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Saturday, July 16, 2022

Links - 16th July 2022 (2 - Guns)

NRA's black commentator becomes Web sensation - "NRA released an ad in March promoting his first video praising the gun rights group for championing the right of blacks to bear arms during Jim Crow and the civil rights movement of the 1960s.“The same government who at one point hosed us down with water, attacked us with dogs and wouldn’t allow us to eat at their restaurants told us we couldn’t own guns when bumbling fools with sheets on their heads were riding around burning crosses on our lawns and murdering us,” Noir says in the video as “Washington elitism” flashes across the screen.It was not a misreading of history, according to UCLA law professor Adam Winkler, author of “Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America.”Winkler said that the armed Black Panthers of the 1960s, despite criticism by then-Republican California Gov. Ronald Reagan and many conservatives, paved the way for the NRA’s current interpretation of the 2nd Amendment: that citizens should be able to carry guns in public, not just for hunting, but for protection, including protection against government tyranny."
Strange, liberals tell us that gun control was in response to racist white people scared of black men with guns, and that the NRA didn't stand up for black gun owners' rights

Mother of 5 shot, killed at Chuck E. Cheese in Iowa during argument with another mom
"An armed society is a polite society"

Jefferson Gun Outlet Shooting In Louisiana Leaves Three Dead - "A man opened fire in a Louisiana gun store on Saturday, killing two people and injuring two others, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office said.The shooter himself was then killed when several people fired back to stop him, officials said... the man was asked to unload his gun before coming inside and then began shooting... Family members of Williams have expressed confusion and doubt over whether the 27-year-old instigated the attack. According to NOLA.com, his mother posted on Facebook that her son "was murdered.""
"More guns, less crime"

Women, minorities rush to get concealed carry permits, up 34% - "He found that women and minorities are leading in the new applications. “Permits for women and minorities continue to increase at a much faster rate than for either men or whites,” he said. That finding parallels reports from gun stores that women and minorities are buying weapons and signing up for concealed carry classes at a brisk pace."
So gun control is racist and sexist!

Facebook - "Part of what makes law-enforcement more deadly in the United States could be referred to as “the gun trap“. When people cite how many fewer people are killed by European police departments, one feature they neglect to mention is that many of these officers do not carry guns. Needless to say, there are interactions that go wrong, but because both the citizens and the police often do not carry guns, the odds of this turning deadlyare much lower. In both recent cases in Louisville Kentucky, the reason that Breonna Taylor and David McAtee were killed had to do with very confusing situations regarding the police and a totally understandable instinctual reaction of self-defense, but the only reason these to turn deadly was that one or both parties had guns.It is completely understandable why Breonna Taylor‘s boyfriend started firing his gun, he did not even know it was the police trying to get in the house, and for what other reason would someone fire a gun if not for a self-defense situation such as this? And naturally it is understandable that when police officers have incoming gunfire they also feel the need to defend themselves. It is because of this deadly dynamic that Breonna Taylor is dead, for absolutely no crime committed.Likewise, David McAtee saw something fired near the head of his niece, and for what other reason would one brandish a gun if not for a self-defense situation such as this? Once he fired the gun the police similarly thought they were under attack and fired back.As long as both the citizens and the police have guns tragedies such as this are bound to occur, even beyond the scope of how much race plays a factor"

Facebook - "Firearms instructor demonstrates why it is important (in the US at least) to:
1) comply with police instructions
2) keep your hands in sight
3) no sudden movements
A US police officer needs to guard against situations like this, and draw faster than someone who has already decided to draw, while not drawing on someone who isn't armed, but is being an idiot by not complying. And do this all while under scrutiny of a (usually left leaning) population who knows nothing."

Kongsberg: Bow and arrow attack appears to be terrorism - officials - "A deadly bow and arrow attack in Norway which left five people dead appears to have been an act of terror, Norway's security service (PST) said.  However a motive has not yet been determined.  The suspect, a 37-year-old Danish citizen named Espen Andersen Brathen, had converted to Islam and there were fears he had been radicalised."
The pro gun crowd keeps crowing about how banning guns doesn't save any lives since criminals will just kill with other weapons, not realising that their logic is self-defeating: you don't need guns to "protect" yourself if any other weapon is just as effective

Firearm Prevalence and Social Capital - "Across the U.S. states, higher levels of firearm ownership are associated with significantly lower levels of mutual trust and civic engagement."
Not surprising. If you're always afraid someone's going to shoot you...

Is an armed society a polite society? Guns and road rage - "Similar to a survey of Arizona motorists, in our survey, riding with a firearm in the vehicle was a marker for aggressive and dangerous driver behavior."

Liberal road rage - "Ironically, the researchers’ regression results also show that liberals are much more likely to engage in road rage (both making obscene gestures and driving aggressively) than conservatives, and that the difference is larger than the difference for whether one had carried a gun in the car at least once."
Moved from 2017. Original comments:
"Original article: Is an armed society a polite society? Guns and road rage by David Hemenway, Mary Vriniotis, Matthew Miller. In Accident Analysis & Prevention Volume 38, Issue 4, July 2006, Pages 687–695
The original claim this was responding to was that people with guns were more likely to engage in road rage
Maybe the Jedi mind trick will be to claim that liberals are ruder on the roads because they are faced with obnoxious conservative drives who justifiably make them angry (one person claimed that conservatives have more diverse social media feeds than liberals because they just follow liberals to troll them; someone else claimed that liberals are more likely to unfriend or block people on social media because conservatives have no friends)"

Partygoers bludgeon gunman to death with bricks after fatal shooting in Texas - "A gunman who opened fire on a backyard party in Texas was chased and killed by guests throwing landscaping bricks"
The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is good guys with bricks

Handgun waiting periods reduce gun deaths - "Handgun waiting periods are laws that impose a delay between the initiation of a purchase and final acquisition of a firearm. We show that waiting periods, which create a “cooling off” period among buyers, significantly reduce the incidence of gun violence. We estimate the impact of waiting periods on gun deaths, exploiting all changes to state-level policies in the Unites States since 1970. We find that waiting periods reduce gun homicides by roughly 17%. We provide further support for the causal impact of waiting periods on homicides by exploiting a natural experiment resulting from a federal law in 1994 that imposed a temporary waiting period on a subset of states."
Confronted with the evidence that Nevada gun shows increase California gun deaths, one cope I saw was that California was a special case because "there are so many gun free zones that any law abiding citizen isn't going to have a means of self defense in public places"
Weird. I thought criminals will get guns even if guns are made illegal. Therefore gun control and regulation have no effect on gun crime at all

Changes in firearm mortality following the implementation of state laws regulating firearm access and use - "Many US states have tried to regulate firearm storage and use to reduce the 39,000 firearms-related deaths that occur each year. Looking at three classes of laws that regulate children’s access to firearms, the carrying of a concealed firearm, and the use of a firearm in self-defense, we found that state laws restricting firearm storage and use are associated with a subsequent 11% decrease in the firearms-related death rate. In a hypothetical situation in which there are 39,000 firearms deaths nationally under the permissive combination of these three laws, we expect 4,475 (80% CI, 1,761 to 6,949) more deaths nationally than under the restrictive combination of these laws.
Although 39,000 individuals die annually from gunshots in the US, research examining the effects of laws designed to reduce these deaths has sometimes produced inconclusive or contradictory findings. We evaluated the effects on total firearm-related deaths of three classes of gun laws: child access prevention (CAP), right-to-carry (RTC), and stand your ground (SYG) laws. The analyses exploit changes in these state-level policies from 1970 to 2016, using Bayesian methods and a modeling approach that addresses several methodological limitations of prior gun policy evaluations. CAP laws showed the strongest evidence of an association with firearm-related death rate, with a probability of 0.97 that the death rate declined at 6 y after implementation. In contrast, the probability of being associated with an increase in firearm-related deaths was 0.87 for RTC laws and 0.77 for SYG laws. The joint effects of these laws indicate that the restrictive gun policy regime (having a CAP law without an RTC or SYG law) has a 0.98 probability of being associated with a reduction in firearm-related deaths relative to the permissive policy regime. This estimated effect corresponds to an 11% reduction in firearm-related deaths relative to the permissive legal regime. Our findings suggest that a small but meaningful decrease in firearm-related deaths may be associated with the implementation of more restrictive gun policies."

Good old guns suddenly replace liberal values in this Blue state - "After months of embracing criminal reform, which had a knack for keeping criminals on the streets, California’s elite are taking measures – like panic-buying guns – that show they’re not so different from conservatives after all... the philanthropist Jacqueline Avant, wife of famous music executive Clarence Avant, was shot and killed at her home during a burglary attempt. The tragic twist to the story is that the man accused of the murder, Aariel Maynor, 29, had been just released from prison on parole – too early, critics contend – in what appears to have been yet another case of liberals coddling criminals to the detriment of society.  To add insult to injury, just hours after Avant, 81, was murdered, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, who the Heritage Foundation has described as a “Soros-backed rogue prosecutor,” was advocating for the elimination of additional prison time for criminals found guilty of brandishing a firearm during a crime. While it remains unclear what the long-term consequences of this kid-glove approach will be for the political left, one thing is beyond doubt: Many Democrats are responding to the uptick in crime in ways that place them directly at odds with their progressive beliefs, most notably on the question of gun control. Despite the Second Amendment being a source of contention for the left, liberals are now actively purchasing firearms and enrolling in shooting classes.  LA County Sheriff Alejandro Villanueva told the New York Post that his department has received 8,105 concealed carry weapon applications and approved 2,102 of them since he entered office in December 2018, compared to his predecessor having issued 194 permits in four years.  While some of those numbers certainly include conservatives, Joel Glucksman, a private security executive, clarified that liberals have shelved their political beliefs out of concern for their safety when he told The Post: “Even hardcore leftist Democrats who said to me in the past, ‘I’ll never own a gun’ are calling me asking about firearms.” Aside from arming themselves, Californians are investing heavily into expensive security accessories, like bullet-proof cars, safe rooms inside of their homes, bunkers, and private security firms to patrol their neighborhoods around the clock. And not a little ironically, considering the Democratic Party’s move to grant thousands of illegal migrants entry into the US from south of the Rio Grande, palatial properties are being surrounded with barbed wire fences, security cameras, motion detectors, and large dogs.  With no loss of hypocrisy, wealthy liberal homeowners can readily appreciate the importance of protecting their homes with every technological innovation under the sun, yet when it comes to protecting the American border they defer to the vacuous platitudes of political correctness... With a liberal exodus into conservative states underway, will those Democrats fleeing blue cities and states box up their politics and bring them along, thereby having the effect of changing the political face of their new homes, or will they embrace the political traditions of their new homes that made such a move desirable in the first place?"

