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Saturday, May 13, 2023

Links - 13th May 2023 (2 - Victim Culture)

The ugly truth about the new South Africa - "It is remarkable that the return of a phenomenon we normally associate with 19th-century Eastern Europe – violent racist pogroms – warrants hardly a mention in the British media today. The media are quick to condemn so-called hate speech or anything that smacks of ‘Islamophobia’. But real xenophobia – in this case, the degraded and brutal violence meted out to immigrants in South Africa – hardly gets a mention... Most people will not know that over the past few weeks, in two of the three metropolitan areas of Gauteng (Tshwane and Johannesburg), Africans from countries outside of South Africa have been violently assaulted. Their businesses and possessions have been looted. Many have been displaced from their homes. Foreign truck drivers have been attacked and their trucks set alight. This is part of a campaign by the All Truck Drivers Foundation to ‘get rid of foreign truck drivers’ and ensure that only South Africans are employed.This follows similar major violent incidents in Durban in April... So why are the British media ignoring these pogroms? Well, because this is South Africa. This is Nelson Mandela’s revered land of reconciliation, moderation and peace. It is uncomfortable for the Western media and political elites to accept that the new South Africa has some very deep problems of division and violence. What is truly awkward for outside observers is that xenophobia is now a fundamental part of life in South Africa. In fact, it is part of the DNA of this rainbow nation that Western governments have given unequivocal support to for the past 25 years... xenophobia does not arise in a vacuum. In South Africa it has been stoked by the government and political class who have been quick to scapegoat outsiders to deflect from their abject failure to deliver the basics of a decent life for their citizens... But there is another critical dimension that helps to explain why Nelson Mandela’s rainbow nation has become the global capital of xenophobic pogroms. That is, the South African identity that the ANC itself has forged since the overthrow of Apartheid. This is an identity based in an ugly, backward, victim-based nationalism, which often pits ‘South Africans’ against ‘Africans’. It is a perverse differentiation between insiders – those who suffered under Apartheid – and alien ‘outsiders’: foreigners who cannot possibly comprehend the exceptionalism of Apartheid. The pitiful paradox of this modern South African identity is its dependence on – rather than its transcendence of – Apartheid. It is a victim-based identity that builds on the claim that South Africans are exceptional. They are so singular in their experience of Apartheid that it differentiates them from everyone else in the world, especially from other Africans, who tend to be lumped together as if Africa outside of South Africa was one undifferentiated country. Central to this identity is an exaggerated sense of entitlement, one that has fuelled the systemic corruption by ANC officials."
Victim culture strikes again

Can political apologies fuel ‘culture of complaint?’ - "Premier Christy Clark’s then-deputy chief of staff Kim Haakstad, who has since resigned, distributed by email a strategy cynically advising the party to apologize to ethnic Chinese or South Asian people as an election ploy – to get a “quick win.”... the B.C. Liberals have been ridiculed by Chinese people for failing to recognize the century-old head tax that had to be paid by Chinese immigrants was a federal issue, which the Conservatives had already apologized for in 2006.The B.C. government has also been dumped on for trying to leverage the 1914 Komagata Maru incident, in which a boatload of would-be Indian immigrants in Vancouver harbour were sent back to their homeland. B.C. Liberals were bluntly reminded that Prime Minister Stephen Harper also apologized for that. In 2008... It should perhaps come as no surprise that one key academic research paper on public apologies is titled Just Pretending.The paper explores the hypocrisy inherent in governments apologizing to minority groups, especially aboriginals, without introducing the reforms that could actually bring them long-term justice... Another important study of political apologies, led by Craig Blatz at the University of Waterloo, suggested yet more downsides to official displays of regret.When the Waterloo psychology researchers first asked Canadians about the Chinese head tax that began in 1885, they found most ethnic Chinese people didn’t know there had been one. They weren’t upset.So, when the Conservatives’ apology came, the study found most Chinese-Canadians in the study were not impressed. Indeed, white Canadians were more pleased than anyone with the apology. Go figure.But there was a more disturbing finding by the intrepid Waterloo team. They noted the Conservatives’ head-tax apology in 2006 “was not associated with an increase in Canadian identity” among the surveyed ethnic Chinese residents.In other words, the researchers found this political apology and others may not have even accomplished the stated goal – which is to encourage members of a supposedly aggrieved minority to feel a more integral part of the wider community.Indeed, it’s possible that Canadian politicians’ rush to apologize for all matter of wrongs in the distant past could be making members of ethnic groups feel more isolated, more aggrieved, more self-focused and less committed to the national common good."
On how apologising and victim culture more broadly makes things even worse

When persecution complexes run amok - "Hoekstra’s revealing story tells the tale of an Indo-Canadian businessman accused by government bodies of repeatedly exposing his workers to cancer-causing asbestos.But Mike Singh claimed to Hoegstra, straight-faced, there is absolutely nothing to the repeated charges. He is just being harrassed because he is “brown.”Meanwhile, Singh forges ahead, ignoring government warnings he is putting the lives and health of his crew at risk.Singh’s attitude reflects the dark side of so-called “identity politics,” which often encourages people (of different ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations or what have you) to see themselves first as a persecuted minority. Unfortunately, those people who feel persecuted sometimes go onto persecute others — such as when “persecuted” Christians discriminate against gays and lesbians... an over-emphasis on it can lead to personality complexes psychologists call “hyper-vigilant narcissism.” That creates people who think they are victims, who use that to mistreat others

Andrew Sullivan: The Next Step for Gay Pride - "There has never been a better time or place in the history of the world to be gay than in 2019 and in the West.I think it’s worth repeating that — especially in front of the younger generation — because it gives us critical perspective on where we are now and where we are headed. If you glance at media aimed at gays, lesbians, and transgender people, you might imagine we are living in a state of siege... Compared with the 1880s, or 1780s, when gay people were assumed to be merely deviant straights and were subject to execution under the law, it is an entirely different universe. Because gay men and women are almost always brought up by straight parents, this history is hard to pass on. And so perspectives can be warped. Those whose livelihoods are built on defending victims have an interest in sustaining a victim paradigm for gay America, in which they are the saviors. And victim narratives are comfortable. They allow us to avoid responsibility for our own problems, while transferring it to others. They evoke cheap but satisfying empathy. They seem to cast us as somehow noble for being “oppressed.” They actually provide status among today’s elites — and can help you advance your own career solely on the basis of your orientation if you want to go to college or get a job at a major corporation. I think it’s time to shuck off this narrative, because it is a crude simplification of the gay experience, because it is profoundly out of date, and because it focuses us on other people we cannot always change while ignoring things closer to home that we can. What we need now, I think, is a narrative more productive and constructive, less about the harm the world can do to us, and more about the good we can give back to the world... Gay people, of all people, should know the danger of suppressing and stigmatizing unpopular views. In previous iterations of the “call-out” culture, gays were so often the ones called out."
On gay victim culture

Life is unfair to me and it's your fault - "Back in 1993, the misanthropic art critic Robert Hughes published a grumpy, entertaining book - Culture Of Complaint - in which he predicted that America was doomed to become increasingly an "infantilised culture" of victimhood.It was a rant against what he saw as a grievance industry appearing all across the political spectrum... "Victimhood culture" has now been identified as a widening phenomenon by mainstream sociologists. And it is impossible to miss the obvious examples all around us.We can laugh off some of them: For example, the argument that the design of a Starbucks cup is evidence of a secularist war on Christmas.Others, however, are more ominous. On campuses, activists interpret ordinary interactions as "microaggressions" and set up "safe spaces" to protect students from certain forms of speech. And presidential candidates on both the left and the right routinely motivate supporters by declaring that they are under attack by immigrants or wealthy people. Who cares if we are becoming a culture of victimhood? We should.To begin with, victimhood makes it more and more difficult for us to resolve political and social conflicts. The culture feeds a mentality that crowds out a necessary give and take - the very concept of good-faith disagreement - turning every policy difference into a pitched battle between good (us) and evil (them)... both sides attributed their own group's aggressive behaviour to love, but the opposite side's to hatred. Today, millions of Americans believe their side is basically benevolent, while the other side is evil and out to get them... victimhood culture makes for worse citizens - people who are less helpful, more entitled and more selfish... "victims" were also more likely than the "non-victims" to leave trash behind on the desks and to steal the experimenters' pens... the line is fuzzy between fighting for victimised people and promoting a victimhood culture. Where does the former stop and the latter start? I offer two signposts for your consideration.First, look at the role of free speech in the debate. Victims and their advocates always rely on free speech and open dialogue to articulate unpopular truths. They rely on free speech to assert their right to speak. Victimhood culture, by contrast, generally seeks to restrict expression in order to protect the sensibilities of its advocates. Victimhood claims the right to say who is and is not allowed to speak...  look at a movement's leadership. The fight for victims is led by aspirational leaders who challenge us to cultivate higher values. They insist that everyone is capable of - and has a right to - earned success. They articulate visions of human dignity. But the organisations and people who ascend in a victimhood culture are very different. Some set themselves up as saviours; others focus on a common enemy. In all cases, they treat people less as individuals and more as aggrieved masses."

