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Saturday, May 21, 2022

Links - 21st May 2022 (2 - Covid-19: Sweden)

Sweden’s WHO figures must radically change the terms of the Covid inquiry - ""Judge me in a year" said Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s State Epidemiologist, in July 2020, when his country was being attacked for sticking to its pandemic plan rather than adopting the novel intervention of lockdown. The latest World Health Organisation figures add to the evidence that has been accumulating since summer 2021. Sweden managed the pandemic more successfully than most, with much less disruption of everyday life and economic activity.

Was lockdown all for nothing? - "According to the conventional wisdom on the Covid pandemic, countries that imposed the strictest restrictions on their citizens saved the most lives... the latest estimates of excess deaths during the pandemic, produced by the World Health Organisation (WHO), blow this simplistic narrative out of the water...  Sweden, everyone seemed to agree, was conducting a dangerous ‘experiment’ in ‘Swedo-science’, which had ‘well and truly failed’. Swedes had opted to ‘live free and die’, claimed the proponents of lockdown. But the WHO’s excess-death estimates paint a radically different picture. Even with its no-lockdown policy, Sweden experienced some of the lowest excess-death rates in the EU between January 2020 and January 2022.    Many will also be surprised by the UK’s middling performance. ITV’s political editor, Robert Peston, says he finds it ‘striking’ that the UK ‘no longer seems to have had the worst death rate among richer countries’... The conventional narrative goes something like this: the UK suffered the worst Covid death toll in Europe because our ‘libertarian’ prime minister, Boris Johnson, deliberately pursued a strategy of ‘herd immunity’. Johnson had planned to ‘let the virus rip’, we were told. Then he reluctantly agreed to listen to the scientists and lock us down, but only once the pressure had become overwhelming. By this telling, all three of England’s national lockdowns were introduced far too late and lifted far too early. Worse still, in the summer of 2020 government policy actively encouraged indoor mixing and viral spread by subsidising half-price meals at restaurants. The government’s shriller critics on Twitter even accused Johnson of undertaking a #ToryGenocide.  When England finally lifted most of its Covid restrictions on 19 July 2021 – a month later than planned and some seven months after the vaccine rollout began – we were told to expect a bloodbath. Over 1,200 scientists and government advisers from across the world signed an open letter denouncing the lifting of lockdown as a ‘dangerous and unethical experiment’ that threatened the whole world. They feared that the diseased gammon of England, newly free to make physical contact with each other, would incubate and spread a new vaccine-resistant Covid variant. There is no question that the UK government made many horrific mistakes during the pandemic – not least in sending untested and even Covid-positive patients into care homes during the first wave. But in terms of excess deaths, when ranked against the EU 27, the UK comes a very average 15th... Germany was held up as a model to follow. Germany seemingly did everything ‘right’. It locked down at a sensible time when the virus first arrived in Europe. And last year it only opened up society when it had a vaccine-passport system in place. In the winter of 2021, it barred unvaccinated people from much of public life. Other, less convincing reasons for Germany’s Covid ‘success’ were given, too. At the time, Germany was led by Angela Merkel, who had trained as a scientist. This apparently made her more rational and at ease with the data than other world leaders. She was also a woman, and according to an early ‘study’ in 2020, countries with female leaders performed ‘systematically and significantly better’ in the pandemic. Plus, we were told, Germany is just a sensible, rational, ‘grown-up country’ that does things ‘better’ than the rest of Europe. Yet according to the WHO, Germany actually suffered more excess deaths per capita than the UK, Spain and Portugal.  So why do the excess-death figures not fit the narrative we’ve become accustomed to? One reason is that the excess-death numbers can reveal which countries underreported Covid deaths. Germany, for instance, seems to have significantly underreported its true Covid death toll. Another is that lockdown is simply nowhere near as effective as its proponents have made out. Only a handful of places ever managed to keep Covid rates to near-zero levels using lockdowns and border controls. And as the seemingly never-ending, terrifying Shanghai lockdown shows, even the harshest measures can buckle under more transmissible new variants.  Then there is the fact that the excess-death figures encompass all causes of death – not just deaths from Covid... the excess-death numbers also capture the indirect, non-Covid deaths caused by Covid policy – by lockdown, by disruption to healthcare, among other causes"
So much for the cope that the 2021 excess deaths were low because everyone had already died

Sweden's no-lockdown COVID strategy was broadly correct, commission suggests - "Sweden should have adopted tougher early measures and the government assumed clearer leadership as COVID-19 hit, though the mostly voluntary no-lockdown strategy was broadly correct, a commission reviewing the country's pandemic response said...   Figures from statistics agency Eurostat showed the country had 7.7 per cent more deaths in 2020 than its average for the preceding four years, among the lowest excess mortality rates in Europe."

Free Observer - Posts | Facebook - "The Economist reports that Sweden - that intrepid place that did not lock down - has the lowest excess all-cause mortality of any European country this year. Interesting!"
Weird. The whole of Sweden was supposed to die out due to irresponsible covid policy
Covid hystericists love to compare Sweden to its neighbours to claim it failed, but Iceland and Estonia are also Northern European countries (and Iceland is Nordic too) and they had high excess deaths over the course of the pandemic too
Plus, Sweden had 59% the excess death rate of Finland from Dec 21 2020 to Dec 21 2021
And as of May 4, the central estimate of excess deaths from Jan 2020 to the present is less than 10% above Finland so even if you ignore the non-death harms of lockdowns, Sweden is doing alright

Death and Lockdowns - "Public-health officials widely denounced Sweden for refusing to lock down and mandate masks last spring, when its Covid-19 mortality was high. A computer model projected nearly 100,000 Swedish deaths from the virus last year. But that prediction turned out to be ten times too high, and other countries have since caught up with Sweden. While it suffered another outbreak this winter, mainly in regions that were not hit hard in the spring, Sweden’s cumulative death toll per capita from Covid-19 is now slightly below the European Union’s average and about 20 percent lower than America’s... By any measure of excess mortality, Sweden has fared much better than countries with especially strict lockdowns and mask mandates, like the United Kingdom, Spain, and Portugal. It hasn’t done as well as Norway and Finland, where mortality has been no higher than normal (and below normal, by some calculations). Critics have often noted this disparity as an argument against Sweden’s approach. But the problem with this “Neighbor Argument,” as Oxford’s Paul Yowell calls it, is that the neighbors have followed policies like Sweden’s for most of the pandemic.  Norway and Finland were stricter than Sweden in the spring, when they quickly imposed border controls and closed schools and some businesses. But they also reopened quickly and during the rest of the year ranked among the least restrictive countries in Europe. All three Nordic countries have imposed on-and-off restrictions in some areas during outbreaks this winter, but they have avoided extended national lockdowns and other strict measures. Finland recently mandated masks on public transportation, but Norway and Sweden still merely recommend it for commuters; otherwise, they remain among the few countries in Europe without mask mandates. In all three countries, businesses and schools have remained open most of the past year, and relatively few people have worn masks on the streets or in stores, offices, or classrooms. Sweden’s higher rate of mortality among the Nordics may be related to the greater number of international travelers arriving there last year, due partly to its looser border-control policies and partly to its larger population of immigrants. Another explanation for last year’s high mortality rate is what researchers call the “dry tinder” factor: the previous flu seasons in Sweden had been exceptionally mild, leaving an unusually large number of frail elderly people who were especially vulnerable to Covid-19. (This same factor contributed to the high death toll last year in the United States, where flu mortality had also been low the previous two winters.) If you compensate for this factor by averaging mortality in Sweden over 2019 and 2020, the age-adjusted mortality rate is about the same as during the previous few years. The three Nordic countries have all done much better than the United States in preventing excess deaths, and there’s one especially troubling difference: the rate of excess mortality among younger people. That rate soared last year among Americans in lockdown, but not among the Swedes, Norwegians, and Finns, who kept going to school, working, and socializing without masks during the pandemic. In fact, among people aged 15 to 64 in each of the Nordic countries, there have been fewer deaths than normal since the pandemic began... needless deaths are the greatest scandal of the pandemic. “Lockdowns are the single worst public health mistake in the last 100 years,” says Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor at Stanford Medical School. “We will be counting the catastrophic health and psychological harms, imposed on nearly every poor person on the face of the earth, for a generation.” He describes the lockdowns as “trickle-down epidemiology.”   Public-health officials are supposed to consider the overall impact of their policies, not just the immediate effect on one disease. They’re supposed to weigh costs and benefits, promoting policies that save the most total years of life, which means taking special care to protect younger people and not divert vast resources to treatments for those near the end of life. They are not supposed to test unproven and dangerous treatments by conducting experiments on entire populations... The lockdown enforcers made no effort to weigh the costs and benefits—and ignored analyses showing that, even if the lockdowns worked as advertised, they would still cost more years of life than they saved. During the spring, panicked officials claimed the lockdowns were a temporary measure justified by projections that hospitals would be overwhelmed. But then the lockdowns continued long after it became clear that the projections were wildly wrong."
A lot of non-liberals mock studies which show "obvious" results as having "water is wet" findings. But "common sense" isn't always right

Sebastian Rushworth M.D. on Twitter - "This is Sweden: 11 days and counting without a single covid death. The tube is packed and not a face mask in sight."

How Sweden swerved Covid disaster - "Until recently, prohibition remained the largest experiment in social engineering a democracy had ever undertaken. And then, in early 2020, a new virus began to spread from China...   The hypothesis of the outside world was that Sweden’s freedom would be costly. The absence of restrictions, open schools, reliance on recommendations instead of mandates and police enforcement would result in higher deaths than other countries. Meanwhile, the lack of freedom endured by the citizens of other countries would “save lives.”  Many Swedes were persuaded by this hypothesis. “Shut down Sweden to protect the country,” wrote Peter Wolodarski, perhaps the country’s most powerful journalist. Renowned infectious diseases experts, microbiologists and epidemiologists from all over the country warned of the consequences of the government’s policy. Researchers from Uppsala University, the Karolinska Institute and the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm produced a model powered by supercomputers that predicted 96,000 Swedes would die before the summer of 2020... the death tolls in countries that had locked down began to surpass Sweden’s. Britain, the US, France, Poland, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Spain, Argentina, Belgium — countries that had variously shut down playgrounds, forced their children to wear facemasks, closed schools, fined citizens for hanging out on the beach and guarded parks with drones — have all been hit worse than Sweden. At the time of writing, more than 50 countries have a higher death rate. If you measure excess mortality for the whole of 2020, Sweden (according to Eurostat) will end up in 21st place out of 31 European countries. If Sweden was a part of the US, its death rate would rank number 43 of the 50 states. This fact is shockingly underreported. Consider the sheer number of articles and TV segments devoted to Sweden’s foolishly liberal attitude to the pandemic last year — and the daily reference to figures that are forgotten today. Suddenly, it is as if Sweden doesn’t exist...   And those who’ve followed Sweden’s example have also come in for a lot of criticism. When the state of Florida — more than a year ago and strongly inspired by Sweden — removed most of its restrictions and allowed schools, restaurant and leisure parks to reopen, the judgement from the American media was swift. The state’s Republican governor was predicted to “lead his state to the morgue” (The New Republic). The media was outraged by images of Floridians swimming and sunbathing at the beach.  DeSantis’s counterpart in New York, the embattled Democrat Andrew Cuomo, on the other hand, was offered a book deal for his “Leadership lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic”. A few months ago, he was forced to resign after harassing a dozen women. But the result of his “leadership lesson” lives on: 0.29% of his state’s residents died of Covid-19. The equivalent figure for Florida — the state that not only allowed the most freedom, but also has the second highest proportion of pensioners in the country — is 0.27%...   It isn’t easy to control other people’s lives. It isn’t easy to dictate desirable behaviours in a population via centralised command. These are lessons that many dictators have learned. During the Covid pandemic, many democracies have learned it too. The lesson has perhaps not yet sunk in, but hopefully it will eventually. Then perhaps it will be another 100 years before we make the same mistake again."