Gun Ownership as a Risk Factor for Homicide in the Home - "After controlling for these characteristics, we found that keeping a gun in the home was strongly and independently associated with an increased risk of homicide (adjusted odds ratio, 2.7; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.6 to 4.4). Virtually all of this risk involved homicide by a family member or intimate acquaintance... A majority of the homicides (50.9 percent) occurred in the context of a quarrel or a romantic triangle. An additional 4.5 percent of the victims were killed by a family member or an intimate acquaintance as part of a murder-suicide. Thirty-two homicides (7.6 percent) were related to drug dealing, and 92 homicides (21.9 percent) occurred during the commission of another felony, such as a robbery, rape, or burglary. No motive other than homicide could be established in 56 cases (13.3 percent)... People who keep guns in their homes appear to be at greater risk of homicide in the home than people who do not. Most of this risk is due to a substantially greater risk of homicide at the hands of a family member or intimate acquaintance. We did not find evidence of a protective effect of keeping a gun in the home, even in the small subgroup of cases that involved forced entry.  Saltzman and colleagues recently found that assaults by family members or other intimate acquaintances with a gun are far more likely to end in death than those that involve knives or other weapons. A gun kept in the home is far more likely to be involved in the death of a member of the household than it is to be used to kill in self-defense. Cohort and interrupted time-series studies have demonstrated a strong link between the availability of guns and community rates of homicide. Our study confirms this association at the level of individual households."
For all the obsession about "self defence", your gun at home is more likely to be used to shoot someone you know than a stranger. The majority of the time you're going to kill someone you know in anger (or otherwise not in self defence), and a minority of the time you're going to kill someone in self defence as they invade your property

You’re More Likely To Die From Lightning Strike Than In Mass Shooting
Ironically, the people who say this also obsess about how they need a gun to "defend" themselves, even though the chance that that will help is also tiny

Impulse Purchases, Gun Ownership, and Homicides: Evidence from a Firearm Demand Shock - "Do firearm purchase delay laws reduce aggregate homicide levels? Using variation from a 6-month countrywide gun demand shock in 2012/2013, we show that U.S. states with legislation preventing immediate handgun purchases experienced smaller increases in handgun sales. Our findings indicate that this is likely driven by comparatively lower purchases among impulsive consumers. We then demonstrate that states with purchase delays also witnessed comparatively 2% lower homicide rates during the same period. Further evidence shows that lower handgun sales coincided primarily with fewer impulsive assaults and points towards reduced acts of domestic violence."
Previous version whose abstract in some ways is more enlightening: Dynamics in Gun Ownership and Crime - Evidence from the Aftermath of Sandy Hook - "Gun rights activists in the United States frequently argue that the right to bear arms, as guaranteed by the Second Amendment, can help deter crime. Advocates of gun control usually respond that firearm prevalence contributes positively to violent crime rates. In this paper, we provide quasi-experimental evidence that a positive and unexpected gun demand shock led to an increase in murder rates after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School and the resulting gun control debate in December 2012. In states where purchases were delayed due to mandatory waiting periods and bureaucratic hurdles in issuing a gun permit, firearm sales exhibited weaker increases than in states without any such delays. We show that this finding is hard to reconcile with standard economic theory, but is in line with findings from behavioral economics. States that saw more gun sales then experienced significantly higher murder rates in the months following the demand shock, as murders increased by 6-15% over the course of a year."
In other words, this natural experiment shows that more guns cause more crime (in this case, murders)

Keywords: more guns more crime

Rik Andino's answer to Do soldiers keep their service weapons after they are discharged? - Quora - "You don't even get to take your service weapon home with you while you're serving. You only keep your service weapon while you're on duty (in a billet that requires it) or while you are in a combat zone. Or if needed to shoot for practice or qualification at a rifle or pistol range... You have to check out a weapon in the armory, and you will need written authorization to get a weapon and bullets as well."
From a Former Sgt in the US Marine Corps
One gun nut asserted that in the event of an invasion one couldn't wait, so everyone should get weapons now. I pointed out that soldiers do not have access to arms and ammo all the time
Gun nuts are really excited over Ukraine. Apparently they think their country is going to be invaded too, so everyone needs a gun.

Jeff Cooper quote - "If violent crime is to be curbed, it is only the intended victim who can do it. The felon does not fear the police, and he fears neither judge nor jury. Therefore what he must be taught to fear is his victim."
Fascinating insight into the gun nut mentality. Weird how even if you ignore studies on the effects policing in the US, in other developed countries the police and legal system affect what criminals do. Also if the felon does not fear the police, why would he fear his victim?

Spike in violent crime follows rise in gun-buying amid social upheaval - The Washington Post - "Americans purchased millions more guns than usual this spring, spurred in large part by racial animosity stoked by widespread protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, as well as anxiety over the effects of the covid-19 pandemic.  That gun-buying binge is associated with a significant increase in gun violence across the United States... “In a society fraught with racial tension, it is not clear that dismantling the police and seeing more private citizens purchase guns will lead to a safer world.” "
So much for more guns, less crime

Will a Gun Keep Your Family Safe? Here’s What the Evidence Says - "In 2015, David Hemenway, director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, and Sara Solnick, an economist at the University of Vermont, analyzed national government surveys involving more than 14,000 people and reported that guns are used for self-protection in less than 1 percent of all crimes that take place in the presence of a victim. They also found that people were more likely to be injured after threatening attackers with guns than they were if they had called the police or run away. In a landmark study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1993, researchers found that having a gun in the home was linked with nearly three times higher odds that someone would be killed at home by a family member or intimate acquaintance. Studies using more recent data have come to the same conclusion. In a 2019 study, researchers found that states with high levels of household gun ownership have more domestic gun homicides than other states do...   In a 2017 study published in Science, Philip Levine and his colleague Robin McKnight found that where gun sales increased after Sandy Hook (as indicated by increases in background checks), rates of accidental death rose, too. They estimated that 60 additional people, including 20 children, were killed in the aftermath of Sandy Hook because of the excess guns people purchased... when people are concerned about home defense, they are less likely to store their guns safely — in a locked cabinet or safe, ideally in a separate place from ammunition. (Gun owners who don’t take safety courses are also less likely to store their guns properly, she and her colleagues found.) Yet in homes where firearms are unsafely stored, family members are more likely to be hurt or killed by their guns. The other big concern about guns right now is suicide... “Gun owners aren’t more likely to be suicidal.” But when gun owners do become suicidal, “they’re more likely to die,” because suicide attempts using guns are far more fatal than attempts by other means... concealed carrying puts people more, rather than less, at risk. “Any movements towards greater gun carrying – whether motivated by the coronavirus or legislative or judicial relaxation of restrictions on gun carrying – will come at the price of higher levels of violent crime,” says John Donohue, a law professor and economist at Stanford University. In a 2019 study, Donohue and his colleagues found that a decade after states passed “shall-issue” concealed carry laws, also known as right-to-carry laws, which make it easy for gun owners to get concealed carry permits, violent crime rates rose 13 to 15 percent higher than in states with more conservative “may issue” laws. In 2017, other researchers found shall-issue laws to be associated with higher homicide rates, particularly from handguns. And in a 2018 working paper, British economist Christoph Koenig and Dutch economist David Schindler reported that American states with the largest increases in gun sales after Newtown experienced 6 to 15 percent more murders over the course of the following year compared with other states."
Many Americans have fantasies about defending themselves, so they don't mind an increased risk of dying

One dead, multiple people injured in California church shooting - "churchgoers subdued the shooter and hogtied him with extension cords"
The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with an extension cord


Mental Illness Not a Factor in Most Mass Shootings
Keywords: mental health

Mental illness isn't main driver of mass shootings, experts say



Why Italy Has a Gun Culture—But No Mass Shootings - "Italians own an estimated 8.6 million guns, but we've never had a single school shooting. Not one...   Anyone over 18 can own a gun in Italy, as long as they meet certain criteria. They have to apply for a firearms license, take a firearms safety course at a gun range, and have no criminal record. Their physician has to sign a certificate affirming that the potential gun owner does not suffer from drug addiction or mental health issues. These rules also apply if you inherit or are otherwise gifted a gun. After that, new gun owners must register the firearm with their local police station within 72 hours of taking possession of it. If gun owners sell or give a gun to someone else, they too have to notify local authorities within 72 hours of the gun leaving their hands. To carry the gun outside your home you need either a hunting license or a sporting license (to take the gun to a shooting range), and you can have the gun in your vehicle or on your person only when you are engaged in or en route to or from one of those activities.  Concealed carry permits exist in Italy but are very difficult to obtain. You have to prove that your line of work puts you at enough risk that you need to carry a concealed weapon for your own safety. And this license has to be renewed every year.   Compare that to the United States, where specific gun laws vary by state; in Texas, one of the states with less stringent restrictions, there’s no state registry of guns, meaning you don’t need to register your gun if you inherit it; there’s no background check required with private sales; and anyone with a standard gun license may carry a rifle openly.   While persons 18 and up who are not convicted criminals can apply for a gun purchase permit and usually obtain one, any red flags in their behavior could result in their firearms being seized by local authorities. For example, I know of two separate incidents where individuals in my town verbally or physically threatened others. When the carabinieri (local police) were alerted to these threats, they contacted the individuals and ordered them to come to the police station and turn over their weapons. (The police knew which weapons they owned because they were registered.) In both cases, the individuals peacefully surrendered their guns rather than risk arrest. At least a year passed before they were able to reclaim their weapons, and they did so only after they received a doctor’s certificate attesting to their mental stability...   Studies have established a link between social welfare programs and reductions in violence, perhaps because when people’s most basic needs of shelter, healthcare, and sustenance are met, they are less prone to violence. In Italy, the national healthcare system—combined with rigid protocols for gun ownership—make it less likely that violent or mentally disturbed people will fall through the cracks or get their hands on guns."

Polls consistently show high support for gun background checks - "For years, polls have shown a majority of Americans support gun background checks for all buyers. Some polls show overall support in the ballpark of 90%. Support is lower among Republicans, but polls still indicate majority backing."

88 percent in new poll support background checks on all gun sales - "79 percent strongly or somewhat support “barring gun purchases by people on the federal no-fly or watch lists.” Seventy-five percent, meanwhile, strongly or somewhat support “creating a national database with information about each gun sale,” and 67 percent support banning assault-style weapons."

MYTH: 98% of Mass Shootings Occur in Gun-Free Zones - "Researcher John Lott claimed that 98% or more of mass shootings from 1950 to the present occurred in gun-free zones. Lott’s false claim is based on a basic error. For the period 1977–1997, Lott counts each individual mass shooting death as an entire mass shooting incident. Even after Lott corrected his mistake, he made a new claim that 94% of mass shootings occurred in gun-free places, which is also based on flawed data and contradicts other research that concludes that 12% to 13% of mass shootings occur where guns are prohibited... hose errors include misclassified shootings (e.g. Umpqua and Hialeah) and not adhering to his own mass shooting definition for cases from 1950–1976. Furthermore, his corrected data does not include the August 2019 shootings in El Paso and Dayton, both of which occurred in areas that allow firearms.    Other research that looked at the relationship between mass shootings and gun-free zones contradict Lott’s 94% claim. A 2016 study by researchers from University of Massachusetts Boston, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Stanford University found that the vast majority of high-casualty mass shootings occur in places where guns are allowed or not explicitly banned. Between 1966 and June 2016, only 12% of US mass shootings involving six or more victims occurred in a gun-free zone, and only five percent occurred where civilian gun possession was prohibited.  Another study of US mass shootings involving four or more fatalities between 2009 and 2015 found that only 13% occurred in a gun-free place. “Successful civilian uses of guns to stop a mass shooting were incredibly rare and about as common as armed civilians being shot while attempting to respond to mass shooting incidents,” the study states. The study also concluded that no evidence finds that right-to-carry laws reduce mass shootings or the number of shooting victims."