Let's resolve not to play defeatist role of victim - "Dr Arthur C. Brooks' thoughtful commentary ("Life is unfair to me and it's your fault"; Monday) is timely, especially when some people may be in the midst of drawing up a list of New Year's resolutions.Dr Brooks rightly cautioned against a culture of "victimhood" taking root in society, for it gives rise to a sense of misplaced entitlement and recriminations against others, which stem from unvalidated observations or prejudice.It has a polarising and enfeebling effect on society... If we persist in behaving like aggrieved victims and submit to determinism, one's life will forever be held in thrall by a succession of self-fulfilling prophecies... let us resolve not to play the defeatist role of victim, but to be in the driver's seat instead, actively steering and charting our own paths."
This ties in with an external locus of control

Microaggressions and the Rise of Victimhood Culture - "When conflicts occur, sociologists Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning observe in an insightful new scholarly paper, aggrieved parties can respond in any number of ways. In honor cultures like the Old West or the street gangs of West Side Story, they might engage in a duel or physical fight. In dignity cultures, like the ones that prevailed in Western countries during the 19th and 20th Centuries, “insults might provoke offense, but they no longer have the same importance as a way of establishing or destroying a reputation for bravery,” they write. “When intolerable conflicts do arise, dignity cultures prescribe direct but non-violent actions... People might even be expected to tolerate serious but accidental personal injuries”... The culture on display on many college and university campuses, by way of contrast, is “characterized by concern with status and sensitivity to slight combined with a heavy reliance on third parties. People are intolerant of insults, even if unintentional, and react by bringing them to the attention of authorities or to the public at large. Domination is the main form of deviance, and victimization a way of attracting sympathy, so rather than emphasize either their strength or inner worth, the aggrieved emphasize their oppression and social marginalization.”It is, they say, “a victimhood culture.”... "complaint to third parties has supplanted both toleration and negotiation. People increasingly demand help from others, and advertise their oppression as evidence that they deserve respect and assistance. Thus we might call this moral culture a culture of victimhood ... the moral status of the victim, at its nadir in honor cultures, has risen to new heights.”... There is no end to conflict in a victimhood culture... victimhood culture is likeliest to arise in settings where there is some diversity and inequality, but whose members are almost equal, since “a morality that privileges equality and condemns oppression is most likely to arise precisely in settings that already have relatively high degrees of equality.”"

Georgetown takes 'A.C.T.I.O.N.' against 'microaggressions in medicine' - "“Microaggressions can have a macro [e]ffect, particularly when considering the cumulative burden for individuals and organizations over time,” the webpage states. “Microaggressions show up everywhere in society including in our classrooms, clinics, hallways, on social media, in our neighborhood watch app, and at the grocery store!”The poster campaign gives examples of possible microaggressions that someone in the medicinal field could encounter, such as “aren’t you a little old to be in medical school?” “They yelled HIV as a diagnosis after learning he was a gay male,” and “I’m assuming English wasn’t the first language for some of you.”"

How Scotland erased Guyana from its past - "“Despite huge sections devoted to Scotland and the world, there was not a mention of the slave trade or the slave-based plantation economies, which supported the rise of Scotland’s industrialisation. The story sits very uncomfortably with the narrative that people want to tell about Scotland and Highlanders.” Alston explains that Scotland’s own historical grievances, specifically the Highland clearances (when tens of thousands of Highlanders were forcibly evicted from their homes to make way for large-scale sheep farming), make it unable to confront the past. He says: “If you want to portray yourself as a victim, the last thing you want to do is be the victimiser, and it is difficult for that to change because it is so embedded in the Scottish view of itself and the Highlands view of itself."
Another downside of victim culture - it blinds you as to how you yourself oppress others

Star Trek Showed a More Constructive Way to Address Microaggressions - "“But why should I object to that term sir,” she says. “See, in our century, we’ve learned not to fear words.”Now, of course words can hurt. But consider the context. Uhura is saying it would be silly for her to feel injury because of someone else’s lack of etiquette. A person’s ignorance of a particular custom says precisely nothing about the offended party.Uhura's response looks not just more mature, but more constructive. It would seem to foster mutual understanding, whereas reporting systems and punitive actions seem more likely to fuel resentment.In response to Uhura’s reply, Lincoln bows his head slightly and offers his hand in appreciation of her grace.“The foolishness of my century had me apologizing where no offense is given,” Lincoln replies.It’s amazing how many things Star Trek got right in predicting our future. Alas, it seems they got this one terribly wrong. I wonder if that’s our loss."

Scent-free policies generally unjustified - "The list of symptoms people with scent sensitivities attribute to chemical fragrances is a lengthy one that includes everything from coughing, sneezing, gagging, shortness of breath, rhinitis and asthma attacks, to debilitating headaches, anxiety and dizziness.As a result, many workplaces and institutions — schools, hospitals and other government buildings — have some sort of scent-free or scent-reduction policy in place, which asks people entering the building not to wear perfumed products.But the science supporting such policies is fuzzy and inconclusive. While scents can trigger both physiological and psychological symptoms in some individuals, there is no reliable diagnostic test for fragrance allergies... “When someone is smelling something, what they’re smelling is usually not the protein, it’s the volatile hydrocarbon, or whatever is giving off that scent”... Much of North American research into scent sensitivities comes from the Monell Chemical Senses Center, an independent, nonprofit scientific institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where researchers study taste and smell. Pamela Dalton, a psychologist at the center, says that simply telling people that an odourous material is going to cause an adverse reaction is enough to make the test subjects feel poorly, even if the odour is entirely innocuous... When it comes to treating scent-sensitive patients, Dalton advises that health care professionals take a measured approach and avoid alarmist messages that may increase anxiety. “Health care professionals themselves can over-sensitize some of their patients into believing they will have a reaction to fragrance material when, most likely, they won’t.”"
When you have no real problems so you need to make up imaginary ones (like gluten sensitivity)
How pandering to victim culture is a self-fulfilling prophecy

The Unofficial Captain - Posts - "My sociology professor had a really good metaphor for privilege today. She didn’t talk about race or gender or orientation or class, she talked about being left-handed. A left-handed person walks into most classrooms and immediately is made aware of their left-handedness - they have to sit in a left-handed seat, which restricts their choices of where to sit. If there are not enough left-handed seats, they will have to sit in a right-handed seat and be continuously aware of their left-handedness. (There are other examples like left-handed scissors or baseball mitts as well.) Meanwhile, right-handed people have much more choice about where to sit, and almost never have to think about their right-handedness. Does this mean right-handed people are bad? No. Does it mean that we should replace all right-handed desks with left-handed desks? No. But could we maybe use different desk styles that can accommodate everyone and makes it so nobody has limited options or constant awareness that they are different? Yes. Now think of this as a metaphor. For social class. For race. For ethnicity. For gender. For orientation. For anything else that sets us apart."
Of course, how SJWs use the concept in reality is very different. But the top comment is incisive:
"Wait! This may be beside the point: I’m left-handed and didn’t know until now that those desks are right handed - it’s so you can rest your arm while writing?? Woe! Also, spiral notebooks, butter knives, scissors and the knowledge that we are unclean and evil get in our way! 🤷🏻‍♀️"
In other words, obsession about how you're a victim is a self-fulfilling prophecy

Turning childhood into a mental illness - "For centuries, theologians, philosophers and healers have discussed the debilitating effects of anxiety. At times, what we now know as anxiety was referred to as melancholia, or even a kind of hysteria. From the late 19th century onwards, extreme forms of anxiety started to be diagnosed as psychological conditions.Until the latter part of the 20th century, this medicalisation of anxiety remained relatively restrained. Doctors focused their attention on pronounced, debilitating instances of neurosis. Then, in 1980, the American Psychiatric Association invented the term ‘anxiety disorder’, and from that point onwards the distress and pain associated with anxiety came to be thoroughly medicalised. We have witnessed a serious example of diagnosis creep, which has led to a widening definition of anxiety, and to more and more people being diagnosed with a kind of illness.The growing trend for redefining the problems of life as issues of mental health has had a particularly pernicious effect on children and child development. Since the late 1970s, there has been a creeping tendency to portray children as uniquely vulnerable to emotional damage. Before then, it was commonly believed that children could recover their strength and resilience in the aftermath of an emotionally difficult experience. But in the late 20th century, in line with the expanding medicalisation of everyday life, society became preoccupied with the apparent fragility of childhood. It was at this point that the idea that mental illness is a common feature of childhood started to gain resonance. In the decades that followed, more and more children came to be diagnosed with a psychiatric illness. This trend was particularly striking in the US... Back in 1999, Dr Jennifer Cunningham, a community paediatrician from Glasgow, informed me that ‘mental health is defined so widely that any child who has a normal reaction to adverse circumstances [in their life] is now assumed to have mental-health problems’... Children who are socialised to see their experiences through the prism of mental health will internalise this narrative. Unlike children who went to school 30 or 40 years ago, today’s schoolchildren readily communicate their problems in a psychological vocabulary, using words like stress, trauma and depression to describe their feelings... when normal anxiety or emotional difficulty is viewed as a psychological condition, young people will find themselves less able to cope with the disappointment and pain that are actually a fairly common feature of young life... The medicalisation of childhood doesn’t only disorient young people in general – it also diverts precious resources away from children with serious psychological conditions by counting everyone as being in need of such assistance."

'Sadfishing' social media warning from school heads - "A social-media "trend" is leaving young people with genuine mental health problems "facing unfair and distressing criticism", private-school leaders say."Sadfishing" is a growing "behavioural trend", where people make "exaggerated claims about their emotional problems to generate sympathy", the heads say.And it means those with real problems are often overlooked or even bullied... The report quotes a pupil who shared on social media they had been "feeling really down"."I got a lot of people commenting on and 'liking' my post but then some people said I was sadfishing, the next day at school, for attention""
So much for there being no harm to victim culture and exaggerating one's problems (or making them up).

