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Friday, September 02, 2022

Links - 2nd September 2022 (2 - General Wokeness)

Sex between men, not skin contact, is fueling monkeypox, new research suggests - "Since the outset of the global monkeypox outbreak in May, public health and infectious disease experts have told the public that the virus is largely transmitting through skin-to-skin contact, in particular during sex between men.   Now, however, an expanding cadre of experts has come to believe that sex between men itself — both anal as well as oral intercourse — is likely the main driver of global monkeypox transmission. The skin contact that comes with sex, these experts say, is probably much less of a risk factor... scientists told NBC News that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health authorities should update their monkeypox communication strategies to more strongly emphasize the centrality of intercourse among gay and bisexual men, who comprise nearly all U.S. cases, to the virus’ spread. On Aug. 14, Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, an infectious disease physician at the University of Southern California, and Dr. Lao-Tzu Allan-Blitz, a resident physician in global health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, published an essay on Medium in which they reviewed the science supporting the argument that during the current outbreak, monkeypox is largely transmitting through anal and oral intercourse between men... Monkeypox is more likely to transmit through oral or anal sex than through contact with external skin, which would need some sort of defect, such as a wound, to allow entry of the virus... across the global outbreak, the virus is also apparently following the same transmission patterns traditionally seen in Africa. But experts assert that just as in those African nations, when the virus transmits through nonsexual means, it does so with dramatically lower efficiency — and thus at a rate similar to the relatively slow spread seen in Africa... the authors of The New England Journal of Medicine paper estimated that just 0.8% of the cases they analyzed were due to nonsexual close contact and 0.6% were due to household contact. By contrast, 95% of these cases were likely acquired during sex between men. The authors of the Lancet paper estimated that 3% of the cases they analyzed transmitted through nonsexual household contact... Harvard’s Lao-Tzu Allan-Blitz acknowledged the pervasive concern that telling the public that monkeypox transmits sexually among gay men will fuel homophobia. He said there is, however, also a cost to keeping quiet about how the virus apparently transmits: This keeps people at risk from best understanding how to protect themselves.   “In our silence, we can also do harm”"
"Stigma" is bad, so this fact needs to be buried

Meme - Hal Bear @pieissatan: "Just be honest for once. You want power and payback. If that means you now use racism then so be it. You don't hate hate, you hate not being in control."
Aurelius Raines II @aureliusr...: "Only of you're honest that power and payback is what we deserve and are owed."

Were American Indians the Victims of Genocide? - "we must begin with the most important reason for the Indians’ catastrophic decline—namely, the spread of highly contagious diseases to which they had no immunity. This phenomenon is known by scholars as a"virgin-soil epidemic"; in North America, it was the norm...  the forced relocations of Indian tribes were often accompanied by great hardship and harsh treatment; the removal of the Cherokee from their homelands to territories west of the Mississippi in 1838 took the lives of thousands and has entered history as the Trail of Tears. But the largest loss of life occurred well before this time, and sometimes after only minimal contact with European traders. True, too, some colonists later welcomed the high mortality among Indians, seeing it as a sign of divine providence; that, however, does not alter the basic fact that Europeans did not come to the New World in order to infect the natives with deadly diseases... Similarly at odds with any such idea is the effort of the United States government at this time to vaccinate the native population. Smallpox vaccination, a procedure developed by the English country doctor Edward Jenner in 1796, was first ordered in 1801 by President Jefferson; the program continued in force for three decades, though its implementation was slowed both by the resistance of the Indians, who suspected a trick, and by lack of interest on the part of some officials. Still, as Thornton writes:"Vaccination of American Indians did eventually succeed in reducing mortality from smallpox."... The view that the Indian problem could be solved by force alone came under vigorous challenge from a number of federal commissioners who from 1832 on headed the Bureau of Indian Affairs and supervised the network of agents and subagents in the field. Many Americans on the eastern seaboard, too, openly criticized the rough ways of the frontier. Pity for the vanishing Indian, together with a sense of remorse, led to a revival of the 18th-century concept of the noble savage. America's native inhabitants were romanticized in historiography, art, and literature, notably by James Fenimore Cooper in his Leatherstocking Tales and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his long poem, The Song of Hiawatha... Wounded Knee has been called"perhaps the best-known genocide of North American Indians." But, as Robert Utley has concluded in a careful analysis, it is better described as"a regrettable, tragic accident of war," a bloodbath that neither side intended. In a situation where women and children were mixed with men, it was inevitable that some of the former would be killed. But several groups of women and children were in fact allowed out of the encampment, and wounded Indian warriors, too, were spared and taken to a hospital. There may have been a few deliberate killings of noncombatants, but on the whole, as a court of inquiry ordered by President Harrison established, the officers and soldiers of the unit made supreme efforts to avoid killing women and children... The crucial role played by intentionality in the Genocide Convention means that under its terms the huge number of Indian deaths from epidemics cannot be considered genocide... Similarly, military engagements that led to the death of noncombatants, like the battle of the Washita, cannot be seen as genocidal acts, for the loss of innocent life was not intended and the soldiers did not aim at the destruction of the Indians as a defined group. By contrast, some of the massacres in California, where both the perpetrators and their supporters openly acknowledged a desire to destroy the Indians as an ethnic entity, might indeed be regarded under the terms of the convention as exhibiting genocidal intent. Even as it outlaws the destruction of a group"in whole or in part," the convention does not address the question of what percentage of a group must be affected in order to qualify as genocide... Of course, it is far from easy to apply a legal concept developed in the middle of the 20th century to events taking place many decades if not hundreds of years earlier. Our knowledge of many of these occurrences is incomplete. Moreover, the malefactors, long since dead, cannot be tried in a court of law, where it would be possible to establish crucial factual details and to clarify relevant legal principles. Applying today’s standards to events of the past raises still other questions, legal and moral alike. While history has no statute of limitations, our legal system rejects the idea of retroactivity (ex post facto laws)... even if some episodes can be considered genocidal—that is, tending toward genocide—they certainly do not justify condemning an entire society. Guilt is personal, and for good reason the Genocide Convention provides that only"persons" can be charged with the crime, probably even ruling out legal proceedings against governments. No less significant is that a massacre like Sand Creek was undertaken by a local volunteer militia and was not the expression of official U.S. policy. No regular U.S. Army unit was ever implicated in a similar atrocity."

Meme - The Punk Rock Autistic: "I am proud to be autistic. I have great pride in my neurodiversity. I have no shame in being who and what I am. Autism is an inseparable part of my identity and experience as a human being. Like others, I have lived through great trials in unlearning conditioning and internalized ableism. it hasn't been easy, but over the years I have come to a place where I no longer need to hide what and who I am. Autistic proud, and autistic strong +#DisabilityPrideMonth #actuallyautistic"
Identity politics means people grasp at anything that makes them different and claim oppression. Nowadays you're not supposed to help autistic people cope with the world - the world is supposed to accommodate them and if you don't or even suggest they change their behavior, you're a bad person

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, A Summer of Fires in Greece - "When Norway was invaded by German forces in 1940 Vidkun Quisling was delighted to see them. He had based his National Union Party on the Nazis, and was duly installed as a puppet leader by the German occupiers. Surely his cabin should be off limits to visitors. Britain and the US may be agonizing over what to do with controversial statues. But Norwegians don't always feel in a dilemma over what to do with Nazi buildings. Here's the difference. My wife says people here really don't see a cabin as evil."

Campus censorship comes for the rainbow flag - "Students at Jesus College, Cambridge say they have been threatened with eviction if they do not remove LGBT flags and political posters from their windows... ‘it is a breach of the terms of your license agreement to display any poster, flag or banner internally or externally from the property’. It promised ‘further action’ if anyone did not do as ordered."
At least a politically neutral prohibition can be defended to some extent

Meme - Communist: "I've never seen any violent crime in my upper middle-class gated community so all you gun nuts are simply racist and detached from reality."

Christina Pushaw 🇺🇸 on Twitter - "This is math homework from a public school district in Missouri. How does this help kids learn algebra, exactly? No wonder China is winning…
Those who are saying it’s fake need a reality check on what kind of content is being promoted in schools nowadays"

Fact check: Homework referenced Maya Angelou's sexual abuse, sex work - "A school district in Missouri drew wide condemnation online after social media users shared posts of a math problem that referenced author and poet Maya Angelou’s sexual abuse and sex work... The first question asks students to fill in the blank to the following prompt: “Angelou was sexually abused by her mother’s ______ at age 8, which shaped her career choices and motivation for writing.” The second says, “Trying to support her son as a single mother, she worked as a pimp, prostitute and ______.”  This was a real assignment given to high schoolers in the Lincoln County R-III School District in Missouri. The full image of the assignment shows additional questions about Angelou’s hometown and professorial career at Wake Forest University, among other topics. It's not the first time these questions have spurred controversy... The assignment was given to about 60 ninth grade students during the week of Feb. 14-18, the district’s community relations director, Audrey Henebry, wrote"

Meme - "This is math homework from a public school district in a Missouri grade class for 14 and 15 year olds. This is the completely irrelevant and inappropriate groomer garbage left-wing teachers are inserting into curriculum to poison the minds of innocent minors.
Name DATE MAYA ANGELOU Maya Angelou (1928 - 2014) is a well-known American author and poet. She 'was one of the first African American women to write publicly about the trials in her personal life and her artistic success led to opportunities to work with 'Martin Luther King Jr. and other Civil Rights Activists, Her first autobiography, Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, brought her national recognition and acclaim. DIRECTIONS: Solve each system of equation by substitution. The word or phrase next to the equivalent solution will complete the statement correctly. A, yeSeed 2. yedee10 yox yorl "Angelou was born in___, Missouti. er real first name was actually (1) Kaneas City (4-2) Calypso. b Springfield & @4 Marguerite fe) St.Louis 62) Mary Cc 3. yexr? 4 -2ety-7 'Angelou was sexually abused by her Angelou studied atthe at age wi ped her California Labor School. career choices and motivation for writing, dance and drama (0,2) boyfriend (10,-51) literature and poetry brother 7) television and film (3-1) father oxey-1 6 yw Bo ye -dxe21 Trying to support her son as a single mother, 'She helped build the Organization of African she worked as a pimp, prostitute and 'American Unity with, (3-2) Bookie (5,3) JullanMayfield 49 NightClub Dancer (3) Martin Luther King"

Auron MacIntyre on Twitter - "Here’s our full story on Paper Terrorism, the new antivaxx/QAnon tactic to strongarm local school boards into banning books, changing rules and altering curriculum."
"Progressives mastered the manipulation of procedural outcomes to win the cultural war. As soon as the right figures out how to play the game they scream “terrorism”"

Portland Store Temporarily Closes To Fix Their 'White Supremacy' After Firing A 'BIPOC' Employee - "The Portland vintage store Artifact has won the virtue signaling award of the week after announcing its temporary closure for staff to undergo training related to racism and “white supremacy.” For reasons the store has declined to mention, management fired a person of color in February. This apparently led to a need to train staff and employees on “microaggression and racial biases” within the store. Enough training was needed, apparently, to completely close the store down for “two to three weeks”"
Comment: "Who wants to bet money that the "microaggression" was telling them to show up on time?"

