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Saturday, January 07, 2023

Links - 7th January 2023 (2 - China's 'peaceful' rise)

Singapore waves red flag on foreign interference, fears naming - "Singapore’s government ministers have been waving the red flag on foreign interference activities and referred to a particular country.  The ministers have dropped hints about the country in their speeches but stopped short of revealing the identity of the elephant in the room.  Analysts that Yahoo News Singapore spoke to said the Singapore government is fearful of a severe economic impact arising from any reprisal that could be undertaken by the country if it were named. Unlike the government’s reticence, the analysts have identified the origin of foreign actors behind a recent wave of hostile information campaigns targeting various countries including Singapore: China. The Asian superpower has been actively engaging in global foreign interference activities amid its intense geopolitical rivalry against the US and the West, and desire to trumpet its achievements and authoritarian system of government in the eyes of the world... Through various social media platforms, particularly Wechat, China has been targeting societal groups, businesses, the broader public, and officials in Singapore. Its goals are to steer global perspectives towards Beijing’s positions on issues ranging from Taiwan, the South China Sea disputes, to even the ongoing Ukraine war... These efforts may further bolster the generally positive views of China among Singaporeans, as indicated in a Pew Research Centre survey of 17 economies released last year. The survey showed that Singapore and Greece were the only economies where the majority of their respondents have broadly positive views of China. About 64 per cent of respondents in Singapore viewed China positively, compared with only 10 per cent in Japan, 22 per cent in South Korea, and 27 per cent in Taiwan. Associate Research Fellow James Char from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) said, “There is very likely an attempt by Beijing to shape narratives in Singapore to actually align…normal Singaporeans to believe in the greatness of the Chinese model and the narratives about Chinese foreign policy.”  In general, China’s desire to push its perspective on policies on the global stage is not necessarily a problem, said National University of Singapore (NUS) political scientist Chong Ja Ian. “The problem is when these actions start complicating political processes that need to run their course in these various countries”... the Military College released its 646-page report written in French entitled "Chinese influence operations - a Machiavellian moment" in late September last year. In it, the Military College wrote about the extensive network that China had built over the years to exert its deleterious influence around the world, including Singapore... In contrast, Singapore has openly confronted the US government as far back as the 1960s and 1970s about its interference in the city-state’s affairs... The approach arose because of the stark contrasts between the transparent American style of governance and the opaque Chinese Communist Party model... Assoc Prof Chong said the Chinese would respond particularly strongly to being named as a key source of foreign interference activities. “This is a feature of authoritarian systems that are very powerful. They would rather have a lot of praise for the system. In the case of China, they have been particularly robust in their efforts to clamp down anything that could look like criticism.”  Unlike the Chinese, the Americans are used to criticisms from other countries including Singapore... Both analysts cited the example of how Australia’s exports to China were severely curbed as a result of Canberra’s public accusations about Chinese foreign interference and its demand for transparent investigations into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic... From late 2016 to early 2017, Singapore was embroiled in the “Terrex” saga after nine armoured military vehicles from a vessel that were bound for the city-state from Taiwan were seized in Hong Kong... analysts across the region attributed the seizure to Beijing’s unhappiness over Singapore’s continuous military ties with Taiwan, including the city-state’s army exercises in the “renegade province”, and its internationalist stance over the South China Sea disputes... it was clear that China-linked actors were involved in the saga and noticed the considerable online chatter against Singapore then. “During the Terrex saga, this trope was being spread that Singapore was taking a position against China when it was quite obvious we were voicing the usual platitudes about observing an international rules-based order (on the South China Sea disputes) and UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea).” To further underscore the government’s concerns about foreign interference, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong addressed the issue at the recent National Day Rally in his English and Chinese speeches... When asked if Singapore is targeted by China for foreign interference because of its Chinese-majority population, Assoc Prof Chong said there are sustained efforts to play up ethno-nationalism among the ethnic Chinese communities living outside the mainland. Similar concerns have also been highlighted in Malaysia, where the ethnic Chinese population is a fairly large minority... While regulatory frameworks including the Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Act (FICA) are critical in defending Singapore against such activities, Assoc Prof Chong said that there has been a recent spike in disinformation regarding issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the Ukraine war, with the latter characterised by an amplification of Russian and Chinese perspectives."
Of course, to China shills who make up the fifth column, the US is evil and China is good and China is sensitive to criticism because it is good and unfairly maligned but the US doesn't mind being criticised  because they know they are evil

Beijing’s Influence Operations Target Chinese Diaspora - "Taiwan, an island populated with ethnic Chinese, has long felt the weight of intrusive PRC efforts to dominate its media, interfere with political campaigns, and strong-arm its leaders — all of which has exacerbated political polarization and social tensions. Others are beginning to feel the pressure as well. Australia and New Zealand, for example, continue to grapple with the Chinese government’s efforts to influence domestic politics. Australia’s security services have reported efforts by Chinese agents to infiltrate policymaking circles and strengthen Beijing’s influence over the country’s Chinese diaspora community.  Indeed, Chinese officials have signaled their intention to advance more policies to earn the loyalty and goodwill of diaspora communities — in part by scrutinizing their treatment by foreign governments. Yang Jiechi stated in his article that it had become “necessary to actively push the governments of countries of their residence to build a favorable environment for Chinese compatriots.” In the past few years, PRC diplomatic officials in Malaysia have carried out regular visits to ethnic Chinese communities, endorsed pro-China political candidates, and attended high level meetings by political parties dominated by ethnic Chinese.  Beijing’s influence operations cynically exploit the diversity of other countries for the CCP’s own ends. Coercion and intimidation of Chinese living abroad harms their civil rights and freedoms and damages their political institutions. The efforts by the People’s Republic to muzzle critical diaspora Chinese media voices, infiltrate and manipulate policymaking, and encourage the formation of pro-Chinese political factions not only harms the sovereignty of other countries, they can also exacerbate social tensions within pluralistic societies and encourage polarization. In Malaysia, for example, efforts by Chinese government officials to generously fund Chinese language schools and endorsements of particular candidates have stirred resentment on the part of some ethnic groups who see such actions as interference in the country’s internal affairs. This tension contributed to the 2015 protests in Kuala Lumpur. Chinese government efforts to recruit agents also threatens to encourage unfounded fears and racism towards individuals of Chinese heritage."

How do I clear my Dad's brainwashing? He wants to join China as a soldier : singapore - "I wish I was joking  My Dad has watched PRC propaganda YouTube channels for years. Today he scared the crap out of me when he announced that should war come to China, he'll fight for China as a soldier even if he is renounced by SG  He even said Chinese blood (Chinese as in people from China, not Chinese-race from SG) flows in all of us. He is also far more critical of Western countries (especially USA) and Taiwan nowadays.  My Dad was never like this before"

Hu Jintao: Fresh China congress footage deepens mystery over exit - "Fresh footage has emerged showing more of what happened before China's former leader Hu Jintao was dramatically led out of a session during last week's Communist Party Congress in Beijing.  It shows in greater detail how outgoing Politburo member Li Zhanshu, to Mr Hu's left, takes a file away and speaks to him.  Then China's current leader Xi Jinping gives lengthy instructions to another man who subsequently attempts to persuade Mr Hu to leave.  The unexpected moment led to intense speculation, with some arguing that it was a deliberate power play by Mr Xi to show that the more consensus-driven Hu era was definitively over while others suggested it could have been because of Mr Hu's poor health.  The official Xinhua news agency later tweeted that Mr Hu had been escorted from the chamber after feeling unwell - but it did not report that domestically... Many wondered if it was a deliberate piece of political theatre. Unlike Mr Hu, whose presidency between 2003 and 2013 was seen as a time of opening up to the outside world, Mr Xi has presided over a country that has become increasingly isolated.  The new footage, filmed by Singapore-based Channel News Asia, does not debunk the official line that Mr Hu was ill. But it also suggests that Mr Hu's handling of the document in front of him played a role in the incident. Adding to the intrigue, Li Zhanshu appeared to be about to stand up to help Mr Hu but was then seemingly tugged back down into his seat by Wang Huning to his left.  Meanwhile Mr Hu said something to an impassive Mr Xi as he was escorted out, while the other men seated in the row did not turn around as he was led out.  Deng Yuwen, a former editor of Communist Party newspaper the Study Times, says there is no reason that the party would put a document that Mr Hu was not allowed to read right in front of him at such a high-profile meeting with cameras rolling. "It was indeed an unusual situation," he says. "No-one can explain it until there is more evidence of what was inside the file, or what was being said at the scene."  Wen-ti Sung, a lecturer at the Australian National University, says the new footage remains inconclusive.  "China is all about order, especially at high profile events like that and especially in Xi's era where it's all about control," he said.  "So an arguably out-of-control Hu and this sudden exit definitely seems strange, and that's why it justifies a lot of the rumours. But that's not to say that the rumour or speculation about a purge is necessarily correct." But Mr Deng says the spectacle of other senior officials - including Mr Hu's former second in command Wen Jiabao - looking straight ahead as Mr Hu was led out behind them does say something about Mr Xi's China... If the previous day's drama was indeed unscripted and motivated by concern for Mr Hu's well-being, Mr Xi's new Politburo Standing Committee line up the following day drove home the symbolism of the former leader's exit - there would be no return to the policies of the Hu Jintao era."

China’s ex-president Hu Jintao leaves stage unexpectedly at closing session of CPC congress - "The end of the party congress would reveal that top officials including current Premier Li Keqiang and Mr Wang Yang, who heads the top advisory body to China’s Parliament, would not be in the party’s new Central Committee.  Both men are seen to be part of the Communist Youth League faction, to which Mr Hu belongs...   The debate underscores how Chinese elite politics have become opaque under Mr Xi, who has clamped down on leaks. Tidbits like this can offer rare insights into happenings within the party.   But while the clip has spawned heated debate outside of China, there has been no mention of it on Chinese social media, which is heavily censored."