I Built My Identity Around My Bipolar Diagnosis. But Then I Wasn't Bipolar - "For 10 years, I wrote a column and blog called The Trouble With Spikol that was predicated on its authorship by a bipolar person. I won an award for Best Bipolar Blog. I was featured in the New York Times as a bipolar spokesperson, based on my YouTube videos about — you guessed it — living with bipolar disorder. I was an unpaid shill for AstraZeneca and spoke numerous times about how one medication had tamed my bipolar disorder. I became a certified peer specialist and provided mental health services to other people with severe mental illness based on my bipolar diagnosis. I was on radio shows and TV specials. I was one of four people profiled in a feature-length film about people with bipolar disorder. The list goes on.Once, I remember, a woman said something disparaging at a party about people with bipolar disorder. “I have that,” I said. “That’s me.” She looked shocked, which pleased me. It was like a delicious hors d’oeuvre, which that party was short on. I was constantly trying to upend stigma and stereotypes. Not just about bipolar disorder — I wanted to change perceptions of people with mental illness in general. But the bipolar disorder was the foundation of my activism and identity.And then, a few months ago, my psychiatrist said he wasn’t sure it actually fit, that bipolar diagnosis. After almost 20 years of our doing psychiatry and psychotherapy together, my doctor sat back in the wing chair in his office and gazed at me across the river of his carpet, saw the sweep of my life, my calamities, and posited that they didn’t add up to bipolar or schizophrenia or any other biological brain disease, as he put it.I hadn’t had a recurrence in many years, even after going off the antipsychotic medications I’d been on since 1991.The truth was that I had become a person who, though neurotic and anxious (which is my Jewish birthright), was pretty much fine... In the 19th century, we had the diagnoses of “drapetomania,” the supposed mental disorder that caused slaves to run away, and female hysteria, frequently ascribed to women who weren’t obeying their husbands. Being gay used to be in the DSM as a mental disorder; now, it’s not. That 1973 change had nothing to do with a Nobel-worthy discovery of wiggling bacteria under a microscope. It had to do with a brave group of doctors and patients who spoke out and fought discrimination, which is what that classification was about.The definition of schizophrenia, the psychiatric illness that perhaps has the most credibility, as it were, as a biological disease of the brain, has morphed over the years with changes clearly inflected by social turmoil... After my parents and I participated in a Johns Hopkins study on heredity and bipolar disorder, I felt even more convinced of the biological underpinnings of my troubles — and thus quite apprehensive about having children of my own.I also memorized and internalized all the stats about people who had bipolar disorder: My lifespan would be shorter; I was much more likely to die by suicide; the illness was chronic. Just the other day, I unearthed an old episode of Radio Times, the WHYY show hosted by Marty Moss-Coane, on which I was a guest many years ago, speaking about living with bipolar disorder. I cringed when I heard myself say, “If I went off my medications, I guess I’d have to live in a residential treatment facility.” I’d doomed myself to such a tragic fate, with such minimal potential. Now that it’s too late, I wonder: Could I have had children after all, and not passed along hereditary mental illness? Quite a sacrifice if the diagnosis was wrong."
When you fetishise mental illness, people are incentivised to think they have it
Ditto with victim culture...
I wonder how many of the SJWs on tumblr really have the mental illnesses they claim they do (and which they take such pride in having)

1.5 Mandate – The Presidential Years - "Days before the official count of votes was complete, the outcome was clear and the ANC celebrated victory. Mandela’s brief speech spelt out his mission and mandate as the president in the country’s first democratically elected government...
'We might have our differences, but we are one people with a common destiny in our rich variety of culture and traditions... Let us stretch out our hands to those who have beaten us, and to say to them: we are all South Africans, we have had a good fight. But now this is the time to heal the old wounds and to build a new South Africa... Nothing I can say can fully describe the misery of our people as a result of that repression, and the day we have been fighting for and waiting for has come. [We are saying, let us forget the past, let us hold hands, it is time now to begin anew.] The time has come for men and women, African, Coloured, Indian and White (Afrikaans and English speaking), to say we are one country, we are one people'"
I wonder what he would've said about victim culture, identity politics and the politics of grievance, i.e. never forget the past and constantly talk about it and play it up. Presumably he'd have been mistaken for white and told to check his privilege

Ryan Honick ♿️‍🦺🏻‍🦽 on Twitter - "I don’t know who needs to hear this but the “I never let my disability/pain/illness stop me” is an ableist and harmful narrative. Sometimes chronic issues are debilitating and they do stop you. And you shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about it. Period."
Victim culture in a nutshell - you're not allowed to be strong

Disturbing TikTok trend sees teen girls pretending to be domestic abuse victims - "Teen girls slathering their faces with makeup to look like they've been beaten have been warned they're "romanticising abuse" and triggering real victims' PTSD... users have even been filming phoney attacks.As recently as March 29, @taylore.rae showed herself as bruised, with smudged makeup, while bizarrely pretending to order a pizza."
When you fetishise victimhood

How Trump Defied the Experts and Forged a Breakthrough in the Middle East

From 2020:

UAE-Israel Peace Deal: How Trump Administration Defied Experts

"Perhaps the most impregnable piece of conventional wisdom over the last three and a half years was that there was no way that Jared Kushner could possibly move the ball on Middle East peace...

But here we are, with Israel and the United Arab Emirates signing a historic normalization agreement at the White House. Bahrain has now also agreed to normalize relations with Israel, a move it couldn’t have made without Saudi assent.

All of this is what Joe Biden might call a BFD. When the three leaders — President Trump, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed — were considering their handiwork over the phone, according to a senior administration official, “MBZ said, ‘Hey, 2020’s been a really tough year. This has got to be the best news of 2020.’ And the president said, ‘Yeah, what do you think, Bibi?’ And Bibi said, ‘Are you kidding me? This is the best news in the last 20 years.’”...

The story of the diplomatic breakthrough is, at bottom, one of Trump making bold moves in the region, which set the conditions for new thinking to work, even as elite opinion was starkly — and, of course, unapologetically — wrong every step of the way.

Rather than ending any possibility of peace in the region, moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem forged a tight relationship of trust with Israel that made everything else possible.

Rather than alienating our allies, pulling out of the Iran deal drew our allies in the region closer to us.

Rather than causing a war, as even some of Trump’s ideological allies feared, the killing of Soleimani sent an unmistakable message of resolve. “I think that the Soleimani killing was a huge boon,” says the senior administration official, “because it showed that the president was bold and was serious, and I think that shifted the Middle East massively.”

Of course, all of this ran exactly counter to Barack Obama’s strategy in the region. As a State Department official puts it: “When we came into office, the United States and the prior administration had alienated our Gulf partners, Israel, and the Palestinians, which is really hard to do. They had tried to accommodate Iran and to strengthen Iran as part of a larger gamble that it would moderate Iran.”

Trump’s Riyadh speech enunciated a change of approach. “We were going to counter Iran, we were going to stand with Israel, and we were going to stand with our partners,” the official says. After the speech, “we were in some huge hotel lobby talking to a bunch of Arab foreign ministers that I knew, and they just said, ‘Oh, finally somebody who gets the region,’” he recalls. “Obama just kept looking at it through the wrong end of the telescope.”...

What was clear was that the prior consensus approach hadn’t worked. Kushner recalls going to the U.N. Security Council with a presentation:

And what I showed them is that every time the peace process failed, two things happened: One, the Palestinians got more money, and two, Israel expanded settlements. And so I said, “Why would either party ever make a deal if both sides were getting what they wanted?”

The beginning of a fresh approach was to build the trust of the Israelis, hence the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the relocation of the embassy, and the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

This also made an impression on Arab leaders. Trump “ended up winning the respect of Arabs because he’s a guy that keeps his promises,” the State Department official says. “They’ve seen all these other presidents come into office, and none of them move the embassy.” Kushner notes that relocating the embassy and other moves were “all things that showed people that Trump isn’t going to be dissuaded by threats of violence.”

Then, the administration made the Palestinians good-faith offers on economic development and peace that ended up underlining Palestinian rejectionism and opening up a different path forward.

The administration held a conference in Bahrain last year, the centerpiece of which was a $50 billion economic plan for the Palestinian Territories. The Palestinians didn’t even bother to attend. “It showed that everyone was interested in helping the Palestinians,” Kushner says. “But the Palestinians looked like fools for not showing up. So over the course of this, we really exposed the fact that the Palestinian leadership was not interested in actually making peace, they were just keeping the conflict going.”

The administration’s plan for a two-state solution, including a detailed map, was also categorically rejected by the Palestinians. As Abbas put it, “we say a thousand times over: no, no, no.”

The usual M.O. would be for Washington to try to push the Israelis to give the Palestinians even more. Not this time. “When the Palestinians complained and there was a huge problem,” says the senior administration official, “we didn’t stand down.”...

The region had simply begun to move on. “I went around the region repeatedly just when we got into office,” says the State Department official of his discussions with Arab officials. “And one thing I kept listening for but I never heard was Palestinians. They want to talk about Iran. They want to talk about jobs. They want to talk about the Muslim Brotherhood. I mean, on their list of five, the Palestinian stuff doesn’t even crack the top five.”

A U.S. negotiator describes his own conversations with Arab states prior to releasing the peace plan. “So as we’re talking through,” he says, “you see here’s the Palestinians not engaging, not willing to negotiate, not willing to talk to you, and then regional heads who honestly are more nervous about Iran than they are about anything else, and see Israel as a potential ally in that fight who are wistful at the lost opportunity.”...

The administration’s pressure campaign on Iran was a crucial backdrop. “My view was that it’s impossible to get any peace agreement between the Gulf nations and Israel if you have the wrong Iran strategy,” the State Department official says, noting that foreign leaders and ministers have told him over and over that they consider the Iran deal “a betrayal.” He dismissed Joe Biden’s statement after the Israel-UAE deal, in which he almost took credit for the deal by talking about all the meetings he had with the UAE and Israel when he was in office.

“There’s no way,” he says. “He could have had 30 more years in office and could have never gotten it, because they didn’t trust him. They don’t trust the United States when we partner with our adversaries and marginalize and distance ourselves from our friends.”...

Looking ahead, one can see that the leverage of the Palestinian leadership has demonstrably been reduced, since normalization was to be one of the prizes of Israeli-Palestinian peace, and there’s a sense that the region is moving on without it.

It’s possible that the new state of play could create an opening for political change among the Palestinians. Says the U.S. negotiator:

I think the Palestinian people look around and they say to themselves, “Wait a second. Why is it that those countries can sit at the table, but our leadership has chosen the path of just completely, obstinately sticking out, saying, ‘We’re not going to negotiate with you’?”"


