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Saturday, May 27, 2023

Links - 27th May 2023 (2)

Family of 12-year-old auto theft suspect say vehicle owner should face charges - "The vehicle owner told authorities he was tracking the vehicle using an app, and found it in the area of West 12th Avenue and North Decatur Street.  When the owner approached the car, he was "involved in an exchange of gunfire" with those inside the vehicle... The family acknowledges Elias was caught up with the wrong crowd that day, but does not believe he should have been killed.  "Even though they were joy riding, it was never that serious for somebody to have to lose their life or for [the car owner] to track down the car the way he did," said Alicia Henderson, Elias' sister."
If someone armed steals your car and you shoot too, you're the bad guy (the fact that DA didn't press charges due to self-defence is telling too). If someone steals your car, you shouldn't try to track it down
I like how if you steal a car you're a suspect but if you shoot in self defence you're a killer

Fury at 'extremely harsh' sentence for disabled woman who 'gestured cyclist into car collision' - "Campaigners today slammed the 'extremely harsh' jail sentence of a cerebral palsy sufferer who was convicted of manslaughter for gesturing at a cyclist seconds before they fell into the road and were killed by a car.   'Vulnerable' Auriol Grey, 49, who is partially blind and also suffers from cognitive issues, was given three years in jail... Grey gestured towards grandmother Celia Ward, 77, and told her to 'get off the f****** pavement' in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, on October 20, 2020.     Shortly afterwards, Mrs Ward veered into the road before falling over the front of her bicycle and being struck by a car that was unable to stop. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Grey had denied manslaughter but was found guilty...  the local council was unable to confirm today whether or not bicycles are allowed on the pavement where the incident took place - despite the judge declaring it a 'shared footpath' at court... Grey explained she was partially sighted and felt anxious as the bicycle was travelling 'fast' in the middle of the pavement.   She added that she could have lifted her hand unintentionally.  The Highway Act 1835 renders it illegal to cycle on the pavement, with a fine of up to £500."
The UK cycling lobby is out of control
If a cyclist is travelling so fast on a pavement he cannot safely stop, clearly it's not his fault if something happens to him

Man is brutally attacked by mob of cyclists in downtown LA - "A man driving a pickup truck was pummeled by a group of young bicyclists during a broad-daylight attack in the downtown Los Angeles jewelry district.  Video footage captured the moment the victim was knocked to the ground by a group of people who stomped and kicked him ruthlessly...   One bystander could be seen removing his belt and whipping it around to scare off the cyclists.  After the beating, one of the suspects, who wasn’t wearing a shirt, could be seen bashing the victim’s white pickup truck with his bike handlebar... Roman Kim, who works at one of the nearby jewelry stores, said the cyclists were riding around the busy street like they “owned the road.”  “There are six guys on their bikes, just swerving in and out,” Kim told ABC 7, “which is kind of nuts because with how busy everything is, you can’t really be doing this.”"
Damn motorists!

Everyone Needs A Loud American. Or, what a backwards story can tell us… | by Ossiana Tepfenhart | Medium - "The story goes that certain companies hire foreigners to be “the Loud American.” These are people who are there to tell the boss the things that no one else would want to tell them. This allows others to save face and also gives the boss the honest check they need... The Loud American Employee is actually more of an old wives’ tale shared among Americans hoping to get a job in Japan than anything real. But, this should be obvious. Contrary to common belief, Japanese companies don’t actually hire “Loud Americans” to tell the boardroom what to do. I mean, it’s kind of silly, don’t you think? Japanese businessmen aren’t lemmings — they will very politely point out problematic thinking as necessary."
Of course, she goes into a racist, sexist rant. Speaking truth to power never applies when liberals hold the power, of course

Ford AI car will drive itself to the junkyard if you miss subscription payments - "Filed in August 2021, the company’s “Systems and Methods to Repossess a Vehicle” patent aims to make bank repossession of vehicles easier, and the lives of average customers harder... For self-driving capable vehicles, Ford aims to allow cars to take themselves to tow trucks if a user misses a payment date. Cars parked outside will literally drive to a pickup point to be taken by a tow truck. If the car is deemed unworthy of repossession, it will drive itself to a junkyard."
Clearly this will never be abused

Meme - "When you can't let the cat out because he might invade Poland

Bitten by a tarantula hawk? Just ‘lie down and scream’ - "The nasty little bug gets its name from its food of choice, tarantulas. It’s hard to imagine something the size of a wasp hunting one of the largest spiders. The sting from a Tarantula Hawk is so painful that the recommended treatment by biologist Justin O. Schmidt is to simply "lie down and scream."... At two-inches-long, the blue-black demon is one of the bigger wasps you'll ever encounter. In 1989, New Mexico named it their state insect."

Meme - Girl: "Did you take your meds?"
Guy: "Yeah"
Girl: "I hope you feel better soon"
Guy: "What?"
Girl: *disappearing*
Guy: "No! Wait!"
Piece of Wood with smiley face: "Love you"

Singaporeans don’t deserve Piyush Gupta - "Philippe Paillart was the kind of reason Singapore Inc. hires foreigners, to help them accomplish something they can’t on their own. But Philippe was ousted by a testosterone-charged bunch of investment bankers and a board that didn’t quite like his personal style.  Curiously, Philippe was very quickly replaced by Jackson Tai, John Olds’ trusted lieutenant. By this time, the JP Morgan mafia was crawling on every wall in DBS...   After the JP Morgan clowns left town, we still kept up the white man fiction. Richard Stanley was someone I knew personally from his days in China. A most decent man at heart, but by this time, the dream of making DBS an international force had lost steam. It really did not matter if it was Richard or an untalented Singaporean as CEO.  We need to remember the plot – Singapore’s ambition at that time was to be international – to enter other people’s countries. By the time Piyush Gupta arrived on the scene, DBS had been without a real CEO for nearly two years. It was a serious problem. So it needed someone with an international experience and Piyush had worked in every country in the region, including Singapore, with outstanding references. Also, all banks everywhere were suffering from low price-to-book value. The increased capital requirements. The country needed someone who had the technical skills and instincts as a banker.   Piyush may not have been Singaporean, but he was absolutely at the point in his career to be a perfect fit for the bank of any country that needed to get to the next level, and that was what DBS wanted to be. The only Singaporean I would trust for that role at that point in time was Peter Seah, out-of-job as CEO after OUB was sold to UOB. But Peter was getting old, losing that fire in his belly, and chairmanship suited him better. So, I was delighted when I saw the two men I trusted formed a bond that has worked for Singapore since. Piyush gave Peter the energy and Peter gave Piyush the structure... Leong Mun Wai... singled out Piyush, but remained silent on CEOs of other Singaporean institutions who are not Singaporean at all. But more importantly, he was silent on all the government-linked companies (GLCs) that do have his fellow Singaporeans as CEOs but that were seriously losing their way in a changing world. It is the elephant in the room, but no Singaporean I know has even started concpetualising how to discuss it... There was a time when a Singaporean could join a Keppel Corporation or NTUC, speak Hokkien all day, compete on who has the stupidest domestic helper, have the kids walked to school, go to an airconditioned church on Sundays, eat chicken rice at the hawker centre and fly business class on company account just enough to qualify as PPS world traveler on Singapore Airlines every year. What a life. Well, that life has just come to an end because the Keppel Corporations of the world can’t hire everyone now. It is that Singapore has shrunk. DBS and CapitaLand are the only GLCs that have bucked the trend...   Every one of these Singapore Inc. corporations is broken, having lost the wind beneath their wings, clueless on where to pick up new wind from and it is truly frightening. Companies like SPH lost their core business, tried property for a while, lost that as well, and are floundering right now. This is where the loss of Singaporean jobs are coming from.  It’s a question that never made it to parliament because the people are still being told that everything is fine. Public officials falling over themselves to give report cards that everything is great. The entire system hardwired to be defensive. Yes, it is great that each of these companies had Singaporeans as CEOs, because now we can start by not blaming someone else for our predicament...   For every Singapore Airlines you have an NOL, an unmitigated disaster for all the years it was run by the best Singaporean CEOs, you can name them one by one. Then it magically becomes profitable when a foreigner bought it. Nobody in Singapore would have known that it could be salvaged until it was, by a foreigner... The world is changing so dramatically. Did Singapore even try to bring in the Teslas of the world? Do Singaporeans even know that the Thai stock exchange is now larger than SGX? A politically dysfunctional country mocking an otherwise socially cohesive Singapore which is supposed to be a regional financial centre...   People become confused when their experiences of joblessness is different from what they read in the newspapers. The majority of Singaporeans are now mature enough to want to be in on the conversation, of how the old formula of inviting MNCs to bring their capital has run its course. The Singaporean, brought up to believe that he is the best in all the rankings has no clue why the world has changed on him in this way. He has no idea that whatever he can do, others can do cheaper from anywhere else in the world, with or without a degree from the “best universities” in Asia (enough of these damn rankings)...  The question that the Chinese Singaporeans should be asking themselves is “where is the Piyush Gupta of Singapore” amongst us? Where is the Singaporean who uprooted his family, travelled to many different countries at great personal cost, had ambitions without a border, did not care what people thought about his accent or colour, was assessed on his task one day at a time, developed the vision and passion, made his fair share of valuable mistakes and is then at the right time in the right place in his career to take on the opportunity to lead DBS when the time comes? If we only we knew one Singaporean who was half of who Piyush is in banking.  But guess what. Singapore did have its “Piyush Guptas” in the 1980s. Peter Seah, Wong Nang Jang and a series of top-class Singaporeans I can recall all worked for the same international banks in the 1970s-1980s, just like Piyush...   The fact that Singapore has such a great brand name in the US capital is because Lee Kuan Yew spent his personal time staying in the homes of and building relationships with people like Henry Kissinger and the Bushes. The reason Singapore’s CapitaLand does very well in China is because Liew Mun Leong loves every minute he is in China. The reason Singtel was able to acquire a string of telcos in Asia and Australia after it was listed was because Lee Hsien Yang was willing to take the plane out, flying economy if he had to, to close deals at a moment’s notice when he was CEO. I know that these are “loaded” names now, but I am not mentioning them for any reason other than why the best Singapore companies are what they are today... it’s a fine line between being loved and being respected. There was a time when Sim Wong Hoo grew Creative Technology to be a global company, living out of a suitcase in America, giving no less than Steve Jobs a run for his money. But in Sim’s case, Singapore smothered him with love and massaged his passion until it became placid. The same politicians who spurned his initial effort to list Creative on the Singapore Exchange, made him a star and were taking selfies with him after he was successfully listed on NASDAQ, turning him into a philosopher and taming the beast in him. It was only a matter of time that his empire unraveled, because the competition in Silicon Valley was too vicious for someone who didn’t spend enough time in the battlefield."
From 2020