Hang Seng Today: China’s Plunging Stock Market Becomes High-Risk Bet on Xi - Bloomberg - "China’s lurch toward one-man rule has made it more important than ever for investors to align their portfolios with the priorities of President Xi Jinping. Some are deciding it’s not worth the trouble.  Chinese stocks tumbled by the most since 2008 in Hong Kong and the yuan hit a 14-year-low after Sunday’s confirmation that Xi’s policies of stronger state control over the economy and markets will continue unchallenged for years. Unlike in places like the US or UK -- where dramatic market reactions can force policy pivots or even overthrow entire governments -- it’s becoming apparent that investors are only an afterthought for Xi. That narrative was reinforced by Beijing’s move to delay the release of a raft of economic data without explanation, and risks further alienating money managers who are already leery of Chinese assets... Monday’s market reaction -- especially offshore -- may suggest that international funds do not consider themselves to be aligned with Xi’s policies, who has implemented tough curbs on investor favorite choices from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to education firms. With a new leadership team packed with his allies, analysts also expect little dissent against Xi’s Covid Zero strategy... Chinese policy making is not known for transparency. Playing that guessing game had never been so costly for investors as in the past two years, with Xi ending China’s days of limitless private sector-growth in favor of state-directed “common prosperity.” In mid-March, Beijing appeared to heed investor concerns after one of the biggest stock market routs in history. China’s top financial policy committee released a sweeping set of pledges including one to make policy more “transparent and predictable.” But less than two weeks later, the Politburo, led by Xi, published a 114-character readout of its latest meeting -- the briefest of the president’s tenure -- keeping investors in the dark again. The strong-man risk in China and its implications have been a long-standing problem for some global funds. Some of the most extreme cases included Boston-based Zevin Asset Management cutting its China exposure to zero, or the manager of a $184 billion public pension fund in Texas halving its target allocation to the country’s stocks... What’s clear is anyone hoping Xi would usher in a more benign investing environment in his second decade in power is getting a painful reality check.  “The market is concerned that with so many Xi supporters elected, Xi’s unfettered ability to enact policies that are not market friendly is now cemented,” said Banny Lam, head of research at CEB International Investment Corp."

China's Aggression Predates Xi Jinping—It Started With Hu Jintao - "While Beijing exhibited some troubling behavior in the 1990s, it was Hu Jintao, Xi’s predecessor, who presided over changes the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) internal system and foreign policy the following decade...  Understandably, most U.S. analysts missed this hard turn in Chinese domestic and economic policy. China was still engaging in a charm offensive throughout Southeast Asia and wowed countries with its “Beijing model” of authoritarian capitalism abroad. China’s economy was also still booming from the changes it had made in the 1980s and 1990s that allowed it decades of growth.  It was thus easy to miss Hu’s reversals of economic reforms."

Zeal and China’s ‘Wolf Warrior’ Diplomacy - "China’s ‘Wolf Warriors’ are doing a better job than any American diplomat of arousing anti-Chinese feelings around the world.   It is tempting, but, alas, not very credible, to think of them as CIA sleeper agents, now awoken to do Donald Trump’s bidding. Still, even Fu Ying, a former Vice-Foreign Minister, herself no slouch when it comes to being tough, was sufficiently concerned about the effect these doughty warriors were having to warn in a People’s Daily commentary that “A country’s power in international discourse relates not just to its right to speak up on the global stage, but more to the effectiveness and influence of the discourse.”... Many years ago, it fell to me to host a dinner for a Chinese Foreign Ministry senior official and his delegation who were visiting Singapore for ‘consultations.’ He was an interesting fellow and it was no hardship to entertain him. I liked him and considered him a colleague insofar as any foreign diplomat can be a colleague. But I knew that he was not really visiting to ‘consult’ but rather to ask us not to discuss the South China Sea (SCS) at a forthcoming ASEAN meeting. And he knew that I knew. It had become a ritual request before every ASEAN meeting. And I knew that he knew that the ritual answer would be that such an important issue had to be discussed.  It was a pleasant dinner. Through the first few courses, my Chinese colleague and I drank together and talked about everything except the SCS. It was only as dessert approached that he asked whether he could step outside for a smoke. As host, I followed him out. “You know why I’m here?” he asked as he lighted up. “Yes,” I replied. “So?” he laconically enquired. “Not possible,” I said. And that was the end of our discussion on the SCS. We rejoined our other colleagues to continue drinking and chat of cabbages and kings.  He knew what my answer on the SCS would be before he asked. He knew that our countries would have to work together on other issues, and that it was pointless to argue about something on which we could not agree. That could only poison the atmosphere without achieving anything. But he had his instructions, just as I had mine. He knew that I had no authority to change a national position, just as he had no authority not to ask me to do so. He carried out his instructions in as painless a way as possible for both of us. I would have done the same in his place.  That Chinese diplomat, now long retired, was of a generation that had endured much, including the Cultural Revolution. He was a patriot. Having endured and survived what China had endured and survived, he was confident enough in himself and his country to act as he did. Ironically, today, many younger Chinese diplomats who know only a wealthy and rising China are too uncertain of themselves to disagree without a public quarrel to prove how ‘patriotic’ they are. Their brashness is brittle. So too apparently is their confidence in China. They demand overt approbation for Chinese policies. They bridle and profess umbrage when praise is not effusive enough, or otherwise at the slightest criticism...   In 2019, President Xi Jinping reportedly told Chinese diplomats to show more “fighting spirit.” The concentration of power that has occurred on his watch, his insistence on CCP control of thought and deed, and his use of the CCP’s disciplinary apparatus and the anti-corruption campaign to enforce his will have together amplified his wishes – perhaps even beyond what he intended. All of this has certainly added to the anxieties, personal and institutional, in the Foreign Ministry. Taking a hard line is safe.   But ‘Wolf Warrior’ diplomacy is not just the result of institutional self-doubt in the Foreign Ministry or of some Chinese diplomats wanting to suck up to the boss. It is also a symptom of a deeper and wider malaise in the Chinese system. China is a land of contradictions: it is so big and complex that it would be foolish to seek consistency on everything. One of the most important contradictions is that the CCP is simultaneously very powerful and persistently insecure...   In his classic work, From the Soil, the Chinese sociologist, Fei Xiaotong, explained the essential difference between Western and Chinese society by reference to the rural foundations of Chinese society. This led to the greater immediacy and importance of family and local networks of personal relationships centred on themselves rather than institutions of the state. The pervasiveness of guanxi (connections) in Chinese culture points in the same direction as Fei’s essential idea. As a result, Fei argued, Chinese society had a deeply ingrained “self-centred quality,” and traditional Chinese society was ‘selfish.’ Sun Yat-sen was suggesting much the same thing when he described the Chinese people as loose grains of sand.   Such ‘selfish’ personal networks challenge a Leninist party’s basic principle of centralized rule and claim to a monopoly of power and authority"

Hacker Offers to Sell Chinese Police Database in Potential Breach - The New York Times - "In what may be one of the largest known breaches of Chinese personal data, a hacker has offered to sell a Shanghai police database that could contain information on perhaps one billion Chinese citizens.  The unidentified hacker, who goes by the name ChinaDan, posted in an online forum last week that the database for sale included terabytes of information on a billion Chinese. The scale of the leak could not be verified. The New York Times confirmed parts of a sample of 750,000 records that the hacker released to prove the authenticity of the data... The hacker’s offer of the Shanghai police database highlights a dichotomy in China: Although the country has been at the forefront of collecting masses of information on its citizens, it has been less successful in securing and safeguarding that data... China’s government has worked to tighten controls over a leaky data industry that has fed internet fraud. Yet the focus of the enforcement has often centered on tech companies, while authorities appear to be exempt from strict rules and penalties aimed at securing information at internet firms... "there is no mechanism to hold government agencies responsible for a data leak"... In one sample, the personal information of 250,000 Chinese citizens — such as name, sex, address, government-issued ID number and birth year — was included. In some cases, the individuals’ profession, marital status, ethnicity and education level, along with whether the person was labeled a “key person” by the country’s public security ministry, could also be found. Another sample set included police case records, which included records of reported crimes, as well as personal information like phone numbers and IDs. The cases dated from as early as 1997 until 2019. The other sample set contained information that appeared to be individuals’ partial mobile phone numbers and addresses.  When a Times reporter called the phone numbers of people whose information was in the sample data of police records, four people confirmed the details. Four others confirmed their names before hanging up. None of the people contacted said they had any previous knowledge about the data leak. In one case, the data provided the name of a man and said that, in 2019, he reported to the police a scam in which he paid about $400 for cigarettes that turned out to be moldy. The individual, reached by phone, confirmed the details described in the leaked data... On Chinese social media platforms, like Weibo and the communication app WeChat, posts, articles and hashtags about the data leak have been removed. On Weibo, accounts of users who posted or shared related information have been suspended, and others who talked about it have said online that they had been asked to visit the police station for a chat."

Meme - "8 years after this Onion article turns into an actual one in Foreign Policy magazine"
"CIA Uncovers Chinese Plot To Just Sit Back And Enjoy Collapse Of United States"
"China wants to avoid doing anything that would interrupt the process of U.S. decline."

A balanced media narrative is in order
Published by the Straits Times as "Time to wake up to Western media bias". The usual China shill stuff, with the usual talking points and keywords. Bertha Henson: "A Leslie Fong lecture. More ranting than reason unfortunately. He also doesn’t deal with how the Chinese media also do the same thing."

The Coca-Cola Ad You've Never Seen - The Dispatch - "The Beijing Olympics are shaping up to be a public-relations disaster for companies trying to straddle both U.S. and Chinese markets. The human rights abuses the Chinese government is perpetrating toward the predominantly Muslim Uyghur people, which the U.S. last year termed a genocide and Human Rights Watch has labeled crimes against humanity, hang as a pall over the Games. The U.S. and several other Western countries have opted for a diplomatic boycott.  The fraught situation has placed the Olympic sponsors—the 13 companies that shell out the most eye-popping piles of cash to fund the Games—in a real bind. Ordinarily, the Olympics are as bankable a cash cow for brands as any other sporting event—more so, when you consider the event’s peerless visibility around the globe. From Albania to Zimbabwe, the Games are synonymous with traits any brand would love to be associated with: youth, vigor, beauty, endurance, excellence. Thus the monster payouts to secure exclusive licensing rights... exclusive contracts, it turns out, can be a double-edged sword. Any company without a preexisting Olympics relationship might look at the controversy surrounding the Beijing games and decide simply to save its advertising dollars for better days—the 2024 Paris Games aren’t far away! For the sponsors, though, even beyond the sunk cost of the exclusivity rights themselves, there’s no way simply to slink out of the spotlight. They can’t remove themselves from the political question, because either remaining a part of or ducking out of the Olympics would be to make a political statement.   And when it comes to China, as every multinational corporation knows well, some political statements are a lot more expensive than others... companies like Coca-Cola—which, by the way, has faced its own accusations of making use of forced labor in Xinjiang and in 2020 lobbied against a bill to punish companies that did so—find themselves in a bizarre situation: They’ve determined that the financially optimal play is to keep partnering with the Beijing Olympics, but to do so with as little of the miasma surrounding these particular Games as possible sticking to their clothes afterward. It may be the world’s first example of companies devising their marketing strategy around trying to ensure people think of them as little as possible"