Of course liberals just dismissed the historic peace treaties as meaningless, and I still see people with TDS mocking Kushner today

Liberal logic - it is good to cosy up to Iran, which has hated the US for 4 decades, even if that alienates other allies in the region: because a "peace deal" looks good (even if it's useless)

Perhaps those who insist that peace in the Middle East must revolve around resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict know at some level that the Palestinians (or, at least, their leadership) don't actually want it resolved. So by harping on about it they can ensure Israel is always there as a whipping boy


Links - 13th May 2023 (1 - George Floyd Unrest: Antifa)

Thread by @MrAndyNgo on Thread Reader App – Thread Reader App - "Earlier today, a crowd of far-left militant trans protesters surrounded women in Hyde Park, London at a #LetWomenSpeak event. Police and volunteers had to form a human wall to keep them from becoming violent to the women, who they call “fascists.” Masked #Antifa protesters scream & shout to try & shut down a women’s rights #LetWomenSpeak event in Hyde Park, London today. They call the women “fascists” for not accepting that males can identify as female. The #Antifa & #trans protesters who had to be held back by police in their direct action to shut down a #LetWomenSpeak event in Hyde Park, London repeatedly chanted that the women are “fascists” for not submitting to their demands & ideology."

Anti-Islam march by Gays Against Sharia called off due to millions of snowflakes in Bristol - "A counter-demonstration was organised outside the police’s ring of steel by a group of LGBT activists from Bristol, and a larger group from Bristol Antifa were kettled by Avon and Somerset police in Castle Park."
Since antifa and their supporters claim that if you oppose antifa, you are pro-fascism since they are anti-fascism, they must be pro-sharia

Elon Musk calls out Washington Post writer as 'contemptible liar' for misleading report about a banned violent extremist account - "Following a report by Joseph Menn for the Washington Post on Wednesday, the journalist is being called out for excluding information regarding Antifa member Chad Loder and the violence he incited on Twitter.  The report, titled "Twitter whistleblower Zatko lands new job at a security consulting firm," centered around former Twitter security chief Peiter Zatko joining the security company Rapid7, co-founded by Loder... "why didn't you mention in your WaPo reporting that Antifa member Chad Loder incited violence, including deadly violence? He also celebrated violent crimes when he praised Antifa 'martyrs,' including domestic terrorist Willem van Spronsen & gunman Michael Reinoehl."  In some of his tweets, Loder recommended that "Molotovs should be thrown under vehicles," made a racist post against a black conservative activist saying he does a "buck dance for nazis," and falsely claimed that the Freedom Convoy in Ottawa "attempted mass murder by arson attack against an apartment building." Twitter owner Elon Musk responded to the post and Menn’s article, writing, "Joseph Menn is a contemptible liar. Twitter policy has always been to suspend accounts that clearly & repeatedly incite violence."... Loder has also been accused of preying on women, with Twitter user "@sladeofyaupon" posting screenshots in August of 2020 of a direct message from Loder where he sent her an unsolicited shirtless photo of himself next to a young child. She wrote: "Women should be able to participate in activist communities without dealing with creepy dudes. I only followed @/chadloder because I thought he would be a useful comrade. I'm angry."  In May 2021, a second woman posted screenshots of a direct message from Loder making comments on her appearance. "Y'all don't have to boost this but I just want everyone to be aware this dude hopped in my DMs hitting on me," she wrote.  In an August 2021 tweet, Loder mocked the homicide of a woman using sexual innuendo, posting a photograph of Ashli Babbitt, who was shot and killed inside of the Capitol on January 6, 2021, with the text: "Click here to meet local girls who take hot loads to the chest.""
If the liberal media continue pretending antifa is not violent, liberals can continue calling evidence that they are fake news

Antifa 'terrorist', 22, is son of millionaire Maine SURGEON and grew up in $2million mansion - "Francis ‘Frankie’ Carroll, 22, was one of five people arrested on Tuesday at the autonomous zone at the site of the future Atlanta Public Safety Training Centre... Carroll is the son of surgeon Dr Mike Carroll and grew up in a $2million five-bedroom and four-bathroom mansion in Kennebunkport – as well as enjoying time on his parents’ yacht... Since June 2021 far-left extremists have traveled to the location to prevent what they call a ‘cop city’ – with Carroll traveling more than 1,3000 miles to get to the violent zone. Law enforcement say they were assaulted with rocks and bottles by militants occupying makeshift treehouses and have been accused of terrorizing nearby residents.  Carroll, who wiped his social media shortly before his arrest, has been charged with criminal trespass, domestic terrorism, aggravated assault, felony obstruction, interference with government property, and possession of tools for the commission of the crime... eight militants were arrested after police patrolling the land were assaulted and pelted with rocks and Molotov cocktails.  Left-wing groups used Twitter to fundraise bail for suspects after another six were arrested in August – charged with various crimes from burglary to criminal damage.  Members of the group tried to burn a man to death after he drove into the area, and he was forced to run for his life after they torched it with him still in it. After their members were arrested the Defend the Atlanta Forest group held a protest outside of Dekalb County Jail – where the five are being held without bail – and let off explosive fireworks.  The Atlanta Jail Support, a project of the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, also issued calls to fundraise bail money for the terror suspects using Twitter.  Convictions of domestic terrorism carry with it sentences of anywhere between five and 35 years in prison"
The power of an "idea"!
Damn Kyle Rittenhouse crossing state lines!

NYT journalist calls for censorship of Andy Ngo - "The New York Times journalist Sarah Jeong took to Twitter on Friday to call for fellow journalist Andy Ngo to be censored by the platform... Jeong, arguing for Ngo to be banned, cited another journalist name Donovan Farley. Farley claimed without evidence that Ngo targets journalists and Antifa rioters for harassment, "willfully deceives his followers," and is "the type of propagandist responsible for [Wednesday's] insurrection."  Ngo, the editor-at-large of The Post Millennial, publishes information exposing Antifa rioters and activists who have been arrested or committed violence, with particular focus on the northwestern states of Washington and Oregon... In approving Farley's message, Jeong was joined by notorious Antifa activist Christian Exoo, who goes by the screen name AntiFash Gordon on Twitter, accusing Andy Ngo of "disinformation and incitement to fascist violence." Exoo has a history of targeting journalists for harassment which has led to violence. In 2020, a former journalist at New York Daily News filed a lawsuit against Exoo after he coordinated a mass online and telephone campaign to get him fired from his position with the newspaper. The journalist ended up having his tires slashed and car keyed as a result of Exoo's harassment campaign."

Thread by @MrAndyNgo on Thread Reader App – Thread Reader App - "5 arrested at the #Antifa autonomous zone in south Atlanta hit w/domestic terrorism charges. Police found a cache of explosives. Leading up to the raid, militants tried to burn a man to death in a car. Their group is using Twitter to raise cash... The group the domestic terrorist suspects belong to have an organizing and fundraising presence on Twitter: @defendatlforest, @jail_support & @atlsolfund. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation launched a raid following escalating violent attacks by members of the autonomous zone. Far-left domestic terrorism suspect Serena Abby Hertel, who has addresses in Los Angeles & Boise, was previously photographed for a Soros' Open Society-sponsored puff piece in The Guardian... Most of the domestic terrorist suspects arrested at the Atlanta autonomous zone are from out-of-state. Nicholas Dean Olson comes from Bennington, Neb. He too was photographed for the Open Society Foundations-sponsored puff piece in The Guardian... Domestic terrorist suspect Leonard Voiselle, of Macon, GA, is the only one who didn't scrub his social media in time before I saw it. He follows the accounts mentioned above in this thread, in addition to the Atlanta cell of Antifa & other extremist groups. The shocking events at the far-left autonomous zone south of Atlanta have been developing since last year & escalated recently into a number of serious arson attacks. The story has been ignored by national & international press, though the Georgia governor did comment briefly.
Breaking update: All five domestic terrorist suspects were denied bail at their bond hearing today.
Francis M. Carroll, 22, came all way from Kennebunkport, Maine, to allegedly commit domestic terrorist acts at the autonomous zone in south Atlanta. Domestic terrorism suspect Arieon Robinson came from Milwaukee, Wisc. to join the far-left autonomous zone in south Atlanta. Similar to Seattle's CHAZ in 2020, the Atlanta autonomous zone has a sign reading, "You are now leaving the USA." Far-left account Atlanta Jail Support is raising funds to help the domestic terrorist suspects in addition to other violent suspects. It is part of the far-left ecosystem that uses Twitter to promote cash campaigns for violent suspects. It ends up incentivizing criminality. Before the raid on Tuesday leading to the finding of explosives, the members of the autonomous zone had been terrorizing the community. A man who drove into the area thinking there was free junk was nearly killed when they set his car on fire w/him in it. And last weekend, two under-construction homes next to the autonomous zone were burnt to the ground. In the months leading up to the anti-terrorism raid by the GBI on Tuesday, militants part of the @defendATLforest autonomous zone had been carrying out a campaign of terror. They committed assaults, arson attacks, property destruction & even a carjacking."
Damn far right!