JK Rowling was bullied off a Harry Potter forum where fans didn't know who she was - "JK Rowling was bullied off a Harry Potter forum after she joined one under a fake name and ended up getting told she 'doesn't know anything' about the wizarding world she created."

Meme - ""Let's plant some catnip,' she said. "It'll be fun," she said. And then the addicts moved in and the neighborhood's never been the same."

Watch | Facebook - "Ballet Dancer Unusual Routine"
Dance to Saint-Saëns's The Swan where she has a face on her buttocks and goes upside down so it looks like someone dancing where her legs become her arms and her arms her legs and her buttocks her face

London Mayor Sadiq Khan Mocked Online After Spending Taxpayer Money On Modern Art Displays - "Mayor of London Sadiq Khan revealed that the city’s Piccadilly Circus underground station would be plastered wall-to-wall with a digital drawing from famed British artist David Hockney that was little more than a misshapen yellow circle — a derivative of the London Tube logo — and the station name “Piccadilly Circus” crammed into a space so tiny that the artist left “S” hanging below the rest of its alphabetic compadres in a separate line below. Here’s how Artnet described it: “A jejune design that recalls Windows 98-era of Microsoft Paint, Hockney’s interpretation of the iconic London tube logo boasts a malformed, highlighter-yellow ‘O’ and a station name board the color of everyone’s favorite purple dinosaur. The artist even ran out of space for the words ‘Piccadilly Circus,’ cramming in a rogue ‘s’ below.”... the art displays are part of Khan’s £7m “Let’s Do London” campaign that seeks to bolster tourism in the city in the waning days of the COVID-19 pandemic... “If you had said this was a children’s competition to redesign the logo and this was the winner I’d have equally believe it”... “Listen. I respect art. I do. But I’ve seen better work on Fiverr. Is there a message I am missing? Like is the S meant to mean Sadiq taking London over the edge? What’s the point?”"

Meme - Bear to Man: "Read the part again where she burns her whore mouth on my porridge"

Shame makes people living in poverty more supportive of authoritarianism, study finds - "A series of three studies in Germany found that people living in poverty frequently experience exclusion from different aspects of society and devaluation leading to the feeling of shame. Such shame, in turn, increases their support for authoritarianism due to the promise that that they will be included in the society again authoritarian leaders typically make"

The Tonca is an event in Trento, Italy, where every 19th of June a ceremonial jury sentences the local politician that committed the year's worst blunder to be locked in a cage and dunked in the river : interestingasfuck

Why are flights so much cheaper in Europe than in the U.S.? - The Washington Post
Someone (surprisingly, a European) claimed that flights were cheaper in the US and "people are too poor to fly in Europe so they need to use the train". So many Americans hate poor people

David Henderson's answer to Did Robert Baratheon love Lyanna Stark? - Quora - "No, demonstrably not.  When Rhaegar Targaryen shocked the realm by ‘abducting’ Lyanna Stark and carrying her off, Lyannas enraged brother Brandon rode directly to Kings Landing to confront Aerys and demand his sisters release. When Brandon was then captured in turn, his father Rickard then rode to Kings Landing to demand the release of both Brandon and Lyanna.  You know who didn’t do that? Robert Baratheon... Robert was deeply in love with a Stark, just not Lyanna. Robert only truly loved Ned.  I’m not saying Robert was gay or anything, there’s about 800 women from the Wall to Dorne who could attest otherwise to that one, but Robert loved Ned like a brother, and certainly more than he loved his actual brothers.  Robert loved the idea of Lyanna because marrying her meant he would be becoming Neds brother in truth, and the two of them would have lots of excuses to spend loads of time together for the rest of their lives...  Robert barely even knew Lyanna, they seem to have met only once or twice at most, and even Robert doesn’t dispute that he didn’t know her well... Rhaegar had deprived him of his chance to have a life where he got to have fun with Ned all the time. As a result of Rhaegar’s actions, Robert ends up with a wife he can’t stand, a crown he despises, duties he doesn’t care about, and a life where he only sees Ned once a decade if that."

Why are conservatives healthier than liberals? Personal responsibility, study suggests. - "It’s fairly well documented that conservatives tend to be healthier and than liberals, but what’s less clear is why? Some say it’s because conservatives tend to have higher incomes, and therefore have access to better health care. Others suggest it’s because conservatives participate in more religious activities, which helps them build healthy social relationships.  A recent study offers a new hypothesis: Conservatives place greater value on personal responsibility, and therefore they take better care of themselves."
The cope is that conservatives have too much toxic masculinity, so they are overconfident in their health when it is really worse and refuse to go to the doctor when they need it

Upper‐Body Strength and Political Egalitarianism: Twelve Conceptual Replications
Even though we know this is linked to longevity, we shall conveniently ignore it because it's inconvenient

Message to foreigners at Japanese convenience store sparks controversy online - "The sign, despite being written entirely in Japanese, is addressed to foreigners, and reads:
    “To foreign customers,
    ‘Kore’ is prohibited. Say “nikuman kudasai’.”
To explain, “kore” means “this” and “nikuman kudasai” means “Can I have a steamed bun please”.   Reading between the lines, it appears that staff had had enough of “foreign customers” saying “kore”, and presumably pointing to the display case while doing so, as indicated by the illustration of a pointing finger (assuming that’s an index finger and not a middle finger). The tone of the message is remarkably curt, with the absence of “please” making it read as a command rather than a request, and far removed from the usual level of politeness expected in a customer service environment in Japan...   Of course, pointing the finger at “foreigners” and prohibiting them from saying “kore” when ordering is also problematic, given that a number of Japanese people themselves said they might use the point-and-request system. In any case, a sign written entirely in Japanese isn’t the best way to get your message across to people who might not read the language, so perhaps it’s time for convenience store chains to think about implementing a numbering system for the hot items sold in display cases."