Meme - "Sweden's 7-day average COVID deaths have been at ZERO for about a month now. I feel like its only a matter of time before the very existence of a place called Sweden is scrubbed from the internet."
"It's important to note that 90% of people over the age of 60 have been vaccinated in Sweden. Whereas a person in Texas will read this and double down on Jesus as the cure"
"86% of Texans over 60 have had at least one dose. That's pretty close to 90 especially taking into count how many more folks live in Texas than Sweden."

If Sweden’s Covid strategy is such a disaster, why is it still so popular? - "Anders Tegnell, the state epidemiologist, says it’s too early to judge because it takes years for any post-pandemic picture to settle. But a recent poll showed three-quarters of Swedes have their minds made up, saying Tegnell’s team has handled things either well or very well. So how to reconcile Swedish confidence with the story of Swedish disaster?  For a start, much of what’s said about Sweden is false. The argument that its “herd immunity strategy” failed to stem the virus is fairly easily answered: there never was such a strategy. Tegnell has always said so. He sought to keep virus levels low enough to stop hospitals being overwhelmed – but, also, minimise the collateral damage to people’s lives and health. This would always mean tolerating higher Covid levels than in locked-down countries, as the price of protecting more lives overall.  Another fallacy is the idea of Sweden as a restriction-free utopia. Bars, restaurants and cafes are all socially distanced and must close by 8.30pm. Millions of Swedes have been working from home since all of this started. A rule of eight is in place, albeit with private homes exempt. So there are some laws, but most is guidance...   If you look only at Covid deaths then Sweden does as badly as Britain, at least in the first wave (not the second, which is very much still ongoing). But factor in collateral damage, and things change. Studies of all age-adjusted deaths – not just deaths from the virus – shows an increase of just 1.5 per cent in Sweden last year: England’s were up 10 per cent. Excess deaths among under-65s actually fell in Sweden but rose sharply here. A lockdown effect, or only a coincidence? It’s hard to tell. But in Sweden, such jigsaw pieces matter: it always was about the whole picture.  Swedish pupils up to the age of 16 still haven’t missed a day of school: this also has a value, albeit one that’s harder to quantify. The Institute for Fiscal Studies guesses £350 billion of lost earnings for British children. But the impact on society – not least on the thousands of pupils who have mysteriously vanished from school rolls – is something you can’t put a price on.   Judging economic damage is easier. By minimising disruption, Sweden’s economy shrank by 3 per cent last year: Britain’s plummeted by 10 per cent. Sweden’s budget, published yesterday, envisages the economy making a full recovery from the pandemic by Christmas. Britain is shooting for mid-2022, even with our vaccine success. The cost of the pandemic (measured by extra public debt) is heading for £7,700 per head in Britain by next year, more than twice as much as in Sweden. Per capita, they (still) have less Covid death.  Sweden’s fast recovery means its furlough scheme has almost run out of takers. At the last count, almost five million Brits were still on furlough, unsure if their job will exist at the end of all this. And while Tegnell didn’t expect a vaccine, its arrival hasn’t changed his lockdown strategy. Or, it seems, ours.   It’s always tough to make meaningful comparisons between different economies, but cancer diagnosis is easier. Fear of a virus keeps people away from hospitals. Swedish breast cancer referrals were down by about 10 per cent in the first ten months of last year. But the British figures are far steeper: a roughly 30 per cent decline in breast cancer referrals, for example. The question – still waiting for a clear answer – is how far lockdowns raise the death toll by discouraging use of basic healthcare. For cancer, heart disease and more."

Neither Zero Covid nor Vaccinations will Allow us to Return to Normality: We Must Learn To Live With Covid - "As Australia clearly shows, a ‘zero Covid’ approach is not a way out of the pandemic but only prolongs the agony. Australia is exceedingly boastful of its record during the pandemic, recording under 31,000 cases and just 910 deaths. However, Australia has not managed this feat thanks to a well-designed pandemic preparedness system. In fact, it was no better prepared than most neoliberal states, collapsing into extremely costly emergency lockdowns and internal and external border closures... Australia’s ‘zero Covid’ approach has also meant agony for thousands of its citizens stranded overseas. Some 34,000 remain unable to return home, because the Government has limited the number of inbound flights, pushing their costs to unaffordable levels (unless you are a wealthy celebrity). This limit in turn reflects the state’s inability to organise decent quarantine processes. As of February 2021, some 90% of Australia’s cases and deaths were traced to quarantine hotels. Bringing stranded citizens home therefore portends higher case numbers – irreconcilable with a ‘zero Covid’ objective. Consequently, they remain stuck overseas and even threatened with imprisonment if they try to return, with many sinking into destitution. This is an astonishing violation of citizens’ basic rights. Perhaps more astonishing still is the fact that two-thirds of Australians do not think the Government should do more to help their stranded compatriots. As it stands, most Australians seem happy with the Government’s official position that the country will remain hermetically sealed-off from the rest of the world for another two to three years.   This toxic combination of government ineptitude and warped popular attitudes is now blocking Australia’s exit from the pandemic. The Government’s misplaced sense of pride in its ability to manage COVID-19 apparently blinded it to the necessity of securing an adequate supply of vaccines   The Australian government’s newly announced four stage strategy to exit this doom-loop remains exceedingly vague. The first stage is actually a step backwards, with quarantine places set to half. The only positive aspect is the recognition that COVID-19 must eventually be managed in a way “consistent with public health management of other infectious diseases”, like influenza. This is an effective admission that the new coronavirus cannot be indefinitely suppressed – that is, ‘zero Covid’ is a ridiculous pipe dream. Indeed, it always has been: once a novel virus like this has achieved widespread community transmission, it inevitably becomes endemic in the human population, like influenza and the common cold. No country can avoid this fate, unless it remains permanently segregated from the rest of mankind. Australia is thus, belatedly and half-heartedly, embracing the inevitable, framing vaccination as the way to step back towards a more normal approach to the management of public health. However, the British experience reveals that vaccination is also insufficient to end the doom-loop of endless restrictions on our freedom... the really crucial milestone was reached back in spring. Over-50s and those with underlying health conditions account for 98 percent of deaths and 80 to 85 percent serious illness from Covid. Consequently, once this group is vaccinated, the major risks to the population as a whole are eliminated. Notwithstanding uneven take-up among ethnic-minorities and in poorer areas, this threshold has long since been crossed.  And yet, Britain’s so-called ‘Freedom Day’ on June 21st – the point where all remaining restrictions were supposed to have been abolished – was postponed to July 19th. And rather than abolishing the restrictions, the Government has now merely devolved decision-making to businesses and other organisations, which will mostly perpetuate them in the name of “making people feel safe”. Half a million people per week are being told to self-isolate by the NHS app, causing serious harm to the NHS itself. Meanwhile, certain scientists and commentators continue to rail against the lifting of restriction, and reports suggest the Government is planning to extend emergency measures like lockdowns, social distancing and mask-wearing over the next five winters. It seems highly probable that, unless something shifts over the next couple of months, as cases inevitably rise over winter, alongside the seasonal flu epidemic, we will be plunged back into lockdown... ‘cases’ have always been an illegitimate way to measure the progress of the pandemic, because ‘case’ historically meant a clinical diagnosis accompanying actual symptoms, plus a positive test. Many ‘cases’ are entirely asymptomatic, yet there is precious little evidence that asymptomatic individuals spread the disease, despite this being a major assumption underpinning lockdown policy. More importantly, the extent of vaccination – which, combined with acquired immunity to COVID-19 and similar diseases – has clearly broken the link between infections, on the one hand, and hospitalisations and deaths, on the other (see Figure 1). Put simply, ‘cases’ may have been rising on July 19th, but hospitalisations and deaths remained relatively flat. In the week ending July 2nd, 109 people in England and Wales died with COVID-19 on their death certificate. We know that this measure over-records the impact of the virus, as not everyone with the disease is killed by it, but let’s accept this top-end figure for the sake of discussion. In the same period, there were 8,808 deaths from various causes; COVID-19 caused just 1.2% of these. The current level of deaths is actually well below the five-year average. As of July 15th, 3,964 patients were in hospital ‘with’ the disease, 551 of whom were being ventilated. Again, this is not a precise measure because many people are admitted to hospital for other reasons, then test positive for COVID-19 (as many as 40 percent acquiring the disease in the hospital itself)... Nonetheless, they clearly do not represent an existential threat to the NHS, which has over 122,000 beds in various specialisms in England alone. Indeed, the NHS has never been very close to being overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases, even during the torrid winter of 2020-21 (see Figure 2). It strains credulity to believe that it will be overwhelmed this summer, when vaccination rates are so high, and vaccines are proven to reduce transmission, the severity of symptoms, and the risk of hospitalisation. And yet this appears to be believed by the self-same individuals who bash ‘anti-vaxxers’ as conspiracy theorists. Who are the true anti-vaxxers, if not people who implicitly deny the vaccines’ efficacy? Moreover, if we are genuinely concerned that NHS capacity might be exceeded, rather than simply agitating for continued restrictions on the citizenry, we ought to be asking why the NHS is so fragile. Why is the NHS so incapable of protecting us, such that we (still) have to protect it? Why, 18 months into a pandemic, is hospital bed capacity actually lower than at the start? Why is the NHS’s intensive care unit capacity so low compared to other similar countries – more than four times lower than the U.S. and Germany, for example? Why are we allowing the NHS app to produce widespread absenteeism among NHS staff, further limiting capacity? Why is in-hospital transmission so unacceptably high?  These questions would at least move us in the right direction, because they would refocus attention on policy failure – on human factors, rather than fatalistically assuming that we must remain victims of natural forces beyond our control.   Clearly, vaccination is not the magical escape route from lockdown that many thought it might be. Restrictions – and public demand for them – can persist even when high vaccination rates have transformed the relationship between cases and deaths, and the continued disease burden, is readily manageable with existing public health resources. Why?  Answering this question involves reflecting on why they were imposed in the first place – and thus turns less on issues of vaccination rates and hospitalisation data, and more on problems of politics and social psychology.   Lockdowns and other societal restrictions were never recommended in pre-Covid pandemic planning by the World Health Organisation or national governments, because they were of unproven and dubious efficacy and came at tremendous cost. That most countries collapsed into some form of lockdown, throwing out their existing pandemic planning, thus indicates decisions taken in moments of panic, amid mounting, media-induced fear among the general public. In most (though not all) countries, governments lacked the necessary authority to resist such pressure and hold to existing plans, which focused on delaying the spread of new diseases and mitigating their impact. Crucially, moreover, in many places, including Britain and Australia, the state was also very poorly prepared to do even this. Successive governments failed to invest in necessary capacities, outsourcing planning and preparedness to local authorities and private companies. Consequently, existing systems soon collapsed, adding to the sense of panic...   Lockdown was thus the result of panic and state failure. It appealed to politicians because it gave the public what they seemed to be clamouring for, and bought time to organise a better response. The trouble is that justifying and securing compliance with such draconian measures entailed a colossal propaganda effort that has permanently skewed public perceptions of the virus, and inverted the proper relationship between state and citizen. As Laura Dodsworth chronicles in A State of Fear, the U.K. Government deliberately mobilised behavioural psychology to instil fear into the population to increase compliance with lockdown measures. The media has followed suit for its own purposes. A conformist culture ensued in which dissenting voices – even among world-leading scientists – have been silenced, censored, or subjected to abuse. Sceptics are derided as “Covidiots”, “selfish morons” and people who want to “kill granny”. The proper relationship between citizen and state in a democracy has been turned on its head, with the Government telling the public what to do, rather than vice-versa, and demanding that people stay home to “protect the NHS”, when the NHS’s job is actually to protect us.   This combines with the ‘sunk costs fallacy’: our reluctance to admit that previous decisions were mistaken due to the costs they have already imposed, which pushes us to double-down on those decisions. The politicians in charge can never admit that lockdown policies were disproportionate because the costs they have imposed on society are colossal. But the same extends to the official opposition, who have – if anything – only demanded stricter measures. Parliament also remains fundamentally delinquent: having declared its work inessential in March 2020, it is still not functioning normally today, limiting still further the capacity for critical self-reflection.   Equally, thanks to the politicisation of science that accompanies technocracy, many scientists have become cheerleaders for lockdowns. Their reputations would be destroyed were it to be admitted that they did more harm than good. Many ordinary people have also made such significant sacrifices – some of them genuinely appalling and inhumane – that it would be traumatic to consider that they were perhaps illegitimate.   The issue of ‘sunk costs’ must be a reason why, even today, we still lack a serious official cost-benefit analysis of lockdown policy. The only analysis ever published by the U.K. Government is a flimsy document from November 2020, which declined to use the normal quantitative measures used to justify health interventions – “quality-adjusted life years” (QALY) – presumably because it would reveal that lockdowns could not be justified. Normally, when deciding whether to fund a treatment or intervention, the NHS weighs the cost against the number of QALYs it would save, with each QALY valued at £30,000. Independent analysis suggests that each QALY would have to be valued at between £96,000 and £1.97m for lockdown to make sense, depending on how effective lockdowns are in preventing deaths (itself a matter of some dispute, with many studies arguing that they are ineffective). The stated desire of many people to continue practising restrictions even after they are lifted also reveals the way in which hyper-hygiene has become a marker of moral superiority. When mask-wearing is (falsely) advertised as a way to protect others, naturally, it becomes virtuous to wear a mask. Moreover, this virtue is openly broadcast to others at relatively low cost. When others decline to wear masks, this allows one to signal not just moral virtue but also moral superiority. As one prominent commentator puts it: “In a nutshell, post July 29th [sic] there will be people prepared to wear masks because they care about other people. And those who don’t. And that’s it, isn’t it?”   Here, pandemic politics intersect with Britain’s tedious culture wars in which left-liberals continuously seek to assert their superiority over the masses of racist, sexist, transphobic (etc.) troglodytes that supposedly constitute the bulk of the population. This, rather than any rational assessment, presumably lies behind the assertion of 1,200 scientists that unlocked Britain will become a breeding ground for lethal variants of COVID-19: they are unable to see their fellow citizens as constituting anything more than a fetid Petri dish.   The panicked retreat into lockdown and the subsequent reign of terror has destroyed our societies’ normal capacity to assess risk and make rational trade-offs, while playing into some very negative cultural tendencies. We have focused myopically on a single disease, to the exclusion of all other health problems, many of which will be exacerbated by lockdowns. We have also lost sight of a host of other social values, inflicting enormous damage on young people’s education, socialisation and wellbeing, not to mention the corrosive impact on civil liberties and democracy. Through a one-eyed focus on a single disease – one with an average infection fatality rate of 0.05% for the under-70s – we have made a small number of epidemiologists the arbiters of human flourishing, and they will not easily relinquish their newfound power and status.   Vaccination can never be a silver bullet for these problems, which can only be confronted collectively, through vigorous public debate and political activism. It will be very difficult indeed to shift mindsets and unpick the authoritarian ways of thinking and governing that have taken hold over the past 18 months. ‘Shots in arms’ is child’s play by comparison."