Meme - "Wants to Punch people in the face. Can't even make a proper fist"

How the Left Turned Words Into 'Violence,' and Violence Into 'Justice' - "Responding to news that journalist Andy Ngo had been beaten by antifa protestors in Portland last month, a woman named Charlotte Clymer tweeted that “Ngo intentionally provokes people on the left to drive his content. Being attacked today on video taken by an actual journalist (because Ngo is definitely not) is the greatest thing that could have happened to his career. You know it. I know it. He knows it. We all know it. Violence is completely wrong, and I find it sad and weak to allow a sniveling weasel like Andy Ngo to get under one’s skin like this, but I’m also not going to pretend this wasn’t Ngo’s goal from the start. I mean, let’s cut the shit here. This is what they do.”  Who is Charlotte Clymer? She is an activist who works at the Human Rights Campaign, America’s “largest LGBTQ civil rights organization,” which supposedly “envision[s] a world where LGBTQ people are ensured equality at home, at work [and] in every community.” Andy Ngo, who has written for Quillette, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and other publications, happens to be gay. So this is where we are right now: A staffer for a human-rights organization dedicated to helping gay people is publicly cheering the beating of a gay man. This should raise an eyebrow. The idea that one’s disagreement with Ngo’s point of view disqualifies him from the physical protection granted to other ordinary citizens proved to be quite common in the aftermath of Ngo’s beating... While this odd and unsettling reaction to Ngo’s beating may be dismissed by some as a passing reflex among radicalized culture warriors, it is actually well rooted in leftist academic social theory, which has blurred the distinction between word and action for decades. Under a prevalent view that has emerged from universities in recent years, a wrong opinion is seen as tantamount to a thrown punch or even an indication of a willingness to genocide—which invites the idea that an offended party who throws a real punch (or worse) is simply acting in self-defense. This idea has become so pervasive and is so taken-for-granted at this point that even workaday journalists now pay homage to this academic conceit in their work... Yes, Ngo got beaten. But c’mon—the guy had it coming.  In a recent episode of the podcast Other Life, an antifa member who is critical of the contemporary movement, Justin Murphy, noted that the blurring of the line between words and deeds is accomplished, to some extent, by creating a daisy chain of linkages, so that a person can be seen as an acceptable target merely because he is associated, in some way, with supposed “fascists.” (Though Murphy is highly critical of antifa’s methods, he still considers himself an antifa supporter, in the sense that he supports the idea of organizing against actual fascism.)... These ideas aren’t new. In his influential 1961 book, The Wretched of the Earth, Frantz Fanon insisted that enemies of colonialism should resort to physical violence against their colonizers, both to effect political liberation and to improve their own mental health. Given the various forms of violence inherent to colonialism, this argument cannot be dismissed out of hand. But Fanon went further: He also wrote of the violence supposedly done by the words of colonizing elites as a spark for revolutionary activity. This concept creep has been a mainstay of activist manuals ever since... Since “objects are transformed through their relationship to other objects” by means of deeds, words and thoughts alike, everything—or at least everything the radical left milieu rejects—is violence... These ideas have proven to be so elastic that even the voicing of opposition to antifa itself can somehow be lumped in under the category of violence. As Murphy, the aforementioned antifa supporter, explains: “Any kind of cultural outlet that emerges in critical opposition to…the left-wing orthodoxy—well, the only reason they possibly could be doing that is because they want that left-wing orthodoxy to fail because they have ulterior motives of actually boosting and amplifying fascism, which they define as just whatever’s not the left-wing orthodoxy. So in this twisted worldview, someone like Andy Ngo is a genuine kind of accessory to fascism—even if you can’t find anything on record of him ever saying anything fascist.”... queer and trans activists now routinely claim that misgendering is inherently violent... Much of this can be connected to the fixation on power relationships that infused many of the influential French thinkers of the Cold War period... Comb the literature, and you can find all sorts of adjectives tacked on to the word “violence.” This includes something called “discursive violence”... Using such infinitely labile typology, all words can be theorized into violence so long as they have something to do with enforcing “domination” and “oppression,” so all real violence taken up in response to such words is self-defense. Finally, we get to “epistemic violence,” the brain-child of postmodern Theorist Michel Foucault, who contended that violence is done by asserting power by creating, maintaining and participating in oppressive discourses... both the barbarism in the streets observed in recently in Portland, and the shocking apologism that followed it, are the predictable result of decades of self-righteous political activism that became reinvented as supposedly legitimate forms of scholarship."
Which is how we come to the point where anyone right of Stalin is "far right", "fascist " and deserves to be punched

Antifa Threatens Andy Ngo, Portland Police Won't Follow Up - "the Post Millennial Editor-at-Large Andy Ngo and author Douglas Murray posed in front of a large graffiti death threat in Portland reading, “Kill Andy Ngo.” Ngo claimed he has reported many death threats to the Portland Police Bureau, but the police have yet to follow up with him on these threats. “One of many such signs in Downtown Portland. There is nothing normal about this. It is a call for the murder of a journalist in an American city. Shame on the Portland authorities for tolerating it,” Murray tweeted.  “All death threats and incitements to violence against me have been reported to [the Portland Police] since last year. I have not been followed-up with once,” Ngo added... Tragically, police in Portland have often gone soft on antifa rioters as they vandalize, loot, and burn in the Rose City. During the nightly riots this past summer, many Portland Police reports ended by stating that police did not use tear gas or other crowd control measures despite hours of violent rioting.  The city’s Democratic mayor, Ted Wheeler, also serves as the police commissioner, so it is likely the police’s soft hand on antifa traces back to him. Wheeler joined the riots in person and witnessed rioters launching commercial-grade fireworks at law enforcement, and he even insisted that the use of tear gas in such a situation was unprovoked"

Meme - Antifa: "I'm an anarchist"
Wojak: "Cool, I'm also interested in anarchist ideas. What do you hope to achieve under anarchy?"
Antifa: "We need to establish a government UBI for all, as well as free healthcare and housing. We also need the government to... etc."
Wojak: Welp

Antifa fascists in panic after Facebook decides to cooperate with the FBI - "According to one of the extremist nutjobs Alissa Azar, Facebook is reportedly cooperating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation by providing personal messages and emails from the fascist antifascists currently under scrutiny.  Andy Ngo, editor-at-large of the Post Millennial tells us that Azar, currently facing felony riot and assault charges, told her fellow fascist pals to change discussions to in-person... It is refreshing to know that the FBI has made the time to go after real terrorists instead of targeting illegal Capitol trespassers and school parents speaking out at board of education meetings.  After all, this is what the FBI is supposed to be doing...   In June 2021, Azar committed a violent assault using bear spray at a park in Oregon City against a group of right-leaning protesters. As a result of that incident, she is facing felony assault charges, with a trial date of December 13, 2022, scheduled in Clackamas County."

GoFundMe deletes black free speech activist's medical fundraiser at the behest of BLM mob - "A GoFundMe for a black conservative—whose teeth were knocked out by a Black Lives Matter activist at a free speech rally—has been taken down following complaints by the leftist Twitter mob. Team Save America free speech leader Philip Anderson was punched in the face by a masked male assailant wearing tactical gloves last weekend in San Francisco. Antifa counter-protesters accused his free speech rally of fascism. Anderson was called a racial slur, lost two teeth, and left bloodied. The alleged attacker has since been arrested and charged with a hate crime-related assault... "Big Tech is America's #1 enemy. They belong behind bars for what they're doing to me. They banned me instead of the person and group that attacked me. And they also won't allow me to fix my teeth. Black Lives DO NOT Matter to Democrats!""

"Antifa" Magazine Shuts Down After Editor Accused of Being A Rapist - "Commune Magazine, a flashy and professional looking "antifa" publication that sought to provide intellectual direction to the anarchist movement, announced yesterday that it would discontinue its operations and refund all its subscribers.  The catalyst for this decision were allegations that an unnamed editor had raped another left-wing activist. A source familiar with the matter has confirmed to National Justice that the alleged rapist is Shyam P. Khanna, a 31-year-old anarchist organizer based in Brooklyn. According to a March 28 Medium post by Jessica "Leila" Raven, Khanna had been abusing her and then committed a rape against her. Raven then confronted him, demanded an apology and asked him to read four feminist essays. After Khanna agreed to read the articles, he raped her again"

Nolte: BLM, Antifa Checkmate Democrat-Run Cities into Committing Suicide - "If a Democrat-run city polices crime, BLM and Antifa will destroy the city via non-stop rioting and anarchy.  If a Democrat-run city backs away from policing crime, the city is doomed to a future of urban blight, one where everyone who can gets the hell out, while the poorest of the poor and those who prey on the poorest of the poor remain.  Basically, we are looking at a future with a whole bunch of Detroits... unlike previous race riots, which raged for a few days before being put down by law enforcement and the National Guard, this new wave of rioting is something entirely different. The riots in the 60s and the L.A. riot in the early 90s were organic. People got fed up. What we’re seeing today is something very different. Instead of organic, this wave of rioting is part of an organized, far-left political movement, and the organizers include elected Democrats as high up as Her Vice Fraudulency Kamala Harris, the corporate media, Big Tech, and Academia...   Look at what’s already happened… One Democrat-governed city after another is announcing disastrous policies to appease these terrorists. Violent criminals are being released. Police budgets are being cut. All kinds of crimes will no longer be prosecuted. What this change boils down to is one thing: the deliberate destruction of the quality of life."
It's amazing what political will to crack down on rioters now that Biden is in has done - though it is also coupled with soft on crime policies, which may or may not have appeased antifa (for now)

BREAKING: Antifa, BLM clash with police in NYC - "BLM, Antifa and transgender activists brawled with New York City Police officers and vandalized the USS Maine National Monument... The activists marched to different points in mid town Manhattan including the New York Times headquarters where they chanted “F*** The New York Times.” The activists marched to the USS Maine National Monument at Columbus Circle, near the entrance to Central Park, where they vandalized the statue while raising trans rights flags... Activists also hurled misogynistic insults at a female NYPD officer"