'It's telling that people are convinced they're real': the satirical signs of Sydney’s ‘nanny state’ - "At first glance you’ll probably think they’re real. But a series of eye-catching, official-looking signs that have sprung up around Sydney are in fact works of satire.  Produced by an artist and a therapist duo who call themselves Wowser Nation, the works are taking aim at Australia’s creeping nanny state. And they’ve started with the city they believe to be at the forefront of the creep – Sydney – even as the New South Wales government repeals the majority of its draconian lockout laws.  “We take existing rules and regulations and turn up the volume just a bit,” sculptor Clary Akon explains when we meet in one of the rare Sydney coffee shops that stays open till 10pm. “It’s very telling that people are even partially convinced they’re real.”  Photoshopped artworks include a warning that “this area is patrolled by FUN POLICE – protecting Sydney’s citizens from themselves” in the official police colours and font.  Another threatens a $550 fine if you flirt, laugh out loud, dance or “use long words confusing to security”. The hypothesis that they would pass for real was first tested in 2016, with a sign in Bondi threatening fines unless all joggers wore helmets, and an instruction to “log your jog”... “We realised this was a powerful way of drawing attention to an insidious process many people weren’t aware of: that their lives were becoming more and more restricted,” co-founder Francis Merson says, comparing the situation to the frog that jumps out of boiling water but boils to death if warmed slowly... The guerrilla tactics combine two very Australian and very opposing themes: the officiousness of wowserism and the mischievousness of larrikinism... Akon says it’s more relevant than ever post lockout laws: after all, they were just one of many examples of overreach by a conservative Berejiklian government that supposedly promotes personal responsibility over state interference.  All fallacies, Merson says: “When we started in 2015, I had no idea how bad it’d get: the strip-searching happening today would’ve seemed implausible.”  Akon lists a litany of other examples too: being ordered to tip away wine at peaceful beach and park picnics; bag-checking by uniformed police at Bondi Beach at Christmas; and the nimbyism of noise complaints by residents in new apartments next to pubs.  With NSW police now strip-searching children at festivals and passengers at Central Station, the pair’s most recent work – rolled out this week, under advisement from their new collaborator Christie Aucamp, depicts Gladys Berejiklian about to perform a strip-search under the caption: “Summer of glove”."
And this was pre-covid

Daniel Andrews slammed for ‘nanny state’ rules for Victorian parks - "Daniel Andrews has been accused of trying to install “nanny state” rules across his state’s city and regional parks.  Walkers and riders caught not using government-sanctioned trails could face heavy fines, while swimmers could be barred from some waterways without a permit.  The new rules, which will affect more than 50 city and regional parks across Victoria, were outlined in the government’s proposed Metropolitan and Regional Parks Regulations.  Changes include a fine of up to $924 for walking off a park trail."

Meme - "Resistance Newsday
The Island of Shit *British flag*"
We're still told that liberals don't hate their countries

Toblerone barred from using iconic Swiss Matterhorn mountain on its logo - " The image of the Matterhorn mountain peak will soon disappear from the packaging of Toblerone chocolate bars because the brand’s US owner is moving some production outside of Switzerland.  Swiss newspaper Aargauer Zeitung reported that Mondelez International, which produces the triangular treat, is changing the design of the mountain depicted on the cardboard wrapper to not violate the Swissness Act.  Mondelez disclosed in 2022 that it planned to move some Toblerone production to the Slovakian capital of Bratislava. The company is changing the packaging design to depict a more generic mountain rather than the famous Matterhorn...   Under Switzerland’s Swissness Act, passed in 2017, national symbols and Swiss crosses are not permitted on the packaging of products that do not meet Swissness criteria.  The Act stipulates that food items using Swiss national symbols or claiming to be “Swiss made” must have at least 80 per cent of the product’s raw materials come from Switzerland and 100 per cent for milk and dairy products."

They Lied About Tolkien - "The editor rejected J.R.R. Tolkien’s draft of The Fellowship of the Ring because Tolkien had used “dwarves” instead of “dwarfs.” So said a meme that popped up a lot on my Facebook page. A pastor I know posted it with the note, “Which he did.” Very quickly 29 of his friends shared it. Who knows how many dozens or hundreds of times friends shared it on. According to the meme, the editor appealed to the Oxford English Dictionary, saying that the word “dwarves” didn’t exist. The meme ends with Tolkien saying: “I wrote the Oxford English Dictionary. Don’t correct me.” It makes Tolkien look like a jerk. It is also completely wrong. Ridiculously wrong. And I think dishonestly wrong...   People seemed to love the meme. Rarely have I seen a meme pop up on my Facebook page so many times. People who should have known it was false dropped their guard. Like my friend the pastor, who not only believed it but pushed it (“Which he did.”).  Why would someone make up a meme this obviously false? Why would so many people who should have known it was a crude fake believe it? And share it? For the usual reasons we believe untruths, I think: We want to believe them because they make us feel good about ourselves, and let us look down on others."

sorcière - chad contre virgin / Sales machos / Chloé et Clément

Bloqué par iFunny:

"chad sorcière du moyen age
sogine les gens
avorte les femmes
connait les effets de chaque plante de son coin
risque sa vie pour la communauté
est un puits de savoir populaire
virgin sorcière moderne
fait du cosplay a deux balles

croit qu'elle a inventé la tisane
se connecte à son animal totem via smartphone
lance des sorts sur Tiktok
vend des cailloux"

"Sales machos! Arrêtez de nous réduire à un morveau de viande *des godemichés* *un t-shirt disant "Yes, Daddy"*"

"Chloé 25
Clément si tu tombes sur mon profil sache que je rattrape tout le temps perdu avec toi et que je me fais casser les hanches au moins trois fois par semaine...."

Links - 27th May 2023 (1 - Afghanistan)

Was the Fall of Afghanistan Inevitable? We Asked 9 National Security Experts - "The original intervention in late 2001 was a justifiable response to 9-11 and the Taliban’s role in sheltering the Al Qaeda terrorists.  However, the mission quickly expanded far beyond a limited punitive expedition that could have been completed in a year or 2.  Instead, U.S. policymakers embraced an open-ended, nation-building effort designed to transform Afghanistan into a modern, secular, Western-style democracy.  It was at that point that failure became inevitable.  Arrogant U.S. officials and their cheerleaders in the news media mistakenly assumed that they could bring Afghanistan, an alien society in which loyalty to tribe and religion eclipsed any sense of national identity or democratic values, into the twenty-first century.  With such lack of realism, only the timing of the ultimate debacle remained uncertain.  Nevertheless, officials in three administrations plugged on doggedly for nearly two decades, despite the rising cost in blood and treasure.  In the process, military and civilian officials repeatedly misled Congress and the public, insisting that progress on the political, economic, and security fronts was taking place.  They gave assurances that Washington’s puppet government in Kabul enjoyed the allegiance of most Afghans, and that the Taliban’s bid to regain power would fail.  The abrupt collapse of that government in the summer of 2021 showed otherwise."
"The fall of Afghanistan was in no way inevitable. It was precipitated by President Biden’s determination to execute a full withdrawal by the 20th anniversary of 9/11, which was driven entirely by domestic political concerns, not by the facts on the ground.  Recent statements by former CENTCOM Commander General Frank McKenzie, among others, that their best military advice was to leave a residual force of about 2,500 troops primarily at Bagram Airbase to retain intelligence and counterterrorism capabilities bear this out.  The President compounded the problem by refusing to adjust course when the withdrawal began to go sideways, which only led to confusion, chaos, and sadly the loss of more heroic US servicemen and women."
"In the months following the successful invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, elements of the Taliban reached out to the United States and to the interim Afghan government seeking reconciliation with and integration into the new regime. Co-optation of defeated opponents is a time-honored governance strategy in many places and was regarded as a tradition in Afghanistan. The United States rejected these overtures, maintaining an antagonistic posture that prevented the development of a durable peace.  This failure was compounded by the US decision to invade Iraq. The invasion of Iraq drew US attention away from Afghanistan at a critical time during the formation of Afghan state institutions. Resources allocated to reconstruction were diverted to the newer, shinier war. Perhaps more importantly, the war in Iraq undercut US legitimacy around the world, making it easier for the Taliban to find shelter in Pakistan and to build up strength for a counter-offensive."
"President Joe Biden chose defeat in Afghanistan.  He chose the collapse of a country in which the United States had invested hundreds of billions of dollars. He confused strawman arguments about escalation and the rhetoric of ending “forever wars” with a basic understanding about traditional deterrence.  Sure, the nation-building escapade in Afghanistan may have been unwise, but that had largely ended a decade ago. Instead, the U.S. mission in Afghanistan had morphed into something similar to what the United States carried out in Germany and Japan after World War II, and in Korea to the present day. Indeed, when Biden pulled out, the U.S. annual investment in Afghanistan was akin to that which the Pentagon spent annually in its Japan and Korea missions. With a relatively small number of troops and without great risk of casualty, those deployments managed to hold off much larger adversaries, be they the People’s Republic of China or North Korea. Biden wanted to end the war, but how wars end matters. Biden sought to exit before the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. That was an artificial, political deadline. Had he waited until winter, he could have enabled the U.S.-trained Afghan forces to dig in and prepare for several months until snows melted and the beginning of the next fighting season. This would have also allowed a more orderly withdrawal. Instead, he presided over a collapse whose ramifications have already been felt in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s pressure on Taiwan. Weakness and confusion are not good looks. They do not ensure peace, only the perpetuation of conflict.  Biden may have wanted to end a “forever war” but his team’s incompetence ensured new ones across the globe. "