xi-jinping-china-president-bad-emperor-syndrome - "Everywhere in China, leader Xi Jinping is there.   His picture is splashed on the front pages of state newspapers, required to be displayed at houses of worship from Buddhist temples to Christian churches, and beamed from billboards across the country.  Red propaganda banners in cities and villages extol his personal philosophy, Xi Jinping Thought. Inside detention camps, Uyghurs – an ethnic group that have suffered in a massive crackdown – are made to wish Mr Xi a long life before being allowed to eat...   He has consolidated power by ousting political rivals, locking up dissidents, and making unprecedented changes, like enshrining his doctrine in the constitution.  Mr Xi has successfully put himself firmly at the “core” of everything – made more evident than ever after a recent major political meeting ended with his coronation for a historic third term...   Mr Xi also humiliated his predecessor, Hu Jintao, by ejecting him from the stage at the closing ceremony – all in front of the public...   Civil society has largely been snuffed out in China, with authorities silencing anyone seeking reparations or airing grievances against the state.  Mr Xi has squeezed private enterprise out of fear that the wealthy were beginning to wield too much power and influence. Billionaires like tech entrepreneur Jack Ma – who has star power much like Tesla’s Elon Musk – have gone missing after criticising the government. Mr Ma was more fortunate than others – he eventually reappeared, whereas others like China’s Donald Turmp, outspoken tycoon Ren Zhiqiang, was sentenced to 18 years in prison after calling Mr Xi a “clown”.   Mr Xi has even gone after pop culture, from celebrities to cartoons – both foreign and domestic – to ensure the next generation grows up with what he deems appropriate.  Those values put him at the centre of it all, encourage traditional gender norms, and oppose anything remotely Western.   To that end, children as young as six are required to study his doctrine at school; men deemed too effeminate have been banned from television shows; and even vegetarianism is frowned upon for being a foreign lifestyle choice.   “Whether it’s exams for Chinese, chemistry or politics, it has to cite quotes from the ‘boss’ to promote core ideology,” a Chinese school teacher told The Telegraph's How to Become a Dictator podcast.   Students and teachers alike are being brainwashed by the propaganda, he said.   “They’ve enhanced patriotic education – ideas such as attacking Taiwan, or anti-US and pro-Russia messages with a clear slant. Students have become very anti-American as a result”... Covid-related measures have become yet another way to control the population, and to snuff out dissent.   This summer, people organising a bank protest all of a sudden found their contact tracing codes had turned red, which confined them to their homes and barred them from entering public areas.  So the government is already wielding this tool to restrict freedom of movement and punish dissenters – all under the guise of public health, and without ever putting anyone in a physical prison.  There’s no sign of letting up. If anything, Mr Xi may be forced to govern with an ever-growing iron fist in order to stay in power.  His anti-corruption campaign to purge challengers has created many enemies. His politics, which have cleaved China from the world, have upset many elite Chinese of his generation.   His policies have halted the economy – the World Bank estimates China will see 2.8 per cent growth this year, a far cry from double-digit expansion before Mr Xi took the reins a decade ago. Mr Xi may be soaring on his pedestal, but there is a very real question of whether he’s got the right people around him, and whether they’re giving him sound advice.  Being surrounded by only ‘yes-men’ may mean nobody dares to share countervailing perspectives. They themselves may fear being purged themselves if they do so – and in Mr Xi’s regime, that’s a dark place to end up.  “Once you become a dictator…who can you trust? Can you trust the people around you?” said Frank Dikotter, a historian and professor at Hong Kong University."

Mark Dreyer on Twitter - "China today - a story in 33 acts. *33 newspapers which look almost identical*"

'China is not an immigrant country': draft law sparks online racism - "A new draft law that could make it easier for foreigners to gain permanent residency in China has stirred up a torrent of xenophobia online.  The proposal, released by the justice ministry last week, has been gathering billions of views and a flood of angry posts on social media, targeting Africans in particular.  "China's forty years of family planning policy does not make it a place for foreign trash to soar," wrote one user on the Twitter-like platform Weibo, referring to the one-child birth limit China imposed between 1980 and 2016. The person went on to use racist language against black people, saying: "Our common Chinese ancestry will not be tainted by Africans." Some Weibo-users posted videos of black people apparently committing crimes in China, while a campaign to encourage Chinese women to date Chinese men, under the hashtag "China girl", had 240 million views as of Thursday afternoon... The law -- open to suggestions from the public until March 27 -- proposes allowing foreigners' dependants to apply simultaneously for permanent residency, as well as relaxing education and salary requirements.  State media said less than one percent of foreigners in China have permanent residency.  The draft bill comes at a time when China is seeking to expand its global influence and attract foreign exchange and investment... there have been points of tension, including a crackdown on illegal immigrants in commercial hub Guangzhou's "Little Africa" which left many complaining of hard treatment from authorities.  There are also long-standing anxieties about perceived preferential treatment for foreigners in China, especially international students.  "For a long time, some foreigners in China have secretly received 'superior treatment' as citizens," wrote Hu Xijin, editor of the nationalistic Global Times.  Last July, Shandong University apologised after a backlash over a policy that introduced foreign students to local students of the opposite sex. Heather Li, a China-Africa business consultant, said she was "really shocked" by the extent of the online racism.  She used to tell her African friends that many Chinese people were friendly and curious about their culture, despite their occasional encounters with prejudice."
From 2020

WeChat users are writing apology letters to get their banned accounts on Tencent’s super app back - "The Tencent app is so essential to life in China that banned users will go to great lengths to be reinstated... In June, a Chinese student in California mentioned a taboo topic on WeChat: the government’s bloody 1989 crackdown on Tiananmen Square protesters. Hours later, his account was banned from WeChat, cutting him off from family and friends back home...   “I promise not to post anything in violation of laws and regulations to safeguard social stability and Tencent’s businesses,” Eric recalled writing in the 500-character letter, which he threw into a trash can later. “Thanks Tencent for providing us with such a good communication platform.” Eric told Rest of World he did not believe any of what he had written in the note. But he did it because WeChat had ordered him to handwrite a letter admitting his guilt, along with a photo of him holding his Chinese national ID card, before it would return the account to him...   Handwritten letters of apology aren’t exactly new. Parents and teachers often ask children to write that they’re sorry; even the police in China have been known to ask alleged criminals to pledge in a letter that they won’t repeat their past mistakes. But their use by digital platforms, including WeChat and microblogging site Weibo, has underscored the power these social media monopolies wield over ordinary citizens, as their products penetrate into all aspects of everyday life in the country... Xian Jingjing, a 21-year-old tech worker in the southwestern province of Sichuan, told Rest of World she was banned from WeChat in October 2021, after someone hacked into her account and posted spam messages from it. With the payment services disabled, Xian, then a university student, could not even go grocery shopping by herself... WeChat’s dominance in everyday life means users have little choice but to comply with whatever it asks for. “WeChat has become such an integral part of Chinese users’ life, not only for Chinese living in China, but also for a lot of overseas students and Chinese diaspora,” Ruan said. “If you have the account banned, then it’s like taking away a big part of your identity.”"

US vs SG Soldiers

At a recent bilateral exercise between USA and our SAF, the commanding officers were having a friendly argument over which side had the bravest soldiers.

The USA CO summoned one soldier over. "You will be sent to our Ranger's jungle survival course. 21 days in the jungle, no supplies. You will only be given a knife and nothing else. The jungle is filled with hungry leopards, venomous snakes, and spiders larger than your hand. Will you do it?"

"SIR YES SIR!!! HURRAH 'MURICA!! LETS GO IMMA GO GET EM!!". Given his strong display of bravado, surely he's one of the bravest soldier representing USA.

Not to be upstaged, the Commander of the SAF called over the nearest NSF. The commander told him exactly the same request word-for-word.

"SEOW AH!? You go hong gan lah want limpeh do dunno what shit. You talk so big you ownself go and do ok? WGT ORD LOH!" With that said, the young soldier gave the Commander a rude gesture and promptly walked away.

And so the argument over which side had the bravest soldiers was settled without any further dispute.


(via What is the most Singaporean joke you know? I'll start. : askSingapore)

Links - 7th January 2023 (1 - Migrants [including Martha's Vineyard])

Martha's Vineyard Migrants: Chamber of Commerce Declares 'Humanitarian Crisis' over Arrival of 50 Migrants - "The Chamber of Commerce of Martha’s Vineyard said the island was facing a “humanitarian crisis” after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sent planes carrying 50 illegal immigrants to the island...   Republican lawmakers mocked the affluent summer colony’s Chamber of Commerce for declaring a “humanitarian crisis” over the arrival of just 50 Venezuelan immigrants, pointing out that the number constitutes a drop in the bucket compared to what border states deal with on a daily basis.  Fifty “people in Martha’s Vineyard is a ‘humanitarian crisis,’ but a record high number of over 2 million illegals trespassing in our country in 2022 alone is not a problem for Democrats. . .” Florida Representative Matt Gaetz wrote.  Texas Senator Ted Cruz said, “if 50 constitutes a humanitarian crisis in Martha’s Vineyard, what the hell is 4.2 MILLION?” alluding to reports citing the number of illegal immigrants who have entered the U.S. since President Joe Biden took office."

Migrants' 44-hour visit leaves indelible mark on Martha's Vineyard | CNN
This is a real headline

Martha's Vineyard Elites Deport Illegal Immigrants After 24 Hours - "Lisa Belcastro, a local resident who manages the shelter at the island’s St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church where migrants slept for their two-night stay, said Thursday the migrants would have to move on because the wealthy island was full.  “We certainly don’t have housing, we’re in a housing crisis as we are on this island,” Belcastro said. “We don’t have housing for 50 more people.”...   Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also accused DeSantis of culpability in “literally human trafficking” on MSNBC.  President Joe Biden, on the other hand, faced no such charges of human trafficking over secret flights of illegal underage migrants in the middle of the night"
I-TEAM: Documents show 78 flights carrying migrants landed in Jacksonville over last 6 months - "Florida’s Attorney General Ashley Moody has teamed up with DeSantis to sue the Biden administration claiming relocating migrants to Florida is illegal."

End Wokeness on Twitter - "Whenever you pass one of these, remember that time when Martha’s Vineyard called the National Guard to remove 50 illegals from their island"
“In this house we believe: Black Lives Matter. Women’s rights are human rights. No human is illegal. Science is real. Love is love. Kindness is everything.”

Meme - "I just want to be as happy as the residents of Martha's Vineyard are when they're kicking immigrints off their island."

Brian Smith on Twitter: "The stunt failed to make its intended point."
"what desantis hoped to prove was that liberals would move the migrants away from them. what happened instead is that they moved them away from them"
"Lol. Over 100 national guard to remove 50 illegal immigrants in les than 24 hours."