Growing List Of Shaun King's Nicknames That Have Gone Viral - "King’s initial response to the social media app’s sale was to claim Musk — the world’s wealthiest person — is making the purchase to bolster the world’s “white power” structure... the term “Martin Luther Cream” was trending on Twitter following King’s viral tweet.  Hours later and into Tuesday morning, King appeared to delete his Twitter account in apparent protest of Musk buying the social media company. That promoted the term “Talcum X” to start trending on Twitter...   It seems as though King’s list of nicknames begins trending on social media following every time he is in the news cycle.   That’s what happened in 2020 following Sen. Bernie Sanders’ shellacking by Joe Biden in the South Carolina primary. However, King, who at the time was a Sanders campaign surrogate, had an even rougher time when Twitter completely came for his jugular after he accused MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow of making comments about Sanders that she actually did not say...  King was called out for claiming that Beto O’Rourke supporters reported contacted him “near tears, saying that his endorsement of @JoeBiden ‘felt like a betrayal’ of all they had worked for with Beto. One said he loathed Biden’s campaign for President. They just couldn’t make it make sense.”  However, a former O’Rourke staffer responded to King, debunking his tweet... Black folks quickly began to display their utmost creativity, listing off a series of new nicknames for King, alluding to his habitual storytelling.  “Talcum X has always been my favorite Sh*un King nickname but someone called him Hueless P. Newton, Martin Luther Cream & W.E.B. Defraud and I cant breathe”...
Thurgood Partial | Thurgood Marshall
Pale Revere | Paul Revere
Tupac Sugar | Tupac Shakur
Alexander Scamilton | Alexander Hamilton
Chaka Con | Chaka Khan
Snow J. Simpson | O.J. Simpson
Crooker T. Washington | Booker T. Washington
Cream Abdul Jabbar | Kareem Abdul Jabbar
Lames Baldwin | James Baldwin
Chalkus Garvey | Marcus Garvey"

Activist Shaun King's PAC paid over $40K for guard dog: report - "Controversial activist Shaun King’s progressive political action committee paid a California breeder more than $40,000 for a hulking guard dog — but he apparently returned the powerful pooch because it had “too much energy”... The $40,000-plus that Grassroots Law PAC apparently spent on Marz is nearly equal to the $56,000 in contributions it made to non-federal political candidates in 2021... King, who made a name for himself amid the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement, has repeatedly faced scrutiny over his fundraising efforts and financial dealings, including being accused of soliciting money in the name of 12-year-old police shooting victim Tamir Rice without his mother’s permission."

Pedro L. Gonzalez on Twitter - "PayPal unfreezes Moms for Liberty funds after DeSantis announces crackdown on 'woke' banking"
"PayPal freezes funds for a conservative group. DeSantis threatens PayPal. PayPal unfreezes funds. Why wait for "go woke, go broke" (it's also not true) when you can break the jaw of the woke with political power."
Reply: "I don't relish the idea of using government to pressure private businesses; but when critical financial services are being collectively weaponized for political purposes, that's one point when it's appropriate for government to step in."
Anyone can set up their own power company

Joyce Carol Oates on Twitter - "(a friend who is a literary agent told me that he cannot even get editors to read first novels by young white male writers, no matter how good; they are just not interested. this is heartbreaking for writers who may, in fact, be brilliant, & critical of their own "privilege.")"
Steve Sailer on Twitter - "Judging from the hate-filled replies to Ms. Oates, anti-white male racism/sexism is currently virulent in the literary world."
Steve Sailer on Twitter - "What the replies overlook is that the publishing industry is very white, but it's not all that male these days. According to Lee and Low's 2019 Baseline Survey of Diversity in Publishing, publishing staffers are now "overwhelmingly white women""
David Collard on Twitter - "Name the friend. Name the literary agent. Name the young white male writers and name the editors who reject them. Then stop tweeting."
Steve Sailer on Twitter - "Yes, but what do Joyce Carol Oates and James Patterson know about the book business compared to all the angry people on Twitter?"
Wilfred Reilly on Twitter - "At some obvious level, during the "Great Awokening," this is probably just accurate. As people literally ranging from Steve Sailer to Black execs commenting on my own page have pointed out, the most recent 150 book best-seller list has just 9-10 white guys under 50 on it.
(2) There's a common cliche that objections to affirmative action are basically just racism - "equality feels like oppression." But, this isn't reality. The Latino SAT average is 970, the Asian average is 1220, and "equity" admissions lag one group by 250 points. That's usual."
Plus, the original claim is about new writers, so alleging white male domination of the industry as a whole is besides the point
I like how even if you're proven true, you're supposed to shut up
To liberals, equality is about equal results, so even though "minorities" get a leg up even equality is not yet achieved

Opinion | There’s More Than One Way to Ban a Book - The New York Times - "Over the years, American publishers have fought back against efforts to repress a wide range of works — from Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” to Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” Just last year, Simon & Schuster defended its book deal with former Vice President Mike Pence, despite a petition signed by more than 200 Simon & Schuster employees and other book professionals demanding that the publishing house cancel the deal. The publisher, Dana Canedy, and chief executive, Jonathan Karp, held firm.  The American publishing industry has long prided itself on publishing ideas and narratives that are worthy of our engagement, even if some people might consider them unsavory or dangerous, and for standing its ground on freedom of expression. But that ground is getting shaky. Though the publishing industry would never condone book banning, a subtler form of repression is taking place in the literary world, restricting intellectual and artistic expression from behind closed doors, and often defending these restrictions with thoughtful-sounding rationales. As many top editors and publishing executives admit off the record, a real strain of self-censorship has emerged that many otherwise liberal-minded editors, agents and authors feel compelled to take part in. Over the course of his long career, John Sargent, who was chief executive of Macmillan until last year and is widely respected in the industry for his staunch defense of freedom of expression, witnessed the growing forces of censorship — outside the industry, with overt book-banning efforts on the political right, but also within the industry, through self-censorship and fear of public outcry from those on the far left... Now, many books the left might object to never make it to bookshelves because a softer form of banishment happens earlier in the publishing process: scuttling a project for ideological reasons before a deal is signed, or defusing or eliminating “sensitive” material in the course of editing. Publishers have increasingly instituted a practice of “sensitivity reads,” something that first gained traction in the young adult fiction world but has since spread to books for readers of all ages. Though it has long been a practice to lawyer many books, sensitivity readers take matters to another level, weeding out anything that might potentially offend. Even when a potentially controversial book does find its way into print, other gatekeepers in the book world — the literary press, librarians, independent bookstores — may not review, acquire or sell it, limiting the book’s ability to succeed in the marketplace. Last year, when the American Booksellers Association included Abigail Shrier’s book, “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters,” in a mailing to member booksellers, a number of booksellers publicly castigated the group for promoting a book they considered transphobic. The association issued a lengthy apology and subsequently promised to revise its practices. The group’s board then backed away from its traditional support of free expression, emphasizing the importance of avoiding “harmful speech.” A recent overview in Publishers Weekly about the state of free expression in the industry noted, “Many longtime book people have said what makes the present unprecedented is a new impetus to censor — and self-censor — coming from the left.” When the reporter asked a half dozen influential figures at the largest publishing houses to comment, only one would talk — and only on condition of anonymity. “This is the censorship that, as the phrase goes, dare not speak its name”... The caution is born of recent experience. No publisher wants another “American Dirt” imbroglio, in which a highly anticipated novel was accused of capitalizing on the migrant experience, no matter how well the book sells. No publisher wants the kind of staff walkout that took place in 2020 at Hachette Book Group when the journalist Ronan Farrow protested its plan to publish a memoir by his father, Woody Allen.  It is certainly true that not every book deserves to be published. But those decisions should be based on the quality of a book as judged by editors and publishers, not in response to a threatened, perceived or real political litmus test. The heart of publishing lies in taking risks, not avoiding them. You can understand why the publishing world gets nervous. Consider what has happened to books that have gotten on the wrong side of illiberal scolds. On Goodreads, for example, vicious campaigns have circulated against authors for inadvertent offenses in novels that haven’t even been published yet. Sometimes the outcry doesn’t take place until after a book is in stores. Last year, a bunny in a children’s picture book got soot on his face by sticking his head into an oven to clean it — and the book was deemed racially insensitive by a single blogger. It was reprinted with the illustration redrawn. All this after the book received rave reviews and a New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award... many stories about interracial cooperation that were once hailed for their progressive values (“To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Help”) are now criticized as “white savior” narratives"
Liberal logic - schools not including books liberals like in curricula is "banning" them even if they're widely available, but it's good that books cannot be published
"The same people that want to 'decolonise' and get rid of books written by "white male" authors are the same people claiming that removing books from elementary school curriculums is just like a book burning."

Governor DeSantis Suspends Liberal Attorney For Failing To Enforce The Law On Abortion, Trans Surgeries For Minors - "Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) announced Thursday that “effective immediately,” he is suspending liberal State Attorney Andrew Warren for refusing to uphold the state’s laws. “State Attorneys have a duty to prosecute crimes as defined in Florida law, not to pick and choose which laws to enforce based on his personal agenda,” DeSantis said in a statement. “It is my duty to hold Florida’s elected officials to the highest standards for the people of Florida. I have the utmost trust that Judge Susan Lopez will lead the office through this transition and faithfully uphold the rule of law.”... DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushaw had teased the announcement on Wednesday evening, warning that the announcement would spark “the liberal media meltdown of the year.”  “Progressive prosecutors backed by Soros have refused to enforce laws across the country,” she said in a Thursday tweet. “They treat criminals with deference & victims with contempt. This dereliction of duty is why crime is surging. But @GovRonDeSantis won’t stand for this. He just suspended the one in Florida.”"
So much for liberals saying that you should do your job or get fired

Townhall.com on Twitter - "Ted Cruz grills Dir. Wray over FBI training material listing patriotic flags as militia violent extremism. "What are y'all doing? Do you agree w/ this FBI guidance that the Betsy Ross flag and the Gadsden flag and the Gonzales battle flag are signs of militia violent extremism?""

'Hamilton'’s Lin-Manuel Miranda Tells Orlando: 'Love Is Love Is Love' - "And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love, cannot be killed or swept aside."
This tautological doggerel appears to be saying that all love is equally valid
Someone claimed that I was using "the most superficial interpretation of the term". I went to see what LGBT activists say the term means, but it is remarkably poorly-defined (assuredly because they know it is a vapid slogan). This was the closest thing I found to a definition.

‘Amicable’ option would lead to spike in divorce rates: Focus on the Family Singapore - "Allowing married couples the option to “amicably” divorce would lead to higher divorce rates, charity group Focus on the Family said.  On that basis, the non-profit organisation does not support instituting this divorce option that has been proposed"
The homophiles keep going on about how they should talk about divorce instead of just LGBTs, showing that they're talking shit on a subject they know absolutely nothing about to take cheap shots at a group they not only disagree with but think are evil and in the process show how ignorant they are

Adams condemns Texas governor for busing migrants to New York - "Mayor Eric Adams condemned Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday for sending buses of asylum seekers to New York City... “In addition to Washington, D.C., New York City is the ideal destination for these migrants, who can receive the abundance of city services and housing that Mayor Eric Adams has boasted about within the sanctuary city,” the statement said. “I hope he follows through on his promise of welcoming all migrants with open arms so that our overrun and overwhelmed border towns can find relief.”...   Adams repeated his plea for federal aid to deal with the influx of asylum seekers.  “We need help, and we’re reaching out to the federal government to tell them that we need help,” he said. “We’re going to get through this.”  Abbott recently invited Adams and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to the southern border — an invitation that Adams declined."