Do 98 percent of mass public shootings happen in gun-free zones? - The Washington Post - "Founded by economist John R. Lott, CPRC is cited regularly by gun-rights advocates. Lott found that 98.4 percent of mass shootings occurred in gun-free zones between 1950 and July 10, 2016. Some quick Googling turned up another study — from the gun-control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety — that found that 10 percent of mass shootings between 2009 and 2016 took place in gun-free zones.  Using data that Lott provided, we tightened the time frame so we could compare his research with the Everytown study. Under Lott’s methodology, we found that about 86 percent of mass public shootings took place in gun-free zones from 2009 to 2016... Everytown identified 156 mass shootings between 2009 to 2016. Lott found 28 mass public shootings over the same period... Lott tightens his definition, excluding shootings that resulted from gang or drug violence or during the commission of a crime... Lott is very clear that he looks only at “mass public shootings.”... Louis Klarevas, a University of Massachusetts professor and the author of “Rampage Nation: Securing America from Mass Shootings,” dismissed Lott’s reasoning, noting that plenty of mass shootings occurred in residential settings and querying why those victims should be overlooked. Everytown’s director of research and implementation, Sarah Tofte, went further. “The claim that so-called ‘gun-free zones’ attract mass shooters doesn’t stand up to scrutiny,” she told us via email. “It’s just not what the numbers show. We look closely at the data on mass shootings, and it shows that relatively few take place in areas where civilians are prohibited from carrying firearms. In fact, the vast majority of mass shootings take place in private homes and are often tied to domestic violence.” The organization’s data found that incidents that took place in private homes accounted for 63 percent of the total number of mass shootings they examined between 2009 and 2016. It’s not only the discrepancies between how Lott and Everytown define “mass shooting” that contribute to their differing estimates — there is also disagreement about how to define “gun-free zone.”... he wrote that gun-free zones are “places where only police or military policy are classified, places where it is illegal to carry a permitted concealed handgun, places that are posted as not allowing a permitted concealed handgun, places where ‘general citizens’ are not allowed to obtain permits or where permits are either not issued to any general citizens or to only a very tiny selective segment.”  In layman’s terms, Lott’s definition is so wide that the White House, where there are snipers on the roof, would be considered a gun-free zone. His data set classifies the shootings that took place at Fort Hood and the Washington Navy Yard as having occurred in gun-free zones. Klarevas disputed Lott’s characterization — wondering how “a place can be a gun free zone if guns are present?”... Lott’s original data set — which Trump referenced — spans from 1950 to 2016, but the admittedly vague concept of “gun-free zones” entered the lexicon only in the early 1990s, when two federal laws that restrict guns in and around schools were passed. Before 1990, Klarevas said, only certain government facilities (post offices, for example) explicitly prohibited firearms.  So where did the prior 40 years of data come from? Lott used a wide definition of “gun-free zone” to compile this data. He said he included anyplace where a “general citizen” wasn’t able to carry a concealed weapon. This included any state that didn’t have either a right-to-carry or concealed-carry law."

Does Advertising Actually Work?

Does Advertising Actually Work? (Part 1: TV) (Ep. 440) - Freakonomics Freakonomics

"LEVITT: “The problem is that we spend almost a billion dollars a year on advertising, and we don’t know whether it works or not.” I said, “Okay, what do you know?” And they put up these PowerPoint slides. And they were some of the most beautiful PowerPoint slides you’ve ever seen.

These slides seemed to show the value of the firm’s advertising. But Levitt was skeptical... The executives told Levitt that there was one thing they knew to be true: that the TV ads they ran were much more effective, dollar-for-dollar, than their newspaper ads. They also said that they’d been advertising in every big Sunday newspaper in the U.S., every week, for the past 15 years... Levitt did try to analyze the data the firm gave him. But because the company only ran TV ads exactly when customers were already planning to buy a lot of stuff, it was impossible to disentangle... Levitt did offer to help the company run a randomized experiment. Their newspaper advertising would be perfect for that. Since those ads ran everywhere every week, they could stop running them in certain markets and measure the effect on sales.

LEVITT: And they said to me, “Are you crazy? We can’t turn off the newspaper ads. One time we hired this summer intern and his job was to do the newspaper inserts for Pittsburgh, and the guy was so incompetent that he just didn’t do it. And when the C.E.O. found that out, he said, ‘If you ever do that again, you’re all fired.’”

The Pittsburgh blackout lasted an entire month.

LEVITT: So, I said to them, “Well, okay. But when you looked at the results, what happened to the sales in Pittsburgh when you were dark for a month?” And they called me back about a week later and they said, “You’re not going to believe it. We looked at the data in Pittsburgh, and we saw no impact on sales when they didn’t do any inserts for a month.” I said, “Oh, my God, that’s amazing! Okay, so when can we get started?”

Started, that is, with a wide-scale experiment to replicate the Pittsburgh accident.

LEVITT: They said, “Are you crazy?” It was almost if they found out they didn’t work, it was far worse for these people than it was not finding out it didn’t work. Because then they had to explain why for the last 15 years they had been wasting $200 million a year. So, they were happy to just live in a world in which as long as there were ads in every market, every Sunday, life was good...

Stephen DUBNER: So, economists like you are always telling the rest of us that firms are, if nothing else, profit-maximizing animals — that they really know how to spend money that’s going to help make more money, and to not spend money that’s wasted.

LEVITT: So, any economist who tells you that firms are profit-maximizing has not ever worked with firms. That’s a simple model we use when we teach beginning economics because it’s easy to solve mathematically. But the realistic picture is that firms are composed of people, and all of the foibles and shortcomings that people exhibit in their everyday life, they bring those to work with them... a trio of academic researchers in the States did this massive analysis of consumer-packaged goods and they found that, “The vast majority of brands over-invest in advertising and could increase profits by reducing their advertising spending.”...

TUCHMAN: What if we were to implement a ban on e-cigarette advertising, like some policy groups are calling for? What would be the impact on sales of tobacco cigarettes? And so, I find that approximately 130 million more packs of cigarettes would have been sold in the U.S. in the absence of e-cigarette advertising. And that’s each year... “Hey, it’d be really nice if we had a good source that we could use as a benchmark for the effectiveness of television advertising.”

There was in fact an existing benchmark in the marketing literature, based on a series of earlier papers.

TUCHMAN: Yeah, some of these papers come back with benchmarks of around the average ad elasticity is 0.15 or 0.2...

But when Tuchman, Shapiro, and Hitsch calculated the ad elasticity in their own research, they found a much smaller number: .01... [They did] a massive empirical analysis of many products across many categories, using better data than the previous researchers who did individual case studies had had available... To narrow it down, Tuchman and her co-authors focused on the top 500 brands as measured by dollar sales. Brands like Coca-Cola and Pampers and Folgers and Bud Light. So, these sales data represent half of the data equation..."

TUCHMAN: But of course, we’re interested in measuring ad effectiveness. So, then we need to take this sales data and merge it up with the advertising data that is also collected by Nielsen. And ultimately, we were left with 288 out of those initial 500 brands.

Does this mean that 212 of the top 500 consumer-packaged-goods brands don’t routinely advertise on TV?

TUCHMAN: There are a few brands that advertised very, very few weeks, where we wouldn’t have enough variation in the data to measure anything. So, it’s not all 212. But yes, there are many brands that are choosing not to advertise on TV.

Brands like Crisco, Bumble Bee Tuna, and Naked Fruit Juice. So plainly, there are plenty of successful companies who don’t think TV advertising is as worthwhile as the ad industry seems to think...
We find that almost all brands seem to be over-advertising, and that they are earning a negative R.O.I. from advertising in an average week. And if they were to instead decide not to advertise in a given week, they would earn higher profits... We find that the median brand in our data has an ad elasticity of around .01...

WEED: Advertising funds a huge amount of things we see around us. So, all our free entertainment. Google searches, Google Maps, posting on Facebook or tweeting or indeed a large amount of TV is all for free. In fact, the free press — the backbone of democracy — is funded by advertising. So, I would start with saying that advertising does a lot of good."


Of course, those in advertising will just quote "Benjamin Franklin" who as all ad people "know" said "Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping the clock to save time", since they have their vested interests and people believe what they want to believe

I wonder when the libertarians will come along to mock Steven Levitt for not understanding Economics 101

Does Advertising Actually Work? (Part 2: Digital) (Ep. 441) - Freakonomics Freakonomics

"LEVITT: And so, you, of course, have a correlation between when you’re advertising on TV and when you’re selling things. But it’s not necessarily or even primarily because of the ads. It’s because the company knows when the big selling days are, and they target the ads around it. So, teasing out the causal part, the sales that wouldn’t have happened absent the advertising, it’s just a really hard problem...

TADELIS: So, I got on a call with them and very quickly was able to confirm that what they were doing was quite wrong... Which was on a landline, which will make sense in a second.

And when Tadelis suggested that the consultants’ proposed methodology wouldn’t be able to untangle correlation and causation:

TADELIS: They responded using a whole bunch of jargon, especially the term “proprietary transformation functions.”... Then the head of the company replied by saying that to do the marginal measurement, they’re going to use Lagrange multipliers. Well, I paused for a second because I know what Lagrange multipliers are. I used to teach this stuff, and I couldn’t understand what they were trying to do here. And that’s when the dime dropped. They were trying to out-jargon me.So, I replied by saying, “Well, we all know that the Lagrange multipliers measure the shadow values of constraints in an optimization problem. So, it would really help me if you explain to me, what is your objective function and what are your constraints?” After a short pause, and this is where I have to take my hat off to the founder of that consulting company, he immediately responded with the only and best answer he could give, which was, “Steve, are you driving now? Because I can’t hear you. You’re breaking up.”...

They turned off all their keyword-search ads, then measured actual sales:

TADELIS: And the impact on average was pretty much zero... When you did the return on investment for every dollar that eBay spends — eBay believed that for every dollar they’re spending, they’re getting roughly a dollar-and-a-half back, meaning 50 cents of net profits. And what we showed is that on average, they’re losing more than 60 cents on every dollar... the president of eBay, who later became the C.E.O., he cut the paid-search marketing budget immediately by $100 million a year.

So, what happened next? You might think — what with capitalism being the hyper-competitive, market-optimizing, perfect-information ecosystem it’s supposed to be — you might think that other companies, once they learned about this eBay research, would cut their online ad spending. Or at least commission their own research to test the theories. So, did they?

TADELIS: Excellent question. There was a lot of chatter online after our experiments became public, suggesting that folks at eBay don’t know what they’re doing. And paid-search advertising works wonderfully if you know how to do it. But of course, that was backed with no data and no analysis...

HWANG: Do people ever see ads at all. So, Google actually did a fascinating study not too long ago, which concluded that close to 60 percent of ads on the internet are never, ever even seen. The ad is delivered, but it just ends up in some dumb part of the page, right? It’s below the fold or it’s along a sideline...

When a user’s cookies were unavailable, ad revenues only dropped by around 4 percent. Why would cookies be so ineffective? Tim Hwang argues that people pay a lot less attention to online ads than they used to.