Martha's Vineyard Claims It Doesn't Have Room for Immigrants, but Airbnb and Hotels.com Show Otherwise - "Elizabeth Osborn Bostrom, a resident of Martha’s Vineyard, said what all the elite Vineyard bolshies are thinking. She told the New York Post that she “stayed out of town most of the day to avoid the commotion.” and that “people here leave their doors open. It’s safe and there’s no real crime, usually. I’m not upset they came here, but I’m a little wary. I have my doors locked.”  In other words, She doesn’t want to see them, and she doesn’t trust them. Sounds a little racist to me."

Mia Cathell on Twitter - "You can't make this stuff up. "URGENT PLEA"! The ultra-wealthy on Martha's Vineyard has launched a GoFundMe fundraiser, already raising over $36,000. Please help these struggling millionaires with multiple summer homes during this "humanitarian crisis"🙏
The organizer is an Ivy League alum from an affluent family and New York comms exec who donated 6x to Kamala Harris. Her wedding on Martha's Vineyard was featured by NYT and her family's $1.6 million+ home there sits near a private association beach.
The GoFundMe donations are going to Martha's Vineyard Community Foundation, which has assets under management of $14 million+. MVCF is also seeking money via a Migrant Relief Fund since residents are "concerned about the well being of the migrants...on our Island."
UPDATE: Since the Martha's Vineyard migrants were sent to Cape Cod, the island's GoFundMe is STILL taking donations for "building up a reserve to assist situations like this in the future, rather than directly helping this group of migrants and their situation.""

Meme - Rex Chapman @RexChapman: "Serious questions for devout Christians - WWJ think of how DeSantis and Abbott are treating these migrants? Where in the Bible can you cite support for treating the poor, hungry and oppressed (including kids) this way? If he could..."
Jon: "Always. ALWAYS. You're a terrible Christian if you don't do liberal things. But if you do conservative things as a Christian you're a dangerous theocrat? Buddy we're not playing this game any more"
Comments: "What are they doing that's unbiblical? Seems compassionate to send them to these liberal utopias that should be eagerly waiting to accept them with open arms"
"“Separation of church and state!!!” “Your religion demands that you vote like me!” Same people."
"If you want to tell me what Christians believe and how they should act then does that mean I get to tell you how liberal/progressive/democrats are supposed to act? Because in that case you should all be giving more to the collective, Should not have multiple houses, you should be freely housing people in your backyard, you shouldn't be taking a private jet anywhere, shall I go on? Don't tell me to walk the walk when all you people do is talk and don't live in anyway the things you preach."
"Isn't Martha's Vineyard a place full of rich people? Seems like a place with the right resources to help the poor, hungry and oppressed. Am I wrong?"
"The Bible also says you are to acclimate (not the other way around) and obey the laws on foreign lands. Rex appears to be a Christian of convenience rather than a Christian of truth."
"DeSantis and Abbott ensured those migrants made it to our wealthiest cities with significant budgets. As our country needs help spreading out the migrants reaching our borders, I feel DeStanis and Abbott provided the most Christian attitude by providing a safe passage to locations with better resources. Or should we leave the migrants in a desert waiting for a court case, as the children are left in fence cages away from their families?"

Meme - Charles Weber - AKA "the Jew from Boca": "So, the people who:
- Hate god.
- Hate religion.
- Hate prayer.
- Love killing babies.
- Love pushing porn in kids school.
- Love drag shows for kids.
Are suddenly telling us what "real Christians" should do when it comes to immigration..."

NBC News Deletes Tweet That Contained Disturbing Quote From Immigration Activist About Migrants - "The deleted tweet stated: “Florida Gov. DeSantis sending asylum-seekers to Martha’s Vineyard is like ‘me taking my trash out and just driving to different areas where I live and just throwing my trash there,’ a founding member of a foundation which helps refugees says.”  The quote was from Max Lefeld, a founding member of the Casa Venezuela Dallas foundation, which helps migrants"

Plane towing a banner reading ‘Vineyard Hypocrites’ circles Martha’s Vineyard - The Boston Globe

Meme - Jonethan Jewel: "Hell, I want a free ticket to sanctuary cities. They offer the best quality of life in all of America"
Jonathan Jewel: "If you're cheering because Ron DeSantis is trafficking human beings to places like Martha's Vineyard then you are no Christian. You're a fucking piece of shit and the only solace is that you're going to burn in Hell for eternity which is what you deserve"
Comment: "Why weren’t these same people complaining when Biden was sending them all over the country ? People are so tribal it’s insane"

Pelosi decimated for claiming illegal immigrants need to stay in Florida to ‘pick the crops down here’ - "Critics claimed that Pelosi’s remarks were demeaning of migrants and that she openly admitted America should welcome in and profit off of illegal immigrants... "For Democrats, mass immigration checks two boxes: 1. More future voters 2. Cheap foreign labor."  New York Post author Miranda Devine explained, "Apart from the fact she can't speak properly, and is nasty, it's illegal to employ illegal migrants. It's also disastrous for a country not to make a distinction between legal and illegal migration. At least we have less than six weeks left of this piece of Pelosi."... "Elitist democrats think Hispanics are only good for picking their crops. Legal Hispanics will answer resoundingly in November and send Nancy and a lot of other radical democrats home.""

Meme - Mayor Muriel Bowser @MayorBowser: "DC values our DREAMers and our immigrant communities - all will continue to find sanctuary in our city."
"DC Mayor Bower: "We're not a border town. We don't have an infrastructure to handle this this type of a level of immigration to our city... We're not Texas."

Meme - Maria Shriver @mariashriver: "Ron DeSantis, Greg Abbott. I've heard people say they like these guys because they are tough and they don't care about political correctness. These men are bullies. These men are in the stu..."
Noble Brown @Sociopathlete: "I'd suggest you take in a few immigrants yourself but your husband impregnated the last Latina you had in the house"

Greg Price on Twitter - "DC city council member: “The governors of Texas and Arizona have created this crisis [and] have turned us into a border town.”"
Brianne K. Nadeau on Twitter - "The District is a sanctuary city, which means our law enforcement does not cooperate with ICE. As Councilmember, I have called for an abolition of ICE and wrote DC’s law to establish a permanent immigrant legal services fund. Read full remarks here"
Amazing. Immigration is not a federal issue apparently
Apparently she forgot her complicity and is blaming others. Typical

Enough pasta already: why asylum seekers in Italy are fed up with their food rations - "Elias, who arrived in Italy from West Africa after a long journey, eats pasta every day for lunch and dinner. And, he claims, for breakfast too. He’s been doing so for nine months, since he first set foot in the small town in central Italy where he now lives...   Food has become a real flashpoint in the power dynamics between asylum seekers and the people charged with looking after them. It has provoked protests, marches and road blockages. Asylum seekers refuse it on a daily basis. I was shown entire portions that had been thrown away, or kept in the fridge for when there was really nothing else to eat (or it could be spiced up with something else).  Each asylum seeker receives an allowance of €75 a month, distributed by NGOs. If any is left after buying credit for a simcard, clothes and bus fares, some use it to buy extra food at Indian or African shops, or at Eurospin, the local discount supermarket. But in the hotel reception centres, they must hide it under the bed as bringing in any food staples is forbidden. Some asylum seekers find places to cook in makeshift BBQs or dirty kitchens...   Activities that are generally taken to be signs of integration, such as volunteering, are encouraged by the interior ministry and can be taken into consideration when asylum requests are processed. Food is a central part of this system that privileges docile migrants and which rewards their “positive signs of integration”. This means saying ciao or buongiorno to Italians in an appropriate manner. Not making any trouble. And eating pasta – as all Italians are expected to do."
When in Rome, do as the asylum seekers do

Afghan evacuee charged with rape in Montana, governor says, demanding resettlement halt - "An Afghan evacuee has been charged with the rape of a woman in Missoula, Montana, the state's governor said Thursday – and he called for the Biden administration to halt all refugee resettlements until assurances are made about the vetting process.  Gov. Greg Gianforte's office said in a statement that an Afghan male placed in Montana by the U.S. State Department was charged with sexual assault."

Inside the smuggling ring that left a family to freeze to death on a perilous walk across Canada's border - "The family of four that froze to death while trying to secretly walk into the United States from Manitoba during a blizzard were already waiting at the drop-off point in Canada when other Indian citizens arrived for the night hike across the border. The father and mother were the oldest by a decade of the 11 migrants who gathered near Emerson, Man., on Jan. 19, for the organized illegal crossing. Their children were the youngest by far...   The conditions were frightful, even for those accustomed to a prairie blizzard. The temperature hovered around -35C with the blowing snow and bleak darkness of a featureless remote route, as the group headed toward the border, about 9:30 at night.  While seven made it to safety, snatched from the cold by U.S. Border Patrol officers the next day, after more than 11 hours of walking, the family of four, including a toddler and an older child, didn’t even make it out of Canada. The family was apparently not impoverished, as is the common perception of smuggled migrants, nor were they failed immigrants who lost a battle to stay in Canada, as is the perception of some migration experts. By accounts from India, they were from a large and supportive family with some assets, the father working as a teacher and owning farmland, and left their village just days before being consumed by the cold.  Indian media have identified the victims as Jagdish Patel, 35, his wife, Vaishali, 33, their daughter Vihanga, 12, and son Dharmik, 3...   The deaths are sparking debate in India, with hard questions on why so many are willing to risk so much to leave.  Newspaper accounts say the village of Dingucha and others like it are filled with advertisements and enticements for immigration to Canada, the U.S., Britain and Australia. Many make unrealistic promises of admission to Canadian universities, even without a language certificate.  The ads target the young, who dream of living abroad as a marker of success."
Clearly it's not just India - Canada is also a third world conflict zone, which is why the family needed to risk their lives to flee to the US. No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark, after all. The only solution is for the US to have open borders so anyone can go there to live and doesn't need to risk his life