Sweden Halts Moderna Vaccine For Young People Over Possible Rare Side Effects
Covid hystericists already hate Sweden, so this will just be more fodder for them to get upset about

Sweden Scraps Vax Passes as the Latest Euro State to Dump Lockdown

Ridiculous Zuccs: Socialism & Suicide

"Everyone else who tried this has gotten hurt"
"Everyone else did it the wrong way." - man sticking Socialism fork into Economy power outlet

It seems mocking Socialism means you're suicidal or want to injure yourself.

Links - 21st May 2022 (1)

An influx of French immigrants to Quebec highlights a cultural shift ... and rift - The Globe and Mail - "In 2009, when the Parisian financier Roland Lescure was preparing to move to Quebec – as tens of thousands of his compatriots have done in the past 20 years – he received a prescient piece of advice. Be careful, Roland, a friend in Toronto said: They’re not French people who live in America. They’re Americans who speak in French... The mother country has sent so many of her sons and daughters to its former colony lately that the Montreal area has become home to the the largest community of French expatriates outside of Europe. One neighbourhood, where the sound of French accents and the smell of French bread waft through streets formerly associated with Québécois joual and baked beans, is now nicknamed La Nouvelle-France. Drawn by a cultural and economic openness they can’t find at home, many young French people have fallen in love with Quebec. While Canadians in the rest of the country tend to see the province as relatively European – with its bike lanes, walk-up apartments and large state – the French see it as almost Californian, a land of swimming pools, friendliness and jobs... Quebeckers eat like Americans, drive like Americans and socialize like Americans, too. If the French have rediscovered Quebec, more than 250 years after the British conquest, it’s a little different than they remembered. The size of the Gallic migration to Quebec has been gathering momentum for years, like a well-launched boule on one of the province’s many pétanque courts. The number of French citizens registered with the country’s consulates in Montreal and Quebec City has nearly doubled since 2005, to more than 75,000. But registration is voluntary, and the true size of the French presence is likely more than double that again, said Sophie Lagoutte, the French consul-general to Montreal... To many young French people, Montreal seems like “an El Dorado,” Prof. Pavot said. The sheer abundance of life in Quebec can look shocking from across the Atlantic. The unemployment rate is consistently a couple of points lower here, and money stretches further compared with impossibly expensive Paris. The province is full of space and domestic water use is cheap, so everyone really does seem to have a swimming pool... Of course, the winters can be a blast of icy disillusionment, but the first word many French immigrants use to describe Quebec is not “cold” but “open.” They mean it in every sense: culturally, economically, temperamentally, geographically. Natives of France are even surprised by the lack of shutters on Montrealers’ windows... People are friendlier and more casual, in contrast to the stereotypical French froideur – less likely to use the formal pronoun “vous” to address strangers and more likely to greet them with genuine warmth... Most importantly, the Quebec economy feels more open, with fewer restrictions on hiring, firing and starting businesses. The French labour market is famously rigid, whereas in Montreal, a philosophy grad can make a living writing video game scripts or baking bread. That can leave French immigrants raving about their new home, like starry-eyed refugees disembarking at Ellis Island. In Quebec, Prof. Robinot said, “everything is possible.”... Quebec has welcomed more French immigrants in the past 20 years – almost 38,000, third most of any country in that span – than it is believed to have done during the entire colonial period. According to numbers from Quebec’s Immigration Ministry, a steady stream of thousands a year in the early 2000s spiked to new heights after the Great Recession, when the province’s economy bounced back faster than France’s. The French may be newly open to Quebec, but that does not mean they necessarily know anything about it. Québécois stars have broken through in the metropole over the years – Félix Leclerc, Celine Dion – but even that success is sometimes tempered by misunderstanding. Montreal filmmaker Xavier Dolan has been a favourite at Cannes, but his films, studded with Quebec slang, often screen there with subtitles. A few years ago, a Leger poll found that when the French were asked what they like about Quebec artists, 56 per cent said “their accents.”... Many of the surprises revolve around how “American” Quebeckers are. They drink more beer than wine, smoke more weed and fewer cigarettes. “The day starts much earlier and ends much earlier,” Ms. Lagoutte said. “When someone invites me for dinner at 6, I don’t eat lunch. ... I couldn’t possibly be hungry at 6.” In the Plateau, baguettes taste Parisian, but elsewhere in the city, Ms. Robinot said, “You don’t find lardons everywhere.” Even Quebec’s car culture and approach to public safety – measures by which the province can seem relatively European to its continental neighbours – strike some French immigrants as borderline Texan. Léo Trespeuch, Ms. Robinot’s husband and a professor of management at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, remembers how taken aback he was at seeing cops speeding after a car and pulling their sidearms on a suspect. “That cowboy side was new to us”... The most “North American” thing about Quebeckers is also the most difficult for French expats: their relationship to friends and family. The Lumineau sisters observe in their guidebook that Quebeckers are like avocados, soft and welcoming on the outside, but with a hard inner core. New French arrivals often find it’s hard to make friends, because Quebec social life seems to take place within tight circles of intimates, around family barbecues or by the side of those swimming pools, not over spontaneous after-work cocktails as in Paris or Marseille... Even the charm of the squirrels wears off eventually. For Old World sophisticates raised on urban wildlife consisting of little more than pigeons, squirrels incarnate the wildness and freedom of the New World. French newcomers can often be seen gawking at them in Montreal parks as if they’ve just seen a zebra on safari."