HWANG: People often forget that when banner ads were first launched on the internet, their click-through rate was like 50 percent, completely mind-bending, right? And it’s just continued to fall and fall and fall. And now, it’s like 0.01 to 0.03 percent... if you talk to people in the tech industry and you’re like, “Okay, level with me, Joe Engineer, how do ads work on the internet?” It’s kind of a rumor. Like, we know this is how the business model works. But no one can really explain how it works in detail. So, when I say advertising, a lot of people normally think of like “Mad Men,” right? But it really looks like what the Nasdaq looks like, which is a largely automated system that moves millions and millions and billions of pieces of ad inventory on a daily basis...

LEVITT: No chief marketing officer is ever going to say, “Hey, I don’t know, maybe ads don’t work. Let’s just not do them and see what happens.”

Or, as the author Upton Sinclair once wrote: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”...

HWANG: A few years back, Procter & Gamble, which is one of the largest advertisers in the world, decided that they would run a little experiment. They were going to take about $200 million of their digital-ad spending and just cut it out of their budget to see what happened... the end result was fascinating. Basically, they said that there was no noticeable impact on their bottom line...

WEED: The fact that Coke and Dove and Ford have been around for decades and the fact that companies like Unilever spend billions suggests that maybe advertising does work.

HWANG: Which is kind of this crazy circular mind maze, if you think about it. But I do think that, again, this is very parallel to the kinds of psychology that have driven market bubbles in the past.

One reason to suspect that ads do work well is the underlying assumption that firms like Unilever who buy so much advertising are — as Econ 101 textbooks tell us — profit-maximizers. So, why would they waste so much money?

LEVITT: Any economist who tells you that firms are profit-maximizing has not ever worked with firms."

Links - 16th July 2022 (1)

Murray Rothbard quote - "The State is, and always has been, the great single enemy of the human race, its liberty, happiness, and progress."
Many Americans take hating the government to be an article of religious faith
American conservatives hate their government. American liberals hate their country

RASNA WARAH - Is Balkanisation the Solution to Somalia’s Governance Woes? - "the president in present-day Somalia is merely a figurehead; he does not wield real power. The government in Mogadishu has had little control over the rest of the country, where clan-based fiefdoms and federal states do pretty much what they want, with little reference go Mogadishu. National security is largely in the hands of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces, not the Somalia National Army.  The concept of a state that delivers services to citizens has also remained a mirage for most Somalis who are governed either by customary law known as xeer or the Sharia...  In much of Somalia, services, such as health and education, are largely provided by foreign faith-based foundations, non-governmental organisations or the private sector, not the state. Many hospitals and schools are funded by foreign (mostly Arab) governments or religious institutions. This means that the state remains largely absent in people’s lives. And because NGOs and foundations can only do so much, much of the country remains unserviced, with the result that Somalia continues to remain one of the most underdeveloped countries in the world, with high levels of illiteracy (estimates indicate that the literacy rate is as low as 20 per cent). State institutions, such as the Central Bank and revenue collection authorities, are also either non-existent or dysfunctional."
The American anarchist who posted the Rothbard quote, when I suggested he move to Somalia since he claimed the state was always the problem, claimed that Somalia had a state and that the US didn't bomb stateless places

Jake Thomas on Twitter - "My Uncle (a retired fisherman) volunteered to build his first Grandson’s crib. ...There were mixed reactions. *Giant shark eating fishing boat with baby in it*

Meme - "Becca and Spencer
Brigham Young University-Idaho
NOT INTERESTED IN DATING. We're a married couple looking to see if anyone wants to come to church with us! We figure if you're on tinder, you might need a little extra Jesus in your life :P this is a real offer come with us!!"

S.H.A.M.E. Project › Shame the Hacks who Abuse Media Ethics...
This website is just a hit job on people the left hates. Their allegations are ridiculous

Daily Mail sues Google for monopoly over ad business - "Google faces similar allegations in a lawsuit filed by Texas and a group of other states in December. That lawsuit is one of a series filed against Google and Facebook Inc late last year."

Experience: I’ve had the same supper for 10 years - "I’ve had the same supper for 10 years, even on Christmas Day: two pieces of fish, one big onion, an egg, baked beans and a few biscuits at the end. For lunch I have a pear, an orange and four sandwiches with paste. But I allow myself a bit more variety; I’ll sometimes have soup if it’s cold. When I go to the supermarket, I know exactly what I want. I’m not interested in other food. I’ve never had Chinese, Indian, French food. Why change? I’ve already found the food I love. It would be a job to alter me. My uncle, a bachelor and farmer like me, had the same food for every meal. He had bread, butter, cheese and tea for breakfast, lunch and dinner (although he would bring out the jam for visitors). Whether it’s Easter Day or Christmas Day, being a farmer means every day is the same. The animals still need to be fed. Feeding the sheep and seeing how happy they are makes me happy, too. They never ask for anything different for supper."

The Effect of State Marijuana Legalizations: 2021 Update - "Limited post‐legalization data prevent us from ruling out that marijuana legalization causes small changes in marijuana use or other outcomes. As additional data become available, expanding this analysis will continue to inform debates surrounding marijuana reform. The data so far, however, provide little support for the strong claims about legalization made by either opponents or supporters; the notable exception is tax revenue, which has exceeded some expectations. The absence of significant adverse consequences is especially striking given the sometimes‐dire predictions made by legalization opponents."

Andrew Yang Is Not Giving Up on Politics — or the U.S. — Yet - Freakonomics - "LEVITT: So, Dubner and I did a bunch of media in the U.S., and then we did a tour of the U.K. And what was so different about T.V. is you’d go to the U.K. and instead of super fancy sets and really good-looking people interviewing you, there’d just be, like, crummy sets and there’d be shadows everywhere. And we’d be in the middle of an interview and the person talking to us would say, “Wait a second. This is just a bunch of rubbish. You guys don’t even make sense. Why would I believe this at all?” And it was interesting that the person who was interviewing us was actually thinking and disagreeing with us and challenging us, not in a sort of, “Oh, I’m a journalist, I have to challenge you,” but in a very heartfelt way, like, “Wait, this sounds really dumb to me. Why would you say something so dumb?” I loved doing British T.V. because it felt like there was actually some chance that you were communicating with real people about real things".

Jared Diamond on the Downfall of Civilizations — and His Optimism for Ours - Freakonomics - "DIAMOND: The Vikings from Scandinavia began to spread out say from about the 700, 800s onwards. Eventually, they discovered Greenland. The idea today of settling in Greenland, covered with ice — who on earth would want to settle Greenland? But in fact, Greenland has some fjords that are well protected from sea storms. And particularly when the Vikings arrived around AD 1000, these valleys were great for growing hay, for developing the Norse lifestyle based on herding animals — on cows and sheep and making cheese. So, the Norse had a good lifestyle for several centuries, until it gradually got colder. And as it got colder, there was less hay, but also into Greenland came the Inuit, who were masters of living in frozen environments. You would have thought that the Vikings, when they came across the Inuit would have gone to some effort to make friendly relations with the Inuit, who were there in numbers and had these great boats and had sled dogs. In fact, the first account that we’ve got of the Vikings encountering the Inuit is some Vikings who went rather far north, and they came back and gave report on what they found. And they said “Up north, we found some people and the interesting thing about these people, is that when you stab them, initially, they don’t bleed. And then when you stab them some more, they bleed profusely.” Well, that was the first encounter of the Norse with the Intuit, which is not a great way of establishing good relations with people who are better masters of the environment than were the Norse. So, the Norse made some gross mistakes. They refused to eat fish, which is incredible...
LEVITT: These residents of Greenland were making enormous investments in looking like good Europeans. So, huge churches and following European fashions. And we’re talking about the 13th and 14th century, so it’s not like Europe was really having its finest moment either, but ultimately it seems like their undoing was that it was more important to them to have self-identity as Europeans than to thrive in an environment that was changing and inhospitable and eventually would lead to their doom.
DIAMOND: That’s exactly it. That their identity as Europeans led them to build a cathedral and to devote their limited trade with Norway. So, Greenland Vikings exported walrus tasks to Norway. They didn’t have that many walrus tusks. What are they going to get from Norway? Well, they get some wood, and they get some beer. But what they really get from Norway is bronze bells and stained-glass windows for their cathedrals. Well, what they should have gotten was metal so that they could have armor and spears to fight the Inuit, but no, their identity as Europeans was much more important to them. And in the United States today, I don’t need to name Americans whose identity depends upon doing particular things that are not very bright and are going to doom us, but it’s more important to keep doing these things and to remain blind to what it’s going to do to our society in the next 30 years... [In Greenland] Archaeologists have excavated a farm in what appears to be the last year of the settlement. We infer that the people ate their cattle and they ate their calves. So, they foreclosed the means of having calves next year. And then they eat their dogs. There are dog bones, but the dogs are what they use to go hunting. They are desperate. They’ve cut off the means of surviving into the future.
LEVITT: And yet they still didn’t need the fish...
DIAMOND: If you look around the world at where there is cannibalism, there’s not cannibalism in Africa. Why not? Because they are big game animals in Africa. The parts of the world where cannibalism is practiced, are areas by and large where there are not large game animals, where people are starved for protein. And that’s why it makes some sense to eat humans as the largest animal available."

Between Pleasure and Pain: A Pilot Study on the Biological Mechanisms Associated With BDSM Interactions in Dominants and Submissives - "Even though this is one of the first studies of its kind, we can conclude that there is a clear indication for increased pleasure in submissives when looking at biological effects of a BDSM interaction, which was related to the increases in experienced stress."

Is Singapore at risk of becoming a rentier society? - "The term rentier is used to refer to someone who lives off savings or inherited wealth, rather than through productive work. Every society has its share of rentier activity, with people and companies making money off investments...   A couple of years ago, the Ministry of Trade and Industry presented a paper on the link between Reits and high rents. What it found was that rents were generally higher at Reit malls than single-owner malls and that rents had indeed risen faster at these malls. But the academics found that this was due to the characteristics of the mall - better location, for example - and the rise in rents was not per se caused by the Reit's acquisition.  It would be foolhardy for a Reit to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. As the economy slows, rents will have to reflect the reality on the ground. A check showed that CapitaLand Mall Trust's (CMT's) rental reversion for the first nine months of last year was 1.3 per cent. CMT counts Junction 8, Bugis Junction and Tampines Mall among its portfolio properties. Rental reversion refers to the change in current rental rates compared with the rates inked previously. At 1.3 per cent, this means that rents increased by about 0.4 per cent per year for a typical three-year lease, a figure that hardly resembles a galloping increase.  Reit managers would also resent the accusation that they just sit back and collect rents. With so many malls having sprung up, they have to invest to enhance the mall, to keep themselves in the game...   The latest annual survey by the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) found that 68 per cent of respondents cited operation costs (excluding labour costs) as the biggest challenge of operating in Singapore, while 66 per cent cited manpower issues and 55 per cent said it was business competition...   Property looms large over the economy and Singapore psyche.  Many investors have preferred to put their money in something tangible because they believe property can be a store of value. Investors have long memories of racking up losses when the stock markets tanked.  So far, the property market has delivered on many occasions, for both individual investors and Singapore businesses. A person who bought a property in 1990 is undoubtedly sitting on a large gain, even though it may be smaller than at the market's peak."