'No moral compass': Leaked internal DC police training on Antifa details group's violence against civilians - ""This group by far is the most violent we have dealt with over the years," the MPD maintained. "As you all are aware during the Inauguration of President Trump this was the group that destroyed property, assaulted any Trump supporter they ran into includ[ing] the elderly. They have no moral compass on who they go after." At the 2017 riot on the inauguration of former President Donald Trump, a limousine was lit ablaze, multiple vehicles were also set on fire, and black-clad activists among hundreds of demonstrators clashed with law enforcement several blocks away from the White House. Rocks and bottles were launched at cops dressed in riot gear, in which six local officers were reported injured by rioters. Rioters dragged garbage cans into the streets near Pennsylvania Avenue which also became sites of arson. Numerous storefronts were defaced, causing tens of thousands of dollars in property damage.  Agitators used chunks of pavement and baseball bats to shatter the glass windows of several businesses downtown, including one of the Bank of America branches and one of the McDonald's locations—all symbols of American capitalism.  The key conclusion made by the internal MPD training material on Antifa points out that if you do not believe in what Antifa believes in, you are nothing more than "a target of violence" to the violent extremist organization."
Liberals will just claim that this proves that the police have been captured by white supremacists

Paw Patrol Replaces Chase The Cop With Karl The Antifa Rioter | The Babylon Bee - "Beloved kids' show Paw Patrol has come under fire for daring to have a police officer who is not scum, Chase the German Shepherd. Amid the controversy, production company Spin Master has agreed to remove Chase and replace him with a new pup: Karl the Antifa Rioter"

The Protests Come for 'Paw Patrol' and Other 'Good Cops' in Media - The New York Times

CNN host celebrates Antifa violence, says those who oppose them are on the same side as Hitler - "Host of CNN's "United Shades of America," W. Kamau Bell, praised far-left extremist group Antifa in his latest segment and said those that are against the violent group are on the same side as Hitler and Mussolini... Despite Antifa's long history of using fascist tactics to silence their opposition, Bell spewed a popular left-wing talking point echoing that, "Antifa is short for Anti-fascist."... In addition to violent physical encounters, the members of Portland Antifa told Bell that they dox people who they consider to be "violent, racist, disgusting things" while "hoping they get fired, or have to find a new job.""

Stop crying foul over fascism - "In the announcement video that formally kicked off his 2020 presidential campaign, Biden paid homage to what he called the “courageous group of Americans” who descended upon Charlottesville, VA in August 2017 to confront an assembly of Right-wing rally-goers. Among that “courageous group” were Left-wing activist factions broadly classified under the banner of “antifa”.  For Biden, what transpired in Charlottesville was a “defining moment,” and formed the basis for his decision to launch a third campaign for the presidency at age 76... he also affirmed a core tenet of the “antifa” worldview: the notion that a uniquely pressing fascistic threat has gripped the country, and crushing this threat is a matter of unparalleled world-historic urgency. Certainly, if you picked any “antifa” member at random, there’d be an almost 0% chance that they would express any kind of personal enthusiasm for Joe Biden. But there’d be a virtually 100% chance that they’d express a great deal of enthusiasm for the theory that “fascism” is an accurate characterisation of America’s current state of governance. Biden would be similarly enthused to present a variation of this analysis, albeit from a slightly different ideological angle. He typically intones things like, “This is not who we are”, rather than “All Cops Are Bastards”.  Still, where Biden is united with “antifa” is in assigning such outsized importance to the role of small-time “fascist” agitators like the ones who gathered that weekend three years ago in Charlottesville (despite ultimately being outnumbered by Left-wing activists) on account of the validation they are purported to have received from Donald Trump. For both Biden and “antifa,” this dynamic constitutes the chief prism through which contemporary American political affairs must be viewed.  And for both Biden and “antifa,” this mode of analysis has been hugely successful. “Antifa” has succeeded in stoking nationwide insurrectionary fervour on a scale unseen in decades. Given their opposition to Trump as the alleged fascist-in-chief, as well as their appropriation of the “Black Lives Matter” protest mantle, they’ve received an extraordinary amount of mainstream liberal legitimation.  Democratic Party operatives have even gone so far as to exalt “antifa” activists as the modern-day equivalents of US soldiers fighting in World War II — while apparently exhibiting no embarrassment for invoking this comparison.   Another clear beneficiary of the “fascism” panic, somewhat paradoxically, has been Biden. A supreme irony of the outsized role that “anti-fascism” has played in post-2016 US political discourse — as popularised by both liberals and leftists, who often claim to be at odds with each other but nonetheless overwhelmingly agree on the underlying “fascism” prognosis — is that it has ultimately limited the possibility of actual Left-wing policy reform.  Democratic presidential primary voters had been traumatised by the non-stop barrage of Trump-related hysteria churned out each and every day by profit-driven corporate media outlets, and laboured under the sincere belief that Trump’s America bears some bonafide relation to Weimar Germany. As such, a plurality were understandably uninterested in foundational reform to the Democratic Party.  That was bad news for socialist Bernie Sanders, who ended up losing handily in the 2020 primaries to a former Vice President whose entire campaign was predicated on little more than restoring the pre-2016 Democratic Party to power. And in a way, you can’t particularly blame those Biden voters. Because if your main sources of information tell you for years on end that the reins of state have been seized by an out-and-out fascist, who is fuelling a siege of “Nazi” street agitators, whatever deficiencies the Democratic Party might have at the moment are of little or no concern. Now even Sanders himself has called for a “united front” against Trump ahead of the election, seeming to suggest that the precedent of Francisco Franco is historically apt. Wasn’t the whole problem with Franco that he couldn’t be voted out?  Never mind that Trump would have to be quite a feckless fascist to allow himself to be constantly maligned in the country’s major media, plotted against by his own administration underlings, and impeached. The decidedly unsexy reality is that Trump has been a fairly weak executive, at least relative to his predecessors in the postwar era... for all the warnings of a Reichstag Fire moment always supposedly being around the corner, the past six months of Covid and riots were a missed opportunity for any genuine fascist seeking to consolidate power. Trump appears largely content with issuing inflammatory tweets... most journalists desperately don’t want to see Trump win in November.  But thanks to the prevailing “fascism” framework, their opposition to Trump isn’t just a matter of ordinary election-year preference. It’s imbued with existential, civilisation-altering significance. How could anyone in their right mind not do everything within their capacity to ensure the defeat of fascism? Once you accept the premise that fascism does in fact accurately describe the current state of American governance, all bets are off — journalistically and otherwise. So even if the “anti-fascists” in the equation are burning down cities, they will still never exist on the same moral plane as the actual “fascists” whose champion occupies the White House. Hence, riots which result in the destruction of huge swaths of Kenosha, WI magically become a “mostly peaceful” affair according to CNN and the New York Times.   Yes, journalists also presumptively ascribe a certain virtue to any protests that occur with the imprimatur of “Black Lives Matter”. But racial disparities have been a fact of American life since the dawn of the republic. The unavoidable explanation for why they’ve taken on such frantic energy in the past several months is the alleged spectre of fascism, namely Trump... For all the talk about dismantling systems of oppression, those who actually wield power in 2020 America seem to view the “fascism vs. antifascism” dichotomy as awfully convenient to their own self-preserving interests."

Friday, May 12, 2023

Links - 12th May 2023 (2 - San Francisco/California)

Museum Curator Resigns After He Is Accused of Racism for Saying He Would Still Collect Art From White Men - "Gary Garrels was senior curator of painting and sculpture at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). He resigned his position after museum employees circulated a petition that accused him of racism and demanded his immediate ouster.  "Gary's removal from SFMOMA is non-negotiable," read the petition. "Considering his lengthy tenure at this institution, we ask just how long have his toxic white supremacist beliefs regarding race and equity directed his position curating the content of the museum?"... Their sole complaint is that he allegedly concluded a presentation on how to diversify the museum's holdings by saying, "don't worry, we will definitely still continue to collect white artists."
Weird. We are told that decolonising the collection is about making it more inclusive

Are acronyms a symptom of 'white supremacy culture?' San Francisco Unified makes another disputable decision - "Now the Arts Department has taken a bold move by changing its name, "VAPA" because they say, "acronyms are a symptom of white supremacy culture."...   The director of that department said, "We are prioritizing antiracist arts instruction in our work." So they got rid of the acronym "VAPA," which is short for visual and performing arts...   "The use of so many acronyms within the educational field often tends to alienate those who may not speak English to understand the acronym," he added.  That's based on a 1999 paper written by author Tema Okun titled "White Supremacy Culture." Okun told me that, "Our culture perpetuates racism when things continue to be written down in a certain way."  But the San Francisco Unified School District uses so many acronyms on a daily basis that if you go to their website there's a section on how to find what their acronyms or abbreviations mean."

Armed robbers held up news crew as it interviewed Oakland’s chief of violence prevention

San Francisco Bicycle Coalition says not to call police about stolen bikes because it hurts 'Black and brown' people - "San Francisco crime has skyrocketed since 2020 and bike theft has grown into an epidemic in the Golden City. In response the San Francisco Bike Coalition wrote on their "considerations" section of their website that victims of bike theft should reconsider calling the police as "Black and brown" people could be harmed from the interaction... After two years of growth and learning the mostly white organization has seemingly concluded it's best to let black and brown San Franciscan's steal bikes... They delved deep into the intersectionality of race and bicycles and held panels to explore the topic. In 2020, they wrote, "We have a long way to go to understanding the intersectionality of race and biking. This panel of experts will discuss how anti-Black racism manifests in the biking community, in @sfbike, and in Bay Area urban planning." In 2020 they also promised to root out the rapid white supremacy in bicycling and touted it on their website with how they were "addressing white supremacy in our movement.""