What 'Squid Game' gets right and wrong about Pakistani migrant workers - ""Some of the issues faced by Ali Abdul appear to be typical" of a low-skilled migrant worker, says Noor Pamiri, a Pakistani immigrant based in New York who works for an organization that serves immigrants and refugees, mostly from South Asia and the Middle East. Ali faces labor exploitation and discrimination and seems to be stuck in a cycle of poverty "despite his hard work and abilities."  One of those abilities, adds Pamiri, is that Ali speaks fluent Korean and knows the culture, "showing that he has spent considerable time in South Korea."  What's less realistic, he adds, is that Ali's wife and child live with him in a small apartment in South Korea. "It's not typical for struggling immigrant workers to bring their families with them" when they go abroad, says Pamiri. What Pakistani journalist Absa Komal finds interesting about the show is that it "brings to light the South Asian culture where family obligation, loyalty and obedience toward family is of utmost importance," she says.  But that mindset does have its challenges, she adds. In many cases, men in South Asia are expected to bear the burden of providing for the whole family – including extended family members such as siblings to close relatives.  That Ali was willing to possibly sacrifice his own life to support his wife and child "stems from those values," she adds. "He ended up on the game because family is beyond everything."...   One thing that rubbed viewers the wrong way was that Ali came off a bit clueless, especially in the marble game, says Lalah Rukh Malik, the Pakistani, U.K.-based founder of the organization Science Fuse.  Ali was unable to "sense the danger" of his situation, she adds — he was too trusting of Sang-woo and was easily tricked by him. It also seemed to take Ali a moment to register the meaning of the Korean words for "odd" and "even" after Sang-woo explained it to him.  "In the game he is shown as someone less intelligent," says Malik. But the reality is that it takes a lot of smarts to be a migrant worker. "This Pakistani character has seen many struggles in his life, yet he figured things out to come to Korea with his family."  That the Pakistani character was shown as "less intelligent" than the other characters "seemed racist to me," she adds. The idea of an Indian actor playing the role of Pakistani migrant did not sit well with Pakistani actor Ahmed Ali Butt. He criticized Squid Game producers for this casting choice... Ali Gul Pir, a comedian based in Pakistan, disagrees: "Our country and our industry is so small as compared to India so it makes sense to choose an Indian actor to play the role as besides physical appearance, he also speaks fluent Korean which was of course one of the prime requirements for casting. He did a complete justice to the character.""
Clearly minorities cannot be written with any flaws, since that is "racist".
It is interesting that Indians aren't allowed to play Pakistanis, even though the 2 countries were the same 7 decades ago. Of course, this rule doesn't apply to white people. If they can't find a Pakistani actor who speaks fluent Korean (even before looking at other requirements), that's on them. They need to look harder.

Global top 50 pizza list honors the pies of an African immigrant in Italy - "After immigrating to Italy from Burkina Faso at age 12, Ibrahim Songne tasted pizza for the first time. His reaction?  Disgust."

Florida Cracks Down on Businesses Transporting Illegal Aliens Around the State - "The Florida Senate has passed legislation that would prohibit government agencies from contracting with companies that are transporting illegal aliens around the state.  Senate Bill 1808 passed along party lines and now heads to the Florida House for discussion and voting."

Freeze them out: Call for boycott of 'woke' US ice-cream company Ben & Jerry's - "Foreign minister James Cleverly tweeted: 'Can I have a large scoop of statistically inaccurate virtue signalling with my grossly overpriced ice cream please'.     Chris Philp, immigration minister, told the ice cream maker to 'stick to ice cream', adding: 'They're 'fleeing' France, which is safe, civilised & has a good asylum system.  'Last year the UK made 20,000 asylum grants. We are the only G7 country to meet the 0.7% aid target & have run the largest refugee resettlement scheme in Europe over the last 5 years. Stick to ice cream.'... hippy Ben & Jerry's came under pressure in 2017 to ensure dairy farms supplying it with milk in Vermont provided humane conditions for their migrant workers.  A survey by Migrant Justice, the farmworkers' advocacy group that lobbied Ben & Jerry's, found that workers in Vermont's dairy industry had been labouring under their own grim circumstances had few days off, did not sleep properly, and also had substandard housing... 'Perhaps if it paid the taxes HMRC thinks you should pay we could afford to accommodate many more asylum seekers.'"

UK-Rwanda migrant deal: UK announces controversial plan to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda (2022) - "Patel insisted the aim of the agreement was to improve the UK asylum system, which she said has faced "a combination of real humanitarian crises and evil people smugglers profiteering by exploiting the system for their own gains."  When a reporter asked what the criteria would be for relocation, Patel said "we are very clear that everyone who enters the UK illegally will be considered for resettlement and being brought over to Rwanda, I'm not going to divulge specific criteria for a number of reasons.""
Tanzania camp plan for refugees refused UK home (2004) - "A camp in Tanzania could offer a processing point for Somalis seeking asylum as well as a home for failed asylum seekers."
Liberals only care about the rule of law when it suits their agenda
Apparently when a Labour government does it, it's fine

Just 2% of migrants will be sent to Rwanda under existing rules | News | The Times - "Fewer than 200 illegal immigrants would be sent to Rwanda each year under existing asylum rules, according to an analysis of Home Office figures.  Migrants set for removal to the African country would be those judged “inadmissible” to the asylum system. The rules, introduced in January last year, apply to those arriving illegally via a “safe” country such as France... Home Office sources stress that one of the grounds for deciding if a migrant is inadmissible is that there is a realistic chance of removing them to a safe country. They say the deal struck with Rwanda would increase the number deemed inadmissible because it gives a realistic chance of removing them.  The Refugee Council also estimates, using figures from the Home Office and Crown Prosecution Service, that plans to criminalise asylum seekers who cross the Channel in small boats could result in 19,000 people sentenced to up to four years in prison.  The Nationality and Borders Bill, which reaches its final parliamentary stages this week with a series of votes, will create a criminal offence that would apply to all those who are intercepted in the Channel without prior authorisation to enter the UK. Currently, most migrants who cross in small boats are intercepted by the Border Force, coastguard or Navy, meaning they do not enter the country illegally because they have been assisted by the authorities. The Refugee Council estimates that the annual cost of prosecuting and jailing 19,288 migrants for crossing the Channel could reach £835 million... A Home Office spokesman said: “Our broken asylum system, which is currently costing the UK taxpayer £1.5 billion a year. Rwanda will process claims in accordance with human rights laws. It means those arriving dangerously, illegally or unnecessarily can be relocated to have their asylum claims considered and, if recognised as refugees, build their lives there... Priti Patel, the home secretary, accused the BBC of showing “undercurrents” of xenophobia in its reporting of the Rwanda deal. In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, she said: “When you hear the critics start to stereotype, start to generalise, first of all, that’s all very offensive. It’s deeply offensive, and it’s based on ignorance and prejudice, some of this, in my view.”"

UK asylum plan defended by Rwandan Anglican archbishop - "Archbishop Laurent Mbanda said it was not immoral and Rwanda was ready to welcome people needing a home.  He said many Rwandans had lived in exile because of the genocide in the 1990s, so they understood the issues faced by people fleeing their homes... The Anglican Churches in Africa have an increasingly tense relationship with their mother church over Biblical interpretations of issues like same-sex marriage.  Archbishop Mbanda says he believes that as colonial days are over, the African churches have to think and speak for themselves. The Anglican Church, the cleric says, is led by one among equals, and that it is time for the African churches to challenge their mother church, not waiting for the Archbishop of Canterbury to tell them what to do.  During his Easter sermon at Canterbury Cathedral, the Most Reverend Justin Welby had suggested the UK's asylum plan was "ungodly".  This was followed by a joint letter signed by the UK Anglican bishops, which said the country could not outsource its ethical responsibilities."
Minority voices only count when they spout the liberal agenda

The Myth Of The Filthy Migrant
A "myth" is anything a liberal does not like. No empirical evidence at all is presented that this is a myth, just alleged contradictions (based on selective quoting) and how perceptions changed as facts changed (weird, I thought we are told that science is constantly updating itself and that this is a feature and not a bug)

Syrians face deportation from Turkey after posting videos of themselves eating bananas - "Seven Syrians are facing deportation from Turkey after they posted videos of themselves eating bananas, in a bizarre escalation of an ongoing row over the lifestyle of refugees.  According to Turkish media reports, the seven Syrians were detained in the western port city of Izmir on charges of “threatening public order and security."  In recent weeks, some members of Syria's refugee community in Turkey have been posting videos online of banana-eating as a way of mocking Turks who feel that Syrians enjoy a more affluent life than they do.   The trend began when a viral video appeared on Oct 17 which showed an argument between a group of Turks and a young Syrian woman in Istanbul.  “You’re living comfortably. I can’t eat a banana, you’re buying kilos of bananas," says one Turk in the video as she berates the Syrian.  In what may have been an attempt at a humorous response - which has now backfired - Syrians have been filming themselves munching on bananas in TikTok videos, which sometimes play the audio of the original street argument in the background."

18 dead after migrants storm border between Morocco and Spanish enclave - "Around 2,000 migrants tried to storm the border fence around the Spanish territory of Melilla in North Africa on Friday, in a violent-two hour skirmish with officers during which 18 migrants were killed and scores more from both sides were injured.  It marks the biggest attempt to breach the European Union's southernmost land border since Spain and Morocco ended a diplomatic crisis in March. According to authorities in Melilla, around 500 migrants reached the border fence, which at one point was broken open with a bolt cutter, with some 130 people managing to reach Spanish territory.  Sources from Spain’s Guardia Civil border force in Melilla described the breach as “perfectly organised and violent”...   There have been numerous such incidents at the border of Melilla and Ceuta, autonomous Spanish cities that border Morocco. On one day in May 2021 some 8,000 people, including migrants and Moroccan citizens, took advantage of an absence of Moroccan security forces to enter Ceuta in the midst of the diplomatic crisis between Madrid and Rabat."
Clearly racism. Migrant lives matter

Switzerland: Foreigners make up 58% of all adults convicted in 2019 - "According to a study published by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (OFS), adult foreigners represent 57.8 percent of all adults convicted in 2019.  Of all adults sentenced in 2019 for violating the law on narcotics, foreigners were responsible for 57.9 percent of cases. In the case of traffic law, it was 52 percent.   When it comes to the country of origin, most perpetrators were from South-West Africa. According to the statistics, the rate is 30 per thousand, meaning that out of 1,000 people from Southwest Africa, 30 have committed an offense. People from West African countries come second with a rate of 21.7 per thousand. In the following places are Jamaicans (20.5), Haitians (19), immigrants from the Dominican Republic and Yemen (17.7), and South Africans (17.6). The North African nations are in 8th place, whereas they were in 3rd place in the last survey.   The number of immigrants from the former Yugoslavia convicted of a crime has decreased to 7.6 people per thousand, which is 0.3 per thousand less than the previous year.  British and Canadian (1.2), American (1.4), Swedish, and Dutch (1.6) nationals are among the least represented in criminal conviction statistics. People of Indian nationality have the lowest conviction rate at 0.9 people per thousand, while in the case of the Swiss, it is 2.6 people per thousand.  Foreigners make up a large percentage of the population of Switzerland, accounting for 25.1 percent of all residents"