Private Schools Are Indefensible - The Atlantic - "One post, by a man who graduated from Exeter in 1984, caught my attention. “I remember just minding my own business, a Black boy strolling through the gym on a Saturday afternoon. A gymnast was performing, and I could see her gracefully leap through the air, doing all kinds of motions I found very curious.” A white woman came up to him and told him to mind his own business. “She implied that I was not appreciating an athletic feat, but simply ogling at a young white girl."... In December, a document that 120 faculty and staff members had signed over the summer became public. It outlined a list of proposals: Half of all donations would have to be contributed to New York public schools if Dalton’s demographics did not match the city’s by 2025; the school would have to employ a total of 12 diversity officers (roughly one for every 100 students); all students would be required to take classes on Black liberation; and all adults at the school, including parent volunteers, would be required to complete annual anti-racist training. Tracked courses would have to be eliminated if Black students did not reach full parity by 2023... in science class there have been “racist cop” reenactments, art class has focused on “decentering whiteness,” and health class has examined white supremacy. “Love of learning and teaching is now being abandoned in favor of an ‘anti-racist curriculum,’ ” the parents wrote. “Every class this year has had an obsessive focus on race and identity.”"
Also headlined: "Private Schools Have Become Truly Obscene"
Classic liberal mistake - to assume that just because students at private schools have good outcomes, that it's the private schools causing those good outcomes, and the liberal impulse not to lift up the "oppressed" but to bring down the "powerful"
If the student were white and were staring at a gymnast, he'd be the villain

Meme - Corey A. DeAngelis @DeAngelisCorey: "teachers union misspelled "underpaid""
AFT Massachusetts @AFT Mass: "No amount of self-care articles or therapy sessions can replace being fairly paid for your labor. #FreedomToThrive"
"Therapy doesn't solve being overworked and underpayed"
"Antidepressants can't cure poverty"

Police investigate Singapore mookata shop over shirtless waiters - "The Mr Mookata shop on Liang Seah Street in Bugis had collaborated with Asia Farm Beverages to hire four handsome, muscular guys to serve drinks to customers on 8 January and 15 January... on the first evening of this promotion on Saturday, someone reported the restaurant to the police after apparently mistaking the hunky staff for naked exhibitionists.  How this member of the public thought that the waiters were nude is a mystery, however, since they were each wearing an apron and jeans. Shirtless under the aprons, yes, but not full-on au naturel... The manager of Asia Farm Beverages told Shin Min that the purpose of the event was to promote the brand's healthy, low-sugar drinks. The hunks were featured in the promotion because they gave people a healthy feeling."

LAPD Officers Ignore Robbery in Progress to Catch Snorlax in Pokémon Go - "Two Los Angeles police officers were fired for ignoring a robbery in progress and instead trying to catch a Snorlax in Pokémon Go... Eventually, both admitted to going after the Snorlax because they wanted to “chase this mythical creature.” Anyways, both of the former officers were fired, appealed the decision by claiming that the LAPD violated their privacy by listening to their conversation, and lost their appeal... Both officers tried to get reinstated by referencing a 1975 case in which an employee named Dr. Skelly who regularly drank alcohol on the job and skipped shifts was reinstated, but the Los Angeles police department argued that playing Pokémon Go and lying about it was by far a worse infraction"

Meme - "Why are so many sex toys purple, is there some sort of science behind purple and horniness
someone commission me to investigate this"
REALTinkyWinky @WinkyReal: "Sex toys are purple because the manufacturers want people to associate them with me, Tinky-Winky, a living manifestation of pure lust."

No Nut November doesn't actually affect porn traffic

Sikh girl kidnapped in Pakistan, allegedly being converted to Islam; 55th case in 9 months: DSGMC - "A 17-year old Sikh girl was reportedly kidnapped and is being converted to Islam in Pakistan, the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) said on Saturday. Pritam Singh, head granthi of historic Panja Sahib Gurdwara in Hassan Abdal city, has feared conversion of his daughter, Bulbaul Kaur, to Islam. The DSGMC, which has taken up the matter with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), said the girl has gone missing about 15 days ago. According to the committee, as many as 55 Sikh girls have been kidnapped and forcefully married in the last nine months in Pakistan. The incident took almost a year after the alleged abduction and conversion of Nankana Sahib Sikh girl Jagjit Kaur alias Ayesha Bibi in the neighboring country."

Why Dutch people don't mind you staring into their homes - "For many visitors to the Netherlands, one of the great discoveries when wandering through the streets of Amsterdam or other towns and cities is that you can often take a look inside people's homes when it gets dark. That's because many Dutch people never close their curtains or blinds. Often, people don't even have curtains or blinds... The most popular explanation stems from the Protestant religious tradition of Calvinism, which insists that honest citizens have nothing to hide... Anthropologists Hilje van der Horst and Jantine Messing researched the phenomenon in 2006 and observed that people in tight-knit neighborhoods were more likely to leave their curtain open -- and more likely to decorate their windows with statues, vases, and (fake) flowers. Another reason, of course, is the desire of residents to watch the world go by. It's fair to say that Dutch people typically like to look outside and see the lights, the hustle and bustle of the streets, and people walking by. The interaction between inside and outside helps foster the open culture for which the Dutch are well known."
But in Germany it's the reverse

Trappist Beer Needs Trappist Monks to Brew It, but the Vocation Is Dwindling - WSJ - "  Brothers at the picturesque abbeys are aging, and fewer men are taking vows these days. But in order to be labeled an “Authentic Trappist Product”—which commands a price premium as well as historical cachet—real monks need to be involved. The situation got so bad at St. Benedict’s Abbey in Hamont-Achel, Belgium, that in January it relinquished the Authentic label for its Achel beers, known for their malty and fruity taste, because no monks remained to supervise production... Other modern business needs can be a challenge for the aging brothers. At St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Mass., the monks run sales and marketing for their Trappist beer, including Instagram and Facebook accounts. “To be candid, the monastic lifestyle doesn’t attract a lot of people who are skilled at that,” says Father Isaac Keeley, the 70-year-old chief executive of the brewery. The challenge facing the abbeys echoes the quandary for many craft brewers seeking to maintain authenticity against commercial temptations. Two decades ago, a group of abbeys formed the International Trappist Association to protect the Trappist designation from commercial brewers using monastic images to market beers. To win membership the beer must be brewed at a monastery; the business supervised by monks; and the profits used for the needs of the abbey or charity."

Coffee Machine Hit By Ransomware Attack—Yes, You Read That Right

Bro, don't like that la, bro FAN PAGE | A friend went to a coffee shop to order some drink | Facebook - "A friend went to a coffee shop to order some drink. He saw some pretty barista and straight ask for her number. Didn't know that she is a "he" till he pull off the mask and said "betul nak ke, abg?""

Microsoft Has Announced We Can Finally Remove USBs Without Ejecting Them - "After years of chastising us for failing to safely eject USB drives from computers, Microsoft has done the unthinkable: finally acknowledging it's okay to yank that sucker out and live your best life.  Ever since USB drives became a thing, the Windows maker has warned and admonished computer users for not safely removing external hardware like USB sticks and external hard drives by ejecting the media before you pull them out.  This protocol has existed for years, and for good reason. In previous versions of Windows, and even in Windows 10, failing to eject USBs (and other external devices, like flash cards) before taking them out could run the risk of significant file problems, especially if data was being written to the drive at the time of removal.  Thankfully, a new update to Windows 10 does away with this painstaking, time-sapping procedure – a commonplace hindrance that over time has become fodder for countless memes... This has been a very long time coming. Despite the change, though, you probably don't want to tempt fate (or interrupt file transfers) by pulling USB devices out when you know data is actively being copied. But if it's just sitting there, you've now got the green light."

damien on Twitter - "hookup culture actually helps a lot of people clean their bedrooms"

Meme - John Collins @Logically_JC: "I like to start my day with a workout, coffee, and telling Republicans to fuck off."
John Collins @Logically_JC: "Can Republicans stop dividing us and act like Americans for five minutes? Seriously, we need it."

ava on Twitter - "just tried to order a pizza with a vegan, a vegetarian, someone who hates mushrooms, someone who loves meat, and someone operating on 3 hours of sleep (me). it was the hardest, most emotionally taxing experience of my life. took over an hour. not sure if we’re friends anymore"

Geologist Finds Rare Formation Inside Rock That Looks Exactly Like The Cookie Monster

Meme - "Russians can no longer pay for Netflix and Spotify with their bank cards, they also can no longer use Apple pay or Google pay. Before we get rid of cash and go fully down this path, it's worth thinking both about the fragility of the system, and who can turn it off and on."

UK judge orders rightwing extremist to read classic literature or face prison - "A former student who downloaded almost 70,000 white supremacist documents and bomb-making instructions has avoided a prison sentence “by the skin of his teeth” after being told to read classic literature by Dickens, Austen, Shakespeare and Hardy.  Ben John, 21, from Lincoln, a former student at De Montfort University in Leicester, has to return to court every four months to be tested on his reading, Judge Timothy Spencer QC said"

Exclusive: Government Secretly Orders Google To Identify Anyone Who Searched A Sexual Assault Victim’s Name, Address Or Telephone Number - "In 2019, federal investigators in Wisconsin were hunting men they believed had participated in the trafficking and sexual abuse of a minor. She had gone missing that year but had emerged claiming to have been kidnapped and sexually assaulted, according to a search warrant reviewed by Forbes. In an attempt to chase down the perpetrators, investigators turned to Google, asking the tech giant to provide information on anyone who had searched for the victim’s name, two spellings of her mother’s name or her address over 16 days across the year. After being asked to provide all relevant Google accounts and IP addresses of those who made the searches, Google responded with data in mid-2020, though the court documents do not reveal how many users had their data sent to the government.   It’s a rare example of a so-called keyword warrant and, with the number of search terms included, the broadest on record... privacy experts are concerned about the precedent set by such warrants and the potential for any such order to be a breach of Fourth Amendment protections from unreasonable searches. There are also concerns about First Amendment freedom of speech issues, given the potential to cause anxiety amongst Google users that their identities could be handed to the government because of what they searched for...   The Wisconsin case was supposed to have remained secret, too. The warrant only came to light because it was accidentally unsealed by the Justice Department"
Sexual abuse of a minor makes most people go insane and abandon all logic, so this is not going to get the pushback it should


Man propositioned 11-year-old girl for sex, was stopped by supermarket employee

'No maids, please': Why the problem goes beyond just country clubs - "several other clubs have the same "no-maids" policy. When asked, a long-time Tanglin Club member said: "I know it sounds snobbish, but coming here is my way of being away from the marketplace, and we pay a premium for that." A club membership broker said such policies signalled to members that they should interact with their own children while at the club, and not rely on helpers... Many here refer to foreign domestic helpers as "maids", thus defining them by their position of servitude."
Apparently there is no difference between a guest and an employee
Does referring to a teacher as a "teacher" define him by his profession?

