China too, and will have to decide if the virtue signalling makes up for losing those markets

Irish Caliphate on Twitter - "It is December 17th, 2018. Tumblr has just banned porn, cascading a mass exodus of the worst of their users onto Twitter. It is October 12th 2021. I am racist for not wanting to watch Eternals."

Marvel actor says Eternals' LGBT+ representation will save lives - "Phastos’ husband is played by Haaz Sleiman, who fans might recognise from the Amazon series Jack Ryan. Sleiman, himself an openly gay man, has recently spoken about what it means for him to play one of the first major gay characters in Marvel Studios history, describing the experience to Variety as “beyond a dream come true”."
Given how saturated popular culture is with gay stuff, why would one more movie make a difference? Except for an excuse to blackmail people

Eternals: Angelina Jolie criticises ‘ignorant’ attitudes over decision to ban Marvel movie in Saudi Arabia and more - "Angelina Jolie has criticised “ignorant” attitudes which led to some countries’ decision to ban her Marvel movie, Eternals... It’s not unusual for Hollywood studios to make cuts to movies for release in countries with different censorship rules. Bohemian Rhapsody famously removed references to Freddie Mercury’s sexuality to appease censors in China."

Perma Banned - Posts | Facebook - "Oh no.... How dare those terrible bigots and toxic fans mass negative reviewbomb this movie before it even came out and anyone could watch it?!
Wait, the reviewbombs were mostly positive...despite not even watching the movie, the journo said? Were the journos...lying again?"

University Professor Argues White Evangelicals 'May End Up Killing Us All' During Racism Panel - "A university professor argued during a recent webinar at the University of Virginia that white evangelical Christians "may end up killing us all," accusing the religious demographic of supporting racism, sexism and homophobia.  The remarks came from Anthea Butler, an associate professor of religious and Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania, during an April 6 webinar entitled White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America hosted by the University of Virginia."
Imagine demonising any other group

Why can’t historical dramas learn to be honest about the past? - "Foisting modern relevance on period dramas is a bugbear of the age, and it can take many forms, including scolding the past for misdeeds which we now find unpalatable... These liberally minded dramas are made with the best intentions. However, the danger is that they end up looking as if they are peddling a lie, creating a false narrative."

Meme - "what sexuality is that behind you?"
Green haired person: "that's the german flag"

Kingsley Cortes on Twitter - "Happy Kwanzaa"
"The creator of Kwanzaa was a militant black nationalist who tortured women. Great work, GOP!"

dylan matthews on Twitter - "“Is it cultural appropriation for my gentile family to order Chinese food on Christmas” - the greatest thread in the history of forums, locked by a moderator after 12,239 pages of heated debate,"

SJW Paradox anti-sjw - Posts | Facebook - *9 black people flashing OK sign, aka a white supremacy symbol*

Meme - "*Christopher Columbus*
Today We Need to Reject an Evil Man. Who Was a Murderer, a Rapist, a Racist, and an Enslaver. Who is Glorified in Popular culture Based on Lies of Heroism and Being a Pioneer When He Only Pioneered Death and the Oppression of Innocents
Burn in Hell, Che Guevara
Died 1967 October 9th
Background Picture Is Unrelated"