A conspiracy of silence about the impact of mass migration has cost Britain dear - "Twenty years ago this week, a new campaign organisation made its presence felt with a prediction that rocked the political establishment. Migration Watch UK said that Britain could expect more than two million immigrants every 10 years for the foreseeable future unless curbs were introduced.  The founder, Sir Andrew (now Lord) Green, a former diplomat who was alarmed by the apparent trends, and David Coleman, the Oxford University demographer, extrapolated on the net migration figures since Labour had taken office in 1997 to make the forecast. The story was sufficiently dramatic to warrant front-page treatment in this newspaper and was instantly denounced, not only by migrant groups but by the Home Office itself.  As it turned out, the prediction was indeed wide of the mark. The increase was far greater. Since 2002, the population of the UK has grown by around eight million and 80 per cent can be attributed directly or indirectly to immigration. Yet, until Migration Watch pushed its way into the public discourse, no one was allowed to talk about this issue. At the 2001 general election, party leaders were required to sign a pledge promising not to “play the race card” during the campaign, which effectively meant any debate about the impact of large scale immigration was shut down.  Of course, immigration had been a divisive issue in British politics before. In the late 1960s Enoch Powell had warned of “rivers of blood” flowing from a failure to confront it. Various Acts of Parliament were introduced to limit the rights of Commonwealth citizens to enter the UK freely and, from 1971 to 1997, net immigration averaged about 50,000 a year.  This was why Migration Watch’s claim that it would soon be running at four times that figure was so explosive. By the following election, in 2005, the issue could no longer be ignored. The accession of the former Warsaw Pact states to the EU and the UK’s open door to immigration saw a massive increase, even though the Labour government insisted it would have little effect.  The people who ignored this trend and castigated anyone who discussed it are the same people who today demand that more money is spent on the public services to sustain such a large population. This was never primarily a matter of culture, though that did matter to many people. Their concerns were dismissed as bigotry by supercilious middle-class “progressives” who regarded it as a welcome boost to the multicultural nation they were keen to build. But, of course, they weren’t competing with the new arrivals for jobs, schools and services.  The population increase over the past 20 years is the fastest in history. Even the post-war baby boom saw only a five million population rise between 1950 and 1970. There is an argument for high levels of immigration when the population is ageing, in order to sustain the tax base and fill job vacancies. Rising populations boost GDP, though not necessarily on a per capita basis. Overseas nurses, doctors, teachers and other professionals help support the services the growing population needs.  However, the extra hospitals, schools, GP surgeries, houses, transport links and the like that are required for such a large number of people have not been provided in sufficient quantity, which is why there is so much pressure on those services. Even the water shortages that we are facing today are partly a function of a population explosion in London and the South-east fuelled by immigration.   One point that Migration Watch was making in 2002 was that if no one talks about immigration then no planning can be done for the inevitable pressures that it brings.  The fact is that, until the mid-1990s, the actuarial assumptions that underpinned government forecasts of public service requirements were based on an almost steady population. For instance, officials assumed that more homes would be needed because of the break-up of families; but they vastly underestimated the rate of new household formation because the impact of immigration was not taken into account... When the Common Market was established, with free movement as one of its core principles, it was never envisaged that millions of people would move to one European country and settle there...   The progressives, who even now rail against those who supported Leave, should acknowledge their own complicity in pretending that immigration was not an issue."
Damn climate change straining public services!

Meme - Pedro L. Gonzalez @emeriticus: "Thank you Ezra Klein for highlighting that mass immigration isn't necessary to have a thriving society!"
Ezra Klein @ezraklein: "Japan's failures have, in their own way, been overhyped as much as the country's previous successes...Adjusting for demography, the economies of Japan and the United States have grown at about the same rate over the past 30 years."

Meme - "Liberals feel negatively toward immigrants who vote Republican, conservatives feel similarly toward immigrants who vote Democratic"

7 Truths Liberals Will Never Acknowledge About Illegal Immigration - "1. Any sort of legalization or amnesty encourages more illegal aliens to come here During the Reagan administration, we had a “one-time” amnesty that featured promises of security in return for three million illegals getting to become citizens. Today, most estimates seem to put the number of illegals in the United States somewhere between 11-12.5 million...
2. A wall would make a major difference
A wall was never intended to be a fix for illegal immigration in and of itself. To the contrary, it’s a force multiplier. What we see everywhere that we have full fencing up is that illegals overwhelmingly avoid those areas. In other words, you can use a wall to direct illegals to certain areas and concentrate the border patrol in those areas
3. Illegal aliens hurt the poorest American workers
4. Illegal immigration is almost entirely about votes for liberals...
7. If you’re not willing to deport people today, you won’t be willing to deport them tomorrow
The argument we’ve been getting for the last 32 years on illegal immigration is that if we do an amnesty for illegals today, then we’ll start deporting people afterward. Except it never works like that. NEVER – and why would it?"

Friday, January 06, 2023

Links - 6th January 2023 (2 - History Extra Quoting)

The history of beauty: everything you wanted to know | HistoryExtra - "‘Eurocentric beauty standards really do dominate, and they essentially become global beauty standards. But whilst the dominant standard of beauty, female beauty in Western media may change slightly, the ideal of beauty that is usually held up is some sort of white cis thin woman. And that embodies that the prevailing fashion for beauty. Now, the key thing about beauty standards is they are meant to be unobtainable, so they always do have to shift... because the ideal beauty standard is consistently unobtainable, it can lead to all sorts of other effects like depression, body dissatisfaction, low self esteem and eating disorders...
I was thinking about the most dangerous product for beauty, I was thinking about Victorian hair tonics that actually use petroleum. So those examples of things like the wonderfully named Madame Fox’s Life for the Hair. So this is made from an extract of Bailey's and petroleum. This is essentially a dry shampoo… 1897, where a lady called Fanny Samuelsson she died after her hair caught alight during a petrol treatment at an upmarket salon in London. Now, there was an inquest behind this, and it was determined that the petrol in the product was so unstable, that the friction that was caused by rubbing her hair with a towel had led to spontaneous combustion.’"
If you pretend that beauty standards are eurocentric often enough despite their pre-dating contact with Europeans, many people will believe the lie
Blaming beauty standards for unhappiness is easier than blaming neuroticism and anxiety over status competition

Benjamin Franklin: portrait of a revolutionary | HistoryExtra - "‘What's interesting about our work is all the things they thought they knew that or that they learned that they didn't know. And that's exciting, you know, soldiers in Vietnam telling us our Vietnam series told them things. World War Two veterans before they passed away, saying, thank you, I was in the Pacific Theater, I had no idea what was going on. I went, I moved from one little spot of land in this biggest of all oceans to another little spot of land. Thank you for putting it together. And same with those in the European theater.’"
Too bad for the people who valorise personal experience

America’s Cold War culture boom | HistoryExtra - "‘This was an era where people really valued culture, as you say, they believed it mattered. What do you think that the consequence of that was?’
‘It made for very exciting debates. Because I mean, just to give you an example, one of the things that the American government and the governments of the liberal democracies, including the UK, and France wanted to do in the Cold War was to promote the idea that expression was free, in liberal democracies, that the state doesn't tell you what to write or what to paint, or what kind of movies to make, as opposed to in the Soviet Union, where there was an official aesthetic, socialist realism. And everybody knew that if you didn't adhere to that aesthetic, your work would be censored or banned. So the liberal democracies want to say to the world look, we don't tell painters what to paint. Okay, so we don't tell painters what to paint. Suppose a painter decides to make a painting by just throwing paint on a canvas on the floor. Is that a painting? Is that art? Suppose a composer composes a piece of music, which is consists of four minutes and 33 seconds of silence, is that music? So there's a lot at stake because we have to show that freedom conduces to good art, not just crazy stuff. So it's fascinating to watch the rationales that are given to explain why the drip paintings of Jackson Pollock are painting and why the silent piece by John Cage's music, and that's fascinating to write about’"

Munich: the real history behind the new film | HistoryExtra - "‘It struck me when I was watching this film that anybody sat at home watching it, essentially is watching with the benefit of hindsight. We know what was to come. What are the challenges of creating a historical story like that and maintaining tension, for example, when we all know how it's going to end up?’
‘Well, you know, there is a school of thought that drama is better if you do know the ending, so that the Titanic exercises constant fascination with people, we know what's going to happen. I wrote a novel about Pompeii. I mean, you know, one knows what's going to happen. And oddly enough, waiting for it to happen. And wondering who's going to survive is quite an effective drama, in fact. The ancient Greeks, it's Greek drama, a Greek tragedy, where you know, what's going to happen and the chorus keep telling you this is going to end disastrously so there's no problem with that, I think...
In the summer of 1938, Stalin had killed many, many millions of people, far more than than Hitler had. And was seen, certainly by the conservative establishment in Britain, as some far more menacing figure. And, you know, it was inconceivable to people that there would be something like the Holocaust, I mean, there there would be, that there would be Jewish people thrown out of jobs, treated as second class citizens, encouraged to emigrate, all of that was seen and abhorred by the rest of the world. But the concept that they actually might try to murder every single man, woman and child was beyond conception and imagining in 1938... it was less than 20 years since the end of the First World War, where 900,000 British men had been killed. And there was simply no appetite for fighting it again, and anything that could be done to try and stop it happening. If that meant that the Germans, 2 million ethnic Germans in Czechoslovakia should, should go to Germany. Fine, let's do it. Another word for appeasement is really peace process. How do we find the sources of the conflict and somehow try and disarm?’"

Shining new light on medieval Europe | HistoryExtra - "This story of the Dark Ages that there was this 1000 year period after the alleged fall of the Roman Empire until the Renaissance has really been locked in the story of medieval European history, since the 14th century, since since Petrarch, since the originators of the Renaissance started to tell a story about themselves as having rescued knowledge and having shed light. And it's done a lot of harm. And we can talk a little about the harm in terms of, harm in terms of how we think about ourselves, harms in terms of how we tell the story of humanity, the story of Europe, harm in terms of how it's plugged into a lot of violence and a lot of dangerous things. But also, it's just wrong. We as professional historians, and really, as everyone we know who studies the Middle Ages, we just don't recognize the the picture of the Middle Ages that is so locked in, in modern consciousness, of this darkness of savageness, of simplicity, of isolation, we just see a much more vibrant, complex human messy world. And we wanted to tell that story and tell it in the way that could reach the most people possible."
This had little substantiation (basically the argument was that outside of Western Europe it wasn't Dark). Let alone evidence for "harm" in thinking of a collapse of the documentary record as the Dark Ages