Here's how many San Franciscans say they’ve been the victim of a crime - "A sweeping poll commissioned by The Chronicle drew sobering results: Nearly half of respondents said they were victims of theft in the past five years, while roughly a quarter were physically attacked or threatened. The majority had negative impressions of law enforcement...   Forty-five percent of people surveyed for the poll said an item was stolen from them within the past five years. Proportionally, Black and mixed-race respondents felt a more severe impact than other groups, with a majority — 54% of Black respondents and 55% of mixed-race respondents — reporting they had suffered theft. Property crime rates were lower for white residents, 43% of whom lost a possession to theft within the time period... Others saw the percentage as low, given how prevalent property crimes appear to be in San Francisco.  “I was surprised,” said Anni Chung, president and CEO of Self-Help for the Elderly, an organization that works with Asian American seniors. “If 75% had said they had something stolen, then I would say, ‘Yes, that’s pretty common.’”... The city was among many that tried a series of reforms after George Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis police officer in 2020, though it seemed to retreat two years later, most notably with the recall of progressive District Attorney Chesa Boudin...   Police Department statistics reveal a combined surge in burglaries in the Richmond, Ingleside and Taraval police districts, all on the west side, from 1,707 incidents in 2020 to 1,923 last year. This change in crime patterns may have contributed to Boudin’s ouster: Ballot box data showed high voter turnout west of Twin Peaks and in the Sunset, which heavily voted for the recall...   Rates of physical and verbal assaults appear to be lower than property crimes, the poll indicated, with roughly a quarter of respondents — 24% — saying they had been threatened or attacked.  Notably, Latino and mixed-race respondents reported higher rates of attacks, at 36%, while Asians reported the lowest rates of any group, at 19%, which conflicts with other data sets and media reports depicting a wave of violence against Asian Americans."
Weird. I thought the police prey on racial minorities. Turns out defunding the police is going to hurt minorities more - which will be taken as evidence of racism

Monitoring Bias on Twitter - "San Francisco’s Lowell High School plummeted way out of the top 100 in a national school ranking, in the first year that achievement data has become available since the school eliminated meritocratic admissions in favor of an "anti-racist" approach."
The power of structural racism!

San Francisco transgender guaranteed income program launched by city - "Mayor London Breed announced the launch of a new guaranteed income program for San Francisco’s trans community. The Guaranteed Income for Trans People program will provide low-income transgender San Franciscans with $1,200 each month, for up to 18 months, to help address financial insecurity within trans communities... The pilot program is the first guaranteed income initiative to focus solely on trans people, and will provide regular, unconditional cash transfers to individuals or households who qualify"
I'm sure the only reason more trans people will pop up is because there will be less "stigma"

San Francisco police propose using robots capable of ‘deadly force’

Timing of S.F.’s kink festival Dore Alley sparks worry amid monkeypox emergency - "Whether Dore Alley will be a superspreader event was hard to predict for UCSF Professor of Medicine John Davis, who identifies as gay, but he said that, as a matter of public health, approaches that ban or stigmatize a group of people from gathering tend to backfire. “What we’ve learned is that does not stop sexual activity,” Davis said. “The spread has been happening, and we have not had Dore Alley.”"
Of course, there's nothing wrong with stigmatising "covidiots" and lockdowns

SFUSD drops the word ‘chief’ from job titles to avoid connotation with Native Americans - "The word “chief” will no longer be used in reference to job titles in the San Francisco Unified School District in an effort, school officials said, to avoid the word’s connotation with Native Americans."
Better ban the use of the word "Indian" too, to avoid Native American connotations

EXCL: San Francisco start-up founder filmed screaming at ambulance says EMT was checking her PHONE - "A California cyclist who went viral after filming herself screaming at an ambulance parked in a bike lane said the paramedic was on her phone - while admitting she sounds 'crazy' in the video. Start-up founder Stacey Randecker, 51, of San Francisco, who goes by @drivingmzstacey on social media, filmed herself on Thursday yelling at a city fire department ambulance which was parked in the bike lane on 7th Street outside of a Room & Board furnishing store around 11.30am... 'You're killing us, get out of the bike lane!' she screamed. 'Unbelievable! They're killing us, they're killing us.'... The San Francisco Fire Department said in 2017 that adding more bike lanes, especially in the heart of the city, could cause more trouble for responders trying to get to emergencies. Former Chief of Operations Mark Gonzales said that protected bike lanes - much like the one on 7th Street which has a motorcycle parking lane next to the cycling lane - 'shift cars so that they’ll be parked in the exact position where that truck needed to be' when an emergency happens... Randecker is well-known in the area for having an agenda and wants to close the Embarcadero roadway, which runs along the eastern shoreline, to cars."
SAN FRANCISCO FIRE DEPARTMENT MEDIA on Twitter - "Thank you for sharing this. The crews did not say they “were on a break”, they were finishing a medical emergency with a patient care document from a call at that location which is why they moved to the other side of the street rather than engage with you. Have a safe day."
Cyclist + San Francisco = peak entitlement and selfishness

No, liberalism is fueling S.F.'s drug crisis. Libertarianism is - "San Franciscans’ liberalism is why the government offers generous health and social care services, without which overdose deaths would be higher, not lower.  What bedevils the city instead is its libertarian, individualistic culture. Since at least the 19th century, Americans have come to San Francisco to be free of traditional constraints back East, to reinvent themselves, to escape the small-mindedness of small towns and to find themselves. This culture underlies the city’s entrepreneurialism, artistic energy and tolerance for diversity in all forms... Some public health advocates in San Francisco believe the city is following the Portuguese Model of drug policy, in which — they imagine — all formal and informal sanctions against drug use and dealing are removed, leading addicted people to flood into health and social care services that end their drug problems.  These advocates are chasing a myth. Portugal is in no way a libertarian country. Rather, it’s a cohesive, communal society in which drug use is culturally frowned upon rather than celebrated as a sign of freedom. When drug-addicted people commit crimes in Portugal, they are sent to a “dissuasion committee” that can apply penalties to those who refuse to seek and stay in addiction treatment. Informally, this is backed up by pressure from family and community for addicted individuals to enter recovery.  Portugal also places pressure on drug users to change by not tolerating flagrant open-air drug markets, such as the blight in San Francisco’s Tenderloin and South of Market neighborhoods"
Of course, they can't do anything but double down. The liberals would be the first to complain about "stigma" if Portuguese-style social pressure were applied

Story about California store owner pricing items at $951 to prosecute thieves is satire

K A L E O on Twitter - "Society is so broken in California that employees are basically trained to help assist tens of thousands of dollars of merchandise being stolen right in front of them (notice them holding customers back) as everyone else just stands around and watches. How did we get here?"

Companies Are Fleeing California. Blame Bad Government. - "In just the past few months, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. said it was leaving for Houston. Oracle Corp. said it would decamp for Austin. Palantir Technologies Inc., Charles Schwab Corp. and McKesson Corp. are all bound for greener pastures. No less an information-age avatar than Elon Musk has had enough. He thinks regulators have grown “complacent” and “entitled” about the state’s world-class tech companies.  No doubt, he has a point. Silicon Valley’s high-tech cluster has been the envy of the world for decades, but there’s nothing inevitable about its success. As many cities have found in recent years, building such agglomerations is exceedingly hard, as much art as science. Low taxes, modest regulation, sound infrastructure and good education systems all help, but aren’t always sufficient. Once squandered, moreover, such dynamism can’t easily be revived. With competition rising across the U.S., the area’s policy makers need to recognize the dangers ahead. In recent years, San Francisco has seemed to be begging for companies to leave. In addition to familiar failures of governance — widespread homelessness, inadequate transit, soaring property crime — it has also imposed more idiosyncratic hindrances. Far from welcoming experimentation, it has sought to undermine or stamp out home-rental services, food-delivery apps, ride-hailing firms, electric-scooter companies, facial-recognition technology, delivery robots and more, even as the pioneers in each of those fields attempted to set up shop in the city. It tried to ban corporate cafeterias — a major tech-industry perk — on the not-so-sound theory that this would protect local restaurants. It created an “Office of Emerging Technology” that will only grant permission to test new products if they’re deemed, in a city bureaucrat’s view, to provide a “net common good.” Whatever the merits of such meddling, it’s hardly a formula for unbounded inventiveness. These two traits — poor governance and animosity toward business — have collided calamitously with respect to the city’s housing market. Even as officials offered tax breaks for tech companies to headquarter themselves downtown, they mostly refused to lift residential height limits, modify zoning rules or allow significant new construction to accommodate the influx of new workers. They then expressed shock that rents and home prices were soaring — and blamed the tech companies. California’s legislature has only made matters worse. A bill it enacted in 2019, ostensibly intended to protect gig workers, threatened to undo the business models of some of the state’s biggest tech companies until voters granted them a reprieve in a November referendum. A new privacy law has imposed immense compliance burdens — amounting to as much as 1.8% of state output in 2018 — while conferring almost no consumer benefits. An 8.8% state corporate tax rate and 13.3% top income-tax rate (the nation’s highest) haven’t helped. Of course, California isn’t alone in squandering such advantages. New York City has been the world’s top finance hub for many years, and increasingly had become home to a thriving tech community as well. But a similar blend of poor policy choices, high taxes, needless red tape, rising crime, and occasional outright hostility — as with the senseless opposition to Amazon.com Inc.’s proposed headquarters — has been pushing both industries to friendlier climes in recent years.  Such carelessness is all the more damaging because a tech hub is more than the sum of its parts. Such clusters accelerate the flow of ideas, concentrate skilled workers and create productive new networks. They’re likely to boost investment, business formation, innovation, wages and growth. And their benefits are widely shared: By one estimate, each new tech job creates five additional jobs in other industries, a multiplier effect about three times larger than that for manufacturing. That’s not to mention the immensely popular products that result... no state can antagonize its companies so extravagantly and expect them to stay put forever. As every Californian knows, the open road is all too inviting."
From 2020

California keeps COVID-19 data private, saying data would 'confuse and potentially mislead the public' if released - "Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom has said since the start of the outbreak that his response policy would be driven by transparency with the public on data and information as it develops. Now his administration is contradicting that sentiment by refusing to disclose key information on COVID-19 findings."
From 2021
Transparency is bad

California Legislature Votes to Strike ‘the State Shall Not Discriminate’ from Constitution, Opening the Door to Legalized Discrimination - "equality before the law is arguably the greatest pillar of a liberal society. It’s an idea that reaches back across time and civilizations, from philosophers like Guan Zhong (720 B.C. - 645 B.C.) to historians such as Thucydides, who at the funeral of Pericles stated, “If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differences; if to social standing, advancement in public life falls to reputation for capacity, class considerations not being allowed to interfere with merit; nor again does poverty bar the way.”  Equality before the law is at the heart of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the enumerated rights carved out by the General Assembly of the United Nations at its third session in 1948. In Article 7, it states clearly and proudly: "All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.”"
Does that mean that there can't be anymore judicial activism around equal protection?