Texas buses taking migrants to NYC sets off firestorm from Dems, Abbott tells them to take it up with Biden - "Conservatives leaders in border states and across the country have slammed the president for his immigration policies, including ending the Trump administration’s "Remain in Mexico" policy, announcing an ultimately-failed plan to offer citizenship to 11 million illegal immigrants at the start of his presidential tenure, loosening border enforcement policies, among other issues... The office also hit back at the argument from New York Democrats that some of the migrants bused to New York wanted to go to other areas in the country, but were forced to travel to the Big Apple.   "These migrants willingly chose to go to New York City, having signed a voluntary consent waiver, available in multiple languages, upon boarding that they agreed on the destination""

Migrants say they took Texas governor Abbott’s bus to Washington so they could get closer to Florida - "Mr Abbott announced plans to forcibly bus all migrants entering Texas to the Capitol steps, but scaled back the plans after it was pointed out that he lacks the authority to compel any migrant to set foot on a bus headed out of his jurisdiction.  Instead, Mr Abbott changed course and said the bus trip to Washington would be voluntary... During a 6 April media availability, Mr DeSantis said he would use federal funding made available in previous coronavirus relief legislation to ship migrants to Mr Biden’s home state of Delaware."
Migrants not having a choice in where the bus goes seems to have transmogrified into a claim that they were forced onto the buses

NYC secretly exports homeless to Hawaii and other states without telling receiving pols - "From the tropical shores of Honolulu and Puerto Rico, to the badlands of Utah and backwaters of Louisiana, the Big Apple has sent local homeless families to 373 cities across the country with a full year of rent in their pockets as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Special One-Time Assistance Program.” Usually, the receiving city knows nothing about it...   Not only are officials in towns where the city’s homeless land up in arms, but hundreds of the homeless families are returning to the five boroughs — and some are even suing NYC over being abandoned in barely livable conditions. Multiple outside agencies and organizations have opened investigations into SOTA."
It's only okay when they do it. And it's not like the receiving places boast about breaking the law to help the homeless

Meme - Eric Adams @cricadamsfornyc: ""We should protect our immigrants." Period. Yes, New York City will remain a sanctuary city under an Adams administration. #EricOnNBC" - Oct 12, 2021
"Mayor Adams Says the Influx of Illegal Immigrants Poses a "Real Burden' on New Yorkers From Food to Shelter and Public Schooling" - Jul 21, 2022
Addendum (even better): Daily Caller on Twitter - "Eric Adams on NYC's migrant crisis: "We have not asked for this. There was never any agreement to take on the job of supporting thousands of asylum seekers."

China’s zero-Covid catastrophe threatens Xi’s dream of becoming a new emperor

China’s zero-Covid catastrophe threatens Xi’s dream of becoming a new emperor

"Soros, an avowed anti-communist since escaping Hungary in 1947, claimed to have seen through Xi’s dedication to his eradication of a disease that his country has been accused of creating - whether by negligence or design.

“He never told the Chinese people that they had been inoculated with a vaccine that was designed for the original Wuhan variant and offers very little protection against new variants,” said Soros.

“Xi can’t afford to come clean because he is at a very delicate moment in his career. His second term in office expires in the fall of 2022 and he wants to be appointed to an unprecedented third term, eventually making him ruler for life.

“Everything must be subordinated to this goal.”

Yet this very determination to cling on at all costs could be Xi’s undoing, he warned, as lockdowns devastate the economy and embarrass China on the world stage.

“Contrary to general expectations, Xi Jinping may not get his coveted third term because of the mistakes he has made,” he says.

“But even if he does, the Politburo may not give him a free hand to select the members of the next Politburo. That would greatly reduce his power and influence and make it less likely that he will become ruler for life.”

The next six months are crunch time. Xi is expected to be confirmed for a third five-year term at the 20th National Congress of the CCP in Beijing this November - the next step in his dream of becoming a new emperor.

He has already gone further than many of his predecessors to cement himself at the heart of Chinese politics. ‘Xi Jinping Thought’, derived from the leader’s writings and speeches, have been integrated into the CCP’s constitution for half a decade. 

“This Party Congress gives Xi a chance to set himself a further stage up towards the Deng [Xiaoping, the Chinese revolutionary leader] and the Mao [Zedong] level,” says Rory Green, a China analyst at consultancy TS Lombard.

But he has not had the victory lap he might have hoped for. Since the 19th Congress in 2017 – an event which might have introduced Xi’s successor to the world, yet made clear no such person exists – he has had a dire run.

The horrors in Xinjiang and the fate of the Uyghur people came to the world’s full attention despite Beijing’s best efforts to hide and obfuscate its repression.

Separately, Covid ravaged first Wuhan and then the world. The fact Xi has not left China since the opening weeks of 2020 is a possible sign of how vulnerable he feels to domestic challenges.

Economically, he has hobbled China’s hitherto-unstoppable tech giants, which had seemed on their way to worldwide domination. Hong Kong’s position as a freewheeling financial centre has been trashed as the city is bent to the Communist Party’s will. And now the country is trapped in a nightmare cycle of lockdowns, undermining its industrial base, consumer economy and status as the starting point of the world’s supply chains...

Much of the Communist party’s perceived legitimacy, at least in the eyes of international observers, comes from its multi-decade success in taking the ruined economy under Mao and turning into a global giant. Today, that record looks shaky.

It might have covered up Covid’s spread at first, but once it acted, Beijing was widely thought to have done an effective, if brutal, job in 2020.

Output plunged early in the year, but it was the fastest big economy to recover thanks to rapidly stamping on outbreaks and stimulating growth vigorously.

Now, however, low vaccination rates, particularly among the vulnerable elderly, and a relatively poorly performing jab have left the country exposed, while the political insistence on zero tolerance has translated into repeated savage crackdowns.

While ordinary people are most exposed to the crushing policies, they do not have a say in Xi’s future. Covid rules just so happen to make it easier than ever to control citizens’ movements and prevent protests...

Many of those in the upper echelons of the Party owe their positions to Xi, and those who want to climb higher must follow his wishes.

Steve Tsang, professor at SOAS, says Xi’s almost 10 years at the top have given him time to control the system.

“He is in control of the military, the secret police, the regular police, the supplementary police, the Communist Party apparatus and the government,” he says. That includes replacing all of the generals whose loyalty may have been the least bit suspect.

“He is not a sloucher - he is a hands-on micromanager. The idea of someone within that being able to organise a plot against him without a real cataclysmic catastrophe in China is very unlikely.”

At the same time, Beijing’s zero Covid policy - successful or not - gives Xi more power over his underlings: “The dynamic zero Covid policy as conceived by Xi Jinping is by definition the most amazing, fantastic, correct policy ever, and problems only happened because of people who were implementing them not doing it right,” says Prof Tsang, explaining the Party mindset and the intensity of the leader’s hold over the country’s state-controlled media...

“If you don't have a stable social environment, there will definitely be some political implications,” says Raymond Yeung, Greater China chief economist at Australian bank ANZ.

Those economic struggles are significant, and mark a sudden change to the country’s progress. For decades an engine of the global economy, China now poses a drag on the rest of the world because of his policies...

Goldman Sachs called China’s economy in April “exceedingly weak” with plunging housing construction and sales, stumbling lending and an almost 50pc drop in car production all indicating that GDP was flung into reverse in the second quarter by the latest lockdowns.

The investment bank expects that, even if Covid is now under control and Government stimulus plans work well, the economy will only grow by 4pc this year - well below Beijing’s 5.5pc target. After 2020, that would be the worst performance since 1990.

Analysts at Pantheon Macroeconomics expect the true rate of growth, as opposed to that reported via the opaque statistics of China’s state, to be in the region of 1.6pc this year. 

The one-party state’s efforts to clamber out of this economic hole tend to rely on more spending, ordering banks to lend more and directing regional governments to spend heavily on infrastructure.

Economist Iris Pang at ING is sceptical this will work, leaving the economy struggling to get back to its pre-omicron size...

The labour market is another potential source of pain. Unemployment across the country’s 31 largest cities rose to 6.7pc in April, up from 6pc in March, as lockdowns rippled through the economy and slowed activity – taking joblessness to the highest level since early 2020.

Joblessness among those aged 16 to 24 rose to 18.2pc, the highest figure ever recorded according to official figures. Xi’s recent crackdowns on tech and real estate – two key engines of growth for the Chinese economy – have led to sharp decreases in job openings across both sectors. Many young Chinese people work in e-commerce, which is booming globally but has drawn recent disapproval from Beijing...

“This is the group of people that should be supportive to mortgage or housing demand [in the future],” says ANZ’s Yeung. “If they don't get enough for the downpayment on a future mortgage, there will be macro implications for the economy.”

With nearly 11m graduates poised to enter the jobs market this year, the pressure could soon grow more intense, tipping youth unemployment to 20pc or higher. There is a danger of further waves down the line: as the pandemic raged, the government pushed students to continue their studies rather than enter the world of work...

China’s economic rise, and the financial and political clout it brought, was based on being both cheap and reliable.

Anyone who wanted anything manufactured could go to China and find what they needed, the source of any supply chain.

Now it is neither. Costs were already rising in the years before Covid as the country ran short on the ultra-cheap labour which fuelled its boom, and the government sought to move away from a reliance solely on low-cost production.

And reliability has gone out of the window with the Middle Kingdom now more likely to be associated with chaotic and disrupted supply chains than the hyper-efficient deliveries required for modern “just in time” manufacturing.

Customers live with the threat of an instant and insurmountable lockdown being imposed on the factories making goods for them, and risk months of expensive delays as container ships are stuck outside ports or lorries sent on lengthy alternative routes to avoid Covid hotspots.

Apple was perhaps the greatest advertisement for China’s model of globalisation, earning its place as the world’s most valuable company on the back of Chinese manufacture of its California-designed gadgets.

Yet even the iPhone giant is reported to be looking at moving parts of its operation out of the country. In April, Apple said Covid disruptions and supply chain problems will cost it as much as $8bn of revenues this quarter...

It is not that he is without rivals. There are other power bases built around processes of allegiance and patronage, particularly the ‘Shanghai clique’ of Jiang Zemin, a former general secretary of the Communist Party. Some pundits have suggested Xi may face a challenge from premier Li Keqiang, who has been outspoken on China’s economic challenges.

But Xi’s powerbase is immense: he has the loyalty of the military and controls the media and state security apparatus. Li has no such muscle behind him, and 95-year-old Jiang’s empire has eroded under Xi’s leadership.

“There’s no important force or individual leader at the top level of Chinese politics that is powerful enough to challenge Xi Jinping,” says Cheng Li, director of the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings, the Washington, DC-based think tank.