The People vs Shamima Begum - "In an explosive decision that has outraged the government and thrilled the weird Shamima sympathisers in the chattering classes in equal measure, the court ruled that Britain’s most notorious ‘ISIS bride’ has the right to return to the UK to mount a legal fight against the government’s rescinding of her British citizenship... she left London with two friends in 2015 to join the sworn enemies of the United Kingdom: the supremacist, racist, misogynistic cowboy caliphate of the Islamic State. That crime was treason. Begum is a traitor to this country. And if she is coming back that is what she must be put on trial for – one of the worst crimes a person can commit against their nation and their fellow citizens... All the talk right now is of Begum getting justice... Among the commentariat, and in certain sections of the political establishment, there has been an unsettling, morally warped pity for Begum ever since a journalist found her in a camp. She has been talked about as a victim of ‘grooming’, allegedly having been brainwashed at the age of 15 by the online maestros of Islamic radicalism. Begum was a ‘grooming victim’, said a headline in the Mirror. What was most staggering about the grooming script is that much of it was promoted by people who for a long time raised barely a peep of concern about the real grooming of mostly white working-class girls by mostly Pakistani gangs in the north of England. Although Diane Abbott, in February 2019, then shadow home secretary, revealed just how far the moral rot on the left had gone when she compared Begum ‘the grooming victim’ to the grooming victims in Rotherham. That Begum ran away to join a fanatical Islamic cult that was beheading Christians and crucifying homosexuals while the girls in Rotherham did nothing wrong whatsoever didn’t seem to matter to Abbott or any of the others determined to depict Begum as a victim.   Elsewhere, commentators insisted that Begum should receive a fair trial – fine, but these were often the same commentators who laughed in the face of concepts like the presumption of innocence and due process when it came to male celebrities accused of sexual assault during the #MeToo moral panic.  Times columnist Caitlin Moran depicted Begum as a fairly normal teenage girl who had ‘massively screw[ed] up’. Someone should tell Ms Moran that teens normally screw up by dabbling with drugs or getting into a fight, not by travelling 3,000 miles to join a death cult that drives through the desert in trucks with the heads of infidels attached to the back. Corbynista commentator Ash Sarkar even said she felt like crying out of sympathy for Shamima – whether she felt similarly moved by the plight of the Yazidi women massacred or enslaved by Shamima’s movement is not known. The bizarre sympathy for Shamima in the British middle classes confirmed just what a warping impact the politics of identity has had on some people’s moral compass. Would these people have written teary-eyed columns if a young white British male had run off to join a neo-fascistic movement that slaughtered thousands and thousands of people from ‘bad’ races and groups? Of course not. But because Begum is a Muslim, and thus oppressed, she must be defended and felt sorry for and wept over. Identitarianism has blinded people to deeper moral and philosophical questions and left them capable only of parroting the correct line on oppressed groups, hierarchies of victimhood, woke posturing, and so on.   The sympathy for Shamima also downplayed the gravity of her offence. Hers was no normal crime. She appears to have committed treason and we should not be afraid to say so. This isn’t like robbery or assault or even murder – it is of an order greater than all of those. Most crimes are against the individual; hers was against the nation. If Begum is coming back, then let’s prepare the case against her. It is reported that she was part of the Islamic State’s morality police, and that she assisted suicide bombers."