4 Reasons Singaporeans are So Reliant on Their Maids - "Many lack the necessary skills to cook for themselves...
Long hours at work...
Inadequate eldercare options...
Maids are cheaper than other paid options...
The cost of hiring an Indonesian helper starts from just $500 a month. By contrast, if you were to outsource all the tasks your maid could do for you, you would be spending on the following:
Weekly cleaning
Senior daycare, live-in nurse or nursing home
Eating out"

Man deemed too old to be dangerous convicted of murder, again - "A man who served decades in prison for stabbing his wife 14 times in front of her daughter was convicted Wednesday in a nearly identical crime — stabbing a woman at least 11 times while her twin children watched. Albert Flick, 77, whom a judge previously deemed too old to be a threat, was convicted in the 2018 death of Kimberly Dobbie... Flick has a long history of violence against women. In 1979, he was sentenced to prison and served 25 years for stabbing his then-wife. more than a dozen times in front of her daughter. In 2010, he was sentenced again for assaulting another woman. The judge at the time ignored the recommendation of the prosecutor for a longer sentence, saying Flick would not be a threat because of his age and it didn't make sense to keep him incarcerated. He was released and moved to Lewiston in 2014."

Pablo Escobar's 'cocaine hippos' are legally people, U.S. court rules | Toronto Sun - "The Animal Legal Defense Fund, which sought the interested persons designation for the “cocaine hippos,” called the ruling by a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio a “critical milestone” in its larger effort to have the American legal system recognize “enforceable rights” to which animals are entitled. Escobar smuggled several hippos onto his estate in the 1980s, but their wild spawn now roam the wetlands north of Bogotá, the largest invasive species on the planet. Colombia had considered culling them, but Luis Domingo Gómez Maldonado, an animal rights lawyer, filed a lawsuit in that country in July 2020 seeking to prevent their killings. Colombian authorities have since said they will instead sterilize the herd with a chemical contraceptive called GonaCon that was developed by the U.S. Agriculture Department. The United States has donated dozens of doses of the chemical, currently used to sterilize animals such as horses and deer, to Colombia... In 2018, a Colombia court also granted legal personhood status to part of the Amazon rainforest in a landmark decision that urged the government to put an end to the region’s deforestation crisis."
So humans can be sterilised against their will?

Gwyneth Paltrow stunned by kids' graphic sex education at school | Toronto Sun
She's the newest member of the "far right"

Friday, July 15, 2022

Links - 15th July 2022 (2 - "Racism" in UK Football)

FA 'never wanted' a Downing Street meeting unless England won the Euros, says Number 10 - "Stephen Barclay jumped to Priti Patel's defense after Tyrone Mings accused her of 'stoking the fire' of racism
Mings said she had 'no right' to condemn the racist abuse against fellow stars Rashford, Sancho and Saka
Barclay said Patel, the daughter of Ugandan Asian immigrants, has 'repeatedly taken a stand against racism'
Angela Raynor urged Ms Patel and PM to 'take the knee' for 'giving these racist scumbags license to abuse'
And ex-player insisted Mings has 'very right to be angry', just as 'millions of people are across this country'"

Backlash after FA launch new crest featuring cub, lion and lioness - "The new England Football crest featuring a cub, lion and lioness has faced a fan backlash — even though the elite teams will stick with the traditional Three Lions... hundreds of England fans tweeted their dismay at the design, with some suggesting that the branding was "PC nonsense". Another remarked: "Who’s offended by a lion?" Other comments include "why change something that is perfect already," "The Plantagenet symbol of England erased, just like that," and "I know somebody needs to look busy in the office but don’t mess around for the sake of it"."

The Millwall Revolt - "Nothing horrifies the woke elites more than the noises made by working-class people. Whether they’re saying ‘Let’s leave the EU’ or complimenting a member of the opposite sex on the street, the sounds and statements of the throng often have much of the chattering classes reaching for their smelling salts. So it is no surprise that a 30-second outburst of booing among Millwall fans when their players ‘took the knee’ yesterday has led to Guardianistas across the land thumbing their thesauruses in search of the shrillest words with which to condemn this foul guttural cry of blind hate, etc etc. ‘Is this fascism?!’, they wonder out loud. Yes, dear, of course it is... Quite why British football players are still bowing down in sorrow over a police killing that took place months ago and thousands of miles away is anyone’s guess... Of course, the anti-working-class left and the NuFootball commentariat (who love the beautiful game but loathe its ugly fans) instantly found the Millwall fans guilty of racism. They had no proof, naturally. No proof whatsoever that the booing fans were driven by irrational hatred of people whose skin colour is different to their own. But you don’t need proof when you’re a puffed-up member of the woke elite. All you need to see is a large group of portly working-class men making a disagreeable noise and, boom, that’s racism. Case closed. But here’s the thing that everyone whose capacity for critical thinking hasn’t been completely erased by the religion of wokeness understands perfectly well — booing Black Lives Matter is not the same as booing black people. Indeed, football is possibly this country’s greatest success story when it comes to challenging racism. The ugly racism that sometimes exploded at games in the 1970s and 80s has almost completely fizzled out. Around 30 per cent of professional players are black. Kids worship them; fans cheer them. The fans who booed the taking of the knee have no doubt whooped with joy when a black player scored a goal. And that’s because football fans don’t hate black people — they’re just sick of being looked down upon by elites who dress up their suspicion of working-class crowds as ‘anti-racism’. Here’s what is remarkable about the Millwall booing. Yesterday was the first time since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic that fans were allowed back into live games. And the first thing some fans did (including West Ham fans, reportedly) was register their disapproval of the colonisation of the beautiful game by the divisive cult of identity politics. For months, the footballing authorities, heartily backed by the middle-class media and the big sports broadcasters, injected the BLM ideology into the game... it confirms that the woke elites will brook no dissent whatsoever to their divisive agendas of critical race theory and woke re-education"


Newport County to investigate why teams did not take knee before Tranmere game - "Newport County chairman Gavin Foxall says he will investigate why the teams did not take a knee before their 1-0 League Two win over Tranmere Rovers.  Foxall said the gesture, in support of Black Lives Matter, was "something the referee instigates before a game"."
Dissent will not be tolerated

Three cheers for the booing England fans - "as we all know, blaspheming against BLM is one of the greatest sins you can commit in the woke epoch (it’s right up there with referring to people with penises as men)... None of the fan-bashers has bothered to ask the most basic questions about the taking-the-knee nonsense. Why are English footballers still performing this ritual in relation to a man who was murdered more than a year ago and 4,000 miles away? Why is taking the knee so seemingly essential in football – every bloody weekend – but isn’t happening at other big gatherings? Unless I’m wrong and when theatres and opera houses reopen the actors and singers will take the knee every night. Hmm. I doubt it."

Free speech for football fans - "There are two issues to consider in this case. One is whether or not the FA would have the power to ban fans from booing players who take the knee, which would open a legal can of worms and set a dangerous precedent. The other is the dishonest narrative that surrounds this case, exacerbated by elitists and prominent figures.  Starting with the former, irrespective of what you are protesting for or against, people have the right to express themselves. This applies to both football players and fans... to silence the fans, ban them from booing a particular action, or eject those who boo, would be to censor them. It would send a message that some movements are virtually untouchable, which could easily be twisted and weaponised. On Saturday, some Millwall fans, on their long-awaited return to their stadium, The Den, booed Millwall players as they took a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. One supporter was heard shouting ‘get up!’ in response to the players. Since then, many pundits and former players have condemned the booing, and Millwall FC has released a statement regarding the incident. Now, the English FA has announced that it plans to investigate the booing. This could have chilling effects not only on football, but also on wider society going forward.There are two issues to consider in this case. One is whether or not the FA would have the power to ban fans from booing players who take the knee, which would open a legal can of worms and set a dangerous precedent. The other is the dishonest narrative that surrounds this case, exacerbated by elitists and prominent figures.Starting with the former, irrespective of what you are protesting for or against, people have the right to express themselves. This applies to both football players and fans. The players have the right to kneel for a cause they believe to be just. The fans have the right to express their opposition. It’s a two-way street. Potentially to silence the fans, ban them from booing a particular action, or eject those who boo, would be to censor them. It would send a message that some movements are virtually untouchable, which could easily be twisted and weaponised.Then there is the narrative that is surrounding this case. There is a fraudulent idea that fans who boo players who kneel for BLM are racist... If this were the case, then perhaps someone could explain why the Millwall fans applauded the players when a banner was revealed in an act of solidarity against racism in the next match against Queens Park Rangers?... The answer is simple. Throughout this year, it could be argued that BLM supporters had a huge role to play in disorder and riots."

Euro 2020: Hungary fans unveil anti-kneeling banner before France game - "Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban said he agreed with their reaction and argued that “this kneeling business” had no place on the football pitch. He also described it as a “provocation” because Hungary has no history of slavery.  “If you’re a guest in a country then understand its culture and do not provoke it,” Mr Orban told a press conference. “Do not provoke the host... We can only see this gesture system from our cultural vantage point as unintelligible, as provocation.”"

No, Gareth Southgate, ‘taking the knee’ is not a protest against injustice - "When the kneeling began at the return of football last June, it was made quite explicit that it was in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Players wore the BLM message on the back of their shirts for the first 12 games of the season. Arsenal placed large BLM banners in the stands at the Emirates to convey the messaging. Sky Sports and BT Sports both displayed BLM branding on their screens while broadcasting matches. In its communications, the England football team also promoted Black Lives Matter. So did the players.  Then, the backtracking began. After the Black Lives Matter UK Twitter account attacked the existence of Israel, the Premier League insisted that its use of the slogan was not an endorsement of a political movement. Other incidents have also sparked controversy. At a BLM protest in London, on 7 June last year, mobs attacked police officers. Some activists made individual officers kneel in submission. Others defaced monuments, including that of Winston Churchill. The BLM movement has popularised the slogan ‘defund the police’ and has advocated dismantling the nuclear family. On one level, Black Lives Matter is a masterpiece of political marketing: a slogan with a campaign attached. The slogan conveys a message which no non-racist could possibly dispute. But it also directs money and attention to the activists and their ideology. This ideology boils down to basic racial favouritism: give us money and power or we will denounce and attack you.   To many patriotic football fans, the gesture of kneeling to this movement cuts right to the bone. After all, going down on one knee could hardly be more symbolic. It is a powerful act of submission, normally reserved for praying to God in a church, for proposing marriage or for receiving an honour from a queen or king.  Fans have noticed that the football world, by submitting to BLM, is submitting to racial ideologues who hate them and their country, and who want to abolish institutions like the family and police that nourish and protect them. When fans sit down to watch their teams play, this submission is forced into their faces. Then, they are lectured by commentators about how ‘powerful’ and ‘important’ it is. And when they object to any of this, their point of view is dismissed, they are treated with contempt and are denounced as racist. The football world’s near-unanimous response has been to shift the goalposts" Meme - "When you're kneeling for "racial justice" but your black teammate is standing in respect, you may just be an idiot."
Clearly the black teammate has internalised white supremacy

Paul Embery on Twitter - "Millwall fans didn’t boo because they are racist. They have taken many black players to their hearts over the years. They booed because what began as a single act of solidarity has, as usual, turned into a protracted moral lecture. That is what irritates people. Understand it."