“Now of course the dynamic may change… but not now. Maybe five or 10 years down the road.”

Prof Tsang judges it unlikely enough rivals can unite to stand in Xi’s way, given his willingness to use repression as a tool of his personal politics at times when he cannot get what he wants through popularity.

“People misunderstand the Communist Party in thinking it will do it [repression] to its opponents - actually, the Party historically has always been harsher to people within the Communist Party who disagree with the leadership. Those are called 'traitors',” he says.

It means the other 24 members of the Politburo beyond Xi, and the six fellow members of its standing committee, are unlikely to put their heads above the parapet.

“Unless they could actually almost unite, it would be very very difficult to take Xi Jinping down. If you do not have a clear, absolute majority and you try to do something and you fail, imagine what may happen to you and your family?” says Tsang."

Links - 2nd September 2022 (1)

Mossad 'likely' behind Salman Rushdie stabbing, claims Denver professor - "The stabbing of novelist Salman Rushdie last week may have been orchestrated by the Mossad, suggested Nader Hashemi, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver... Hashemi went on to suggest that Israel's motive for carrying out a false flag operation would be to galvanize opposition to the ongoing efforts of world powers to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement."Damn Jews!

Salman Rushdie suspect charged with second-degree attempted murder and assault - "Following the attack, questions were raised about the security precautions -- or lack thereof -- at the host institution, which sits in a rural lake resort about 70 miles south of Buffalo, New York. The institution's leadership had rejected recommendations for basic security measures, including bag checks and metal detectors, fearing that would create a divide between speakers and the audience, according to two sources who spoke with CNN. The leadership also feared that it would change the culture at the institution... There were no security searches or metal detectors at the event, a person who witnessed the attack told CNN. The witness is not being identified because they expressed concerns for their personal safety."
Meanwhile, most of the Muslims online commenting are cheering the attack. The best comment (on an Al Jazeera article on the attacker) was: "It is clearly US stupid conspiracy and secret strategical dirty politics and try to increase hate crimes against Muslim community"

(16) Facebook - "I've read The Satanic Verses (TSV). Frankly, I was offended that its literary merits were not as how they were made out to be. In fact, the book itself was a jumbled narrative. It's also a boring piece of work and unlike the kind of jolt I felt when I read Kipandjikusmin's 1968 'Langit Makin Mendung' (The Sky is Getting Cloudy). Surprisingly, the controversial bit was similar to Rushdie's 1988's TSV. Instead of Archangel Gabriel, Kusmin's story had the Prophet himself descending from the sky on the mythical winged creature, buraq; only to crash onto a Russian spacecraft on its descent. He tumbled down to the land of Indonesia, whose people - his ummah - were in an abject state beyond redemption. Before TSV, Indonesian society had debated on the question of freedom of expression, censorship and boundaries in literary works. Much of the reaction towards Rushdie's TSV was due to him resurfacing the incident of the 'Satanic verses' in Muslim tradition, hence invoking the centuries-old accusation that Prophet Muhammad was (at least once in his lifetime), deceived by Satan. But as Shahab Ahmed's extensive study had shown, this was generally not rejected by early Muslims of the first two centuries of Islam. Hence, it was later Muslim scholars who had entirely rejected the incident as fabricated or untrue.  Ahmed had intended his work to demonstrate how truth is constructed within the Islamic tradition. More pointedly, he wanted to uncover how orthodoxy is formed. (I urge you to read his brilliant book, 'What is Islam' to understand his approach.)"

Facebook - "“Nobody has the right to not be offended. That right doesn't exist in any declaration I have ever read. If you are offended it is your problem, and frankly lots of things offend lots of people. I can walk into a bookshop and point out a number of books that I find very unattractive in what they say. But it doesn't occur to me to burn the bookshop down. If you don't like a book, read another book. If you start reading a book and you decide you don't like it, nobody is telling you to finish it. To read a 600-page novel and then say that it has deeply offended you: well, you have done a lot of work to be offended.” ― Salman Rushdie"
That was the 20th century. In the 21st century: "A slur is a knife—if you’re the one holding the handle, you don’t get to decide how sharp it is—this is the sole and sovereign right of the person at its tip."
Ironic that Alfian Sa'at then went on about "these things become less and less about the text itself, but the way it then gets distorted (a theme, ironically, explored in the novel itself), and the way the author gets tarred and demonised)". So much for prioritising "minority" feelings

Keywords: dagger pointed at heart, knife pointed at heart

Meme - "Why did you kill him?
He didn't believe my religion is peaceful"

Auron MacIntyre on Twitter - "The Left: 'Sure, we believe in free speech. But if minorities are offended by your speech, it's hate speech, & there will be consequences' *Salman Rushdie speaks, offends minority, gets stabbed 10 times* The Left: 'Sure, we believe in free speech. But....'"
"Free speech was valuable to the left when it served as a mechanism to undermine the stability of the west and gain entry into its institutions Once they became the dominant force in those institutions they understood the need to pull the ladder up behind them"

Meme - Engr.Rehan M. Sabir (PMLN) @Reha...: "After the attack of Salman Rushdie Insha' Allah the next number is @geertwilderspvv. Any one from the world gave the head of @geertwilderspwy I will give 20 $ million. I want @geertwilderspvv head. We want head. All Muslims want head."
Dutch MP Geert Wilders gets death threat from Pakistani politician - "Twitter has suspended the account of a Pakistani man who announced a bounty of 20 million USD for anybody who beheads Dutch Lawmaker Geert Wilders, referring to the attack on author Salman Rushdie in New York. Rehan M Sabir made threat calls announcing the bounty for beheading Geert Wilders. His Twitter profile, which has now been suspended, mentions that he is a leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), the ruling party in Pakistan...   The threat against Geert Wilders is comparable to the one made to Salman Rushdie by Islamists all around the world. Notably, Wilders has consistently backed former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesman Nupur Sharma when she got death threats from Islamists for comments she made about the Islamic prophet. Wilders has been speaking constantly against Islamic fanaticism across the globe."

J.K. Rowling on Twitter - ".@TwitterSupport These are your guidelines, right? "Violence: You may not threaten violence against an individual or a group of people. We also prohibit the glorification of violence... "Terrorism/violent extremism: You may not threaten or promote terrorism...""
U.K. Police Investigate Online Threat to J.K. Rowling - The New York Times - "The authorities in the United Kingdom said on Sunday that they were investigating an online threat against the author J.K. Rowling after she offered support on social media to Salman Rushdie, the novelist who was attacked last week at an event in western New York.   Hours after the attack on Mr. Rushdie, who was stabbed roughly 10 times as he prepared to speak at the Chautauqua Institution, Ms. Rowling tweeted her condolences. She first wrote on Twitter, “Horrifying news,” then added: “Feeling very sick right now. Let him be OK.”  In response, a user with the handle @MeerAsifAziz1 replied: “Don’t worry you are next.”... Ms. Rowling, 57, who wrote the award-winning “Harry Potter” books, assailed Twitter for allowing the social media account that lodged the threat to remain active."

Meme - "Vehicle type: motorcycle
Gender: unclear
Age: child
Hairstyle: head is covered
Helmet: none
Bag/luggage: unclear
Clothing: long sleeve
Clothing color: black
Number of passenger: 1
Vehicle color: black
Translation from the Mandarin
AI is going to make everyone unemployed. Long live artificial intelligence!

Meme - "Barber: what you want bro
her: you know that precambrian-era sedimentation of precipitated iron oxide
barber: say no more fam"

Meme - ">Australia had a rabbit plague in the mid 1800s
>They tried a variety of methods to get rid of them
>Eventually they got desperate, and switched to the unconventional
>They made fake rabbits that were more attractive than the real rabbits
>The ones attracted to the fake rabbits didn't breed and the population was thus reduced
>Tfw they're doing it with people now
>Tfw I figured out why Anime girls exist
The scary part is from what I've seen, it's working."

My ex cheated on me, so I posed as a recruiter and put him through a month-long job interview then had the last laugh - "When my ex cheated on me so I posed as a LinkedIn recruiter and made him go thru a month long interview process and then sent him a rejection letter about how he’s not s***"

The One Parenting Decision That Really Matters - The Atlantic - "the family a kid was raised in had surprisingly little impact on how that kid ended up. Unrelated children adopted into the same home ended up only a little more similar than unrelated children who were raised separately. The effects of nature on a child’s future income were some 2.5 times larger than the effects of nurture... parents have only small effects on their children’s health, life expectancy, education, and religiosity (though studies have found that they have moderate effects on drug and alcohol use and sexual behavior, particularly during the teenage years, as well as how kids feel about their parents)... One of the largest randomized controlled trials on breastfeeding found that it had no significant long-term effect on a variety of outcomes. A careful study of television use among preschoolers found that TV had no long-term effects on child test scores. A randomized trial suggests that teaching kids cognitively demanding games, such as chess, doesn’t make them smarter in the long term. A meta-analysis of bilingualism found that it has only small effects on a child’s cognitive performance, and that even these may be due to a bias in favor of publishing positive study results... Three of the biggest predictors that a neighborhood will increase a child’s success are the percent of households in which there are two parents, the percent of residents who are college graduates, and the percent of residents who return their census forms. These are neighborhoods, in other words, with many role models: adults who are smart, accomplished, engaged in their community, and committed to stable family lives. There is more evidence for just how powerful role models can be. A different study that Chetty co-authored found that girls who move to areas with lots of female patent holders in a specific field are far more likely to grow up to earn patents in that same field. And another study found that Black boys who grow up on blocks with many Black fathers around, even if that doesn’t include their own father, end up with much better life outcomes."

Your role at your school's Christmas play is linked to your salary - "children who played an ox in their school nativity went on to earn the highest salaries later in life, with adults who played the part landing an average salary of £43,000 ($55,370)... those who had played Angel Gabriel in their school pageant were the second-highest earners, with an average income of £40,000. Playing the role of Mary or Joseph correlated to an average annual income of £39,000 and £38,000 respectively, the data showed. At the other end of the scale, kids who played a sheep or lamb in the school nativity made less than half of the former oxen’s average income in later years, earning an average £20,000... Children who played Mary were most likely to grow up to work in the retail industry, while those who landed the part of Joseph were most likely to go on to a career in finance or banking. Most of those who had played Angel Gabriel in their school nativity worked in marketing, while playing an ox was linked to working in advertising. Lambs and angels were most likely to pursue a career in health care"

Meme - "Never judge a book by its cover : Superior Judge Shannon Frison of Massachusetts Boston *tattoos*
'I'm a superior judge, you can't arrest me,' Massachusetts Judge Shannon Frison yells during her domestic assault arrest, police reports say"

Meme - "Neo-Gastonism
An inherently right wing three point political ideology based on the tenants practiced by Gaston in The Beauty and the Beast.
1) Women Can't Read
2) We eat a lot of eggs
3) We beat the shit out of furries"

TikTok Content Moderator Sues, Says She Has PTSD From Job - "TikTok is preventing a content moderator from working after she sued the company, alleging it did not provide a safe workplace and that her work gave her post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), her lawyer said. Candie Frazier's class-action lawsuit, was first reported by The Verge, accuses TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance, of injuring content moderators by having them engage in an abnormally dangerous activity... Frazier's lawyer, Steve Williams, alleged to Insider that TikTok disciplined her "in retaliation" by prohibiting her from working one day after she filed the lawsuit"
Sounds like she couldn't make up her mind about working

Facebook Content Moderator (Skank) Suing the Zuck Because She Got PTSD From Posts - "If content moderation inevitably involves looking at “disturbing content,” then what exactly is Facebook supposed to do? Get a second team of moderators to check stuff first, to make sure it’s not too disturbing for the snowflake moderators? Lol. Won’t that team get the PTSD, then?
'Selena Scola was a content moderator at Facebook’s Menlo Park, California headquarters from June 2017 through March of this year, according to the lawsuit. She worked for a contractor called Pro Unlimited, Inc., which helps Facebook delete content that violates its Community Standards'...
I have a modest proposal. If Facebook wants a content moderation team which is proven to be totally impervious to all forms of disturbing imagery, as well as a constitutional incapacity to be offended by things they see on the internet, they need to hire /pol/acks as mods – exclusively. /pol/ is known as a cesspit of rogue heroism, where only the most hardened internet veterans dare lurk. You can be sure that by hiring these people, you ensure they will never sue you for getting digital PTSD for whatever milquetoast crap they’ll find of Facebook. Unless it’s like, super lulzy to do so. In any case, it’s clear that these snowflake skanks are not up to the job. Or… any job."