Stop this moral rehabilitation of Shamima Begum - "Where’s the outrage over a mainstream broadcaster giving a platform to a former follower of a fascistic death cult? That happened today, on Good Morning Britain, when Susanna Reid and Richard Madeley had an early morning chat with Shamima Begum... The No Platform lobby has been strangely silent. No writing to Ofcom, no Twitterstorm, no cries of ‘How dare you give this vile supremacist the oxygen of publicity!?’. An actual one-time extremist hits our TV screens and it’s tumbleweed from the self-styled protectors of the public from the toxins of dangerous ideologies. This is odd, to say the least, because these people normally never pipe down about ‘bad’ people being ‘platformed’. Sunetra Gupta only has to utter the words ‘Good morning’ during an appearance on the Today programme and instantly an online mob forms, chastising the Beeb for giving airtime to the woman who was wrong about the IFR of Covid. If a climate-change sceptic wonders out loud if we might, in fact, have a little more than 10 years to save the planet, there will be ceaseless online petitioning demanding that his foul views never be allowed to sully the airwaves again. As for feminists who think only men have penises – apparently having these heretics, these witches, on TV is tantamount to genocide against trans people. Cast them out...  ‘We don’t have to like Begum or her cynical glow-up, but we must try to understand her’, said the headline to a column by a leftish writer for the Evening Standard. Imagine if a right-wing newspaper published a piece like that about a former Neo-Nazi. ‘We don’t have to like this skinhead who loathes black people and Jews, but we should try to understand him.’ Just picture the furore... I can envision a situation where it won’t be Shamima who’s No Platformed, but her critics. A process of rehabilitation is clearly taking place. I don’t know who’s advising Shamima, but they’re doing a good job. The clothing choices, the waving around of the painted nails, the criticisms of Boris (‘You clearly don’t know what you’re doing’ in relation to terrorism, Shamima said of the PM on GMB) – it all seems expressly targeted at the Shamima-sympathising sections of the British chattering classes... It really isn’t commented on enough that the woke elites feel more emotional attachment to an ISIS adherent than they do to ISIS’s victims... That her decision to join a movement that thought nothing of making slaves of women and exterminating girls whose only crime was to enjoy Ariana Grande’s pop music was not a ‘teenage mistake’ – like smoking or having sex before you’re ready – but rather spoke to an evil decision to abandon free, democratic life in the UK in preference for the fascistic lure of the barbaric Islamic State... if Begum and her backers are serious about her facing justice, why not let the Syrian Kurds put her on trial? They are far better placed to gather evidence of what she did, and to make her pay for her sick decision to join the most barbaric movement of modern times."

If you’re starting to feel sorry for Shamima Begum, here’s why you shouldn’t - "she declares that she is “willing to go to court and face the people who made these claims and refute these claims, because I know I did nothing in IS but be a mother and a wife”. It’s then you wonder if she has learned a part, and learned it well.  When she was first interviewed as an IS widow in the al-Hawl refugee camp in 2019, she was very different; she hadn’t yet been groomed by unseen advisors about what to say and how to say it. She showed little remorse for joining the extremists. At one point, she even appeared to suggest the 2017 Manchester Arena attack, which left 23 men, women and children dead, was justified. And while we do change as we get older, we’re moral agents even in our teens. My daughter is 14, a year younger than Begum when she left for Syria. She knows the difference between right and wrong – in fact, she is, like many 14-year-olds, quite categoric about her judgments, agonisedly woke, terrifically keen on social justice and startlingly alert to developments on social media. You do idiotic, quixotic things when you’re a teenager; but you’re not a child. I asked her whether someone of her age could know what she was doing in joining an organisation like IS; she rolled her eyes: “Are you dumb?” she replied. In going to Syria, even the 15-year-old Begum knew she was joining a terrorist group; that was probably what made it attractive. But it’s what she did later, during her years with IS, that should also concern us.   The rumours about her record in Syria are very different from the portrait she paints now, of a simple wife and mother. There are reports that she worked as one of the morality police for IS, enforcing a Draconian code of dress and behaviour. Claims that she had sewn IS volunteers into suicide belts. All suggesting she was more than merely passively compliant with the project; she was one of the activists... The age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales is 10; she was 16 and older when she was active within IS. In fact, I think that she should be, as she suggests, brought back to Britain and put on trial. Syria has problems enough of its own without playing host to radicalised foreigners who were, according to many of those who encountered IS, worse than the native Islamists"

Shamima Begum tells UK: ‘I could help you fight terrorism because you clearly don’t know what you’re doing’ - "“I want them [the British public] to see me as an asset rather than a threat to them.”... Sajid Javid, who was home secretary when he took the decision to revoke Begum’s citizenship in 2019, hit back at her claims that she played no part in IS terrorism, hinting at evidence in intelligence reports that made her a threat to national security."