Where Does California’s Homeless Population Come From? - The New York Times - "“This is a local crisis and a homegrown problem,” said Peter Lynn, the executive director of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, the agency that conducts the largest homeless census count in the country. Several years ago, L.A.H.S.A. added a question to its homeless survey that captured how long a person had been in Los Angeles and where they became homeless. The resulting data dispelled the idea that the homeless population was largely made up of people from out of state. “The vast majority fell into homelessness in L.A. County,” Mr. Lynn said. L.A.H.S.A.’s 2019 homeless count found that 64 percent of the 58,936 Los Angeles County residents experiencing homelessness had lived in the city for more than 10 years. Less than a fifth (18 percent) said they had lived out of state before becoming homeless."
So much for the claim that California only has a lot of homeless people because they're all from elsewhere, attracted by compassionate policies

California has failed the homeless and the mentally ill. It’s time for change. - "It is estimated by the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research Center that 52% of the homeless in California are either severally mentally ill or addicted to hard drugs. It’s important to note that these are self-assessed polls; the actual number is believed to be higher... Our current solution is the “Housing First” model for everyone, which means having people live on the streets until we place them in apartments (in Los Angeles where I live, at a staggering price tag of $740,000 per unit). Some in-treatment options are available, but that requires the mentally ill person to choose this option, and there are gaping holes in this logic... A Spring 2021 Harvard research study found that after ten years, only 12% of the people placed in a housing-first apartment remained housed. In 2018, the National Academy of Sciences concluded, “The committee found no substantial evidence that [permanent supportive housing] contributes to improved health outcomes, notwithstanding the intuitive logic that it should.”... He correctly identifies our current so-called “harm reduction” models as “addiction maintenance,” and with good reason; with no mandated treatment, no required hospital care, these well-meaning programs of clean needles and anti-overdose drugs only serve to keep people sick... Portugal’s “housing earned” model outlaws camping on the streets, instead providing the option of expanded shelters, mandated treatment, or if nothing else, jail. These systems incentivize recovery and lead to less jail time than our current jail-to-streets revolving door"
Homeless-enabling policies aren't necessarily a good thing - even for homeless people

Homelessness Statistics by State | United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH)
California has 162k homeless in a population of 39 million. Arizona has 11k in 7 million, New Mexico has 3.3k in 2.1 million, Texas has 27k in 29 million, Louisiana has 3.2k in 4.7 million, Mississippi has 1.1k in 3 million, Alabama has 3.4k in 4.9 million and Florida has 27.5k in 21 million. So the high homeless population is not because of the weather

California’s Housing Costs Threaten The State’s Future - "California (like many other jurisdictions) has made it progressively harder to construct new housing, through a combination of single-family zoning, homeowner opposition to new development, and suburban resistance to allowing multi-family housing...  By analyzing building permits relative to job growth, analysts at Stessa ranked states on their housing production.  And between 2010 and 2020, California was the nation’s worst on this measure.  The state added 2.54 new jobs per new housing unit, so even as the economy expanded, housing prices rose faster."
A champion of California claimed that California real estate was crazy because people wanted to live there. He somehow also didn't see the problem with the poor being driven out of the state. Apparently lower cost labour is not needed for service jobs

Why Is the University of California Dropping the SAT? - The Atlantic - "the University of California announced an immediate end to the use of standardized testing in admissions and scholarship decisions at the nine schools in its system that accept undergraduates. It is a move so widely hailed by the administrators and faculty that you know someone’s getting hustled, and in this case the marks are the state’s low-income Black and Latino students––the very ones whom the new policy is supposed to help... The university has averred that standardized tests discriminate against low-income Black and Latino students; its evidence is that these students tend to perform worse on the SAT and ACT than students from other racial and ethnic groups. If we were to think about this assertion rationally instead of emotionally, we would have to face what California has done: consigned its most vulnerable students to some of the worst K–12 schools in America... All the standardized tests do is reveal the obvious outcome of our cruelty. Saying it’s the tests’ fault is like feeding children a poisoned sundae and then blaming the cherry on top for making them sick. Do the tests prevent low-income Black and Latino students from getting college degrees? This is the charge of a lawsuit filed in 2019 and settled by the university... Only the counterrevolutionary impulse would lead anyone to want to douse the flames of social justice with the fire retardant of fact. But the truth is that no high-school graduate in California is denied higher education because of a test score. The UC schools are some of the most competitive in the state, but the Cal State system has more than twice as many campuses and costs about half as much to attend, and some locations have an admission rate of almost 90 percent. Students reluctant to earn a degree from the “lesser” system may avail themselves of the best deal in American higher education: Earn a 2.4 GPA in the requisite courses at a California Community College, and your ability to transfer to a UC campus is guaranteed. Not a single standardized test need ever be taken. Here are some more of the fiercely held arguments for dumping the tests: Test scores don’t reflect the character-forging aspects of life as a poor teenager; the tests force students from underfunded schools to compete against “affluent whites” who can afford expensive test prep; high-school GPA is a much better predictor of students’ ability to succeed in a UC program anyway.  These are not facts. They are assumptions, all of them flawed or flat-out incorrect... while high-school GPA has been found to be more predictive of success at college than standardized test scores at some schools, the exact opposite turns out to be true for students at UC schools... People in power today would much rather do something that seems to promote “equity” than make an evidence-based choice that could lead to accusations of racism. This is the kind of infuriating policy decision that looks like it is going to help poor, minority students but will actually harm them... There is only one group of students who are “overrepresented,” to use the chilling language of social engineering, at the university: Asian Americans. Twelve percent of K–12 students are Asian or Pacific Islander, compared with 34 percent of UC undergraduates. Aligning enrollment with state demographics would require cutting the share of those students by almost two-thirds. It would mean getting right with contemporary concepts of anti-racism by reviving one of California’s most shameful traditions: clearing Asians out of desirable spaces. In the 19th century, Chinese people were beaten and lynched in California, in a prelude to the state’s successful campaign for the Chinese Exclusion Act, which cut off immigration from China. In 1906, San Francisco tried to force all Chinese, Korean, and Japanese public-school children to go to a separate “Oriental School.” And in 1942, the first internment camps for Japanese Americans opened in California. The UC has an established history in this dirty art. In the 1960s, Asian enrollment at UC Berkeley was strong, and it soared through the ’70s. But in the ’80s, it plummeted mysteriously. Berkeley was investigated by the Department of Education, and in 1989, the chancellor apologized and pledged that this would never happen again.  Until now. There is an ongoing discussion within progressive politics as to whether Asian Americans are a reliable part of the Black-brown coalition or whether they have been—to use another weird but fashionable term—“whitened.” Does the UC think it’s a good idea, in this era of racism and hate crimes against Asian Americans, to promote the idea that these students are hoovering up an unfair proportion of a precious resource?... What will dropping the tests really accomplish?  It will give cover to the many forces invested in not improving the state’s K–12 education, especially in the poorest districts. Those include: Republicans, who don’t like pouring money into public education; taxpayers, who don’t like their dollars being spent on other people’s children; Democrats, who serve the teachers’ unions; and the mighty unions themselves, which seem more interested in protecting failing teachers than in reforming a failing system. “California is America, only sooner.” Californians are proud of that expression, and it still holds up. What’s happening out here—a homelessness crisis that turns deadly when the summer heat climbs; soaring crime in the cities; fires and coastal erosion spurred by climate change; strong students denied college admission because of the color of their skin and the “foreign” sound of their names; and a great research university obscuring, rather than revealing, the truth—all of that will happen where you live, too. We just got here first.  Someday, in a textbook on world history, there will be a chapter about all of us—you, and me, and our shared moment. The title of that chapter will be American Decline."

Billboards are going up in California urging residents not to move to Texas and nobody knows if the people behind it are Californians or Texans 😂 - ""The Texas miracle died in Uvalde. Don't move to Texas," the billboard reads, alongside the sinister image of a hooded figure and a crossed-out "Don't mess with Texas" slogan"

Anti-police baker died after violent robbery, family doesn't want criminals prosecuted - "A California baker – who identified as an anarchist and social justice advocate – died after she was the victim of a brutal theft. Family and friends don't want the criminals who are linked to her death to be prosecuted because that would allegedly go against the woman's values.  Jennifer Angel went to a Wells Fargo bank branch in Oakland on Monday afternoon. A car pulled in front of her vehicle and blocked her from leaving, Angel's fiance, Ocean Mottley, told the San Francisco Chronicle... The family and friends said, "We know Jen would not want to continue the cycle of harm by bringing state-sanctioned violence to those involved in her death or to other members of Oakland’s rich community. As a long-time social movement activist and anarchist, Jen did not believe in state violence, carceral punishment, or incarceration as an effective or just solution to social violence and inequity."  The statement said that Angel "worked toward an ecologically sustainable" society, where "people are free and equal." The friends and family proclaimed that the criminals involved in Jennifer's death should not be prosecuted.  "If the Oakland Police Department does make an arrest in this case, the family is committed to pursuing all available alternatives to traditional prosecution, such as restorative justice," the statement declared.  The family and friends said that Jennifer's death should not be used to "further inflame narratives of fear, hatred, and vengeance, nor to advance putting public resources into policing, incarceration, or other state violence that perpetuates the cycles of violence that resulted in this tragedy.""
More people will die, and this will be cited as proof of how bad policing is. Brilliant!

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