The Taliban’s Fight for Hearts and Minds – Foreign Policy - "In many ways, Charkh seems like a typical rural Afghan district. With little development or industry to speak of, its population of 48,000 ekes out a living mostly from farming. Poverty is common; those who can find better jobs elsewhere leave and send money back to support their families. But a closer look at Charkh reveals a divergence from what one may expect of an average Afghan district. Administrators there are widely seen as fair and honest, making them outliers in a country consistently ranked among the world’s most corrupt. Locals say there is remarkably little crime. Disputes among neighbors or families are rare, and when they arise, the district governor or judge quickly settles them. A health official regularly monitors clinics to make sure that doctors and nurses are present and that medicines are stocked. Across the district’s schools, government teachers actually show up, and student attendance is high—an anomaly in a state system where absenteeism is rife.  On paper, Charkh’s surprising success could be interpreted as evidence of how the U.S.-backed administration of President Ashraf Ghani has finally extended a semblance of good governance beyond the capital of Kabul. But in fact the Afghan government deserves no credit for Charkh; the district is currently governed by the Taliban. The de facto local authorities, from the mayor to the town’s only judge, come from the Taliban’s ranks, and ordinary bureaucrats, such as teachers and health officials, have been vetted and selected by the insurgency—even though Kabul still pays their salaries... the Taliban leadership realized that instead of attacking government schools and aid projects, it could gain much more by co-opting them. In doing so, it could take credit for providing services and win over the local population... Unlike the Islamic State, which attempted to create new parallel infrastructure in the territory it seized, the Taliban prefer to co-opt existing government services and aid projects. In an October 2017 interview via WhatsApp, the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid explained the seeming contradiction involved in working with a state his organization was simultaneously fighting: “This is about meeting people’s needs. It’s not a part of the war.”   But it is, of course. The Taliban have realized that there’s no need to attack symbols of the state if you can instead capture their resources and redirect them to your aims. This process has been made much easier by most Afghans’ frustration with the widespread corruption that has crippled public services and made finding work so difficult. An estimated 80 percent of state teachers must pay bribes to get their positions...   Sharafi defended the agreement, which the Afghan security services criticized bitterly. “Of course the Taliban are using this agreement as propaganda to show how weak the government is,” he said. “But is it better for children to be in school or for there to be no school and nothing for them to do but join the Taliban?”"
From 2018

We are no longer a serious people - "The progressive wing of the party in power—Bernie, AOC, the 'squad', the whole crew that normally tweets 10 times per day and has opinions on everything—goes absolutely mute when confronted by some hard, inconvenient reality outside the US liberal bubble like Cuba or Afghanistan. As the situation in Afghanistan worsened, the charismatic new face of progressive politics was…enthusing about public libraries. Yay! The reason for this sudden silence is that in the year 2021, the cream of American society and the flower of its finest universities, can only understand the world as projections of the country’s own domestic neuroses. Our current elites, whether in media or politics, squint at the strange peoples and languages of whatever international conflict and only see who or what they can map to their internal gallery of heroes and villains: Who’s the PoC? Who’s the Nazi?  If however the situation involving foreign realities can be grafted onto simplistic domestic narratives, in however fantastic a fashion, then that issue becomes a curious side show to the main American stage. That’s what’s happened to Israel, which now features as a talking point in that same progressive wing of the party. And if the situation can’t be mapped, such as Afghanistan or the recent protests in Cuba, it’s utterly ignored for being just completely beyond human comprehension or concern. This is the true privilege of being an American in 2021 (vs. 1981): Enjoying an imperium so broad and blinding, you’re never made to suffer the limits of your understanding or re-assess your assumptions about a world that, even now, contains regions and peoples and governments antithetical to everything you stand for. If you fight demons, they’re entirely demons of your own creation, whether Cambridge Analytica or QAnon or the ‘insurrection’ or supposed electoral fraud or any of a host of bogeymen, and you get to tweet #resist while not dangling from the side of an airplane or risking your life on a raft to escape. If you’re overwhelmed by what you see, even if you work at places called ‘the Institute for the Study of War’, you can just take some ‘me time’ and not tune into the disturbing images because reality is purely optional at this stage of the game... the irony highlights the real civilizational difference here... an unserious country mired in the most masturbatory hysterics over bullshit dramas waged war against an insurgency of religious zealots fired by a 7th-century morality, and utterly and totally lost."

siraj hashmi on Twitter - "has anyone thought to cancel the Taliban takeover by digging up all its old tweets?"

Facebook - "Biden's speech on Afghanistan in a nutshell: I did what I had to do, SORRY NOT SORRY. He reinforced the false binary of staying in Afghanistan and withdrawing without strategic planning, intentionally conflating a botched execution with a generally agreed upon objective and plan.  "We had to do it" isn't an excuse for doing it "this" way. Biden and Blinken said a month ago this precise scenario wouldn't happen. And they were wrong.  Beyond accepting ZERO responsibility, Biden also avoided addressing the optics of a retreating US abandoning its allies reverberating globally which will have geopolitical consequences."

Stunned allies criticize US over Afghanistan chaos: 'The biggest debacle that NATO has suffered'

Meme - Porkchop Express: "Sorry, not sorry, not going to care about Afghanistan because I grew up with an alcoholic, psychologically abusive father in constant state of distress, anxiety and worry about the future. Hearing the key in the door every evening was my own "Afghanistan" for almost 20 years."

Matt Walsh on Twitter - "The State Department calls on the Taliban to form an “inclusive and representative government.” This is not a Babylon Bee skit. It’s a real thing that just happened."
DEI doesn't work on the Taliban

Dr. Parik Patel, BA, CFA, ACCA Esq. 💸 on Twitter - "Have we tried simply getting a group of celebrities to make a motivational video asking the Taliban to stop"


Nancy Pelosi on Twitter - "The U.S., the international community and the Afghan government must do everything we can to protect women and girls from inhumane treatment by the Taliban. As we strive to assist them, we must recognize that their voices are important and respect their culture"

Facebook - "Taliban say they will guarantee women's rights 'within the limits of Islam’ after takeover of Afghanistan"
"Yeah, sure. So basically, no rights.  Oh the absolute vanity and narcissism of activists over the past five years making references to and LARPing The Handmaid's Tale, thinking that it was self-referential to the Western context. No. This reality is happening right now now, protected by criticism from the forces of postmodernism and cultural relativism."

Meme - Mustata 47: "Because of Trump, I'll hopefully watch the first concession speech in 33 years of my life."
Mustafa 47 @ @CombatJourno: "I'm hopelessly stuck in Kabul with my wife and child. Like myself, hundreds of other journalists are also stuck here. I have an 11-months old daughter. Please pray for her safety."

Facebook - ""you don't swallow a rat poison to see if this time around it doesn't kill you." I don't believe whatsoever that the Taliban will become "more moderate" now that they are in power. Why would they? They WON because they are not moderate.  Extremists don't become less extreme when their whole brand is that they are extreme. I know this helps the narrative that the US withdrawal wasn't that bad but it's a big lie. And the people spreading this lie are not the ones who gonna face the consequences of being beheaded in the streets for not following the rules."

Opinion: The discourse around Afghanistan shows how little the West understands Islam - The Globe and Mail - "there is also the reality that the Taliban’s governing will be constrained and defined by other factors, such as a different population than when they were last in power, economic realities facing the country and relationships with other states.  This kind of uncritical coverage also has consequences closer to home. There are already efforts in many of our own Western societies to dehumanize our own populations of the Islamic faith. Lord Pearson, a British member of the House of Lords, for example, last week declared: “So I submit that it is not phobic to fear Islam, which is responsible for by far the most violence on our planet today.” It was an appalling statement, though true to the record of the individual in question, who is infamous for expressing such anti-Muslim bigotry on a regular basis. But it will be no surprise if, after the Taliban takeover in Kabul, people like him find new, unnuanced ways to invigorate their audiences. This is the truth about anti-Muslim bigotry today: It is not only increasing, it is also leaving the fringes and heading toward the mainstream. That, in turn, has an effect on our public policy discussions. If those who shaped public opinion in the West viewed the people of Afghanistan as fully deserving of dignity, the history of Western involvement there would look very different. That’s true if you consider the initial decision to invade in 2001, the way in which Western forces engaged over the past 20 years, and the way in which they withdrew.  It’s also why we see so many politicians, such as French President Emmanuel Macron and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, raising the spectre of Afghan refugees swarming Europe. If there was simple, basic empathy for this population, that kind of attitude would be unthinkable. To put it bluntly: Imagine Afghanistan was a white, Christian, European state, and what our conversations would look like then."
Whitewashing the Taliban to score woke points. Excellent.
Weird how Hungary and Poland are white, Christian, European states which keep getting slammed for violating human rights

About the only job women can do for the Kabul government is clean female bathrooms, acting mayor says - "Female employees in the Kabul city government have been told to stay home, and only women whose jobs cannot be done by men are allowed to come to work -- the latest restrictions imposed by the Taliban in Afghanistan."

Nassim Nicholas Taleb on Twitter - "The thinker most vindicated by #Afghanistan is Edmund Burke: change that's not progressive, slow, & pragmatic ends up blowing up (Reflections on the Revltion in France). Bureaucrato-utopistas IYI tried to jump from the middle ages to modernity, burkas to gender studies in 1 go."