Moving to a small town for cheaper housing? Prepare to pay more to get around, for insurance and repairs - The Globe and Mail - "Mr. Cable and his girlfriend only needed one vehicle when they lived in Toronto. “Supplement your car with good transit and a bicycle and a walkable neighbourhood, and one is more than enough,” he said... getting the kids to school could also take significantly longer. Leaving the city will also often require more frequent car repairs, longer commuting times and more trips to the pump at a time of soaring gas prices. Vehicle insurance costs and property taxes can also be higher outside of Canada’s urban centres. Daycare costs, meanwhile, are highest in Canada’s biggest cities, but some smaller communities are struggling with rising fees because of a lack of providers. In addition, some of the services city dwellers enjoy might not exist in more rural destinations, while others could come at a steeper price. More significant sticker-shock items can include the higher cost of maintenance, services and repairs of all kinds, specialty food items, even insurance. “The more rural you are, the less organized fire and emergency response service you have, and that’s reflected in insurance costs,” says Sandy Lyons, a licensed insolvency trustee and credit counsellor for Grant Thornton, and a financial literacy volunteer for the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada. “In terms of rural repair services, the smaller your population, the smaller the options are, and that can drive up prices.”... “People moving into a very small centre might find themselves not with a sewer system, but with a septic field system, which has its own separate costs”... Other infrastructure costs and inconvenience could include taking trash to a garbage dump or transporting water in locations that don’t have clean drinking water readily available. Furthermore, as workplaces begin to reopen, Mr. Lyons says some of those who left major cities might have to commute back and forth on a regular basis or face penalties for working remotely full time. Moving away from the city could also create a budget crunch on the earnings side of the equation."

German man in hot water for running taps non-stop for a year - "A man in the northern German city of Salzgitter is in hot water after police allege that he left his bath and sink faucets running for at least a year, causing "massive damage" to his apartment building.  Salzgitter police said the 31-year-old, who also had his toilet running non-stop, is thought to have used 7 million litres (1.85 million gallons) of water over the past year.  Police told the dpa news agency Friday they had been called by the building's management after the man had allegedly plugged the drains recently and the water started leaking through the building. He reportedly fought with police when they arrived Thursday and had to be subdued with pepper spray.  Police say he has been taken to a psychiatric hospital for an evaluation."

Collections: No Man’s Land, Part I: The Trench Stalemate - "the scene serves to drive home some of the basics of the popular conception of trench warfare in WWI, namely:
    The primary obstacle to a successful assault was crossing no man’s land.
    The primary obstacle to that was machine-gun fire, such that ‘drawing all of the fire’ would be sufficient to enable an attack.
    Reaching and clearly the immediate enemy trench line was sufficient to break a sector’s defense (but attacks cannot accomplish this because of (1) and (2))
    Consequently, attacks always fail because attackers are mowed down by machine-gun fire before ever reaching the enemy line; defenders take negligible casualties.
As premises, those conceptions lead to a nearly inevitable conclusion, typically phrased by my students as, ‘why don’t you just go on the defensive and let your opponent attack himself to exhaustion?’ The popular culture history has an answer to that question, of course, and it is that all of the generals in World War I were some mix of idiots or detached, aristocratic psychopaths utterly uncaring about their men.  And every part of that, from the premises to the conclusion is some degree of wrong; some of the premises are straight up wrong, others are deceptive half truths and all of the rest of it collapses from the broken foundation. Many World War I generals were incompetent and some were uncaring, but there were also a lot of quite capable, focused and dedicated commanders and they couldn’t break the trench stalemate either.  Wonder Woman couldn’t have done it either. But to understand why, we need to understand what creates the trench stalemate, because machine guns aren’t enough."

Collections: No Man’s Land, Part II: Breaking the Stalemate - " did tanks break the trench stalemate?  No...   It turns out the fundamental premise of the entire idea of morale bombing – that being bombed will make people want to stop fighting – was flawed. Morale bombing has been, depending on how hard you squint at the US air campaign over Japan in WWII (including the use of nuclear weapons) successful either once (out of many attempts) or never. In most cases, the sustained bombing of civilian centers has been shown to increase a population’s willingness to resist, making the strategy worse than useless. The case for strategic bombing against industrial targets is marginally better, but only marginally. While airpower advocates, particularly in the United States promised throughout WWII that bombing campaigns against German industry could lead to the collapse of the German war machine, in the end many historians posit that the real achievement of the campaign was to lure the Luftwaffe into the air where it could be destroyed, thus denying the German army of air cover and close air support, particularly on the Eastern Front. Some dimunition of German industrial capabilities was accomplished (though it is not clear that this ever approached the vast resources poured into producing the large numbers of extremely expensive bombers used to do it, though the allies had such an industrial advantage over Germany, forcing the Germans to fight in expensive ways in the sky was a winning trade anyway), but the collapse of German industry never happened. As Richard Overy notes, German industrial output continued to rise during strategic bombing and only began to fall as a result of the loss of territory on the ground. Needless to say, ‘strategic bombing can sucker the enemy into wasting their close air support’ was not the result that airpower advocates had promised, nor could it have broken the stalemate... the problem facing generals – German, French, British and later American – on the Western Front (and also Italian and Austrian generals on the Italian front) was effectively unsolvable with the technologies at the time. Methodical Battle probably represented the best that could be done with the technology of the time. The technologies that would have enabled actually breaking the trench stalemate were decades away in their maturity: tanks that could be paired with motorized infantry to create fast moving forces, aircraft that could effectively deliver close air support, cheaper, smaller radios which could coordinate those operations and so on"

When a cobra became a murder weapon in India - "an Indian man was given a rare double-life sentence for killing his wife by making a cobra bite her... 28-year-old Suraj Kumar paid 7,000 rupees ($92; £67) for a spectacled cobra, one of the most venomous snakes in the world. Trade in snakes is illegal in India, so Suraj made the clandestine purchase from a snake catcher, Suresh Kumar, in the southern state of Kerala.  Suraj drilled a hole in a plastic container for air to flow in, put the cobra inside, and took it home.  Thirteen days later, he put the container in a bag and trudged to his in-laws' home, about 44 km (27 miles) away, where his wife Uthra was recovering from a mysterious snake bite... while Uthra was still recuperating, she accepted a glass of fruit juice from Suraj which was laced with sedatives. When the mixture had put her under, Suraj brought out the container with the cobra, overturned it, and dropped the five-foot-long snake on his sleeping wife.  But rather than attack her, the snake slithered away. Suraj picked it up and flung it on Uthra, but again it slithered off.  Suraj tried a third time - he held the reptile by its trademark hood and pressed its head near Uthra's left arm. The agitated cobra, using the fangs at the front of the mouth, bit her twice. Then it slinked off to a shelf in the room and stayed there all night.  "Cobras don't bite unless you provoke them, Suraj had to catch it by its hood and force it to bite his wife," says Mavish Kumar, a herpetologist... According to investigators, the fatal cobra bite was Suraj's third, not second, attempt to kill his wife in just four months... Suraj reportedly told his friends that his wife was "haunted by the curse of a serpent" in her dreams, in which she was "destined to die of snakebite".  In reality, Suraj was determined to kill his wife, steal her money, and marry another woman"

Meme - "Balram Vishwakarma
place One of my teammates was going through a nasty divorce & that was affecting her work so I scheduled a meeting with her to understand what could do. After a brief 2-minute heart-to-heart conversation with her, I figured that she really needed something to divert her mind so I increased her workload by 50% and asked her to mandatorily come to the office on Saturdays as well. (So she can worry less about her 2 years old daughter & a manipulative husband). And guess what happened? She did that for a month and now is one of the star performers of our team! But she has started this funny habit of keeping short lines of icing sugar & rolled up 100 rupee notes on her table all the time. But I am not a micromanager so dont care as long as she gets things done. You dor't give up on your colleagues! Empathy & understanding really goes well, my friends! #Gratitude #TeamSpirit #Empathy #worklifebalance"

Facebook - "Dan terjadi lagi~
Dijadikan soft ice cream dooonnkkk
Dicampur semuanya 😭
Sedih akutu
Uda ga ada identitasnya lagi itu naget, kentang goreng, cola dan saus2an 😭"
Turning the McDonald's BTS meal into soft serve ice cream

Why the Filet-O-Fish Is My Gold Standard for Fast Food - The New York Times - "As McDonald’s only seafood-based option, the Filet-O-Fish’s semblance of relative health appealed to my parents. Luckily it was also McDonald’s most delicious item. It played to my Chinese palate: While other McDonald’s buns were toasted, the Filet-O-Fish’s was steamed, much like the baozi. From its honeyed starch to its tangy tartar and savory fillet, the taste of the Filet-O-Fish carries an ineffable umami-ness. At once sweet and sour, it reminds me of orange-chicken sauce: a plausibly Chinese flavor mass-produced in America. Eating one always felt transportive — the equivalent of Proust’s madeleine for my Chinese diasporic upbringing. The Filet-O-Fish is the gold standard of fast food for many Asian-Americans, as well as other minority American communities... Its appeal is inscrutable, perhaps out of proportion to its paltry constituent parts. Consider the recognizably flaky fish patty, made from the ubiquitous Alaskan pollock. “Pollock is everywhere,” writes the marine fisheries biologist Kevin M. Bailey in the book “Billion-Dollar Fish.” “It is the pure white meat in fish sticks bought at Walmart and Filet-O-Fish burgers ordered in McDonald’s.” But you wouldn’t want the fish to be more interesting. The generic quality of pollock’s fishiness — common enough for various cuisines to lay claim to it — is part of its allure. So maybe what makes the sandwich beloved isn’t its taste at all, but the juxtaposition of its elements: A single fillet of fried fish, topped with a thin slice of American cheese and tartar sauce, all of it cradled in a bun whose impossible roundness suggests the triumph of industrial food production."

Ant mill - Wikipedia - "An ant mill is an observed phenomenon in which a group of army ants are separated from the main foraging party, lose the pheromone track and begin to follow one another, forming a continuously rotating circle, commonly known as a "death spiral" because the ants might eventually die of exhaustion. It has been reproduced in laboratories and has been produced in ant colony simulations. The phenomenon is a side effect of the self-organizing structure of ant colonies. Each ant follows the ant in front of it, which works until something goes wrong, and an ant mill forms"

Photos of strippers on break causes furor - "A group of strippers and their waitress colleagues who met on the roof for their breaks are finding out their hideaway isn't as private as they thought.  Women working at the Zanzibar Tavern, a strip club in Toronto, believed no one could see them when they popped out for a cigarette or cellphone call while still in their work attire.  But a Ryerson University librarian, Brian Cameron, took photos of the women from his office window...   The club's owner, Allen Cooper, says the women feel their privacy has been violated. Many dancers try to keep their occupation under wraps, something they won't be able to do now because the photos show their faces...   One of the girls who was photographed is a Ryerson student...   In most of the country, "you have no privacy rights when you're in public," says Gil Zvulony, a privacy and copyright lawyer in Toronto.  In Quebec, however, photographers cannot publish photos without the subject's consent, unless it's for news or in the public interest.   It all comes down to how secluded the rooftop is from onlookers and whether the women had a reasonable expectation of privacy, he said.  The club's location makes it hard to argue the roof was hidden"
Is there an expectation of privacy in a public place?