Facebook moderators break their NDAs to expose desperate working conditions

Oxytocin promotes human ethnocentrism - "Human ethnocentrism—the tendency to view one's group as centrally important and superior to other groups—creates intergroup bias that fuels prejudice, xenophobia, and intergroup violence. Grounded in the idea that ethnocentrism also facilitates within-group trust, cooperation, and coordination, we conjecture that ethnocentrism may be modulated by brain oxytocin, a peptide shown to promote cooperation among in-group members. In double-blind, placebo-controlled designs, males self-administered oxytocin or placebo and privately performed computer-guided tasks to gauge different manifestations of ethnocentric in-group favoritism as well as out-group derogation. Experiments 1 and 2 used the Implicit Association Test to assess in-group favoritism and out-group derogation. Experiment 3 used the infrahumanization task to assess the extent to which humans ascribe secondary, uniquely human emotions to their in-group and to an out-group. Experiments 4 and 5 confronted participants with the option to save the life of a larger collective by sacrificing one individual, nominated as in-group or as out-group. Results show that oxytocin creates intergroup bias because oxytocin motivates in-group favoritism and, to a lesser extent, out-group derogation. These findings call into question the view of oxytocin as an indiscriminate “love drug” or “cuddle chemical” and suggest that oxytocin has a role in the emergence of intergroup conflict and violence."

Kathleen Dehmlow obituary: Children strike back at absentee mother in scathing obituary - The Washington Post - "“In 1962 she became pregnant by her husband’s brother Lyle Dehmlow and moved to California,” the obituary reads, spiraling. “She abandoned her children, Gina and Jay who were then raised by her parents in Clements, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Schunk.” By the fifth paragraph, it is clear what her children feel about their mother — and her chances in the hereafter: “She passed away on May 31, 2018 in Springfield and will now face judgement. She will not be missed by Gina and Jay, and they understand that this world is a better place without her.”... It’s not unheard of for aggrieved family members to use the last words written about a person to get the last word, said Susan Soper, an expert on obituaries and the creator of a workbook that helps people write their own. Others have used obituaries to shed light on the damaging addictions that consumed their loved ones. The motivations of family members can be as simple as they are powerful: catharsis, bitterness, anger.... Marianne Theresa Johnson-Reddick’s daughter outlined many of her mother’s sins in a 2013 death notice. “Marianne Theresa John­son-Reddick born Jan 4, 1935 and died alone on Sept. 30, 2013,” the obituary read. “She is sur­vived by her 6 of 8 children whom she spent her lifetime torturing in every way pos­sible … Everyone she met, adult or child was tortured by her cruelty and exposure to violence, criminal activity, vulgarity, and hatred of the gentle or kind human spirit.” Perhaps even more scathing than the words in the newspaper was the essay Katherine Reddick wrote in XO Jane, explaining why she wrote it. According to her daughter, Johnson-Reddick beat her children during hours-long tantrums, routinely hurled whatever was in reach at them, and also encouraged them to steal from neighbors, beat each other and sleep silently on the kitchen floor while she worked as an escort. On weekend nights, she would go out on the town, drugging the younger children so they wouldn’t cause trouble and forcing the older ones to subsist on dog food. Reddick, said the obituary “expressed authentic and heartfelt reflections about a woman who never resembled a mother… “For myself, it took her death to no longer fear her sudden and unexpected rants of abuse,” she wrote. “Even though I am older, happier and much gentler, I’ve never felt a greater sense of peace or relief than the day my brother called me singing ‘Ding, dong, the witch is dead.’ ”... “Leslie’s hobbies included being abusive to his family, expediting trips to heaven for the beloved family pets and fishing … With Leslie’s passing he will be missed only for what he never did; being a loving husband, father and good friend.”... in 2012, Val Patterson, a scientist from Salt Lake City admitted in his mostly lighthearted obituary that he didn’t have a doctorate in engineering — and that he hadn’t even graduated from college: “What happened was that the day I went to pay off my college student loan at the U of U, the girl working there put my receipt into the wrong stack, and two weeks later, a PhD diploma came in the mail. I didn’t even graduate, I only had about 3 years of college credit. In fact, I never did even learn what the letters “PhD” even stood for. For all of the Electronic Engineers I have worked with, I’m sorry, but you have to admit my designs always worked very well, and were well engineered, and I always made you laugh at work.”"

Why Liberals Are More Intelligent Than Conservatives
Since liberals tell us that IQ tests don't measure intelligence, only how good you are at taking IQ tests, it's good to know that this research is meaningless

What Does 'American' Actually Mean? - The Atlantic - "In Latin America, "American" means anyone from the American continent. U.S. citizens claiming the word are considered gauche or imperialist... Brazil, fascinatingly enough, is the exception to the broader Latin American rule, though the country has always remained largely independent of the Spanish-influenced narrative the majority of Latin America shares. Brazilians, like Canadians, actually do use "American"--in Portuguese, "americano/a"--to refer to those from the U.S."

The Unfriend-Me Pledge - "I cannot let your “unfriend me now” post go unrebuked, for several reasons:
1. It is a childish cry for attention. We all put our opinions on social media. If there are Nazis, racists, pedophiles, devil-worshipers, vampires (or whatever else your sanctimonious post was denouncing) on your friends list, chances are you already know who they are. Instead of taking care of it yourself like an adult and directly unfriending them, you chose to show the world what a righteous human you are.
2. You’re actually helping bad ideas spread. I understand what you’re trying to do. By taking a stand against an obvious evil and refusing to allow it to get a hearing, you want to deprive bad ideas of legitimacy and prevent them from gaining influence. This is misguided. It will have the opposite effect. If you really want to stop the spread of false, dangerous, and evil ideas in yourself and others, you will want to make it as difficult as possible for people to avoid being confronted with their mistakes. Promoting a culture in which people refuse to listen (and respond) to viewpoints they find repugnant makes it that much easier for demagogues to build audiences that are sequestered from any criticism. It’s like fighting mold by shutting out the sunlight.
3. It is an advertisement of your own lack of curiosity and unwillingness to introspect about your beliefs. Meeting someone with values that are alien to our own way of thinking is an opportunity to learn how preposterous beliefs can seem plausible in the mind of another person. It’s worth knowing something about the mental habits that can lead a person to believe the world is flat. It is an opportunity to uncover one’s own ethical blind spots, by asking, “Am I engaged in any similar error? Does this type of mistake also apply to me in some other area?”
4. It is the death of nuance. “You’re either with me, or against me.” “Politics are personal.” “My freedom/humanity/right to X, etc. isn’t up for debate.” “Unfriend me.” These are rhetorical tactics easily wielded by either side of any contention to bully people into conformity."

Look mum, my new trick is SMASHING! Young brothers become YouTube hit with tablecloth stunt that goes badly wrong - "The stunt was risky enough when only the family's crockery was at stake. But no one - least of all the unwitting child stars of a YouTube hit - could have anticipated that a traditional tablecloth stunt could go so wrong. The incredible video, watched 1.3million times, shows how the trick caused a bookcase to fall on top of one of the participants... many viewers and bloggers claim that the stunt was staged. One commented on YouTube: 'Of course its fake, you can see blondie totally braces for the blow he knew it was coming... Some claim the film was stopped and a dummy replaced the blonde boy, with the cabinet held by ropes."

MoviePass relaunching with ad service that tracks your eyeballs - "Instead of allowing users to watch unlimited films for $10 a month — a business model that drew customers but failed to yield profits — the new MoviePass will offer a tiered service, with movies costing "credits" based on their popularity and screening time. Another twist: When the service relaunches this summer, subscribers will be able to earn credits by watching ads on their phone — provided they allow the software to track their eye movements to ensure they're watching the ads."

Top church official says gay sex within the Vatican has 'never been worse' - "reports emerged of Vatican officials breaking up an alleged orgy at the apartment of a senior cardinal. A ‘reliable senior member of the curia’ confirmed the reports of gay drug-fuelled orgies. Vatican police raided the apartment after neighbors complained of loud noise. But according to the National Catholic Register, this has been happening since the start of Pope Francis’s popeship in 2012... According to Christine de Marcellus Vollmer, a founding member of the Pontifical Academy for Life and president of the Latin American Alliance for the Family, ‘the smoke of Satan has infiltrated the Church’... Vollmer claims some Church leaders are ‘fostering heretical sexual behavior’ and have formed ‘a group of extremely powerful old Cardinals of the 1970’s generation of liberals.’"