Shamima Begum: I was ‘just a dumb kid’ when I joined Islamic State - "“People need to understand the situation I was in at the time I was doing all those interviews,” the 21-year-old told Andrew Drury, a self-described “adventure tourist” who featured on the Netflix show Dark Tourist.  “I had just come out of a war zone. I had just lost two kids, I was pregnant. And I was afraid of all the women in the camp because I’d heard stories about them killing people."   Since she was first interviewed by a Times journalist in 2019, Ms Begum has remained an object of intense media scrutiny, with reports focusing on her dress and the fact that she no longer wears a veil.  While commentators have speculated on whether her dress could offer any indication of her mindset or religious beliefs, Ms Begum said her clothing choices were about making herself feel better.   “I wear these clothes, and I don't wear a hijab, because it makes me happy. And anything in this camp that makes me happy is like a lifesaver”"

No, Ollie Robinson is not just like Shamima Begum - "The perma-outraged denizens of Twitter have had another spectacular meltdown – this time about cricketer Ollie Robinson and ISIS bride Shamima Begum. Robinson, as we all know, has been suspended from international cricket over racist and sexist tweets he posted as a teenager... According to anti-Tory tweeters, Dowden and Boris are hypocrites for saying we should forgive Robinson’s teenage indiscretions, given the government stripped Begum of her citizenship for her teenage indiscretions. This is Tory racism in action, they insisted."

Keith Olbermann on Twitter - "Appears that the @Braves “Tomahawk Chop” just received a Complete and Total Endorsement from President Donald J. Trump."
"Well it IS a cousin of the Nazi salute so"

Meme - Auron Macintyre @AuronMacin...: "In the total state horror movie villains parrot regime propaganda"

Meme - BrooklynDad_Defiant! @mmpadellan: "Stacey Abrams belongs in the office currently being ruined by election cheater Brian Kemp."
@mmpadellan: "The new game plan for Republicans in elections, before a single vote is even counted, is to declare that they are going to lose because cheating. Larry Elder is already doing this. PATHETIC."

Andy Ngô 🏳️‍🌈 on Twitter - "A violent woman wearing a racist gorilla mask throws a projectile at @larryelder’s head (& misses) in Los Angeles. She then punches someone in his crew. Other left-wing protesters join in on the attack."

Paul Feig Calls Out Sony for Not Including His Ghostbusters in Box Set - "Paul Feig wants to know who he needs to call after his 2016 Ghostbusters film was not included in a new box set celebrating the Sony franchise.  In honor of the planned Feb. 1 home release of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, the studio is releasing an eight-disc Ghostbusters Ultimate Collection to Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD on the same day. Included in the gift set are 1984’s Ghostbusters and 1989’s Ghostbusters II, along with director Jason Reitman’s 2021 film, which was a direct sequel to the initial classic.   Notably absent is the Feig-directed film that starred Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and Chris Hemsworth"
He didn't want his movie to be in the same universe anyway, so why complain?

Meme - ""Ghostbusters: Afterlife" trailer:
-No father
-Likely interracial relationship between male protagonist and the girl he talks to
-Young girl is most likely the main protagonist
People who hated Ghostbusters (2016): "Looks ok. I'll give it a shot"
SJW: "This is the anti-female alt-right fantasy all the toxic man babies have been fighting for!!!"

Facebook - ""15 years ago, a professor of mine, fresh from giving a talk at Yale, turned to me during a departmental meeting and said:
-I‘m so bored with identity, are you bored with identity?
-Yes, so bored with identity.
-Don’t worry, I’m sure it’s about to run its course."
- Ashley Passmore -"
From 2019

Meme - "When someone says "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas", remember, they're not doing it because of political correctness. They do it out of respect. Because from the 20th of November to January 24th, there's at least 14 different religious holidays. So, when someone says Happy Holidays to you, thank them. Because they don't know what you believe in. It's called respect. Not a war on Christmas."
The next time someone says Happy Diwali/Deepavali, I'm going to counter with Happy Holidays, because Halloween, Columbus Day, Indigenous People's Day, Dia de Los Muertos etc are all around the same time

When a black man called me a sl*t, a ho, etc, why did it only get mild reactions from the people around us but they blew up when I called him the N word in response? : TooAfraidToAsk

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