Taliban Holds Up Glenn Beck Group's Planes; At Least 100 Americans Among Passengers - "Six private charter planes seeking to evacuate at least 1,000 people—including more than 100 Americans—out of Afghanistan have been grounded by the Taliban amid negotiations with the U.S. State Department"
Of course he's still evil

Taliban accounts mock USA with Pepe the Frog and other 'edgy' memes - "If people had any doubt that 2021 could get even crazier, then it is safe to say that Qasr Bakhaly of the Taliban has safely dispelled any such notions. After the end of the 20 year US occupation of Afghanistan, the Taliban is mocking the United States with memes of Pepe the Frog and other memes... It was not the only Taliban account mocking the USA and the West with what are considered ‘based memes’. Another account, with the username @MalangKhostay with over 25,000 followers on the platform, shared ‘Wojak’ memes to mock western culture."

Taliban Shows Propaganda Savvy by Recreating Iwo Jima Flag-Raising - "the Taliban likely "began to have a better appreciation for the power of propaganda" when it noticed that "exaggerating the impact of airstrikes on local communities and highlighting the death of innocent civilians contributed to, at times, a hesitancy on our side.""

Dr. Khalid PhD 😈☝️🏳️ on Twitter - "One day French NGOs went to Afghanistan claiming to want to solve hunger. Their real goal was to recruit Afghan women and make porn. The Taliban found out and executed them. France of course was furious over this human rights violation."

Taliban ban Covid jab in Paktia, claims report; Video shows them partying after fall of Jowzjan

Taliban fighters stop chemists selling contraception - "Taliban fighters have stopped the sale of contraceptives in two of Afghanistan’s main cities, claiming their use by women is a western conspiracy to control the Muslim population... Restricting contraceptives will be a significant blow in a country with an already fragile healthcare system.  One in every 14 Afghan women dies of causes related to pregnancy and it is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to give birth... Some reproductive rights experts in Afghanistan contacted by the Guardian were not willing to comment due to security concerns."

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent Podcast, The bravery and anger of Afghanistan's schoolgirls - "When I ask each girl their names in turn, not only do they announce their own, but their fathers too. Not only are they school girls, they’re daughters in this conservative society."
The correspondent doesn't realise that her surname comes from her father, or how patronyms work

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Afghanistan withdrawal - "‘I think every Afghan would like foreign troops to leave as quick as possible, but the way this drawdown is unfolding is creating a lot of anxiety here. You can feel the mood darkening month by month. I was here in May. And now I'm here in July and the mood is different.’"
Damn Trump screwing up the withdrawal!

Thread by @GadSaad on Thread Reader App – Thread Reader App - " Most of the Afghan folks (in the order of 100,000) just brought into the US are apparently not translators ( as they do not speak English) nor are they holders of special visas. They are simply refugees fleeing their homeland. Is it racist to question whether it is in the best interest of the US to absorb so many refugees in one shot when the great majority do not share the foundational values that define secular and liberal societies? Is it bigoted to question the political machinations as to why they are being resettled in particular areas?"

Taliban vs. Left - "One of the most telling things I have seen since the Sept. 11 massacrewas an early "peace movement" e-mail. It listed three major demands:stop the war; stop racism; stop ethnic scapegoating. A liberal friendhad appended a sardonic comment to the bottom. "Any chance we couldcome out against terrorism as well?"   One of the overlooked aspects of the war we are now fighting is the awakening it has spawned on the left. In one atrocity, Osama bin Laden may have accomplished what a generation of conservative writers have failed to do: convince mainstream liberals of the illogic and nihilism of the powerful postmodern left. For the first time in a very long while, many liberals are reassessing--quietly for the most part--their alliance with the anti-American, anticapitalist forces they have long appeased, ignored or supported. Of course the initial response of left-wing intellectuals to Sept. 11was one jerking of the collective knee. This was America's fault. FromSusan Sontag to Michael Moore, from Noam Chomsky to Edward Said, therewas no question that, however awful the attack on the World TradeCenter, it was vital to keep attention fixed on the real culprit: theUnited States. Of the massacre, a Rutgers professor summed up theconsensus by informing her students that "we should be aware that,whatever its proximate cause, its ultimate cause is the fascism of U.S.foreign policy over the past many decades." Or as a poster at thedemonstrations in Washington last weekend put it, "Amerika, Get a Clue."... Unlike previous Cold War battles, this one is against an enemy with no pretense at any universal, secular ideology that could appeal to Western liberals. However repulsive, the communist arguments of, say, Ho Chi Minh or Fidel Castro still appealed to a secular, Western ideology. American leftists could delude themselves that they shared the same struggle. But with Osama bin Laden, and the Islamo-fascism of the Taliban, no such delusions are possible. The American liberal mind has long believed that their prime enemy in America is the religious right. But if Jerry Falwell is the religious right, what does that make the Taliban? They subjugate women with a brutality rare even in the Muslimworld; they despise Jews; they execute homosexuals by throwing themfrom very high buildings or crushing them underneath stone walls. Thereis literally nothing that the left can credibly cling to inrationalizing support for these hate-filled fanatics. This is therefore an excruciating moment for the postmodern,postcolonial left. They may actually have come across an enemy thateven they cannot argue is morally superior to the West. You see thisdiscomfort in the silence of the protestors in Washington, who simplynever raised the issue of bin Laden's ideology. You see it in BarbaraEhrenreich's sad plea in the Village Voice: "What is so heartbreakingto me as a feminist is that the strongest response to corporateglobalization and U.S. military domination is based on such a violentand misogynist ideology." ... The real issue, as pointed out this week by Britain'sLabour prime minister, is that some on the left have expressed "ahatred of America that shames those that feel it.""
From 2001. Too bad 20 years later, things have only changed for the worse. Their cope is whataboutism, false equivalence and blaming whitey

Friday, May 26, 2023

Links - 26th May 2023 (2 - Climate Change)

How Environmental Organizations Are Destroying The Environment - "only developed countries have ever cleaned up their own environment. Only when a country’s inhabitants are adequately fed and clothed and sheltered from the storms can they afford to think about the environment. And far from cleaning up the environment as wealthy countries can afford to do, people in poor countries are very destructive to the environment. Folks in poor countries will burn every tree if they have to, and you would too if your kids were crying. They will eat every monkey and consume the chimpanzees as the final course, and you would too if your family were starving. They will bemoan the necessity, they don’t like doing it any more than you or I would … but they will do it... given that poverty is the greatest threat to the global environment, the inescapable conclusion is that the only way the global environment stands a chance is if poor countries can develop economically.  And that is why the anti-development, pro-expensive energy stance of the large environmental NGOs is one of the great environmental tragedies of our times... It’s what happens when big money hits a poor country—the environment gets screwed, whether it’s logging, fishing, or mining. Until the country is wealthy enough to feed its citizens and to protect itself, its resources are always on sale to the lowest bidder … by which I mean the bidder with the lowest morals.  Now, I started this sad tale for a reason, to give substance to the damage that poverty does to the environment. When you can buy an island council for ten grand a man and there are literally millions of dollars at stake, that council will get bought no matter how hard I fight against it. Per capita GDP in the Solomons is about $600 annually, it’s classed as an “LDC”, a Least Developed Country … and in a country where ten thousand dollars is almost twenty years wages, you can buy many people for ten large …  That is one of the main reasons that I’ve spent a reasonable amount of time working overseas trying to alleviate global poverty. I do it for the people first, but I do it for the environment second. And that is why I feel so personally betrayed by the current mindless push for expensive energy, a push led by the very organizations I’ve supported because back in the day, they actually used to be for the environment, not against it. Raising energy prices is the most regressive taxation I know of. The poorer you are, the harder you are hit by rising energy costs, and the more the poor suffer, the more the environment bears the brunt...   I say that history will not look kindly on those people and organizations who are currently impoverishing the poor and damaging the environment in a futile fight against CO2, even if the perpetrators are wealthy and melanin-deficient and just running over with oodles of good intentions"

Climate Activists Glue Themselves to a Tanker Full of Cooking Oil Mistaking It For Crude Oil - "British activists glued themselves to an oil tanker in Essex... These protestors are part of a Just Stop Oil offshoot called Extinction Rebellion"

The meaning behind Extinction Rebellion’s red-robed protesters - "The action has already managed to focus the world’s media on the urgent need to tackle climate change and that’s thanks in part to one of its most striking visuals – ghostly-white figures cloaked in scarlet-red, drifting gracefully through lines of police and crowds of demonstrators...   Each dancer’s face is painted a deathly-pale white with rosy cheeks and red lips. “It gave us the means to have these really expressional faces,” Doug says, “and obviously when you put people in those masks their faces become something else. I was looking through the photos afterwards, and you can relate them all to different archetypes or classical Greek characters.”"
Definitely not a cult

Biodegradable VS Plastic Shrink Film: Pros And Cons - "Bio-Films Are Generally More Expensive Than Traditional Shrink Films
Bio-polymer-based shrink films like those detailed above are few and far between. There are currently only a few brands available. And they can be pricey when compared to traditional plastic films.
Biodegradable Shrink Films Have Not Been Tested Extensively In Real World Applications
These bio-films are not commonly used on many packaging lines the world over (yet). So, these new materials have not been put to the test in many real-world applications. It is unclear if they will be able to offer the same qualities that plastic film provides. Those qualities include strength, clarity, gloss, haze, and other related elements."