It is not racist to describe someone as black, says John Barnes - "A major row erupted on Wednesday night over the racism scandal to engulf the Champions League after John Barnes proclaimed there was nothing wrong with a match official describing an African coach as “the black one”... Barnes, himself a victim of shocking racist abuse while a player and now a prominent commentator on discrimination within society, responded to the outcry over the incident by posting images of the Basaksehir coaching staff on Twitter and writing: “Its [sic] NOT racist to describe the offender as the black one! We are telling people to call us black … he doesn’t know his name, there are 6/7 coaches standing together all Turkish … 1 is to be sent off, the ref says which one THE BLACK ONE what else can he say to let the ref know? Why can’t you describe a black man as being a black man?”"
Wouldn't only racists think being described as black as insulting?

Petition to Make Verified ID a Requirement for Opening a Social Media Account Gains Momentum - "Many supporters of the England football team were left devastated on Sunday when the team missed out on taking the UEFA EURO 2020 trophy home after Italy secured the win during a penalty shootout. Since the match, racist abuse towards England players has been rife on social media - and social media users and influencers alike are petitioning to crack down on this major issue."
So a lot of black people aren't going to be able to have social media anymore, apparently. Is that racist?

Premier League says support for Black Lives Matter not political

Boris Johnson deserves the cold shoulder from England players – No 10’s been fanning the flames of racism for years
What a reach, even for The Independent. They barely attempt to justify the claim

Marcus Rashford and the hysteria about racism - "So, that graffiti sprayed over the mural of Marcus Rashford in Manchester wasn’t racist after all? That’s what Greater Manchester Police are now saying. They are keeping an ‘open mind’ as to the motive of the muppet who daubed the mural with insults after Rashford missed his penalty in England’s Euros final clash with Italy. But they’re now saying the graffiti is ‘not believed to be of a racial nature’. This is a serious development. It is another indicator, perhaps the most important one yet, that the past week of fury and handwringing over what a racist cesspit England has become was motivated more by hysteria than facts... Most of the media blurred out the actual graffiti, leaving readers and viewers to imagine that it said something obscene about this young black man who has become a national treasure over the past year. But the few uncensored images of the graffiti that were floating around social media revealed a very different reality. The graffiti seemed to say ‘Fuck Saka, Fuck Sancho’ – in relation to the two other penalty-fluffers – and ‘Shite in a bucket, bastard’ with a badly drawn cock and balls pointing to Rashford’s mouth. Infantile? Undoubtedly. Racist? No.   The graffiti was more in keeping with the kind of intemperate chatter and banter frequently heard in relation to football than it was with racial hatred. Fuck, bastard, shite – these words might offend the sensibilities of the middle-class Johnny Come Latelys to the beautiful game but they are not uncommon from the mouths of impassioned fans angry when their team loses. It was a criminal act, for sure – no one has the right to deface public property. But if it were a racist act too, then surely the graffitist would have used racist terminology? Those claiming that it is by definition racist, because it was targeted at a black man, are playing a dangerous game indeed. Do we really want to say that all criticism of black people is racist? That would infantilise our ethnic-minority citizens, forcefielding them from the rough and tumble of daily life, which is the opposite of equality, and arguably a tad racist... the far larger story here is how swiftly and uncritically the graffiti incident was folded into the narrative about England being a horrible racist hellhole. For the past week, blurred images of the daubed Rashford mural, and then images of it covered in messages of love and support from the people of Manchester, have dominated media discussion in the UK. The defaced mural became Exhibit A in the case against racist Britain... huge numbers of activists – including, inevitably, the Socialist Workers Party – gathered at the mural to take the knee and chant ‘Black Lives Matter’. Many of these people were entirely well-meaning, of course. They love Rashford and loathe racism. But what, exactly, were they protesting against here? The word ‘shite’? The drawing of a dick? Where was the racism? Where was the suggestion that black lives don’t matter? They were, in essence, protesting against something that didn’t actually happen. This requires some analysis. What this all suggests is that the discussion about racism today is becoming more and more unhinged, more and more disconnected from reality. There is no evidence that the anti-Rashford graffiti was racist, and yet anti-racists protest against it. Surveys and polls continually show that Britain has become less racist in recent decades, and yet the cultural elites have convinced themselves that racism lurks everywhere. Or consider the scandal of racist messages being sent to Rashford, Saka and Sancho on social media. This was blown entirely out of proportion. The messages were tiny in number and many of them came from overseas. And yet they, too, were held up as proof of the unstoppable march of racism across England. Once again, the claims and the activism are untethered from reality.   Racism has become a moral panic... The danger is that this moral panic about racism will start to play the role racism once played – dividing communities from each other, making us fearful of ‘the other’, and empowering the elites to manage relations between the quarrelling races. If you once stood against racism, now you should stand against the moral panic about racism. Because these two things have a scarily similar energy."

Facebook - "Guide for disappointed UK soccer fans furious at the penalty takers.
"They are lousy [race-related word], overpaid and overrated players who should sod off to [origin country]" - racist and wrong
"They are lousy, overpaid and overrated players who should sod off to hell" - correct, reasonable and appropriate"

Facebook - "Hahaha I spoke too soon. Even legit insults that don't mention race are now alleged by the media to be racist. Seems like in the UK, you can now do no wrong if your skin tone is of a certain shade."

Michael Knowles on Twitter - The Economist: "The most striking aspect of Italy’s 26-man squad before it took to the pitch was that, alone among the main contenders, it did not include a single player considered as being of colour"
"What precisely is "striking" about Italians making up the Italian soccer team?
STRIKING: Nigeria's soccer team doesn't include a single Norwegian"
There were no transmen either, so they're transphobic too
Other replies: "Emerson isn't of color? He was born in Brazil & was granted Italian citizenship in 2017. Also, WTF is the point of this article?"
"100 years ago, all Italians were considered to be "of color.""
"ThE itALiAn TeAM haS tOo ManY ItAliAnS oN iT"
"wow, 3 brazilian-italians are not enough for the virtue-signaling police."

Italy’s government basks in the glow of footballing success | The Economist - "To the extent that any sporting event can have an impact on politics, this one unquestionably favoured the right—and not just the League, but the even harder-right Brothers of Italy party, which is in opposition. The most striking aspect of Italy’s 26-man squad before it took to the pitch was that, alone among the main contenders,it did not include a single player considered as being of colour (Although three were born in Brazil, they are of Italian descent). The publication of the team photograph prompted a slew of criticism on social media, particularly in France. And there was further criticism of the squad’s ambivalent approach to “taking a knee” as a gesture of opposition to racism. Only some of the Italian players knelt before the game against Wales. They subsequently took the odd decision that they should all do so, but only if the opposing team did too.  Almost every country has learned that, in sport, diversity brings dividends—and indeed medals and cups. Italy, although it has a smaller and more recently acquired immigrant population than either France or Britain, is no exception... But one reason why talented young sports people of colour in Italy are not nurtured through junior national teams in the early parts of their careers is that they are not Italians."
Of course, if it had been a victory for the "Italian left" that would not have been a problem
"In theory, Italy should have lost. But it didn't. Therefore it's a problem for reality"

Meme - "World Cup should be a banter now that England footballers are woke politicians Where Homosexuality Is Punishable By Death *Muslim countries*"
Liberals will just blame colonialism

Billy on Twitter - "There was more public outrage and government action when football players got 1,000 mean tweets than when 1,400 girls got sexually abused by grooming gangs."

Meme - "Based Polaks again: A new method developed by Polish fans to "hack" the kneeling at football matches. A huge banner with a Polish king with the title "Kneel before his Majesty," refers that the Leicester players knelt before the King"

Football is no place for politics – it’s high time we kicked it out - "Leicester City defeated Chelsea to win the FA Cup for the first time in their history. Before kick off, the players and match officials knelt in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. As they did so, a minority of fans – allowed into the stadium for the first time in more than a year – booed. After the match, two Leicester players unfurled a Palestinian flag, presumably to share their views about the conflict between Israel and its terrorist enemy, Hamas. Football has been getting steadily more political for several years... This might not seem like such a big deal. After all, don’t footballers have the same right to express themselves as the rest of us? Shouldn’t football use its enormous reach to help advance good causes? Isn’t sport, especially when it is international, unavoidably political? Study some examples and you will soon realise how complicated answering these questions can be. Marcus Rashford, the Manchester United and England forward, has campaigned skilfully to force the Government to change its policies and provide free meals for poor children outside the school term. His work was away from the pitch, never strayed into party politics, and was not particularly divisive. Supporters seemed to take pride in what he had done, and the Government even awarded him an honour for his efforts. But a year and a half ago, Mesut Özil, then an Arsenal player, found himself in a more controversial situation. Özil is a German international with Turkish ancestry and a Muslim. Following the reports that the Chinese state had incarcerated one million Uighur Muslims, Özil criticised China, defended the Uighurs, and criticised his fellow Muslims for not speaking out. China responded by having Özil removed from a Chinese version of a football video game and blocking the broadcast of Arsenal’s next fixture on Chinese television. Arsenal disowned Özil, saying the club was “always apolitical as an organisation” and issuing its statement on the Chinese social media platform, Weibo. Such blatant hypocrisy is just part of the problem with political football. Footballers may take political positions, it seems, unless those positions interfere with the commercial interests of their employers. And footballers and their clubs may take positions on specific ethical issues, insisting they are very much holier-than-thou, while remaining silent on their own conduct. And so we have the former footballer and television presenter, Gary Lineker, who wears his progressive credentials on his sleeve, under investigation by the tax authorities for millions in unpaid taxes. We have Sam Allardyce, who had to resign as England manager after a corruption scandal, back in the Premier League at West Bromwich Albion. And we have owners like Mike Ashley, who, according to a Parliamentary inquiry, treated his Sports Direct employees as if they were in a Victorian workhouse. Next year, the football World Cup will be held in Qatar. The decision to host it there was the result of a suspect process, overseen by Fifa, the international football governing body, whose senior leadership has been investigated, and in some cases prosecuted, for corruption. Much construction in Qatar is undertaken by migrant workers trapped in appalling conditions that amount to modern slavery. Since Qatar won its World Cup bid 10 years ago, 6,500 migrant workers have died there. And yet the football world has remained almost universally silent. There were no flags at the Cup Final for the Pakistanis, Indians, Nepalese and others trapped in forced labour on Qatari World Cup construction sites. Nor were there flags for the Uighurs or the many Muslims who have suffered and died under Assad and Isis in Syria, or those who live under tyranny in Gaza and Iran. Nor were there flags, needless to say, for the Israeli civilians – Jews and Arabs – who have been targeted by Hamas terrorism. Nobody was able to make this point to the players as they paraded their Palestinian flag at Wembley on Saturday, of course. And this is the other big problem with political football: it represents the abuse of a captive audience, brought together in stadiums and on television to enjoy a spectacle together without the division of politics. Among us, there are different views on the conflict between Israel and Hamas, just as there are on Black Lives Matter. Football fans almost universally respect and support the long-running campaign to “kick racism out of football”, but while some agree with Black Lives Matter, others are repelled by its association with campaigns to defund the police, abolish prisons and radically remake society. Even if players believe taking the knee is a gesture of solidarity in the face of racism, they are unwittingly bringing politics – and the divisions of values that politics by definition represent – into the sport. They are taking sides, which alienates many. In this respect, football does reflect wider society. Across so many parts of life, politics – and usually the politics of the radical Left – is intruding. And as it does so – in sport, in television and movies, the arts and heritage, and elsewhere – it unavoidably divides us, because that is what politics does. In this era of polarisation and culture wars, we need more places, events and moments that bring us together, not fewer. Footballers are entitled to their beliefs and opinions, but politics must be kept out of matchday."