French company makes NOL profitable – less than 1 year after acquiring it from S’pore - "In 1972, Dr Goh Keng Swee, widely recognised as the architect of Singapore’s economic growth, said:  “One of the tragic illusions that many countries of the Third World entertain is the notion that politicians and civil servants can successfully perform entrepreneurial functions. It is curious that, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the belief persists.” With that in mind, Reuters reported Friday that French company CMA CGM has done what Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) could not do – make the company profitable.  In fact, the French have done it in less than a year after acquiring the former national shipping line... Led by former Lieutenant General and Chief of Armed Forces, Ng Yat Chung, NOL saw losses rising to US$460 million, while its debts grew more than US$4 billion.  In an interview last year, Ng, who was at the helm for 5 years, blamed the company’s demise on its inability “to compete on costs.”... “net profit of $26 million for the former NOL business represented a first quarterly net profit for NOL since 2011.”"

How good is “good”? - "  Of the 40 words we tested, “abysmal” was seen as the most negative, with an average score of 1.21. Slightly less bad comes the closely clustered “awful” (1.72), “terrible” (1.75) and “very bad” (1.76).  At the other end of the scale, “perfect” is the most positively regarded word with an average score of 9.16. Only one other word managed to break the 9.00 barrier, which was “outstanding” on 9.11 (although “excellent” was not far behind at 8.95)... As it turns out, “good” and “bad” are not exactly mirrors of one another on the scale. Bad has an average score of 2.60, meaning its mirror equivalent on the scale ought to score 7.40. “Good”, by contrast, scores a 6.92.  This situation remains the case for the other examples where “good” and “bad” are used: “pretty good”, “really good” and “very good” are seen less positively than they should be to truly mirror “pretty bad”, “really bad” and “very bad”...   Comparing the results with those of an identical study published by YouGov US reveals that the stereotype of Britons being less enthusiastic generally holds up – except for the very most positive words.  For the 31 words that scored below 8/10 in both countries, Britons gave 28 of them a lower average score than Americans did. However, for the nine highest ranked words Britons rated eight of them more positively."

Meme - "My school locks the thermostat. So to warm up the room I put some cold cheese sticks on top of the thermostat. And my students think they will never use thermodynamics in the real world"

XCH WIDDOP Disney DI702 Best Mum Bambi Mug New in Box

Why Do We Fight Wars? | HistoryExtra Podcast - HistoryExtra - "‘Chimpanzees are indeed prone to violence and organized violence…bonobos live in a peaceful society... one explanation is that the chimpanzees live in a part of Africa where there is a natural predator, they have the enemy of gorillas, and that they have therefore developed ways of fighting and of holding off those they fear. Whereas bonobos have no obvious enemies, they live in a rather peaceable part, and that they have therefore developed over the centuries a more peaceable culture. I think a cultural factor is enormously important in helping to understand why we have war, and why different peoples fight’"
The chimpanzee-bonobo dichotomy coheres with the experiment which found out that when participants were made to imagine they were in a utopia, they became more liberal

Kate Mosse On 'The City Of Tears' | HistoryExtra Podcast - HistoryExtra - "‘You must find some gems that I guess just can't make it into your work however much you would want them to?’ ‘Well, I'm talking to you at the moment. And even though when we're not on camera, my laptop in the microphone is on a two box files, one purple, and one green, good suffragette colors, and they are full, of notes. I mean, hundreds of thousands of words of notes of research. A tiny fraction, an inch worth of it, is probably in the book, because research only matters if it feeds your story. Research matters so that your reader feels that they can relax into your book and trust it, to enjoy the story. So the minute the research is banging you on the head, saying, look at me, look how much research I've done, then you as a novelist have failed’"

The Black Death: Everything You Wanted To Know | HistoryExtra Podcast - HistoryExtra - "‘The normal way it's seen as spreading is being bitten by a rat flea, a black rat will be killed by the disease with the, by the fleas infecting it, the fleas will then come onto a human host, and then kill them. It's actually a very mechanical process. And about 20, 20, 25 years ago, possibly 30, 40 years ago, people started to have doubts about whether the Black Death was plague. And it was basically how on earth do you get a death rate as high as that spreading across the whole of Europe, with every individual needing to be bitten by an infected flea? And we know from the records at the time that relatively few people died from pneumonic plague. Or from septicemic plague. They both existed, but they were small. It was basically bubonic plague that was killing them. And how on earth do you get to that level of infections and for a quarter of a century, the view that started to prevail was it had to be a virus. And there were various fanciful suggestions of the virus that might have caused it. All the way through I was objecting to this because of contemporary descriptions. The Black Death, very unusual disease, the swelling of the lymph nodes, the buboes, the process of transmission. So the contemporaries didn't know how it was being caused, but they knew through observing, these were intelligent people just observed the symptoms in the, in the victims. And it, it seemed to some of us that it had to be bubonic plague. We're still puzzling about exactly how it would have spread. And increasingly, the view is that, in addition to rat fleas, it's human fleas. And particularly, I think, which is, is, one of my favorites, in a sense, is lice. Head lice, body lice, who have been found to be able to carry the microorganism, Yersinia pestis, and I think if you, people were full of lice, the clothes were full of lice, had fleas on them as well."

Kathleen Neal On Edward I's Letters | HistoryExtra Podcast - HistoryExtra - "'Letter writing entailed instruction in how to perform them, how to read them aloud. And it's certainly true that Edward’s letters and those of his contemporaries seem to have contained, if you like, stage directions in the form of certain types of punctuation that gave an instance of how, how to breathe, when to breathe, when the dramatic pause should be made, and so forth. And that seems to have been another way of attempting to make sure that one had some control over how the letter is read out, even if it's not your person doing it. And it's clear that these punctuations, for example, these punctuation marks, marks are sometimes rhetorical rather than grammatical signals, because they don't actually make grammatical sense… there is also the way that the king could manipulate which seal is used. For example, he had at least two: the Great and Privy seals, which issued business out of Westminster or wherever the king happened to be. And they were vastly different in size. The Great Seal was many inches across, whereas the Privy seal was only a couple of centimeters across. And there's one example I can think of where, quite unusually, the king chooses to use the Great Seal for what is otherwise a very banal letter of family greetings to his aunt, the queen, the Dowager Queen of France, Marguerite of Provence. And it seems likely, I've argued in an article that's just about to come out in Women's History Review, seems likely that he did this partly to ensure that the letter would be received publicly and opened and read aloud publicly as a way of signaling the resumption of friendly relations between the English and French royal houses after a certain period of crisis. Whereas normally he would have chosen the Privy seal for such a piece of correspondence that would have been, perhaps even secretly conveyed, because it was so small, it could be folded up very tight into a very tiny packet passed over in an unassuming way...
Medieval letters are not intended to be received just by the person who is named as the recipient.That it's almost always the case that at least their most closest advisors or immediate family members, members of their retinue, their servants would have been present, and that the letter would have been read aloud in their presence rather than necessarily silently. There are, in fact, a couple of examples in literature. For example, the works of Matthew Paris. Monk in the mid 13th century in St. Albans, where he's talking about papal letters being, letters being received, I'm sorry, by the Pope, and that the pope would both read them silently to himself, and also have one of his nearest Cardinals read them out to him, and that people are present when this happens. So when I say that, I think there's a theater of reception, I don't just mean in a big performance of handing over the letter to the person who is the named recipient, and genuinely mean, there is an audience present and, and the performance of the letter, not just of the handing over of the letter.'"

Margarette Lincoln On 17th-Century London | HistoryExtra Podcast - HistoryExtra - "‘I was quite taken by Ned Ward's colorful description of the city's coffee shops being the home of stinking tobacco and stinking breaths, often doubling up is brothels and being the home of drinking, swearing and profaneness. I mean, why did coffee shops become such a focal point of both the light and the dark side of the capitalist culture in the 17th century?’
‘Well, it's a very good question, because before there were coffee shops, people did all their business in taverns. And before the advent of hot non alcoholic drinks, like coffee and tea, most Londoners were daily inebriated because they were drinking beer all the time. And I suppose they, they, once they got hold of coffee, they learnt that actually, it was better to be sober for business. Coffee shops provided a great address for merchants who might be operating out of rented rooms. So it was like, like hot desking these days. They had a business address and they could collect their post there. And the popular conception of coffee houses today is that they will places of polite conversation and intellectual debate and sober business. But actually, the streets of Stuart London were frenetic and filthy. And coffee shops are just an extension of this experience. And it's wrong even to think of them as uniformly sober places, because people went there after drinking in the tavern to sober up. It was like the 17th century equivalent to getting a kebab, you know. And, some coffee shops actually sold spirits and and something called Cock Ale, which is a disgusting concoction of beer and parboiled chicken with spices. Um, the other thing that I think you were alluding to is that coffee shops were wholly implicated in a criminal underworld of theft, receivership and prostitution. So gangs might steal things that didn't apparently appear to have any value like pocket books or bonds, they couldn't cash in. But then when people advertised for these things to be returned, no questions asked, they could often recover them in coffee shops, you know, for a small reward, so thieves would sell, steal things in order to get the reward rather than the, the thing that they'd stolen’"

TheExhibit Israel - Posts | Facebook - "Around 2013, U.S. intelligence began noticing an alarming pattern: Undercover CIA personnel, flying into countries in Africa and Europe for sensitive work, were being rapidly and successfully identified by Chinese intelligence, according to three former U.S. officials. The surveillance by Chinese operatives began in some cases as soon as the CIA officers had cleared passport control. Sometimes, the surveillance was so overt that U.S. intelligence officials speculated that the Chinese wanted the U.S. side to know they had identified the CIA operatives, disrupting their missions; other times, however, it was much more subtle and only detected through U.S. spy agencies’ own sophisticated technical countersurveillance capabilities. The CIA had been taking advantage of China’s own growing presence overseas to meet or recruit sources, according to one of these former officials. “We can’t get to them in Beijing, but can in Djibouti. Heat map Belt and Road”—China’s trillion-dollar infrastructure and influence initiative—“and you’d see our activity happening. It’s where the targets are.” The CIA recruits “Russians and Chinese hard in Africa,” said a former agency official. “And they know that.” China’s new aggressive moves to track U.S. operatives were likely a response to these U.S. efforts. This series, based on interviews with over three dozen current and former U.S. intelligence and national security officials, tells the story of China’s assault on U.S. personal data over the last decade—and its consequences."

S'pore most tired country in the world - "Singapore's number two position means it even beat China’s 2,174 hours and Japan’s 1,723 hours -- Asian powerhouses -- and puts it way ahead on the list of the world’s 15 most fatigued countries.  This result is a little suspect, but Singaporeans can take the dubious honour of suffering from work presenteeism.  Or simply being inefficient... Singapore is the winner of the most fatigued country in the world. This is despite a country like Mexico appearing to be a more tiring place than Singapore as it is on the upsurge in terms of its development."