Do Big Unions Buy Politicians? - "The public service unions negotiate on behalf of these workers for their wages, benefits, and working conditions. And who is the on other side of the table? Our elected representatives, the people in charge of spending the money we pay to government in taxes. Think about this for a moment and you will immediately realize that the goal of the public employee unions is to negotiate with union-friendly politicians. And the way to get friendly with a politician is to help him get elected. Which is exactly what the unions do. First, they have a lot of money. In many states, working for the government is a closed shop: that is, to work for the government you have to pay dues to the union. This guarantees these unions a large membership and a large pot of cash. Spreading this money around, especially in local elections, goes a long way. Second, unions provide union-friendly candidates, at no charge, with seasoned political activists to help run campaigns. These activists marshall other union members to put up campaign signs, work the phones, and gather up loyal voters on election day. This is a proven strategy. And candidates, especially in the big cities where there are a lot of public employees, know it. Courting union support is critical to victory... cities and states overpay their workers -- by a lot. Trash collection in Dallas, Texas, a state whose government workers are not unionized, costs $74 per ton. Trash collection in Chicago, whose government workers are unionized, costs $231 per ton. These kinds of inefficiencies exist everywhere public unions dominate. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. The iceberg is the pension arrangements that provide public employees with retirement benefits that vastly exceed the retirement benefits in the private sector. Four cities in California -- Vallejo, Stockton, Mammoth Lakes and San Bernardino -- have declared bankruptcy largely because of the burden of paying public employee pensions. The same is true of Detroit, the nation's largest bankruptcy ever. And it's only getting worse. By 2030 the number of retired public workers will equal the number of working public workers. You can read more about this in my book Government against Itself, but suffice it to say this is not a pretty picture. All this spending on public service unions crowds out tax money for things we need -- such as better roads, services and schools. Finally, some courts and politicians have summoned the courage to make much needed reforms. But it's never easy, as we saw in Wisconson in when thousands of union protesters overran the state capitol for weeks. But reform is coming. It must. If it doesn't, cities like Detroit will be the rule, not the exception. So, the next time someone complains about Big Banks, Big Oil or Big Pharma, ask if they are equally concerned about Big Unions. They should be."
Political lobby groups are only bad when liberals disapprove of them

Author of Nikkei Asia article about KTV COVID-19 cluster fined for having obscene videos, photos
Interestingly, the Andy Wong Ming Jun case shows that in Singapore if you possess porn but not distribute it, you only get a fine. $10 per video/photo in this case. But so much for Singapore saying they don't go after people who just download porn: only those who distribute it

'Breakfast Food' Is a Lie - The Atlantic - "There’s no good reason you can’t eat a chicken-parmesan hoagie for breakfast. That’s what I decided last year when I woke up one morning, hungover and ravenous, craving the sandwich’s very specific combination of fried chicken cutlet, melted mozzarella, and tomato sauce. “Breakfast food,” as a category, suddenly felt like my middle school’s dress code: unnecessarily prim and preordained by people whose rules I should no longer heed... “Breakfast food” might be an arbitrary concept in America, but it’s a distinct one: cereal with milk, a cup of yogurt, eggs, muffins, fruit, oatmeal, juice. Maybe pancakes or waffles on the weekend, if you have some extra time. There are some regional variations, like bagels or biscuits, but the menu tends to be far more predictable than lunch or dinner. And although American breakfast isn’t nutritionally or philosophically cohesive, how the country goes about its morning meal isn’t a mistake. Modern breakfast in the United States tells the story of more than a century of cultural upheaval... “There’s no good reason why we should have so much sugar in the morning, or something cold.” In fact, the value of eating breakfast at all isn’t exactly settled science. Its role as the “most important meal of the day”? All marketing... “Food is a domain of habit,” Ray says, and that’s particularly true for the morning meal. “People are just waking up, and they need their caffeine-delivery system and they need their cereal and they don’t want too much thinking about it.” He has noticed American-style breakfasts spreading to places like India and China in much the same way they took over this country during the 20th century: as a mixture of convenience and class marker while labor forces modernize."
All countries have breakfast foods.

Thursday, September 01, 2022

Links - 1st September 2022 (2 - Organic Food, Sri Lanka, and Farming & Climate Change)

Author Robert Paarlberg argues against buying organic - "Nearly half of all Americans claim to prefer organic food, and the label has spread far beyond food. You can now buy organic lipstick, organic underwear, and even organic water... America’s farmers so far have certified less than 1 percent of their cropland for organic production, and fewer than 2 percent of commodities grown in 2017 were organic... fewer than 6 percent of total retail food purchases are organic products... Farmers tend to hold back because producing food organically requires more human labor to handle the composted animal manure used for fertilizer, as well as more labor to control weeds without chemicals (sometimes putting down nonbiodegradable plastic mulch instead). It also requires more land for every bushel of production, further driving up costs. Trying to grow all of our food organically today would require farming a much wider area, damaging wildlife habitat. Rachel Carson, the founder of our modern environmental movement, never endorsed organic farming... The rules for organic farming do deliver some clear benefit in the livestock sector. Producers of organic meat, milk, and eggs are required to provide their animals with more space to move around, an important plus for animal welfare. Also, animal products cannot be labeled organic if the animals were fed or treated with antibiotics, which is good for slowing the emergence of resistant bacterial strains dangerous to human health. Yet even for livestock the organic rule malfunctions, since the animals can only be given feeds grown organically, and organic corn and soy have lower yields per acre, so more land must be planted and plowed.  Consumers tend to favor organic food because they believe the advocates who claim it is safer and more nutritious to eat, but there is little or no scientific evidence to support these claims. Others buy organic food because they assume it comes from farms that are smaller, more traditional, and more diverse, but this is not a safe assumption either. Most organic food on the market today comes from highly specialized, industrial-scale farms, not so different from those that produce conventional food.   It doesn’t usually pay to challenge popular beliefs, even with scientific evidence, but some have felt compelled to do so in the case of organic agriculture. Louise O. Fresco, trained as an agronomist, is the president of Wageningen University in the Netherlands, the world’s leading agricultural university. In her 2016 book “Hamburgers in Paradise,” she drew a harsh conclusion: “Organic farming as a whole is a mish-mash of valuable goals and ideals that have either been insufficiently tested or are completely misguided.” Scientists like Fresco view the organic vision as fundamentally misguided because it depends on an ungrounded distinction between materials that come from nature versus those fabricated by human industry...   Visions that privilege what comes from nature over what is made by people have a mystical appeal, but they malfunction as practical guidance. Nature is often alluring and attractive, yet natural materials are anything but safe. Arsenic, nickel, and chromium are all dangerous carcinogens, and all come from nature. Many plants that are found in nature contain dangerous poisons, ranging from the deadly ricin found in castor beans (familiar to fans of “Breaking Bad”) to the itch-inducing urushiol in common poison ivy. .. Copper sulfate is permitted as a fungicide because it isn’t synthetic, but careless use of this chemical can leave dangerous residues on food and pollute our streams. Animal manure is natural, and an excellent fertilizer when composted, but dangerous bacteria will be introduced into fields and also into groundwater systems if a farmer fails to get the heat in the compost pile up to at least 140 degrees. A close friend with a field of organic blueberries on her hilltop farm in Maine developed serious stomach problems when she located her compost pile too close to the well. The biggest weakness in the organic rule is absolutism. Cutting back on the use of manufactured fertilizer is frequently a good idea, but the idea of cutting back to zero is needlessly rigid and absolute. Quests for purity in food and farming are not as dangerous as they are in race or religion, but they are just as lacking in scientific justification, and the advocates can be just as exasperating... The conviction that organic food is a better choice did not become widespread in the United States until the 1980s, when national media reported a number of food safety scares linked to pesticide residues on fresh fruits and vegetables...   Consumers pay considerably more for organic. In 2018, the Food Marketing Institute reported that the average retail price (by volume) for organic produce was 54 percent higher than for conventional produce. One USDA study showed that organic salad mix cost 60 percent more than conventional; organic milk 72 percent more; and organic eggs 82 percent more. Organic corn and soybeans sell for twice as much as conventional. These are high premiums, but not high enough to move most farmers toward organic, because the farming costs required by organic methods can be higher still.   There is nothing novel about producing foods without the use of synthetic chemicals. Before science first made these chemicals available to farmers early in the 20th century, all crops were de facto organic. When synthetic nitrogen first became available for fertilizer, farmers who began using it saved on labor and enjoyed higher crop yields. The timing was fortunate, since the earth’s population was just then in the process of increasing from two billion up to nearly eight billion today. Vaclav Smil, from the University of Manitoba, has estimated that without nitrogen fertilizer, 40 percent of the increase in food production needed to feed these much larger numbers would never have taken place. For at least a third of humanity in the world’s most populous countries, the use of nitrogen fertilizer in the 20th century made the difference between an adequate diet and malnutrition... organic food only became commercially significant in America after a series of media-led cancer scares linked to pesticide residues on foods. The climax came in 1989 with a report on “60 Minutes” (viewed by 18 million households) describing the chemical Alar, used on apples, as “the most potent cancer-causing agent in the food supply today.”  “60 Minutes” had mostly ignored the views of toxicologists. Four years earlier an EPA report had shown that consuming the Alar residues found on food over a lifetime would bring an added risk of only 1 more cancer death per 10,000 people. The director of the National Cancer Institute’s cancer etiology division went further, characterizing the cancer risks from eating Alar-treated apples as nonexistent... Organic today usually does not mean local, since 38 percent of all organic sales originate from California. America’s leading source of organic tea and ginger is actually China. Retail chains do sometimes source small batches of organic food from independent local growers, but often just as window dressing...   Assuming the rules do not change, a continued expansion of the organic sector will most likely come from investments by big corporate players who stay just barely within the rules by devising technical workarounds"

Does organic food taste better? A claim substantiation approach - "As the demand for organic foods has grown globally, disputes have arisen on whether organic foods are more nutritious, safer, and better for the environment. To many consumers, though, a major issue is whether organic foods taste different and, especially if they are being asked to pay a premium price, whether they taste better. Via the use of sensory analysis using trained panellists, and consumer testing, research was carried out to determine whether the claim of “organic food tastes better” could be substantiated. The study found that organic orange juice was perceived as tasting better than conventional orange juice; however, no differences were found between organic and conventional milk. Therefore, it is concluded that the global claim that “organic food tastes better” is not valid, and each product type should be treated separately before a claim can be made."

Organic food labels as a signal of sensory quality—insights from a cross-cultural consumer survey - "Results show that the presence of an organic label may lead to an enhancement of taste perception. With the exception of Italy, consumers evaluated the same product sample slightly better when an organic label was shown. For the evaluation of conventional products, the opposite effect was found for three out of six countries. These findings reveal that the positive sensory image of the organic food branch transfers to single organic products, resulting in a better taste evaluation"

Research urged to determine clear-cut benefits of organic foods - "The authors, based at the Limerick Institute of Technology, report that their comprehensive review of the literature shows the difficulty in concluding that organic foods are in any way superior to their conventional counterparts in terms of health promoting compounds... The review of available literature also suggests that there is no statistically significant difference between the sensory properties of organic and conventional fruits and vegetables, concluded the authors.  “A survey has shown that many people believe that organic food tastes better; however, blind sensory evaluation studies have so far failed to show any significant difference... The safety of organic versus conventional foods also remains unresolved, find the reviewers.  “Strict regulation in Ireland means that promotion of organic foods due to health risks from chemicals used in conventional agriculture is not correct; however, IOFGA ‘reasons to buy organic’may show amore ecological basis to buying organic.  Many reviews on the safety of organic versus conventional foods suggest a risk of microbial contamination due to the use of manure as oppose to chemical fertilisers, find the team.  However, they report that no literature was found to support this. They also note that research appears to indicate that organic and conventional produce are equally susceptible to environmental contaminants."

Antioxidants in Organics: Hype or Hard Science? - "A well-publicized 2012 meta-analysis done by Stanford University proclaimed, no, organic foods provide no nutritional advantage. A 2011 meta-analysis of similar scope said yes, they do. The intricacies and potential flaws in nearly every study float well above the heads of most journalists and consumers, leaving us unsure of what interpretation of the data to believe... if antioxidant levels were included in the study, organic foods show significantly higher levels... The study also found that conventional foods are four times more likely to carry pesticide residues."