Football and Black Lives Matter don't mix - "For the first 12 games, the slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’ replaced the players’ names on the back of their shirts, before shrinking to a logo thereafter. And just ahead of each kick-off, players and staff have been earnestly ‘taking the knee’, with some raising a tentative fist, Black Power-style. Sky Sports, BT Sport and other UK broadcasters have flashed up BLM messages and graphics during ad breaks, while anchors have intoned sombre monologues on the need to ‘educate’ ourselves about racism. And some pundits have even indulged in that most middle-class of BLM rituals: the self-flagellating, self-aggrandising display of contrition... It has made for a spectacle replete in political kitsch, from the parody of decades-old protest to the formulaic repetition of saccharine sentiment. It looks virtuous. It feels progressive. It sounds moral. But, like all kitsch, the Premier League’s BLM parade is not what it claims to be... The Premier League may now be cosplaying as a BLM protester, but it is continuing to act as a corporate, commercial entity. Which is what it is: a corporate, commercial entity. Its single objective is not ‘to eradicate racial prejudice wherever it exists’, but to maximise the profits of its 20 members, mainly through the broadcasting deals it strikes with the likes of Sky, NBC Sports and Amazon. That is why, between 2018 and 2022, the Premier League will have lined its members’ coffers with half-a-billion pounds’ worth of Qatari state capital – because it sold its Middle East and North Africa broadcasting rights to beIN Sports, which is owned by Qatar. Yes, Qatar. A gulf statelet that actually practices something close to the ‘systemic racism’ BLM merely preaches against. How else should one describe the treatment of mainly African migrant workers under a Qatari employment system that strips them of all rights, and pits them to work for low-to-no pay, on, among other projects, brand new football stadia. But, hey, no doubt they will appreciate seeing Brighton and Hove Albion’s first team, paid in part by their Qatari state oppressors, taking the knee, and reassuring them that black lives really do matter. And then there’s the small matter of the prospective owner of Premier League club Newcastle United — namely, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund... a Premier League football club will be owned by an Islamic theocracy — one, moreover, that is not only literally crucifying and beheading domestic dissidents, but is also prosecuting a war in Yemen that has cost the lives of over 100,000 ‘people of colour’. It seems that when it comes to Premier League business, some black lives matter less than others... But if it is not the Premier League’s responsibility to sort out the world’s ills, then why is it dressing itself up as if it is? Why is it, aided and abetted by its media partners, posing as an anti-racist crusade? And why is it therefore inviting the charges of gross hypocrisy that will surely come its way? In part, it’s because, as Apple or Amazon have discovered, embracing BLM has seemed an easy, no-cost way to burnish corporate reputations... But in the case of the Premier League the sense of cause, of mission, is perhaps even greater. This is because of the role football has played, since the 1990s, as a means for our political and media elites to address, inculcate and discipline football’s traditional constituency: the working class. And the principal form this has taken is ‘anti-racism’, hence officialdom’s ever-increasing obsession, shared by an excitable media class, with the much-trumpeted rise in fans’ alleged racism during a period in which the number of actual match-going racists has clearly dwindled. That is why the Premier League has been so blind to the obvious hypocrisy in its BLM stance. Because it is not really interested in the devastating warmongering of its members’ prospective owners, or the brutal, borderline racist employment practices of its partners. Indeed, it is not really interested in tackling actual discrimination. Rather, it is interested, almost myopically so, in targeting fans, addressing them as if they have been doing something wrong, challenging them to fess up to prejudices they never knew they had. It’s like a showtrial conducted on a mass scale. Those overseeing it – in the media, and beyond – are simply convinced of fans’ guilt... constantly telling fans stuck watching the match at home that they’re racist, or that their views are ‘problematic’, is going to get peoples’ backs up

Why I have finally stopped watching football - "Football, always central to our culture, has become a meeting point for the triple threat of globalism, wokeism and safetyism. Globalism, as well as the general shift towards a feudal society led by a handful of billionaires, is perfectly exemplified by the proposed new Super League. The idea is (or was?) that a select few European teams, owned by very rich people from around the world, would compete repeatedly against each other in a pointless, elitist circle jerk with no jeopardy, financed by JP Morgan and generating revenue not necessarily through ticket sales, but from, for example, selling off the TV rights to China. The teams would finally lose all connection with their local areas, and even with their respective countries, as well as with the fans who built these clubs, and who have conveniently already been banned from stadiums. Like a high-level politician walking into a pub and telling the landlord that he doesn’t want to hear his views, despite said landlord being a lifelong voter for his party, football’s biggest problem has long been getting rid of the pesky fans that scupper all their evil schemes. With the Super League they are (or were?) on the verge of achieving that aim... safetyism has also infected football, in the form of VAR. It is football’s equivalent of a ‘Zero Covid’ approach. A centrally planned, utopian notion that all error can be removed from the game, failing to realise that in doing so all joy is also removed (what pundits call the ‘human element’) and that new errors are continually created by the overcorrection itself. It is a form of insanity that has brought the game to its knees metaphorically, just as BLM has achieved this in literal terms. We can also see this safetyism in the more valid concerns about players heading the ball. The suggestion from some is to completely ban heading from the game, or at least remove it from training (leading, presumably, to crap heading). No one wants players to suffer brain injuries, but at the same time this proposal forces us to confront the very meaning of sport. The goal of sports is not safety. It is human potential reaching its fullest expression, requiring sacrifices in order to do so. Sport is supposed to contain an element of the warrior mentality. Very explicitly in boxing, where you can still easily get killed in the ring, and to a lesser extent in games like football... Nor is sport free from the recent confusion around gender. Another possible sign of decline – it is said to have been prevalent in the late period of the Roman Empire – it poses a huge problem for women’s sports, with the emergence of trans athletes. Given all this, it is no surprise that the commentary around football has now become more interesting than the game itself... This is consistent with where we are across the entire culture. As our values collapse, we are unable to produce quality art, movies, music, comedy, and so on. All that remains viable is an obsessive dissection of where we have gone wrong. Thus YouTube videos, podcasts, Twitter and even football punditry hold our interest, while the primary forms they refer to fall away. Culturally we have cornered ourselves into self-destruction. All we can do, at least for now, is analyse the problem."

Black Lives Matter has no place in the Premier League - " Having failed to stamp out racism from matches, and under the same political pressure every other corporation is currently under not to appear ‘silent’ on the issue of racism, the Premier League has decided to welcome an organisation that, among other goals, aims to defund the police and ‘disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement’. These policies would be disconcerting in any context, but in the world of football they sound even more incongruous. Anyone who’s ever been to a football match knows the importance of police presence... As for the ‘nuclear family’, going to the football is one of the best family pursuits we have. Especially, traditionally, as a way for men to bond with their sons... BLM is also, of course, fervently anti-capitalist. Yet it is hard to think of a more ruthlessly capitalistic figure than the Premier League footballer... We’ve already seen from the NFL in America that many sports fans just don’t want their leisure activities clouded by politics. People taking the knee, not taking the knee, honouring the flag, dishonouring the flag. It all creates conflict and bad feeling of a level that goes beyond what sport is supposed to be about – namely, coming together, having fun, and sticking a couple past Liverpool (or, to avoid appearing biased, Man City)... The argument that this is about racism simply isn’t true. It is a case of a specific political outfit using most people’s strong distaste for racism as a way to smuggle in their own brand of left-wing politics. I’m not sure that has a place in football, or any sport. To me, the only battle on the football pitch should be between the two teams, rather than the more contentious and slippery war between competing political ideologies."

Facebook - "Whilst no country will ever be perfect and you can never account for the actions of every individual, I think the U.K. can be held up as one of the most tolerant and diverse countries in the world. Football has also come a long way, even in my own lifetime, when I remember seeing players like John Barnes receiving abuse in the 1980s. But this time last year we saw widespread vandalism and disorder from groups claiming to be ‘anti-racist’, including buildings being smashed up, police being attacked and we even had threats to our local pubs over their historical names. For me, the behaviour of these groups, particularly the ones acting under the banner of Black Lives Matter, did nothing to promote equality or race relations. In fact, all they did was promote division. It was at this point we started to see the football authorities promoting Black Lives Matter... I’ve seen many examples where players have been able to show unity and promote putting a stop to racism within the game. Just this last week we saw this at the England v New Zealand cricket match and other examples include rugby league players linking arms before a match. Football at other levels of the game has also managed to find other ways. So why then does the Premier League and the England team persist with such a divisive and politically charged approach when there are others we can all get behind?... I have been very disappointed when some have suggested that opposition to taking the knee is somehow disrespectful to players - especially black players. Ask Wilfried Zaha what he thinks or Nottingham Forest’s Lyle Taylor. Last season Les Ferdinand also questioned whether taking the knee was actually having any sort of effect. Now we see this sort of politicisation of our game spreading. First we saw Leicester’s Hamza Choudhary with a Palestinian flag at the FA Cup Final and then two Manchester United players parading around the pitch with one, presumably to celebrate winning nothing again this season. The fact they had the flag upside down and probably couldn’t find the place on a map was probably lost on them. Last week Chelsea won the Champions League. Imagine the reaction if Roman Abramovich had paraded around with an Israeli flag after the match (a country he is actually a citizen of). To suggest that fans “aren’t quite understanding the message”, as Gareth Southgate has done, is an insult to their intelligence. Fans understand perfectly well - they are just sick and tired of being preached and spoken down to. They are there to watch a football match, not to be lectured on morality. It is the football authorities and elements of the media who aren’t understanding the message. Find something we can all support and ditch this ridiculous empty gesture."

Facebook - "The controversy over the England team taking the knee goes on. Manager Gareth Southgate has insisted that this gesture will continue and has once again taken aim at supporters and MPs who have chosen to show their discontent, commenting “If it happens in future matches, we won’t be discussing it after because we don’t want to give oxygen to those people”. Gary Lineker has also weighed in with comments of his own, stating “if you boo England players for taking the knee, you’re part of the reason why players are taking the knee”... Let’s travel back in time to Berlin in 1938. England had travelled to Germany to play the national team, after controversially hosting them in 1935 at White Hart Lane. Despite protest, that initial game went ahead and both the Home Secretary and the FA made a point of keeping football independent of politics. Germany had annexed Austria at that point and political tensions were running high. Following the 1936 Berlin Olympics being used as a propaganda exercise and under a great deal of pressure from both the FA and Britain’s ambassador at the time, the players were encouraged to join the hosts in making the Nazi salute prior to the match. England players, including the great Sir Stanley Matthews, were not impressed and did not want to do it. However, they had been reassured that it was merely a formal gesture of courtesy and that it did not mean an endorsement of the regime. Reluctantly, they agreed and for many years since it has been a great source of shame for many of those involved, including the Football Association. In more recent times we have seen the same ‘Roman salute’ by Paolo Di Canio at Lazio, who was later reported to have said “I am a fascist, not a racist”. The point here is that regardless of the original intention, the mixing of politics and football had disastrous consequences. Symbolism means a lot, both in football and wider society, and we must think carefully about how it is used."
The same people who want to force them to kneel are upset when you pin a poppy

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