To Wrap Or to Not Wrap Cucumbers? - "For cucumbers transported from Spain and sold in Switzerland, our investigations in the form of a life cycle assessment study showed that the plastic wrapping has a rather low environmental impact (only about 1%) in comparison to the total environmental impacts of the fruit from grower to grocer. Hence, each cucumber that has to be thrown away has the equivalent environmental impact of 93 plastic cucumber wraps. We found that plastic wrapping protects the environment more by saving more cucumbers from spoilage than it harms the environment by the additional use of plastic"
Save the environment. Use single use plastic

How the case for carbon taxes falls apart - “The ‘CO2 greening effect’ is the incontrovertible fact that plants grow better and are more drought-resistant. For plausible estimates of this greening effect, and once again using the IPCC’s own climate models, it’s at least possible that the ‘social cost’ of carbon is negative (i.e. there’s a positive rather than a negative externality). If this is true, we should subsidize emissions rather than tax them.”

Europe's Dependence on Russian Natural Gas: Perspectives and Recommendations for a Long-term Strategy - "The European Union 27 currently rely on Russia for almost 38% of their imported natural gas; this dependency will become significantly greater if European states implement their currently formulated energy policies. With plans to phase out nuclear power in several European countries, the EU goal to reduce coal consumption thereby lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and the depletion of domestic sources of gas, reliance on Russia will rise to 50 to 60% of all gas imports within the next two decades if different energy policies are not adopted"
From 2008. It became worse due to the folly of renewables, but they just double down
Environmentalists try to block gas too, so they want everyone to freeze to death. One claimed that if there was not enough electricity, we could turn off porch lights and TVs. Environmentalism leads to a lower quality of life. But since they want everyone to be forced to use electric cars, they also want everyone to be forced to stay at home when there isn't enough electricity

The Sirius Report on Twitter - "Clown show continues: After Brussels via Russian sanctions continues to cause deindustrialisation of Europe, it now wants to rollout its Green Deal Industrial Plan in earnest designed to ensure EU is a pioneer in cutting carbon emissions and technology to achieve these aims."

Philip Cross: The moral argument for fossil fuels - "The perspective philosophy brings is summarized in an exchange Epstein had with Barbara Boxer, the Democratic Senator from California. Boxer challenged his credentials, saying “this is the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. I think it’s interesting we have a philosopher here talking about an issue,” to which Epstein justified philosophy’s relevance by saying its role was “to teach you how to think more clearly.” Clear thinking about fossil fuels and the importance of energy to humans is in short supply in all public forums today. Epstein argues most discussion about fossil fuels is muddled and wrong-headed because the elites who control the debate, including media, pop-scientists, politicians and teachers, all simplify, misrepresent and sensationalize the often contradictory or inconclusive results of scientific research in this area. Worse, they present only the negative side effects of fossil fuels, ignoring their huge benefits in extending life expectancy, raising living standards and enabling the enormous recent increase of human population. There is a clear contradiction between this all but complete one-sidedness and how the same elites evaluate vaccines and antibiotics — which is to concede they have some side effects but to conclude their overall benefits overwhelm the downside. Epstein argues that applying the same balanced approach to fossil fuels should lead to a similar conclusion — yet elite opinion fiercely resists acknowledging the fuels’ benefits.  One symptom of this anti-fossil fuel bias is how erroneous forecasts never lead to accountability. In the 1970s, experts cautioned about the impending doom of global cooling — just as global temperatures began to rise. Then groups such as the Club of Rome claimed the world would soon run out of fossil fuels — only to see global production expand as technology made new sources readily available. Still others, such as Greenpeace, warned that pollution from fossil fuels would poison our air, land and water — though pollution levels have since fallen. Meanwhile, the actual trajectory of global warming has not followed the path predicted by most models, which is hardly surprising given their embryonic state. From his philosopher’s perspective, Epstein argues we should be concerned about climate danger not climate change. The planet has long been an inhospitable place for humans. Far from being a Garden of Eden, life before the widespread deployment of fossil fuels truly was “nasty, brutish, and short” in the words of Thomas Hobbes. Thanks to improvement in everything from shelter to clothing, climate-related deaths have fallen 98 per cent over the past century. The places that remain most at risk from climate danger are poor countries such as Bangladesh, not rich communities living along coastlines. The high incomes generated by energy consumption allow humans to protect themselves from natural dangers and diseases. By focusing on climate change and not climate danger, environmentalists end up condemning all human impacts on the planet. According to Epstein, this leads to the blanket rejection of all energy sources, not just fossil fuels. The result is the near impossibility of building nuclear reactors (despite their having the safest record of any energy source) and growing resistance even to renewables such as hydro dams and solar and wind farms. The low energy density of renewable energy sources compared with fossil fuels requires that they take up huge tracts of land, which spawns opposition due to the loss of green space and wilderness. The logical conclusion of opposition to all forms of energy development is that we humans suffer either an enormous drop in our living standard as we return to Hobbes’ state of nature or a large involuntary reduction in our numbers. Epstein calls either outcome “anti-human.” Epstein argues it is immoral to condemn three billion people to remain in extreme poverty of less than $2 a day by denying them access to the benefits of more energy from fossil fuels. In practical terms, improving their material lives means developing fossil fuels, which have a huge advantage over renewable alternatives in affordability, reliability and scalability.  The reason fossil fuels account for over 80 per cent of global energy consumption today, just as they did 50 years ago, is simple: they are the best source of energy. Even as rich countries limit their use of the very fossil fuels that underpinned their own flourishing, emerging nations consume more of them than ever. Energy — the ability to do work — is the basis of economic growth and improved living standards. Instead of apologizing for energy consumption, Fossil Future argues the moral thing to do is develop as much energy as possible."
Trust a philosopher to make the case for the misanthropy of environmentalism. Misanthropic environmentalists calling humans a virus that must be exterminated means nothing, of course

Justin Hart on Twitter - "Oh look. Alibaba Group Pres. J. Michael Evans at the WEF in Davos planning to track your carbon footprint: "Where are they traveling? How are they traveling? What are they eating? What are they consuming? Individual carbon footprint tracker… stay tuned!”"

Seize property to build wind and solar farms, says JP Morgan chief - "The chief executive of JP Morgan has suggested that governments should seize private land to build wind and solar farms in order to meet net zero targets.   Jamie Dimon, the longstanding boss of the Wall Street titan who donates to the Democratic Party, said green energy projects must be fast-tracked as the window for averting the most costly impacts of global climate change is closing... The proposal is unusual, especially coming from the longest-serving chief executive of a Wall Street bank, and could stir controversy as states in the US seek to crackdown on seizure orders... In December, Vanguard, the world’s second largest asset manager, pulled out of Mark Carney’s global climate change alliance, saying the group’s full-blooded commitment to tackling climate change resulted “in confusion about the views of individual investment firms”."

Meme - "When aliens see us putting up windmills again after we have harnessed fission.
This is the most ghetto shit I've ever seen in my life"

The Meme Policeman - Posts | Facebook - "f you thought there’s no way Green New Deal is actually dumb enough to post a picture of the first gasoline-powered scooter and label it the first electric scooter, we’ll you’d be wrong! That’s exactly what they did (and this wasn’t April Fools). ▪️This is an Autoped, which was launched in America in 1915, it was the first mass-produced motor scooter... As for calling the switch to internal combustion engines and fossil fuels “a lost century,” that’s a bizarre way to portray the most spectacular increase in human flourishing in human history. It’s not just dumb, its ugly and anti-human to its core"

Sustainable aviation fuel costs more but consumers willing to pay: IATA - "Walsh said airlines had ordered 14 billion liters of SAF. “I think that addresses the issue of whether airlines will buy the product,” he said.  Walsh noted this was happening even though the price of SAF was “about two and a half times the price of jet kerosene. When you factor in the cost of carbon, you’re looking at maybe … twice the price of kerosene.”... There are major concerns in some quarters that an increased uptake of SAF could, among other things, result in significant deforestation and create a squeeze on crops crucial to the production of food."
Modern day sumptuary laws strike again. When they force everyone to use it they will still gaslight consumers that they are voluntarily paying for it. And when food prices rise as a result of this, it will the fault of greedy companies

Meme - "Climate change will kill us if we don't implement Marxism immediately."
"How about nuclear power *sets fire to nuclear*"
"I don't want nuclear power. I want Marxism."
Historically we have evidence for this, but they also betray their motivations when they pretend that they would "create a better world for nothing"

Meme - "CALIFORNIA 2035 *Electric Car towing diesel generator*"