Queen Victoria’s spy network | HistoryExtra - "‘Today the monarchy is supposed to be neutral. Was, was the same supposed to apply for Victoria?’
‘Absolutely not. So clearly, Queen Victoria is pursuing several quite political campaigns. As Rory says, It's partly about her Russophobia. But her other big political campaign is against leftists and anarchists and subversives. So in the 19th century, Britain has this fantastic tradition of providing political asylum, or providing refuge for all sorts of figures. Nationalists, like Mazzini, leftists like Karl Marx, London was kind of a menagerie of some of Europe's most colorful political figures. Queen Victoria hated this. All her relatives are writing to her from Europe saying, why are you hosting all these terrible people? And so there's a constant battle between her and people like Palmerston, people who are radically liberal, they want to support these revolutionaries. Victoria doesn't like it... She says, these, these evil Republicans must be exterminated. She doesn't, she doesn't mince her words at all. And that is clearly very, very different context historically and constitutionally from the world in which Queen Elizabeth reigns now, and it started to change after Queen Victoria. Edward the Seventh was a bit disappointed he didn't quite have his mother's influence. And gradually, it becomes more what we know today. But under Victoria, no, she was very happy and willing to meddle and manipulate, to interfere’
‘It's remarkably modern, in the sense that for 50 years through her reign, Victoria’s fighting this political battle over issues of asylum, issues of human rights, issues of political liberty, all the way through, through her reign. She's trying to promote European style secret policing. She wants, she wants revolutionaries in Britain to be put under close surveillance. And she also wants their rights to be changed, so every 10 years, a new piece of legislation is introduced into Parliament to try and throw these people out. Even in her last decade in 1894, she's bringing in something called the Aliens Act. But once again, every 10 years it's defeated. The British Parliament will not roll back on their liberal inclusive agenda of welcoming these revolutionaries from Europe.’...
'All the best secrets are in the royal archive at Windsor. And this is a place that material is continually flowing into but it's like a black hole. Things are sucked in, but they never go out. But one of the duties of the British embassies around the world is to report on stories about the monarchy, send them into London send them to Buckingham Palace. One of the hotspots for this was the British Embassy in France because the French press absolutely love the British, the British monarchy. And they're always doing crazy stories about how Princess Anne had the whole Everton football team in in her bedroom. How the Queen Mother had died, had been replaced by a body double. All this stuff was being sent in by by junior diplomats in in British diplomats in France through the 70s and the 80s. And they never got any response. At one point they said oh, do you really want this stuff? Should, shouldn't we stop and immediately Buckingham Palace said no, we love this stuff. Send us more stories. This is what we read over the breakfast table'"

A murder mystery in 19th-century Dublin | HistoryExtra - "They actually ticketed, admit, admission. So they were reported to be hordes of people crowding the streets on both sides of the building, before each day of the trial, and they had policemen on the doors, making sure that people had tickets to get in. And I think it was inside, those days, of course, they chose to just pack them in as as much as they could... in 1857, it was not permissible for a wife to give evidence in court against her husband. There's one exception actually, if if the husband had been abusing her in any way... that ruling was not revoked until 1897"

The Age of Sail: everything you wanted to know | HistoryExtra - "‘The Admiralty didn't really officially allow women on board. But quite often, you'd have the wives of maybe your warrant officers or your gunners, your surgeons, etc, or other officers joined the ship, but they had to learn to share the cabins or the hammocks, etc. They had to share their food rations. They didn't get their own food rations, so that had to be split between them. But yeah, quite often, you would have women on board. There's a great story. I can't remember the ship. But essentially, she was due to be giving birth and she'd been in labor for something like 12 hours. So basically, the surgeon went and asked if they could fire a broadside in order that it would kind of shock her body pushing out this baby and she did. She ended up having a baby off the back of this broadside being fired. But yeah, so and there's a there's a great paper that was written recently that actually covers the the wife of one of the gunners. Looking after the midshipmen, kind of being a bit of a mother figure to the younger, younger kids. Well, kids on board. You'd have your powder monkeys, for example, who are very, very tiny children. They, the the powder monkeys were used to kind of run the gunpowder up from the magazine where the gunner was up to the gun crews, so tiny little nimble children with with buckets of gunpowder taking it up to for firing...
There's been some really interesting work carried out recently by a chap called Jeremiah Dancy, who's actually, he sat and went through all of the muster books of all of these ships, which must have taken, well, in fact, it did take years, and actually found out that the number of people that were pressed rather than volunteered is a lot less than we think. So more people volunteered than than we think. But essentially, you'd have these press gangs, as everyone knows them, going around these kinds of shipping, nautical towns, port towns, and finding people to crew, the navy. I mean, obviously, you're going from peacetime where you don't really need anyone to suddenly a period of war where you may need, what upwards of 20,000 men. And so you'd have these press gangs set up in towns, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Chatham, etc. But really, there's kind of this myth, I guess, where people think of the press gangs, going into pubs and going, you're coming with me, you look able bodied. Taking people away from their houses, etc. And well it did happen, and you'd have your landsmen who had never really been to sea before, but essentially you didn't you didn't particularly want them, you needed people who'd been to sea, who knew their way around the ship and understood how to to deal with the sails or heave on lines or fire guns if they could. So really, it was kind of those merchant navy men that you you would want. But you also had to be very aware that you didn't want to leave the merchant fleet with nobody… the King's Shilling is kind of this token you're given as a sign of impressment. And there's a supposedly a pub in Portsmouth where the landlady used to drop the shilling into the beer, meaning that when they drank it, they you know, the King’s Shilling is there and right, off to see with you. And it's a, it's a myth. It's a nice myth, but I don't think that's, I don't think you'd have been able to get away with it. To the extent that people think they did, but supposedly she recruited, like hundreds of people, for the Navy...
There is a lot of superstition and myth, at sea, even to this day, things like not being able to take bananas on board. I'm not quite sure where that one came from’"

The Gothic: from Dracula to The Shining | HistoryExtra - "‘It's the golden age of ghost stories, definitely the golden age of the emergence of these really modern myths, like the vampire. Vampires as this kind of effete aristocrat, appears in 1819. Clearly modeled on Lord Byron. And then he kind of recurs again with Bram Stoker's Dracula in 1897...
I always have to confess, as a, you know, an earnest professor of literature, that the only reason I am a professor of literature is because of Stephen King's The Shining, which I read a, you know, a very kind of impressionable age. And also the film, which came out in 1979 was was a huge kind of impression on me, not because it's particularly gory or violent, just because of its, its sort of sense of menace’"

The Ottoman “Age of Discovery” | History Extra - "We also have to think about Ottoman rulers as being Renaissance princes. And the best example of this is Mehmet the Second, Mehmet the Conqueror, the one who conquers the Byzantine city of Constantinople, in 1453. In every regard, he is a Renaissance Prince, both in his his artistic tastes, and his literary tastes, and his cultivation of himself as in being someone in the, being modeled on an ancient ruler. He he has his historians compare him to Alexander. So so he's very conscious of what other European Renaissance princes are doing. He has some of the same portrait artists paint him, he has the same medallion makers, strike medallions for him. So the idea that Muslims would never have portraits or medallions made is quite silly… if we think about the knowledge that he gathers around him, the philosophers he gathers around him, he's very much a Renaissance Prince, as is his grandson, Suleiman... What the death knell was choosing the wrong side in the First World War… They also engaged in, they turned against many of the Ottoman values that had kept the Empire and the dynasty around for so long. When they committed genocide against the Armenian population. This was turning against the tolerance that had sustained the empire for nearly 600 years."

What can churches tell us?  | HistoryExtra - "We spend quite a lot of time in Norfolk. And I read an obituary of a man who'd restored a very ancient church really off his own bat, at a place called St. Mary's in Houghton on the Hill, which is quite near Swaffham, but it's literally in the middle of nowhere. So in the summer, I went with my daughter, who's a theology student at the moment... we went to look at this church, and I mean it's a wonderful church. And he's restored it very beautifully. But what he's done inside, which is absolutely fascinating. This is a ninth 10th 11th century church. And he, he chipped away at the walls to get back to the original wall paintings. And he'd found such wonderful things that English Heritage and all sorts of people got involved. And the one that really catches your eye is on one side, is the Garden of Eden theme. And so you've got the, on one side, you've got the tree with the snake and Adam is sitting underneath it, and standing alongside it is God reaching out and embracing Eve and lifting her up. So my daughter, the reason having having made her go to Catholic schools, wants nothing to do with the Catholic Church, is cos she's a feminist. And then you look at this and you think, Oh, look, in the 10th century, people had a problem with that Daughters of Eve kind of line that women are all temptresses. And what did they do? On the wall of their church in the 10th century, they had God embracing Eve and casting out Adam. So you, it speaks to contemporary dilemmas in that sense, or contemporary arguments. We're not, you're not just kind of getting back into some dark, dusty, irrelevant bits of things. It connects both to the debates that we have at the moment. And they also connect, connect you as a person to those people"

Stranger danger? Xenophobia’s unexpected history | HistoryExtra - "‘There is a new term isn't there coined in the wake of the Second World War by Raphael Lemkin genocide. Could you describe how that comes about?’
‘Yes. So, you know, there's a, there are terms that are being coined to try to understand new phenomenon. And my argument about xenophobia is that it is in response to the second wave of globalization, that the notion that the stranger is an enemy is a catastrophe. If in fact, the world is globalizing, it means we're always going to be at war. Similarly, the term, the number of terms start to take 180 degree pivot backwards, right. So that anti-semite is at first a positive term, it becomes a very negative term. Racism is a positive term, it means you're proud of your race, until it becomes le racisme and it becomes bigotry against racism. Xenophobia, takes that same turn, starts out it's about them. Now it's about us. And Lemkin builds on that. He wants a term that will fill a gap because at that point, there was no term for or there was no law against, power, powers that discriminated against even murdered communities within their nation state. It wasn't a crime that international courts could deal with because it was internal... Fanon… was a black psychiatrist, and he went to Algeria. And he came to this recognition, he said, you know, the French hate the Jews who hate the Arabs who hate the blacks. And I thought, and you could just keep going. So part of the notion of thinking about xenophobia is to challenge us, who's your stranger, who's the other anxiety that you have? Now, I would suggest that that is very different from the driven internal need for a hated other, which I say is the kind of pure xenophobia, that is the stuff that's driven by projection’"
How did this go into psychoanalysis?!

How the Greeks changed the world | HistoryExtra - "Greek is one of only three languages still in regular daily use in the world today, that has a continuous record of use in speech and writing, that goes back for more than 3000 years...
You can speculatively run all the way back to the myth of Jason and the Argonauts, and Odysseus on his ship, struggling to find his way back from Troy to his island home of Ithaca. Greeks, Greek shipowners apparently own the largest share of world cargo shipping of any single identifiable, gross national group in the world. It's something like 17% of world cargo shipping is Greek own. And I did this statistical check that is approximately 100 times the proportion of the Greek population as a proportion of the world's population. The Greeks are really made their mark in shifting goods by sea around the world. They were doing it 3000 years ago. They're still preeminent are doing it."