Sri Lanka’s Plunge Into Organic Farming Brings Disaster - The New York Times - "This year’s crop worries M.D. Somadasa. For four decades, he has sold carrots, beans and tomatoes grown by local farmers using foreign-made chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which helped them reap bigger and richer crops from the verdant hills that ring his hometown.  Then came Sri Lanka’s sudden, and disastrous, turn toward organic farming. The government campaign, ostensibly driven by health concerns, lasted only seven months. But farmers and agriculture experts blame the policy for a sharp drop in crop yields and spiraling prices that are worsening the country’s growing economic woes and leading to fears of food shortages. Prices for some foodstuffs, like rice, have risen by nearly one-third compared with a year ago, according to Sri Lanka’s central bank. The prices of vegetables like tomatoes and carrots have risen to five times their year-ago levels... Sri Lanka’s plantation minister, Ramesh Pathirana, confirmed a partial reversal of the policy, telling the country’s Parliament that the government would be importing fertilizer necessary for tea, rubber and coconut, which make up the nation’s major agricultural exports... Chemical fertilizers are essential tools for modern agriculture. Still, governments and environmental groups have grown increasingly concerned about their overuse. They have been blamed for growing water pollution problems, while scientists have found increased risks of colon, kidney and stomach cancer from excessive nitrate exposure. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa cited health concerns when his government banned the importation of chemical fertilizers in April, a pledge he had initially made during his 2019 election campaign... Mr. Rajapaksa’s critics pointed to another reason: Sri Lanka’s dwindling reserves of money. Covid-19 lockdowns devastated Sri Lanka’s tourist industry, which generates one-tenth of the country’s economic output and provides a major source of foreign currency. The domestic currency, the rupee, has lost about one-fifth of its value, limiting Sri Lanka’s ability to purchase food and supplies abroad just as prices were rising. That added to lingering problems like its huge debt load, including on high-interest loans from Chinese state banks that required it to take out still more loans... Food prices shot up in September, and people formed lines outside shops for basic items such as milk powder and kerosene. Mr. Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency to regulate prices and prevent the hoarding of essential items. The government also introduced import restrictions on nonessential items in hopes of dealing with the dwindling foreign exchange."
If you die of hunger, you can't die of cancer
Amusingly, someone claimed that saying that they were going organic was just spin and they just banned fertiliser imports because they were short on foreign currency. Given that it was in Gotabaya's 2019 election platform boasting about it, that was hilarious cope

What next for Sri Lanka? | World Economic Forum - "Given its education levels, Sri Lanka may be able to move directly into more technologically advanced sectors, high-productivity organic farming, and higher-end tourism"
Stiglitz, from 2016

Sri Lanka's Organic Farming Experiment Went Catastrophically Wrong - "Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa promised in his 2019 election campaign to transition the country’s farmers to organic agriculture over a period of 10 years. Last April, Rajapaksa’s government made good on that promise, imposing a nationwide ban on the importation and use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and ordering the country’s 2 million farmers to go organic.  The result was brutal and swift. Against claims that organic methods can produce comparable yields to conventional farming, domestic rice production fell 20 percent in just the first six months. Sri Lanka, long self-sufficient in rice production, has been forced to import $450 million worth of rice even as domestic prices for this staple of the national diet surged by around 50 percent. The ban also devastated the nation’s tea crop, its primary export and source of foreign exchange... The government is also offering $200 million to farmers as direct compensation and an additional $149 million in price subsidies to rice farmers who incurred losses. That hardly made up for the damage and suffering the ban produced... Human costs have been even greater. Prior to the pandemic’s outbreak, the country had proudly achieved upper-middle-income status. Today, half a million people have sunk back into poverty. Soaring inflation and a rapidly depreciating currency have forced Sri Lankans to cut down on food and fuel purchases as prices surge. The country’s economists have called on the government to default on its debt repayments to buy essential supplies for its people... Sri Lanka’s journey through the organic looking glass and toward calamity began in 2016, with the formation, at Rajapaksa’s behest, of a new civil society movement called Viyathmaga. On its website, Viyathmaga describes its mission as harnessing the “nascent potential of the professionals, academics and entrepreneurs to effectively influence the moral and material development of Sri Lanka.” Viyathmaga allowed Rajapaksa to rise to prominence as an election candidate and facilitated the creation of his election platform. As he prepared his presidential run, the movement produced the “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour,” a sprawling agenda for the nation that covered everything from national security to anticorruption to education policy, alongside the promise to transition the nation to fully organic agriculture within a decade... Rajapaksa... [was] relying on representatives of the nation’s small organic sector; academic advocates for alternative agriculture; and, notably, the head of a prominent medical association who had long promoted dubious claims about the relationship between agricultural chemicals and chronic kidney disease in the country’s northern agricultural provinces... From the early days of the Green Revolution in the 1960s, Sri Lanka has subsidized farmers to use synthetic fertilizer. The results in Sri Lanka, as across much of South Asia, were startling: Yields for rice and other crops more than doubled. Struck by severe food shortages as recently as the 1970s, the country became food secure while exports of tea and rubber became critical sources of exports and foreign reserves. Rising agricultural productivity allowed widespread urbanization, and much of the nation’s labor force moved into the formal wage economy, culminating in Sri Lanka’s achievement of official upper-middle-income status in 2020.   By 2020, the total cost of fertilizer imports and subsidies was close to $500 million each year. With fertilizer prices rising, the tab was likely to increase further in 2021. Banning synthetic fertilizers seemingly allowed Rajapaksa to kill two birds with one stone: improving the nation’s foreign exchange situation while also cutting a massive expenditure on subsidies from the pandemic-hit public budget.  But when it comes to agricultural practices and yields, there is no free lunch. Agricultural inputs—chemicals, nutrients, land, labor, and irrigation—bear a critical relationship to agricultural output. From the moment the plan was announced, agronomists in Sri Lanka and around the world warned that agricultural yields would fall substantially. The government claimed it would increase the production of manure and other organic fertilizers in place of imported synthetic fertilizers. But there was no conceivable way the nation could produce enough fertilizer domestically to make up for the shortfall.   Having handed its agricultural policy over to organic true believers, many of them involved in businesses that would stand to benefit from the fertilizer ban, the false economy of banning imported fertilizer hurt the Sri Lankan people dearly... the vast majority of anthropogenic changes in global land use and deforestation has been the result of agricultural extensification—the process of converting forests and prairie to cropland and pasture. Against popular notions that preindustrial agriculture existed in greater harmony with nature, three-quarters of total global deforestation occurred before the industrial revolution. Even so, feeding ourselves required directing virtually all human labor to food production. As recently as 200 years ago, more than 90 percent of the global population labored in agriculture. The only way to bring additional energy and nutrients into the system to increase production was to let land lie fallow, rotate crops, use cover crops, or add manure from livestock that either shared the land with the crops or grazed nearby. In almost every case, these practices required additional land and put caps on yields... the truly transformative break came with the invention of the Haber-Bosch process by German scientists in the early 1900s, which uses high temperature, high pressure, and a chemical catalyst to pull nitrogen from the air and produce ammonia, the basis for synthetic fertilizers... The benefits of synthetic fertilizers though go far beyond simply feeding people. It’s no exaggeration to say that without synthetic fertilizers and other agricultural innovations, there is no urbanization, no industrialization, no global working or middle class, and no secondary education for most people. This is because fertilizer and other agricultural chemicals have substituted human labor, liberating enormous populations from needing to dedicate most of their lifetime labor to growing food. Virtually the entirety of organic agriculture production serves two populations at opposite ends of the global income distribution. At one end are the 700 million or so people globally who still live in extreme poverty. Sustainable agriculture proponents fancifully call the agriculture this population practices “agroecology.” But it is mostly just old–fashioned subsistence farming, where the world’s poorest eke out their survival from the soil...   At the other end of the spectrum are the world’s richest people, mostly in the West, for whom consuming organic food is a lifestyle choice tied up with notions about personal health and environmental benefits as well as romanticized ideas about agriculture and the natural world. Almost none of these consumers of organic foods grow the food themselves. Organic agriculture for these groups is a niche market—albeit, a lucrative one for many producers—accounting for less than 1 percent of global agricultural production... As long as organic food remains niche, the relationship between lower yields and increased land use remains manageable... Sri Lanka’s tea production alone is larger than the entire global organic tea market. Flooding the organic market with most or all of Sri Lanka’s tea production, even after output fell by half due to lack of fertilizer, would almost certainly send global organic tea prices into a spiral...   Rajapaksa continues to insist that his policies have not failed. Even as Sri Lanka’s agricultural production was collapsing, he traveled to the U.N. climate change summit in Glasgow, Scotland, late last year, where—when not dodging protests over his human rights record as Sri Lankan defense minister—he touted his nation’s commitment to an agricultural revolution allegedly “in sync with nature.” Not long afterward, he fired two government officials within weeks of each other for publicly criticizing the increasingly dire food situation and fertilizer ban...   Much of the global sustainable agriculture movement, unfortunately, has proven no more accountable. As Sri Lankan crop yields have plummeted, exactly as most mainstream agricultural experts predicted they would, the fertilizer ban’s leading advocates have gone silent. Vandana Shiva... Food Tank, an advocacy group funded by the Rockefeller Foundation that promotes a phase-out of chemical fertilizers and subsidies in Sri Lanka, has had nothing to say... Soon enough, advocates will surely argue that the problem was not with the organic practices they touted but with the precipitous move to implement them in the midst of a crisis. But although the immediate ban on fertilizer use was surely ill conceived, there is literally no example of a major agriculture-producing nation successfully transitioning to fully organic or agroecological production. The European Union has, for instance, promised a full-scale transition to sustainable agriculture for decades. But while it has banned genetically modified crops and a variety of pesticides as well as has implemented policies to discourage the overuse of synthetic fertilizers, it still depends heavily on synthetic fertilizers to keep yields high, produce affordable, and food secure. It has also struggled with the disastrous effects of overfertilizing surface and ground water with manure from livestock production.   Boosters of organic agriculture also point to Cuba, which was forced to abandon synthetic fertilizer when its economy imploded following the Soviet Union’s collapse. They fail to mention that the average Cuban lost an estimated 10 to 15 pounds of body weight in the years that followed."