Do Renewable Portfolio Standards Deliver Cost-Effective Carbon Abatement? - "The most prevalent and perhaps most popular climate policies in the U.S. are Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) that mandate that renewables (e.g., wind and solar) produce a specified share of electricity, yet little is known about their efficiency. Using the most comprehensive data set ever compiled and a difference-in-differences style research design, we find that electricity prices are 11% higher seven years after RPS passage, largely due to indirect grid integration costs (e.g., transmission and intermittency). On the benefit side, carbon emissions are 10-25% lower. The cost per ton of CO2 abatement ranges from $58-$298 and is generally above $100."
A climate change hystericst alleged conflict of interest in the OECD's analysis of system costs for renewable energy (naturally, what environmental groups say never has a conflict of interest). But study after study comes to the same conclusion on intermittency and system costs

Geophysical constraints on the reliability of solar and wind power in the United States - "the extent to which solar and wind can contribute to the generation mix will be constrained by the temporal and spatial variability of solar and wind resources, along with the timing and location of electricity demand and other features of the electricity system (e.g., transmission grid, energy storage, demand management, dispatchable power, reliability requirements, etc.)... We find that achieving ~80% of demand met by solar and wind requires a US-wide transmission grid or 12 hours worth of energy storage (!5.4 TW h). Beyond 80%, the required amount of energy storage or excess solar/wind generating capacity needed to overcome seasonal and weather- driven variabilities increases rapidly. Today this would be very costly."

California needs clean firm power, and so does the rest of the world. – Clean Air Task Force
When they commission energy experts from Princeton and Stanford Universities and a consulting firm and despite different approaches, they all came to the same conclusion for California: you need "carbon-free electricity sources that don’t depend on the weather", otherwise you get "high system costs and loss of reliability"

Escape The Echo Chamber - Posts | Facebook - "Despite the large number of news stories claiming all sorts of momentary calamities as the result of global warming, the global average temperature has declined noticeably in the last seven years.  It’s true that 2016 was the “warmest year on record” (based on how it is currently estimated). The following few years were labeled as “second warmest”, “third warmest”, etc.; hiding that there was a downward trend in temperatures. That will likely change the next couple of years as the Pacific Ocean shifts from a ‘La Niña’ circulation to an ‘El Niño’ circulation. This shift does raise the global average temperature (as it is currently estimated) and it’s probable that a new hottest year will happen, if it’s strong enough, in the next two years. After the alarmist headlines have subsided there will be a decline in temperatures again, though not as low as 2021.  The Earth has been warming since the Little Ice Age and some of it is likely due to human influence. How much damage and benefit (there is both) is worthy of debate, but right size the alarmist headlines when they appear. Politicians and activists, unfortunately, have been using alarmist rhetoric to convince voters to approve of expensive public works projects and policies with little to show for their last promises."

Escape The Echo Chamber - Posts | Facebook - "Let’s have some real talk about reducing carbon in the atmosphere. A lot of it is little more than a scam.  As I’ve mentioned several times before, the quickest, most human friendly, and most environmentally friendly way to reduce putting carbon into the atmosphere is an aggressive nuclear power program. But not everything in a modern economy can run on electricity. The density of energy in fossil fuels allows planes to carry humans and cargo long distances quickly. Fossil fuels are needed to run large machinery.  With a stated goal of becoming ‘carbon neutral’, governments are leaning on ‘offsets’ to counter the carbon being put in the air. At their core, these programs involve making energy more expensive and giving the ‘surplus’ money to poorer nations to plant trees and stuff.  Here are the dirty secrets of ‘carbon offsets’:
• They are popular with Wall Street as they would become a lucrative item to buy and sell.
• They are popular with politicians because they give the impression of ‘doing something’ while controlling the collection and the distribution of funds generates political power.
• The people hurt most are the poor who do not have the disposable income to pay for increased energy and product costs.
• And, way to bury the lede, carbon offset programs don’t work. Planting trees does almost nothing to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Half of the carbon captured is respired back into the atmosphere, while decay and fire returns much of the rest. Increasing tree canopies also decreases the planet’s albedo, causing more light waves to convert to long wave infrared heat — increasing the global average temperature.
What you aren’t told...
The rain forests aren’t the ‘world’s lungs’. Almost all of the earth’s net oxygen production comes from plankton. There are scientists working on ways to use plankton to remove carbon from the air. In short, these carbon offset programs don’t work and hurt the poor by raising the cost of energy. But they are a great source of revenue for financial institutions and politicians."
Unfortunately the other "solutions" we are given are even worse, e.g. crippling the economy and driving energy prices through the roof through a dependence on "renewables"

Energy chaos: the shape of things to come | The Spectator Australia - "Australian governments have made energy policies focused on achieving higher shares of renewable energy that they claim is the cheapest source of power... Subsidies that amount to $6.9 billion per year have propelled wind and solar, which had virtually no market presence 20 years ago, to their current market share of 27 percent.  The CSIRO and other bodies claim that these are the cheapest forms of electricity, but the absurdity of this is demonstrable – the market shares of wind and solar would be negligible without these subsidies.  And the subsidies themselves amount to over one-third of what electricity generation would cost if renewable requirements did not push up prices.   A recent study from the UK identifies a similar magnitude of costs to support renewables (which now provide 36 percent of the nation’s electricity)...   Among major countries, only Germany, which has gone even further down the renewables path, has higher energy prices.  As in Australia, the UK’s growth in subsidized renewables has brought an accelerating increase in prices.  That process in both countries predated the Ukraine War... Australia’s ballooning energy costs are entirely self-inflicted. They are caused by years of bowing to green ideology:
increasing taxes on coal and gas;
discrimination against coal and gas by requiring increasing quantities be incorporated in consumers’ supplies, this month amplified by obligating an additional 30 percent cut in emissions from the 215 firms that account for some 28 percent of electricity demand;
governmental legislative and policy impediments on new mines for coal and gas (as well as the embargo on nuclear) and by government-appointed judges’ rulings on new mine proposals;
government electricity purchasing that excludes supplies generated by coal or gas.
Australia, like many other countries, is dreaming up new restraints on the use of hydrocarbons. Among these are bans proposed (and already legislated in South Australia) on gas ovens.  The rationale for these bans is that, though gas has lower CO2 emissions than coal, an electricity supply comprising solar/wind generation is claimed to have no emissions.  Governments, panicked by the failure of their interventionist energy policies to bring about the low costs they and their advisers confidently projected, have now introduced price caps on coal and gas.  With no sense of irony, the objective is to maintain hydrocarbon generators that are being driven out of business by governments’ discriminatory energy policies.  The measures exemplify a Hayekian ‘road-to-serfdom’ process, whereby interventions require consequential additional measures.   Having seen policies preventing hydrocarbon developments bring shortages and ballooning prices, the Commonwealth implemented price caps.  Predictably, the price caps cause supply shortages in an industry that has been prevented from developing new supplies by government embargoes that have been in place for over a decade."
A climate change hystericist claimed the declining cost of Australian energy showed that more renewables didn't make energy more expensive. But even the somewhat lower prices in Q1 and Q2 2023 are still higher than more than a few quarters back

Escape The Echo Chamber - Posts | Facebook - "Wild claims spread faster and wider.   A common theme is making long term predictions over short term trends. Another is failing to recognize that humans make adjustments when pain points occur.  The Earth was undergoing a cooling period which, coincidentally, ended about the time that temperature measuring satellites went live in 1978. Air and water pollution controls kick in when a society reaches a certain level of prosperity. If something starts to become rare, the price goes up causing either new sources to emerge or replacements to enter the marketplace.  And in the case of this graphic... future warming has consistently been overestimated just as future CO2 emissions have been underestimated."
Meme - "For those that missed it, let's Recap:
1966: Oil Gone in Ten Years
1967: Dire Famine Forecast By 1975
1968: Overpopulation Will Spread Worldwide
1969: Everyone Will Disappear In a Cloud Of Blue Steam By 1989
1970: World Will Use Up All its Natural Resources by 2000
1970: Urban Citizens Will Require Gas Masks by 1985
1970: Nitrogen buildup Will Make All Land Unusable
1970: Decaying Pollution Will Kill all the Fish 1970s: Killer Bees!
1970: Ice Age By 2000
1970: America Subject to Water Rationing by 1974 and Food Rationing By 1980
1971: New Ice Age Coming By 2020 or 2030
1972: New Ice Age By 2070
1972: Oil Depleted in 20 Years
1974: Space Satellites Show New Ice Age Coming Fast
1974: Another Ice Age?
1974: Ozone Depletion a 'Great Peril to Life
1976: Scientific Consensus Planet Cooling, Famines imminent
1977: Department of Energy Says Oil will Peak in 90s
1978: No End in Sight to 30-Year Cooling Trend
1980: Acid Rain Kills Life In Lakes
1980: Peak Oil In 2000
1988: Regional Droughts (that never happened) in 1990s
1988: Temperatures in DC Will Hit Record Highs
1988: Maldive Islands will Be Underwater by 2018 (they're not)
1989: Rising Sea Levels will Obliterate Nations if Nothing Done by 2000
1989: New York City's West Side Highway Underwater by 2019 (it's not)
1996: Peak Oil in 2020
2000: Children Won't Know what Snow Is
2002: Famine In 10 Years If We Don't Give Up Eating Fish, Meat, and Dairy
2002: Peak Oil in 2010
2004: Britain will Be Siberia by 2024
2005: Manhattan Underwater by 2015
2006: Super Hurricanes!
2008: Arctic will Be Ice Free by 2018
2008: Climate Genius Al Gore Predicts Ice-Free Arctic by 2013
2009: Climate Genius Prince Charles Says we Have 96 Months to Save World
2009: UK Prime Minister Says 50 Days to 'Save The Planet From Catastrophe'
2009: Climate Genius Al Gore Moves 2013 Prediction of Ice-Free Arctic to 2014
2013: Arctic Ice-Free by 2015
2014: Only 500 Days Before 'Climate Chaos
2019: Hey Greta, we need you to convince them it's really going to happen this time"
This is from 50 Years of Failed Doomsday, Eco-pocalyptic Predictions; the So-called ‘experts’ Are 0-50, with citations for each. just resorted chronologically (the original list is all over the place). But like all doomsday cults, the cope is strong