Rob Reiner on Twitter - "We can not ignore the darkening skies. The 2022 election will determine whether we are still a Democracy or have succumbed to the Autocratic rule of White Supremacy."
"It's only a democracy if my side wins"

Meme - "The Matrix (1999)"
"I don't know how I thought they filmed this, but somehow this wasn't it."

David J Prokopetz - "“All right, so the vampire’s gravestone is–”
“It’s only a gravestone if it marks the location of a body. A monument honouring someone whose body isn’t present is a cenotaph.”
“I’m… not sure that’s how it works if the body gets up and walks away on its own.“
“There’s precedent for gravestones being reclassified as cenotaphs if the body is later removed and reinterred elsewhere. There’s no rule that says the body itself can’t do the removing.“
“Okay, but the body very much is coming back. That’s kind of what we’re here to accomplish.”
“So it’s a temporary cenotaph.”
“And naturally our greatest concern here is avoiding semantic ambiguity.“
“Semantic ambiguity is how vampires get you.”"

Meme - "Rock of Detection
Wondrous Item, Common
This almost spherical rock looks mundane and unassuming bbut upon closer imagination, it has multiple detection capabilities. As a bonus action, you can hold, throw or set the rock on the ground then observe its effects.
Gravity Detection: You hold the rock then let go. The rock falls detecting the direction and intensity of any gravity.
Slope Detection: You place the rock on a lat surface. The rock rolls detecting the direction and steepness of the slope. It may fail on soft or sticky terrain.
Illusion Detection: You can hurl the rock for up to 30ft. It detects an illusion if passes through creatures or solid objects.
Invisible Detection: You can hurl the rock for up to 30ft. It detects any invisible creatures or object if its trajectory is unexpectedly interrupted
Fire Detection: You hold the rock in front of you. The rock's temperature rises when it is nearby fired
Weather Detection: You set the rock down outdoors. If the rock is cast a shadow, sunny. If the rock is wet, raining. fits white on top, snowing. If it jumps, earthquake. If it's, gone, tornado/hurricane.
The rock does not seem to be magic. This has baffled many arcanists as more of the rock's detection capabilities are discovered."

Did Cargo Ship 'Draw' a Penis Before Getting Stuck in Suez Canal? - "This is a genuine image showing the route of the Ever Given cargo ship as it waited its turn to enter the Suez Canal. However, as of this writing, there's no evidence that this ship intentionally took this route in order to make a funny GPS drawing. "

OH MY: George Takei slammed for petty, jealous insult of William Shatner after historic space flight | The Post Millennial - "Star Trek legend William Shatner, 90, made history when he became the oldest person to fly to space on Wednesday when he took flight aboard Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin... George Takei, who is notorious for trolling and feuding with his former co-star for decades, was dismissive of Wednesday's voyage. "He’s boldly going where other people have gone before," Takei told Page Six.  He also called Shatner a "guinea pig" and said he's "not the fittest specimen."

William Shatner on Twitter - "Don’t hate George. The only time he gets press is when he talks bad about me. He claims 50+ years ago I took away a camera angle that denied him 30 more seconds of prime time TV. 🤷🏼‍♂️ I’m giving it back to him now by letting him spew his hatred for the world to see!🤣 Bill the 🐷"
No surprise. SJWs are miserable haters

Friday, May 20, 2022

Links - 20th May 2022 (2 - Critical Race Theory)

Ibram X. Kendi is the false prophet of a dangerous and lucrative faith - "Ibram X. Kendi’s name appears everywhere: in school curricula, corporate training programs, even the Navy’s official reading list. The Boston University prof is a blazing supernova in the constellation of radical-chic race activism. But be warned: His philosophy would jeopardize the bedrock American ideal of individual dignity and equality under law...   Born Ibram Henry Rogers, Kendi presents himself as a radical subversive. But in reality, he is an ideologist of elite opinion, buoyed by government and corporate patronage. Kendi’s work has been endorsed by Fortune 100 companies, the federal bureaucracy and the US military — the very power structures he claims to oppose.  Kendi’s core thesis — that racism is the single, self-evident cause of racial differences in everything from school grades to incarceration rates to income and thus must be rectified using “antiracist discrimination” — reiterates critical race theory’s basic concepts. Kendi’s “gift,” in other words, is for translating ivory-tower theories into media- and corporate-friendly narrative.   “When I see racial disparities, I see racism,” Kendi says, to the exclusion of other explanations. His logic often descends into dizzying circularity and tautologies. When asked to define the word “racism,” he told attendees at the Aspen Ideas Festival that it is “a collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity that are substantiated by racist ideas.”  In another nod to 1960s-style radicalism, Kendi also claims to oppose capitalism. “The life of racism cannot be separated from the life of capitalism,” he says. “In order to truly be antiracist, you also have to truly be anti-capitalist.” But Kendi, like his counterpart Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, is a prolific capitalist in his personal life. He charges $20,000 an hour for virtual presentations and has merchandised his entire line of ideas, releasing self-help products and even an “antiracist” baby book. He gratefully accepts millions from tech and pharmaceutical companies on behalf of his Antiracism Center. Fighting Big Capital, it turns out, is a lucrative enterprise.   But Kendi’s actual policy proposals, from “defunding the police” to restricting free speech, are much more alarming than his fraudulent posturing. Kendi is an open advocate for race-based discrimination, arguing that “the only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination.” Even worse, he has proposed a federal “Department of Antiracism,” unaccountable to voters or legislators, with the power to suppress “racist ideas” and veto, nullify or abolish any law at any level of government not deemed “antiracist” — a policy that verges on the totalitarian.   Fortunately, as Americans have begun to seriously consider his ideas, Kendi finds himself on the defensive. In recent months, he has released a series of touchy and short-tempered articles and statements, claiming that “there is no debate about critical race theory” in one moment, then distancing himself from CRT in the next — despite the fact that only two weeks earlier, he had claimed that critical race theory was “foundational” to his work.  When he’s put on the spot, Kendi reverts to word games and deflection, rather than defend his position on the substance."

Watch: Virginia School District Refuses Critical Race Theory Opt-Out - "an Albemarle County, Virginia school administrator saying parents cannot opt out a student from Critical Race Theory (CRT) lessons because they are “woven through” all class work.  Talk radio host Rob Schilling posted a clip of district Diversity Resource Teacher Chris Booz telling parents that there is no opt-out because the race theories are spread across all subjects...   In 2019, the Albemarle County school board unanimously voted to adopt an “anti-racism” policy intended to build “racial consciousness.”"

Alabama policymakers seek to keep critical race theory out of classrooms
Liberals are very upset over this, claiming it's censorship. But they are also very upset if you want to teach Creationism in Science class, and they want to ban that

Capitol riot suspects say they're 'force fed critical race theory' in jail - "Two Capitol riot suspects have written a letter claiming they are "force fed" critical race theory and subjected to “anti-white messaging” behind bars. Ryan Nichols of Longview, Texas, and Robert Morss of Pennsylvania, who have been charged with multiple offenses stemming from the Jan. 6 riot, wrote a letter decrying the conditions of the District of Columbia jail, where they are being held."

Toward a Critical Race Theory of Education - "The article argues for a critical race theoretical perspective ineducation analogous to that of critical race theory in legal scholarship by developing three propositions: (1) race continues to be significant in the United States; (2) U.S. society is basedon property rights rather than human rights; and (3) the intersection of race and property creates an analytical tool for understanding inequity... According to Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison... 'racism is as healthy today as it was dur-ing  the  Enlightenment... With this notion of property rights as a defining feature of the society, weproceed to describe the ways that the features of critical race theory mentioned  in  the  previous  section  can  be  applied  to  our  understanding  of educational inequity."
Weird. Liberals keep claiming that critical race theory is only about the law. This article doesn't even talk about policy that much

Critical Race Theory Is a Hustle - WSJ - "A majority of American fourth- and eighth-graders can’t read or do math at grade level, according to the Education Department. And that assessment is from 2019, before the learning losses from pandemic school closures.  Whenever someone asks me about critical race theory, that statistic comes to mind. What’s the priority, teaching math and reading, or turning elementary schools into social-justice boot camps?...   Wealthier parents will make sure their kids receive a decent education, even if it means using private schools or hiring tutors. But the majority of children are relegated to the traditional public-school system, where progressives now want to prioritize the teaching of critical race theory. In addition to being a horrible idea, the timing couldn’t be worse. As the country rapidly diversifies—for more than a decade, U.S. population growth has been driven primarily by Asians and Hispanics—liberals want to teach children to obsess over racial and ethnic differences. What could go wrong? Recently, the nation’s two largest teachers’ unions, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, announced that they had jumped on the bandwagon... the NEA’s sister outfit, the American Federation of Teachers, has joined forces with Ibram X. Kendi, an activist-scholar who openly embraces racial discrimination against whites... the union announced that it will donate copies of his writings to schools, AFT members, educators and youth mentors... In a forthcoming book, “Woke Racism,” the humanities professor John McWhorter argues that proponents like Mr. Kendi and Ms. Hannah-Jones have mostly been given a pass because they’re racial minorities, they’re on the left, and criticizing them is politically incorrect.   “On the issue of the Revolutionary War, Hannah-Jones’s claim is simply false, but our current cultural etiquette requires pretending that isn’t true—because she’s black,” Mr. McWhorter writes. “Someone has received a Pulitzer Prize for a mistaken interpretation of historical documents about which legions of actual scholars are expert. Meanwhile, the claim is being broadcast, unquestioned, in educational materials being distributed across the nation.”  Mr. McWhorter is right to point out the racial double standards at work in elevating shoddy pseudoscholarship. He’s also correct in noting the general cowardice of his colleagues in the academy. There is no shortage of books about slavery or America’s founding, and none of them have been written by Ms. Hannah-Jones. To what, other than her race and politics, does she owe all this deference?   And while Mr. Kendi is using trendier language—“antiracism,” “implicit bias,” etc.—critical race theory amounts to little more than a fancy argument for affirmative action, and always has...  It’s employed by elites primarily for the benefit of elites, though in the name of helping the underprivileged. Ultimately, it’s about blaming your problems on other people—based on their race—which might be the last thing we should be teaching our children."