Sri Lanka bans sale of fuel for non-essential vehicles - "For the next fortnight, only buses, trains and vehicles used for medical services will be able to fill up with fuel.  Colombo, the capital, also announced that schools would be closed for a further two weeks and private sector employees have been asked to work from home to preserve fuel and diesel stocks... up to 70 per cent of doctors were currently unable to commute to work.  It is also unclear how Colombo plans to transport essential goods across the country now that fuel has run out, carry out cremations in the Buddhist-majority country or power its hospitals.  Its garment industry, one of the country’s last remaining sources of foreign currency exchange, also says it only has enough stockpiled fuel to meet orders for one more week.   Now, many Sri Lankans fear renewed, nationwide violence could break out with citizens essentially confined to their homes without access to fuel and access to food and life-saving medicines are also limited. Meanwhile, food costs continue to spiral with food inflation reaching 57 per cent, meaning many lower and middle class households are unable to purchase protein sources, vegetables or fruit, surviving on small daily meals of rice.  The United Nations estimates that one-quarter of the total population needs urgent humanitarian assistance and up to 70 percent of households are being forced to skip meals."
Time to blame "capitalism"

Hilarious! It looks like the World Economic Forum deleted their 2018 article about how ESG will make Sri Lanka rich by 2025

Sri Lanka economic crisis 2022: Why the country’s economy collapsed and what’s next? - "both he and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa agreed to resign amid mounting pressure from protesters who stormed both their residences and set fire to one of them... Government workers have been given an extra day off for three months to allow them time to grow their own food... The government needed to boost its revenues as foreign debt for big infrastructure projects soared, but instead Rajapaksa pushed through the largest tax cuts in Sri Lankan history. The tax cuts were recently were reversed, but only after creditors downgraded Sri Lanka’s ratings, blocking it from borrowing more money as its foreign reserves sank"
So much for tax cuts always being good

Eco-extremism has brought Sri Lanka to its knees - "There is a simple explanation, one that the BBC seems determined to downplay. In April 2021, president Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced that Sri Lanka was banning most pesticides and all synthetic fertiliser to go fully organic. Within months, the volume of tea exports had halved, cutting foreign exchange earnings. Rice yields plummeted leading to an unprecedented requirement to import rice. With the government unable to service its debt, the currency collapsed.  Speciality crop yields like cinnamon and cardamom tanked. Staple foods became infested with pests leading to widespread hunger. As Ted Nordhaus of the Breakthrough Institute put it in March: “The farrago of magical thinking, technocratic hubris, ideological delusion, self-dealing and sheer shortsightedness that produced the crisis in Sri Lanka implicates both the country’s political leadership and advocates of so-called sustainable agriculture.”   The government promised more manure, but it would take at least five times as much manure as the country produces to replace the “synthetic” nitrogen fixed from the air, and there’s not enough livestock or land to produce that much. In Glasgow for the climate summit last year, Sri Lanka’s president was still boasting that his agricultural policy was “in sync with nature”.  At the time, his organic decision was widely praised by environmentalists. Sri Lanka scored 98 out of 100 on the “ESG” – environmental, social and governance – criteria for investment.   Vandana Shiva, a feted environmentalist, said: “This decision will definitely help farmers become more prosperous.” She has been silent recently. Dr Shiva has led relentless criticism of the Green Revolution of the 1960s, which brought fertiliser and new crop varieties to south Asia, banishing famine for the first time in history even as population increased. Her (and others’) claims that traditional, organic farming could feed the world more healthily remain wildly popular among environmentalists. Sri Lanka has tested that proposition and found it wanting. As the agricultural scientist Prof Channa Prakash of Tuskegee University in Alabama once told me: “Sure, organic agriculture is sustainable: it sustains poverty and malnutrition.” Farming was organic when millions died in famines every decade and the US prairies turned into dustbowls for lack of fertiliser to hold the soil during droughts. But if you watch or listen to the BBC, you will hear little of this. On its website, under the headline “Sri Lanka: Why is the country in an economic crisis?”, you have to read right to the end to find a grudging admission... The Indian commentator Shakhar Gupta calls Sri Lanka’s organic conversion an episode of “mega stupidity” on a par with Mao Tse-tung’s order to persecute sparrows.   In the Netherlands, too, farmer protests are mainly about a policy of reducing the use of nitrogen fertiliser. In this country, organic farming gets publicity far out of proportion to its actual contribution: about 3 per cent of Britain’s farmland is organic.  If the world abandoned nitrogen fertiliser that was fixed in factories, the impact on human living standards would be catastrophic, but so would the impact on nature. Given that about half the nitrogen atoms in the average person’s body were fixed in an ammonia factory rather than a plant, to feed eight billion people with organic methods we would need to put more than twice as much land under the plough and the cow. That would consign most of the world’s wetlands, nature reserves and forests to oblivion."

Is organic farming really to blame for Sri Lanka’s ongoing food crisis?
Amazing cope. Even this cope admits that the organic farming policy was a problem, is short of substantiation for dismissing organic farming as a key issue, and doesn't pinpoint the supposed "real cause". It also doesn't explain how in the long term, flooding the organic market won't lead to prices falling (unless the implicit claim is that somehow, the demand for organic will be boosted over time to compensate)

Ukraine Crisis Reveals the Folly of Organic Farming - WSJ - "The energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine disabused many politicians of the notion that the world could make a swift transition to green energy powered by solar, wind and wishful thinking. As food prices skyrocket and the conflict threatens a global food crisis, we need to face another unpopular reality: Organic farming is ineffective, land hungry and very expensive, and it would leave billions hungry if it were embraced world-wide.   For years, politicians and the chattering classes have argued that organic farming is the responsible way to feed the world. The European Union pushed last year for members roughly to triple organic farming by 2030. Influential nonprofits have long promoted organic farming to developing nations, causing fragile countries like Sri Lanka to invest in such methods. In the West, many consumers have been won over: About half the population of Germany believes that organic farming can fight global hunger... organic farming produces between 29% to 44% less food than conventional methods. It therefore requires as much as 78% more land than conventional agriculture and the food produced costs 50% more—all while generating no measurable increase in human health or animal welfare... synthetic nitrogen is directly responsible for feeding four billion people, more than half the world’s population.   Wealthy consumers can take the related price increases, but many poor households in the developing world spend more than half their income on food. Every 1% hike in food prices tips another 10 million people into global poverty. Advocating for global organics implicitly means suggesting that billions should forgo food... Russia also produces 8% of the world’s nitrogen, the price of which had already more than tripled over the two years before the invasion. Most nitrogen is made from fossil fuels, and many factories have had to stop production as the pandemic and climate policies have raised the price of nonrenewable energy. And it doesn’t help food prices that the costs of transport have more than doubled since the pandemic began."

European farmers rise up - "What started with the Dutch has spread to Germany, Poland, and now Italy as farmers collectively rise up to protest their governments’ destructive climate policies that threaten livelihoods and the global food supply... The Dutch protests have also caught the eye of Poland Agriculture Institute director Monika Prezeworska, who says the government needs to be aware of what’s happening, adding that the Dutch government is treating farmers like “terrorists.”  “Shooting at tractors of protesting farmers in the Netherlands represents a new level reached by Western democracy”...   Italian farmers have since joined the fight, having had enough of their own country’s insane climate policies.  “We are not slaves: we are farmers!” one farmer can be heard hollering at a slow roll. The farmer then tells the other farmers that they should “go to Rome!”"

Dutch farmers protest livestock cuts to curb nitrogen - "Thousands of tractor-driving farmers demonstrated in central Netherlands on Wednesday, causing widespread traffic chaos as they protested against the government's far-reaching plans to cut nitrogen emissions. Advertising In one of their largest-ever demonstrations, the farmers demanded the scrapping of recently announced plans by the Hague-based government, which could see a 30 percent reduction in livestock. The Netherlands, the world's second-largest agricultural exporter, is one of the top greenhouse gas emitters in Europe -- especially of nitrogen -- with much of this blamed on cattle-produced manure and fertiliser... "You can't just close farms that are hundreds of years old. You just can't!" Protesters carried signs saying "The future of farmers is being destroyed" and "Our children are afraid.""
Food prices are not high enough - people are not suffering enough for the Great Reset

Keean Bexte 🇳🇱 on Twitter - "BREAKING: Dutch authorities are becoming unable to respond to the massive amounts of fires across the country. Farmers are throwing rubber tires on the fires to keep them burning after Mark Rutte ridiculed their frustration."

People facing acute food insecurity reach 345 million worldwide - WFP - "The number of people facing acute food insecurity worldwide has more than doubled to 345 million since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, conflict and climate change"
Clearly, we need to do more about climate change and use less productive fertilisers, and blame the resulting famine on climate change, and pretend that covid lockdowns saved lives

EU split over fertiliser plants in poorer nations as food crisis bites - "The European Union is divided on how to help poorer nations fight a growing food crisis and address shortages of fertilisers caused by the war in Ukraine, with some fearing a plan to invest in plants in Africa would clash with EU green goals... supporting fertiliser production in developing nations would be inconsistent with the EU energy and environment policies, officials said. The production of chemical fertilisers has a big impact on the environment and requires large amounts of energy. However they are crucially effective in boosting agriculture output."
Climate change is such a serious threat that we need to freeze and starve to death to combat it

Eva Vlaardingerbroek on Twitter - "🇳🇱The Dutch government claims it can't afford to lower income tax, because it would cost 4 billion per 1%. Yet they're spending 25 billion on a made up nitrogen 'crisis' to expropriate our farmers & 17 billion on immigration. It's all a matter of choice: they want you to be poor. Oh and your energy bill that is up by 300%, causing you to spend around €500 a month to keep your house warm? Guess what; 37% of the bill you’re paying goes straight to the Dutch government in the form of energy taxes. Think again before you think the government is your friend."

Trudeau's nitrogen policy will decimate Canadian farming - "In December 2020, the Trudeau government unveiled their new climate plan, with a focus on reducing nitrous oxide emissions from fertilizer by 30% below 2020 levels by 2030... farmer’s groups speaking to Farmers Forum now wondering if he’s intentionally trying to cause a food shortage — which Trudeau previously told Canadians to prepare for... Of course, reducing nitrogen emissions released by fertilizer crucial to the survivability of the agriculture sector isn’t the only target of Trudeau’s government. Every part of the economy has been negatively impacted by Trudeau’s climate agenda.  On April 1 — the same day he gave himself a raise — Trudeau decided to go ahead and jack up the carbon tax by an additional 25%, consequently increasing the price of practically everything...   Since boosting the carbon tax, gas prices have soared to over $2.00 per litre across Canada, with one Liberal candidate saying that the “silver lining” is that Canadians will be priced out of driving.   And as with other problems facing our crumbling economy, Trudeau doesn’t appear to be taking any actions to remedy it — unsurprising, as so often he is the root cause."

LILLEY: Farmers feel ignored as feds push them to reduce emissions | Toronto Sun - "The Western Canadian Wheat Growers commissioned a report that said the plan would cost Alberta $2.95B, Saskatchewan $4.61B and Manitoba $1.58B just in lost production from their canola and spring wheat crops alone.  Across the Netherlands, the move by the Rutte government to impose a 50% cut has seen farmers protest over the last two weeks with highway blockades, the shutdown of food distribution centres and protests at supermarkets... “There was no prior consultation. There has been no modeling or analysis provided to explain this 30% target. It appears to have been pulled out of thin air,” one industry source said.  In fact, the reduction target wasn’t even developed by Agriculture Canada. It was the work of Environment and Climate Change Canada, which is why neither farmer nor industry groups were consulted. The government has been clear that this plan is part of their strategy for fighting climate change and getting Canada to Net Zero by 2030... Far from not wanting to do their part to reduce emissions, the group says they have already hit net zero emissions with farms in Canada absorbing more greenhouse gases than they create every year. The industry as a whole though paints a picture of a government not listening, with industry reps in several parts of the country saying they are pushing ahead without really engaging the people who will be affected by this... The government continues to call the 30% reduction target voluntary, but they once spent a whole election swearing they wouldn’t increase the carbon tax before doing exactly that."

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