Kicked out of the Comedy Club

Kicked out of the Comedy Club | Andrew Doyle

"Titania’s fame quickly grew, and by May last year she had more than half a million followers and a second book deal. As her popularity increased, the venom of those who disapproved of the character became more toxic. For some reason these tended to be the very kind of identity-obsessed faux-leftists that Titania was satirising, but I’m sure that’s just a coincidence. 

Having been revealed as the author, most of this venom was now channelled in my direction. The extent of the abuse was often unfathomable, and some even went so far as to send direct threats of violence. It’s a curiosity of our times that the most vicious and bullying online behaviour tends to be exhibited by those who claim to be on the side of empathy and compassion. 

I have never quite understood the kind of anger that comedy and satire can provoke. As someone who has seen my fair share of stand-up, I have often found that the best response to a joke that does not amuse me is simply not to laugh. It would never occur to me to berate other members of the audience for their poor taste, or to take to social media and complain about the comedian in question. As someone who does not suffer from narcissistic personality disorder, I am well aware that my personal sense of humour is not the benchmark for the entirety of humankind. When it comes to comedy criticism, “that’s not funny” is about as insightful as “that’s not erotic”. Try telling a fetishist that studded PVC nuns’ habits are objectively devoid of sexual appeal, and he will probably be able to show you some homemade videos that will quickly prove you wrong. 

It is of course entirely natural to feel displeasure when one’s worldview is being ridiculed. I do not blame the poor writer for the Observer who suggested that copies of Titania’s first book would be given to every person in Hell, and that “lampooning the language of social justice is a cheap shot”. I have some sympathy for her position. If I were absorbed in an ideology that mistrusts humour and perceives that jokes have the potential to “normalise hate”, I would doubtless be similarly vexed by anyone who had the temerity to mock it. But that’s the trouble with religious belief. However important it seems to one’s sense of personal identity, there is no way to protect our icons from desecration by unbelievers.

Inevitably, the rage that Titania seemed to provoke merely enhanced the value of the character and confirmed that she was hitting the right targets. I am instinctively non-confrontational, and so was ill-equipped to deal with the sudden way I was being mischaracterised by strangers on the internet who perceived me as an “edgelord”: one who causes offence for its own sake. I had spent the previous three years writing an online character that almost exclusively ridiculed the political right, and in my stand-up had poked fun at all political parties, but now that I was turning my attention to the social justice left I was apparently taking things too far. I think it was when someone suggested that it would be best if I perished in a volcano that I suspected matters were spiralling out of control. 

The reaction of the “comedy community” — if such a thing exists — was particularly revealing. Suddenly, comics I had known and worked with for years began to block me on social media, or write blog posts to express their displeasure at my diabolical creation. Those who knew me to be fundamentally opposed to racial discrimination started referring to me as “alt-right”, a shorthand term for white nationalist. Others accused me of being a shill for foreign powers and claimed that I was being funded by “dark money”. I remember thinking that this money must be very dark indeed, given that I have never actually seen any of it...

When I approached old friends from the circuit to catch up, they would look around nervously. At first I assumed this was my own paranoia, brought on by the unbridled consumption of cheap prosecco, but then a companion of mine made the same observation. These people I had been acquainted with for years, who knew me to be a decent person, were nonetheless clearly now afraid of being spotted in my vicinity. 

What are we to conclude from this? It would take considerable comedic illiteracy to interpret Titania as “punching down” at minority groups, and I like to think that most stand-ups are familiar with how satire works. I can accept such misapprehensions from writers for the Guardian or the New Statesman, but that’s because these publications probably weed out anyone with a sense of humour at the interview stage. Comedians, on the other hand, are rarely successful if they are unfamiliar with the concept of levity.

As I’ve explained more times than I care to remember, the driving force behind Titania is my contempt for bullies. She’s an exercise in punching up at the predominantly middle-class woke authoritarians who patronise and demean minorities while claiming to defend them. This is why she describes herself as being “brave enough to stand up for the rights of minorities, even when they don’t know what’s best for themselves”. She embodies the kind of intolerant and illiberal activism that has been responsible for the rise of “cancel culture”, a retributive system of public shaming which is routinely denied by its own practitioners. 

It is simply not true that in order to “punch up” one must exclusively take aim at those in positions of political power. Cultural hegemony (to borrow one of Titania’s favourite buzzwords) manifests itself in multiple ways. Even our current Conservative government is subject to ideological pressure to conform to the high priests of identity politics who prevail in all our major artistic, educational and law enforcement institutions.

A friend of mine explained the truth of it quite bluntly. He described how he had found himself defending me in a comedy club green room, after a group of comics were smearing me as “fascist-adjacent” or some such nonsense. As he put it, the insults struck him as performative, not dissimilar to how bullies at school will happily manufacture false reputations for their targets in order to justify their attacks. 

It doesn’t matter to these comics that the accusations are untrue; it only matters that they are seen to be opposed to the pariah in their midst. This is a matter of self-preservation in an industry which is hostile to anyone who does not toe the ideological line. It’s as good a theory as any, I suppose.

In her speech launching the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe, Nica Burns (director of the festival’s comedy awards) had said that she was “looking forward to comedy’s future in the woke world” and that “the woke movement” was now “setting an ever-evolving agenda as it seeks to establish a clear marker for what is unacceptable today”. 

At the time, some people told me that they had found this troubling. Here was one of the most influential figures in the industry proclaiming her fealty to an ideology that is fundamentally opposed to freedom of speech, and sees artistic expression in terms of how it perpetuates “power structure” in society. Tellingly, none of those who shared their concerns were willing to do so publicly.

This is why I have such sympathy for those free-thinking young comics whose instinct is to take risks and puncture the prevailing orthodoxies. While the industry remains systemically woke, they will always be likely to self-censor rather than risk scuppering their career before it has even begun. I have seen first-hand how this trend has developed over the past few years.

Until recently I was running a course on stand-up for aspiring young comedians...

I only ran the course for six years, but during that time there was an undeniable shift in how these young comics perceived their craft. Cultural developments are typically imperceptible, yet here I could see evidence of the sea change with each term’s new cohort. Discussions about limitations in comedy became increasingly fraught, with more and more participants pushing back against the notion that their peers ought to be able to joke about anything. By the end of my time at the theatre, there were members of the group who seemed intent on policing the material of others and assessing its moral quality. One even boasted about how she had taken to attending open mic nights in order to castigate comics who had offended her sensibilities. It was as though one of the Pharisees of the New Testament had been reincarnated in teenage form. 

I lost the job because of Titania. Apparently, one of her tweets had made a member of the group feel “unsafe”, and so the theatre felt they could not renew my contract. This is the reality of working in comedy in the current climate. Still, by this point I had other sources of income and was only really continuing out of a sense of loyalty to the theatre. Their failure to defend artistic freedom in the face of palpably disingenuous appeals to “safety” was disappointing, but really it’s just the latest in a series of relationships that have become impossible to sustain due to a fictional character that I created. It does seem strange that we should have reached this point, but such is the inanity of the identitarian left’s ongoing culture war...

I have always acknowledged that sometimes the best artists are morally bereft, and yet my mistake was assuming that comedians should be any different. In his memoir Looking Back (1933), Norman Douglas writes that humanity can be divided into two camps: “gentlemen” and “cads”. Gentlemen are “those who value human relationships” and cads are “those who value social or financial advancement”. I have learnt in recent years that, with a few honourable exceptions, comedians are cads. Maybe that’s an inevitable feature of an essentially self-regarding form of artistic expression, but I’m happy to say that getting kicked out of this club isn’t so much a snub as a relief. "

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