I’m A Middle School Teacher And See How Critical Race Curriculum Is Creating Racial Hostility In School - "I have been a public school teacher for the past 22 years, with the past seven in Providence, Rhode Island.  I have had the honor of serving public school children and their families as an English teacher first at the high school level, and currently at the middle school level.  During my career I have always tried to provide the best education for my students. I am designated by the Rhode Island Department of Education a ‘Highly Qualified’ teacher, meaning, I have tenure and experience in my certifications.  I was awarded the English Speaking Union Shakespeare Scholarship for excellence in teaching Shakespeare. I helped implement curriculum and I have hosted multiple student clubs, literary magazines, youth groups and community outreach programs...  I am speaking about the controversial critical race theory that has infiltrated our public schools here in Rhode Island under the umbrella of Cuturally Responsive learning and teaching, which includes a focus on identities. You won’t see the words “critical race theory” on the materials, but those are the concepts taught. The new, racialized curriculum and materials focuses almost exclusively on an oppressor-oppressed narrative, and have created racial tensions among students and staff where none existed before...   Missing from our curriculum during the 2020/ 21 school year was the diversity, perspective, truth, and rigor that previously were taught. Previously vetted books were removed from our classroom and sent to recycling.  Gone was the diverse collection of American and World Literature: House On Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, James Baldwin Go Tell It On The Mountain, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, essays by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., poetry by Maya Angelou, Robert Frost, Anne Frank, Night, The Boy In The Striped Pajamas, Macbeth, Walt Whitman, The Salem Witch Trials, The Crucible , Holocaust studies, world genocide, world art, universal themes, universal characters and any book or short story from the literary cannon.  What saddened me most was that I would not be teaching the Holocaust any longer... sometime around January 2021, hundreds of new leaflet style booklets arrived, all poorly written, historically biased, inaccurate, and pushing a racial narrative.  I noticed the book covers right away.  They were odd.  In some cases the book covers browned out the faces of historical characters like Lincoln to look black or brown, none of the books were recognizable, and all the booklets seemed to revolve around slavery or oppression.  Perplexed, I thought there was a mistake. I asked a teacher leader what was going on and he looked jokingly at me saying “Comrade, we were told to remove all classroom sets of reading material in order to make room for the incoming sets of books.” I laughed, assuming this was a joke. But it was not a joke, this was real and happening in my school, in my classroom.   In isolation and without historical perspective, the thematic message in every book was clear: White Europeans were and are evil and African Americans were and are victimized by white oppressors. Woven into this new curriculum was a school-wide social push to focus on Black Lives Matter support groups and other social justice identity groups.  Teachers were encouraged to participate in “white educator affinity groups” where we would be given essays on how not to be a white supremacist in the classroom. This was a system-wide directive to separate white and non-white teachers for training...   Midway through the academic year, some students started calling me “America” because I was white. These students, whom I love, were turning against me because of my skin color. I don’t blame them, I blame the racial narratives being forced upon them in school.  Several of my colleagues stated I had “white privilege.” I was quickly made to feel as though I was becoming the enemy.  My black colleagues added more similar comments in passing, for example: “You have white privilege Bessinger, your gestures are a rich person’s gestures.”   The school culture for many was becoming increasingly tense. Children asked questions about the never-ending thematic focus on slavery.  They asked me to tell them why I lived in a “white castle.” Where were my students hearing this?  For sure in the new books and new curriculum.  At my school, the increasing hatred towards America seemed on the rise.  I blame the books, I blame the media, the literature showing kids themes akin to America is bad, and white people are the enemy. While some teachers embraced this ideology, many secretly modified the lessons to include historically accurate supplemental materials."
By Ramona Bessinger
Weird. I thought liberals claimed that not teaching Maus but using an alterantive book instead was censorship and not teaching the Holocaust

Providence Teachers Union Confirms Affinity Group Segregation, Historical Books Destroyed, Holocaust Education Ended (Ramona Bessinger Update)

Threatening messages reportedly directed at Rhode Island teacher who opposes critical race theory - "After speaking out about teaching policies centered on the ideology and whistleblowing on the school's alleged encouragement to participate in "white educator affinity groups," Bessinger was notified on Oct. 5 that she had to attend a "pre-disciplinary hearing" Wednesday — not for her views, but for violating a school safety procedure during a lockdown.  Photographs, allegedly of Bessinger's classroom whiteboard from when she was not present, appear to show threatening messages including "F*** ya b****," "Bye you fired," "b****," "Fire Ms. Bessinger," and many other scribbled phrases suggesting she leave.  Bessinger also reportedly called the police to her school Wednesday because she felt unsafe."

Education Horror Show, Continued - WSJ - "The harassment by fellow teachers and administrative officials increased this year after some media outlets highlighted her story. Last month a union representative at a faculty meeting said teachers were circulating a petition against her. On Oct. 3 she filed an internal complaint about retaliation and a hostile working environment...   The district would be unlikely to win a disciplinary case against Ms. Bessinger for opining online about critical race theory because the Supreme Court in Pickering v. Board of Education (1968) held that the First Amendment protects teachers from retaliation for speaking on matters of public concern. Hence, the district needed a pretext to target her.   Readers may recall a 2019 report by the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy (see our editorial “An Education Horror Show,” July 2019) documenting teacher misconduct, chaotic classrooms, student violence and academic failure in Providence public schools. Teachers were rarely disciplined even if they abused students, skipped classes, dozed off or lied about grades.  Although the state subsequently took over the district, collective-bargaining agreements and teacher tenure protections have impeded reform. Maybe the bigger problem is the progressive education establishment cares more about enforcing its ideology than improving instruction."

Teach Respect, Not Critical Race Theory - WSJ - "  Before I was elected to the school board, Loudoun County Public Schools in early 2019 spent $400,000 on an “equity consultant” to analyze graduation rates and other data to determine how racist the school district was.  After breaking down the data by race, the consultant found tiny differences in the graduation rates of black high-school students and white ones. These gaps, often only 1 percentage point, weren’t statistically significant. Yet the LCPS superintendent deemed them sufficient evidence to bring in other outside groups, which declared that Loudoun County was systemically racist, and that the administration needed to embrace critical race theory’s concept of equity...   A survey released last month by the Association of American Educators, a nonunion trade group, found that less than half of members (44.7%) favor CRT being an option for educators, while only 11% believe CRT should be required or mandated. Yet the National Education Association has vowed to push for mandatory CRT curriculum in the classroom.  Parents also see the toxicity of CRT and don’t want it in schools. Elected officials’ obfuscation and inaction has driven frustrated parents to take charge through petitions to recall six of the nine members of the Loudoun County School Board for supporting the CRT curriculum."

Loudoun Mom Explains How She Discovered School-Sanctioned Racism - "They had a table that they published, and there were two columns: one was oppressor, and one was oppressed.   They listed a number of traits: man/oppressor, woman/oppressed; black/oppressed, white/oppressor; and it went down. It went into such granular detail about things, and I fell in both columns. I’m oppressed because I’m a woman but I’m an oppressor because I’m white and then I was also oppressed because I’m divorced. It went into such crazy things.  I don’t want my children going to school and being taught that they’re oppressors. They’re not oppressors, they’re just trying to get an education. By keeping the schools closed we have really been able to take a hard look at what these school systems are focusing on. I don’t hear a lot about academic excellence, but I’ve heard a whole lot about “equity.”   How do you explain that to your kid? “You’re half in this column, and half in the other.” How confusing is this for a biracial child? I have friends who are in mixed-race marriages, and how do you explain that to your kid: “Your dad’s an oppressor and I’m oppressed?”  Many people are coming out on social media saying we’re crazy because Loudoun County doesn’t teach critical race theory. Our superintendent claims we’re not teaching critical race theory. However, our previous superintendent admitted they were using a lot of those ideologies in our education system here in Loudoun County. We had a school board member pretty much admit the same thing two weeks ago.   I’ve had one or two teachers talk to me about how demeaning some of these trainings have been for them. I know for a fact they held one last summer, and I’ve confirmed this with at least two teachers that I know. They actually had a session called “Whiteness.” These trainings they’re making these teachers sit through are going to cause a lot of good teachers to quit...
How did you and your fellow activists react to former governor and current gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe’s comments that critical race theory in schools was a “right-wing conspiracy” theory? Do you believe it will have an impact on his election chances?
Some immediately thought, “Could you be any further out of touch?” Anybody who has talked to parents who have been living this for the last 15 months, he’s just completely out of touch. It’s really a slap in the face to parents. We do our homework. We have [open records] documents, and we have documentation. You would think somebody running for office would want to maybe talk to parents and not just dismiss us.   I’m part of Fight for Schools, which is a nonpartisan organization. I don’t belong to any political party, although seeing what’s going on in public education has made me lean definitely more on the conservative side.  We have a lot of Democrats joining us, and they say, “You know what? I’m a Democrat but I’m with you guys.” I think he’s missing the boat on such a huge issue. I don’t know who his strategist is, but [Republican gubernatorial candidate] Glenn Youngkin has been fantastic about listening to us.
What do you hope you and the other involved parents can accomplish?
For starters, I want the politics out of schools completely. These are lessons that are taught at home. I want the public schools to focus on academic excellence, math, English, science. I want my children to be prepared for college. I don’t want them being put in positions where they need to talk about political hot-button issues in front of their peers. They have those conversations anyway. They should be happening in the lunchroom.   The schools’ priorities are out of whack, especially since my kids will have missed out on 18 months of school — even if the board says we’re going back in August, but I don’t trust this board as far as I can throw them. Our number one priority right now should be getting everybody back up to speed...   If you look at the Loudoun County Public Schools’ website or any documents or emails they put out, there’s very little about academic excellence. It’s all about feelings and I don’t need my children being taught how to feel. Teach them how to think"

Public School Graphic Dubs Christians As ‘Privileged,’ Women, Children As ‘Oppressed’ - "A Virginia public school district’s equity lead sent out a graphic claiming that Christians are privileged and women, children, and people over the age of 50 experience “oppression.”   Lottie Spurlock, the equity director for Loudoun County Public School (LCPS) district — one of the most affluent school districts in the nation — passed out a graphic that used immutable characteristics to divide people into two groups — oppressed and privileged.
According to LCPS, the following groups experience “privilege”:
White People
20-50 Year Olds
U.S. Born
Owning/Middle- or High-Income Background
Currently Able-Bodied
College Educated or Parents College Educated
Not Adopted or Foster Child
English as a Primary Language
“Average” or “Thin” (referencing weight)
Lighter Complexioned People of the Same Race
The graphic claims that the following groups experience “oppression”:
People of Color
Gender Non-conforming
50 Years and Older
Working Class/Lower Income Background
Not College Educated or Parents Not College Educated
Single Parent or Raised by a Single Parent
Adopted or Foster Child
English as a Second Language
Darker Complexioned People of the Same Race...
“Loudoun County Public Schools’ state-sanctioned racism and bigotry seemingly knows no bounds,” Prior said. “Not only are senior staff forcing teachers and students to see everyone as part of an identity group instead of individuals, but now they are attacking peoples religious beliefs.” Following the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, school districts across the nation caved to activists and began implementing “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” (DEI) training. LCPS has taken “DEI” a step further and called its approach to teaching, “DEIJA,” which stands for “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice, and Anti-racist work.”   The push for “DEIJA” at LCPS is being spearheaded by Spurlock. In a recent training, Spurlock encouraged administrators to use the terms “Black and Brown” people or “BIPOC” instead of the term “minority.”   The training also listed the “15 characteristics of white supremacy culture,” which includes traits such as “perfectionism, individualism, objectivity,” and believing that there is “only one right way.”... LCPS is planning to allocate over $6 million in “equity” and “equity training” for the 2022 fiscal year budget."