Sex work: a brief history | HistoryExtra - "‘Sex work is often called the oldest profession in the world, is that fair?’
‘Oh, is that fair. It’s one of the oldest. But the thing that you've got to remember is there's plenty of cultures and people that existed without money and without professions. So if you don't have money you don’t have professions, ergo, nobody needs to sell sex for for money, although I'm sure it's always been a really useful commodity. There were anthropologists in 1950s, actually, that did research on all tribal communities and tribal people. And they found that there was very, very little evidence of anyone selling sex because again, they didn't use money. But the figure of the medicine man and the midwife, were pretty much universal. So it would probably be more accurate to say that midwifery is the oldest profession. But you could definitely say that sex work is as old as money itself. And it's a very useful commodity.’...
‘What kind of stigma have sex workers faced in historical contexts?’
‘Much the same that they face today and continue to face. When you take a society that has quite repressive and misogynist attitudes around sex and around gender and around money, the figure of the sector worker is always going to be stigmatized in those terms. If you've got a culture that stigmatizes sex as dirty or naughty or shameful, the sex worker is the symbol of all of that. And it is the stigma that's the most damaging thing. It’s the stigma that causes the most damage. Because it's the stigma that forces people into silence. It's the stigma that stops people today, accessing help, getting support, being open and honest about what they're doing. And when you create shame, that's where you create a lot of danger...
No attempt to abolish it in the history of human experience has been successful. In fact, it hasn't kept anyone safer. It's not helped anybody that's being abused or trafficked. It just makes it harder for people because that's what happens is when you apply more criminal sanctions and more repression to an already marginalized group of people, but the sanctions that have been meted out are pretty tough.’...
‘Have there been any societies where selling sex hasn't been stigmatized or hasn't been subject to restraint and policing?’
‘I haven't found one if there is, which is rather depressing. Although what I will say is our own time is actually quite exciting... In Edo, Japan, a woman was supposed to have three loyalties in her life: one to her father, one to her husband, and one to the sons that she would bear. That was your job. Is, you were, as a wife, you were domestic, you supposed to stay there, you have the babies, you are quiet, you are demure, you are all of those things. Wwhereas your husband, as long as he's supporting you can go and enjoy multiple mistresses. And even though the mistresses exist in a state of sexual slavery, arguably, they had more freedom than the wives. And that's the tension throughout the history of sex work, that it's really difficult to square these things. But ultimately, these were really brutal, patriarchal, capitalist societies.’...
‘Renaissance Italy, that sex work was put forward as a way of saving the population in quote marks from homosexuality’...
‘If men don't have access to sex, they'll do much worse. And they mean homosexuality, they also mean like violent assaults and sexual assault or cheating, or indulging in affairs or having, worst of all, having sex with other men's wives... I still see echoes of that narrative, you know, like whenever there's some incel has done something terrible, as always, inevitably, someone on social media that says, Well can’t they have sex with prostitutes, always. And it's that same attitude that the figure of the, that sex worker has to act as some kind of buffer for horrendous behavior. So we still use that kind of idea of like, well, if they don't have sex with sex workers, they're gonna go and beat up women...
One of my favorite courtesans throughout history was the Greek courtesan Phryne, who was so famous and so good at what she did that we're still talking about today. She, she made so much money, that when Alexander the Great destroyed the walls of Thebes, she offered to rebuild it herself. She had enough money, I will just rebuild the walls of Thebes, but only on the condition that they put up a plaque that said, destroyed by Alexander the Great, rebuilt by  Phryne the whore’"
Weird how in feminist Sweden and the sex-mad US, sex work still has stigma
Strange. I thought capitalism was invented in Europe in the 18th century
The same people who say that poverty leads to crime get upset when you point out that lack of sex causes some men to commit crimes. Maybe they think to explain is to justify - which makes sense considering how they talk about poverty and crime, and blaming society for crime

How Shakespeare inspired terrorists | HistoryExtra - "'The main language in the US probably wouldn't be English without Shakespeare being imported with with the early settlers... In Iran, in Egypt, in these key cultural hubs, it's not until the 19th and 20th centuries, that there really is an influx of translation. And in large part, it's because a resistance to Shakespeare is internal resistance to the British. So they translate sciences, for example, but they don't translate literature. And they tried to preserve their own language and culture by avoiding texts like Shakespeare's. In Algeria, for example, Shakespeare's translated not because he's English, but because he's not French...
‘In Afghanistan in 2005, Corinne Jaber visits Kabul to organise the performance of the first Shakespearean play in the city since the Soviets had invaded decades before. And women take part in this production. How are they treated by the Taliban?’
‘Women hadn't been allowed to work for six years when this performance took place, let alone act. And practically all of the cast of this Love's Labor's Lost had serious issues as a result. When it comes to the women, one’s thrown out of the family home and another gets death threats. Another one is stabbed in the neck, by it, by a family member, actually. But there's one that's particularly pointed, which is *something* who, who punched to the ground on her way home one night, and then her husband who's constantly receiving these calls, telling him to stop his wife from from acting, was eventually gunned down outside their house and killed and his body was mutilated.’...
‘You said something I found really interesting, which is Shakespearean comedy is most problematic to terrorists, but the tragedies provide the inspiration. Can you tell us a bit more about that?’
‘Yeah, it's it's a finding of the book, so to speak. I mean, it's not something I expected. But it seemed to me that the constant example, so Love's Labour's Lost in Afghanistan, there was a bombing at a Twelfth Night in Doha. There's a problem with A Midsummer Night's Dream in Iran. They're all comedies. And I thought for a moment, why is that the case? It seems to me that terrorists generally don't read the plays. And if they do, or if they, if they interact with them, they want to understand them. And actually, the thing that's harder to understand is a bit more of a threat. So, so tragedies have the more universal values we've been talking about and human traits. The comedies are essentially tragic comedy, Shakespeare is very fluid with genre. So he doesn't really just write comedy or just write tragedy, they're very this to some extent, tragic comedies, they still deal with big issues of life, but in a slightly more hidden way, whether that's hidden through the, the the humor or through the puns, or through the happy resolution, they still discuss some of these big issues. And I think that that mystique, so to speak, can be quite unsettling for for those who don't like Shakespeare, whereas the tragedies seem to present these prototypes of assassination, and usurpation and, and that can provide a more direct inspiration to somebody who wants to carry out an assassination or wants to, to usurp the power that they feel is being unjust.’"
Unfortunately he does not justify the claim about the US

The Irish famine: everything you wanted to know  | HistoryExtra - "'It was triggered by a blight on the potato crop. At that stage, about 40% of the Irish people depended on potatoes, that was all they ate, it was their subsistence crop. So when blight came, it was quite serious. But the potato crop had failed a number of times before. What made this particular failure, special, unique and so deadly, was that this blight kept coming back, and it came back for seven consecutive years. And so even though Ireland had suffered from famines before, and indeed, after 1852, the longevity of this major, particularly deadly, when we talk about the famine, we generally date it from 1845, when the potato crop first failed, although excess mortality, the high levels of mortality did not really begin until the end of 1846. And we generally say the famine ended in 1852, when the Blight pretty well disappeared from Ireland...
Potatoes were very well suited to conditions in Ireland. They grew prolifically, even in the poorest of soil, and the Irish moderate climate was very well suited to their growth. So the poor people increasingly grew potatoes. And it was a good choice. It was very sensible, because potatoes, especially if combined with milk, and that was the basic diet, potatoes and buttermilk, is a highly nutritious diet. And what we think, is that before the Great Famine, the great hunger, Irish people were probably the tallest people in Europe, which is not how we think about people about to undergo a famine...
What made the Irish situation unique and so vulnerable? Was that in no other country in Europe, was such a high dependence on potatoes. And that's why when the disease appeared in Ireland, people were very worried because of the high dependence of the poor people on this one crop… In 1845, about 40% of the crop was wiped out, because it came relatively late in the season. And people could cope. You, as I said, people had suffered intermitted food shortages before. And so people did what they usually did. If they had a pig, they'd slaughter it, they'd sell it, they pawn their fishing tackle, they pawn their wedding rings, feeling that the following year would be good, as was the tradition. Again, what made this famine, this tragedy so awful, was that in the following year in 1846, the blight returned, but it was much more deadly, far more virulent. And in 1846, almost all of the potato crop was wiped out...
We don't know exactly how many people died. So, as historians, we tend to round it up. And we say at least one people, 1 million people died, 2 million people emigrated. So the space of six to 10 years, Ireland lost 25% of her population, which by any standards is shocking. And that probably makes the Irish famine, one of the most lethal famines in modern history, in terms of overall population loss. What we, what we also know, and this makes the Ireland almost unique, is that the population never recovered. So in 1841, we think the population was about eight and a half million and growing. By 1851, it was about six and a half million. By 1901, it was about four and the half million. And today, the population of Ireland is about 7 million. It's actually starting to grow. But even as we speak, today, the population of Ireland is smaller than it was in 1845. And again, that is shocking for a modern democracy’"

The Great Depression: everything you wanted to know | HistoryExtra - "‘The stock market crash is better understood as a symptom of a lot of structural economic dislocations than as the cause of the Great Depression, despite the fact that many narrative histories introduced the Great Depression with the stock market crash. But the consensus amongst most people who study this closely is that the stock market crash did not have much of a causative effect on creating the event we know as the Great Depression... The best estimate we have is that only about 2.5%, I repeat that, 2.5% of American households owned stock as of 1929. So the effects on the banking system and the credit system turned out over time to be quite severe. But the immediate effects were almost zero in the average American household... the United States stock market did not regain its 1929 pre crash levels, until 1954...
The summary word, the one word that sums up the essence of the New Deal’s changes is the word security. And in fact, that word appears in the title of what is, to this day, probably the single most famous and consequential piece of legislation that came out of the New Deal, the Social Security Act of 1935’...
‘If we use the usual metric, which is unemployment, that's the sort of the best rough and ready way to think about the beginning of the depression, the scale of the Depression, and then the end of it. And it ends in the United States only in 1941, which happens also to be the year which the United States entered World War Two. And those facts are not unrelated. That it was the massive, massive American federal government spending on war materiel and mobilization for the war that finally puts paid through the Depression. So as as late as the end of 1940, early 1941, the unemployment rate was still around 15, 16 17%. By 1942, it's about 3%. By 1943, it's invisible… World War Two put an end to the depression in a very dramatic fashion. And it did so by demonstrating the power of deficit spending, of government borrowing in order to stimulate the economy. The biggest New Deal deficit was about $6 billion in fiscal year 1936. The federal deficits in 1943, and 1944 were in the range of 70 and $80 billion. That deficit spending on a scale that was just literally unimaginable in the 1930s. Even people like Franklin Roosevelt could not imagine that it would be politically possible or economically feasible, to do deficit spending on that scale’"
So much for libertarians complaining that the New Deal was the problem and delayed the recovery and the government should just have gotten out of the way

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