Meme - "Critical Race Theory"
"If it's about teaching historic truths, then why is it called "Theory"?")

James Lindsay, fun on Twitter - "The purpose of Critical Race Theory is to turn America against itself. That's it."

Math instruction program funded by Bill Gates tells teachers that encouraging students to get the right answer is racist - "“A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction” is a teacher’s workbook that claims to dismantle racism in mathematics instruction.  Reportedly, the program has been used in school districts in California, Oregon, Ohio, and Georgia. In February the Oregon Department of Education encouraged teachers to participate in the course, which derides individualism and capitalism.  Black educators have harshly criticized the program, with one stating that the program communicates that “Black kids are bad at math, so why don’t we just excuse them from really learning it.”"

UCLA Lecturer Gordon Klein Suing UCLA Over Controversy Related to E-Mail Rejecting Student Request for Exam "Leniency" for "Black Students" - "1. Plaintiff Gordon Klein ("Plaintiff"), a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles ("UCLA" or "University"), was severely punished by UCLA after he refused to implement a different grading policy solely for black students.
2. This dispute originated in June 2020 when a non-black student asked Plaintiff to grade his "Black classmates" differently than other students. Plaintiff rejected this request, knowing that his employment contract – and California law – required him to apply the same grading standards and requirements to all students. He also refused because his faculty supervisor recently had encouraged instructors to reject requests for special exam accommodations.
3. After Plaintiff's email reply to the student was posted on social media, some furious individuals called Plaintiff "woefully racist" and organized an online campaign to attack Plaintiff and the UCLA Anderson School of Management ("Anderson School"), where Plaintiff teaches. The Anderson School hastily buckled under this pressure and sought permission from the University to impose disciplinary sanctions on Plaintiff, including terminating his employment. But, as noted below, the University rebuffed the Anderson School, warning that "the School may not take any action … at this time" against Plaintiff.
4. Despite this firm directive, the Anderson School administration abruptly suspended Plaintiff from his teaching duties, banned him from its campus, and hired others to replace him in future scheduled courses. Moreover, the Dean of the Anderson School, Defendant Antonio Bernardo ("Bernardo"), disparaged Plaintiff to alumni and the general public based on the private communications between Plaintiff and the student who had requested preferential race-based grading policies ("Student"). Dean Bernardo even went so far as to publicly disclose the adverse personnel action the School had improperly imposed on Plaintiff.
5. After examining the facts, the University eventually closed its investigation and reinstated Plaintiff. Later, the UCLA Senate Committee on Academic Freedom criticized the Anderson School administration, noting that it had violated Plaintiff's rights and, more broadly, that such conduct "chills" instructors from expressing views that differ from prevailing campus orthodoxy."

Opinion | California's Proposition 16 shows how unchecked progressives inflict progress - The Washington Post - "California, our national warning, shows how unchecked progressives inflict progress. They have placed on November ballots Proposition 16 to repeal the state constitution’s provision, enacted by referendum in 1996, forbidding racial preferences in public education, employment and contracting. Repeal, which would repudiate individual rights in favor of group entitlements, is part of a comprehensive California agenda to make everything about race, ethnicity and gender. Especially education, thereby supplanting education with its opposite... Proposition 16 should be seen primarily as an act of ideological aggression, a bold assertion that racial and gender quotas — identity politics translated into a spoils system — should be forthrightly proclaimed and permanently practiced as a positive good. California already requires that by the end of 2021 some publicly traded companies based in the state must have at least three women on their boards of directors, up from the 2018 requirement of one woman. Last month, the legislature mandated that by the end of 2021 at least one director shall be Black, Latino, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Native Hawaiian or Alaskan Native, or identify as LGBTQ. And by 2022, boards with nine or more directors must include at least three government-favored minorities.  Where will this social sorting end? Proposition 16’s aim is to see that there is no end to the industry of improvising remedial measures to bring “social justice” to a fundamentally unjust state, and nation. The aim is to dilute, to the point of disappearance, inhibitions about government using group entitlements — racial, ethnic and gender — for social engineering. Most important, Proposition 16 greases the state’s slide into the engineering of young souls. They are to be treated as raw material for public education suffused with the spirit of Oceania in George Orwell’s “1984”: “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.” Progressives have a practical objective in teaching the essential squalor of the nation’s past. The New York Times’s “1619 Project” — it preaches that the nation’s real founding was the arrival of the first slaves; the nation is about racism — is being adopted by schools as a curriculum around the nation. If the past can be presented as radically wrong, radical remedies will seem proportionate.  Last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed legislation requiring all 430,000 undergraduates in the California State University system to take an “ethnic studies” course, and there may soon be a similar mandate for all high school students. “Ethnic studies” is an anodyne description for what surely will be, in the hands of woke “educators,” grievance studies... Writing in the British journal Standpoint, Charles Parton, with 22 years of diplomatic experience working in and on China, explains that President Xi Jinping’s hostility to freedom’s prerequisites includes root-and-branch rejection of education, understood as the development of individuals’ abilities to think critically. Xi, who calls teachers “engineers of the soul,” wants education to be, Parton says, “collective, ideological and political.” The Chinese Communist Party says education begins by “grasping the baby”; primary school promotes “loving” the party, socialism and the collective; secondary schools inculcate “the ideology of socialist builders”; and universities must be, in Xi’s words, “CCP strongholds.”... the CCP is more candid than California is about replacing thinking with the regurgitation of government-stipulated orthodoxies."

Critical Race Theory Resolutions Disappear From NEA Website - "the National Education Association (NEA), the largest teachers union in America, passed resolutions promoting Marxist critical race theory (CRT) in schools and committing to fighting CRT opponents. Days after the 2021 Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly, dozens of those assembly resolutions and proposed resolutions disappeared from the NEA website."

'CRT Teaches My Daughter Her Mother Is Evil': Father Gives Testimony Before School Board - "A father at a school board meeting blasted critical race theory (CRT) for teaching his daughter that "her mother is evil," in his words, and influencing students of different races "to hate each other."  Ian Rice, a parent in Caledonia, Michigan, spoke out against CRT, calling out the district's schools for "failing" students, including his own two children... Rice added that the problem he has seen in schools that teach CRT lies with the educators themselves. He said the educators are not properly trained to teach such a theory. "Instead, they're using it as their own agenda to indoctrinate the kids to hate each other," he said.  Rice, who is black, also said the teaching of CRT has been especially harmful to his daughter. "Critical race theory is teaching that white people are bad. That's not true. That would teach my daughter that her mother is evil." He also brought up an instance where a teacher pulled his daughter aside and told her, "Well, you're a minority, so you know better than to engage in certain things," which elicited gasps from the crowd around him.  He mentioned that his daughter was ridiculed after he initially brought up the matter to the school board. "What is your criteria to educate the educators?" Rice asked. "And who are you to educate my children—or any of our children—in life issues? That's our job. Your job is to teach them math and science. Our job is to teach them about life."... Schools across the U.S. are seeing a backlash after implementing CRT in their curriculums. A June poll from The Economist/YouGov showed that 58 percent of Americans find the controversial theory somewhat or very unfavorable."

Video Analysis of Popular "Critical Race Theory" Texts - "note (for those who focus on identity politics) that the following academics and scholars cited in this presentation are black academics and scholars: Thomas Sowell, John Hope Franklin, William Julius Wilson, Robert Woodson, Ian Rowe, Martin Luther King, Jr., Frederick Douglass, Roland Fryer, Coleman Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Larry Koger.  Deidre McCloskey is transgender...
As Kenny Xu points out in his book An Inconvenient Minority … “Asian Americans [were] one of the poorer ethnic groups in American life between 1880 and 1940, with low comparative social mobility from father to son …” “[But by] 1980, Asian Americans had greater incomes than white Americans and exceeded Black incomes in California by a factor of an entire educational degree.”
Within the black community, kids from two-parent homes tend to do better on a variety of metrics.  Researcher Van C. Tran of Columbia University examined cultural differences between West Indian second-generation young people and native black young people in New York City.  Both group’s skin tones are the same.  The researcher did this to determine what might explain the greater success of those West Indian second-generation young people... "West Indians reported outcomes similar to those of native whites … [A] key difference was family structure"...
The most comprehensive study of American black families from the end of slavery to 1925, Herbert Gutman’s The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, 1750-1925, concluded that:
 “At all moments in time between 1880 and 1925 – that is, from an adult generation born in slavery to an adult generation about to be devastated by the Great Depression of the 1930s and the modernization of southern agriculture afterward – the typical Afro-American family was lower-class in status and headed by two parents … The two-parent household was not limited to better-advantaged Afro-Americans … It was just as common among farm laborers, sharecroppers, tenants, and northern and southern urban unskilled laborers and service workers.”
In a review of the book on its cover, John Hope Franklin states “Gutman has successfully challenged the traditional view that slavery virtually destroyed the Afro-American family.”...
As Ian Rowe has testified before Congress:...
"[t]he same 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances that shows the average black family has one seventh the wealth of the average white family also shows the reverse when family structure is considered. Indeed, black households headed by two married parents have slightly higher wealth than the median net worth of the typical white, single-parent household... And when education is considered, on an absolute basis, the median net worth of two-parent black households is nearly $220,000 and more than three times that of the typical white, single-parent household"...
Dr. King was advocating the compelling moral principle of colorblindness.  He was advocating for equal rights, regardless of race. But Kendi explicitly rejects the concept of colorblindness.  He writes, “The language of color blindness -- like the language of ‘not racist’ -- is a mask to hide racism.”... Kendi so despises the concept of colorblindness that he even maintains “The most threatening racist movement is not the alt right’s unlikely drive for a White ethnostate but the regular American’s drive for a ‘race-neutral’ one.” Who was the founder of the modern movement for race-neutrality?  It was Martin Luther King, Jr.  Kendi thinks Martin Luther King Jr. is the founder of a movement that’s more dangerous than movements advocating white supremacy.  Does that make any sense to you?...
Matt Yglesias, who used to write for Vox and the Washington Post, writes, “From any normal standpoint, the idea that “requiring people to think in a linear (logical) fashion” is racist is itself racist.  People of all ethnic backgrounds can think logically!”...
I want to close with some quotes from Professor William Julius Wilson of Harvard, who writes the following in a book called “The Truly Disadvantaged.”... “even if racism continues to be a factor in the social and economic progress of some blacks, can it be used to explain the sharp increase in inner-city social dislocations since 1970?  Unfortunately, no one who supports the contemporary racism thesis has provided adequate or convincing answers to this question.”... “Indeed, because this term [“structural racism”] has been used so indiscriminately, has so many different definitions, and is often relied on to cover up lack of information or knowledge of complex issues, it frequently weakens rather than enhances arguments concerning race.”"

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